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Big 12 football: Predictions, superlatives after Week 7

There was plenty of action despite only having three games in the conference.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Texas v Oklahoma Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There were only three games in the Big 12 conference in Week 7 and two of those games were quite entertaining. Let’s recap Week 7 and look ahead to Week 8 in the Big 12.

Standings

No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, 3-0)

No. 15 Texas Longhorns (4-2, 2-1)

No. 18 Baylor Bears (6-0, 3-0)

Iowa State Cyclones (4-2, 2-1)

Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-3, 1-2)

Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-2, 1-2)

TCU Horned Frogs (3-2, 1-1)

West Virginia Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2)

Kansas State Wildcats (3-2, 0-2)

Kansas Jayhawks (2-4, 0-3)

The only difference in my rankings this week compared to last week is TCU moving down two spots. I know that means Texas Tech (who lost in OT) and Oklahoma State (who didn’t even play) both move up a spot, but I don’t like what I see from TCU right now. I started looking at the back half of the schedule for Big 12 teams and evaluated what every team has done to this point in the season and realized TCU hasn’t been good at all. I’ll talk more about this below.

No. 5 OU

Oklahoma looked impressive once again, beating Texas 34-27. For everyone talking about how bad the Texas defense was, (it was pretty bad) the Sooners still only won by seven points. This game felt similar to the Texas-LSU game at the end. Texas couldn’t get a stop when it needed one and then had to rely on an onside kick late to save them. For the second time this season, Texas nearly missed recovering the onside kick.

Texas had a few big plays on offense that kept it in the game, but the Oklahoma defense swarmed the ball and looked like a championship caliber defense for the first time in a long time. Jalen Hurts is going to be the one to carry this team to a championship, but he won’t be able to do it without a good defense. After last weekend’s game against Texas, I could absolutely see OU winning a championship this year. The offense has been good enough to win one the past few seasons, and the Sooners finally have the defense to compete.

Hurts was spectacular aside from the two first half turnovers. He had four total touchdowns to go with 235 passing yards and 131 rushing yards. Kennedy Brooks returned from injury for OU and rushed 10 times for 105 yards while CeeDee Lamb put on an absolute show.

Oklahoma hosts West Virginia this weekend. I think the Mountaineers might hang in this game for awhile, but Oklahoma will pull away in the second half.

Prediction: OU wins by several scores.

No. 15 Texas

They didn’t have an answer for Hurts on the ground and couldn’t get Lamb to the ground either. The turnovers kept the Horns in the game in the first half, but Texas has to do a better job in coverage and of tacking receivers. I know Texas was missing several starters in the secondary, but it’s Texas. You know, that school with unlimited resources that has four star recruits all the way down the depth chart? Yeah, they should be able to withstand some injuries.

Sam Ehlinger did what he could, despite his offensive line acting like turnstiles for most of the game. Ehlinger finished with 210 yards passing and two rushing touchdowns on negative nine yards (he was sacked...like a lot). Roschon Johnson had a good game with 95 yards and a score on only eight carries. Collin Johnson returned from injury and was the leading receiver with 82 yards.

Texas will host Kansas next weekend and should get back on track in Big 12 play. The Horns will want to run the table and head into the Big 12 Championship Game with one conference loss and a chance to avenge that loss against OU. That starts next weekend at DKR with the last place Jayhawks.

Prediction: Texas wins handily.

No. 18 Baylor

Baylor almost continued the streak of Big 12 teams to enter the top-25 and lose in their first week being ranked. Baylor staved off Texas Tech in double overtime. It wasn’t a pretty win for Baylor but the Bears are 6-0 and that’s all that matters.

Charlie Brewer rushed for 55 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 353 yards. Brewer didn’t throw a touchdown pass but he did throw three interceptions. The question moving forward is, was this an outlier against a decent Tech defense (one that forced five turnovers from OSU QB Spencer Sanders the week before) or does Brewer have an issue protecting the football?

The former looks more likely considering Brewer entered the game with 11 passing touchdowns and no interceptions. It also helps Brewer’s case that the Texas Tech defense has caused headaches for other Big 12 quarterback’s this season.

One big concern for the Baylor defense coming out of this game: the Bears will miss linebacker Clay Johnston for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Baylor travels to Stillwater this weekend to take on Oklahoma State. Baylor will really miss Johnston as the Bears attempt to slow down Chuba Hubbard.

Prediction: Baylor loses a close one.

ISU

Iowa State defeated West Virginia in Morgantown. This game was a must win for Iowa State as the Cyclones need to continue to string together wins. Iowa State pulled away for a 38-14 win after being tied at 14 at halftime.

Brock Purdy threw a touchdown and an interception and passed for 229 yards. The real story on offense was the performance true freshman Breece Hall put on. Hall rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns for Iowa State, giving the Cyclones another dimension on offense.

Iowa State is on the road again this week to face Texas Tech. This is a game the Cyclones need to win but really need to pay attention to detail this week. The Texas Tech defense forced eight turnovers from Spencer Sanders and Charlie Brewer the last two weeks. Purdy needs to take care of the ball against this Tech defense.

Prediction: Iowa State wins a close one.

Texas Tech

Texas Tech tried to take out a ranked opponent for the second week in a row and almost pulled it off. Really should have pulled it off but a questionable illegal snap call negated a fumble recovery for Texas Tech.

Of course, by that point, both teams had plenty of chances to win the game and couldn’t take advantage. Brewer threw three interceptions for Baylor and Texas Tech quarterback Jett Duffey added two of his own.

Duffey also passed for 362 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Vasher caught the lone touchdown and R.J. Turner led in receiving with seven receptions for 138 yards. SaRodorick Thompson had a career day on the ground with 153 yards and two touchdowns.

It doesn’t get much easier for Texas Tech this weekend but the Red Raiders do return home. Tech will host an Iowa State team looking to string together wins and break back into the top-25. Iowa State’s hopes of making the Big 12 Championship Game aren’t totally dead with only one conference loss, but the Cyclones need to win out.

Prediction: ISU wins a close one.

OSU

Oklahoma State had a bye week to let its 10-point loss at Texas Tech stew. With two conference losses and Oklahoma still on the schedule, it’s time for OSU to sink or swim.

Oklahoma State welcomes in Baylor this weekend for homecoming at Boone Pickens Stadium. Baylor is 6-0 and took double overtime to beat Texas Tech at home. Spencer Sanders and the offensive line need to play better and Sanders needs to protect the football for OSU to have a chance against Baylor.

The Bears will be missing their best linebacker which could lead to another big day for Chuba Hubbard. The Cowboys have played well in their homecoming games recently and OSU will need to play well again this year to win.

Prediction: Oklahoma State wins a close one.

TCU

TCU had another bye week last weekend to prepare to face Kansas State in Manhattan this weekend. TCU seems to be bringing along quarterback Max Duggan at the slowest rate possible. Duggan still hasn’t thrown an interception but that can partially be attributed to the conservative play calling.

TCU has also struggled to get its star player the football. Jalen Reagor returned a punt for a touchdown a few weeks ago, so I know he isn’t playing hurt, at least to the extent to where his playmaking ability is affected. The offense has no explosive playmaking ability at the moment which puts pressure on the defense to help keep the offense in the game.

TCU takes on another team with plenty of issues specifically on the offensive side of the ball this weekend. I think the Kansas State defense is better than the TCU defense and will be better equipped to keep its offense in the game. For that reason, I am taking Kansas State at home. This would be a great chance for TCU to show me something on the road though.

Prediction: Kansas State wins.

Prediction: TCU wins.

WVU

Austin Kendall exited early against Iowa State with a chest injury. Kendall completed his only pass of the day for nine yards and is questionable to play this weekend against OU. Backup quarterback Jack Allison finished out the game for the Mountaineers, completing 18 of 24 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

West Virginia led Iowa State 7-0 after the 1st quarter and went into halftime tied at 14. The Mountaineers couldn’t keep pace in the second half and Iowa State cruised to a 38-14 win. The struggles on the ground continued for West Virginia as the Mountaineers have had no run game to speak of this season.

Next week West Virginia travels to Norman to take on Oklahoma. WVU isn’t going to win this game even if Kendall does play. With that being said, assuming Kendall does play, the former OU quarterback should be playing with an extra fire in his game as he tries to beat his former teammates.

Prediction: Oklahoma wins handily.

K-State

K-State last played Baylor at home and lost, dropping to 0-2 in conference play. The Wildcats had a bye week last weekend to attempt to revive a seemingly dead offense.

K-State hosts TCU this weekend in another must win game. If K-State can’t beat TCU at home, it could be a long season. TCU’s offense has struggled at times this season as well. The Horned Frogs haven’t been much better than K-State, but the quarterback play has been suspect at times. The Frogs have also failed to get Jalen Reagor, one of the best receivers in the conference, involved in the offense.

Prediction: K-State takes a close one.

Kansas

Kansas had a bye week last week coming off a 45-20 loss against OU. This week the Jayhawks will travel south to Austin to get its annual game with Texas over with. This game likely won’t be close but KU could catch Texas on a down week after the Horns are coming off a hard fought loss to OU.

Kansas will need to force turnovers and keep the Texas defense on the field in this game. We saw OU gash the Texas defense. Kansas needs to take advantage of the injuries in the Texas secondary but also successfully run the ball.

Prediction: Texas wins.

Big 12 Championship Game:

OU vs Texas

Baylor is currently looking like the third best team in the conference but only beat Texas Tech by three in overtime last weekend. That isn’t to say Texas Tech is bad necessarily, but the Big 12 is clearly a two horse conference this year. And one horse is clearly better than the other at that.

Offensive Player of the Year

Jalen Hurts: OU

Hurts just about cemented this award after his game against Texas. Despite two first half turnovers, Hurts looked more than good enough to keep his name firmly at the top of the Hesiman race.

Defensive Player of the Year

Jordyn Brooks: Texas Tech

Brooks added eight tackles to his season total last weekend against Baylor and had two QB hurries as well. Texas Tech can play some defense for the first time since I was born and Brooks is a big reason why.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year

Roschon Johnson: Texas

Johnson led Texas in rushing with eight attempts for 95 yards and a score. The converted quarterback is a true freshman and has seemingly replaced Keaontay Ingram as the lead back. Ingram is more of a power runner good in short yardage situations while Johnson can be a big time playmaker as we saw against OU.

Big 12 Freshman of the Year

Breece Hall: ISU

I was waiting for a freshman to show me something and Hall finally came through. This could just as easily be Roschon Johnson. Hall rushed for 132 yards and three scores in the Cyclones win against West Virginia and should be the guy for Iowa State moving forward.

Coach of the Year

Matt Rhule: Baylor

It wasn’t pretty but Baylor remains perfect on the season. Rhule has his Bears bowl eligible and an unprecedented (?) 6-0 start. I don’t think it would have been outlandish to think Baylor would start the season 6-0, but certainly not likely.

Breakout Player of the Year:

Chuba Hubbard: OSU

Hubbard didn’t manage to gain any yards last weekend because OSU had a bye week but he still leads the nation in rushing by a few hundred yards. Yeah, he’s that good. That and OSU needs him to run the ball 28 times a game.