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Betting the Big 12: Week 2

Somehow the column scraped out a winning week

Northern Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

Without a doubt the biggest story from Week 1 in college football that we couldn’t hear enough was how great the Pac-12 looks and how bad the Big 12 looks. I want to unpack that just a little bit. The Pac-12, as we all know, will cease to exist in its present form after this season, with 10 of the current schools leaving for other conferences. That has made a lot of people, myself included, feeling nostalgic and not necessarily looking forward to the changes. But this is also the conference that has not made the College Football Playoff since 2017 and consistently fails to fill stadiums. In Week 0 and Week 1, here is a full list of schools that were defeated by the Pac-12:

San Jose State (x2)

Florida (by a favored Utah in Salt Lake City)

Southern Utah



Boise State

Portland State

TCU (admittedly a great win by Colorado, but we all felt TCU was due for a letdown)

North Texas

Colorado State

Northern Arizona

Coastal Carolina

For those keeping score at home, that’s 2 wins over other power conference teams, and one of those was by Utah at home as a favorite. I understand that you play who is in front of you, but let’s be honest, we need to pump the brakes on the Pac-12 hype train for a bit. This week, 7 Pac-12 schools play a non-conference P5 opponent. If they all win again, I will be showering them with praise in this column next week.

On the other end of the overreaction spectrum, the Big 12. I have no defense for Baylor losing at home to Texas State or Texas Tech blowing a 17 point lead to Wyoming. Let’s not knock down the conference for West Virginia getting blown out at Penn State, or TCU dropping a game to a much improved Colorado team. This week, 7 Big 12 schools will play non-conference P5 opponents, including a few head-to-head battles with the mighty Pac-12. While I wasn’t as high on the conference this year, we can wait until after this weekend to make judgments on how the rest of the season will go.

What does this all mean? Week 1 is all about overreactions. Week 2 is all about overcorrections. I’m looking over the betting lines for this week and seeing opportunity. I’m a firm believer that nothing can motivate a team more than a humbling opening week loss, so while the world is betting against Baylor and Texas Tech after last week’s flop, I’m not willing to jump ship just yet.


Illinois (1-0) at Kansas (1-0)

Kickoff: Friday 6:30pm | TV: ESPN2 | The Line: Kansas -3

No Jalon Daniels last week but now he’s back? Illinois almost lost to Toledo last week? I guess this is a real measuring stick of how we feel about Kansas. I don’t trust the defense yet and if they score 50, so be it.

Pick: Illinois +3

#12 Utah (1-0) at Baylor (0-1)

Kickoff: 11:00am | TV: ESPN | The Line: Utah -7.5

Utah is going to cook, in the wrong way. Forecast is calling for 100+ degrees in Waco for Saturday. If you notice a trend, we’re going to back the teams that looked awful last week and try to fade the public. Baylor meets the mold, probably more than any other team.

Pick: Baylor +7.5

Troy (1-0) at #15 Kansas State (1-0)

Kickoff: 11:00am | TV: FS1 | The Line: Kansas State -16.5

Troy is a sneaky good team that no one remembers from last year. This is K-State’s first step up in 2023. The purple cats lost at home to Tulane last year, so they aren’t immune to a slip up.

Pick: Troy +16.5

Iowa (1-0) at Iowa State (1-0)

Kickoff: 2:30pm | TV: FOX | The Line: Iowa -3.5

I guess this is the place where I have to make an official prediction. Iowa State’s special teams are improved enough, and Cade McNamara is limited enough by his injury that this thing stays close. I can’t see either side winning by more than a field goal in a tense, low scoring battle. I’ll take the Clones getting the points at home and just hope Rocco Becht is ready for the big stage.

Pick: Iowa State +3.5

SMU (1-0) at #18 Oklahoma (1-0)

Kickoff: 5:00pm | TV: ESPN+ | The Line: Oklahoma -16

Simple, I just don’t think Oklahoma is going to score in the 70s or shut out another team. Take the Sooners to come down to Earth a bit.

Pick: SMU +16

Cincinnati (1-0) at Pittsburgh (1-0)

Kickoff: 5:30pm | TV: The CW | The Line: Pittsburgh -7

Catch this game after the One Tree Hill marathon on the CW. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Cincy this year, so let’s try to not overreact to an FCS blowout.

Pick: Pittsburgh -7

#11 Texas (1-0) at #3 Alabama (1-0)

Kickoff: 6:00pm | TV: ESPN | The Line: Alabama -7.5

This might be the lock of all locks. Texas fans are wayyyyyyyy too confident heading into this game based on what happened last year. Thing is, now they’re heading to Tuscaloosa. Quinn Ewers is not built for this. I honestly feel like Alabama is going to win this by 3 touchdowns. That extra half point in Texas’ favor feels like it’s begging people to take them. I’m not falling for it.

Pick: Alabama -7.5

#13 Oregon (1-0) at Texas Tech (0-1)

Kickoff: 6:00pm | TV: FOX | The Line: Oregon -6.5

Another spot with a home team coming off a terrible performance on the road last week. Now Oregon has an offense that can really score, but something about this being less than a touchdown feels like a sign. Bet on the bounce back.

Pick: Texas Tech +6.5

UCF (1-0) at Boise State (0-1)

Kickoff: 6:00pm | TV: FS1 | The Line: UCF -3.5

I feel like I can copy and paste exactly what I said about the game above. Boise’s defense is awful, but getting points on the Smurf Turf feels like a gift. Take the over here as a bonus bet.

Pick: Boise State +3.5

Houston (1-0) at Rice (0-1)

Kickoff: 6:00pm | TV: NFL Network | The Line: Houston -9.5

Houston looked better than expected last week. Not again. Why is this line less than 10 points?

Pick: Rice +9.5

Oklahoma State (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0)

Kickoff: 9:30pm | TV: | The Line: Oklahoma State -3

I did not watch one single snap of either of these teams last week. Sorry but this conference is getting too big!

Pick: Oklahoma State -3


Nebraska +3 at Colorado

This is a 100% fade the public special. Everyone loves Colorado and hates Nebraska after last week. Sure it feels gross now but I still think Nebraska is good enough to lose to anyone by exactly 3 points or less.


Dolphins +3 at Chargers

Count me in as a believer in Tua, Waddle, and Tyreek being able to outspeed anyone indoors. I also think the Chargers are getting a home field advantage where one doesn’t exist. The stadium will be 60% Dolphin fans.


What will there be more of in the CyHawk game?

Punts +220

Points -300

Season record: 5-4 (+0.6 units)