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Betting the Big 12: Will the One True Champion Please Stand Up?

November is the month where champions are born. Who will rise above the rest to become this season's One True Champion? The journey begins tonight.

Week 9 Record ATS: 1-3

Overall Record ATS: 24-22

Beginning Bank: $ $352

P/L: $ (57)

New Bank: $ 295

Congrats to last week's guest picker, CycloneStateOfMind, who hit 3 out of 5 of his picks with some pretty accurate calls.

As for me, it is looking less and less likely that I will be able to afford the fake hookers and blow I enjoyed so thoroughly last offseason.

(6) Baylor Bears @ Kansas State Wildcats - Thursday, November 5th @ 6:30 PM - FS1

Line: BU -17

O/U: 67.5

In their first game without Seth Russell, the Baylor Bears' hopes rest in the arm of highly touted freshman, Jarrett Stidham. The next quarterback up in Art Briles' plug and play system seemingly has all the tools to be successful. He was ranked by ESPN as the nation's No. 2 dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school last season and already has six touchdowns to zero interceptions in seven Baylor garbage time appearances this season as a true freshman.

The question is will the rush to service serve as a dis-service to a player still finding his way though college life - think Garrett Gilbert. Granted, a regular season game against a program down on its luck hardly offers the same pressures as being inserted into a National Championship game, but if Stidham isn't prepared for the responsibility, the Bears' immediate and subsequent championship aspirations could quickly come to a close.

Manhattan, Kansas, is never a hospitable place to play and Baylor has only been successful in Bill Snyder Family Stadium one time since the SWC merged with the Big 8 in 1996, a 35-25 win in 2013. Art Briles, however, possesses a 4-1 advantage over the Purple Wizard since his conjuring from retirement in 2009, and has won the last three meetings between the two. The 2015 Wildcats have struggled so far, due mostly to injuries, and are currently winless through their first four conference games.

The Wildcats have been outscored 78-9 over the past two games. Maybe the week off will have done them good.

My bet: $11/Baylor -17

Texas Tech Red Raiders @ West Virginia Mountaineers - Saturday, November 7th @ 11:00 AM - FS1

Line: WVU -8

O/U: 80

The hill folk are growing restless in Morgantown as the Mountaineers, losers of their first four conference games, showed the disparity that exists between them and the conference elite. West Virginia's Big East dominance seems but a distant memory as the team has yet to serious contend for a title since joining the Big 12 four years ago. November brings relief to the beleaguered program, but first they must face yet another in a line of explosive offenses.

Thankfully, this is a high powered offense that doesn't travel well. And Tech's defense is bad. So very, very bad. West Virginia's offense has been held in check since September, averaging only 24.5 points per game last month. This game should help them find their mojo once more.

My bet: $22/Over 80

(8) TCU Horned Frogs @ (14) Oklahoma State Cowboys - Saturday, November 7th @ 2:30 PM - FOX

Line: TCU -5

O/U: 76.5

The CFB committee was less than impressed with either of these undefeated teams when they met last week to discuss their initial playoff rankings. Thankfully, November offers each team the ability to bolster its resume beginning with this game and the winner will see a comforting bump in the poll.

Oklahoma State has played consistently both on the road and at home this season and their 70 point performance in Lubbock showcased how powerful their offense can be when facing an over-matched defense. The Horned Frogs have not played exceptional defense on the road, allowing 33.8 points per game away from Amon G Carter Stadium compared to 15.3 at home. That could be a problem for a TCU team looking to avoid the one loss that kept them out of last year's final four.

The road to the One True Championship begins on Saturday.

My bet: $11 TCU -5

Iowa State Cyclones @ (15) Oklahoma Sooners - Saturday, November 7th @ 6:00 PM - ESPNU

Line: ISU +25.5

O/U: 61

I really hate this game. Oklahoma has dominated Iowa State historically, and their current coach, Bob Stoops, has never lost to the Cyclones in his 15 seasons in Norman. In fact, the last time Iowa State beat the Sooners, Coach Stoops was a 30 year old assistant on Bill Snyder's staff in Manhattan.

The time before that, he was still in diapers.

In 2002, Iowa State opened their season in Arrowhead Stadium playing the nation's number one team, Florida State, and impressed a national audience by playing closer than anyone expected, losing a heart-breaker on the final play of the game (he was in). They went on to win their next six games climbed to #9 in the AP Poll and had a Heisman contending quarterback.

Then they went to Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners humiliated Seneca Wallace, Dan McCarney and the rest of Cyclone Nation 49-3 that day, and Iowa State would go on to lose five of their last six games that season.

Some other depressing stats of this series:

Gene Chizik had the closest margin of defeat, a 17-7 loss in Ames in 2007.

Paul Rhoads' teams have been outscored 220 - 50 over his first five tries.

I hate this game.

My bet: $11/Over 61

Kansas Jayhawks @ Texas Longhorns - Saturday, November 7th @ 7:00 PM - LHN/JTV

Line: Texas -28.5

O/U: 53

Texas has scored a total of 34 points in their four road games this season - 24 of them came as the home team in the Cotton Bowl. Conversely, they have scored 136 points during their four games inside DKR Stadium.

The Jayhawks have scored 132 points. Combined. In eight losing efforts.

The best elixir for an ailing football team is a visit from the Kansas Jayhawks.

My bet: $110/Texas -28.5

Narber's Best ATS Bets

Big thanks to WRNL user cyclonestateofmind for filling in last week. The ATS savant continues to lead our college football pick'em league in dominating fashion, and his five picks last week weren't half bad either. CSOM, as we'll call him, went 3-2, but who could've predicted Minnesota and Michigan being as close as it was? Nice work, my man.

But enough about him.

Two weeks ago: 4-1

Season to Date: 15-15-0

Friday, 7:00 PM – Temple (-14) @ SMU: Temple is 4-1 ATS in its last five games to SMU's 1-4. The Mustangs have a -20 average point differential in conference play, and Temple is scoring nearly five touchdowns per game in the AAC. Neither offense is great at any one thing, and Temple has been losing the turnover battle as of late. But at 44 points per game allowed, SMU's defense is enough of a liability to make two touchdowns an easy cover for the Owls as long as they can get stops on the defensive end.

Saturday, 2:30 PM – Marshall (+3) @ Middle Tennessee: This line puzzles me. Marshall has covered in five of its last six games and is actually rolling on the road, winning 10 of 11 dating back to last season. MTSU's last two losses have been by 29 and 30, allowing 301 and 418 yards through the air in those games. Not only do I think Marshall comes in and easily covers three points, I think it's a blowout in their favor with the help of Chase Litton's arm and the nation's 10th ranked scoring defense (16.1 ppg).

Saturday, 3:00 PM – South Carolina (+17) @ Tennessee: It's hard for me to think South Carolina could lose as double-digit underdogs three times in one season. That's the scenario they're facing Saturday in Knoxville. But the Gamecocks play to the under in a solid two-thirds of their games dating back to 2013, and at +5.6 ppg in SEC play, Tennessee just isn't beating teams by enough this year to make a 17+ point win feasible for me in what could be a low-scoring affair. This matchup has been decided by either two or three points each of the last three meetings, and I expect a similar result this time around as well.

Saturday, 3:30 PM – Cincinnati @ Houston (-8.5): I just like Tom Herman to keep rolling here. Houston is winning conference games by an average of 30 points and is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games. The Cougars haven't won this matchup since 1999, but this is a new-look squad under Herman. Cincinnati can hang, but I can easily see a nine-point late season home win for the Cougs. That's all they'll need.

Saturday, 6:30 PM – Utah (+1.5) @ Washington: Prior to the USC loss, Utah was playing good defense and rebounded well for a win over Oregon State, allowing just 12 points in that one. The Utes have won nine of their last 10 and are a whopping 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games dating back to last season. Washington is -5 in turnover margin in its last two games. Behind a stout defense that can take advantage and a balanced offense scoring 34 points per game, I like Utah straight up on the road here.