College Football Picks - Iowa State Struggling, So Lean TCU And 'Under' In Big 12 Opener

Iowa State Coach Upset

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 4:54 PM GMT

Has there been a worse Power 5 Conference team through two weeks of the 2016 NCAA season than Iowa State? The Cyclones have lost ugly twice and are +24 on college football odds for Saturday's Big 12 opener at TCU.

Cyclones Need To Find Offense
Iowa State was applauded around the country for hiring Toledo's Matt Campbell as the school's new head coach after firing Paul Rhoads last year. And I'm sure it will work out fine, but the Cyclones have been terrible in 2016. They lost at home to FCS little brother Northern Iowa 25-20 in Week 1 and then were plastered 42-3 at No. 16 Iowa last week. It was the Hawkeyes' biggest win in the rivalry in 18 seasons under coach Kirk Ferentz.

ISU was held to 16 first downs and 291 yards in the loss to Iowa and was 3-for-15 on third-down conversions. The Cyclones also had 10 penalties. ISU struggled offensively and with penalties against Northern Iowa as well. So ISU boosters are hoping that Campbell will replace Joel Lanning as the team's starting QB but apparently that's not in the cards right now. Lanning threw two picks in Week 1 and was just 8-for-20 for 86 yards and a pick vs. Iowa. Lanning's backup, sophomore Jacob Park, hasn't started a game since 2013 in high school. He was 6-for-15 for 79 yards in relief of Lanning vs. Iowa. Allen Lazard was a bright spot for the Cyclones with seven catches for 111 yards. He has caught at least one pass in a school-record 25 straight games.

Senior defensive back Nigel Tribune will be available Saturday after serving a two-game suspension. He has 26 career starts, the most of any player on the roster, and 131 tackles, 26 pass breakups and four interceptions in his career. Receiver Hakeem Butler is questionable with a leg injury. He has two catches for 24 yards and a TD this year.

Iowa State is 0-2 ATS on college football odds this year and 0-2 O/U.

Shop For Live Odds For Iowa State vs TCU

Frogs Need To Fix Defense
It has not been a good first two weeks for the top three teams in the Big 12 preseason media poll, Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State. The Sooners were beaten easily in Week 1 by Houston, and OSU lost at home to Mid-American Conference school Central Michigan last week on a controversial Hail Mary to fall out of the Top 25.

Then there's TCU. The Horned Frogs were ranked No. 15 entering last Saturday's home game against Arkansas and lost 41-38 in double overtime to snap TCU's 14-game home winning streak, which was the third-longest active streak in the nation. The Frogs were down 20-7 entering the fourth quarter. But a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kenny Hill with 2:05 left gave TCU a 28-20 lead.

One problem: Hill made what appeared to be a throat-slash gesture after the touchdown and TCU were penalized 15 yards on the next kickoff. That gave Arkansas good field position and the Hogs tied it on Keon Hatcher 16-yard TD reception from QB Austin Allen and the trick-play 2-point conversion on a pass from Hatcher to Allen. Hill has been ripped nationally for the mistake, but the school this week claims it was a religious gesture. The gesture means "Rising King" in sign language, according to Coach Gary Patterson. To be fair to Hill, he did make the same gesture twice in the team's opening win over 59-41 win over South Dakota State and wasn't flagged.

The loss knocked TCU from the Top 25 and now leaves no wiggle room to reach the College Football Playoff. The Frogs can't lose again in the regular season and that still might not be enough. They also have tough home games vs. No. 14 Oklahoma and Oklahoma State while traveling to No. 21 Baylor and No. 11 Texas. TCU is +800 on college football futures at SBR's best sportsbooks to win the Big 12.

Patterson is a defensive guy and he has a lot of work to do on that side of the ball. TCU has allowed at least 40 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2004. TCU is also minus-3 in turnover margin, ranking No. 107 among the nation's 128 FBS teams.

TCU is 0-2 ATS on college football picks and 2-0 O/U.

Series History
TCU leads 6-1 all-time. It lost to Iowa State in 2012, the Frogs' first year in the Big 12. The past two matchups haven't been close as TCU has won by a combined 76 points. Last year it was 45-21 in Ames. The Cyclones did lead 21-14 after one-quarter. TCU's Trevone Boykin, now the backup quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks (who might have to play this week against the Rams with Russell Wilson having a gimpy ankle), threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns and rushed 13 times for 74 yards and a TD. Josh Doctson, a 2016 first-round pick of the Redskins, caught 10 passes for 190 yards and two scores. Lanning wasn't ISU's starting QB then but attempted one pass and it was a 74-yard touchdown.

I'm giving the points here and going 'under.' TCU is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The Cyclones have covered just two of their past nine on the road. TCU is 14-4 ATS in its past 18 at home. The 'under' is 5-1 in TCU's past six Big 12 games. It's 11-2 in ISU's past 13 after a loss.

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Free College Football Pick: Under 61
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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