We went 2-2 in Week 1, and my two losses were betting against Big 12 teams to not cover (WVU vs. Mizzou/UT vs. ND). So, onto Week 2, where there is are 8 games for us to pick.
#22 Oklahoma State vs. Central Michigan: The Cowboys had to pull away late for a 24-13 win against CMU last season. I can’t imagine OSU gets caught off guard by CMU QB Cooper Rush, who last season against OSU completed 28 of 41 passes for 225 yards, rushed for 51 and scored the Chippewas’ touchdown. But, this season the Cowboys are home, a year, older, with a large majority of returning starters who remember last season’s game. The Cowboys roll.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -21
Kansas vs. Ohio: This line has gone from Ohio at nearly a TD favorite to Kansas flipping the tables and being over a FG favorite. KU rolled a crappy FCS Rhode Island team last week… but has Beaty really already turned the corner? Ohio lost 56-54 in triple overtime to Texas State last week, but KU needs to stop a potent running attack led by A.J. Oullette. On defense, KU has to try and slow down linebacker Quentin Poling and end Kurt Laseak. I think KU can win, but with the drastic change in the spread, when all Kansas did was beat a bad FCS team, seems like a sucker bet.
The Pick: Ohio +3
#23 Baylor vs. SMU: Baylor ripped Northwestern State, while SMU had to pull away late against a bad North Texas team. Still, there are a lot of unknowns right now about the Bears and what they are. Now, SMU’s QB Matt Davis is a game-time decision because of a knee injury, but I expect him to play. A big blow for the Baylor defense is safety Travon Blanchard (honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2015), who is not expected to play. Also, RB Johnny Jefferson remains out with an injury, but Shock Linwood should carry the load just fine. The spread is just way too high for me to feel confident in the Bears.
The Pick: SMU +31.5
#15 TCU vs. Arkansas: There’s always reason to love a Big 12/SEC match up. But, in this case, both teams underwhelmed in Week 1, with TCU allowing 41 points to South Dakota State and Arkansas barely slipping by Louisiana Tech. That being said, Arkansas is a ground-and-pound team, but it was their O-line, which is replacing several starters and looked shaky last week, that could have trouble with TCU’s Josh Carraway and James McFarland.
Arkansas’ strength resides on their defensive line, but with the offensive system TCU has in place, that should negative much of what the Hogs look to do on defense. Plus, with TCU at home, and Gary Patterson likely ripping his defense all week, I expect a much improved and better performance on Saturday night.
The Pick: TCU -7.5
#11 Texas vs. UTEP: Is this Longhorn team for real? I think they are, but I also believe they are still on a high after the win Sunday, plus they have to play against Cal next week. In addition, the line continues to grow for the ‘Horns as everyone watching Sunday night suddenly loves Texas. This game has every reason for a let down, but also for a ‘rest’ game, where once it’s out of reach, UT can start working in some back ups. UTEP has an NFL caliber RB in Aaron Jones, so if they can at least put a couple scores in the board, combined with a UT offense that I think will take the foot off the gas a bit, a Miners cover should be safe.
The Pick: UTEP +30.5
#14 Oklahoma vs. Louisiana Monroe: It’s the home opener for the Sooners coming off a brutal loss to Houston. How do they rebound in a home opener that will also be the unveiling of all their stadium renovations? ULM has a dual-threat QB in Garrett Smith, who racked up over 350 yards against Southern last week. Granted, he’s now in Norman to take on OU, but we saw the Sooner defense struggle against dual-threat QB Greg Ward Jr. last week (yes, a different caliber of player/team). Still, can Smith do enough to keep it within the spread? I think so. I don’t see OU going out and dropping 65+ points on this team, especially with Ohio State coming to town next week. So, if ULM can get a couple scores over the 4 quarters, I trust ’em for a cover.
The Pick: ULM +47
Iowa State @ #16 Iowa: The Cyclones come in as a big underdog following their loss to UNI last week. But, ISU has won 3 of the past 5 games in this series. The best match up of the day is on the outside with two NFL-caliber players in ISU WR Allen Lazard against Iowa CB Desmond King.
After allowing 232 rushing yards against UNI, the Cyclones will have a tough time slowing down Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels who rushed for over 200 against Miami last week. So, it’s two different styles of offense. ISU will look to have a more balanced attack, while I expect Iowa to pound away with the running. Between a rivalry game that often plays closer than it’s supposed to be, combined with Iowa’s preferred style of play, the Cyclones can cover.
The Pick: Iowa State +15.5
Texas Tech @ Arizona State: Patrick Mahomes should be able to shred a weak ASU defense that is missing pieces with LB Salamo Fiso suspended and Christian Sam injured. Meantime, ASU’s new QB Manny Wilkins comes in with a ton of potential after being recruited in 2014 as a 4-star prospect and the No. 13 QB recruit in the country. He had a solid opening performance against Northern Arizona (20-27, 180 yards, while rushing for 89), but the Tech defense continues to improve under DC David Gibbs. If Texas Tech actually wants to make some noise in the Big 12 this season, they have to win this quality out-of-conference game.
The Pick: Texas Tech +3
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