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Entries in Big XII (3)


Who Will Win Today's Big Games?

Cincinnati Bearcats

One Great Season

PITTSBURGH -- I haven't had many noon starts on the OGS tour, but I'm not complaining.

After I shoot the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game, I'll hustle back to the hotel for the Florida-Alabama tilt and then of course Texas-Nebraska. Those poor kids from Georgia Tech and Clemson; not many people will be watching that ACC Championship game when it kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.

Here are my picks for today's huge matchups:

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh -- The Bearcats surprised many in the season's first half with a defense that hardly resembled one that was starting 10 new players. But the last few games, UC is giving up big plays and many points, so Dion Lewis and the Panthers will definitely make it interesting. But Cincinnati's offense hasn't missed a beat despite the musical quarterbacks, and I don't even think the noise surrounding Brian Kelly's future will be a problem. Cincinnati wins a shootout, 45-37.

Urban Meyer

Florida vs. Alabama -- Two great teams with great defenses tangle for the right to call themselves SEC champions and play for the national title. I see this one looking a lot like the Florida-LSU game in October. Points and big plays will be at a premium. And in such a game that will probably be close after halftime, would you put your crunch-time money on Tim Tebow or the other guy? Florida ends Alabama's dream season ... again, 16-12.

Texas vs. Nebraska -- Many think Nebraska has a chance here, and while I don't totally disagree, the chance is not a good one. Texas hasn't faced a defense like the one it will face today, but the Huskers have little to be excited about on the other side of the ball. They'll certainly slow the Longhorns down, but not enough to beat them. Colt McCoy and Texas have too much firepower. A slowed-down UT offense is better than most at full power. The Longhorns are focused on one of those shiny BCS invitations, and they'll get it with an impressive win, 31-10.

Georgia Tech vs. Clemson -- Each team suffered a disappointing rivalry loss to an almighty SEC team last week, so tonight's game will tell us who can respond better to adversity. Clemson has C.J. Spiller, who can rejoin the list of Heisman candidates with another stellar performance. But Georgia Tech has its impossible-to-stop rushing attack that gives everyone trouble. I have to think preparing for a difficult team will be slightly easier the second time around for the Tigers, who only lost by a field goal at Georgia Tech in Week Two. Clemson wins, 27-23, in an exciting finish that many will turn to after Texas puts the Big 12 title game out of reach in the second half.


Stoops Takes High Road About Weak Texas Schedule

One Great Season

NORMAN, Okla. -- A reporter tempted Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, but the coach didn't take the bait. He was asked to compare OU's difficult non-league schedule with that of, "say, Texas," just for kicks, of course.

The rival Longhorns count Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP and Central Florida among their out-of-conference opponents. Not a whole lot of BCS points up for grabs there.

Stoops answered politely, then was asked in a follow-up question just what the payoff is for playing tough games outside of league play.


Big XII Preview

By John P. Wise
One Great Season

NEW YORK -- Big XII fans make up 50 percent of the obnoxiousness that is the "best-conference" debate. I think we know where the other half lives.

I've never understood this argument. Who cares what the best conference is? Do Packers fans pound their chests about the NFC Central? Did Rays fans repeat an "AL East" chant during their surprising October run last year? It's just ridiculous.

What is also ridiculous is the amount of talent at quarterback -- again -- in the Big XII. Not only is Heisman winner Sam Bradford back at Oklahoma, and not only is Colt McCoy back at Texas, but so too are Kansas' Todd Reesing and Oklahoma State's Zac Robinson, and even Baylor has a QB you'll hear a lot about this year named Robert Griffin.

But a quarterback can't win the conference by himself. He needs a supporting cast, and that's precisely why I think Oklahoma State will be the surprise pick this year.

We've seen some seriously prolific offenses in the Big XII the last few years, but the Cowboys will be better than all of them. Robinson is merely one of three Heisman hopefuls in that OSU backfield. Running back Kendall Hunter and wideout Dez Bryant combined for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns last year, and will pose nightmares for Big XII defenses, which aren't collectively all that good against even mediocre offenses.

Oklahoma State gets a great test right out of the gate when Georgia visits, then gets Texas at home in October and closes at Oklahoma on Nov. 28. If this offense stays healthy, it will win the South Division and play Nebraska in the conference championship game in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 5.

Texas Tech and Missouri were cute the last two years, but without Graham Harrell and Chase Daniel, both teams should fall back to their more familiar reality. And though Nebraska appears to be the best of the North, that doesn't mean Kansas can't pull the upset when the Huskers pay Lawrence a late-season visit and claim a spot in the title game. It's not like Nebraska hasn't underachieved the last seven years or so.


Kansas State
Iowa State

Oklahoma State
Texas Tech
Texas A&M

BEST GAME ON THE SCHEDULE: Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 17