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Official Husker Locker Blog

2009 Jul 07

8 Potential Non-Conference Upsets in the Big 12


By HuskerLocker

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Baylor at Wake Forest, Sept 5: Here’s an upset in favor of Baylor that, by the end of the year, won’t be an upset. The Demon Deacons are ripe for a fall in 2009, having to replace six of the back seven with a ton of unproven talent while an offense that’s never been all that good continues to sputter along. Baylor will have the better quarterback, the better defense and the better special teams.

Kansas at UTEP, Sept. 12: KU’s non-conference slate of Northern Colorado, Duke, UTEP and Southern Mississippi doesn’t seem tougher – but it is. Specifically, the game in El Paso against Mike Price’s best team should be a tough win to get. The Sun Bowl is at a higher elevation, UTEP has potent offense and 15 total returning starters. Good thing the Jayhawks will have one of the Big 12’s best secondaries.

Kansas State at UCLA, Sept. 19: Here’s one that goes in the Big 12’s favor. Most expect KSU to limp out to Pasadena, take its two-touchdown beating, and limp back home. Eh – don’t plan on it. For as much as Bill Snyder liked avoiding tough teams, his teams performed OK in the actual games against them. Beyond that, there’s no evidence that proves UCLA has resolved its quarterbacking issues. The Bruins have more flash, but we won’t be shocked if KSU comes away with a win.

Wyoming at Colorado, Sept. 19: At first glance, this seems like the easiest of CU’s four non-conference games. Maybe it will be. But Wyoming recently hired Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, who thoroughly humiliated the Buffaloes each of the last three seasons. And Wyoming should have a pretty good run defense with five of the front seven returning that gave up just 3.7 yards per carry last year. Just a hunch here, but we think the Cowboys put a big scare into the Buffaloes in Boulder.

Missouri at Nevada, Sept. 25: This game sets up nicely for the Wolf Pack; it’s on a Friday night, national TV, and the crowd in Reno should be jacked up. UNR has one of the nation’s better quarterbacks in dual threat Colin Kaepernick and, when it’s working, one of the nation’s toughest offenses to stop in the Pistol. But Missouri’s stronger and bigger, and should post at least 35 points on an awful Nevada defense, and probably more. If Mizzou’s offensive line comes to play, the Tigers should win.

Texas Tech at Houston, Sept. 26: Get ready for a track meet. Houston averaged 563 yards per game last year, and have all pertinent offensive pieces back, including quarterback Case Keenum, who threw for – wait for it – 5,020 yards and 44 touchdowns last year. The Cougars will have two weeks to prepare and Tech will still be breaking in two new safeties. Plus, the Red Raiders will be reeling from what we expect to be a pounding on Sept. 19 at the hands of Texas.

Southern Miss at Kansas, Sept. 26: The Jayhawks make a second entrance on this list in facing a Golden Eagle team that has 19 returning starters, a rising star of a head coach in Larry Fedora, and one of the nation’s better running backs in Damion Fletcher. USM is no stranger to giant killing, either. Expect this one to go down to the last minute.

Oklahoma at Miami (Fla), Oct. 3: On paper, OU is the better squad by two touchdowns. But the game is in Miami, where the Hurricanes are 8-1 vs. major non-conference foes in recent years. And this is the best Cane crop since 2005. In front of a full, hostile house at LandShark Stadium, this will be one of Sam Bradford’s toughest tests.

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Tags: big 12, missouri, kansas, kansas state, baylor, texas tech, oklahoma, colorado

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