Gene's Pick (1 Live)
Gene's Past Picks
BYU has struggled to score on the road, averaging 8.0 points a game in its last three road games. The Cougars also have trouble stopping the run, ranking 109th in the country (177.3 rushing yards allowed per game). That bodes well for Heisman Trophy contending running back Ollie Gordon II, who leads the country in rushing (128.5). With a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game in sight, the Cowboys roll.
I realize the Utes may be without some key defensive players, but the defense should still be able to slow down a Colorado offense that scored just 14 points at Washington State last week and may be without quarterback Shedeur Sanders. Also, the Buffaloes (4-7) have nothing to play for with bowl eligibility out of reach. I'll take Utah.
I think the Ducks have had this game circled since Oregon State upset them last season to knock them out of the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon also has a defense to slow the Beavers' rushing attack, ranking 10th in the country (96.2 rushing yards allowed per game). Finally, Ducks quarterback Bo Nix could use a big performance to add to his case to win the Heisman Trophy. I don't expect Oregon to let off the gas. Ducks cover.
The Ducks obviously have the firepower to blow out the Sun Devils and cover. But Oregon still has some big games on the horizon (rival Arizona State and potentially a Pac-12 Championship Game), so I don't see the Ducks keeping the foot to the floor all 60 minutes. Also, the Sun Devils have played well the second half of the season, and coach Kenny Dillingham, who was Oregon's offensive coordinator last year, knows the Ducks' offense and personnel as well as anyone. He will have Arizona State prepared to play. Give me two units on the Sun Devils.
The Dave Aranda era at Baylor could be coming to an end very soon. The Bears have lost three in a row and looked lifeless in a 34-point loss at Kansas State last week. Meanwhile this is a get-well spot for TCU, which played tough in a three-point loss to No. 7 Texas last week. Give me two units on the Frogs.
This is a bounce-back spot for the Wildcats. They nearly pulled off an upset last week at Texas. Now they return home, where they outscored teams 82-3 the previous two weeks. Baylor ranks 119th in the country against the run (187.3 yards allowed per game), which bodes well for a relentless Kansas State running game. The Wildcats roll. Two units.
The Ducks still have a lot to play for. Ranked No. 6 by the College Football Playoff committee, Oregon knows that style points could be crucial come December. The Ducks, who rank second in the country in scoring (45.5 points a game), have a juicy matchup against a nonexistent USC defense that ranks 121st in the country (34.5). The Trojans have lost three of their last four, and all of their goals this season have been lost. Give me two units on the Ducks.
The Jayhawks (7-2) have been better than the Red Raiders (4-5) across the board this season, so this line seems a little curious to me. Texas Tech is 1-3 on the road this season, with the only win coming at awful Baylor. The only way I see Kansas not covering is if the Jayhawks look ahead to next week's game against Kansas State. But coach Lance Leipold kept the team focused last week at Iowa State, so I don't think he will have a problem keeping Kansas focused at home on Saturday. Rock Chalk.
Beware: I've gotten Oklahoma State wrong all year. That said, the Cowboys are playing their best ball of the season behind quarterback Alan Bowman. They and their raucous home crowd will be ubermotivated to end the Bedlam series on top with a win. Meanwhile the Sooners have been walking wounded since their win over Texas, and stud linebacker Danny Stutsman is dealing with an ankle injury, assuming he plays. I'll take Oklahoma State.
I give the Wildcats at least a 50% chance to win this game, which means you're getting strong value at this number. Kansas State has been red-hot since going to the two-quarterback attack three weeks ago, and Texas will be playing its backup quarterback, Maalik Murphy. Moreover, Texas has struggled scoring touchdowns in the red zone this season (48.5%, 122nd in the country), while Kansas State ranks third in the nation in red zone touchdown defense (30.0%) this season. Give me two units on the money line.
The Wildcats arguably are playing the best ball of any team in the Big 12 right now. They've outscored their opponents 82-3 over the last two weeks and have looked like a different team since going to the two-quarterback attack with Will Howard and Avery Johnson. Meanwhile Texas quarterback Maalik Murphy will be making his first start against a quality opponent. Last week against BYU, he committed two turnovers and easily could've had another pass intercepted. I'd play the Wildcats down to +3. Two units.
The Wildcats have been a pleasant surprise this season. Three weeks ago, they should've beaten USC. Two weeks ago they blew out Washington State in Pullman. They now enter Saturday's game off a bye week and face an Oregon State defense that allows 31.7 points on the road (versus 11.8 at home). QB Noah Fifita has a field day. I'll take Arizona.
This line keeps going up, and I don't understand. I realize BYU got blitzed on the road at TCU, but Texas redshirt freshman QB Maalik Murphy will be making his first career start and I expect coach Steve Sarkisian will be very conservative with his play-calling against a Cougars defense that ranks fifth in the country in interceptions (11). Expect to see a lot of the Longhorns' ground game. Meanwhile, the Texas defense is decimated by injuries at all three levels. With a huge game against Kansas State looming next week, I expect the Longhorns will just try to get out Saturday injury-free. So even if this game gets out of hand, BYU still has an chance at a back-door cover. Two units.
The Wildcats are arguably playing the best football in the Big 12 right now, including Oklahoma and Texas. Since going to a two-headed quarterback attack with Will Howard and Avery Johnson, Kansas State has outscored its opponents, 62-10. They'll have a field day against a Houston team that ranks 110th in the country in scoring defense (31.3) and goes on the road after playing an emotional game at home against the Longhorns. Two units.