After going 6-2 the week before, I was feeling pretty good. After a strong, 2-0 start to the week, I was feeling great. Then it all fell apart. The football gods reminded me in a hurry to never get too confident. Duke messed around with Baylor and the game ended up as a push, TCU covered by a point, OU covered late by one score, and Texas Tech was a fantastic pick until they let Arizona back in it and the Sun Devils covered by half a point. All of which resulted in losses for me. Well, expect for the push, but whatever.
LAST WEEK: 3-5-1
OVERALL RECORD: 9-11-1
It was a bad week, but I don’t want to read too much into it. I was simply unlucky as the only truly egregious pick was thinking Kansas State was “going to have a coming out party”. That clearly didn’t happen, but now we know more about who the Wildcats are this season.
On to week four. There are only four games this week as we get into conference play.
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.
West Virginia (2-1) at Kansas (1-2)
SAT, SEP 23, 11:00 AM CT
LINE: WVU -21.5
The Jayhawks may have won a game, but they are 0-3 against the spread this season. I feel like the line is about right in this one, but if forced to pick a side, I have to go with the Mountaineers here. WVU Quarterback Will Grier has looked impressive over the last couple of weeks, while Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender is average at best. The Jayhawks are also coming off a couple of losses, including a loss last week to Ohio in a game where you would have liked to see Kansas respond better coming off the loss to CMU the week before. The Jayhawks don’t appear ready to take the next step, and look for WVU to ball out heading into their bye week.
The Pick: WVU -21.5
Texas Tech (2-0) at Houston (2-0)
SAT, SEP 23, 11:00 AM CT
LINE: HOU -6
This one should be fun. Both schools have looked good in their first two games, and we know we are going to get some offense. We are going to find out just how much this Texas Tech defense has improved. Houston quarterback Kyle Allen is completing an incredible 86 percent of his passes, and will put a lot of stress on the Red Raider secondary. Speaking of quarterbacks, Nic Shimonek isn’t doing too shabby himself. He’s completing 79 percent of his passes and has 9 touchdowns on the year to zero interceptions. Allen has thrown just three touchdowns to two picks. Houston is going to have a chip on their shoulder to get the win over the Big 12, but coach Kingsbury is fighting for his job. I like the Red Raiders to pull this game out in a shootout.
The Pick: TTU +6
16 TCU (3-0) at 6 Oklahoma State (3-0)
SAT, SEP 23, 2:30 PM CT
LINE: OSU -12.5
The game of the week. At least on paper, because the Cowboys haven’t had much of a game with anybody yet. Mason Rudolph has yet to see a fourth quarter as their offense looked incredible last week going seven for seven on opening drives against Pitt. If anyone blinks against this team they will be in a hole, and that includes TCU. The Horned Frogs are a good team, but the position under center keeps them from being great. They are hampered by Kenny Hill’s inconsistency, and have failed to cover the spread two of their three outings. TCU will have the best defense the Pokes have seen, but that’s like bringing a bigger, badder knife to a gun fight. Rudolph is reading defenses and spreading the ball around. OSU didn’t need two of their biggest weapons against Pitt in Tyron Johnson and Chris Lacy, and still didn’t target James Washington until the game was already well in hand. I’m not sure there is a defense in college football with the horses to keep up with OSU’s offense. Give me the Pokes by three scores, if not more.
The Pick: OSU -12.5
3 Oklahoma (3-0) at Baylor (0-3)
SAT, SEP 23, 5:30 pM CT
LINE: OU -27.5
Quick, get to your bank, take out as much money as you can and find your bookie. Vegas, really the people putting money down on the game, can’t seem to figure out that Baylor just isn’t any good. It’s as if they expect the Baylor of the Art Briles’ era to show up at any moment. Bryce Petty is not walking through those doors. Instead, the Bears are stuck with Zach Smith as Anu Solomon still hasn’t been cleared to play as he deals with a concussion. All you need to know is this, Zach Smith’s QBR on the season, with 36 pass attempts, is 9.6. The trainer that throws the ball back to the punter in warmups has a better QBR than that. The spreads are slowly going in the direction you would think on Baylor, but there is still a ton of value there. The Sooners beat UTEP by 49 and Tulane by 42, and I’m not sure Baylor could beat either one of those schools. Not after watching them get beat in the trenches by Liberty. The Bears return some depth on defense, but unless an entire other team is going to come out of the tunnel, give me OU.
The Pick: OU -27.5