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Big 12 picks: Look for Longhorns to win a tight one

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas 41, Missouri 38: The Longhorns are sizzling after claiming the No. 1 spot nationally for the first time during the regular season since 1984 after their upset win over Oklahoma. Their offense is humming and should provide a big challenge for a Missouri defense that struggled limiting big plays in their loss last week to Oklahoma State. The key will be for Texas' defensive front to get a push against the spread offense of Missouri's Chase Daniel. It will be a different challenge than last week, but the Longhorns' dominant front should have its opportunities against Missouri's wide splits along the offensive lines. Missouri needs to be steady and hope for some semblance of balance as they test the Longhorns defense. They need more out of Derrick Washington than the 11 yards he picked up against OSU after averaging 100 yards per game rushing coming into the OSU game. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Tigers bounce back strongly behind Daniel, an inspirational and gutty leader who needs a big performance to keep his Heisman hopes alive. But the Longhorns have too many weapons and will prevail in a shootout, ruining Missouri's hopes of claiming its first victory in Austin since 1896.

Oklahoma 38, Kansas 24: The Sooners are steaming after twice squandering double-digit leads in last week's loss to Texas. Their struggling running game will be tested by Kansas' defense which ranks 12th nationally in rush defense and 34th overall. But hardly anybody has been able to slow down Sam Bradford this season and I look for him to have a big game. Another interesting factor to watch will be Oklahoma's struggling kick coverage, which has allowed two touchdowns against Kansas' nation-worst kick return. The Sooners have won nine-straight games under Bob Stoops after the Texas game. I look for that trend to continue, although Todd Reesing and Jake Sharp could keep it close for three quarters.

Oklahoma State 44, Baylor 17: The streaking Cowboys have too much offense for Baylor and should be able to dictate the game with a balanced ball-control attack. Their biggest advantage will be the running game keyed by Big 12 rushing leader Kendall Hunter, capable backup Keith Toston and the conference's most underrated offensive line. Baylor is improving, but the Bears are catching Oklahoma State at the wrong time. Look for the Cowboys to win this one going away, keeping their undefeated record as they steam to a key game in Austin next week.

Texas Tech 52, Texas A&M 27: These two bitter foes always seem to have good games at Kyle Field. But this will be an exception because the young Aggie defense just doesn't match up very well with the Red Raiders. A&M leads the Big 12 in pass defense, mainly because opponents have gashed them for at least 215 yards rushing in every game but one this season. Tech will be willing to rely on an improved running game at times, but I look for Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree to have a lot of success against the young A&M secondary. Tech's defensive front will provide more pressure than inexperienced A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson is familiar with, causing him to force some turnovers.

Nebraska 27, Iowa State 24: The Cornhuskers hope to halt a three-game losing streak that is the program's longest since 1961. Iowa State's talented quarterback Austen Arnaud will be a challenge, but look for Nebraska's improving defensive front to apply enough of a pass rush to keep Arnaud honest. Joe Ganz controlled time of possession last week against Texas Tech, but was susceptible to turnovers. That's one thing he can't afford to do against the opportunistic Cyclones, who are tied for 11th nationally in turnover margin. The Cyclones have won two of the last three games in the series in Ames, but I think Nebraska has too much talent not to win this game.

Kansas State 41, Colorado 38: Both teams need this game for bowl positioning as they try to get to six wins. The Wildcats have the most explosive offense, keyed by quarterback Josh Freeman. Logan Dold produced a 100-yard rushing game, providing some balance for the Wildcats' potent aerial atack. The Wildcats have been horrid defensively, but should be less challenged against the sputtering Buffaloes and their patchwork offensive line. Look for special teams to decide this, with a nod to Kansas State's kick-blocking abilities more than Josh Smith's chance of breaking a long return for the Buffaloes.

My totals last week: 3-3 (50 percent)

My totals for the season: 53-7 (88.3 percent)