Todd Lisenbee: The Cougars are playing for bowl eligibility, and offensively might do some things that give the Cowboys trouble. But at the same time, BYU’s defense is nothing to write home about.
I started off last Saturday 4-1 in the early window and then finished 1-3 in the late window. Welcome to life playing games against the spread, eh? The Big 12 is a mix of teams with a lot to play for and teams with nothing to play for. That always makes picking the games a little bit tougher.
The good news is that barring a 1-9 performance this week, I’ll at least finish the regular season above .500. Dave Aranda and Dana Holgersen would love to be above .500 right now!
Last week: 5-4
This year: 68-61
TCU at No. 13 Oklahoma (-10), 11 a.m. Friday: A weird one for sure, Oklahoma’s last Big 12 regular season game is a rooster kickoff. Fitting. TCU has been better the past three weeks through the air, but the Horned Frogs are still only averaging about three yards per carry in those games. I would think that Oklahoma’s run defense will be better this week than last week against BYU. If it is, TCU will very much be one-dimensional on offense. The Sooners have struggled on the road this season, even in wins. Aside from UCF, Oklahoma has been dominant at home this season. Of course I like Oklahoma more if Dillon Gabriel plays, but even if Jackson Arnold gets the start, I think the Sooners home form leads to a double digit win. Pick: Oklahoma -10 — Sooners defense rules the day. Oklahoma wins 30-14.
Texas Tech at No. 7 Texas (-12.5), 6:30 p.m. Friday: Texas Tech’s Tahj Brooks has been the story of Texas Tech’s late season turnaround. The senior has carried the ball 250 times this season, which ranks second in the country. In the last four weeks, he has become a workhorse for the Red Raiders, averaging 29 carries and 141 yards per game over that span. The bad news for Texas Tech is that in their last five games (since the loss to Oklahoma), Texas is giving up just 47 yards rushing per game. The Horns have too much to lose in this one. Sorry, Brett Yormark. Pick: Texas -12.5
Houston at UCF (-13.5), 11 a.m. Saturday: Vegas sees what I see, which is why this line is so inflated. Houston crapped away their chance to be bowl eligible by blowing their first half lead to Oklahoma State last Saturday. Meanwhile, UCF can get bowl eligible with a win and has looked much better over the back half of the season. Houston loaded the box against Oklahoma State and still couldn’t contain Ollie Gordon. I think they’ll struggle just as much with RJ Harvey of UCF. Pick: UCF -13.5
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 3 Michigan (-3.5), 11 a.m. Saturday: The real play for me in this game is over the total of 46.5. The last time this game was under 46.5 was way back in 2010. As far as the line is concerned, I have gone back and forth all week on this game. I hope and I think that it will be a very tight game, and if you think it’s going to come down to the wire, you should always lean toward the underdog. Pick: Ohio State +3.5
Tulsa at East Carolina (-3), 1 p.m. Saturday: The Golden Hurricane have lost six straight and East Carolina has lost six of their last seven. I could break down this game, but I think you probably care about this one as much as I do. So instead, I’ll tell you that if you ever do visit Greenville, North Carolina, you should try out a little restaurant called Sup Dogs, which is right near the ECU campus. I highly recommend the Buffalo Dog. Pick: East Carolina -3
BYU at No. 21 Oklahoma State (-17), 2:30 p.m. Saturday: I’m having a really hard time picking this game. We’ve seen Oklahoma State play really poorly at times this season (UCF, South Alabama), and BYU seemed like they figured some things out against Oklahoma at home last Saturday. The Cougars are playing for bowl eligibility, and offensively might do some things that give the Cowboys trouble. But at the same time, BYU’s defense is nothing to write home about. The Cougars have allowed 4.5 yards per carry or more in every road game this season. Big day for Ollie Gordon on the horizon? Perhaps. But the Cougars offense has shown just enough life for me to think that 17 is too many points. OSU can ride Ollie to a win, but BYU might still make it interesting. Pick: BYU +17 — Oklahoma State pulls away late and books their spot in Arlington. Cowboys 34, Cougars 24.
West Virginia (-8.5) at Baylor, 6 p.m. Saturday: Only two teams have given West Virginia trouble through the air this season, Penn State and Oklahoma. Blake Shapen is a capable quarterback, but not capable enough to overcome the worst run game in the Big 12. Dave Aranda might be in trouble after this season for the Bears. Meanwhile, good on Neal Brown. He deserves a ton of credit for the coaching job he’s done in Morgantown in 2023. Pick: West Virginia -8.5
Kansas (-6.5) at Cincinnati, 6:30 p.m. Saturday: The Jayhawks blew a huge chance last weekend against Kansas State in a big rivalry game, and now go to Nippert Stadium to face a team in Cincinnati that has basically been a dead man walking since early October. When you suffer a heartbreaking loss like the Jayhawks did last week, how you recover is usually a sign of what type of leadership you have in your program. I’ve seen nothing that would make me bet against Lance Leipold, especially if Jason Bean is back healthy. Pick: Kansas -6.5
Iowa State at No. 19 Kansas State (-9.5), 7 p.m. Saturday: Farmageddon it is. Kansas State coming off of the big win against in-state rivals Kansas and Iowa State coming off of the home loss to Texas. This has turned into a fun little rivalry. Two underdog programs with hard-nosed coaches that even their biggest rivals have to respect. The last four times this game has been in Manhattan, Kansas State is 3-1, but all four games have been close. I think this one will be also. Pick: Iowa State +9.5
No. 15 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon (-13.5), 7:30 p.m. Saturday: The Beavers would love more than anything to be spoilers to Oregon’s possible backdoor route into the playoffs and/or Bo Nix’s Heisman campaign. Going to Eugene won’t be easy, but in their last ever Pac-12 game and their last ever conference game against Oregon, the Beavers are going to pull out all the stops. I don’t know if it’s enough to win, but I’m confident it’s enough to cover. Pick: Oregon State +13.5