WILLIAMS: Picking every Big 12 game ATS in week one

Nov 27, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners during the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State won 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

If you are actually trying to actually make money gambling on college football, betting on week one is a stupid, stupid thing to do. That is especially the case in the year 2022 when the transfer portal is all the rage and these dadgum kids (much love to Bobby Bowden) are more interested in their NIL deals than playing ball. 

I’m kidding. Mostly. 

In all seriousness, bet one week one for fun and nothing more. Because despite what every insider across the country will tell you, we have no idea what to expect from the overwhelming majority of these teams until we see them on the field.

Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get nuts.


West Virginia at Pitt (-7.5) — What a way to kick off Thursday’s slate! Shout out to both schools for not being losers and actually scheduling this game. In this era of college football, God knows nobody would have blamed them for playing another lame FCS school. It’s the first Backyard Brawl since 2011 and Heinz Stadium will be rocking with bearded mountain men who have drifted north. I just don’t know enough about Neal Brown’s team to pick them to win this though. Pitt has to replace Kenny Pickett but should be very adequate at quarterback via USC transfer Keldon Slovis. Pitt’s entire offensive line is back and the Panthers are very good at running back. Every year, I feel like it could be the one where Brown turns the corner at West Virginia. Perhaps that is 2022. If West Virginia wins this one, I’ll probably jump on the bandwagon. 

THE PICK: Pitt 30, West Virginia 20 

Nov 20, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown yells along the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Central Michigan at Oklahoma State (-21.5) — Central Michigan is picked fourth in the MAC but let’s be honest, this isn’t about the Chips. Oklahoma State is replacing perhaps the best defensive coordinator in the country and six of their top eight tacklers. I’m a believer in Mike Gundy. In Stillwater, 7-5 is the absolute floor these days. But I’m not sure I’m a big enough of a Spencer Sanders guy to think that the Cowboys will be playing for another Big 12 championship this season. 

THE PICK: Oklahoma State 34, Central Michigan 14 

Tennessee Tech at Kansas (-27.5) — If you bet on this godforsaken game, get some help. Seriously. (Don’t worry. I will not judge you and also realize that I too need help.)

THE PICK: Kansas 27, Tennessee Tech 0 

TCU (-13.5) at Colorado — Kordell Stewart is nowhere to be found in Boulder these days. For the record, Colorado was picked to finish dead last in a putrid Pac-12. Meanwhile, who the hell really knows what to expect from TCU this season. My theory: As much as I loved Gary Patterson, his time had come. Patterson’s exit felt a little bit like Dan McCarney’s back in the day to me. We all loved the guy but still felt like he had taken Iowa State’s program as far as he could when Jamie Pollard let the legend go. 

THE PICK: TCU 40, Colorado 17

Southeast Missouri State at Iowa State (-37.5) — While I fully understand the anxiety Iowa State has traditionally given fans in the month of September under Matt Campbell, this one feels different to me. SEMO is a different level of bad. 

THE PICK: Iowa State 56, SEMO 7

UTEP at Oklahoma (-31) — I’m really interested to get a look at Oklahoma. Their defense should be improved with Brent Venables leading the way. Offensively, with Jeff Lebby (OC) and Dillon Gabriel calling the shots, the Sooners will no doubt be good. But will they be great, as was the case during the bulk of the Lincoln Riley years? I have doubts. UTEP made it to a bowl game last season but was blown out by North Texas in week zero. 

THE PICK: Oklahoma 45, UTEP 7

OU football coach Brent Venables watches his team go through drills on Aug. 10 in Norman.

Louisiana-Monroe at Texas (-37.5) — Remember when Monroe came to Ames a few years ago?

THE PICK: Texas 56, LA-Monroe 6 

Albany at Baylor (-41.5) — Albany? That’s like, in New York, right? This is a 6 p.m. kick, and nothing positive ever happens in Waco after dark. 

THE PICK: Baylor 51, Albany 9

South Dakota at Kansas State (-25) — The Wildcats are the most interesting team in the Big 12 heading into the season. True potential to play for a championship, but I could also see more “blah.” Watching Nebraska look the exact same with a different quarterback (former Texas quarterback Casey Thompson, who melted down under pressure exactly like Adrian Martinez used to) actually made me more bullish on the Wildcats. I bet the over on their win total. I think they will use Martinez smartly and be a real top-half contender in the league this year. Having said that, South Dakota isn’t a terrible FCS team and K-State isn’t prone to blowing teams out. 

THE PICK: Kansas State 34, South Dakota 14 

Murray State (pour one out for Steve Prohm) at Texas Tech (-34) — New coach in Lubbock. This one won’t be close. 

THE PICK: Texas Tech 49, Murray State 10

Let’s get after it.