Athlon Sports previews Week 14 of the Big 12 season.
The Eyes of Texas will be focused squarely on Austin Thanksgiving night. So, too, will the eyes of the nation.
TCU’s last big test of the season will take place Thursday night against the surging Longhorns and fans in Texas, the Big 12 and in places like Columbus and Starkville will be focused on The 40 Acres.
Fans can bet the Playoff Committee will be paying attention as well.
Elsewhere, Baylor and Kansas State should hold serve in preparation for their season-ending meeting next weekend.
Week 14 Big 12 Game Power Rankings
1. TCU (-7.5) at Texas
Thur., 7:30 p.m., FS1
This is as dangerous a game as any national championship contender will have over the last two weeks of the season. Texas is one of the hottest teams in the nation, has one of the best defenses in the nation, is the most powerful program in the league and is a home underdog on Thanksgiving night. So the Horned Frogs will have to stop more than just a developing quarterback and surging running game on offense or even the top pass-rushing defense in the Big 12. A win would give Charlie Strong a four-game winning streak to end the year and a winning overall record — all after a 2-4 start. Trevone Boykin will have to play his best game of the year to get the win and keep pace with Baylor. Because if TCU plays like it did in its last two road trips to Morgantown or, worse, Lawrence, the Frogs could leave Austin with a loss they can't afford.
Listen to the Rivalry Week predictions podcast:
2. Baylor (-24.5) vs. Texas Tech
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2, Arlington
By Saturday afternoon, Art Briles will know exactly what is at stake against Texas Tech. Baylor (and KSU) will be watching intently on Turkey Day evening, knowing a win by Texas gives the Bears a shot at the College Football Playoff and an outright league championship. Either way, Bryce Petty should have no issues moving up and down the field against Texas Tech. Last year, this game featured 97 points and 1,129 yards of total offense — 63 and 657 of which came from Baylor. Kliff Kingsbury finally got into the win column last weekend against Iowa State but nothing about this matchup indicates the Red Raiders have a chance to pull the upset.
3. West Virginia at Iowa St
This is likely Paul Rhoads' last shot at a Big 12 win with a road trip to TCU looming in the season finale. Iowa State has had plenty of close calls, however, losing to Kansas State, Texas and Texas Tech by a total of 10 points. The Mountaineers aren’t playing much better, losing three straight with a surprising lack of offense — with their three least efficient yards per play showings of the season (4.46, 4.98, 5.09). Much of that is due to level of competition and Clint Trickett’s third concussion in two seasons. Skyler Howard would get the nod under center should Dana Holgorsen do the right thing and protect his starting quarterback. The undersized sophomore has attempted 25 career passes for WVU.
4. Kansas (+28) at Kansas St
4 p.m., FS1
Win and advance is all that matters for Kansas State. That, and, spend Thanksgiving rooting hard for Charlie Strong. If TCU loses to Texas, Bill Snyder’s bunch is right back in the mix for an outright Big 12 championship. The Jayhawks were destroyed by Oklahoma's Samaje Perine last weekend and there is no reason to think the Sunflower State rivalry will turn out differently.
Off: Oklahoma, Oklahoma St
Big 12 Predictions:
|Braden Gall||Mitch Light||David Fox||Steven Lassan|
|TCU (-7.5) at Texas||Texas, 24-23||TCU, 28-20||TCU, 28-14||TCU, 27-24|
|BU (-24.5) at TT||BU, 45-17||BU, 47-13||BU, 42-24||BU, 48-24|
|WVU at ISU||WVU, 34-31||WVU, 33-13||WVU, 35-17||WVU, 34-27|
|KU (+28) at KSU||KSU, 50-10||KSU, 41-10||KSU, 44-17||KSU, 40-13|