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Last week I went 4-1 on the picks, putting me at 23-16-3 on the season. Let’s jump right into Week 9!
Baylor vs. Texas
Texas isn’t having a great season, but they are killing it against the spread going 6-1 this season and 5-0 in their last five games. But the Longhorns have played incredibly close games, with their last five decided by 10 points or less. The Longhorns are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Oklahoma State and Sam Ehlinger ended up in concussion protocol all week, with Shane Buechele expected to start. Last time Buechele played the offense mustered only 17 points against Iowa State. Plus, it was a brutal three-game stretch with Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Is this the game where the Longhorns take their foot off the pedal and bit and don’t get up for it? It’s possible.
Meantime, Baylor is coming off a game where they nearly came back against West Virginia, scoring 23 unanswered points in the fourth quarter before losing 38-36. Charlie Brewer helped ignite the offense and has given life to this Baylor team. Plus, this is the Bears’ Super Bowl. They’re 0-7 and aren’t going to a bowl game. This is their season right here. All of these kids were overlooked or not recruited by UT. This is the game they want more than any other, especially at home. Combine that with the Longhorns coming off a tough week, some side shows as well (check Derrick Foreman’s, Armanti Foreman’s dad, Twitter), and the fact that Texas’ offense isn’t putting up big numbers and I like the Bears to cover.
Also note: On Thursday, the line jumped from Texas -7 to Texas -9. People are buying UT because they played Oklahoma State close and they see Baylor at 0-7. But the Bears are improving each and every week.
The Pick: Baylor +9
West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State
See the forecast for Saturday in Morgantown? 100% chance of rain, with the rain expected to pick up right after kickoff at noon eastern. Both teams are going to need to run the ball on this weather and some mistakes will happen through the air. Also, these two teams don’t seem to play as many high-scoring affairs as people expected. The under 4-1 between the Mountaineers and Cowboys since WVU joined the Big 12 in 2012.
Add in the recent struggles of Oklahoma State’s offensive line which goes up against a WVU defense that has not been good, but has had some success getting to the quarterback. The Mountaineers have 9 sacks in four Big 12 games, which is 3rd in the conference. In addition, Oklahoma State has the 5th ranked road-run defense in the country and looked really good last week against Texas. Maybe it’s too obvious, but let’s roll with the under.
The Pick: UNDER 73
Kansas vs. Kansas State
It’s been a frustrating season for the Wildcats, who many thought were going to compete for a Big 12 title. But KState has lost three straight to Texas, TCU and Oklahoma. This is the perfect game for them to take all their frustrations out on the Jayhawks. There’s no way the Wildcats overlook KU considering the losing streak they are facing. Plus, the Wildcats welcome back Jesse Ertz at quarterback, which gives KSU many more options on offense, specifically in the passing game.
As bad as KU has been and as many points as they’ve been handed by Vegas, the Jayhawks are still only 1-6 against the spread this season. This spread just feels low. KU can’t get any passing game going, and KSU has a solid passing defense. Kansas State’s defensive line of Will Geary, Reggie Walker and Tanner Wood should be able to get to Peyton Bender in this game with ease. The nightmare season continues for the Jayhawks.
The Pick: Kansas State -24
Iowa State vs. TCU
Prior to this game, the best defense Iowa State has seen all season was Texas, who they only scored seven points against. Granted they had a different quarterback at the time, but my reasoning for going with TCU is as follows: The Horned Frogs are definitely not overlooking Iowa State, like say, Oklahoma may have been earlier this month. Also, TCU’s front seven has way too much speed and quickness for Iowa State’s offensive line. David Montgomery is the primary running back and he will have to be used in pass protection, which takes away a valuable offensive weapon. Quarterback Kyle Kempt won’t have time to sit in the pocket and get the ball downfield to his big targets like Allen Lazard and Hakeem Butler.
Both teams will want to establish the running game, but TCU’s run defense is, by far, the best in the conference, giving up just 70 rushing yards per game in Big 12 play (Iowa State’s is 130 per game in Big 12 action). Plus, Kyle Hicks and Darius Anderson are as good a 1-2 punch as there is in the Big 12 at running back. Iowa State is having a special season, but the Horned Frogs will overwhelm them at times this Saturday.
The Pick: TCU -6
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech
The Sooners are still in contention for the College Football Playoff, but they have not looked liked themselves in recent weeks. They’ve allowed teams like Baylor, Texas and Kansas State to hang around in games that OU should’ve blown them out in. The Sooners are 1-4 against the spread in their past five games, but are getting an enormous amount of respect against an improved Tech team. What’s to think that’s going to change? Especially against a Texas Tech team that does not want to see its season begin a complete tailspin.
Oklahoma’s passing defense is the second worst in Big 12 play. While Kliff Kingsbury has been trying to establish a running game of late, it’s time for him to let it fly with Nic Shimonek and his talented wide receivers. OU will win this game, but the Sooners simply don’t deserve to be this big of a favorite until they prove otherwise.
The Pick: Texas Tech +20