West Virginia @ Virginia Tech
Thursday, September 22nd 6:30 PM CT, ESPN
West Virginia (1-2, 0-1) may have won last week in convincing fashion against Towson, but they are still in dire need of wins as they look to be the potential bottom feeder of the Big 12 this year. That could potentially start with this Thursday night road game against Virginia Tech (2-1). Virginia Tech is also in a weird spot this season, having lost their opener to Old Dominion, 20-17, and then stringing together some mostly unimpressive wins against Boston College and Wofford. The loser of this game is really going to be in a bad spot. West Virginia is currently a 2.5 point favorite, which I think I’m buying into even on the road.
30-27 West Virginia
#17 Baylor @ Iowa State
Saturday, September 24th 11:00 AM CT, ESPN2
#17 Baylor (2-1) kicks off conference play with an early game in Ames against Iowa State (3-0). The Bears recovered from a tough, 2OT loss to BYU with a dominant win over Texas State last week. The Cyclones are so far undefeated this year, with two convincing wins against SE Missouri State and Ohio, and a far less convincing win against Iowa. In that game against the Hawkeyes, Iowa State only won 10-7. What those results tell me is that new quarterback Hunter Dekkers can light it up against bad defenses, but might have some issues against solid defenses like Baylor has. However, arguably the same can be said about Baylor, with Blake Shapen playing well against bad competition but struggling against BYU. Defensively for Baylor, then, the key will be shutting down Iowa State’s outstanding wide receiver, Xavier Hutchinson. If the Bears can keep Hutchinson mostly contained, there is a SIGNIFICANT drop off in production from the other receivers (Hutchinson has 28 receptions for 319 yards and five touchdowns on the season. The next leading receiver, Sean Shaw Jr., only has 7 receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown). Still, I really think this game will come down to if Baylor’s receivers can make some opportunities for Shapen and if Shapen can shake the road yips. I’m not fully convinced we’re quite there yet, as Ames can be one of the tougher road environments in the conference. Iowa State is a 2.5 point favorite, and I’ve got them squeaking this out until I see better evidence of strong passing production on the road.
23-20 Iowa State
TCU @ SMU
Saturday, September 24th 11:00 AM CT, ESPNU
TCU (2-0) is coming off of an early season bye week as they travel to rival SMU (2-1) in the battle for the Iron Skillet. The Mustangs lost a close road game last weekend to Maryland, which showcased an explosive, yet flawed, Tanner Mordecai at quarterback for SMU. (I was actually at that game and pretty much every stat was going SMU’s way other than turnovers and the final score). I really have no idea what to make of TCU this season as they beat an awful Colorado team and then demolished FCS Tarleton. So this game will provide a lot of clarity. The spread for this Iron Skillet matchup is dead even. And while later in the season I think teams with a bye week might have a competitive advantage, I actually think SMU having played last week gives them an edge since they were able to figure some things out and will be able to work on the things that didn’t go well for them. So I like the Mustangs to beat their former head coach, Sonny Dykes, and the Horned Frogs.
Duke @ Kansas
Saturday, September 24th 11:00 AM CT, FS1
Holy smokes, Jayhawks! Kansas (3-0, 1-0) is the best they have looked in over a decade by a WIDE margin, after handily defeating Houston on the road, 48-30. Not only that, but the Jayhawks are currently sitting atop the Big 12 standings with a win over West Virginia already secured. They now host Duke (3-0), who has strung together some alright wins against North Carolina A&T, Northwestern, and Temple. Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels has absolutely been lighting it up so far this season, and I expect him to be the difference maker in this one. Kansas is a 9 point favorite. I think it will be a bit closer than that, but Kansas will still win.
#22 Texas @ Texas Tech
Saturday, September 24th 2:30 PM CT, ESPN
#22 Texas (2-1) had a bit of a scare in the first half against UTSA last week, before locking things down in the second half to secure a 41-20 victory. They now travel to Texas Tech (2-1), who is looking to bounce back after an ugly offensive performance against top 25 NC State, which saw the Red Raiders turning the ball over four times. If Tech can find a way to clean up those turnovers going forward, I think they’ll be a competitive team this year. However, they’ve seemed to have issues as of late dealing with Texas. Even when Texas was quite bad last year, the Red Raiders still lost to the Longhorns 70-35. So I’m not ready to pick in Tech’s favor until I see more consistent ball security and offensive production. Texas is a 6 point favorite.
Kansas State @ #6 Oklahoma
Saturday, September 24th 7:00 PM CT, FOX
Talk about the tale of two teams. #6 Oklahoma (3-0) cruised to dominant, 49-14 victory over their (currently very bad) rival, Nebraska. Kansas State (2-1), on the other hand, suffered an ugly, ugly 17-10 loss to Tulane. That game was perplexing for a number of reasons, as the Wildcats followed up a 40-12 win against Missouri with that baffling loss. The biggest issue seems to be that Wildcat quarterback Adrian Martinez is so concerned with not making any mistakes that he is also not willing to make any big plays. In the Missouri game, he only threw 9-20 for 101 yards and zero touchdowns. In this loss to Tulane, Martinez did slightly better, throwing 21-31 for 150 yards and one touchdown. Still, if Martinez isn’t producing, the Wildcats become super one dimensional as they lean heavily on running back Deuce Vaughn. While this is kind of Oklahoma’s first significant test (I think Kansas State would destroy Nebraska), I just don’t see the Sooners being slowed down much. Oklahoma is a 13 point favorite.
FieldinOfDreams’ 2022 Pick ‘Em Record through Week 3: 23-5