Last week: 3-0
On a roll in an early start to our Big 12 picks + write ups. If I keep this pace up I may just bail on this website, and my day job, move to Las Vegas and start my professional career as a Wiesguy. Too soon? Probably. Anyway, here are the picks for week 5 … lines used were from Thursday because of the Tech-OSU game tonight.
Texas Tech @ #24 Oklahoma State
The Red Raiders aren’t getting much love after two close wins over Central Arkansas and UTEP, then getting ripped by Arkansas nearly two weeks ago 49-28. Additionally, Tech defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt was dismissed from the team, after the coach was suspected of being at the school’s football building while under the influence of a controlled substance.
But, Arkansas is exactly the kind of team Tech never wants to play. The Cowboys are a much better match up for the Red Raiders. Arkansas was a power run team, and ran all over Tech, for 438 yards. The Cowboys, like the Red Raiders, prefer to spread it out, and use speed on the outside with the passing attack. Oklahoma State has a very young offensive line, and does not have the power backs of Arkansas. Also, QB Daxx Garman has looked very good in replacing J.W. Walsh (foot surgery), but this will be his first game against a conference opponent, or any opponent not named UTSA or Missouri State.
Davis Webb needs to finally prove the offense has made strides over last season, and with a Cowboys defense that has been gutted by graduation and the NFL draft, this may be Webb’s week to break out. Yes, Stillwater is a tough place to play at night … but there are too many question marks for Oklahoma State for me to lay 2 touchdowns in a conference game.
The Pick: Texas Tech +14
#25 Kansas State vs. UTEP
The Wildcats are licking their wounds coming off a 6 point loss to #5 Auburn at home last Thursday night. K-State welcomes in 2-1 UTEP, who’s loss is by 4 points to Texas Tech, and wins over New Mexico and New Mexico State. It’s entirely possible K-State and their fan base is still hungover from last week’s brutal loss, and could come out of the gates slow against the Miners.
While UTEP’s strength is their run game, ranking 9th in the country at 317 yards per game. Granted, the Wildcats held Auburn’s rushing attack to 128 yards, but if UTEP can have any kind of success in the rushing game, and ball control, it can, theoretically keep the score from getting too out of hand. When considering the Wildcats offense isn’t typically about the “quick strike”, their struggles in the red zone (2 for 5 last week, 14 for 17 on the season, ranked 6th in the Big 12) … give me UTEP to cover the big number.
The Pick: UTEP +26
TCU @ SMU
TCU and SMU square off in the battle of the Iron Skillet. But, it will more likely be a version of TCU smacking SMU in the head with an iron skillet. There is no way around it, the Mustangs are horrible. They are worst in the FBS in yards per game (194) and the worst in points per game (4). They are averaging 28/yards per game on the ground, and only 165 through the air. Granted they have played two top 10 teams in Baylor and Texas A&M, but even against North Texas, who lost to a lowly Texas team 38-7, the Mustangs were blasted 43-6. On top of that, Gary Patterson appears to have one of the best defenses he’s ever had at TCU.
Offensively, the Horned Frogs have looked like a different animal under co-OC’s Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham. TCU has gone from a ground-and-pound attack, to a high-flying, pass-first offense. This weekend, they get to face a defense that has allowed more points per game than any team in the country. Yes, this is technically a “rivalry game”. But, with TCU’s new, up-tempo offense, and one of the best defenses in the country, I’ll take them to cover the big number.
The Pick: TCU -31.5
Texas @ Kansas
Sure, Texas is down … by Texas standards, while, Kansas is just down. The Longhorns offensive line continues to be a major work in progress, as they dismissed OT Kennedy Estelle earlier this week. But, with Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback, and the Longhorns having a bye week to add to the playbook, expect Swoopes to neutralize the offensive line’s struggles with more roll outs to set up passes, and designed runs on the edge. The Kansas run defense is allowing 5.2 yards per carry. Even with a weaker O-Line for Texas, combine the legs of Swoopes, with RB’s Malcom Brown and Jonathan Gray, and it could be a long afternoon for Kansas.
Also, Kansas’ offensive line isn’t going to be confused with that of the Oakland Raiders of the early 1970’s (Art Shell, Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw). Yes, the Texas D-Line includes some underachievers, they are all 4 or 5 star recruits, that earned that rating for a reason. Montell Cozart has made incremental improvements at QB for the Jayhawks, but he will be under pressure, and his poor accuracy will be exploited even more when he’s on the run.
The Pick: Texas -12
#7 Baylor @ Iowa State
Iowa State is coming off their “Super Bowl” with a win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. It has many feeling good in Ames as they welcome in the Baylor Bears for a primetime showdown at Jack Trice Stadium. But, Baylor is not Iowa State. The Bears bring in a Heisman contender, who is finally healthy, in QB Bryce Petty. He gets one of his top weapons back in WR Antwan Goodley, in addition to freshman stud KD Cannon, RB Shock Linwood, and an offensive line that is averaging well over 300 lbs.
The Cyclones offense is facing a much tougher test than Iowa. The Baylor defense is allowing 64 yards per game on the ground (4th in the FBS). It is the best D-Line during Art Briles’ tenure, led by DE Shawn Oakman. The ISU run game has been weak so far this season, and that will force Sam Richardson to beat the Bears. But, Baylor has speed on the edges to neutralize new OC Mark Magino’s playbook which specializes in screen plays to the outside. It won’t be as ugly as last year’s 71-7 blowout. But it won’t be close either.
The Pick: Baylor -21