With the basketball season still somewhat far off in the distance and the football season oh so tantalizingly close I decided to take a story idea from the basketball season and transfer it over into the Big 12 football season.
Last season I went through not all but a large portion of the basketball season and gave the point spreads for each contest along with my predictions for how each game would end up. I decided in the beginning to be forthcoming and keep my ongoing record of how my predictions turned out. I did this with the thought in mind that the results would be somewhat similar to my previous sports gambling experience which as you could imagine was more negative than positive.
Amazingly I ended the year with an almost 2 to 1 prediction record as I went 37-19 in games predicted against the spread. So I will go through each Big 12 football game and give the spreads and my predictions but I am assuming the results will not be as kind.
With all that said please find the games, their spreads and my predictions below. Results article will obviously happen following all the contests. Please feel free to make any comment you want on how you think the games will turn out in relation to the spread or how you feel about my choices.
Please note the spreads I use come from the website www.vegasinsider.com and I try to use the most common spread listed amongst the different sports books assuming there is a variance.
MY PREDICTION: Last years contest between these two teams was a classic blowout as TCU destroyed the Bears by a score of 45-10. This years game should be much closer as the Horned Frogs no longer have QB Andy Dalton and WR Jermey Kerley and Baylor returns their QB Robert Griffin. That being said TCU returns a very strong defense led by Rose Bowl MVP Tank Carder at LB and they have an experienced group of running backs on offense which should help ease the transition of new QB Casey Pachall. I think this years game will be much closer but still expect TCU to continue their winning ways against the Big 12 and to cover the spread.
Miami OH RedHawks at Missouri Tigers - Tigers favored by 18 points
MY PREDICTION: As everyone knows the Tigers will be introducing a new starting QB in James Franklin to replace 1st round draft pick Blaine Gabbert. While a new QB would cause some concern at most every school but in Columbia, MO it shouldn't be that big of a deal since the list of QB's under Gary Pinkel consist of names like Gabbert, Chase Daniel & Brad Smith. Now the RedHawks are no slouch coming in as they won the MAC title last year and return eight starters on offense along with many returning starters on their defense including all three starting LB's from last season. Let's not forget these two teams met last season in Columbia with the Tigers laying the wood by a score of 51-13. I expect the game to be somewhat closer but for the Tigers to pull away for an easy victory and to cover the spread in the process.
Texas State Bobcats at Texas Tech Red Raiders - Texas Tech favored by 38.5 at home
MY PREDICTION: To be totally honest I know virtually nothing about Texas State other than the fact that former Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione is now the head coach and he has hired former K-State QB Darrell Dickey to be an assistant. Based on that set of information I am going to make the well educated prediction that Franchione can keep his team within 38 points here. So I predict that Tech obviously wins the game but does not cover the spread.
Northern Iowa Panthers at Iowa State Cyclones - Cyclones favored by 11 points
MY PREDICTION: Last season the Panthers traveled to Ames and left with a 27-0 defeat at the hands of the Cyclones. This season Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones were trying to figure out who was going to be the starting QB with Jerome Tiller and Steele Jantz being the two main candidates to take over for departed Austen Arnaud but that was before Tiller was declared academically inelgible. Jantz should ease in nicely though with Darius Darks and Darius Reynolds back at WR and sophomore Shontrelle Johnson ready to step in as the lead back. On defense the Cyclones return LB's A.J. Klein and Jake Knott to a unit that struggled at times last season but should be able to handle the Panthers in the opener. The spread seems abnormally low here but still going with Iowa State to win the game and cover rather easily.
McNeese State Cowboys at Kansas Jayhawks - Jayhawks favored by 14.5 points
MY PREDICTION: I am going to assume that in his second season Turner Gill's squad will come out of the gates much better than they did last year as most everyone will remember the nightmare of a home opener last season for the Jayhawks as they lost 6-3 to North Dakota State. While McNeese State isn't void of talent they should be no match for the Jayhawks who should be a faster and deeper team this year. It appears that Jordan Webb will be back to lead KU again this season and he should have some weapons to utilize in Daymond Patterson, James Sims and freshman Darian Miller. This is another game where spread appears to be quite low, I am going to say KU wins the game and easily covers the spread.
Eastern Kentucky Colonels at K-State Wildcats - Wildcats favored by 26 points
MY PREDICTION: This naturally should not be much of a contest as an FCS school visits a Big 12 opponent in a home opener. This game will represent the first time that Wildcat fans will be able to see in person Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown in uniform for K-State. While it appears that Arthur will be the leader of a revamped defense, Bryce may see limited action in this one. Collin Klein appears to be the person to start at QB for the Wildcats and even if his passing hasn't improved much from last year his running ability should be enough to propel Kansas State in this one. My guess is the Wildcats come out and win this game and just barely cover the spread.
La. Lafayette Ragin Cajuns at Oklahoma State Cowboys - Cowboys favored by 36 points
MY PREDICTION: The Ragin Cajuns actually played the Cowboys close last year for the majority of the game before Oklahoma State pulled away for an easy victory. I don't expect the same to happen here as La. Lafayette fired their head coach from last season and usually the first game under a new head coach isn't the prettiest thing to watch as Turner Gill showed last year for KU. The Cowboys return studs in Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden and even with a new offensive coordinator they should be able to pile on the points and simply outclass the visiting Cajuns. I expect the Cowboys to win big and cover this large spread.
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes at Oklahoma Sooners - Sooners favored by 22 points
MY PREDICTION: Tulsa is definitely no slouch for the season opener for Bob Stoops squad especially if OU is looking forward to their following game at Florida State. The Golden Hurricanes finished last season on a seven game winning streak which included a victory at Notre Dame. Tulsa returns their starting quarterback G.J. Kinne who was the 2010 Conference USA Player of the Year along with multiple other starters on offense. One major issue is that star WR Damaris Johnson was recently suspended from the team. The defense returns eight starters and should only figure to be better. Even though Tulsa did lose their head coach in Todd Graham they stayed in house hiring their associate head coach from last season so no major changes should be felt. So even with all those nice things associated with Tulsa this is still a game against preseason #1 OU at Norman where Bob Stoops simply does not lose. I feel that OU will obviously win the game but maybe hold back enough things with Florida State game looming that they won't quite cover the spread.
MY PREDICTION: These two teams met last year as well in the season opener with the Longhorns claiming a sloppy 17 point victory. The competition between incumbent Garrett Gilbert and Case McCoy at quarterback came down the stretch with Gilbert getting the starting gig in the opener but look for this to be a storyline as the season goes on. The majority of experts feel confident in placing the Longhorns back in the upper half of the Big 12 but if they get the same level of substandard QB play again this year I just don't see it. For this game specifically, Rice returns 17 starters from last year but their defense was not good so having returning starters there may not be the best thing. One player to watch here is RB Sam McGuffie for Rice, he was a 2nd team Conference USA performer last season. I am going to pick Texas to win this game but not cover the spread.
Southern Methodist Mustangs at Texas A&M Aggies - Aggies favored by 15.5 points
MY PREDICTION: A very intriguing matchup here between a team that wants to get out of the Big 12 simply because they have an inferiority complex to Texas versus a team that is openly campaigning to replace the Aggies. The SMU football program has improved greatly under June Jones but they probably aren't quite ready to pull off an upset of this magnitude. Say what you want about the Aggies and their possible move to the SEC but they do return quite a bit of talent this season with players like Jeff Fuller, Ryan Tannehill, Cyrus Gray & Christine Michael combined with four starters on the offensive line. The defense returns eight starters but obviously must replace Von Miller who was the #2 pick in the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. This game against SMU should present the Aggies with a solid test early and I think it could be a close contest for at least the first half but I see A&M pulling away late for the victory and the cover.