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Big 12 College Football Picks Against the Spread: Week 9 Edition

Last week I went 2-2, bringing this season’s record to 25-15-2. You’ll notice I’m rolling with the favorites this week. I believe that’s largely due to the landscape in the conference right now, which is very top heavy. Here ya go.

TCU vs. West Virginia

Both teams are off a bye week, but are trending in different directions. Despite many injuries, TCU is still undefeated and in the hunt for the College Football Playoff, while WVU is one loss away from going ‘0 for October’. The formula for this game is pretty simple: can West Virginia run the ball well enough against a poor TCU defense (allowing over 4 YPC) to control the clock and keep the TCU offense off the field? I don’t think they can or will.

First off, TCU is exponentially better at home than they are on the road (a concern Gary Patterson has to figure out). Secondly, Trevone Boykin is going to have an absolute field day against WVU’s secondary that is missing a potential NFL 1st round draft pick in safety Karl Joseph. Meanwhile, TCU is slowly getting healthier on D, and should has massive DT Joseph Broadnax back in the mix tonight to help the run defense.

Lastly, TCU has not received very much publicity from the national media. There’s no doubt Gary Patterson is turning back the clock to when his team was in the Mountain West and is playing the “disrespect” card as motivation. Here is the Frogs chance to shine on national TV.

The Pick: TCU -13

Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech

I’ve been leery of Oklahoma State all season long. I’m just not convinced they can really compete with the top teams in the Big 12. Well, Saturday is a good test, on the road in Lubbock against the Red Raiders. I think this match up sets up really well for the Cowboys. Tech’s run defense looked horrible last week against OU and I’ve got to believe Gundy and his staff have watched the game tape and plan to run the ball 40+ times. OSU is averaging nearly 4 yards per carry and almost 150 rushing yards/game this season.

For Tech, Patrick Mahomes was forced to create too many times last week and it led to 4 interceptions against the Sooners. Tech’s offensive line is still very banged up, with RG Justin Murphy out for the season, RT Baylen Brown is questionable, and LT Le’Raven Clark is playing, but still may not be 100% from an injury suffered two weeks ago. So, good luck to them trying to stop All-American candidate Emmanuel Ogbah at defensive end, along with his counterpart Jimmy Bean. Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 in sacks and could have another big afternoon.

The Pick: Oklahoma State -1.5

Oklahoma @ Kansas

Here we go with another 30-40 point spread involving the Kansas Jayhawks. This is getting tiring! These are actually the hardest games to try and predict. Sure, OU can win by 50, but what if they aren’t motivated, looking ahead, etc … it’s hard to predict that.

Last season when these two teams hooked up, Samaje Perine rushed for 427 yards, setting a major-college football single-game rushing record. Now, Perine is coming off his best game of the season last week against Texas Tech (201 rushing yards), and the Sooners ground game gets to face a Jayhawks squad that ranks 118th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game.

The Sooners have looked outstanding since their stunning loss to Texas earlier this month. Stoops and the Sooners know they have to crush their easy opponents (like KU) and win the rest of their games to continue to have a legitimate shot at the College Football Playoff. Look for a route.

The Pick: Oklahoma -39

Iowa State vs. Texas

It’s a new era for Iowa State with Joel Lanning at QB and Mark Mangino out as the offensive coordinator. Does this give the Cyclones the boost they need against a surging Texas Longhorns squad? The wise guys think so…. the spread opened at Texas -8, with 70% of the money coming in on the Longhorns … but the spread is down the Texas -5.5. Here’s why I disagree:

The Longhorns have won a couple of good games this month, with wins over Oklahoma and K-State, but all their success has been on the ground, not through the air (50+ rushes in those two wins).  The good news for Texas, Iowa State is allowing 4.8 yards per carry.

Offensively, Mike Warren is the Big 12’s second leading rusher, and the Cyclones will look to establish the ground game. But, the Texas run defense has been outstanding, allowing just 202 yards rushing the past two games.

There has been word out of Ames that many players were confused, surprised, and unhappy with the firing of Mangino. On the other hand, the players are really buying into what Charlie Strong is selling. These are two teams trending in totally different directions.

The Pick: Texas -4

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