If you have trouble giving points, stay away from this week's Big 12 favorites and probably the entire slate. Of the five games on the docket, only in one can a team win by less than two touchdowns and cover. The only one that can, Kansas, must beat a home dog in A&M in front of the self-proclaimed "12th Man" made up of silly Texans pretending to be Cadets. Other than the Jayhawks and Aggies, as the lines would represent, this is a lackluster Big 12 schedule.
Game of the Week
Kansas (-2.5) @ Texas A&M
Obviously you can expect more analysis and justification for this pick tomorrow, but for now I'll give you the basics. If Kansas takes care of the ball and contains A&M's ability to run the ball, they will win this game. The Aggies are better than Kansas at exactly one thing – running the football. As we saw against Miami and Tech, if they are unable to completely enforce their will, they will not win. Stephen McGee can physically pass the ball, but he is never going to win a Big 12 game this way. Additionally, the A&M defense's most impressive game to date was holding OSU to 23 points. Although, this was after they fell behind 17-0 and the Pokes forgot Adarius Bowman was on their roster. Oh ya, and Oklahoma State had 459 yards of offense – how they only came up with 23 points is beyond me. Kansas 31 A&M 21
Nebraska @ Texas (-20.5)
In my humble opinion, coaches who can honestly say this, "I’ve done an excellent job in every area. It’s hard for the media to know, but what we’ve done off the field, and what we’ve done on the field. I think it’s well-documented.” (Coach Callahan) usually are not 3 touchdown underdogs unless they are playing the Patriots.
How NU wins: 1) Tackle. This has been objective #1 for Nebraska ever since the Ball State showing and they have yet to attempt accomplishing this lofty goal. I know it sounds crazy, but it really does work better. 2) Expose the Texas linebackers. Any team that is patient enough to max protect against their good d-line and pick apart their linebacking corps has great success against Texas. Among others, Kansas St. did a terrific job of this and Mack has yet to realize why, and thus, the problem persists. Mack was able to finally realize a wonderful mistake he made though, saying, "Anybody that didn't recruit him, including us, made a mistake"
How UT wins: 1) Run, Forrest, Run! I'm not sure we'll see much of him, but this might be a good week to get John Chiles a few snaps under center. Every other team has known he was going to run every time he comes in and he has still been relatively successful – think about what he could do against Nebraska. Said Jorvorskie Lane after the Nebraska game, "I could have driven my car through the holes the line was giving me." Not to say their line isn't good but I don't think it's a coincidence that of his 130 yards, 80 came on 3 runs of 31,27, & 22 yards each, his 3 longest from scrimmage on the year. 2) Pressure Sam Keller. This guy might have the best arm in college football, but he is slightly less intelligent and accurate than Rick Vaughn. Among other variables, last week was the first game in which he failed to throw an interception.
This is a tough game to call…because of the spread. Trust me, I have absolutely NO faith in Nebraska to play well, but Texas trailed Baylor for a while and entered the fourth quarter only ahead 17-7. Personally, if Nebraska wins this game, I think the players should give Callahan a Gatorade bath - the Lions would – but for some reason I'm going to say they cover. Texas 38 Nebraska 21
Baylor @ K-State (-25.5)
Can you imagine having to live in either Manhattan or Waco? Yikes! If the Purple had not completely blown their game last week in Stillwater, I would feel better about Baylor's chances. As it is, the Towels really need this one if they want to stay in contention for the North. Combine that with Baylor's lack of ability to play football and I'll take the home squad.
How BU wins: 1) Turnovers. If they can force enough turnovers and steal some easy points, they could stay close. But, since they are 106th nationally with a minus-9 margin, this isn't all that likely. 2) Run the ball. It's not like they are as bad as Nebraska, but pretty much everyone can run over the Purple. However, Baylor again sucks at something; ranking 115th by averaging 72 yards a game on the ground. What a dead end.
How KSU wins: 1) Scoring more than Baylor. I truly have no idea how Texas struggled with Baylor for 3 quarters, because they are utterly worthless. After what happened to them last week, if the Towels haven't ended this one by halftime, they should be ashamed of themselves…which they should anyway. 2) Purple Wave.
Seriously, Baylor does absolutely nothing well on a football field. The Towels do nothing well, except when on a football field – when occasionally they have the ability to make a play or two. Kansas St. 45 Baylor 13
Iowa St. @ Missouri (-28.5)
Despite how unconvinced I am that Missouri has a real defense, if they can hold Tech to 10 points they should probably be able to hold ISU to about negative-7. Hell, even Nebraska held them to 17.
How ISU wins: 1) Run? I still have no idea how it happened, but in last year's game, their fullback Ryan Kock (who had about 150 yards the rest of the season) ran for 180 to beat Missouri in one of the all time Gary Pinkel collapses. 2) Um…they don't. It pains me to say this, but Missouri is a good team. This does not mean than they are half as good as they think they are or that Gary Pinkel is halfway competent, but neither of those things need to be true this week.
How MU wins: 1) Don't let this guy near the field
What do you say we get that extension signed ASAP...
Missouri 42 ISU 7
Colorado @ Texas Tech (-13.5)
Until last week, they had me fooled. Even though I was in no way convinced Tech had a defense, I thought their offense was good enough to keep them in any game. I could not have been more wrong. Putting up 10 points on that Missouri defense is just pathetic. I would love to think Colorado will go down to Lubbock and win this game, but Tech is a lot different down there. Plus, I think Mike Leach just forgot about the game and thought about pirates all week. Yarr!
How CU wins: 1) Time of possession. Harrell and Crabtree are going to be itching to put up some points after last week and the best way to prevent that is to keep them off the field. Without their best tailback, Missouri ran for over 200 yards last week. If Hugh Charles doesn't get at least 125, they don't have a prayer. 2) Get to the #6. Colorado has a better defense than the one that dominated Tech last week. Missouri proved that Harrell will throw picks if he is pressured. Despite having thrown only 3 for the season, he threw 4 on Saturday, the first of which for a touchdown, and the urine colored tigers never looked back.
How Tech wins: 1) Execute. Colorado does have a good defense – they tackle well, they don't blow assignments and they are athletic. However, they don't do anything exceptionally well and they don't get a ton of pressure. If Tech is patient, runs their routes and protects the ball they will be able to score plenty to win. 2) Stop Hugh. I'll keep saying it until he proves me wrong, but Cody Hawkins isn't ready to beat a good football team. He is going to be a good quarterback, but he is learning on the job and if Colorado can't run, they can't score enough to hang with Tech. Texas Tech 35 Colorado 24
Be sure to check back for the KU/A&M preview that should be up either tomorrow or Friday. Until then, Hot Toddy!
Last week: Against the Spread 4-2, Straight Up 5-1
For the Season (last 2 weeks): Against the Spread 10-2, Straight Up 10-2