College Football Pick
Texas is coming off a big upset win at Texas Tech where they were 6.5-point underdogs. For the first time all season, the defense stepped up and stopped a viable offense holding the high-scoring Red Raiders to just 22 points. Iowa State had a tough game going against a riled up Oklahoma team that lost to Notre Dame the previous week. The Longhorns opened as 9 point favorites at Betonline and -10 at 5 Dimes and have since moved to -10.5 across the board. Bettors at sportsbook.ag are backing the Longhorns to the tune of 62%.
Texas has not beaten a Big 12 school by more than 10 points yet this year. On the other end, Iowa State tends to play schools with weaker defenses rather tough as seen in wins against Baylor and TCU. They also gave Kansas State one of their hardest games of the season, losing 27-21. In last year's meeting, Texas dominated in route to a 37-14 win covering the 8.5-point spread easily. However, in 2010 Iowa State was able to trump the Longhorns in Austin as 21-point underdogs. With very similar squads to last season, Texas will hope to put another beat down on the Cyclones.
Led by Sophomore QB David Ash, the Longhorns have already matched their regular season win total from last year at seven. Ash was nothing but efficient last week, attempting only 19 passes and throwing for three touchdowns. While he hasn't been a model of consistency this season, he does have 15 TDs compared to only five interceptions. Leading WR Mike Davis had two of those TDs last week for 165 yards. The main threat of the Texas offense is their running game. Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray each have just over 100 carries and split touches each week. Bergeron is more of the bruiser for goal line carries as he has 16 TDs, but Gray has had the hot hand in recent weeks totaling 38 carries for 217 yards.
The Cyclones defense hasn't really done anything spectacular this year. If a team needs to run, they can run on them or if a team needs to pass, they can pass on them. Texas shouldn't have any trouble scoring points at home and if their defense can keep it up they shouldn't have many problems with one of the worst offenses in the conference.
Iowa State hasn't really had consistent QB play which is why they have switched between Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett all season. Jantz will probably start in this one. He threw for 381 yards and five TDs two weeks ago against Baylor, but was only able to complete 50 percent of his passes for 191 yards and an interception against Oklahoma last weekend. He has 12 TDs and nine INTs for the year. Their running game will have to show some sort of life on the legs of Shontrelle Johnson and James White. The two totaled 55 yards last week. As a team, the Cyclones are averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
This is an interesting matchup in that, Texas really hasn't dominated anyone all year. Their dance card is filled with close wins, even to a team like Kansas who they beat by just 4, 21-17. They were blown out by Oklahoma and gave up 50 points to Baylor, 48 to West Virginia and 31 to Ole Miss. Iowa State on the other hand, has played good teams very tough. They held their own losing to the Sooners 35-20, the smallest margin of the Sooners 6 wins. They held Baylor to a season low 21 points and held Kansas State to their 2nd lowest score total of the year as well as their 2nd smallest margin of victory, 2nd only to Oklahoma.
Iowa State isn't setting the college football world on fire, but they are a pretty good, scrappy football team that can compete with just about anyone. They hang around in every game. Based on what Texas has done this year, there's no reason to think Iowa State can't compete here. Our numbers agree across the board. The Cyclones have played a stronger schedule than Texas yet have a better yards per point differential. Our model, when using season to date stats, says Texas by 2. However, when using only stats from the last 5 games, it has the Cyclones on top, winning outright. Either way, it looks to us like +10.5 points here should be more than enough to get a Cyclone cover. Iowa State +10.5