Heading into the final month of the regular season, Baylor and Kansas are both desperate to win their first Big 12 game.
But the Bears aren’t just dealing with inexperience. It would be hard to find a roster that’s more banged up.
Not only will they have to try to win on the road, they’ll have to overcome a slew of injuries. Kansas should have some momentum coming into the game after playing well last weekend in a 30-20 loss to Kansas State in Lawrence.
Baylor (-8) at Kansas
Charlie Brewer will get his first college start for Baylor on Saturday against Kansas, but he won’t have a full complement of players surrounding him.
With Pooh Stricklin nursing a foot injury, he could be out for the season along with fellow receivers Chris Platt and R.J. Sneed. Blake Lynch might end up playing more wide receiver than cornerback this week.
Running backs Trestan Ebner (thigh injury) and John Lovett (strep throat) are both probable, which should boost a struggling ground game. But Baylor’s defense will be hurt by the loss of middle linebacker Clay Johnston, who is out for the season with a foot injury.
That’s a lot of obstacles to overcome for a team that hasn’t proven it can win.
Kansas 27, Baylor 24
Kansas State (+3) at Texas Tech
After jumping into the Top 25 with a 4-1 start, Texas Tech has hit the skids with three straight losses.
One of those came in Lubbock when red hot Iowa State won a comfortable 31-13 decision on Oct. 21.
Kansas State hasn’t been tearing it up either by dropping three straight games before rebounding with a 30-20 win over Kansas last weekend.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury needs to start winning games to keep his job, and a win over the Wildcats would be a good place to start.
Texas Tech 35, Kansas State 27
No. 14 Iowa State (+2.5) at West Virginia
Is there any stopping Iowa State?
It certainly doesn’t seem that way as the Cyclones have risen to No. 14 in the country with four straight wins, including upsets of then-top five teams Oklahoma and TCU.
Though West Virginia is always good at home, it’s tough picking against the Cyclones right now.
Iowa State 27, West Virginia 21
Texas (+7) at No. 10 TCU
TCU appeared to be the Big 12’s best bet to make the College Football Playoff after winning its first seven games.
But quarterback Kenny Hill and the offense could do nothing against Iowa State in a 14-7 loss last weekend in Ames.
The Horned Frogs will face another strong defense against Texas, which shut down Baylor in a 38-7 win last weekend. But the Longhorns offense is still pedestrian and won’t have enough firepower to beat the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth.
TCU 24, Texas 14
No. 8 Oklahoma (+2.5) at No. 11 Oklahoma State
This year’s edition of Bedlam is unquestionably the Big 12 game of the week and is one of the most important games of the season.
After dropping a 38-31 decision to Iowa State, the Sooners have responded with wins over Texas, Kansas State and Texas Tech. The Cowboys have also been hot with four straight wins, including consecutive road decisions over Texas and West Virginia.
This showdown will likely come down to which quarterback plays better, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield or Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph.
Though the Sooners usually have Oklahoma State’s number, the Cowboys are just too good this year to lose to their rivals in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State 45, Oklahoma 38
Last week: 4-1 overall, 3-2 against the line.
Season: 29-11 overall, 23-16-1 against the line.