Last week was a forgettable one with a 2-4 record, our worst week since last November. That puts us at 6-6 on the season. Here’s a look to this week’s selections.
Oklahoma vs. Tulsa
Yes, Tulsa stinks on defense. But, with former Baylor offensive coordinator Phil Montgomery running the show, QB Dane Wilson has put up monster numbers so far this season scoring a combined 87 points in two games. Remember, while Montgomery doesn’t have the personnel he had last season at Baylor, his offense did smoke OU for 48 points. OU is coming off a huge road win, human nature tells me there should be a bit of a letdown. Plus, 30 points is just too big a spread for the Tulsa offense.
The Pick: Tulsa +31.5
Kansas State vs. Louisiana Tech
Kansas State looked much better in their second game, a 30-3 win over UTSA. Now, Louisiana Tech comes to town, coming off a tough 3-point road loss to a pretty good Western Kentucky team. Tech’s offense is run by former Florida QB Jeff Driskel, who’s actually been sharp over two games. That being said, he’s still Jeff Driskel, who left Florida for a reason. Now, LA Tech has to go to Manhattan to face their toughest competition yet. As for K-State, look for QB Joe Hubener to be more comfortable in his second start and hand the ball off plenty against a suspect LA Tech defensive line.
The Pick: K-State -10
Oklahoma State vs. UTSA
Kudos to UTSA for playing a loaded non-conference schedule against Arizona, K-State and now OSU. But, after a 10-point loss to Arizona the Roadrunners were shut down by K-State 30-3 last week. Playing three games in a row against a higher level of competition wears on a team, especially when all three are on the road. Oklahoma State has had some question marks offensively in their first two games with QB Mason Rudolph missing on several throws and the running game not living up to the hype. Look for OSU to finally put it all together ahead of their Big 12 opener against Texas next week and hammer a worn down UTSA squad.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -27
Texas Tech @ Arkansas
The Razorbacks are coming off a terrible loss against Toledo. Surprisingly, Arkansas has been more of a throwing team than a running in the first two games, with QB Brandon Allen passing for back-to-back career bests of 308 and 412 yards. Look for that to change against Tech, who Arkansas steam rolled last season 49-28 and racked up over 400 yards on the ground.
But, as mentioned, Arkansas is struggling with their offensive identity, while Tech ‘s ‘O’ has been a fine-tuned machine run by QB Patrick Mahomes, who was not yet the starter when these two teams met last year. His dual-threat ability adds an incredible dynamic that this team didn’t have under Davis Webb. Once again, SEC vs. Big 12 bragging rights are on the line. I like Tech to keep it close and possibly pull out the win.
The Pick: Texas Tech +10
Texas vs. California
Sure, Texas looked much better last week … against Rice (who actually outgained UT in total yards). Meantime, Cal comes to town behind Jared Goff at QB, who has the potential to be a top pick in next spring’s NFL Draft. He’ll be able to pick apart a Texas secondary and passing defense that is barely ranking in the top 100 through two weeks in the season.
Jerrod Heard looked more competent at QB than Tyrone Swoopes, but Texas still has a ton to figure out offensively. The Longhorns are a home dog to a non-conference opponents for the first time since 1996. It’s a sign of the times in Austin. They don’t have the firepower to keep up with Cal. The Charlie Strong rebuild continues.
The Pick: Cal -5.5
Iowa State @ Toledo
So, Toledo is coming off a program defining win over an SEC West team (Arkansas). But, lost in that game story was that Arkansas did put up over 500 yards of offense (to Toledo’s 320) and amazingly scored just 12 points. How is that even possible? Iowa State needs to watch out for RB Kareem Hunt, who is returning from a suspension. Hunt averaged 7.9 YPC last season. But, one of the most encouraging parts of ISU’s early season has been the front 7, which has 20 tackles for loss and is led by linemen Dale Pierson and Demond Tucker.
Iowa State needs to win this game to have a chance of making a bowl game this season (and to likely secure Paul Rhoads’ job), while Toledo is still riding high and feeling good after their upset of Arkansas.
The Pick: Iowa State +7
TCU vs. SMU
SMU looked surprisingly sharp, especially offensively in the first half against Baylor week one. But, the Bears shut out SMU in the second half. Meantime, TCU is coming off a 70-7 win against Stephen F. Austin, an unranked FCS squad.
TCU has used nine first-time starters on defense, which could allow SMU to put some points on the board. Also, the Horned Frogs open Big 12 play at Texas Tech next Saturday, could Gary Patterson rest some guys if things get out of hand in the second half? TCU wins easily, but 37 points is just too big a number for me to roll with.
The Pick: SMU +37
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