The Big 12 Conference season begins in earnest this weekend, and if last Saturday's two games are any indication of how the season will go then be prepared for two fun months of college football.
Week 3 Record ATS: 3-2
Overall Record ATS: 13-11
Beginning Bank: $417
New Bank: $414
NOTE! There is a new interactive feature at the end of this page.
Kansas Jayhawks @ Iowa State Cyclones - Saturday, October 3rd @ 11:00 AM - FSN
Line: ISU -16.5
Simply put, Iowa State needs to win this game and win big.
The team needs this victory to build any momentum heading into the upcoming gauntlet of terror.
Rhoads needs this victory to secure his immediate future.
Sam needs this victory to modify his career's narrative.
We need this victory because a loss would send the already manic fan-base (yes, I'm talking about you people) down a raging torrent of emotions, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of tire-fire alternatives.
It's Kansas. Get it done.
My bet: $55/ISU -16.5
(23)West Virginia Mountaineers @ (15)Oklahoma Sooners - Saturday, October 3rd @ 11:00 AM - FS1
Line: OU -6.5
All the talk before August focused attention on Baylor and TCU as the teams to beat in the Big 12 race. Oklahoma has recently been working on rebuilding its brand while West Virginia has yet to fully crest the one true hill since joining the conference in 2012. However, with both teams ranked and impressive thus far in their campaigns, it is easily argued the winner of this game puts last year's champions on notice that their reign is threatened.
Oklahoma, 3-0 with wins against Akron, @ Tennessee and Tulsa, has scored an average of 41.3 points per game with Junior quarterback, Baker Mayfield, leading the offense. The Junior transfer from Texas Tech has thrown for 10 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions (both to Tennessee) in his first 3 games in the Crimson and Cream. His best offensive output came two weeks ago when he threw for 487 yards and 4 touchdowns and ran for 2 more against Tulsa. Sophomore running back, Samaje Perine, has been somewhat human following his outstanding freshman campaign (1713 yds/21 TDs), rushing for only 263 yards and 2 touchdowns so far in 2015.
The Sooner's defense (52nd) will be tested by Skyler Howard and his 12th ranked offense. The Mountaineers are averaging 543.3 yards of offense per game with their new field general and have scored over 40 points in all three games. The defense has been impressive as well, allowing only 23 points three games in.
Oklahoma is the more battle tested team at this point of the season, and the game being played in Norman benefits the Sooners as they look to re-establish their claim to the Big 12 Championship.
My bet: $11/OU -6.5
Texas Longhorns @ (4)TCU Horned Frogs - Saturday, October 3rd @ 11:00 AM - ABC
Line: TCU -14.5
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the Spring of hope, it was the Fall of despair. They had everything before them, they had everything behind them.
This truly is a tale of two programs as one, TCU, has climbed up from the pits of football obscurity (WAC, CUSA, MWC,
Big East) to perch atop of one of the nation's best conferences. The other, Texas, has seen its power and control over all things Big 12 fade significantly over the past half-decade.
The Horned Frogs, ranked 4th in this week's AP Poll, enter with an unblemished record after a pre-conference schedule not many will defend as "elite". Last year, TCU was the surprise story in college football. Expected to finish somewhere in the bottom half of the conference, they exceeded everyone's expectations en-route to their first shared Big 12 Championship before being leap-frogged by Ohio State for the last spot in the inaugural BCS Playoff.
While Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson have kept the explosive Horned Frog's offense on the same torrid pace in 2015, the defense has lost a significant portion of the dominance that was on display against Ol' Miss in the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
Texas' schedulers have treated the Longhorns to an early season slate of stout competition and their record (1-3) displays their battle scars but not proudly. After their embarrassing loss in South Bend Week 1, the Texas offense found renewed energy under the leadership of Jerrod Heard. A few bad calls and some questionable execution are the difference between this team's accomplishments and a 3-1 record.
Oh, my god. They are becoming us.
My bet: $11/TCU -14.5
Texas Tech Red Raiders @ (5)Baylor Bears - Saturday, October 3rd @ 2:30 PM - ABC/ESPN2
Line: Baylor -17
There is a reason this total opened at 87 points and briefly held the record for highest Over/Under at 90.5.
Never short on offensive firepower during the Art Briles era, 5th ranked Baylor has scored an average of 64 points on its opening cupcakes. Texas Tech, not to be outdone, has scored less than 50 points just once (a 35-24 win at Arkansas) and went toe-to-toe with #4 TCU before a lucky tip late ended their upset bid in last week's conference opener.
The Red Raiders have been very impressive early in Kliff Kingsbury's third season. One might question if they have the mental stamina to maintain such high level play against high level opponents, or if they will succumb to the same fate as Geno Smith and the 2012 Mountaineers; collapsing once the conference season began.
Baylor appeared to be pick up steam as they rolled over their first three opponents, increasing their scoring output with each game. The defense finally decided to join the fun last week, limiting Rice to 210 net yards on 66 plays.
This will be a high scoring affair and I have little doubt the two teams can easily combine for 90 points on Saturday, but 87.5 is a difficult number to put money behind.
My bet: $11/Baylor -17
Kansas State Wildcats @ (20)Oklahoma State Cowboys - Saturday, October 3rd @ 3:00 PM - FS1
Line: OSU -7.5
Juxtaposed to the shootout in Waco, this game will feature defense, and that bores me.
With all due respect to the involved team's fans, I have little interest in this game and prefer not to offer any more details about it. But, if you still care, then you can read K-State's opinion here, or the Cowboy's here.
My bet: $11/K-State +7.5
BONUS: Pick the score of the Iowa State vs. Kansas game!
Narber's Best ATS Bets
Last week: (2-3-0)
Eastern Michigan @ LSU (-45): Surely you've seen and heard it by now — the nation's worst rush defense (and it's bad) belongs to Eastern Michigan. They travel to Baton Rouge where they'll face Heisman frontrunner Leonard Fournette. EMU allowed 58 points to Army last week, and there's no reason why that number shouldn't be easily eclipsed by the Tigers this week. The Eagles are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games.
Oregon @ Colorado (+8): All ATS trends dating back the last couple years point to Oregon covering eight points easily, especially against Colorado, but I wouldn't be so sure here. The Ducks have found themselves in a bad way lately, the Buffaloes are scoring points, and being in Boulder makes this one intriguing for me. Oregon is 1-4 ATS in its last five games, and I'm not counting on a major turnaround after losing 62-20 to Utah. I think Mike MacIntyre's boys keep it just close enough.
Michigan (-16) @ Maryland: Michigan has allowed just shy of 10 points per game this season, and Maryland scored just six in their loss to West Virginia last week. In theory, assuming Jim Harbaugh's defense holds form, covering 16 should be a relatively easy task in College Park. They won't need a lot of points to do so. I'll take Michigan, big.
UNLV (+7) @ Nevada: Vegas CyClown and I both agree this is the pick of the week. We like UNLV to win this one outright in Reno (and so do a lot of prediction models out there from what I've seen). Against the spread in each team's last five contests, UNLV is 5-0 on the road and Nevada is 1-4 at home. And then there's this. Give me the Rebels.
Iowa (+7) @ Wisconsin: A couple of trends I'm looking at in this one: Wisconsin is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 against Iowa, and Iowa is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 on the road. If we see the Badger defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown since Week 1, the Iowa is in trouble. But Greg Davis' offense, the pure sorcery that it is, seems to score at will these days. Something's got to give. I think it's close — Wisconsin wins on a late field goal, Hawks cover.