Thursday, November 17, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

Two weeks left in the regular season then we get to go bowling. Here are my thoughts on the Big 12 power rankings and the bowls I think the teams are heading to. I’d be glad to know your thoughts about the bowl season.

Big 12 Power Rankings/Bowl Predictions
1. Texas – Barring a major upset the Longhorns are Rose Bowl bound to face USC.
2. OU – Cotton Bowl
3. Iowa State – Holiday Bowl
4. Colorado – Houston Bowl
5. Missouri – Independence Bowl
6. Texas Tech – Alamo Bowl
7. Nebraska – Champ Sports Bowl
8. Kansas – Has to beat Iowa St. to become eligible. The Jayhawks will be staying home.
9. Texas A&M – Has to beat Texas to become eligible. Don’t see it happening.
10. Oklahoma State – Cowboys have to win out against Baylor and OU. Not happeninig.
11. Kansas State – Missouri game is Snyder’s last as a coach and the Wildcats Bowl.
12. Baylor – Joins Kansas State as not eligible.

Big Game
Oklahoma @ Texas Tech
I made the blog bet this week with R.D. Baker from who has three blogs, The Cheap Seats, Double T Ranch, and Spur of the Moment. If OU wins you can read about my site on all three of these next week and if the Sooners lose you can read about them here at My Opinion on Sports.

Many are saying that this game is for the Cotton Bowl but I think the Sooners are heading to Dallas regardless of how this game turns out. Dallas likes the Sooners and the Sooners like Dallas. OU fans will bring a lot of money to the metroplex because Sooner fans travel in mass to bowl games.

As for the game itself I’m a little worried. Tech was embarrassed by Oklahoma State last week and that should only motivate them further this week. OU’s secondary has been very questionable at times this season but the Tech offense has looked very average against Baylor and OSU.

OU is in trouble if…
• Defensive ends can’t get pressure on Cody Hodges. Consistent pressure from the DE’s will allow more opportunity for blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.
• Defensive backs can’t tackle. I don’t think it’s possible to play shut-down defense against Tech’s passing attack so the Sooners are going to have to protect against the deep pass and make sure tackles on the short passes.
• Adrian Peterson is not able run effectively. There is no doubt that he is the spark that makes the Sooner offense run and an effective Peterson means an efficient passing attack.

Tech is in trouble if…
• They can’t keep pressure off the quarterback. The Sooner defense has 14 sacks in the last two games.
• Henderson doesn’t have a big game. Just as Peterson is the spark for OU, Henderson is the same for Tech. Henderson was held to -6 yards rushing on 8 attempts and 23 receiving yards on 8 catches in Tech’s loss to Oklahoma State last week. Another performance like that would spell doom for the Red Raiders.
• They can’t stop Adrian Peterson and the OU rushing attack. Last week Mike Hamilton ran for 161 yards to lead OSU on their way to 303 total rushing yards.

Bottom line is this is a toss up game and it really could go either way. There are a lot of intangibles here with the possibility of Brent Venables being the leading candidate for the Kansas State job and the ankle injuries to OU QB Rhett Bomar and RB Adrian Peterson.
I’ll take the Sooners in a game that should be both close and entertaining.

Prediction: Sooners 31/Red Raiders 28

Possible Upset
Missouri @ Kansas State
The Tigers are already bowl eligible and this will be the Wildcats bowl game as they try to send off Bill Snyder with a victory. Missouri is the better team but emotion could carry Kansas State to victory.
Prediction: Wildcats 24/Tigers 13

Must Win
Oklahoma State @ Baylor
With their upset of Texas Tech last week the Cowboys are still in the bowl hunt but they have to win out in order to become elgible. This is a game that the Pokes can win and with their bowl hopes on the line it’s a game that they must win.
Prediction: Cowboys 24/Bears 10