Predicting the outcome of each Big 12 football game in Week 4
As a whole, the Big 12 may have had their best showing of the season last week with Kansas being the lone school to suffer a loss.
This marks the second time of the season that the conference only suffered one loss, and it also marks the last, as Big 12 play is about to be in full swing with everyone playing a conference opponent other than TCU and Kansas.
As it currently sits, the Big 12 has three ranked teams in No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 14 Iowa State, and No. 25 Kansas state with Texas and TCU on the outside looking in.
Being the lone conference in the Power Five that plays one another, every game from here on out matters in terms of who will be able to contend for the Big 12 championship. Due to the struggles we have seen early on from Oklahoma and Iowa State, the conference title is seemingly up for grabs this season.
Kansas was defeated by Baylor pretty handily in Week 3. It’s now time to predict how Week 4 will play out in the Big 12. I correctly predicted five out of the eight games last week, as Oklahoma State and Kansas State were both able to hold off MWC opponents whilst West Virginia was able to pull off the huge upset of No. 15 Virginia Tech.
Here is my weekly prediction of how each Big 12 team will do in Week 4.
Duke v. Kansas
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A matchup displaying likely two of the worst Power Five schools in the country, this game has the potential to be really interesting if you have nothing else better to do. This could end up being Kansas’ last chance to pick up a win on the season, as Duke has been extremely inconsistent and unimpressive through the first few weeks losing to Charlotte, yet somehow beating Northwestern. I will say it every week, but if Kansas is going to win, they will need a huge performance from quarterback Jason Bean who also leads the team in rushing. He has to play nearly a perfect game just for the Jayhawks to stay competitive. If Duke is able to establish the run, they will likely decimate Kansas. Mateo Durant is arguably their best offensive weapon, and if he finds any room to run it will be a long day for Kansas. He is averaging six yards per carry, and has also been a great weapon in the passing game out of the backfield. I badly want to predict the Kansas upset, but I think the Blue Devils’ running game will be too much.
Prediction: Duke 35, Kansas 21
TCU vs. SMU
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
This is likely one of the most underrated games in college football this week, and should really be getting more attention. SMU has been dynamic and high octane with Tanner Mordecai at quarterback. He leads the nation in passing touchdowns, and is sixth in passing yards. He will be put to the test against the Gary Patterson led defense. Mordecai is averaging five touchdown passes per game is making it look like Oklahoma may have chose the wrong quarterback. Something about Big 12 quarterbacks that lose the starting job and transfer to SMU has worked out perfectly for the Mustangs, as first they got Shane Buechele and now Mordecai. I expect the TCU defense to throw a bunch of looks at Mordecai, and make his life miserable. If he can continue his success, and emulate or even surpass what Cal’s Chase Garbers did, this could very well be an upset. TCU has figured out their offense, as it turns out giving the ball to the former five-star running back Zach Evans is a great idea. Evans ran all over Cal for 190 yards and a touchdown. SMU’s defense has allowed 124 rushing yards per game, and I expect Max Duggan to be running all over the Mustangs. I think this game will be close, but I think TCU’s defense will live up to the expectations and come up big.
Prediction TCU 42, SMU 38
Oklahoma State vs. No. 25 Kansas State
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Oklahoma State has won their three games by a combined 11 points, and have been in situations where the other team had a great chance to win, but were unable to pull out the W. Quarterback Spencer Sanders has been very inconsistent in his two starts, and is not looking like the player that many thought would be the next great Oklahoma State quarterback. He has been plagued by injuries and poor decision making. Kansas State deserves a lot of respect for the season they have had up to this point, and are looking like a real Big 12 contender. Even with the absence of star quarterback Skylar Thompson, the Wildcats were able to hold off a really good Nevada team. While Oklahoma State has struggled, their rush defense has been decent, only allowing 95 yards a game, but the Wildcats will look to use Deuce Vaughn who is appears to be unstoppable. As I mentioned, Sanders has been awful thus far, as he is currently completing 53% of his passes and averaging just 6.5 yards per completion. It seems safe to say that the days of him being considered one of the best quarterbacks in the conference are over, and considering how poor the Cowboys have looked against schools at lower levels not even breaking 30 points yet, I can’t help but think their luck runs out against Kansas State.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 21, Kansas State 36
Baylor vs. No. 14 Iowa State
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
It is hard what to make of Iowa State as they were thought to be one of the best teams in the nation going into this season, but have not lived up to the hype at all. Meanwhile, Baylor is looking like they are starting to click on offense and have one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the nation. The issue for the Cyclones is not the defense, as they are giving up an average of 13 points per game, which is exceptional. The recurring problem seems to be quarterback Brock Purdy, who until they played against UNLV in Week 3, had yet to record a passing touchdown. Playing an opponent as weak as UNLV could not have come at a better time, as the offense looked abysmal against both Northern Iowa and Iowa. The Cyclones defense is one of the best in the nation holding opposing teams to just 49 rushing yards per game. They will be put to the test by Baylor’s stable of running backs. Their three top running backs are all averaging over seven yards per carry, and two of them have rushed for 300 yards already. This game comes down to the play of Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon, who looked very impressive against a poor Kansas defense. If Baylor’s defense can contain Breece Hall, and make Purdy win the game, the Bears could pull off the upset.
Prediction: Iowa State 29, Baylor 21
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. West Virginia
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Oklahoma has not been the team that the college football world thought they would be this year, as they barley escaped Tulane by five points, and were able to narrowly hold off Nebraska by a touchdown. They did blow out West Carolina, but that is to be expected. The Sooners are taking on a very underrated West Virginia team that is fresh off an upset of No. 15 Virginia Tech. In games not against West Carolina, Spencer Rattler has thrown for two touchdowns and two interceptions, and has displayed very questionable decision making. Once viewed as the Heisman front runner, it will be interesting to see if he can turn it around. This Oklahoma team is looking like the weakest team that Lincoln Riley has had in his tenure, and will likely not be blowing everyone out this year. West Virginia running back Leddie Brown finally got going last week, as he had yet to crack 100 yards rushing. Qaurterback Jarret Doege also played pretty well against Virginia Tech, but this Mountaineer team hasn’t been able to build a lead and pull away against good competition. This game may be close at first, and I do think Oklahoma will drop a game or two in Big 12 play this year, but not this one.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38, West Virginia 28
Texas vs. Texas Tech
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The Longhorns had a very eventful week after the devastating loss to Arkansas. Steve Sarkisian felt it was time to give junior quarterback Casey Thompson the nod, and he did very well. It helped that the Longhorns’ running backs exploded against Rice as four of them combined for six touchdowns, but the offense was moving at a more efficient rate with Thompson in. Dating back to 2015, this game has been decided by single digits all but one time. The Longhorns have won the last three meetings, but needed some miracles last season to keep the streak alive. Texas needs to establish the running game early and often in order to get this game out of reach. The more Bijan Robinson touches the better. This also marks Thompson’s first meaningful appearance in Big 12 play. The Longhorns defense will be tested by a very good quarterback in Tyler Shough, and a very sneaky rushing attack that is averaging 170 yards rushing per game. Something to watch out for with Texas is their offensive line, as the left side has been consistently terrible through three weeks. The Longhorns need to build some momentum as they are entering the toughest stretch of the season. Shough finally had his breakout game against FIU, throwing for a total of four touchdowns and nearly 400 yards. The Red Raiders have benefited from lesser competition up to this point, and will likely need a perfect start against Texas in order to win the game. They had a close game with Houston despite what the score says, and only beat Stephen F. Austin by six points. This game will likely be tightly contested, but I don’t foresee Texas Tech winning.
Prediction: Texas 42, Texas Tech 35