College football picks, odds for Big 12 in Week 8: Trust the defenses in Iowa State at Oklahoma State

For the first time since the beginning of October, the entire Big 12 is scheduled to play. Even though a lot has happened in the past month — namely, Oklahoma and Texas sliding in the wrong direction — it feels as though we haven’t really seen these teams play. That’s because we haven’t. Built-in open weeks and COVID-19-related postponements have reduced the number of games. And with the conference taking an overall step back — five teams are at .500 or worse — a lot of national attention has been elsewhere. 

That can change in Week 8. The matchup between Iowa State and Oklahoma State is one of four games on Saturday between ranked teams. The Cyclones and Cowboys have Big 12 Championship Game aspirations, too, so this is a midseason clash that carries major ramifications. Both teams know a window this open doesn’t come along often. 

It’s not the only big game, though. Oklahoma and Texas are in action, and Texas Tech plays host in a desperation game. There’s a lot to get to, so here are your best bets for all things Big 12 in Week 8. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 6 Oklahoma State (-3.5): The big question for this game is whether starting quarterback Spencer Sanders, who’s been out since the season opener against Tulsa, will play. Coach Mike Gundy dropped a nugget on his teleconference that he might play Sanders and Shane Illingworth. That’s to give the Cyclones defense more to think about. Speaking of defenses, both of them are salty, even if the Cowboys are the only ones to show it statistically. Iowa State loves to grind things out with running back Breece Hall while hitting tight end Charlie Kolar underneath. Oklahoma State’s aggressive defense will be up to the challenge. You might have to sweat this under a bit, but this really could be the antithesis of a typical Big 12 game. Pick: Under 52

Kansas at No. 20 Kansas State (-20): Fun fact: Kansas has covered only once so far — last week vs. West Virginia. And it was because Pooka Williams returned a garbage time kickoff for a touchdown. Well, Williams has opted out of the rest of the season. While he wasn’t the team’s leading back, he is its best playmaker. If the Mountaineers’ dysfunctional offense can put points on the board against the Jayhawks, the Wildcats shouldn’t have that much trouble, either. A well-coached K-State takes care of business by three scores. Pick: Kansas State -20 

Oklahoma at TCU (+6.5): This is probably the Big 12’s best coaching matchup of the weekend. Coaches Lincoln Riley and Gary Patterson know how to exploit opposing weaknesses as well as anyone. Expect the Sooners to hit TCU’s defense with a steady dose of tight end Austin Stogner over the middle. Don’t be surprised if TCU quarterback Max Duggan makes some big plays with his legs. Oklahoma’s fourth-quarter woes would give me pause from taking a strong

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