NCAAF Picks, Big 12 and Conference USA plus Mizzou

Missouri Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs 

Mizzou reached their peak getting ranked in the top 25 last week.  They didn’t do anything with their momentum getting obliterated in the second half against the far superior Georgia Bulldogs.  Missouri has still had a solid year under first year Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz.  The Tigers are 5-4 and will be looking to get themselves to a bowl game.  The Mississippi State Bulldogs on the other hand have had a terrible season in their first season with Head Coach Mike Leach, going 2-7.  Their season opening upset over defending national champion LSU is just a blip in the season. 

The Tigers have leaned on RB Larry Roundtree, running for 851 yards and 12 touchdowns.  The Tigers have steady QB play since switching full time to Connor Blazek.  The Tigers have a lot to play for going into this game.  Their defense has given up 30 ppg on the season but Miss St has had some problems finishing drives.  They will need every point they can get in this one as the defense will be without senior defensive lineman Marquiss Spencer.  

Mike Leach has publicly come out about his frustrations for this season and his team has seen a lot of players call it quits due to covid.  Mizzou has a lot to play for in this one and will be inspired to put on a good performance.  They lean on Roundtree and out score the Bulldogs.  The Tigers roll and it won’t be close. 

Pick: Missouri -1

UAB Blazers vs. Marshall Thundering Herd

UAB will enter its third straight Conference USA Championship game against the team that had been dominating the conference for most of the season.  Marshall’s shocking 20-0 loss to RIce two weeks ago was their lone setback of the season. The Thundering Herd are 5-3 against the spread this season led primarily by their defense.  Marshall has given up just 10 points per game this season.  An outstanding number no matter what conference you are in.   As an overall unit they are ranked 35th in the nation.  

Marshall’s freshman QB Grant Wells has had a few weeks to think about his worst performance of the season against RIce.  If you take the Rice game out, Wells has been solid for the Marshall offense throwing for 16 TD and 4 interceptions.   The Thundering Herd will go back to the basics on offense to allow the young QB to just manage the game and let the defense do its thing.  

UAB has been killed by turnovers this season.  The Blazers have 15 turnovers this season including multiple turnovers in 4 straight games before ending the streak last week against Rice.  UAB has to hold onto the ball to have a chance in this game.  Marshall has a better offense and defense.  This will be a low scoring defensive showcase that Marshall will dominate.  

Pick: Marshall -5

Oklahoma Sooners vs.  Iowa State Cyclones

Oklahoma has turned its season around after a disastrous start that included a loss to Iowa State .  Freshman QB Spencer Rattler has progressed through his early struggles to put together a nice season with 2,512 yards and 24 TD.  It has been the Sooner defense that has stepped up the most, especially against the run.  Oklahoma has allowed just 93 yards per game on the ground, ranking them 7th in the nation.  

Iowa State has had a great season.  RB Bryce Hall was a one man show in his last meeting with Oklahoma running for 139 yards and 2 TD in their first meeting.  Hall did that to most opposing defenses this year running for 1,375 yards and 17 TD.  The Cyclones are one of the slower offensive units in college football.  They will look to utilize Hall to move the ball while eating up the clock.  Their commitment to the run has allowed QB Brock Purdy to find success downfield.  If Iowa State wants to win this game they have to be able to win the battle on the ground.  

Oklahoma has had two weeks to prepare for this game.  Their last game on December 5th against Baylor.  Lincoln Riley should have his freshman QB prepared for this but I think this is going to come down to the stable play of Brock Purdy.  Purdy has been great down the stretch throwing no interceptions in their last three games and connecting on 80% of his passes.  The Iowa State offensive line will keep Purdy upright and they will control the clock with their superior run game.  

Pick: Iowa State +5.5

Overall Season Picks Record: 18-13

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