The Big 12 is entering its gauntlet of conference games that include every single school playing one another, something no other conference can say they do.
The conference is as up for grabs as it has ever been, and schools such as Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma State are all trying to make a push for the conference title to dethrone Oklahoma, who has been reigning over the conference for the the past six years.
For the first time all season, every school within the Big 12 is playing against a fellow conference member this week, and there are multiple matchups that not only will impact the national landscape, but also the top of the conference standings.
Baylor and Oklahoma State are the lone ranked matchup in Week 5, and schools like Texas and TCU are vying for a spot in the AP Top 25.
I started making these predictions ahead of Week 2, and currently hold a record of 17-7 on the year. Without further ado, here is how I believe Week 5 will shake out.
Iowa State vs. Kansas
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Iowa State has fallen out of the top-25 rankings, and currently hold two losses on the season without even playing Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, or Oklahoma State. They were on the wrong end of the Baylor upset last week, and have the perfect bounce back game against a Kansas team who we all knew would struggle.
Brock Purdy currently has one touchdown against Power Five schools, as the other three came against the Kansas of the MWC, UNLV. I expect he and the Cyclones to absolutely dominate Kansas, and pad their stats a ton to gain some confidence.
Kansas is likely far too overmatched here, as their opening Big 12 matchup against Baylor did not end well. It is a program that is two years away from being two years away when it comes to finding success.
Prediction: Iowa State 45, Kansas 10
West Virginia vs. Texas Tech
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In what could be one of the sneaky good games of the week, Texas Tech is looking to bounce back from the embarrassing loss against Texas where they gave up 70 points. The Red Raiders are also looking to beat West Virginia for the third straight year, all of which would be with a backup quarterback starting the game due to injury.
West Virginia went down to the wire with Oklahoma last week. I’m not sure what that means for this season, as Oklahoma is likely one of the more overrated teams in the country, but nonetheless the Mountaineers were in it until the end losing by a field goal. They need this game badly as it is hard to find a winnable game on their schedule for the next six weeks.
Henry Colombi is getting the start for Texas Tech, and although they lost big against Texas, he played well in relief of Tyler Shough. He threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns while completing 73% of his passes. West Virginia’s defense has been decent against the pass, and really good against the run averaging just 90 yards per game given up on the ground. Colombi will have to replicate his success against Texas to give Texas Tech a fighting chance, as I no longer hold any confidence in a defense that gave up 70 points.
Prediction: West Virginia 35, Texas Tech 27
Kansas State vs. #6 Oklahoma
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After narrowly surviving against West Virginia, the Sooners have been handed the closest thing to a gimme possible against Kansas State. Not to say the Wildcats are a bad team, but they are without starting quarterback Skylar Thompson who owns Oklahoma, and they also are now without backup quarterback Will Howard who led them to a win over a good Nevada team.
Kansas State’s win streak against Oklahoma likely ends here, as although the Sooner’s offense has been pathetic, with fans even calling for the benching of Spencer Rattler, they should be able to outlast a third string quarterback and Deuce Vaughn. Rattler has yet to throw for multiple touchdowns this season against teams not named West Carolina, and he really needs to have a good game just to build confidence in himself, but give Lincoln Riley more confidence in him before Caleb Williams does get the nod.
Kansas State can try to run the ball with Vaughn who has been a star, but Oklahoma’s rush defense has been one of the few bright spots for this team so far giving up just 79 rushing yards per game. If this matchup is anywhere close, it is one a testament to how good Kansas State’s defense is, and also a sign that either Rattler is not the guy we thought he was.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Kansas State 21
#19 Oklahoma State vs. #21 Baylor
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This could be the best matchup of the week within the conference, as Baylor who was one of the worst teams in the nation last season, is finally hitting their stride. Oklahoma State on the other hand has simply survived enough to get to this point.
Baylor has a lethal rushing attack, and quarterback Gerry Bohanon is looking better and better every single week. While he is not one to light up the stat sheet with over 300 yards passing, he is very smart with the ball, which is evident in his 7-0 touchdown to interception ratio. They are coming off a win against Iowa State and looking to beat a ranked team for the second week in a row. The Baylor defense has been extremely solid as well, giving up just 15 points per game. The Bears are trying to avenge last season’s 42-3 loss against the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State is likely one of the least impressive 4-0 teams in the country. They beat Missouri State by seven, Tulsa by five, Boise State by just one point with some questionable calls made in their favor, and lastly were the beneficiary of Kansas State’s collapsing quarterback room. I still do not know if Spencer Sanders is trustworthy, and their offense is obviously much different without Chuba Hubbard, Tylan Wallace, and Dylan Stoner. This game should be a good one, but I have the Bears winning.
Prediction: Baylor 42, Oklahoma State 28
TCU vs. Texas
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This game might end up being the game of the week, due to all the animosity TCU has built up after their SMU loss, and of course the fact Texas is looking to prove they are for real this season.
The Longhorns are fresh off dropping 70 points against Texas Tech, and have been deemed the best team in the Big 12. Under Tom Herman, this is where the team would collapse and wet the bed, but Steve Sarkisian is in charge now, and he is looking to put an end TCU’s win streak.
Texas’ defense will be tested with the running ability of quarterback Max Duggan and stud running back Zach Evans. It will also be interesting to see if the defensive backs, specifically D’Shawn Jamison, improves after being burnt on multiple big plays last week. The TCU defense has given up over 400 yards in their last two, and if the Longhorns can get the offense going early they will win.
TCU’s coach Gary Patterson has expressed publicly how frustrated he is about the SMU game, and the activities that have happened after. He has owned Texas for what feels like a decade, winning seven of the last nine matchups, but can his defense hold up against Sarkisian’s play calling? If Texas wins, they will ascend back into the top-25 and finally beat their demons from Dallas, but if they lose it will be a very bad look for the program.
Prediction: Texas 50, TCU 31