This weekend marks the halfway point of the Big 12 conference season. And whereas the Jayhawks had a nothing to lose situation last week in the only game on this season’s schedule that they had virtually no chance to win, every game from here on in is both important and winnable. Each loss in the next five weeks likely drops KU one full tier in the Bowl pecking order. The ultimate achievement, of course, would be a second consecutive trip to a BCS bowl—which is in the proverbial bag if the Hawks win out, including the Big 12 championship game.
Not likely? Not the way the defense has looked this season. But there are other bowl games worthy of attaining. Especially if the Big 12 sends two teams to the BCS, which is a distinct possibility. Making this week’s game vs. Texas Tech, a peer Bowl competitor, huge.
The games of Week 9:
1. Texas Tech +1.5 at KU
Two fantastic offenses. Two less than fantastic defenses. Two unspecial special teams. KU’s D appears to have a slight edge, but the REAL edge is the Home field, where the Hawks have won their last 13 games. Tech would have the edge in Lubbock. But they will have to wait a year for it.
2. Oklahoma -19 at k-state
What goofball set this line? OU should cover this spread by halftime.
3. Baylor +11 at Nebraska
This is a tough one. So that I must resort to Rule No. 23 of college football prognosticating: When in doubt, doubt Baylor.
4. Okie St +13 at Texas
Texas might be the most improved team in the country. And they are on a roll.
5. Colorado +22 at Mizzou
If I were not committed to picking all big 12 games, I wouldn’t touch this one. Mizzou has been exposed and is in free fall. A loss here sets the program back 20 years. Fortunately for them, they get to regain their swagger at Home. Might be a slow first quarter. But once they taste a little success, don’t expect Pinkel to call off the dogs before the separation is well past the point spread.
6. Texas A&M +3 at Iowa St
A&M is bad, but they are a little less bad each week. Iowa St, on the other hand, appears to have peaked three weeks ago—when it led KU by 20 at the half. It hasn’t had much go right since then.
7. Penn St -2.5 at Ohio St
Same song, umpteenth verse: I will ride Penn St until they give me a reason not to. Ohio St in Columbus is tempting, but they aren’t going to get in the way of JoePa’s last stand.
8. Illinois -2.5 at Wisconsin
Wisconsin can’t sink any lower, can they? Or will they?
9. Notre Dame -11 at Washington
How bad is Washington? We might not REALly know until they play their truly dreadful in-state rival for the Apple Cup.
10. Kentucky +24.5 at Florida
Florida is a far superior team, and the game is in The Swamp. But Kentucky can put points on the board. If they score 24, the Gators have to score 49 to cover.
11. Georgia +2 at LSU
Georgia is the better team, but LSU in Baton Rouge is a tall order. If this game were one of those crazy magical night parties in the bayou, I would have to go with the Bengals. With a mid-afternoon start, the air will hold just a little less magic.
12. Alabama -6.5 at Tennessee
The Crimson Tide has the best win of the college football season in its romp at Georgia. Its season opener at Clemson wasn’t too shabby, either, notwithstanding the fact that Clemson was vastly overrated. Still, Bama, has been anything but a juggernaut against lesser teams—like Tennessee.
13. Virginia Tech +5 at Florida St
Speaking of teams that are not juggernauts: I give you Florida St.
14. Southern Cal -16 at Arizona
USC is the best team in the country when they pay attention. Which they have since the Oregon St debacle.
15. Fresno St -16.5 at Utah St
Couldn’t decide whether to pick against Utah St in this game or against Idaho (+14 vs. New Mexico St) as the freebie of the week. Both teams are at Home. Idaho gives fewer points. But Fresno is the better opponent. Idaho might actually compete into the fourth quarter. Utah St might compete into the second.
Hey, Wreck, Texas Tech!