Reports of Texas' death were premature, it seems.
The Longhorns didn't exactly beat Oklahoma State in Week 9 as much as the Cowboys lost the game, but the result counts the same. And it's a potentially season-defining win. Now 4-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play, No. 22 Texas has a clearer road to the Big 12 Championship Game. It will still need help from No. 19 Oklahoma and/or No. 14 Oklahoma State, but Bedlam takes place on Nov. 21. As for its own path, Texas can play its way back into the top of the conference standings.
Here's what the Horns have ahead of them:
- Nov. 7 -- vs. West Virginia: We'll get to this pick below, but the Horns are a touchdown favorite.
- Nov. 21 -- at Kansas: Don't let anything distract you from that one time Texas lost to the Jayhawks in 2016, but let's be honest: Kansas stinks. Texas should -- I repeat ... should -- win.
- Nov. 27-- vs. No. 17 Iowa State: The hardest remaining game is on a short week, but it is at home.
- Dec. 5 -- at Kansas State: A tough way to end the season. K-State is well-coached, but the back half of its schedule is an obstacle course. Texas might get them at the right time based on body blows alone.
Iowa State and Kansas State have a one-game lead on Texas. West Virginia is tied with them. There's enough football left that it's not worth going through all the scenarios just yet. As it pertains to Texas, though, there is a clear-eyed view of what's in front of them if they win out. That might be asking a lot given the way the first six games have gone -- exactly half have ended in overtime and this is still the most penalized team in the Big 12 -- but you can argue the hardest part is behind them.
Odds provided by William Hill Sportsbook
West Virginia at No. 22 Texas (-7): Let's get right to it. Texas has not been good against West Virginia at home. The Mountaineers are 4-1 all time at DKR, including 3-1 since joining the Big 12. Like Oklahoma State, West Virginia has a good defense, especially up front. The Longhorns benefitted from a lot of hidden yards against the Cowboys via turnovers. Otherwise, the offense was largely ineffective. Speaking of ineffective, can West Virginia's offense play that well two weeks in a row? It hasn't traveled well in two road games this year. I think this one is ugly and both teams have shown to be mistake-prone more often than not. That usually means tight games with heavy doses of anxiety if you're at all emotionally invested. Pick: West Virginia +7
Kansas at No. 19 Oklahoma (-38): Nine out of 10 times, I'll take the points on massive lines like this for conference games. Except Kansas is so bad (against the spread and in general) and Oklahoma could probably win by 38 without really trying given its level of play lately. The Jayhawks are losing by an average of 33 points per game in conference play. They also haven't scored more than two offensive touchdowns in a game in that same span. I don't think laying the points is a terrible idea given the patterns, but I'm more comfortable banging the over with these two. Pick: over 63
Texas Tech at TCU (-9): TCU's 10-point win at Baylor didn't fully demonstrate how one-sided that game really was. Meanwhile, Texas Tech got hammered by Oklahoma at home and turned the ball over three times. Who knows what to make of these two. About the only thing I feel good about is that each team's defense is giving up more points per drive than its offense is scoring. Since the point total is a reasonable 61, I'll take the over. Pick: over 61
No. 14 Oklahoma State (-12.5) at Kansas State: The Cowboys were the better team against Texas and should have won, but they need to be careful to avoid a hangover. More specifically, quarterback Spencer Sanders can't turn the ball over three times. I'd also like to see Chuba Hubbard get back on track after a season-low 72 yards at 2.88 yards per rush. He had a career-best 296 yards against the Wildcats last year. The Pokes' defense has an advantage here. West Virginia limited Deuce Vaughn, K-State's top weapon, last week and Oklahoma State has the dudes to do the same. All of that points to Oklahoma State winning comfortably, but K-State rarely gets blown out at home. I'll take the points even though Oklahoma State should be able to keep K-State at arm's length. Pick: Kansas State +12.5
Baylor at No. 17 Iowa State (-13.5): Baylor is the king of pseudo garbage time and it's making a bad offense look passable on the scoreboard. The Bears have protection issues up front and it shows. They average 1.72 points per drive -- that's including a game against Kansas -- 2.84 yards per rush and they went three-and-out 53.3% of the time against TCU. They're ninth in the Big 12 in explosive plays. Iowa State should take care of business here. Pick: Iowa State -13.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 10, and which Pac-12 team will pull off a shocking upset? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,100 in profit over the past four-plus seasons -- and find out.
1. Oklahoma State (4-1, 3-1 in Big 12): I've made my opinion on the Texas game clear. I didn't punish the Cowboys too much in my Week 10 top 25 rankings and I won't punish them here. This was a fluke loss, but obviously they can't afford to be that careless with ball security again.
2. Oklahoma (4-2, 3-2): Well, well, well. How the turntables ... Anyway, this looks like the Sooners we've come to know and love under Lincoln Riley. Getting running back Rhamondre Stevenson back could be transformative. The Bedlam game is going to be huge. Look out, Oklahoma's rolling.
3. Iowa State (4-2, 4-1): The next month is going to make or break the Cyclones' season. Assuming they get past Baylor, they get Kansas State, Texas on a short week and then West Virginia to close things out. Can this team ride its defense and running back Breece Hall all the way to Arlington?
4. Texas (4-2, 3-2): I don't know that I trust Texas any further than I can throw Bevo, but the final stretch sets up well. Linebacker/edge Joseph Ossai is a beast and when he's getting home there are few defensive players in the Big 12 with a greater impact.
5. West Virginia (4-2, 3-2): Welcome to the top half of the power rankings, Mountaineers! Rarely is a game against a competent opponent that easy for West Virginia, so hats off to Neal Brown, his staff and this team. The final four games are tough, but 5-5 or even 6-4 isn't off the table.
6. Kansas State (4-2, 4-1): Sure, it's just one loss, but it was by 27 points. I think you're about to see a market correction on the Wildcats. Vegas didn't like K-State against West Virginia and that ended up being right. I like coach Chris Klieman and I bet he finds a way to get to six wins, but K-State is an underdog this weekend and probably will be against Iowa State and Texas, too.
7. TCU (2-3, 2-3): It's been a slow start, and a Big 12 title game run is out of the question, but there's some room for a late-season surge. The Frogs haven't lived up to my preseason dark horse label, but I also don't think they're that far off from having a winning record.
8. Texas Tech (2-4, 1-4): That Oklahoma loss was embarrassing and now the Red Raiders are road dogs against TCU. Texas Tech needs to steal a win if they're to get to .500.
9. Baylor (1-3, 1-3): The offense is painful to watch and there are a lot of hard games left on the schedule. From the start, 2020 has been unkind to the Bears. This is turning into a Year Zero for Dave Aranda.
10. Kansas (0-6, 0-5): Look, I don't like to see any team play this poorly. You want every team to enjoy at least some success. But the Jayhawks look like the worst Power Five team in the country and I don't think they'd beat many Group of Five teams, either.