We started off the season with a 4-2 week, missing on Oklahoma State and Akron. That being said, Week Two has a handful of match ups that are hard to figure, and of course some games are missing because there are no lines for the Big 12 vs. FCS opponents. So… here we go:
Kansas State @ Texas San Antonio
This is a very tricky game for the Wildcats. K-State is working with a lot of new faces and now has to turn to a new quarterback after Jesse Ertz left last week’s game with a major injury. It’s now up to Joe Hubener to run the offense, getting his first start on the road. This will actually be Hubener first start at quarterback at any level because he played mostly other positions for his small town H.S. in Southern Kansas.
Meantime, UTSA is feeling good coming off a 10-point road loss to a Top 25 team in the Arizona Wildcats. The Roadrunners racked up 525, with star tight end David Morgan leading with 9 catches for 109 yards.
Look for the Wildcats to use the run game to ease Hubener into the gig and for UTSA to keep it close with their high octane offense. And, for what it’s worth, Kansas State is 0-7 in indoor games.
The Pick: UTSA +17
Texas Tech (-20) vs. UTEP
Sure, Texas Tech is 1-0. But, they gave up a stunning 671 yards to FCS opponent Sam Houston State last week. These two teams hooked up early last season and the Red Raiders had a scare, pulling out the 30-26 win. In that game, UTEP rushed for 282 yards, behind 151 from Aaron Jones, who returns along with 3 offensive linemen.
But, I believe people are selling Tech short. Yes, they gave up 45 to Sam Houston State last week, but Tech actually led the game 59-31, before giving up a pair of late TD’s when the team appeared to take their foot off the gas a bit. This clearly ticked off Kliff Kingsbury, as his displeasure was obvious in the postgame. In addition, the Miners secondary started three freshmen last week, allowing 308 yards to a run-first Arkansas team. Tech needs a strong game on both sides of the ball heading into next week’s match up against Arkansas. But, they will hold back some of the playbook. I’ll go with a convincing Tech win, but a UTEP cover.
The Pick: UTEP +20
Iowa St vs. Iowa
The Cy-Hawk rivalry has produced some fun games as of late, most notably last year’s 20-17 Cyclone win in Iowa City. Who would’ve thought the Cyclones wouldn’t beat a single Big 12 team after that win?
Iowa State looked much better in their opener in Northern Iowa and has plenty of offensive firepower to give the Iowa D fits. Iowa brings in a strong O-line and running game behind RB’s Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels. But, the Cyclones have won 3 of the last 4 and have covered 13 of the last 17 meetings. Also, ISU has been the underdog in the past 15 games, including this year’s, but they’ve split the last 14 games. In typical fashion, little brother rarely gets the respect they deserve in these games. I’ll roll with Iowa State at home with the far more experienced QB.
The Pick: Iowa State +3
Oklahoma @ Tennessee
Well, this one by far is the toughest game to pick this week (I suppose the spread makes that obvious).
The Oklahoma running game was not good last week against Akron (33 carries, 100 yards). Much of that is because of an offensive line that started two freshmen. Now, they go to Knoxville where that line will have to face two of Tennessee’s best players in defensive end Derek Barnett and linebacker Curt Maggitt.
Meantime, OU’s defense sacked QB Justin Worley five times in last year’s game against Tennessee. But, the Tennessee O-line is much more experienced, while OU has some new faces on their D-line. Since sitting out for a year due to transfer rules, OU QB Baker Mayfield will be playing in an environment he hasn’t seen or been a part of in two years.
To win, OU will have to do it through the air, as Tennessee allowed 433 passing yards to Bowling Green last week. Only problem is… will Mayfield have enough time in the pocket? It’s a close game, so I’ll favor the home team and the 100,000+ fans in Neyland Stadium
The Pick: Tennessee -1
Kansas vs. Memphis
Well, David Beaty’s tenure got off to a rocky start with a 41-38 loss to South Dakota State, where the Jayhawks actually trailed 31-7 in the second quarter. Now, they welcome in a Memphis team that racked up 519 yards in their 63-7 win over Missouri State. Sure, KU did pile up 576 yards of their own against SDSU, but I’m not buying into QB Montell Cozart just yet.
I expect a huge day from Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, along with RB’s Jarvis Cooper and Sam Craft. David Beaty has a massive rebuilding project on his hands, while Justin Fuente is a rising star in the profession coming off a 10-3 season.
The Pick: Memphis -13
Texas (-14) vs. Rice
Texas could certainly use a ‘feel good’ game after getting crushed by Notre Dame 38-3. But, Texas isn’t this bad. Charlie Strong has the team on notice this week after taking away play calling duties from Shawn Watson and saying Jerrod Heard will challenge Tyrone Swoopes in the continued open QB competition.
Rice beat up on Wagner last week (coincidentally the team I call games for) and ran for 401 yards. Wagner can’t sniff Texas, even in what’s considered a down year for the Longhorns. Brian Kelly is running the best team he’s had during his time in South Bend and that includes one of the best offensive lines in the country. Expect the Texas front-seven to put the pressure on QB Driphus Jackson. Bettors are too quick to sell their Texas stock, as the Longhorns will give Charlie Strong just what he and this team needs: a big bounce back win in front of the home crowd.
The Pick: Texas -13.5
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