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Thursday, 27 October 2016

College Football Week 9 Picks 2016 (October 27-29)

Another College Football week is in the books and I was on the wrong side of the nine pick split for the second week in a row. It was a poor start and looked to be a really poor week coming up, but it might have been turned around completely if the Oklahoma Sooners had even a semblance of Defensive play in their unbelievable shoot out with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

It still means the season is in a solid enough position to get things turned around and finish with a positive record, but I would love to get a few wins on the board in Week 9 and start moving back in the direction I want.

Some of the problems have partly been my own fault by not quite sticking with the belief in a couple of teams, but I've also avoided some bad losses so it all comes in swings and roundabouts.

Once again I will begin my picks from Week 9 from Thursday as a host of games are scheduled to begin earlier in the week although most of the picks will come from the Saturday schedule which will be added in the next couple of days.


California Golden Bears @ USC Trojans Pick: Losing Jared Goff to the NFL was always going to make life difficult for the California Golden Bears and they are going to need a couple of upsets if they are going to become Bowl eligible. California have a 4-3 record for the season but their remaining five games come against some of the best teams in the Pac-12 Conference.

The first of those is the USC Trojans who are still in a position to win the Pac-12 South and earn a spot in the Conference Championship Game in what has been an underachieving season for them. This is a big game for the Trojans when it comes to remaining competitive in the South as they trail the leaders by a game, but also could be very important when it comes to becoming Bowl eligible as they are at 4-3 with games at Washington and UCLA to come.

There is a question of potential fatigue affecting the California Golden Bears as they have to play on a short week while the USC Trojans have been on a bye. The powerful Offense is also going to be facing a Trojans Defensive Unit which has played well but having been forced to go to Overtime in each of their last two games is difficult.

On the other hand this still looks a lot of points for the Golden Bears to be given with an experienced Quarter Back in Davis Webb leading the way. It might be down to Webb to move the chains for the Golden Bears unless Khalfani Muhammed comes in with something to prove against the USC Trojans having not been given an opportunity to play there.

Muhammed is facing an improved USC Defensive Line, but the Golden Bears have been able to open running lanes for him and it is important for California to establish the run to take the heat off of Webb.

Justin Davis might not have recovered in time to take the starting Running Back spot for USC, but it shouldn't be an issue for the Trojans to establish the run in this one. They have managed to do that without Davis and California have allowed far too much on the ground which should give Sam Darnold some breathing room at Quarter Back.

The California Secondary hasn't played badly, but a lot of that is down to the fact that they haven't been able to stop the run. It should mean USC have a comfortable time moving the chains, but this is a lot of points to give up to this California Offense.

The fatigue issues have to be a concern, but the Golden Bears have given USC all they can handle the last two seasons and Davis Webb has the experience at Quarter Back to keep California in touch, although they ultimately will likely come up short.


Connecticut Huskies @ East Carolina Pirates Pick: Neither of these teams has much hope of making it to the Conference Championship Game, but there are still some goals to achieve, most notably becoming Bowl eligible. Both the Connecticut Huskies and East Carolina Pirates will have circled this game as a big one to get on that path with the regular season beginning to wind down.

There is some similarities with the way these teams are going to approach this game as they will look to take to the air to get the chains moving, and the bare statistics might say the East Carolina Pirates are the right side to pick. The Connecticut Secondary have been a shambles through the season but they might have a couple of ways to slow down what the Pirates are able to do against them.

First the Connecticut Defensive Line have actually played pretty well and keeping East Carolina in third and long is going to be huge for the Huskies. While the Pirates will be able to make plays against a Secondary that have allowed over 290 passing yards per game on the season, the Huskies Defensive Line will be able to get pressure on Philipp Nelson whose Offensive Line have struggled at times in pass protection, and that should especially be the case if Nelson needs time for his routes to develop in long passing situations.

Nelson has also been guilty of turning the ball over which will be music to Connecticut Defenders ears as that has been one area where the Secondary have had some success.

Like East Carolina, Connecticut have struggled to get the run established this season but they might find more joy against the Pirates who have really had issues up front. Even getting a little bit going should open things up for the Huskies passing Offense and they will be encouraged by the way Arkeel Newsome ran the ball last week to get that going.

It will make life easier for Bryant Shirreffs at Quarter Back as he looks to have a decent match up against an East Carolina Defensive unit that have struggled to get to the Quarter Back or turn the ball over. Shirreffs having time to make plays could see him have a really big game and the Quarter Back is also mobile enough to move away from any pressure he sees and then pass downfield.

The extra possessions I anticipate Connecticut getting in this game could be huge to the outcome of it and I think there is a real chance the Huskies win this one outright. Either way they look to be getting too many points with the whole Touchdown and conversion worth of points and I am going to back the Huskies as the underdog.


Kansas State Wildcats @ Iowa State Cyclones Pick: The Iowa State Cyclones are coming in off a bye week and have Homecoming in Week 9 but their run of years without being Bowl eligible looks set to continue. The Cyclones are 1-6 for the season and 0-4 in the Big 12 Conference games which means needing to run the table to reach the six games that are required to take part in a Bowl.

Teething problems under new Head Coach Matt Campbell had to be expected for the Cyclones and that has proved to be the case for a school that has nine wins in the last three and a half seasons. It all begins with the difficulty to run the ball as getting little from the Offensive side makes it more difficult for the Defensive unit to make the plays to keep the Iowa State Cyclones in games.

It won't get easier for them this week when they host the Kansas State Wildcats who are now just two wins from playing in another Bowl game. Kansas State held off the Texas Longhorns for a home win last week and they look to match up well with Cyclones and can improve on their 22-4 record against this Conference rival.

Jesse Ertz is still playing with a sore shoulder for Kansas State and it was a couple of costly turnovers in the Fourth Quarter that helped spark the Texas comeback in Week 8. The Wildcats might not need Ertz throwing the ball and getting into trouble this week though as they should be able to move the ball on the ground with big chunk plays against a Defensive Line who have allowed 5.1 yards per carry.

The Wildcats ran the ball very well against a stronger Defensive Line that the Texas Longhorns have and they should be able to get going with Ertz and Charles Jones able to rip off big gains. Ertz was able to make some plays with his arm with the run established last week and I think the Quarter Back will be able to do the same in Week 9 when he needs to or when Kansas State decide to surprise with play-action.

It will be much more difficult for Iowa State to run the ball which is only going to increase the pressure on the Offensive unit when they are in third and long spots. The Cyclones might have some success throwing against the Secondary, but it is extremely difficult when you see the Sack numbers from the last three games.

Of course these are issues that would have been worked upon in the bye week, but Kansas State can get pressure on whichever Quarter Back gets the start in this one which can only lead to drives stalling and mistakes being made. It will be difficult for Iowa State to move the chains with the same consistency as the Wildcats and I am leaning very much towards Kansas State earning the win on the road.

They might not have done that so far this season, but the Iowa State Cyclones don't really compare to Stanford, West Virginia and Oklahoma and the Wildcats have a very strong record against them. Keep the turnovers down and I like Kansas State to win this one by double digits on the road so I will take them to cover this number.


Michigan Wolverines @ Michigan State Spartans Pick: The Michigan State Spartans have dominated this rivalry in recent seasons, but this looks like an ideal time for the Michigan Wolverines to really put together a big win over their rivals. The Wolverines are unlikely to take their foot off the pedal if they get in front in this one and it could be a long day for the Spartans who have been struggling.

Another loss in Week 8 dropped Michigan State to 0-4 in the Big Ten Conference just a season after making the Play Offs. Even reaching a Bowl is beginning to slip from the Spartans control and their last remaining goals might be to ruin Michigan and Ohio State's seasons with home wins over both.

In fact I am sure Michigan State would gladly accept a loss the rest of the season if it meant winning this weekend and this could be the biggest effort the Spartans put in for any remaining game. That makes them dangerous, but I am not sure Michigan State are going to find the Offense to really make a game of this one.

The Quarter Back play has been a big letdown for Michigan State having seen Connor Cook leave for the NFL at the end of last season and neither Tyler O'Connor nor Brian Lewerke have made a strong claim to the start. It looks like being O'Connor this week but he is facing a Michigan Defensive Line that have generated plenty of pressure on the Quarter Back and a Secondary who have been able to turn the ball over which is a concern for the home team.

Michigan State would love to lean on LJ Scott to control the clock and ease the pressure on O'Connor, but the Wolverines have only allowed 2.9 yards per carry on the season and have been improving that number to 2.1 yards per carry over their last three games. With the Offense stuck in third and long more often than they are going to like, Michigan State will have to hope the Defensive unit can step up against this level of competition to keep in touch with the Wolverines.

That simply doesn't look like a realistic possibility though as the Michigan State Defensive Line have been worn out and are now giving up huge chunks per play on the ground. With the Wolverines conjuring up almost 300 yards per game on the ground over their last three games, Michigan State could see another huge game going against them.

Chris Evans is the leading rusher and might not be available for this one, but Michigan won't anticipate that being a big problem and should still establish the run. That should only make life easier for Wilton Speight at Quarter Back who should be able to make plays with his arm when he wants to as he will be faced with limited pressure in the passing game as the Wolverines continue being in third and short or using play action to their advantage.

Michigan State are 8-0 against the spread in their recent games with Michigan, but that is only going to pump up their visitors more. Don't think for a second that Jim Harbaugh has forgotten the way his team lost to the Spartans last season and seeing Michigan State in the Play Offs would have irritated him no end.

I don't anticipate Harbaugh calling the dogs off if they build a big lead and I am backing Michigan to put a statement win on the Spartans who have won seven of the last eight games in this rivalry.


Penn State Nittany Lions @ Purdue Boilermakers Pick: The Penn State Nittany Lions produced their first statement win under Head Coach James Franklin when they beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in Happy Valley in Week 8. That win came as an underdog of close to three Touchdowns and the win puts them in contention to play in the Big Ten Championship Game by surprising both Ohio State and Michigan to top spot in the East Division.

There is plenty of work before that can happen and the focus for Penn State is to avoid the letdown spot when they visit the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilermakers were also facing an unbeaten Division rival last week but they couldn't come up with the upset despite covering the spread.

Purdue will have to be given the respect they deserve from the Nittany Lions if Penn State are going to avoid falling in this trap game. Defensively they do look to match up well with the Boilermakers and I think that is important for Penn State, while Offensively they should have more consistent joy than they did against the much vaunted Ohio State Defense.

Darrell Hazell has been fired by Purdue who will have an interim Head Coach for the second game and they are a team that likes to pass the ball. It is going to be tough for the Boilermakers to get David Blough into third and short spots because they haven't been able to run the ball as effectively as they would like and now face a Nittany Lions Defensive Line who have restricted what teams have been able to do on the ground.

Blough has helped Purdue average over 300 passing yards per game through the air and is coming off a huge performance against Nebraska, but now faces a Secondary that haven't allowed 200 passing yards per game. The Nittany Lions showed a really good pass rush in the win over Ohio State so should be able to pressure the Quarter Back who hasn't been able to avoid big turnovers at times.

While Purdue will have to take some risks through the air, Penn State should be able to lean on Saquon Barkley this week much more than they could in Week 8 against Ohio State. Where the Buckeyes Defensive Line have been stout, Purdue's Defensive Line have allowed almost 250 yards per game on the ground and have struggled more and more as the season has worn on.

Now they are giving up 6.2 yards per carry over their last three games and Barkley should be able to find some big gaps behind his Offensive Line to expose those vulnerabilities. It will ease the pressure on Trace McSorley at Quarter Back despite the impressive performance he showed against Ohio State with some big time throws made. With Barkley running the ball as I imagine, McSorley might not be asked to do too much but just enough to keep the Defense off balance.

The road team has improved to 4-1-1 against the spread in this series and Penn State have won the last two in the series by big margins, although this is the first they have played since 2013. The letdown spot is an absolute concern, but Penn State have the chance to win the Division and I think they have an edge on both sides of the ball which can make all the difference in the contest.

While I can see Purdue making some big plays in this one too, I think the Nittany Lions create a couple of turnovers which can be turned into points and I like them to win this one by two Touchdowns on the road.


Washington Huskies @ Utah Utes Pick: There is every chance that the Washington Huskies and the Utah Utes will meet again in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game in December as the two leaders of their respective Divisions clash in Week 9. Neither Head Coach will be thinking about that with some significant hurdles to overcome before the regular season is concluded, but don't be surprise if some mention is made of that in the build up to this game.

The layers are much more convinced about the Washington Huskies than the Utah Utes if the spread is anything to go by this week. Asking a team to cover double digits on the road against a solid 7-1 team shows a lot of respect to Washington, but this has to fuel the Utah players to produce their very best game.

You might think that is also encouraging me to lean towards the points and the home team, but actually I think the Washington Huskies are going to put another statement win up. It is important they do as Washington might feel they are being disrespected having still been outside the top four of the Rankings and that means style points could be all important going forward.

Myles Gaskin might not be as recognisable a name at Running Back as some of the others in the College Football ranks, but he has been performing at a high level for Washington. He should be relishing the match up against the Utah Defensive Line which has allowed 4.2 yards per carry over their last three games and face a Washington Offensive Line who have paved the way for 270 yards per game on the ground over their last three games.

There has also been a slip in the way the Utah Secondary have been performing and Jake Browning at Quarter Back is more than capable of adding to those problems. Browning looks to have a good match up throwing the ball in this one, while Washington being able to run the ball has made it that much more difficult for a pass rush to get to the Quarter Back when he does step back to throw. The one concern for Browning will be being aware of the ball-hawking nature of this Secondary, but he has thrown only 2 Interceptions all season and Washington should move the chains with some consistency.

Running the ball for the Utah Utes will be tasked to Joe Williams who is back from a retirement having only retired last month, but injuries to the Utah Running Backs has brought him back. The Running Back can get himself established as Utah have opened holes effectively for him, while the Huskies have perhaps not been as stout as they would have wanted in recent games.

The absence of Joe Mathis may make it even more difficult to stop the run, but Washington may load the line of scrimmage and instead dare Utah to beat them through the air. Troy Williams is Quarter Back for the Utes and is playing against his former school having transferred from Washington in 2014. The dual-threat Quarter Back has helped Joe Williams get the run going, but he has found it more difficult to pass and is dealing with a Washington Defensive Line that have gotten to the Quarter Back a lot in recent games.

Troy Williams has looked after the ball, but it is going to be tough to keep the chains moving if Washington are looking to stop Utah running the ball. The Huskies Defense has been playing very well and also have a keen eye for stripping the ball and creating fumbles which is going to be an issue for Utah if they insist on running the ball.

There does feel like there will be more Offensive output from the Washington Huskies and they can win the turnover battle to just begin to pull away in the second half. A home upset to Utah means Washington come here with revenge on their minds and the Huskies have dominated opponents since the narrow escape against Arizona. I think Washington will be able to eventually put together another impressive win by at least two Touchdowns and I am backing them to cover on the road.


Kansas Jayhawks @ Oklahoma Sooners Pick: The Kansas Jayhawks can win this one outright... Ok, they can't really expect to do that, but I am not sure they are getting a little disrespected with the amount of points they are going to Norman with. This is more than a Touchdown worth of points that the Jayhawks were given when they visited the Baylor Bears recently and I am keen to take the points and see what the Sooners can, or want to do about.

First things first, I do think I have to point out that the Sooners have battered Kansas in recent meetings including a 55 point win on the road, while their last two wins over them at home have come by 45 and and 37 points. So the 40.5 points being given to Kansas might not look a lot when you think of it that way.

However, I think the Jayhawks have shown some improvement this season even if their 1-6 record doesn't indicate as much. They were only outgained by 28 total yards by the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Week 8 and actually outgained TCU in another loss, but taking that kind of attitude on the road is the next step for their progress.

The problem for Kansas has to be the fact that they are a little one-dimensional when it comes to the Offense and they are not able to control the clock for long periods which is so important against the best teams, especially for an underdog. Being unable to run the ball will make life tough for Montell Cozart who is expected to get the start at Quarter Back but he must feel he can make some plays against a Secondary that have had a tough time for much of the season.

No one is going to confuse the Kansas passing game with that of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, but the Sooners Defense was still an abomination in Week 8 and has plenty of work to do. You do have to imagine a much stronger performance from them against a weaker Offense, but Cozart should be able to make some plays when throwing the ball. Interceptions have been a problem and giving Oklahoma extra possessions will be almost impossible to overcome, but I do think Kansas can move the chains and score some points.

There is absolutely no doubt that Oklahoma will be able to do the same as they can punish the Jayhawks with the run and Baker Mayfield should be able to have his way when he does step back to throw. It is hard to see any real consistency in the stops for Kansas, but the Sooners might not be as focused on the Offensive side of the ball as they look to show improvement Defensively.

The Sooners have a short week so could bring in the back up players if they are ahead by thirty odd points which gives Kansas the chance for a backdoor cover here. All in all I just feel the Sooners aren't worried about blowout the Jayhawks but might easily be concentrating on showing improvements and getting ready for a big three weeks ahead. Oklahoma are also just 2-3 against the spread when being asked to cover 30 points or more and I will take the points with the Jayhawks in this one.


Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Wisconsin Badgers Pick: The Big Ten West Division is in the control of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and you might even say they have won the Division and play in the Conference Championship Game if they can win in Week 9. It won't be easy as they travel to the Wisconsin Badgers who have been unfortunate with the scheduling that they have had to play Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State from the East.

The Badgers are far from done though even with 2 losses in the Conference and a win in Week 9 might make them the favourites to progress to the Championship Game. The importance of this game will not be lost on either team when they take to the field for this huge Big Ten Conference game.

There are some similarities between the teams as both will believe their Defensive unit has the edge over the Offense they are facing. Both teams have controlled the line of scrimmage with their Defensive Line and made it difficult for teams to establish the run against them and that is going to be a key to their success in this game.

One of the key differences between two stout Defenses against the run might be the injuries and attrition the Wisconsin Linebackers have faced. They've lost another starter on that unit and Terrell Newby has been running the ball very well for Nebraska over their last three games which could prove to be a game opener.

I also think the Cornhuskers have the edge when it comes to the Quarter Back position. Tommy Armstrong has been well protected by his Offensive Line and his ability to move the chains with his legs as well as his arm could be crucial. With the Wisconsin Defensive unit missing starters on all three levels, it could be a big day for Armstrong to announce himself and his team as a genuine Play Off contender having really feasted on weaker teams for the most part this season.

The Quarter Back position is definitely more muddy for Wisconsin who have seen Alex Hornibrook play a little inconsistently which has to be expected for a Freshman. Hornibrook will be under some pressure from the Nebraska pass rush if the Badgers are not able to put together an effective rushing plan, and they won't really want the young Quarter Back throwing from third and long spots too often.

The pressure up front has helped the Nebraska Secondary restrict teams to under 220 passing yards per game on the season and they have also been able to turn the ball over. That has been an issue for Wisconsin through the air and the key will be to keep Hornibrook in third and manageable spots and not ask him to take too many risks when throwing the ball.

All in all this looks a really tight, potentially low-scoring game and that makes me wonder how Nebraska are being given as many points as they are. I hate the fact that this is a publicly backed underdog, but getting close to double digits in points for the road team looks too many even if the Cornhuskers have taken some beatings in past games against the Badgers.

I don't buy into the fact that Nebraska could potentially look ahead of the Ohio State game because this one is arguably more important, while the wear and tear on the Wisconsin Defensive unit is perhaps not getting the attention it should. Having this many points looks too good to be true, but I will take the points and back the Cornhuskers to keep within the number in Week 9.


Clemson Tigers @ Florida State Seminoles Pick: The Florida State Seminoles will know they have underachieved this season, but they can play with the motivation of ruining Division rivals Clemson Tigers' season in Week 9. The Seminoles are 2-2 in the Conference which means they are going to need a lot of luck and games going their way to make it to the ACC Championship Game, but they won't like the fact they have been set as the home underdog against Clemson this week.

The Tigers remain unbeaten and hold the tie-breaker over the Louisville Cardinals who look their biggest threat in the ACC Atlantic. Remaining unbeaten will give Clemson a ticket back into the College Football Play Off having lost in the National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the end of the 2015 season.

This is only the second time that Florida State have been set as the home underdog with Jimbo Fisher at Head Coach, but the Seminoles didn't cover on that occasion. That came against a top two Ranked team and the Clemson Tigers have played well enough to think they can win the game, but enough to cover is another question.

It is important that Dalvin Cook is able to run the ball effectively for Florida State like he did when these teams met last season. For the most part the Clemson Defensive Line has been stout against the run, but they have just had a few games where they might have been worn down although having the bye week would have helped.

I do think Cook will be able to have a big game and give the Seminoles a chance in this one. There have also been signs that Deondre Francois could have a decent game with the Clemson Secondary allowing more space to make plays and Cook running the ball effectively should open up those lanes for Francois.

Francois has some big game experience now and being at home for this game rather than on the road like Florida State were against Louisville and Miami should help him. On the other hand, the Seminoles are playing what might be the best team in the ACC and who have a Quarter Back in Deshaun Watson who is more than good enough to win this game on his own.

Watson has been well protected by the Offensive Line for the most part, although the challenge will come up front against this Florida State pass rush. With time, Watson should have success throwing the ball into a Secondary which has allowed 267 passing yards per game in their last three games, although the Seminoles have been solid at picking up Interceptions which have blighted the Watson game.

Controlling the line of scrimmage is going to be huge for the Florida State Defensive Line who have been holding teams to 2.9 yards per carry over their last three and were the first team to shut down the Miami Hurricanes. That improvement on the Defensive Line is going to be tested to the very fullest in Week 9 and it might determine the whole game depending on which team is able to win at that point.

I think the Florida State team are going to be irritated to the back teeth that they the home underdog and I think they are going to make this a very competitive game. The Seminoles have improved and getting more than a Field Goal start looks a lot of points against a Clemson team who have lost on their last four visits to Tallahassee.

4 of the last 6 games in the series have been covered by the underdog and I anticipate another close game on Saturday so I will take the points on the home team.


West Virginia Mountaineers @ Oklahoma State Cowboys Pick: The Big 12 is a brilliant Conference in terms of the big games that seemingly are played weekly, although it doesn't look like they will be sending a team to the College Football Play Off this season. Well, I say it doesn't look like it because at the moment we are still trying to work out how good the West Virginia Mountaineers and Baylor Bears actually are.

The Mountaineers have a big test on their hands when they head to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys who have a 3-1 record in the Conference with their sole loss coming to the Bears. West Virginia have some serious links with Oklahoma City on the coaching staff so this is not a fierce rivalry, but the Mountaineers come here to try and match the Baylor performance.

With the Kansas Jayhawks next up on deck, West Virginia will be fully focused on this game and believe they have the best balance between Offense and Defense in the Conference. The Mountaineers have been able to strike a balance on Offense with a strong ability to run the ball with their Quarter Back and Russell Shell and I very much expect them to establish the run against an Oklahoma State Defensive Line that have allowed 5.6 yards per carry over their last three games.

That ability should make it more comfortable for Skyler Howard to make plays with his arm against a Secondary that will give up a lot of yardage, but can be dangerous when it comes to turnovers. Howard has looked after the ball, but the Offensive Line have struggled in protection at times and the Cowboys can get some pressure up front, although I am not sure how effective that can be if they are unable to slow the ground attack as I am expecting them to do.

Mason Randolph and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are going to have some success too which isn't a surprise for an Offense averaging 41 points per game. However there are a couple of reasons to think the Mountaineers can have some joy on that side of the ball too and that is mainly the strength of the Defensive Line who have shut down the run. Justice Hull has played well at Running Back for the Cowboys, but he might not find the room in this one which means the pressure is on Rudolph at Quarter Back.

Rudolph has played well with 14 Touchdowns and 2 Interceptions for the season and he will have some joy throwing the ball with the immense amount of Receivers he trusts hard to cover. The Mountaineers will feel keeping him in third and long is a win though because the Cowboys Offensive Line has struggled in pass protection and that is a big way to slow down drives, especially with the fierce pass rush West Virginia have produced.

That could be the difference in this game with a couple of stops likely to be key in a game where both Offenses will feel they can get up and down the field. West Virginia also have revenge on their mind having lost in Overtime at home last season and the Mountaineers actually won here in 2014.

The Mountaineers have won in dominating fashion for much of the season and that has not been the case for the Cowboys. I will look for West Virginia to make a couple of big plays on both sides of the ball which will lead to a big win and a cover on the road as they make a statement in the Big 12 Conference.


Baylor Bears @ Texas Longhorns Pick: I have picked the West Virginia Mountaineers to remain unbeaten in the Big 12 Conference on Saturday and I am picking the Baylor Bears to do the same with an impressive win at the Texas Longhorns. I like Charlie Strong and I feel sorry for him that it has not worked out for him at Texas as Head Coach, but this might be the kind of loss that ultimately costs him his job.

So far the Longhorns have been good at home, but they remain a work in progress and that is not going to cut it at a top level job like Texas when the transition is lasting as long as it is. There have been issues Defensively and the Longhorns are going to have a tough day against Baylor who have managed to get over the off field issues and continue moving the programme in the right direction.

Baylor, like West Virginia, are playing in a revenge spot having been upset by this opponent at home last season. That gives teams plenty of motivation and I think it will play its part in this one.

A few weeks ago there might have been some doubts as to how well Baylor would be able to run the ball in this one, but the Longhorns have just begun to be worn down on the Defensive Line. Shock Linwood has a lot of experience at Running Back for the Bears and he can certainly help them establish the run and keep the Offense in manageable spots on the field in this one.

Seth Russell also has experience at Quarter Back and he has recovered from the injury that cost him the entire of last season. He has played well and has a good match up with the Texas Secondary who have given up almost 250 passing yards in the last three games and one that might be off-balance if they are concentrating on trying to slow down Linwood.

I can see Baylor enjoying plenty of success on that side of the ball and importantly they look like they can match up well with Texas on the other side of the ball. The Defensive Line has found a way to control the run and that is an area the Longhorns have just begun to struggle which means more pressure on Shane Buechele at Quarter Back.

Buechele doesn't really want to be in third and long spots too often or obvious passing situations because the Bears have generated a decent pass rush up front. The Texas Offensive Line have struggled at times to keep Buechele upright and he is also throwing into a Secondary that have been amongst the better ones in the Big 12 Conference.

Any pressure on Buechele will also mean throwing into a Secondary that have generated plenty of turnovers it could be the Bears who win the turnover battle which is key to games like this. Baylor are also 4-0 against the spread in their last 4 visits to Texas and I think the added factor of playing with revenge will keep the Bears focused and eventually lead to a win by around a Touchdown.

MY PICKS: California Golden Bears + 16.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Connecticut Huskies + 7 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Kansas State Wildcats - 6.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Michigan Wolverines - 24.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Penn State Nittany Lions - 13.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Washington Huskies - 10 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Kansas Jayhawks + 40.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Nebraska Cornhuskers + 9 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
Florida State Seminoles + 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
West Virginia Mountaineers - 3.5 Points @ 2.05 Betfair Sportsbook (1 Unit)
Baylor Bears - 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)


Week 8: 4-5, - 1.27 Units (9 Units Staked, - 14.11% Yield)
Week 74-5, - 1.28 Units (9 Units Staked, - 14.22% Yield)
Week 67-1-1, + 5.35 Units (9 Units Staked, + 59.44% Yield)
Week 52-7-1, - 5.14 Units (10 Units Staked, - 51.40% Yield)
Week 46-3, + 2.59 Units (9 Units Staked, + 28.78% Yield)
Week 34-6, - 2.23 Units (10 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
Week 24-5, - 1.32 Units (9 Units Staked, - 14.67% Yield)
Week 16-5, + 0.58 Units (11 Units Staked, + 5.27% Yield)

Season 201637-37-2, - 2.72 Units (76 Units Staked, - 3.57% Yield)

Season 201587-77-2, + 2.77 Units (166 Units Staked, + 1.67% Yield)
Season 201475-82-2, - 13.39 Units (172 Units Staked, - 7.78% Yield)
Season 201365-49-2, + 8.49 Units (124 Units Staked, + 6.85% Yield)
Season 201254-59-1 - 7.11 Units (114 Units Staked, - 6.24% Yield)

Season 201163-36, + 23.25 Units (99 Units Staked, + 23.5% Yield)

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