The Big 12 football season is heading down the home stretch, with just the Big 12 bowl games and our picks against the spread remaining. Our picks went 28-21 on the season, with our latest pick featuring Oklahoma -5.5 in the Big 12 Championship Game, which we nailed.
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Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Miami
A lot of picking bowl games is less about breaking down X’s and O’s than it is about getting a “feel” for which team is more motivated heading into a game, who has more plays who opted out, etc. And in the case of the Cheez-It Bowl, sure Chuba Hubbard won’t be playing. But Tylan Wallace will. That told me all I needed to know about the mindset of the Pokes. Also, Miami will be missing its two stud defensive ends in Jalen Phillips and Quincy Roche. Meantime, Mike Gundy is pretty good in bowl games, winning three in a row and four of five before last year’s loss in the Texas Bowl. I like the Oklahoma State defense to impress and the offense to do enough for a win.
The Pick: Oklahoma State -2
Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Colorado
So what is the last thing Tom Herman needs right now? How about an entire offseason where the last time the fan base saw his team in action they struggled or lost to Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl as a double-digit favorite? Even though Tom Herman is coming back in 2021, that would be a completely mess. Herman can’t afford it. And while a lot of key Texas players have already opted out, we saw that there are plenty of hungry, young guys waiting in the wings. Just ask Kansas State after the 69-31 shellacking. I know Tom Herman’s teams play up and down to competition, but Colorado isn’t very good. They’ve played a total of five games and the one solid team they played, Utah, they lost to by 17 points.
The Pick: Texas -11
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida
Alright, this game is simple for me. Florida has a ton of players who have opted out. Oklahoma was a very young team this year that took a few weeks to get going back in September, but has been one of the best teams in the country the last month, with one of the strongest defenses in America. This group will want to show case its stuff, while Florida knows it has its usual built in excuse of, “We’re in the SEC and all we care about is the CFB Playoff.” They will use that one after this game and the college football media will let it take cover. Oh, and OU got some nice bulletin board material last week.
The Pick: Oklahoma -3
Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Army
This is a tough spot. The bowl games are often about who is motivated. And for West Virginia, they go from getting to play an SEC team to having to take on a military academy, who literally everyone in America roots for, unless your team is playing them. And even if they are, you don’t feel too bad if they win. It’s just human nature. On top of that, Army brings in its triple-option offense under Jeff Monken, which is never easy when you never play against it. This is a tough spot all around for the Mountaineers and I believe they’ll struggle to get the “W”.
The Pick: Army +7.5
Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Arkansas
The Horned Frogs have statistically played some of the best defense in the country during the second half of the season. Just look at the AP All-America Second Team. Gary Patterson’s team close the season strong winning three in a row and five of six games. The offense is coming on with Max Duggan and Zach Evans as well. I know Arkansas plays in the “mighty SEC”, but this team was getting crushed by 25-40 points in some of their bad losses. Gary Patterson thrives on the Big 12 vs. SEC match up and that will continue this week.
The Pick: TCU -4.5
Fiesta Bowl: Iowa State vs. Oregon
Iowa State deserved a better opponent than an Oregon team who only won the Pac-12 Championship because Washington had to opt out of the game in the Pac-12 North due to COVID-19 issues. This is an Oregon team that lost to Oregon State and Cal before pulling off the upset against USC and working its way into a NY6 bowl. It’s not deserved. Meantime, there’s no way Iowa State is disengaged for this one. This team and program still feels like it has plenty to prove on Saturday, and while Matt Campbell hasn’t been great in bowl games (1-2), this is one of the more favorable match ups he’s had.
The Pick: Iowa State -4.5
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