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2021 Season

A Battle For A Saddle And A Showdown At The Red River: Week 6 Picks

Texas or Oklahoma, Baylor or West Virginia, TCU or Texas Tech, who get’s it done? Let’s make some picks!

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Tre Norwood of the Oklahoma Sooners is called for pass interference against Collin Johnson of the Texas Longhorns - Getty Images - Tom Pennington
Getty Images - Tom Pennington

There are just three Big 12 games this week, but two are rivalries. We’ve got the Red River Shootout Rivalry Showdown, the Battle for the Saddle, and West Virginia heading to Baylor. So, let’s make some picks!

So how this works is Phillip Slavin, Daniel Alexander and myself make our picks each week on the Ten12 Podcast. My picks are below, but for Daniel’s picks, who is a professional picker, and Phillip’s picks, who is definitely not a professional, you’re going to have to listen to the podcast.

We make our pick for each Big 12 matchup and then we make two bonus picks. The first bonus pick is that we can pick on any game we want outside of the Big 12. The second bonus pick, is making a pick on the money line. Basically, picking an underdog that will win straight up. It’s a lot of fun, so give the episode a listen, and my picks are below.

I went 3-2 in Big 12 play last week, and of course, Coastal Carolina did their thing getting me win for the non-Big 12 pick. I missed on Notre Dame getting the upset, but I was bound to miss an upset pick at some point. Also, I don’t hate Cincinnati getting the win there. The 4-3 week moves me to 23-18 on the season.


Picks are representative of where the line was at the time of posting the polls to Twitter (Monday morning), and at the time of recording the weekly Ten12 Podcast picks episode (Wednesday night).


RED RIVER SHOWDOWN
6 OKLAHOMA VS 21 TEXAS

Betting Lines: TEX +3.5 | O/U 63.5
Twitter Pick: TEX +3.5 (56.7%)
My Pick: TEX +3.5

The game the Big 12 is soon to forget about…

Recent history favors the Sooners. Efficiency rating favor the Sooners. But the ol’ eye balls, they like Texas.

After losing to Arkansas and making the switch to Casey Thompson, the Longhorns have looked down right good. Not to mention, Bijan Robinson might be the best back in college football. They are 4-1 against the spread and are coming off a win against TCU in a game that didn’t feel nearly as close as the scoreboard showed.

The Sooners, on the other hand, are getting wins, but not looking great while doing it. Oklahoma is just 1-4 against the spread this season. That is mostly because the offensive line isn’t as good as it has been in recent years and Spencer Rattler isn’t Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray or even Jalen Hurts. He is the Sooners best option at quarterback, or he wouldn’t be taking snaps on Saturdays. He just isn’t going to be a Heisman winner.

As good as Lincoln Riley’s offense is, it relies on someone under center that can make the right pre-snap reads and that can make the right read at the critical point in the RPO. And when all else fails, someone that can just make a play out of nothing. If Rattler doesn’t make the right reads, it can lead to some very questionable passes. Also, the step back in offensive line play is putting Rattler under more pressure to make the RPO read and get through his progression.

That’s not going to be easy against Texas, either. The Longhorns offensive and defensive lines have looked dominant after the Arkansas game.

This is going to be a fun game to watch, but for my pick, I like Casey Thompson and Bijan Robinson to get it done.


WEST VIRGINIA AT BAYLOR

Betting Lines: BU -2.5 | O/U 44
Twitter Pick: BU -3 (59.7%)
My Pick: BU -3

Both teams are coming off a tough loss. Baylor lost to Oklahoma State, while West Virginia got beat by Texas Tech. However, the losses were very different.

West Virginia won everywhere, but on the scoreboard. They had more first downs, more passing yards, more rushing yards, and more yards per play. Where the Mountaineers lost on Saturday was penalty yards and third down conversions. It was enough for Texas Tech to get the win.

Baylor’s loss, on the other hand, was brutal. Despite winning the turnover battle 3-0 by picking off Spencer Sanders three times, the Cowboys were in full control of the game. The Oklahoma State defense smothered the Bears. Baylor punted on their first eight drives, and had just eight non-penalty first downs in the game. Gerry Bohanon, who had been fairly impressive, was pedestrian with 173 yards and no touchdowns.

Was Baylor caught coming off the big win over Iowa State? Maybe, but it feels like it’s more than that. It feels like Baylor has been exposed.

Going into the Iowa State game, Baylor’s offense was rolling. And Iowa State’s top-ranked defense did little to slow them down…at first. Yes, Baylor put up 31 points on Iowa State, but the Cyclones shut down the Bear’s offense in the second half. They had done enough to get the upset, but put that second half with the Oklahoma State game, and the Bears have gone nowhere in three halves of football.

It’s a lot easier to clean up some penalty mistakes than it is to jump start your offense again. Especially against a defensive front seven that’s pretty good. However, I’m not sure WVU is the team to take advantage. If the line was any more, I would take WVU, but I’m going to pick Baylor here.


BATTLE FOR THE SADDLE
TCU AT TEXAS TECH

Betting Lines: TCU -2 | O/U 60.5
Twitter Pick: TTU +1.5 (60.6%)
My Pick: TTU +2

While Texas and Oklahoma are fighting for a golden hat on Saturday, TCU and Texas Tech are fighting for a saddle. The Battle for the Saddle is going to tell us a lot about both of these teams.

TCU is coming off of back-to-back losses. First, to SMU and then to Texas. The plus side is: they held Texas to a lot fewer points than Texas Tech did. The Longhorns put 70 on the Red Raiders two weeks ago, but Texas Tech bounced back with a win on the road against West Virginia.

The question is: what are we going to get out of these two teams this week? I could say that Texas Tech’s win last week is a bit of a red herring as West Virginia out-performed them everywhere, but the scoreboard. However, TCU’s only decent win was a 2-point victory over California. A team that is winless in the Pac-12. In fact, their only win is against Sacramento State, and even then, they put 30 on the Golden Bears.

So how good is either team? Hopefully we know more by this time next week. Until then, I’m going to put my pick on Texas Tech and Henry Colombi. He looked good against West Virginia with 266 passing yards and he spread it around to 11 different receivers.


NON-BIG 12 PICK
BALL STATE AT WESTERN MICHIGAN

Betting Lines: WMU -10.5 | O/U
My Pick: WMU -10.5

If you have followed my picks for awhile, you know that I usually take Coastal Carolina in this spot to cover against whoever has the misfortune of facing them that week. However, this week, I wasn’t crazy about picking the Chanticleers on a Thursday night game, on the road, against a team that is also over-performing against the spread. (I should have though, they covered, because of course they did.)

Instead, I went with Western Michigan to cover against Ball State. The Cardinals are just 1-4 against the number while Broncos are 3-1-1 against the spread. This game is at Western Michigan and I like it when I can get a home team. Also, I’ve picked against Ball State earlier this year and that paid off.


UPSET PICK
MIAMI (OH) AT EASTERN MICHIGAN

Betting Lines: M-OH -1.5 | O/U 57.5
My Pick: Eastern Michigan

When I make my upset pick, I try to find games within certain criteria. I like home underdogs, around a 3-point line, a team that performs well against the spread playing someone that doesn’t, and I try to find a game where efficiency numbers actually favor the underdog. For me, it’s about playing the percentages. If all of those factors line up, I should win more than I lose, and that’s the whole point.

Typically, there are three or four games each week that meet most of that criteria, but this week the pickings were slim. I nearly double-downed on one of picks above. However, there was one game that came close to meeting all of the criteria. Eastern Michigan is getting a point and a half against Miami. That narrow of a margin almost feels like cheating, but Eastern Michigan is technically an underdog, and like I said, there wasn’t much to choose from.

I also considered Buffalo at Kent State and Memphis at Tulsa, but I don’t like to take a team on the road if I don’t have to.

For this game though, Eastern Michigan doesn’t perform well against the spread, but neither does Miami (Ohio). So, that’s a wash. (For what it is worth, in the other two games I considered, none of them perform well against the spread, either) The big factor here is the efficiency matchup. It favors Eastern Michigan by a decided margin. So, go Eagles.