The Pac-10 had reason to root against Texas in last January's Rose Bowl because USC was going for an unprecedented third consecutive national title. The Longhorns didn't let it happen, but can make it up to the Pac-10 by defeating Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry in Dallas on Saturday. A Longhorns victory would take a little heat off of the Pac-10 officiating crew that so badly butchered a game-deciding call that turned the Sooners into losers at Oregon. Imagine the heat on the officials should Oklahoma win this game, run the table, and be denied an opportunity to play in the national title game.
As is the case with the other five Big 12 matchups in what should be dubbed Coin Toss Week, picking a winner here is no easy job.
This week's picks:
Texas 27, Oklahoma 24: Running back Adrian Peterson's father, Nelson Peterson, coached his son in youth football before going away to a federal prison for eight years for his role in a crack cocaine trafficking ring. The Dallas Morning News reports that the elder Peterson, scheduled for release Thursday from a halfway house, won't be able to attend the game because he isn't allowed to leave the state of Oklahoma for 30 days. His son is the best player in the conference's marquee matchup, but Texas remains the best team.
Kansas 28, Texas A&M 27: One long streak will perish. KU has won nine in a row at Memorial Stadium. Meanwhile, the Aggies have won the last six meetings between the schools after KU won the series opener in 1974.
Oklahoma State 13, Kansas State 10: Ron Prince is a rookie head coach, James Franklin a rookie offensive coordinator, Josh Freeman a rookie quarterback. The inexperience shows in every area. Freeman has thrown 47 passes, none for a touchdown and four that were intercepted. He has averaged 4.6 yards per passing attempt and has completed 29.8 percent. Prince informed the media before letting Dylan Meier know he had lost his job and Franklin has been calling too many pass plays.
Colorado 20, Baylor 17: The Bears won't get their third consecutive Big 12 victory and Colorado will get its first victory of the season. Baylor quarterback Shawn Bell is off to a decent start, but he can't bank on a running game alleviating the pressure on him. Baylor ranks dead-last in the nation with 1.5 yards per rushing attempt. The Buffaloes' passing attack hasn't been much better than Baylor's running game. Colorado averages just 119 passing yards per game and the next touchdown pass will be the first for the Buffs.
Missouri 28, Texas Tech 24: The Tigers (5-0) can use the no-respect angle here since they are the underdogs. Offensively, quarterback Chase Daniel has been terrific and has a favorite target in William Franklin (394 receiving yards and four touchdowns). Underrated tailback Tony Temple already has gained 487 yards rushing, good for third in the conference. He averages 5.8 yards per carry.
Nebraska 34, Iowa State 31: The Cornhuskers burned KU for three pass plays of 75 yards or more. Zac Taylor faces another vulnerable secondary this weekend and should have no trouble taking advantage. Thus far, Iowa State has been a big disappointment, needing overtime to defeat a visiting Toledo, and barely squeaking past Division 1-AA Northern Iowa.
(The contest is currently closed. Good luck to all who entered.)