Iowa State fans, I feel your frustration. I feel the agony of watching us turn into Iowa after beating them. Maybe this is what we deserve for saying we’d do anything to beat them. Anyway, the Cyclone offense has been a tough watch for the last few weeks. We’ve talked about it at length. We’ve made memes. We’ve tweeted about crossing routes until we’re blue in the face. And there’s been a lot of talk about changing the offensive coordinator. For starters, that’s not going to happen during the season. It’s not going to happen in the offseason either. I wouldn’t expect firing Tom Manning to make a difference. Our problems extend way beyond playcalling. Firing Manning isn’t the magic switch that will turn things around.
This team cannot effectively run the ball after 6 straight years featuring an NFL running back in the backfield. Hunter Dekkers is struggling with confidence to let it fly, and especially to tuck the ball and run when the opportunity is there. Our receivers aren’t breaking tackles and generating yards after the catch. However, this is not an Iowa situation with Brian Ferentz. Tom Manning has called plays for good offenses at Iowa State. Matt Campbell isn’t about to change his whole philosophy. Being patient isn’t fun, but it’s the only move we have. Our defense will prevent us from being blown out by anyone, and things will get better.
Much like the Iowa State offense, the gambling column can’t seem to build any momentum. Last week’s 2-4 effort was highlighted by Oklahoma’s QB being ruled out at the last minute on Saturday morning and Kansas covering based on line movement after writing the column. Even though I have justifiable excuses, as a man of honor those losses will stay on the record. I can’t go tempting fate with another big slate of games on tap, starting with a rare Thursday night conference affair. A positive turnaround is coming soon. Let’s go!
Baylor (3-2) at West Virginia (2-3)
Kickoff: Thursday, 6:00pm | TV: FS1 | The Line: Baylor -3.5
This is a tricky spot for the Bears on a weeknight, but something tells me West Virginia is on the bottom tier of the league and Baylor might still have a run to Dallas in them. Dave Aranda had the bye week to prepare for this one, and we know they can handle a hostile road environment.
Pick: Baylor -3.5
Iowa State (3-3) at #22 Texas (4-2)
Kickoff: 11:00am | TV: ABC | The Line: Texas -16.5
If people want to crown Texas for beating the worst team in the league, with the worst defense, and who did not have a QB, let them. Quinn Ewers is the second coming of Colt McCoy? The guy has played 9 quarters of football this year, and I know he hasn’t seen anything like what Jon Heacock will throw at him. Iowa State is at its best in these ultimate “back against the wall” scenarios, and while I won’t predict a win, I know that our defense is good enough to keep us within a score of anyone.
Pick: Iowa State +16.5
#19 Kansas (5-1) at Oklahoma (3-3)
Kickoff: 11:00am | TV: ESPN2 | The Line: Oklahoma -9
This spread is 100% influenced by the idea that Dillon Gabriel is playing for Oklahoma and Jalon Daniels is not playing for Kansas. How else do you explain it? Jason Bean is capable, and looked incredible against TCU. How much can we trust that? Max Duggan ran all over the sooners, so surely Bean can too. Oklahoma has THE WORST defense in the conference. I’m expecting a lot of points here, and frankly Kansas is the better team. Oklahoma gets the home field advantage, but our overlords cover again.
Pick: Kansas +9
#8 Oklahoma State (5-0) at #13 TCU (5-0)
Kickoff: 2:30pm | TV: ABC | The Line: TCU -4
Now we’re talking. What a game! Oklahoma State is a legit CFP contender. TCU is a nice story with a great offense. But I watched Kansas’ backup QB move at will against the Frogs defense last weekend. With Spencer Sanders playing the best ball of his career, Oklahoma State in a high scoring game is the way to go.
Pick: Oklahoma State +4
BEST BET AROUND THE COUNTRY
Utah -3.5 vs USC
How do you follow up a complete dud in this spot last week? By going right back to the well. Look, Utah might not be what we all thought they would be this year, but at home? At night? Where there will be smoke over the field for the entire first half? This is a perfect spot. Utah puts Oklahoma fans out of their misery and hands Lincoln Riley his first L out West.
NFL PICK OF THE WEEKEND
Bears PK vs Commanders
I’m a Bears fan, so you won’t often hear me recommend this, but they are winning this game. It will be ugly, so plug your nose, but Carson Wentz is on his way out of the NFL and the Commies are just buying time until they fire the head coach. The Bears can run a little bit, and Washington can’t stop the run. The Bears have a decent pass rush in theory, and Washington can’t block at all.
PROP OF THE WEEK FOR OKLAHOMA FANS
Higher total this weekend?
Iowa State points scored +120
Oklahoma points allowed -150
Season record: 24-27-2 (-6.0 units)