Last week was a bounce back going 4-2-1, putting me at 10-8-1 for the season. We finally are getting into some conference play … let’s go!
Kansas @ Rutgers
The Jayhawks are 0-2 after surviving their bye week without any blemishes. Meantime, this game comes at an awkward time for Rutgers, after a 28-3 loss to Penn State, and before a home match up against #2 Michigan State. Rutgers has dealt with the arrest of 7 players in the past month and the head coach is currently serving a suspension.
Three games in, Rutgers is ranked 116th in the turnover margin and 117th in penalties per game. Sure, Kansas stinks too, allowing 48 points per game and over 550 yards per game (both ranking worse than 120th in the nation). But, if there is ever a time for KU to snap their 33-game road losing streak, this would be it! I’m not going to be that bold, but if Kansas can maintain tempo with their strong ground game and keep their own D off the field… I like a cover! Wow, can’t believe I’m doing this.
Last note here: The house got crushed last week by Penn State’s laugher of a win over Rutgers. You better believe Vegas is paying extra attention to this one and may be giving Rutgers some more juice than they are worthy of.
The Pick: Kansas +14
West Virginia vs. Maryland
West Virginia is another Big 12 team coming off a bye and has looked mighty impressive so far this season. But, while Georgia Southern is a really good Sun Belt team, and Liberty is a top-10 FCS squad, there is still an unknown factor here with the Mountaineers. Meantime, Maryland has wins over Richmond and South Florida, and a 21-point loss to Bowling Green. Maryland has shown many more issues on both sides of the ball, but they have played stiffer competition.
Still, WVU is home, they’ve had a week off, and Maryland’s D looked horrible against Bowling Green, a similar offense to the Mountaineers. Look for Skyler Howard, the nation’s most efficient passer so far, to carve up the Maryland secondary. The Terps will have to keep up and score points, but their passing game is erratic and their running game is non-existent.
The Pick: WVU -16
Baylor vs. Rice
Baylor hasn’t looked sharp on the field, having strange early season issues against SMU and Lamar, but they’ve looked even less sharp off the field with players and coaches suspensions. Art Briles came out Monday and stated in his press conference that the Bears need to their edge again, and it starts with himself, saying, “ “I think I’ve lost my edge a little bit, quite honestly. It’s something I don’t want to happen. I’m not standing here because I was edgeless.”
Rice has played 3 straight weeks, back-to-back against Texas and North Texas. They’re worn down; Baylor is rested off a bye, angry, and ready to get into Big 12 play on a high note. Seth Russell will bounce back from his 4-turnover performance against Lamar. And while Rice QB Driphus Jackson looked strong against Texas two weeks ago, we’ve learned that the UT defense isn’t anything special. I think Baylor will finally put things together here and prove why many picked them to win the Big 12 and make the College Football Playoff.
The Pick: Baylor -34.5
Oklahoma State @ Texas
It’s tough to get a good read on Oklahoma State based on their non-conference, but last week’s 69-14 win over UTSA was their most impressive to date. As for Texas, we’ve seen plenty of them with losses against Notre Dame and Cal, with a win over Rice in between. But, is the Jerrod Heard-era going to bring different results to the Longhorns (650 yards, 44 points vs. Cal last week)?
Oklahoma State was my dark horse before the season to sneak up on Baylor and TCU to win the Big 12. While the running game hasn’t been as strong as I expected, Mason Rudolph continues to develop at QB and I don’t think intimidation will be a factor on Saturday afternoon. Plus, the UT fans are still not that into this team, as tickets were still available for the game as of a few days ago… typically unheard of in Austin.
Oklahoma State’s defense is really good, not Notre Dame good, but much better than Cal. They’ll keep Heard in check, at least enough to get a win and a cover.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -3
TCU @ Texas Tech
This is one of the best games of the weekend. Tech is rolling and has set themselves up to be the surprise team in the conference… and maybe the nation? But, after hearing how jacked up Kliff Kingsbury was with his team’s win over Bret Bielema and Arkansas last week, I worry as to whether or not a letdown game is in store. That being said, this could be another revenge game for Tech after losing to TCU 82-27 last season.
Here’s my fear: the public is in love with Tech right now. While they certainly can win, it seems that with one big win over an Arkansas team that lost to Toledo the week before and a ballsy press conference by Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders are America’s darling. From a betting perspective that scares me. The line has dropped from over a touchdown to 6 points. Combine that with TCU, who has had off field issues and is coming off a game vs. SMU where they had to pull away late, and the money is flying in on the Red Raiders.
I get why people are jumping on the Tech bandwagon here… and I want to. But, my head is telling me to give Gary Patterson and Trevone Boykin the respect the team deserves. Tech still has plenty to prove.
The Pick: TCU -6
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