Another week has passed and Texas has continued to impress as the # 2 team in the nation and a legal contender for the BCS Bowl game to play USC, but dates with Texas Tech and Texas A & M loom large on the schedule. The Longhorns get Tech at home this week in what should be a high scoring game, and laying 16 points in that one. If there is less than 80 points scored I would have surprised, and this is the first spread, Texas has really faced and Tech comes in here unbeaten with little respect as far as the oddsmakers are concerned. It should be a wild one in Austin on Saturday.
Elsewhere Oklahoma continues to struggle, but covered the number against Kansas, one of our Winning Picks last week in the Big 12, as we stand at 6-3 ATS on season with Big 12 Plays. Here are my picks on some key games this week in this conference. Iowa State continues their downward spiral with 3 straight losses and it looks like the Nebraska and Missouri game will be cruel this Saturday for the North race, along with Colorado who has Kansas at home this week. It is getting interesting in the North, the south division is all but decided after Saturday.
Baylor @ Oklahoma (-14)
Other than beating up on Kansas St in Norman, the Sooners have been less than stellar at home this season, and less than stellar overall, as it is a down year for OU as they struggle on offense with a freshman QB in Rhett Bomar. Baylor gave Nebraska all they wanted, but Nebraska has a great defense this season and already had seen the spread attack a week earlier than Texas Tech, so they adjusted nicely, something I do not think the young and inexperienced secondary of Oklahoma can do here completely , However I do not see Baylor getting a win here, but I do see them keeping it closer than 2 TD's with their offense. The indemnity's are even in point production here, and Baylor's defense is only allowing 16 ppg. OU gets the win by 12.
Nebraska @ Missouri (-2.5) My Featured Game of the Week
Oklahoma State @ Iowa State (-14.5)
Last year the Cowboys put an old fashion butt kicking on ISU in Stillwater 36-7, but I see a reverse fate for the Cowboys this season in Ames, as Iowa State is coming off 3 straight losses, 2 of them in OT to Nebraska and Missouri last week, and getting beat by Baylor 2 weeks ago. The number is large in this game, but I think the Cyclones could cover it, given that OSU has no defense as evidenced by their last 3 games where they brave up a whopping 545 yards of defense per game and 62 points last week to an angry Texas A & M team. I do not feel comfortable laying 14+ points with any team that has 3 straight losses and feel the number here is too close to call, but a cover by OSU would not surprise me either, as Iowa State has been deflated after many touted them, Including myself, to win the Big 12 North this season. A gun to my head, I would lean towards the dog in this one, they scored 31 against Missouri two weeks ago in a home loss, that is more than ISU mustered up against them last week.
Texas A & M (-5) @ Kansas State
Back in the saddle after a blowout of Okie State last week 62-23, the Aggies oath got rolling again. Conversely the Wildcats got hammered at Texas Tech allowing 59 points. This is an interesting game, as Kansas State is hard to beat at home, and the line has jumped from A & M opening at 2.5 all the way up to 5 points as of Wednesday, as the sharps are all over the Aggies here. I am not sold on Kansas State as they have lost to every good team they played in conference this season and struggled with the likes of Marshall and Kansas. The only team that KSU beat up on was low North Texas, and I think the QB McNeal will make the difference, but this is a bad number to lay on the road, but I can not make a case for Kansas State right now, and A & M has A quick strike offense, so we look that way in this one.
Texas Tech @ Texas (-16.5)
A 3.5 point jump on the Longhorns since the opening line here, and both these teams are 6-0 and ranked in the Top Ten. Both these offsets have been off the map and QB Hodges for the Red Raiders has tossed up 22 TD passes against 5 ints. This season, and both defense's allow less than 16 points per game. The KEY in this game is the running game of Texas which puts up 264 yards rushing per game, and Tech is respectable at stopping the run at 117 yards per game allowed. I think Texas will find success on the ground here, and their best defense against this high octane spread indemnity is their own offense, being able to grind it out on the ground and eat up the clock. Last year Texas beat up the Red Raiders 51-21, and while I do not think the spread will be that large, I expect a high scoring game here and the total of 71 here is not out of reach.
Those are my takes for this weekend of action and games of interest, the picture in the North should be determined in the next few weeks, and after the showdown in Austin this weekend, Texas only has a so / so A & M to deal with at seasons end , But that game is in College Station.