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Big XII Easy Pick'ems - Weekend of October 27

The ever enjoyable slate of conference games gets a serious injection awesome this weekend when Notre Dame visits Norman. An Oklahoma win here does three things: 1. makes K-State’s win over Oklahoma even better; 2. knocks out another BCS contender (Notre Dame is currently undefeated and has eyes on its first BCS championship game invitation); and 3. brings down Irish linebacker Manti Te’o, who currently stands as the strongest challenger to Collin Klein’s Heisman argument. The trifecta. Should be a lot of fun, so let’s get on to the picks!

#22 Texas (-21) at Kansas
Interestingly, Texas seemed less apt to beat this spread at the beginning of the season when everyone thought they were a better team. That’s when the Longhorns were only projected to score 17 points a game but hold opponents to six. Now it’s a disappointment if Texas only has 17 points at halftime, but their opponents are matching them point-for-point. I’m finally acknowledging that this Mack Brown team sports a cohesive offensive unit with damaging running backs and a quarterback capable of reasonable on-field decision-making. Kansas can’t stop anyone. I say four touchdown difference. Plus a safety for good measure. Prediction: Texas 40, Kansas 10

Baylor at Iowa State (-2.5)
It’s interesting that Baylor sits at 0-3 in the conference, doesn’t sport a winning record, and is still expected to play the Cyclones within a field goal in Ames. Nick Florence and his offensive machine still command a lot of respect around the nation, but at some point this team has to justify the respect they still command. Unfortunately, the Bears have already lost me. They don’t play defense, and Iowa State does. Iowa State has a stellar secondary. It has a linebacking unit that won’t allow Baylor to run, and can safely put a lot of nickel packages on the field to shut down Baylor’s passing attack. Did I mention that nickel package has some stellar personnel? This will result in turnovers. Turnovers are what K-State Lite (a suitable nickname for ISU) thrive on. I’ll take the Cyclones by that aforementioned field goal. Prediction: Iowa State 30, Baylor 27

#14 Texas Tech at #3 Kansas State (-7)
Normally I’d become incensed at this sort of line. K-State, the undefeated, number three ranked team in the nation, is only expected to win by a single score at home against Texas Tech? But this isn’t disrespect for the Wildcats – it’s respect for Tech. TT’s only loss was to Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s three week schedule at that point: Loss to K-State, bye week, Texas Tech. The Red Raiders faced a seething Sooner team that had two weeks to prepare. That’s a brutal match up. Plus, Tech made West Virginia look about as bad as K-State did. It takes a good team to do that. What I’m saying is, I think Tech puts a good product on the field. Unfortunately, they’re going up against a great product on Saturday. Prediction: K-State 38, Texas Tech 25

Texas Christian at Oklahoma State (-7.5)
One week after nearly falling to Kansas, Oklahoma State bounces back and embarrasses Iowa State. Speaking of Iowa State and embarrassment, remember when the Cyclones destroyed TCU? It’s also interesting that TCU and Texas Tech were similarly ranked last week. Tech beat TCU in triple overtime, shoots up the rankings, and TCU drops out altogether. What am I getting at here? These two teams are too inconsistent to predict. In these instances you take the home team in a close game. That means Okie State beats the visitor, but not the spread. Prediction: Oklahoma State 38, TCU 34

And now, for your Easy Pick’em of the Week:

#5 Notre Dame at #8 Oklahoma (-10.5)
So the media tells us Notre Dame is the better team, but everyone’s money is on Oklahoma. The reason? These Irishmen can’t score. They really can’t. Landry Jones has rebounded nicely since the loss to Kansas State and this team is dangerous. Notre Dame has relied on solid defense all season, and that does work to a healthy extent. But this Sooner team is too good not to get its points, and when it does, Notre Dame won’t have the firepower to keep up. Maybe I’m crazy, but maybe it really is that easy to predict Oklahoma to beat the number five team in the nation by double digits. Certainly no other team – including USC – will have such a large expectation of victory. This game is gonna be a lot of fun – especially for Oklahoma fans. Easy Pick’em Prediction: Oklahoma 24, Notre Dame 10

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