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November 8, 2006

Big 12: Week 11 Breakdown

Buchanan's Big 12 picks
Rivals.com national writer Olin Buchanan's predictions for Week 11 in the Big 12.
Saturday's games:
Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 24
Colorado 14, Iowa State 13
Texas 35, Kansas State 20
Nebraska 24, Texas A&M 17
Oklahoma 34, Texas Tech 21

Best matchup: Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in total offense and ranks third nationally in passing offense. Also, the Red Raiders have scored at least 31 points in each of their last three games. Oklahoma, on the other hand, leads the Big 12 in total defense and pass defense. The Sooners have allowed a total of 29 points in the last three games. If that's not reason enough to pique interest, there's also that matter of Tech's disputed victory over the Sooners last year. The Red Raiders still insist Taurean Henderson scored on the final play. The Sooners still insist he didn't.

Worst matchup: Iowa State, which was officially eliminated from bowl eligibility in last week's loss to Kansas, travels to face Colorado. The Buffs were officially eliminated from bowl eligibility in July. Well, not really, but it seems that way. If you combine the Iowa State and Colorado victory totals it still wouldn't add up to the necessary six wins for bowl eligibility.

The pressure is on: Oklahoma State, which has made an impressive rebound from last season's 4-7 disappointment. The Cowboys need just one more victory to clinch bowl eligibility. OSU better get it this week against Baylor, which also has fading bowl hopes. If not, Oklahoma State will have to beat Texas Tech in Lubbock or Oklahoma to get its required sixth victory.

Upset alert: Read the message boards for Texas A&M. Fans were not in favor of kicking fourth-quarter field goals instead of handing the football to touchdown machine Jorvorskie Lane in last week's loss to Oklahoma. Talk about upset. Oh wait, that's not the kind of upset we're referencing.

Who's hot: Oklahoma tailback Allen Patrick has three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances since taking over for injured starter Adrian Peterson. His 173 yards in a 17-16 victory over Texas A&M last Saturday were a career high.

Who's not: This weekend's weather forecasts in Ames, Iowa calls for low temperatures of 27 degrees. That's cold, but the Cyclones are colder. Iowa State has now lost five in a row. During that five-game skid, quarterback Bret Meyer has completed just 85 of 170 passes (50 percent) with seven interceptions and only three touchdowns.

BCS implications: By defeating Kansas State, Texas would clinch at least a share of the South Division championship and a spot in the Big 12 championship game. The Longhorns would also keep their national championship hopes alive.

Most to lose or gain: By defeating Kansas State, Texas would clinch at least a share of the South Division championship and a spot in the Big 12 championship game. The Longhorns would also keep their national championship hopes alive.

Must see TV: Nebraska vs. Texas A&M.
A victory would clinch the North Division championship for Nebraska and send the Cornhuskers back to the Big 12 championship game for the first time since 1999. There is also the interesting element of how Texas A&M will respond after losing 17-16 to Oklahoma last week. The Aggies are hoping to end a streak of five consecutive losses in November. But perhaps the most compelling reason to watch is Nebraska is favored to win. That's a North Division team beating a South Division team on the road. That's something you don't see often.

Newcomer/backup that could have an impact: Nebraska freshman safety Major Culbert figures to get more action after notching six tackles last week in his first extensive playing time of the season.

Key stat: Oklahoma has had a 100-yard rusher in every game this season. The Sooners' offensive line - which consists of one senior, three sophomores and a true freshman - is the only unit in Division I-A to clear the way for a 100-yard rusher every week.

Take the line: Baylor's defense has allowed at least 31 points in the last five games, and Texas Tech torched the Bears for 55 last week. In contrast, Oklahoma State was putting up big numbers before running into Texas last week. Still, quarterback Bobby Reid is having an excellent season and receiver Adarius Bowman is having a spectacular one. Give the 16 points and expect another big offensive display with the Cowboys back in their home stadium.
Season record 4-6.

Injury update: Texas Tech receiver Jarrett Hicks did not play against Baylor with an unspecified injury, but is expected to play Saturday against Oklahoma. … Nebraska linebackers Corey McKeon and Steve Octavien did not play last week against Missouri, but are expected to play against Texas A&M on Saturday. … Missouri running back Earl Goldsmith broke his right hand against Nebraska last week. Tight end Martin Rucker has a sprained left big toe and safety William Moore has a strained hamstring, but both should play against Iowa State on Nov. 18. Safety Pig Brown is also probable with a partially separated left shoulder.

Worth noting: By getting bowl eligible, Texas Tech is assured of starting a different quarterback in a bowl game for the fifth consecutive season - something that has never happened in college football history. Tech quarterback Graham Harrell became the fourth Red raider to pass for a combined 1,000 yards in back-to-back games. B.J. Symons did it twice in 2003 and Cody Hodges did once last season. …Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor has set a single-season school record with 20 touchdown passes. He has 39 career touchdown passes and is just four shy of Tommie Frazier's school record. He is also just 109 yards behind David Humm's record of 5,035 career passing yards. … After allowing Oregon 501 yards of total offense on Sept. 16, Oklahoma ranked 97th nationally in total defense. The Sooners now rank No. 14. … Last week's game against Texas A&M was the 100th for coach Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. He's 82-18 in that span. … Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda had two 60-yard kicks against Texas Tech and set an NCAA record with 91 punts of at least 50 yards. He's had 21 of at least 60 yards. … Iowa State's Milan Moses set a career high with nine receptions for 109 yards against Kansas. Meanwhile, Alvin Bowen - the nation's leading tackler - posted his fifth game with at least 15 tackles by notching 18 against Kansas. … Missouri freshman receiver Danario Alexander doubled his season productivity last week with four catches for 89 yards against Nebraska. Previously, he had just four catches all season and hadn't managed a reception since the third game of the year. Jeff Wolfert had a 54-yard field goal which tied for the second-longest in Missouri history. … Texas has posted at least nine victories in each of the last nine seasons. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy passed for a career high 346 yards in last week's victory over Oklahoma State and established a single-season school record with 27 touchdown passes. … Texas A&M running back Jorvorskie Lane scored his 18th touchdown of the season, but Aggies fans are incredulous why he wasn't given the ball on third-and-goal from the Oklahoma 2-yard line when A&M trailed 17-10 midway through the fourth quarter. The Aggies instead kicked a field goal. Lane has had 27 carries third and fourth downs resulting in five touchdowns and 19 first downs.

Looking back: Nebraska defeated Missouri 34-20 and moved within one victory of clinching the North Division championship. Meanwhile, a Texas win over Oklahoma State coupled with Oklahoma's 17-16 victory over Texas A&M leaves the Longhorns on the cusp of winning the South Division. Kansas State toppled Colorado and earned bowl eligibility. Kansas evened its record at 5-5 with a 41-10 win over Iowa State, and Texas Tech trounced Baylor 55-21.

Freshman who impressed: Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman completed 22 of 26 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats past Colorado 34-21.

Bowl watch: So far seven Big 12 teams are bowl eligible and three more – Oklahoma State, Kansas and Baylor still have hopes. So as it stands right now and barring upsets - particularly one in the Big 12 championship game - Texas would be headed to a BCS game. The Gator Bowl, which has a contractual option of making the first selection of a Big 12 team at some point in the next four years, could then take Oklahoma. If not, the Sooners would likely be bound for the Cotton Bowl. The Holiday Bowl may then take the winner of this weekend's Nebraska-Texas A&M game, with the loser going to the Alamo Bowl. Missouri would then likely be in line for the Independence Bowl and Texas Tech for the Insight Bowl. That would leave Kansas State heading to the Texas Bowl.

Week 11 conference previews: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

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