Big 12 football picks: #9 Baylor vs. Kansas and more

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November 29th, 2019

The final week of the regular season is upon us, and rivalry week gives us a terrific game to cap off what has been an entertaining season in the Big 12. There will be some appetizers Friday, as Texas Tech and Texas square off, along with a visit to TCU by West Virginia. However, Saturday is where the real action is, as four ranked teams will see action. All games previewed are Saturday.

#9 Baylor (-14.5) at Kansas, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Baylor Bears
-14.5 (-106)
O 51 (-109)
Kansas Jayhawks
+14.5 (-114)
U 51 (-111)
The Bears know they still have a chance to make the College Football Playoff if they can beat Oklahoma next weekend in the Big 12 Championship game and get some help from other conferences. But first they must travel to Lawrence and take out a Kansas team that has just one win in conference play, a three-point victory over Texas Tech more than a month ago. The Jayhawks offense struggled against Kansas State and Oklahoma State, with a combined 24 points in those contests, before it scored 31 against Iowa State in a loss last week.

Baylor bounced back from a loss to Oklahoma with a 24-10 win over Texas last week at home and will face a Kansas defense that ranks 123rd in yardage allowed per game. Kansas has allowed each of its last seven opponents to score at least 31 points, and four of those teams scored more than 40. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer should be healthy enough to play, but backup Gerry Bohanon can also cause problems for the Kansas defense with his legs if he has to go.
Usually when a team has nothing to lose in a situation like this, it’s dangerous to go with the favored side on the road. However, Baylor has too much to lose, and the Bears know they must make a strong impression to jump up into the last playoff spot. Look for the Bears to make a statement against a team that simply isn’t good enough to stay close with them. Baylor covers for the fifth time in six games and the eighth straight against the Jayhawks.

Pick: Baylor -14.5

#23 Iowa State (-4.5) at Kansas State, 7 p.m. ET, FS1

Iowa State snapped a 10-game losing streak in this series last year, but hasn't won in Manhattan since 2006. This game will feature a great rushing attack for Kansas State, and Iowa State has an outstanding run defense. The Cyclones are holding opponents to fewer than 127 yards per contest, which ranks 28th in the nation, while the Wildcats rush for more than 185 yards per outing. They also love to grind out the game, and hold possession for an average of more than 34 minutes per game, the third highest number in college football.

Iowa State’s offense has been terrific this season, with a balanced attack and the dual-threat capabilities of Brock Purdy leading the way. The Cyclones rank 28th in rushing, but Purdy has thrown for more than 300 yards in four of Iowa State’s last five outings and has thrown only nine interceptions this season. However, the Kansas State defense is better than many he has seen this season, and the Wildcats have already shown they can take down a good quarterback (see: Oklahoma).

One thing to keep an eye on is the weather. The temperature at game time is expected to be in the 30s, and wind will be a factor, at around 20 mph. This type of weather usually favors teams who like to run the ball. While I believe Iowa State will win, I’ll take the home team and the points in a game that should be very close at the end.

Pick: Kansas State +4.5

#7 Oklahoma (-13) at #21 Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET, FOX

Unfortunately for the Sooners their rival is red hot at the moment. Oklahoma State has covered the spread in each of its last four contests, and in nine of its 11 games this season. Oklahoma State has only been an underdog twice this season, both on the road, and covered in both instances.

The Cowboys' balanced offense is led by running back Chuba Hubbard, who has rushed for more than 1,800 yards and found the end zone 20 times (both tops in the nation), and quarterback Dru Brown has stepped in for the injured Spencer Sanders without any problems.

The Sooners have been underwhelming over the past few weeks. Red zone inefficiency and turnovers have plagued them lately, and they needed a massive comeback against Baylor to win. Their defense has struggled, as well, but they’ve found ways to win, mostly because of the play of quarterback Jalen Hurts. He will need another big game this weekend against a Cowboys defense that has held its last two opponents to 13 points apiece, albeit against much lesser opponents.

Oklahoma was a cover machine early in the season, but in the last seven conference games the Sooners have covered only once, a 52-14 win over West Virginia. Their last three games (TCU, Baylor and Iowa State) have been won by a combined eight points, and they were favored by double digits in each.

The amount of points being given to the Cowboys is simply too much to pass up.

Pick: Oklahoma State +13

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