Just three games on the Big 12 slate this week in what is an incredibly meh slate of games in Week 9. All three involve a ranked team including one that is a road underdog. Let's get to the picks.
Texas @ #11 Kansas State
Bill Snyder Family Stadium (Manhattan, KS)
11:00 AM CT, ESPN
Line: Kansas State (-10)
Week 9 in the conference kicks off with a matchup of a couple old-school type coaches in Manhattan as the Longhorns meet up with the Snydercats. Texas is coming off of a last minute win in a surprisingly high scoring game with Iowa State while K-State is riding high after a win in Norman with a large assist to #CollegeKickers. As has been well documented, Texas has had its share of struggles with Kansas State in recent years and the Horns haven't left Manhattan with a win since a 17-14 win in 2002. QB Tyrone Swoopes continues to show improvements with each passing week for Texas but this will be his first true test on the road. Kansas State's defense has been stout against the run but vulnerable over the top. It will be interesting to see what Texas tries to draw up to exploit that. For the Wildcat offense, they will look to put pressure on a Longhorn defense that gave up 524 yards to Iowa State (!) last week. Look for Bill Snyder to try and slowly pound away at a Texas front that has been prone to weakening in the 2nd half of games. In the end, this could be a dangerous spot for Kansas State coming off of a big win *IF* they let Texas hang around early and allow Swoopes to build some confidence. But with the game being in Manhattan, I'll take the Cats in a close cover.
Prediction: Kansas State 31 Texas 19
#22 West Virginia @ Oklahoma State
Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)
2:30 PM CT, ESPN
Line: Oklahoma State (-1)
In this week's ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ matchup, an unproven road team in West Virginia travels to an unproven anywhere Oklahoma State. WVU is coming off of...well you know and OSU got pummeled last weekend in Fort Worth. With that knowledge, I found it very strange that the Cowboys opened the week as 4.5 point favorites in this game. The line has come down to the OSU -1 line that you see above, but I am still a bit surprised to see the Cowboys favored at all. The big key in this game will be which team can establish some momentum in the running game. Oklahoma State ranks just 85th in FBS in rushing yards per game, a puzzling number given the success of Mike Gundy's teams on the ground in recent seasons. The Mountaineer defense had success last week by consistently bringing pressure and forcing the opponent to win battles down the field. OSU QB Daxx Garman is more than willing to sling it deep, but there isn't much else to have confidence offensively for Pokes fans. When WVU's offense has really clicked this season, it's been in part due to a trio of solid RBs opening up the field for QB Clint Trickett to find his favorite target WR Kevin White. Oklahoma State is 22-2 at home the past four seasons, but I simply think that West Virginia is the better team right now. Mountaineers continue their resurgence with a big road win.
Prediction: West Virginia 37 Oklahoma State 30
Texas Tech @ #10 TCU
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)
2:30 PM CT, FOX
Line: TCU (-23)
The home team is 5th in the nation in points scored. The road team is 116th in points allowed. WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? You may not care to find out if you're a Red Raider but you might have to as Tech dukes it out with TCU. The Frogs bounced back nicely last week with a resounding 42-9 stomping of Oklahoma State while Texas Tech picked up its first conference win. The theme of this game will be offense offense offense as both teams are capable of putting up a lot of points and yardage. Tech QB Davis Webb has been better in recent weeks at taking care of the football and he'll have to nearly be perfect for the Red Raiders to have a shot in this one. The only potential danger I see for TCU is that this game could be the dreaded letdown-look ahead sandwich. The Frogs just finished off a difficult 3 game stretch and will have West Virginia and Kansas State in the next 2 weeks. Gary Patterson will need to keep his team focused on the task at hand and not how pretty the opposing coach is. Like he might seriously complain that Kliff looking like Ryan Gosling is unclassy or something. I feel like this could be a back and forth game early but the TCU offense will just be too much for the Texas Tech defense. However, I do think the 23 points is a bit much for the Frogs in this case.
Prediction: TCU 48 Texas Tech 28