Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the victims of the incomprehensible tragedy that took place in Las Vegas Sunday night. They go out to the many, many heroes that responded without regard to their own safety, and to all those affected.
Last week was not great for picks. I rode the chalk, but Texas Tech and Baylor had other plans. The Red Raiders nearly pulled off the upset against the Cowboys, while Baylor did not go down easy to Kansas State.
Last week I said,”Moving forward, the close games last week just make the conference that much harder to predict.” Welp, at least I got that right…
LAST WEEK: 0-2
OVERALL RECORD: 11-15-1
Week six is shaping up to be a pivotal week for the Big 12. Two games could define the season for four teams. West Virginia needs to show they can do more than beat up cupcakes. They need to show they can win tough games. TCU needs to show that beating Oklahoma State wasn’t a fluke, and that they are a legitimate contender in the conference. Texas cannot settle for moral victories from the defense. Only actual wins will get them to a bowl game. And Kansas State needs to show they are the contender they were projected to be, because so far they haven’t come close to preseason expectations.
There are four games this week. Here’s how I see it playing out.
Disclaimer: Before we get started, and I cannot stress this enough, take these picks at your own risk. I don’t take the easy way out with over and unders. All picks are against the spread. That said, I am probably wrong. I could say that you would be better off taking the opposite side of these picks, but I’d probably be wrong about that too.
Iowa State (2-2) at #3 Oklahoma (4-0)
SAT, OCT 7, 11:00 AM CT
LINE: OU -31
When news broke that Iowa State quarterback Jacob Park would not make the trip to Norman, the spread jumped up from 28 to 31 almost immediately. Call me crazy, but I like Iowa State here.
Iowa State is going to throw some things at Oklahoma that the Sooners haven’t seen on tape yet, like Joel Lanning playing both ways, and it could be enough to keep things more interesting that the experts think.
On the flip side, the Sooners have a big date with the Longhorns up next, and they might pack up shop once the game is in hand allowing the score to be closer than the game really is.
The Pick: ISU +31
Texas Tech (3-1) at Kansas (1-3)
SAT, OCT 7, 11:00 AM CT
LINE: TTU -16.5
Last season the Jayhawks were a different team at home. They nearly upset TCU and as Longhorn fans are continually reminded, Kansas beat Texas. This year the magic is gone. After a solid week one win over SE Missouri State, the Jayhawks have taken a step backward and are 1-2 against the spread at home. Dorance Armstrong has not been as impactful up front, and the defense just isn’t as salty as it was a year ago. The Kansas offense has also been very average behind quarterback Peyton Bender.
While Kansas has disappointed a bit so far this season, Texas Tech has been a pleasant surprise. Not many teams can lose a top 10 draft pick at quarterback and be better than they were. While Patrick Mahomes II was often called upon to put the game on his shoulders, Nic Shimonek has done a great job of simply taking what has been given to him and managing the game. The defense has also taken a significant step forward just by actually getting off the bus.
I like the Red Raiders to cover. They are 4-0 against the spread and linebacker Dakota Allen could have a field day against Bender. The Red Raiders will need to avoid a let down after suffering a heartbreaking loss to OSU, but if they come out with something to prove, they should win by three scores.
The Pick: TTU -16.5
#23 West Virginia (3-1) at #8 TCU (4-0)
SAT, OCT 7, 2:30 PM CT
LINE: TCU -13.5
ESPN GameDay is headed to Fort Worth for the game of the week, but how much of a game will it really be? If you were to argue that the Horned Frogs, while clearly earned the win over OSU, might not actually be the better team in the matchup, I wouldn’t oppose. So if you’re thinking they are a team waiting to be exposed and you should ride the Mountaineers…
In the words of the great Lee Corso, Not so fast my friend!
TCU might have caught a few lucky breaks against the Cowboys, but they have some advantages in this one; real and intangible. One, TCU is at home. Two, a Gary Patterson-led TCU has never lost when ranked in the top 10. Three, TCU has never lost when featured by GameDay. In fact, they are only team undefeated when featured by GameDay three or more times!
That’s all mumbo jumbo though. The very real advantage TCU has in this one is their rushing attack. They lead the Big 12 on the ground by averaging 232.3 yards per game, and let’s just say that the Mountaineers have not been very good against the run. They rank 114th in rush defense. On the flip side of the ball, TCU shut down the OSU offense for long stretches of the game, showed that they have the secondary to lock down WVU’s receiving corps.
As long as the line is under two touchdowns, give me TCU.
The Pick: TCU -13.5
Kansas State (3-1) at Texas (2-2)
SAT, OCT 7, 6:00 PM CT
LINE: UT -3.5
If you had asked me at the beginning of the season who would be favored in this game, I would have pretty confidently said Kansas State. So, the fact that Texas is favored, after dropping two games already including an embarrassing loss to Maryland, really says everything.
Kansas State simply has not lived up to the hype. They Wildcats have continued to rely on quarterback Jesse Ertz, but not in the way most Big 12 teams rely on their quarterback. Ertz is completing just over 50 percent of his passes, but leads the team in rushing. If the Longhorn’s stout defense can stop the Wildcat’s rushing attack, which I expect them to do, then K-State will be in serious trouble.
The Horns are expected to start Sam Ehlinger at quarterback as Shane Buechele remains a little banged up. Even without the nagging injury though, there are plenty that believe Ehlinger is the better option. He fits the system better, and with each passing week he grows into the game. If he can give Texas something that at least looks like offense, then it should be enough for Texas to get the win.
The Pick: UT -3.5