Big 12 Picks: #19 Iowa vs Iowa State & 5 more

Jason Ence

September 12th, 2019

-2 (-110)
O 45 (-110)
Iowa State
+2 (-110)
U 45 (-110)
With College GameDay coming to town, there hasn't been a Cy-Hawk game in recent memory quite as important, or as hard to pick, as this one. This game opened with Iowa State as the favorite. However, with the Cyclones needing three overtimes to beat FCS Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes have now become the betting favorites to win for a fifth straight time in the rivalry.

Iowa had little trouble with Rutgers and Miami of Ohio, beating the two teams by a combined score of 68-14. In those two wins, QB Nate Stanley threw six touchdown passes with no interceptions, and the Hawkeyes rushing attack picked up over five yards per carry. They will face a tougher challenge against an Iowa State defense that held Northern Iowa to only 1.1 yards per rushing attempt. The Cyclone defense also held Stanley to just 166 yards last year on 16 of 28 attempts, with no touchdowns, and will be confident they can slow him down again.
On the other side, the Cyclones will need QB Brock Purdy to have a big game against a Hawkeye secondary that, while dangerous, has already been riddled with injuries. To do so, he might have to overcome the loss of center Colin Newell, who is questionable after being hurt in the third overtime against Northern Iowa. However, the bye week has given Iowa State two weeks to prepare, and head coach Matt Campbell will likely have something up his sleeve for the Hawkeye defense.

In the end, this one comes down to QB play. While Stanley has started the campaign quite well, history shows he struggles against good teams on the road in hostile environments such as the one he will face on Saturday. Over the last two years, his combined numbers on the road at Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State were 42 of 104 passing for 443 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Jack Trice Stadium will likely be rocking on Saturday afternoon, and home field will give the Cyclones the edge they need to not only cover the spread, but beat their rivals outright.

Pick: Iowa State +2

#5 Oklahoma (-23) at UCLA, 8:00 PM ET, FOX

The Oklahoma Sooners continue to roll over everything in their path. They will take on a UCLA team that has started so badly that they held a players-only meeting this week. The Bruins are also have arguably the worst pass defense in the PAC-12, meaning Jalen Hurts and company will likely be able to name the score in this one. This line has shifted four points since it opened, which is not surprising given that UCLA is 5-15-1 against the spread in their last 21 out-of-conference tilts. They will not be improving that record this weekend.

Pick: Oklahoma -23

Kansas at Boston College (-21), 7:30 PM ET Friday, ACC Network

The Jayhawks have the worst offense in the country, and they scored just seven points against Coastal Carolina in a home loss last weekend. Meanwhile, their defense will have to try to shut down a Boston College team that defeated Virginia Tech to start the season, and is returning their top player at every skill position on the offensive side of the football. The Eagles should win this one comfortably.

Pick: Boston College -21

North Carolina State (-6.5) at West Virginia, 12:00 PM ET, FS1

People knew that Neal Brown had a tough task ahead of him in Morgantown, but few saw a beat-down by Missouri or an offense that is struggling to move the ball with any consistency. The Mountaineers have rushed for a total of sixty-four yards (that’s not a typo, folks) in their two games so far. They are facing a Wolfpack defense that has allowed fewer yards than that in two wins this season. Expect NC State to cover easily on the road.

Pick: NC State -6.5

Texas Tech (-2) at Arizona, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN

Arizona’s defense allowed Northern Arizona to hang 41 points on them, a week after Hawaii defeated the Wildcats 45-38. That is not a promising sign for a defense that will be trying to shut down the high-powered Red Raiders offense, who have outscored their first two opponents 83-13. This game will be a high-scoring affair, and I don’t trust the home team (who is 1-5 ATS in their last six non-conference games) to be able to get the stops necessary to keep it close late.

Pick: Texas Tech -2

Kansas State at Mississippi State (-9), 12:00 PM ET, ESPN

There is quite a bit of uncertainty around the quarterback position for the Bulldogs right now, as Tommy Stevens’ status remains in the air after an injury to his throwing shoulder against Southern Miss. Whoever starts will face a Kansas State defense that shut out Bowling Green last week and has shown quite a bit of improvement over last year, but might be missing two starters of their own. Either way, this spread seems to be a bit too much for a Wildcat team that has been quite impressive early in the season, and is ranked in the top 25 of the Sagarin ratings. Take the points in what should be a close match-up.

Pick: Kansas State +9

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