WILLIAMS: How I’m approaching the Kansas game and Big 12 predictions

Oct 10, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) runs the ball against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports.

Call me crazy, but I’m actually amped up for Iowa State’s 11 a.m. tangle with the winless Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. 

First and foremost, Iowa State needs to take care of business. Do what you need to do to win the game. Last year’s bout with the Jayhawks was way too close. My guess is that Matt Campbell hasn’t let his team forget about that. 

But as a four-touchdown favorite, Iowa State needs a game like this. It is a tangible opportunity for the program to grow when it comes to the details of football. That’s really what I am looking for the most out of the Cyclones. Eliminate pre-snap penalties. No turnovers. Be rock-solid on special teams. Get yourself into prime form heading into the closing stretch of the season.

With that, here are my predictions for the upcoming Big 12 weekend. 

Big 12 Picks

Iowa State 42, Kansas 7 – Iowa State believes it is a championship football team and will not take last week’s loss in Stillwater lightly. 

Kansas State 21, West Virginia 20 – The Wildcats have lost nothing in their dominance as an underdog since Bill Snyder retired. Chris Klieman is 13-5 vs. the spread since taking over. K-State is 23-7 dating back its last 30 tilts as dogs. However, only a fool wouldn’t be at least somewhat alarmed by West Virginia being over a field goal favorite in this one. Still, give me K-State, even with a freshman quarterback at the helm. However, I wouldn’t bet this game with Blum’s paycheck. This is my least confident prediction of the weekend.

Oklahoma State 34, Texas 27 – Seems like the sharp football minds are on Texas in this one. Why? It’s been a bad week in Austin, as the nation’s top-ranked quarterback recently de-committed from Tom Herman. The Cowboys showed me something last week. Their defense is legit and Texas doesn’t have the running game that Iowa State does. Like the K-State line, this is “don’t overthink it” territory for me. OSU wins, setting up a showdown for first place in the Big 12 next week between the Cowboys and Wildcats. 

TCU 27, Baylor 21 – I’m still hanging onto TCU being a solid football team, but the Horned Frogs clearly are more middle-of-the-pack in the Big 12 and nowhere near the top. I think TCU ran into Oklahoma at the wrong time (Sooners are surging) and will have more success against teams on their talent level.

Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 24 – Good move by Matt Wells to bench Alan Bowman for the more versatile Henry Columbi. Should have done it weeks ago. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is stiffening up on defense. They were SOLID last week in Fort Worth. This is where Oklahoma puts its foot on the gas and wins out in the regular season.