The Big 12 is going to the dogs.
Home dogs, that is.
The only Home favorite in the six Big 12 games this first week of conference play is Okie St, giving 24 ½ points to Texas A&M. In four other games, the Home team is a double digit underdog.
Evidently, Vegas has noted that taking the favored tem has been a winning proposition thus far this year, both in the Big 12 and elsewhere, and has adjusted accordingly. The big question, time and again this week, is whether it has over adjusted in the opposite direction.
The games of Week 6:
1. Kansas –13 at Iowa St
A major obstacle in making the transformation from being a traditionally mediocre or bad program to becoming a strong program in any sport is separating from your peers. Whereas your historical mediocrities like Iowa St, k-state, Colorado, Mizzou, and Baylor readily accept their inherent inferiority to the Oklahomas, Texases and Nebraskas of the world , they will clutch and scratch and claw and scrape to their final breath to avoid being left behind by a member of their peer group—as KU is threatening to do.
This game opened at KU -14. Thirteen is better. Still, this is a Road game vs. a team that is becoming more cohesive on a weekly basis. In its last outing, the Cyclones roared back from a 21 point deficit on the Road to send its game at UNLV into overtime, capped by a clutch 90+ yard drive in the final two minutes.
The Jayhawks are better than UNLV, no doubt. Good enough that they should beat Iowa St in Ames. But by 14 points?
Not likely, as sky-high as ISU will be, playing a Top 20 team at Home in its conference opener. Not unless the Hawks have greatly improved their pass rush and running game, probably not. It is certainly possible, what with two weeks to prepare for this game. But that is not the way to bet. I mean, as great as last year’s team was, who did they beat on the Road by 14? Well, there was Okie St 43-28. That’s it.
2. Texas Tech -7.5 at k-state
At first blush, this game looks like easy money. Tech is 14-17 points better than Prince’s Purple people on a neutral field. Right?
Right. Still, the Red Raiders had a tough time with Eastern Washington in Lubbock. Not to mention their propensity for pulling a cropper on the road. Or that k-state has handled a bigger name from the Lone Star State two years running.
Vegas is about two points off with this line. Should be Tech -9.5. Meaning that giving only 7.5 is value.
3. Mizzou -11 at Nebraska
Ganz put up 70 last year vs. k-state. He could lead the Huskers to 40+ against Mizzou’s defense. And, playing a Top 5 team coming off a loss to Virginia Tech, the Huskers will be focused. Plus, if there is one thing tougher than separating from a peer, it is separating from a better, which is Mizzou’s task Still, Mizzou has the upper hand this year and two weeks to prepare. This will be a single digit game late in the fourth quarter. Last team to score covers the spread.
4. Oklahoma -27.5 at Baylor
Until the Sooners give me a reason to doubt them, I won’t.
5. Texas A&M +24.5 at Okie St
A is for Atrocious. M for Miserable.
6. Texas -14 at Colorado
Another Home team on a mission, following the Buffs’ loss in Tallahassee last Saturday. Not to mention playing a Top 5 team. You can ask OU about being a Top 5 team playing in Boulder.
7. Penn St-13 at Purdue
See Oklahoma at Baylor.
8. UConn +7 at UNC
A Tar Heel let down, perhaps, after their big win in Miami? Or are they on a roll?
9. Stanford +7.5 at Notre Dame
Would you believe these two teams used to be good? Great even?
The Fighting Irish are closer to being there again. And at Home.
10. Illinois +2.5 at Michigan
Despite their fluke win last week vs. Wisconsin, Michigan has a long way to go to stop sucking.
11. Florida -24.5 at Arkansas
Not that Michigan sucks as much as Arkansas.
12. Washington St +17 at UCLA
Why would I expect UCLA to beat anyone by more than 17 points anywhere?
13. Ohio St -2.5 at Wisconsin
Two straight losses for Wisconsin? This one in Madison? In another day, when Ohio St was good.
14. Oregon +16.5 at USC
Hell hath no fury like a Trojan scorned.
15. Hawaii +22.5 at Fresno St
There is trouble in paradise.
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