Big 12 picks: Sooners will win because of home-field advantage
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Only two games this week, but one of them will be as big as any gets in college football this season. Here are my picks.
Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 42 -- Two teams with legitimate Big 12 title hopes and Bowl Championship Series aspirations will meet in the biggest game at Owen Field since 2000. The Oklahoma defense is banged-up without key producers like Auston English and Ryan Reynolds. And Texas Tech has been on this stage for the last several weeks and still hasn't blinked. But I still like the home-field advantage to provide the slimmest of margins to the Sooners, who are 59-2 at home, have the nation's longest active home winning streak at 23 games and haven't lost there since the opening game of the 2005 season. Keep an eye on the Sooners' kick coverage after Bob Stoops has had an extra week to work out the kinks. The difference will be an aggressive Oklahoma defense that leads the nation in turnover margin and will come up with a couple of big plays that will boost them to a victory. I'm still a little dubious about Texas Tech's ability to make a clutch long field goal when it really needs one. And despite offensive weapons like Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, I believe the Oklahoma defense will rise up with a strong performance that powers them to the win. The Sooners' victory will mean we will carry the regular-season excitement over for one more week. Would we really have it any other way?
Kansas State 38, Iowa State 28 -- Something's got to give at Bill Snyder Family Stadium as Kansas State brings a five-game losing streak and Iowa State will try to stem a nation's-worst 16-game road losing streak. It will be Ron Prince's final game as Kansas State's head coach and it will be interesting to see how his team reacts. The Wildcats were atrocious defensively last week against Nebraska and even Josh Freeman floundered enough to get himself benched early in the second half. Even with those struggles, the Wildcats still will have an edge against Iowa State's weak pass defense. The clincher could be their propensity to make big plays on the special teams. Look for Prince to go out a winner in his final game with the Wildcats.
My picks last week: 5-0 (100 percent)
My picks for the season: 77-12 (86.9 percent)