Longhorn and Red Raiders to mix it up

Colorado at Texas A&M: Don’t look now, but the Aggies might just be playing themselves into bowl contention and a win at home over the Buffaloes could go a long way in solidifying their bowl status. Earning a bowl bid would be quite an accomplishment for Dennis Franchione’s team, which finished 4-8 a year ago and had little experience when the season started. The young players have stepped up on defense and the offense has played well, led by quarterback Reggie McNeal. Look for a big day on both sides of the ball as the Ags manhandle a Colorado team that began the season fast, but is now fading. My pick, Texas A&M 37, Colorado 15

Oklahoma State at Missouri: This should be a good one as the talented Cowboys take on the Big 12 North’s best team in Missouri. Missouri quarterback Brad Smith has picked up where he left off a year ago, beating teams with his legs and arm. OSU must contain him on Saturday if they hope to get what would be a big road win. The Cowboys entered the season with a number of question marks on offense, especially at the skill positions, but those questions have been answered in the affirmative. OSU owns road wins at UCLA and Colorado, so playing on the road in a big game will not intimidate Less Miles’ team. This should be a high-scoring affair that goes right down to the wire. I’ll give the nod to Missouri due to Smith’s versatility. My pick, Missouri 34, Oklahoma State 32

Texas at Texas Tech: Texas Tech has had two weeks to prepare for a Longhorn team that is bruised and battered after its 12-0 loss to Oklahoma. While the ‘Horns were dropping their fifth straight game to OU, Tech was handing Nebraska its worst defeat in school history as the Red Raiders passed them silly in their 70-10 route of the Huskers. Tech always plays Texas tough at home and that should continue this Saturday in Jones Stadium. Texas has a suspect secondary, so expect Tech QB Sonny Cumbie to go after them early and often. The more success Tech has through the air, the more dangerous running back Tauren Henderson becomes. Texas will pound Cedric Benson at an improved but moveable Tech defensive front. This should be a high scoring affair, just as last year’s game was, but the Red Raiders have revenge on their minds and it says here they’ll have the last laugh when this one is over. My pick, Texas Tech 45, Texas 41


Let’s now take a look at what the NFL has to offer .

Atlanta at Kansas City: An interesting match up here as the previously undefeated Falcons visit a Kansas City team that appears to be finding itself after an 0-3 start. The Kansas City defense is playing better and it could turn in another solid performance against an Atlanta team that is still trying to find itself offensively. Quarterback Michael Vick looks uncomfortable in the West Coast offense. He has one touchdown pass (as of this writing) on the season and has been turning over the football with too much frequency. This might be the weekend he turns things around. The Chiefs will face a very good Falcons defense, but expect Priest Holmes to carry the load and have another productive day as the Chiefs begin to put things together. My pick, Kansas City 23, Atlanta 19

Dallas at Green Bay: These two storied franchises meet once again, but this time around, the game has lost much of its luster. Both teams are struggling, but the Packers are by far the team that is struggling the most. They’ve already lost three home games and the defense has played horribly thus far, so bad that not even Brett Favre has been able to bring his team back from the enormous deficits this team has faced on a weekly basis. The Cowboys need to strike quickly, which they did not do in their 26-10 loss to the Giants two weeks ago. Dallas looked pitiful on both sides of the ball in that game, but something tells me head coach Bill Parcells has gotten his teams attention these last two weeks in practice. The Packers appear to be in for a long season, and probably a coaching change at the end of the year. I wonder if Nick Saban would be interested in the job? Just a hunch on my part. Things don’t get any better this week in Packerland. My pick, Dallas 27, Green Bay 17

Denver at Cincinnati: This should be a yawner of a Monday night game. Neither team has shown much on offense, but both play decent defense. Look for the Broncos to attack early as quarterback Jake Plummer comes out throwing, while the Bengals will look to get running back Rudi Johnson untracked early to control the clock and keep Plummer off the field. The Broncos have played well on the road thus far and it says here that trend continues this week on Monday Night Football. My pick, Denver 23, Cincinnati 14