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September 6, 2006

Big 12: Week 2 Breakdown

Buchanan's Big 12 picks
Rivals.com national writer Olin Buchanan's predictions for Week 2 in the Big 12.
Saturday's games:
Ole Miss 27, Missouri 24
Oklahoma 31, Washington 16
Colorado State 28, Colorado 20
Oklahoma State 34, Ark. State 21
Texas A&M 38, La.-Lafayette 23
Kansas State 20, Florida Atlantic 16
Ohio State 21, Texas 20
Baylor 27, Northwestern State 15
Iowa State 28, UNLV 21
Kansas 37, Louisiana-Monroe 23
Nebraska 52, Nicholls State 13
Texas Tech 34, UTEP 24
Last week: 11-1. Season: 11-1.
Best matchup: Let's climb out on a limb and rate No. 1 Ohio State at No. 2 Texas as the week's best. Last season's victory propelled the Longhorns to an undefeated season and national championship. On even closer inspection the matchup of Buckeyes receivers Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and Co. against the Texas cornerbacks is most intriguing - especially since UT starting cornerback Tarell Brown has been suspended for the game after being arrested on misdemeanor drug and weapons charges earlier this week.

Worst matchup: Does Nebraska have something against Louisiana? After pummeling Louisiana Tech 49-7 a week ago the Cornhuskers take aim at Division I-AA Nicholls State. It's a battle of unbeaten teams, but Nicholls defeated Southern Arkansas last week while rushing for 195 yards. Nebraska only allowed 67 rushing yards to Louisiana Tech and probably won't allow much more this week.

The pressure is on: Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. If last week's 24-17 victory over Alabama-Birmingham is any indication – and it probably is – then Peterson is going to have to carry the Sooners offense this season. Peterson can carry the load. He certainly did with 139 yards rushing and a touchdown against UAB. He also turned a short pass into a 69-yard touchdown against the Blazers.

Upset alert: Missouri played so well a week ago that the Tigers are a 10-point favorite over visiting Ole Miss. New Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel had an impressive debut with 320 yards passing in a 47-7 victory, but it was over Division I-AA Murray State - which was 2-9 last season. Not much can be ascertained about the Tigers from playing such an inferior opponent.

Ole Miss, which is coming off a 28-25 victory over Memphis, provides a much tougher test. Behind new quarterback Brent Schaeffer and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Rebels rushed for 240 yards. Missouri, which has seven defensive starters back from 2005, ranked 74th nationally in run defense a year ago.

BCS implications/Most to gain or most to lose:: Obviously, Texas has the most to gain. A victory over the No. 1 Buckeyes would give the Longhorns the edge in any tie-breakers that may arise throughout the course of the season. A loss would hurt, but wouldn't eliminate the Longhorns because of the quality of opponent.

In contrast, Oklahoma - after struggling to put away Alabama-Birmingham a week ago - can ill-afford to trip against the mediocre Washington Huskies. Ty Willingham's team had trouble with San Jose State a week ago. A home loss to the Huskies could put the Sooners in jeopardy of falling out of the national rankings.

Who's hot: The Meier family of Pittsburg, Kan. Senior Dylan Meier was the starting quarterback in Kansas State's victory over Illinois State and threw for 163 yards. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Kerry Meier, Dylan's younger brother, was the starter in Kansas' triumph over Northwestern State in which he passed for 110 yards and two touchdowns. And Iowa State starting quarterback Bret Meyer … oh, wait, wrong Meyer.

Who's not: The Colorado Buffaloes should have expected some growing pains in their first year under Dan Hawkins, but it wasn't supposed to be excruciating. Falling to Division I-AA Montana State was like absorbing a blind-side haymaker. Now, the Buffaloes face the rival Colorado State Rams, who probably enjoyed Colorado's outcome more than Montana State did.

Must-see TV
Ohio State at Texas, ABC. A nationally-televised clash of the defending national champion Longhorns and the top-ranked Buckeyes. Last season's matchup came down to the final minutes with Texas emerging a 25-22 winner. This game should be equally competitive.
Also on:
Mississippi at Missouri, FSN
Washington at Oklahoma, ABC
Colorado vs. Colorado State, CSTV
Okla. State at Ark. State, ESPNU
Texas Tech at Texas-El Paso, CSTV
Newcomer who could have an impact: Ryan Palmer, Texas. The junior cornerback has never started a game and had only eight tackles last season - seven coming on special teams. But the suspension of Tarell Brown thrusts Palmer into the starting lineup at right corner against Ohio State.

Key stat: Texas has not hosted the nation's top-ranked team since 1950 when the Longhorns defeated top-ranked SMU.

Take the line: Texas Tech -7 vs. UTEP. The guess here is to take Tech to win by a touchdown. Sophomore Graham Harrell passed for 342 yards and five touchdowns against SMU last week in his first career start, and he'll face a Miners defense which surrendered 275 passing yards in its season-opening 34-27 victory over San Diego State. Behind quarterback Jordan Palmer, UTEP also has the capability to score, but few teams are as equipped as Texas Tech to flourish in a shootout. Season record: 1-0

They said it: "I (saw) something on the game film the other day. When (Ole Miss quarterback Brent Schaeffer) gets hit hard he stays down, just like he did in junior college. When he gets hit real hard he's going to take a couple plays off then come back in the game. I know that hasn't changed about him." -- Missouri safety Cornelius Brown, who faced Schaeffer last season in junior college.

Injury update: Nebraska sophomore linebacker Phillip Dillard and senior cornerback Isaiah Fluellen are out for the season with torn anterior cruciate ligaments. … Kansas State left tackle Nick Stringer left last Saturday's game with an injured left shoulder, but his status is uncertain. … Texas center Lyle Sendlein sprained an ankle in the season-opener but is going to play against Ohio State. … Texas Tech running back Baron Batch and defensive tackle Brian Jones are both out for Saturday's game against Texas-El Paso. Defensive end Seth Nitschmann is questionable with unspecified injuries.

Worth noting: Nebraska running back Kenny Wilson, a junior college transfer, led the Huskers with 15 carries last week. That did not include a 30-yard touchdown run that was nullified by penalty. … Texas Tech's Robert Johnson set a single-game school record with 15 receptions in last week's win over SMU. … The Red Raiders have posted 10 consecutive home victories which is their best streak since winning 11 straight at Jones Stadium from Sept. 15, 1973 to Nov. 23, 1974. … Texas A&M receiver Chad Schroeder established career highs with six catches and 101 yards against The Citadel. … Texas extended its national-best winning streak to 21 and has prevailed in 27 consecutive games at Royal-Memorial Stadium. … Kansas State kicker Jeff Snodgrass hit a 52-yard field goal last week, the third 50-plus kick of his career. He has a career long 57-yarder. … Kansas' Meier threw his first career touchdown pass to junior Marcus Henry, who notched his first career touchdown reception. …The Jayhawks have set a record with 28,100 season tickets sold. … Iowa State junior receiver Todd Blythe caught two touchdowns in overtime last week to extend his school record to 20 career touchdown passes. He also had 95 career catches, which places him among the school's all-time top 10. … The Cyclones' 45-43 triple overtime victory over Toledo marked their first overtime victory in six tries. … Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda recorded his 70th career punt of 50 yards or more, which extended his school record. … Senior Mason Crosby is now Colorado's all-time scorer as a kicker with 235 points. He ranks second overall – for now – behind running back Eric Bieniemy, who scored 254 points from 1987-90. Crosby is also tied for the school record for most field goals with 48. … Texas A&M freshman kicker Matt Szymanski booted a kickoff through the end zone for a touchback, which seems rather mundane except that it hasn't happened with much frequency at A&M the last several years.

Looking back: Big 12 teams won 10 of 12 season-openers, but only Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech were impressive. Half of the conference's victories were over Division I-AA opponents, while Oklahoma had to come from behind to defeat Alabama-Birmingham 24-17 and Iowa State needed triple overtime to topple Toledo 45-43. The most surprising outcome was Colorado's 19-10 loss to Division I-AA Montana State.

Freshman who impressed: Perrish Cox, Nickel back, Oklahoma State. He returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and had a 21-yard interception return and 41-yard punt return in a 52-10 victory over Missouri State.

More Week 2 Conference Previews: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC

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