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Big 12 College Football Picks Against the Spread: Week Five Edition

Well, it’s now two solid weeks in a row after going 3-1-1 last week. For the season, we’re at 13-9-2. Here it goes for our first full slate of conference play!

Iowa State vs. Kansas

Well, the schedule makers did us all a favor getting this game out of the way fairly early in the season. That being said, it is a big game for both teams. Iowa State is desperate for a win. With a loss, Paul Rhoads can start packing his bags Sunday morning. As for Kansas, they beat ISU last year, and would love nothing more than to get coach Beaty his first win in what will be their best chance the rest of the season.

So, Iowa State has had two weeks to sit on their heartbreaking loss to Toledo. Meantime, Kansas is coming off their most encouraging performance of the year, but had to trek halfway across the country to loss to a crappy Rutgers team by 13 points. Now, they hit the road again, in a must win game for Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones. KU is allowing over 250 yards on the ground, so expect a heavy dose of RB Mike Warren, to set up Sam Richardson through the air. Defensively, the Cyclones are pretty stout, especially on the line led by DT Demond Tucker. It will be a tough afternoon for KU RB Ke’aun Kinner, who started off with 2 big games, before rushing for just 23 yards on 15 carries last week. If KU can’t run the ball effectively, QB Montell Cozart is in big trouble.

The Pick: Iowa State -16.5

Oklahoma vs. West Virginia

Remember last week when I mentioned how, in college football, stats are meaningless this early in the season (for several reasons)? Well, West Virginia is a prime example. The Mountaineers lead the nation in fewest points allowed per game (7.7) and turnover margin (+3). Yes, the Mountaineers are improved on defense. But, playing Georgia Southern, Liberty and Maryland isn’t the best litmus test to determine if a team is that much better than a year ago.

Oklahoma’s offense has looked much improved under Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield. The Sooners are off a bye week, at home, and have yet to lose to Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers since WVU joined the Big 12. I believe the Tulsa game two weeks ago was a wakeup call for the OU defense, plus, it was Samaje Perine who burst onto the scene last year, against, yep, WVU with 242 yards and 4 TD’s.

Something to note: according to Sports Insights, the public is betting OU by a 56%-44% margin, but the line has dropped from OU -8.5 to -6.5. The sharp money is coming in on the Mountaineers. Do with that as you want. I’m rolling with OU.

The Pick: Oklahoma -6.5

TCU vs. Texas

The most interesting fact about this game: TCU hasn’t scored less than 55 points over their last 3 games, while Texas hasn’t given up less than 28 points in a game. Yes, TCU’s defense is missing a ton of starters, but I believe the Horned Frogs will be able to take advantage of Jerrod Heard’s youth, while mixing in some early blitzing schemes to confuse him. Also, UT has had protection problems this season, giving up 14 sacks on the year. Now, RT Kent Perkins is listed as day-to-day after suffering a knee injury vs. OSU. Without Perkins, Texas had minus-11 yards on 16 plays against the Cowboys.

But, it’s the other side of the ball that TCU will dominate. WR Josh Doctson tore up Tech last week for 18 catches and 267 yards. Now he gets to face a UT secondary that has been really struggling and is made up of mostly freshmen.

Don’t forget, any chance for another Texas school to hammer the Longhorns, most of ‘em typically like to do it.

The Pick: TCU -14

Baylor vs. Texas Tech

I’ve gotta be honest, I can’t figure this line out. I know Tech has played two emotional and tough fought games in a row (Arkansas, TCU) and could be due for a letdown. But, Baylor has looked plenty shaky through the first month before finally putting things together in a 70-17 win over Rice last week.

Tech QB Pat Mahomes is banged up with a left knee injury and is day-to-day. But, even so, had TCU not pulled off the miracle at the end of last week’s game, how does the national perception of the Red Raiders change? How might that affect the line? If Tech had held on for the win, even with Mahomes questionable, is the line, say 10-12 points, instead of 17?

Even if Davis Webb comes in at QB, the Tech running game is strong behind DeAndre Washington, who was able to carry the load last week with nearly 200 yards rushing. Baylor is my favorite in the Big 12 to reach the CFB Playoff, but I still think Tech can hang within 3 scores.

The Pick: Texas Tech +17.5

Oklahoma State vs. Kansas State

We really don’t know how good Kansas State is. They’re 3-0, but have played South Dakota, UTSA and Louisiana Tech. Meantime, Oklahoma State also had a poor non-conference schedule, but pulled out the road win over Texas last week.

Kansas State will be without one of their best defenders, Dante Barnett, who will miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury. Expect Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys offense to bounce back after struggling a bit in Austin. Meantime, Kansas State has had a tough time throwing the ball behind new QB Joe Hubener, and if they want to run effectively they’ll have to get by one of the best rush defenses in the Big 12.

Lastly, the public has favored KSU with the spread 51% – 49%. But the line has risen from -5.5 to -7.5/8. I’m going to roll with the sharps in this one.

The Pick: Oklahoma State -7

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