With the Red River Shootout set for Saturday at high noon in Dallas, TX the Big XII is our featured conference this week. The #20 Sooners take on the #2 Texas Longhorns as the main course to go with the four other side dishes the league offers up. Everybody has a conference game this weekend as they get into the thick of the Big XII schedule. It should be a banner week for the conference; not only does the Red River Shootout go a long way toward determining Big XII South dominance but both North frontrunners Kansas and Nebraska get a chance to put another conference W in their resume.
Check the previews after the jump...
Texas A&M @ Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s second round is beginning the way Snyder’s original stint in Manhattan started; with a lot of losses. Ron Prince left the cupboards bare and Snyder’s team doesn’t have much in the way of offensive or defensive options. Mike Sherman, in year two, is also having a rough go of it against BCS opponents after beating up on their non-BCS teams. Sherman’s unit does have some offensive weapons and with the Wildcats struggling to stop the scoring this game could be turn into a shoot out quickly.
Kansas @ Colorado
I am admittedly not a Reesing fan; I think he’s too short and too small to be a college quarterback and owes much of his success to the system. Now with that personal bias out of the way its pretty clear that the guy’s a “player.” He’s putting up video game stats and with the Big XII’s second best [active] receiving threat, Dezmon Briscoe, the Jayhawks can score in bunches. They’ll have to because as KU’s shown with each game their defense is quickly disappearing. Colorado’s been a major disappointment under Dan “Its Division One Football” Hawkins. Between their porous defense and Cody Hawkins dropping back 30 yards to throw a five yard route I’m not sure which is more frustrating to Buffs fans. The Tecmo Bowl type numbers continue as Reesing has to light up scoreboards to keep the Jayhawks rolling.
Baylor @ Iowa State
For the perennial bottom feeders of their respective divisions this game lost all of its pop when Robert Griffin’s ACL was destroyed. With Paul Rhodes squad taking Kansas to the brink it appears that the Cyclones have found some serious offense; scoring over thirty points in all but one contest this season. Luckily for the Cyclones the Bears defense is quite “swiss cheesy”, against BCS opponents they are 1-2 and giving up 28 points per game while only mustering one touchdown in Griffin’s absence. Iowa State appears to be on the uptick while Baylor seams, yet again, to be doomed to battle Texas A&M for last in the Big XII South.
Texas Tech @ Nebraska
Recently the Huskers have suffered major embarrassment at the hands of the Big XII’s spread offenses but this year with a Top Fifteen pass defense the Black Shirts look to pay back the league for the Callahan “error.” They started by beating Mizzou in come from behind fashion and with Pelini’s second shot against Leach he looks to turn Ndamukong Suh loose on the Red Raiders. For the crew from Lubbock this is a possible statement game where they can show the nation playing tight against Texas wasn’t a fluke and they are still a quality ball club. Look for heavy doses of Roy Helu Jr as the Huskers look to use their offense to grind this out and pound on the Raiders.
Missouri @ Oklahoma State
Mizzou is coming off of a devastating loss in which they surrendered a 12 point fourth quarter lead to the Cornhuskers en route to a 27-12 defeat at home in Columbia. Their quarterback Blake Gabbert suffered an ankle sprain during one of the many accostings by defensive tackle extraordinaire Suh from the Huskers. In this game the Tigers look to regroup and avoid starting 0-2 in the Big XII and behind the eightball before the first frost in Missouri.
For the Cowboys this game is important as they look to interject themselves in the Texas/Oklahoma lovefest that seems to happen every season. Quarterback Zac Robinson is on par with Bradford and McCoy but he will sorely miss his go to receiver Dez Bryant, who is still indefinitely suspended. For the Cowboys defense will be the name of the game as they've proven incapable of stopping teams consistently. This nightcap should be a shoot out as Pinkel and Gundy look to get their high powered attacks on the scoreboard early and often.
Oklahoma @ Texas
One of college sports Top Five rivalry games, this series has been prominent not just in the two neighboring states but also in the national title picture as well. Controversy arose last season as Oklahoma reached the national title game even after losing to Texas in the Shootout. This year both teams enter with vengeance on their minds; Texas after feeling snubbed by the BCS and OU because of the loss that ruined their perfect regular season last year.
The happenings of last season aren’t the only thing fueling this fire as the 2009 season has also given both sides plenty to fight for in Dallas. Texas needs to win to show the nation that they’re deserving of the #2 ranking despite being underwhelming to open the season. At 3-2 OU faces a do or die situation where a loss could potentially send the Sooners tumbling from the expected BCS bowl game to the Alamo or Holiday Bowl. Oklahoma understands that a BCS bowl isn’t their birth right so expect to see plenty of fight out of the Sooners, especially on defense and in the running game as they try to stop from dropping into the obscurity that comes with three pre-Halloween losses.