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Big XII Notes

Big XII Notes

Big XII Notes
By Judd Hall

Out of all the BCS conference hoping to get a team in the national title game, the Big XII is the best situated to pull of this feat. Six of the league’s members are in the AP poll this week, with four of them dotting the Top 10. And unlike some other conferences (cough, Big Ten, cough), a one-loss team from the Big XII would have a decent shot of playing at Dolphin Stadium in January.

One such club with a shot at still making it to the BCS Championship is Missouri, who is making the trip to Austin to battle the Longhorns as a six-point road underdog. The total is standing still at 68½.

The Tigers possess one of the most explosive offenses in the Big XII, but it was hogtied for much of its 28-23 home loss to Oklahoma State last Saturday. Look no further than Mizzou gunslinger Chase Daniel’s three very uncharacteristic interceptions in the second half as to why they lost…especially when he had just one pick to his name for the year prior to facing the Cowboys.

Gary Pinkel must get his offense’s timing back, which got screwed up thanks to some aggressive schemes by the Oklahoma State. The Tigers are going to be taking on a Longhorns’ defense that is even feistier than what they saw last week. But the ‘Horns secondary can be nullified completely by using a spread offense, which Missouri prefers to use. The odds are good they can expose a Texas defense that gives up 267.8 yards through the air.

Mizzou also has a good defensive unit, allowing just 21.3 points per game this season. While that is an impressive number, you must remember that it can be misleading. The Tigers’ defense is extremely thin and rarely goes two deep at any position to stay competitive. That is no more apparent than in their safeties and cornerback, who allow a league low 270.5 passing YPG.

Texas should be able to eat the Tigers’ pass defense alive with Heisman hopeful Colt McCoy. The junior signal caller has shown time and again that he can handle any situation or defense. McCoy’s latest showing versus the Sooners in the Red River Rivalry is valid proof as the Longhorns were down 14-3 and 21-10 at points last Saturday. The bottom line is Texas could not have won without him completing 80 percent of his passes for 277 yards versus Oklahoma. And Mack Brown will ride his arm against the porous Mizzou secondary.

It’s been two years since these schools faced one another, but the recent history sides with the Texas in this spot. The ‘Horns are 7-1 SU in head-to-head meetings with Missouri, but the Tigers are 5-2 ATS in those contests. Mack Brown’s club has covered the number in all six matches they’ve played despite an average spread of 21.

There are five other games going on in the Big XII:

The next biggest matchup in the league this weekend takes place between Kansas and Oklahoma. Mark Mangino’s Jayhawks have bounced back nicely after their loss at South Florida, putting up no worse than 30 points in the last three wins since Sept. 12. The Sooners are on the rebound this Saturday after losing to Texas last week. Bob Stoops’ squad has won the last four meetings, covering the spread in the past three. Oklahoma won the last scuffle between these clubs as a seven-point road favorite, 19-3, in 2005.

Baylor at Oklahoma State: The Bears broke a 13-game losing streak in the Big XII when they undressed Iowa State 38-10 as 4½-point home favorites. Super freshman Robert Griffin connected on 21 of 24 passes for 278 yards versus the Cyclones’ secondary. Although, he still might be seeing stars after getting sacked three times. Griffin will have to be selective with his throws this Saturday when he takes on a Cowboy defense that picked off Chase Daniel in Week 7. Likewise, Oklahoma State must convert turnovers into points since only one of those picks because a touchdown. You might think of the letdown here for OSU State as a 17-point home “chalk.” But keep in mind the ‘Boys have gone 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS when at home against Baylor.

Kansas State at Colorado: Dan Hawkins is going to look for a 60-minute effort out of his Buffaloes this week. That’s because Colorado held tough for the first half against the Jayhawks, trailing 9-7 after 30 minutes. But you can’t expect to win many games if you rush for 86 yards and throw for just 147 yards. Kansas State’s Josh Freeman showed why people were so high on him coming out of high school, connecting on 80.8 percent of his passes for 234 yards, while gaining another 95 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The home team is just 5-5 SU, but 6-4 ATS in the recent history of this series.

Texas Tech at Texas A&M: Every good team has that game where they get the ever loving hell scared out of them. Well, the Red Raiders had that last Saturday when Nebraska took them to the brink in a 37-31 overtime victory. The Aggies are still growing under Mike Sherman, but they have a shot at making it interesting if they can get the passing game going like they did versus K-State (419 passing yards). After all, Texas Tech is allowing 254.0 YPG through the air…eighth in the Big XII.

Nebraska at Iowa State: If you’re betting on this matchup, you have a problem. I don’t know how much more plain I can make that statement. On one side you have the Cornhuskers, losers of three in a row. On the opposite sideline we’ve got the Cyclones, who have dropped four straight contests. The only thing I can tell you about this matchup is Iowa State has posted a lackluster 3-3 SU record when listed as a home underdog. Yet, Gene Chizik’s teams have been a profitable 6-1 ATS in that situation.

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