It’s getting down to brass tacks for the Big 12 Conference. Iowa State took a huge step toward the Big 12 Championship Game by beating Texas, but the Cyclones aren’t officially in. That could be seen as a formality, given that a million different things would have to happen to somehow keep Iowa State out of that game at this point. However, Iowa State can end any and all suspense by doing the one thing within its control: Win the next game.
Big 12 Championship Game
While the Cyclones try to get their spot in the Big 12 Championship Game, there are two teams with a chance to face Iowa State: Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Both teams have lost twice, but Oklahoma won head to head. This means Oklahoma State has to win out while getting one loss from Oklahoma in the Sooners’ next two games. We will see if Oklahoma can stay on course, or if the Sooner Schooner gets knocked off track. Big 12 football is heading toward the final few games of a conference season, which has had COVID-19 disruptions, but not as many as the SEC or especially the Big Ten and Pac-12. Let’s take a closer look at the online betting lines.
Texas Longhorns at Kansas State Wildcats
College Football Odds: Texas -10
Kansas State Wildcats
It’s impossible to know how motivated either team is going to be. We’re playing sports in a pandemic, so the teams that are playing for conference championships or high-end bowl berths or College Football Playoff bids have a lot to pursue. The other teams that don’t have those prizes on the table could easily check out and think they’ve already fought their fight and shot their arrow at the target. Remember that several additional bowl games have been canceled the past few weeks, with more to come. There aren’t going to be fun bowl trips this season unless the game is a prestigious one. There won’t be many fans at the bowl games. It’s not going to be the festive environment and atmosphere one normally has at a bowl. Therefore, with Texas having been knocked out of the Big 12 Championship Game race with that Iowa State loss, it’s hard to know if the Longhorns are going to play with pride. They are more talented than a Kansas State team that sorely misses injured quarterback Skylar Thompson, but if Texas doesn’t care, that talent advantage isn’t going to matter.
Texas is expected to fire head coach Tom Herman at the end of this season, with Urban Meyer being rumored to be in the mix for that job. Players could easily quit not just on the season itself, but on Tom Herman. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether that will happen, so tread cautiously in the online sportsbook.
Kansas Jayhawks at Texas Tech Red Raiders
College Football Odds: Texas Tech -27.5
This is a game in which one can simply state that Kansas is a terrible football team, one of the worst teams in major-conference college football (Big 12, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12). The Jayhawks have been non-competitive in most of their games, including games against Baylor and other opponents, which just aren’t very good.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Kansas can’t make a game of it against mediocre opposition, and Texas Tech is a mediocre team. Kansas allowed 59 points this past Saturday to a below-average TCU offense. If TCU can score 59, Texas Tech can certainly do the same against the Jayhawks, who are weak at virtually every position on the field and have no answers for what their opponents want to do in each and every game.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs TCU Horned Frogs
College Football Odds: Oklahoma State -2.5
Oklahoma State Cowboys
This is a tricky game. Oklahoma State has multiple offensive linemen out with injuries, and TCU has regularly been one of the better defensive teams in college football. This could easily turn into a game where Oklahoma State’s offense gets bottled up. The Cowboys are not likely to run wild for 50 points, as they did last week against Texas Tech in one of the Big 12’s foremost shootouts of the 2020 season. However, while Oklahoma State’s offense might suffer, its defense should be a lot better than it was this past weekend. Oklahoma State’s defense has been good at rushing the passer and containing opposing offenses this season.
TCU Horned Frogs
The Texas Tech game this past Saturday was an exception. Oklahoma State knows that TCU and quarterback Max Duggan scored 59 points this past weekend, but that was against Kansas, a team that distorts a lot of opponents’ offensive statistics. TCU is not a consistently strong offensive team; Duggan has been inconsistent this season, largely because he is constantly banged up and bruised due to a deficient offensive line that can’t normally protect him.
Oklahoma State won’t score 50, but it won’t give up 44, either. In what looks like a 27-23 kind of game, Oklahoma State has a better track record in 2020 of making the decisive handful of plays that will tip the balance of this contest. OSU will stay in the Big 12 Championship Game race.
West Virginia Mountaineers at Iowa State Cyclones
College Football Odds: Iowa State -7
Iowa State Cyclones
This is the moment Iowa State fans have been waiting for. Their team has never appeared in a Big 12 Championship Game. The Big 12 has had a conference title game from 1996- 2010, and after a six-year break, it resumed the game in 2017. Iowa State, after 18 seasons in which it has not been able to play in a one-shot Big 12 title fight, could finally punch its ticket if it beats West Virginia.The Cyclones are a clearly better team than WVU.
West Virginia Mountaineers
The West Virginia offense has been sluggish and an undeniable work in progress under second-year head coach Neal Brown, who is still trying to recruit his own players and develop his system. Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has quarterback Brock Purdy playing well for an offense that has been regularly productive. The Cyclones have an identity as a team with a balanced offense and a defense that defends the red zone extremely well. Iowa State could get nervous and play poorly, but one should expect the Cyclones to thrive when presented with this great opportunity against an inferior opponent at home.
Baylor Bears at Oklahoma Sooners
College Football Odds: Oklahoma -22
Oklahoma should be able to do whatever it wants. Baylor did come back from a late 31-22 deficit this past Saturday to beat Kansas State 32-31, but the Bears simply do not have the depth or quality on either side of the ball which they possessed a year ago, when they took Oklahoma into overtime in the Big 12 Championship Game before losing by an eyelash. Baylor has lost a ton of high-level personnel from the 2019 roster.
The Bears have won only two Big 12 games, both against opponents with losing records. Oklahoma has gotten better and healthier as the season has progressed, so the gap between these teams is enormous. Oklahoma will move within one win of yet another appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game.