Last week: 2-1
#12 Kansas State @ West Virginia
Kansas State has had nearly two weeks to think about their 21-point road loss to TCU. Now, the Wildcats go on the road against the, suddenly unranked, Mountaineers, who have dropped two in a row. Despite the loss, KSU still has a shot to grab, at least a piece, of the Big 12 Title. Opponents seemed to have figured out Trickett, who has struggled with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions in his last two games. Plus, Trickett is one of the few Big 12 quarterbacks who is not a threat to run, which bodes well for the K-State front four, led by defensive end Ryan Mueller.
WVU’s defense strength is in the pass D, another benefit for K-State, who would prefer to run the ball. Look for Charles Jones and DeMarcus Robinson to have a busy night, as QB Jake Waters uses his run game, and keeps the WVU defense honest with Tyler Lockett and the occasional deep ball. Granted, it is senior night in Morgantown … and while the home field advantage can be enormous for the Mountaineers, K-State didn’t play on Saturday, having had 12 days off to prepare and rest.
The Pick: K-State +2.5
#21 Oklahoma vs. Kansas
The Jayhawks are coming off their shocking performance, a near upset against #4 TCU. But now they go on the road where they haven’t won a game since 2008. The Sooners will once again start freshman QB Cody Thomas, in place of an injured Trevor Knight. Thomas was shaky, throwing 3 interceptions in the first half against Texas Tech last week, but only threw 3 passes in the second half, using the run game to dominate the Red Raiders. This week presents another good opportunity, as Kansas has allowed at least 200 rushing yards in every road game this season.
All that being said, OU will likely miss WR Sterling Shepard (groin), and definitely will miss CB Julian Wilson (thumb). Step in freshman CB Jordan Thompson, who made some rookie mistakes vs. Tech last week. There is buzz surrounding interim KU coach Clint Bowen, and the possibility of him keeping the job. If he loses to OU by 30 on Saturday, that would negate some of the good will from last week’s battle vs. TCU. Additionally, there is an 80% chance of rain in Norman Saturday, the fan base is apathetic since their team has fallen well short of expectations, and last week, the Sooners appeared to sleepwalk through much of the Tech game.
The Pick: Kansas +25
Texas Tech @ Iowa State (-1)
For the first time ever, Texas Tech will get a chance to know what it feels like when teams face them. Iowa State has the second worst run defense (to Tech) in the Conference. RB DeAndre Washington is 148 yards away from becoming the first Red Raider 1,000-yard rusher since 1998. The Cyclones are also without leading tackler Jevohn Miller, the ninth Cyclone to suffer a season ending injury. It’s a battered and bruised team in Ames that Tech should be able to have success against.
Both teams stink against the run, and whoever has more success on the ground (with rain expected) will win. Due to the Cyclones injuries, I’ll roll with the Kingsbury’s.
The Pick: Texas Tech +1
#7 Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (-28.5)
Art Briles has never shied away from “making a statement” and running up a score. On top of that, Baylor has 3 games left, is ranked #7, needs some impressive wins to try and impress the Playoff Committee … and oh yea, it was Oklahoma State who derailed the Bears National Title hopes last season. Oklahoma State comes in having lost 4 straight, has been outscored by 112 points in those 4, and is allowing 30 points per game (91st in the country). The Bears have forced 7 turnovers and haven’t committed any in their last three games.
To make matters worse (if that’s possible), the Cowboys will likely give freshman QB Mason Rudolph his ever start (Daxx Garman expected to be out with injury). Don’t expect the Cowboys run game to help Rudolph. Oklahoma State has the 97th ranked rushing offense going up against the #11 ranked rush defense. This one could get ugly, and fast, on black-out night in Waco.
The Pick: Baylor -28.5