Whole Nine Sports

Big XII Week 6 Preview

Brandon Olsen
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We’re beginning to really dive into Big XII play now and we’re beginning to find out which teams are contenders and which teams are pretenders. Oklahoma, Texas, and Oklahoma State are the three teams from the Big XII that are ranked and we’ll watch as they try to improve on that position.

#6 Oklahoma @ Kansas

Oklahoma Kansas

What to expect: All signs point to this being an absolute blowout in favor of Oklahoma. The best team in the Big XII against the worst.

Oklahoma Keys to Victory:

Score a ton. Oklahoma has the offensive talent to put up 50+ on just about every team in college football. They can definitely put up a ton of points on Kansas and Kansas doesn’t have the ability to keep up.

Force turnovers. Kansas hasn’t been efficient by most measurements and going down early means pressure on Kansas. If Oklahoma can force some turnovers, this game is a gimme.

Stop the run. Kansas is likely going to try to take the air out of the ball and neutralize the offensive potential of Oklahoma, don’t let Kansas do that and just outplay them.

Kansas Keys to Victory:

Jalen Hurts. I say this every week against Oklahoma and I’m not going to stop, if you can make Jalen Hurts look human, you can win this game.

Kill the clock. The best way to slow down the Oklahoma offense is to not let them touch the ball so the pressure is on Kansas to hold the ball for as long as possible.

Be consistent. An inconsistent game from anyone on Kansas means that Oklahoma will have an easy win, be good, be consistent, and you’ve got a chance at the upset.

#21 Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech

Oklahoma State Texas Tech

What to Expect: Oklahoma State is a top-3 offense in the Big XII and with Alan Bowman out for Texas Tech, the Red Raiders look less than promising.

Oklahoma State Keys to Victory:

Feed Chuba. Chuba Hubbard is an incredibly talented running back that’s averaging 187 rushing yards per game and I’ve got a good feeling he’ll be increasing that number if he gets fed the ball.

Feed Tylan. Last week, the non-Tylan Wallace receivers on Oklahoma State had a total of 8 catches for 8 yards. 7 of those yards came on 2 catches from Chuba Hubbard. Tylan Wallace is far and away the only legitimate receiver on this team and getting him the ball is crucial to the success of this passing game.

Create pressure. Oklahoma State finally started to find their pass-rush last week against Kansas State so bringing pressure against the unimpressive Jett Duffey should lead to success for the Cowboys.

Texas Tech Keys to Victory:

Protect Jett Duffey. I don’t just mean to protect Duffey from pressure. The Red Raiders game plan needs to revolve around getting Duffey quick passes and letting him get comfortable in the pocket.

Double Tylan Wallace. We saw last week that Oklahoma State’s passing game outside of Tylan Wallace is fairly non-existent. Shut him down and you give yourself a better chance at winning.

Stop Chuba. In addition to stopping Wallace, you can’t just let Chuba Hubbard run wild. Containing both of these two are key to winning this game.

Texas Christian @ Iowa State

TCU Iowa State

What to expect: These are two teams that are typically two of the best defenses in the Big XII and two of the more physical teams in the conference.

TCU Keys to Victory:

Run the ball. Two of the top players on TCUs offense are running backs Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua. If Anderson and Olonilua are fed the ball, I’m not sure there’s a way that TCU loses this game.

Dare the Cyclones to run. Iowa State has had a difficult time getting any semblance of a running game going so focus on shutting down the passing game and make Iowa State run the ball.

Take care of the ball. TCU is at their best when they don’t have to play from behind. Protect the ball, be safe, trust your defense, win the game.

Iowa State Keys to Victory:

Be physical up front. TCU seemingly got back to their style of football last week with the success they found on the ground. If Iowa State doesn’t play scared (which if I know Coach Campbell, they won’t) then TCU won’t be able to just punch the Cyclones in the mouth.

Trust Brock Purdy. Brock Purdy is a young quarterback with great dual-threat ability. The best way to utilize him is by letting him use his legs freely to make some plays and then letting him take advantage of defensive adjustments and air it out.

Make TCU throw the ball. TCU has struggled mightily to move the ball in the air this season so if Iowa State can force TCU to throw the ball, this game gets significantly easier for Matt Campbell and the Cyclones.

#11 Texas @ West Virginia

Texas West Virginia

What to Expect: The past few years, this has been one of the biggest games I’ve looked forward to in the Big XII. This year? It’s a top team against a team that’s got wins but hasn’t looked very impressive. Me saying that means to put Texas on upset alert.

Texas Keys to Victory:

Don’t get cute. Most of the time when a team is upset in this heavily-favored of a matchup, it’s because the favorite got cute and slept on their opponent. Texas needs to avoid this upset to gain momentum heading into the Red River Showdown next week.

Force mistakes. West Virginia hasn’t been a pillar of efficiency so force some mistakes by the Mountaineers and this game gets significantly easier.

Let Ehlinger hit them in the face. Sam Ehlinger is a very talented passer. He’s also a very talented and physical runner. I think if Sam Ehlinger lowers his shoulder against West Virginia early and shows them just how physical he wants this game to be, the Mountaineers will roll over.

West Virginia Keys to Victory:

Find the run game. West Virginia’s leading rusher is Kennedy McKoy with 151 yards on 48 carries in 4 games. That’s completely unacceptable at this point in the season and the Mountaineers need to find a way to run the ball a bit to win these tough games.

Key on Ehlinger. Sam Ehlinger is the Texas offense, he’s arguably their best runner, definitely their best passer, and he’s the heart and soul. If West Virginia can manage to shut him down, they manage to shut down this Longhorn offense completely.

Count on Country Roads. We all know the greatest song in college football is “Country Roads.” The West Virginia crowd when this song plays is absolutely electric and if they get this crowd going early, it’ll help significantly in trying to pull this upset.

Big XII Game of the Week

Baylor @ Kansas State

Baylor Kansas State

What to Expect: This may seem like a weird choice for Big XII Game of the Week but these are two quietly very talented football teams. The Big XII looks strong this year and these two are a big reason for that.

Baylor Keys to Victory:

Charlie Brewer. Charlie Brewer has been the leader of this team and is one of the most talented passers in the Big XII, which is chock-full of QB talent. If Charlie Brewer has a good game, this is likely a Baylor W.

Shut down Skylar Thompson. If Kansas State QB Skylar Thompson struggles, Kansas State struggles. If Baylor uses the Oklahoma State approach of pressuring Skylar Thompson and forcing incompletions, this game gets a lot easier.

Go up-tempo. Kansas State doesn’t want to get into fast-paced shootouts, so that’s exactly what Baylor should turn this game into to throw Kansas State out of their comfort zone.

Kansas State Keys to Victory:

Keep it clean. Kansas State needs to have a clean game all-around in order to win the game. No turnovers, efficient passing, limit penalties, win the game.

Don’t give up the big play. Baylor excels when being able to make big plays and pick up yardage in chunks. Making Baylor earn every yard is a major key to victory for Kansas State.

Feed James Gilbert. This is one of those games where James Gilbert is going to have to have a big game to slow down this game and take it out of the control of Baylor.