A 5-5 week last week kept me on the positive side of .500 for the season, leaving my record this year 43-37. The relieving news is that I can’t pick K-State this week, since they have a Bye week before welcoming the Baylor Bears to Manhattan next Thursday.
I wrote last week that if Texas won against either Kansas State or Iowa State, (which were their next two scheduled opponents at the time), I thought they would become a real recruiting force in the Big 12 again starting immediately.
I’m not going back on that.
Kansas State went into Austin and got beat cleanly. Going into that game, the Longhorns were tied but ranked slightly below Iowa State in the Big 12 standings. Now, after their own win and Iowa State’s loss to #2 ranked Baylor last week, the ‘Horns are actually a game ahead of the Cyclones as they arrive in Iowa to play against them this week. Texas isn’t great on the road, but here’s an interesting statistic I found on ESPN.com.
Texas actually has scored the second fewest points in the conference, both in conference play and including nonconference play as well. Do you know which team is the only one who’s scored less? That would be last place Kansas, but that isn’t the interesting part. The interesting part is that Texas has won two straight in conference, including against then #10 ranked Oklahoma.
According to ESPN, if you look at the last two games for each Big 12 team, Texas is the only team that has won both of their last two games while averaging under 30 points per win. The teams above them in the Big 12 are TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Those teams average 42.5, 53.5. 45.5, and 59 points respectively.
Texas is winning games scoring half as many points as teams above them in the standings are, including against Oklahoma (Texas had a Bye week two weeks ago, so OU has played two games since that one, hence they’ve won their last two like Texas has). All they’ve needed to score was 23 points each week to compete.
To me, that says the whole conference needs to watch out. That doesn’t exclude Baylor, which is on their schedule in December. Iowa State, West Virginia and even FCS (division two) Lamar University have all scored over 25 points against Baylor.
That could be a real problem against a Texas team that only needs 23 points per week to win lately, especially if they come in having won today against Iowa State and then the next two weeks against Kansas and West Virginia.
With all that said, here are my picks. K-State has a Bye this week, so I’m free to actually objectively(ish) judge all 20 teams I’m picking winners from. As always, we’ll go from my “least confident” choices to my “most confident” ones.
Week 9 Picks 🙂
San Diego State on the road over Colorado State: I have no knowledge of either team, but San Diego State is the last of the two teams I remember being ranked, so I’m taking them.
Penn State at home over Illinois: Penn State continues to look strong this year, with a 6-2 record only blemished by loses in the first week to Temple (which was week 1, it happens) and to #1 Ohio State. I won’t pick against them until at least Nov. 21.
#11 Florida at home over Georgia: I’ve picked Georgia twice this year against good teams, and they’ve lost both. Sorry Georgia, but I don’t have any faith in y’all.
#19 Ole Miss on the road over Auburn: Ole Miss is a good team with a very tough schedule. I think they might loose two more games this year. This won’t be one of them.
Kentucky at home over Tennessee: Most ESPN users seem to be picking Tennessee, but I’m not so sure about the Volunteers. I think I’ll have to pick what appears to be an upset here.
California at home over USC: USC is such a hard team to predict this year! They’ve tested Notre Dame and outright beaten then #3 Utah, but they’ve also lost to Washington in their own stadium, so I’ll take my chances and pick California, though I know this one is a dangerous pick.
#9 Notre Dame on the road over #21 Temple: I like Temple’s coach, I watched him after the Penn State game and he seemed to make a lot of sense, but this Notre Dame team has played some stiff competition and is battle tested. I can’t definitively say the same for Temple. I think Penn State was an aberration, not a sign of their talent. This is the tiebreaker this week, so I pick the score to be 41-27 Irish.
#8 Stanford on the road over Washington State: Stanford has scored 104 points more than they’ve allowed, while Washington State has scored just 25 more than they’ve have. That’s a big difference, so I’m going with Stanford.
#12 Oklahoma State on the road over Texas Tech: Oklahoma State continues to impress, so I’m buying them. They might be a great pick to win the Big 12.
Texas on the road over Iowa State: Texas is tied with Oklahoma for the longest win streak in the conference outside of those three unbeaten teams at the top (TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma State). Iowa State has lost three straight. I’m betting Texas continues to build on the momentum they’ve developed.