Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are my picks for this week. It’s a bounce-back weekend for yours truly after an embarrassing 3-3 performance last week.
I bought into Texas A&M’s offensive hype and also believed that Iowa State would persevere against Kansas State. Little did I know that Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett and KSU kick-blocking specialist Emmanuel Lamur would have something to say about both games. And Oklahoma did me no favors against Miami -- particularly after Ryan Broyles went down early in the game.
Here are my picks for this week:
Nebraska 38, Missouri 31: The Cornhuskers have been waiting for their shot at the Tigers for a long time, particularly after losing the last two games to the Tigers by a combined margin of 93-23. That hasn’t gone down smoothly for the Cornhuskers and particularly Bo Pelini, who has never beaten Missouri after also losing to them as Nebraska's defensive coordinator in 2003. I think that trend changes Thursday night in the slop in Columbia, Mo., where I look for the Cornhuskers to dominate in the trenches. If the weather is nasty, as expected, I think the running of Roy Helu Jr. becomes even more effective. Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert will have his moments with his talented crew of athletic receivers. But I just don’t think the Missouri offensive line can keep Ndamukong Suh, Barry Turner, Pierre Allen and Jared Crick away for the whole game.
Texas A&M 27, Oklahoma State 24: The wheels come off the Cowboys’ bandwagon Saturday afternoon, playing without Dez Bryant. With many of their primary offensive weapons questionable with injuries, Oklahoma State won’t be able to afford to get into a shootout with the Aggies. A&M is still smarting from last week’s offensive effort when they piled up 28 first downs and outgained Arkansas, 458-434, and still lost 47-19. But if the Aggies can take control early and get the large crowd at Kyle Field involved, they have a great chance of upsetting the Cowboys.
Oklahoma 38, Baylor 14: Even without Sam Bradford, I would like the Sooners' chances with Landry Jones starting his fourth game. But with Bradford’s intention to play, I think it makes Oklahoma that much more inspired -- particularly after last week’s disappointing loss at Miami. The Sooners have to develop more offensive rhythm and find some receiving threats who can fill in for Broyles. Look for Blake Szymanski to start for the Bears. He’s not a novice after starting 13 games for the Bears in 2007. But the Sooners’ pass rush should feast against a young, inexperienced Baylor offensive front that will keep the Bears' quarterback harried throughout the game. Without Robert Griffin, the Bears have little hope of making this game competitive.
Texas Tech 42, Kansas State 28: The Red Raiders could make history Saturday night as Steven Sheffield is poised to become the first backup quarterback to start a game for a Mike Leach-coached team. Taylor Potts is recovering from a concussion and likely won’t be ready to play. But it shouldn’t matter against the Wildcats, who haven’t faced an offense nearly as potent as Tech will provide. Kansas State’s best hope will be to try to dictate the tempo with quarterback Grant Gregory and rely on underrated running back Daniel Thomas. But the Red Raiders are allowing only 3.0 yards per carry and that will be pivotal in trying to keep Gregory in long down-and-distance situations. Tech has too many offensive weapons for Kansas State and should be able to win handily.
Texas 49, Colorado 10: The surging Longhorns will be looking to build momentum for next week’s game against Oklahoma. Standing in their path this week is Colorado, which has struggled in two previous road losses to Toledo and West Virginia and been embarrassed three times on national television this season. The Longhorns will make it four. Texas has the best talent the Buffaloes have faced and should be able to score easily against Dan Hawkins’ team. Look for Texas’ athleticism to allow it to jump ahead early as Colt McCoy and his receivers should have another huge game.
Kansas 38, Iowa State 17: This game was competitive last season in Ames, as Kansas was lucky to escape with a 35-33 victory. The margin won’t be nearly that close this time around for the rested Jayhawks, who are coming off last week’s bye in good physical shape. Iowa State can’t match Kansas’ deep collection of tall, talented receivers, providing another chance for Todd Reesing to torment the Cyclones. Reesing has thrown eight touchdown passes and produced a quarterback rating of 202.44 in helping beat ISU in three previous games. The Jayhawks will be tested by Iowa State’s emerging offense. But I expect Kansas to build on a strong fourth-quarter defensive effort against Southern Mississippi to help it beat the Cyclones.