Among the early games on Saturday's College Football betting card is a Big 12 matchup between Oklahoma and Iowa State. Join us for a preview and a free pick.
Things are shaping up to be a big mess for the committee that decides which four teams will compete in the first College Football playoff at the Division I level. That's really nothing for the Oklahoma Sooners and Iowa State Cyclones to be concerned with since neither will be part of it.
The Sooners and Cyclones are also both out of the Big 12 picture as they prepare to meet Saturday on the Iowa State campus. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast the contest starting at 12 PM (ET), and it's Oklahoma riding -15.5 point chalk, the spread down a half since it first went out. SBR's live College Football odds will have the total as soon as it's released.
This has been about as lopsided a rivalry as you can find with Oklahoma winning 71 times, Iowa State just five and two 7-all ties along the way. The Cyclones last triumphed in 1990 when the schools were in the Big 8, and the Sooners bring a 15-game win streak into this Week 10 tilt, that stretch including all 10 meetings as Big 12 foes.
Oklahoma has also covered seven of the last nine encounters after putting a 48-10 whipping on Iowa State a year ago in Norman as a 23.5 point favorite. That final skipped past the total for a second consecutive clash after 'under' bettors cashed four straight times from 2006-11.
Oklahoma Glad To See October End
There may not be anyone happier to see the calendar switch to November than Bob Stoops and the Sooners. They entered October undefeated and ranked No. 4 in the country, very much in the playoff hunt at that point, before a pair of losses to TCU and Kansas State, plus a closer than expected win over Texas, ended Oklahoma's playoff aspirations as well as any conference title hopes.
Favored in all three October games, Sooner backers were left holding losing tickets against the NCAA football odds; 'over' bettors were thrilled, however, as each contest finished above the totals.
The good news is Oklahoma has had a couple of weeks to put the tough setback to K-State in the rearview mirror. Last week's bye should also help the Sooners heal a few key injuries, starting quarterback Trevor Knight on that list. Knight injured his shoulder early in the loss to the Wildcats, but came back to play and led his team on what should've been a winning drive late before a second missed field goal from short range did OU in.
Knight is expected to play this week, as are tight end Blake Bell (concussion) and leading wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hip). Running back Keith Ford (leg) remains questionable and is likely to miss his 5th-straight game.
Cyclones Have Tough Schedule Ahead
It has already been a tough season for Paul Rhoads and Iowa State, neither of which has enjoyed a winning year since Rhoads' first in Ames (2009). With just two wins overall and 0-4 record in conference play, the only highlight has been an upset over rival Iowa way back in mid-September. It's not going to be any easier on the Cyclones the rest of the way with three ranked teams among the five games remaining on their schedule.
Like OU, Iowa State was off last week though the extra rest may not help much on the injury front. The Cyclones will probably be a bit thin on the defensive line with nose guard Devlyn Cousin (elbow) and tackle Robby Garcia (undisclosed) each listed as questionable.
All signs currently point to it being a nice afternoon in Ames on Saturday, though college football bettors will want to check back with the weatherman before going to the window. The present forecast calls for mostly clear skies with the thermometer climbing into the low-50s during the game, and a 12-15 mph wind from the southeast.
The biggest question here is the mindset of the Sooners. While they may no longer be in either the playoff picture or the conference title hunt, they still have a chance to close the season strong and enjoy a nice payday come bowl season. A big game against Baylor is on deck, but I expect Stoops to have his team champing at the bit this week, and that's why I'm laying the points on OU with my free College Football pick.
Free College Football Pick: Oklahoma -15.5 at Bet365
Willie Bee's College Football Handicapping Record for the Season: 42-27-1 (+12.30)