Todd Lisenbee: Oklahoma failed to cover the spread for the first time last week against UCF. Oklahoma State won straight up for the third straight time as an underdog.
Oklahoma had been 6-0 against the spread before nearly losing to UCF. Oklahoma State has won straight up three straight weeks as an underdog. Will the Sooners bounce back in their second true road game in 2023, or was last week a sign of things to come? Will Oklahoma State be able to cover the number as a favorite, or is a letdown due for the Pokes?
I am finally back over .500 for the season, and I’m 22-12 against the number the last four weeks. In that four week span, I’m 1-2 picking OU’s game, 1-2 picking Tulsa’s game and 3-0 on the Cowboys.
Last week: 6-4
This season: 45-43
No. 6 Oklahoma (-9.5) at Kansas, 11 a.m. Saturday: This is a tough one to project. I’m not sure how much more juice is in this game from the Jayhawks’ perspective, as it will be the last time for the foreseeable future that OU and KU will play in football. The series has been pretty one-sided in the Sooners’ favor, but Kansas has a few really big wins against some good OU teams. The most famous of those was in 1975, when the 8-0 Sooners were upset 23-3 at home by Nolan Cromwell and the Jayhawks. I don’t think the upset will happen this week, but I saw enough bad from Oklahoma last week to convince me that it won’t be a blowout. Pick: Kansas +9.5 — Sooners win a tight one, 34-31.
Houston at Kansas State (-17), 11 a.m. Saturday: Don’t look now, but Kansas State might have the two-QB system figured out with Will Howard and Avery Johnson. Last week vs. TCU, Howard and Johnson tallied 244 yards through the air and 135 on the ground and the Wildcats won going away. Kansas State is too well coached to have a letdown, and Houston has had two emotional games back-to-back. Pick: Kansas State -17
West Virginia at UCF (-7), 11 a.m. Saturday: These are two teams that I’ve struggled to understand all season long. I knew the John Rhys Plumlee injury would hurt UCF, but I didn’t expect to look up and see the Knights at 0-4 in Big 12 play. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers were riding high before a Hail Mary loss to Houston and then getting run out of Milan Puskar Stadium by Ollie Gordon and the Cowboys. My gut tells me that UCF is the better team, but this West Virginia team has proven to be dangerous when doubted. Pick: West Virginia +7
Tulsa at SMU (-21), 11 a.m. Saturday: To say I was disappointed in Tulsa’s performance against Rice last Thursday would be an understatement. The road to six wins and bowl eligibility looks steep for the Golden Hurricane after that blowout loss to the Owls. It doesn’t get any easier on Saturday with an SMU team that might be the most talented in the AAC. It might be a long day for the Tulsa faithful. Pick: SMU -21
BYU at No. 7 Texas (-17.5), 2:30 p.m. Saturday: Berry Tramel mentioned last week in his college football buffet that it felt like BYU had lost more than twice, and he is 100% correct. It’s jarring to see BYU at 5-2, because they don’t look like a 5-2 team. Vegas must agree, making a Quinn Ewers-less Texas a big favorite over the Cougars. I’m going with history on this one. BYU is 4-1 all-time against Texas, and while I don’t think BYU will win straight up in Austin, the Texas quarterback situation makes it hard to believe the Longhorns will cover such a big number. Pick: BYU +17.5
Iowa State (-1.5) at Baylor, 2:30 p.m. Saturday: Dave Aranda is a power bald coach, and that always holds a little bit of weight for me. With that said, we’ve seen some really good coaching jobs in the Big 12 this season, but none better than what Matt Campbell is doing in Ames. Well coached teams seemed to play well after bye weeks. In 2019, Iowa State came off of a bye week and nearly won in Norman. Waco shouldn’t be a problem. Pick: Iowa State -1.5
No. 1 Georgia (-14.5) vs. Florida, 2:30 p.m. Saturday (in Jacksonville, FL): Conventional wisdom tells you that Florida may not be very good, but this is a neutral site rivalry game and 14.5 points is a big number to cover. However, Georgia has won five of the last six in the series and four of those five have been by more than two touchdowns. Pick: Georgia -14.5
No. 8 Oregon (-7) at No. 13 Utah, 2:30 p.m. Saturday: Whether or not Utah has any lead left in their pencil after that last second FG win in Los Angeles last weekend is a legitimate question. I have a hard time trusting Bo Nix, and I have a hard time not trusting Kyle Whittingham, but I’m going against my gut on this one. Pick: Oregon -7
No. 20 Duke at No. 18 Louisville (-4), 2:30 p.m. Saturday: Louisville seems like a different team on their home field. The Cardinals are 5-0 at home, including a big win over Notre Dame, but just 1-1 on the road and coming off of a bad loss at Pitt before their bye week last week. Duke has played three very big games in five weeks. It wouldn’t shock me if Duke’s defense kept them in this game, and maybe even won it for them in The Lou, but the Cardinals have been too tough on their home turf to pick against. Pick: Louisville -4
Cincinnati at Oklahoma State (-7.5), 7 p.m. Saturday: The Cowboys offense has been humming the last three weeks Kasey Dunn has fed Ollie Gordon like he signed up for an eating competition. Cincinnati may be the worst team in the conference, but the Bearcats are stout against the run. Cincy is 14th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game and 19th in the country in yards per rushing attempt. I don’t think Cincy has enough firepower to beat the Cowboys, but a low-scoring game would not surprise me. Pick: Cincinnati +7.5 — Cowboys sneak by 20-17 with Bedlam looming.