Another 3-1 week in the books and it looks like the late-season turnaround is fully underway. 6-2 the past two weeks, so time to get on board with the picks! Overall, we’re at 24-30 for the season. Here’s to a solid Week 12 with five games on the slate.
Kansas State @ Baylor
This game features two teams heading in different directions. Baylor is a mess both on and off the field. We know the off-field issues, and now they turn to freshman QB Zach Smith to replace Seth Russell. Smith has not done well when given a chance this season, completing just 16 of 35 passes, and it’ll be up to him to beat K-State’s surprisingly vulnerable pass defense.
Don’t expect Baylor to go off in the running game as the Wildcats front 7 is outstanding, holding the top-ranked running defense in the conference by a wide margin (22 yards per game). Bill Snyder is 18-8 for his career after a bye week, and now his rushing attack averaging 210 yards per game gets to take on one of the worst rushing defenses in the Big 12. The Wildcats are rested and take advantage of a sinking and demoralized Baylor team.
The Pick: Kansas State +1
#11 Oklahoma State @ TCU
The Cowboys are still in the Big 12 title hunt, just needing to win their final two games to become Big 12 champions. TCU’s season had been trending in the wrong direction before a 40-point win over Baylor a couple weeks ago.
Oklahoma State has one of the best wide receivers in the country in James Washington, and TCU’s pass defense is average this season, at best. But, TCU is finally healthy with KaVontae Turpin back in the fold at wide receiver and on special teams, which could be a turning point in this game. The Horned Frogs were considered a wild card to win the Big 12 before becoming the biggest enigma in the Big 12.
The key to this game will be turnovers. Oklahoma State has the best turnover margin in the Big 12, and TCU QB Kenny Hill is notorious for throwing an interception at the wrong time, throwing 10 picks this season. That will be the difference in this game.
OSU is getting over 65% of the action, but the line is growing in favor of TCU. The sharps are going with the Horned Frogs, but I think they’re out-thinking themselves here.
The Pick: Oklahoma State +5.5
Texas Tech @ Iowa State
As bad as things have been for the Red Raiders, allowing 44 points in at least 7 games, they just need wins over Iowa State and Baylor to go bowling.
Iowa State’s passing defense has actually been really good, ranked 2nd in the Big 12, and their rushing defense has been struggling, ranked 9th in the conference. But, Texas Tech has no running game so that should not be a problem for the Cyclones.
If there is ever a game for Jacob Park to break out, it’s against this Red Raiders passing defense that is allowing over 300 yards per game. The Cyclones have the momentum after picking up their first Big 12 win of the season and are home where they have been much stronger this season.
Almost 80% of the action is on Texas Tech, yet the line hasn’t moved, meaning the big bucks is on the Cyclones. I’m going with the wise guys in Ames.
The Pick: Iowa State +3.5
Kansas vs. Texas
The Jayhawks are home where they have played much better than on the road, once again covering the spread last week against Iowa State. KU is continuing to look improved under new QB Carter Stanley who is not turning the ball over at the rate that Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis were. Now, he gets to take on the 9th ranked team in pass efficiency defense.
D’Onta Foreman should have no issues running all over Kansas, but the Longhorns have struggled in the red zone (8th in the Big 12) and on third-downs (8th). That is where Texas has left some points on the table.
The Jayhawks are much better against the spread at home (3-2), while Texas is far worse against the spread on the road (1-3). Let’s take the Jayhawks to cover another massive number.
The Pick: Kansas +24
#9 Oklahoma @ #14 West Virginia
This is the prime time matchup and Vegas is as split as could be, with 51% of the money on the Sooners to 49% for the Mountaineers.
It’s going to be an awesome game with College Football Playoff implications and Big 12 title implications. The Sooners have looked much better of late, but they haven’t exactly played murders row with Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas. Still, OU has the 9th ranked pass defense in the Big 12, but a rushing defense that ranks 2nd in the conference. The Mountaineers have a balanced attack on the ground and through the air, but would prefer to not let Skyler Howard have to win them the game.
One of the biggest surprises in the Big 12 has been West Virginia’s defense, which lost 9 starters, and is ranked 2nd in pass defense efficiency.
WVU is home and motivated after feeling slighted by the last two weeks of the College Football Playoff rankings. The weather could be a factor, with rain and cold temperatures expected, which could help the Sooners and their running game. Still, I think WVU’s 3-3-5 defense could slow down Baker Mayfield and give him enough troubles to keep this close. If OU wins, it’ll be a tight one.
The Pick: West Virginia +3