No. 15 Texas Tech Red Raiders vs No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys
7 p.m. CDT, FOX
Oklahoma State started the season as the favorite to win the Big 12 Conference, and now, despite only suffering one loss this season, there seems to be doubt surrounding the Cowboys. Head coach Mike Gundy switched to sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh midway through the Cowboys’ first game but he has seen recent struggles. With the quarterback battle between Walsh and senior Clint Chelf, the Cowboys offense has not looked as explosive as it was expected to going into the season.
On the opposite end, the Texas Tech Red Raiders weren’t expected to do much this season under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Last weekend, the Red Raiders were a top 10 team and despite a road loss to Oklahoma, they have impressed. The Raiders have been the biggest surprise of the season and Lubbock, Texas is a tough place for anyone to play. Freshman quarterback Davis Webb continues to improve week in and week out, and he will be the reason that the Red Raiders continue their success.
Prediction: Texas Tech 44, Oklahoma State 41.
Kansas Jayhawks vs Texas Longhorns
2:30 p.m. CDT, Longhorn Network
The Texas Longhorns struggled during their non-conference schedule entering Big 12 play with a 1-2 record, but they didn’t panic and instead find themselves currently first in Big 12 play on a four game winning streak. With impressive wins over K-State, Oklahoma and TCU, the Longhorns have arguably been the best team in the Big 12 during conference play. The early surprise for Texas has been the play of quarterback Case McCoy. McCoy has struggled to make the most of his opportunities throughout the early part of his career. Now, as a senior, McCoy, who took over for injured junior quarterback David Ash, has been a key factor in the Longhorns success.
There aren’t many positives to point out about the Kansas Jayhawks past the halfway point of the season. Kansas has continued to struggle and have yet to win a Big 12 game. The difference has been the Jayhawks being unable to string together four quarters of good football. In their early games against nationally ranked Texas Tech and Oklahoma, the Jayhawks found a way to take a double digit lead in both games.
Last season, the Jayhawks were 12 seconds away from defeating the Longhorns and claiming their first Big 12 win in two seasons. Kansas could not seal the deal and that Big 12 winless streak has carried over into this season. The Jayhawks have not won a road game in the Big 12 since 2008, and there is no reason to believe that they will upset the Longhorns this season.
Prediction: Texas Longhorns 42, Kansas 13
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. TCU Horned Frogs
2:30 p.m. CDT, ESPNU/WatchESPN
Both the West Virginia Mountaineers and the TCU Horned Frogs struggled in their first seasons in the Big 12. As for their second seasons, both teams find themselves deadlocked at 3-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
The Mountaineers’ lone win came over Oklahoma State which could be considered head coach Dana Holgorsen’s biggest win as a member of the Big 12. With a defense that looks to have improved from last season, West Virginia has managed to stay in games late against both Oklahoma and Texas Tech. But after their recent loss to K-State 35-12, the Mountaineers still look to be a different team on the road.
There was no question entering the season that TCU’s defense had talent. With preseason Big 12 defensive player of the year sophomore Devonte Fields anchoring the defense, the Horned Frogs’ defense looked primed to compete in the Big 12. Yet with senior quarterback Casey Pachall breaking his forearm early in the year, their offense took a setback.
Both teams have struggled offensively this year, but the turning point could come down to something as simple as home-field advantage. West Virginia has not been good on the road, and that will ultimately be the deciding factor on Saturday.
Prediction: TCU Horned Frogs 27, West Virginia 19