The Royal Sampler: football predictions, twitter highlights and links

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS
Iowa State at TCU: The Horned Frogs will be without their starting quarterback Casey Pachall while he serves a suspension stemming from an arrest, and that could make this game more interesting. Both squads are strong and defense and struggle at times to move the ball. TCU will have a harder time than normal on offense without its quarterback. Still, I think TCU has the better team and will win at home.

Oklahoma at Texas Tech: I’m going against the grain here and picking the Red Raiders. Sure, the Sooners are 4.5-point favorites and will be out for blood after their fans went into meltdown mode following a home loss to Kansas State two weeks ago. But Oklahoma didn’t look good in its first road game at UTEP and hasn’t won in Lubbock since 2003. Texas Tech also beat Oklahoma in Norman last year. The Red Raiders have a much improved defense now and can still throw the ball. I smell an upset.

West Virginia at Texas: This is easily the most intriguing Big 12 game of the weekend. The Mountaineers looked like an offensive juggernaut last week against Baylor while scoring 70 points. But their defense looked horrendous. The Longhorns needed a little bit of luck to beat Oklahoma State on the road, but David Ash grew up before our eyes in that game. And Texas has a much better defense than Baylor. This game could go down to the wire. If that’s the case, I favor the more complete team. I see Texas winning a close one.

Kansas at Kansas State: This is easily the least intriguing Big 12 game of the weekend. Despite the objections of KU coach Charlie Weis, I think the above illustration in the University Daily Kansan summed up the Sunflower Showdown rather well. K-State has won three straight against Kansas and scored 59 points in each of its last two victories over the Jayhawks. If Dayne Crist plays his best game and Kansas forces multiple turnovers, I could see it covering the 24-point spread and staying within three touchdowns. But that’s a best-case scenario. Bill Snyder takes too much pride in this rivalry for the Wildcats to suffer a letdown, and as long as they play with some motivation they should won handily. My prediction: K-State 45, KU 14.

BEST OF TWITTER

LINKS
– Bill Snyder is so good that he has ruined the Sunflower Showdown, writes Blair Kerkhoff.

– Jarell Childs and Justin Tuggle came to Kansas State to play on offense. Now they are both excelling at linebacker. Here’s a look at how they made the successful switch.

– One thing K-State knows KU can do on defense: create turnovers.

– If KU has any hope of pulling an upset on Saturday, it must stop Collin Klein.

– Has TCU’s quarterback lost the right to play another game? One columnist thinks yes.

– The Big 12 has a new tie to a new bowl. But it looks a lot like one of their previous ones.

– Some good advice here for Texas as it prepares to face West Virginia: pressure Geno Smith. Baylor tried to stop him with coverage, and failed miserably.