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John Werner's college picks: Baylor wins defensive battle

John Werner's college picks: Baylor wins defensive battle

Baylor Football

Baylor cornerback Kalon Barnes steps in front of Oklahoma wide receiver Jadon Haselwood for an interception.

Baylor has been unbeatable at McLane Stadium, but has yet to beat a good team on the road.

And there’s no question Kansas State is a good team that appears to be getting better every week with four straight wins.

The Bears won their first two road games against a Texas State team that’s gone on to a 3-7 record and a Kansas squad that’s 2-8 even after a 57-56 upset of Texas last weekend in Austin.

But the Bears have been vulnerable on the road as they’ve dropped their last two games, including a 24-14 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 2 in Stillwater and a 30-28 loss to TCU on Nov. 6 in Fort Worth.

No. 11 Baylor (-1) at Kansas State

Baylor needs to win to stay in the hunt for the Big 12 championship game with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

Even if the Bears beat Kansas State on Saturday in Manhattan and Texas Tech on Nov. 27 at McLane Stadium, they will likely need Oklahoma State to beat Oklahoma in the regular season finale to reach the Dec. 4 championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Both the Baylor and Kansas State defenses rank among the best in the Big 12, which could make for a relatively low-scoring game. But the Bears feature a much better offense that ranks second in the Big 12 with 453.1 yards per game and third with 35.4 points.

Bill Snyder Family Stadium is no easy place to play due to a passionate fan base that gives the Wildcats a home-field advantage. But the Bears have won three of their last four games in Manhattan, and have a balanced, driven team that can do it again.

Baylor 27, Kansas State 24

No. 9 Oklahoma State (-10.5) at Texas Tech

It’s been a strange season for sure out on the plains with Matt Wells getting fired with a 5-3 record, and Texas Tech replacing him with former Baylor linebackers coach Joey McGuire.

Despite the turmoil, the Red Raiders upset Iowa State, 41-38, last weekend with Jonathan Garibay’s 62-yard field goal as time expired.

Beating the Cowboys, which features the Big 12’s best defense, will be a much tougher challenge. With a 9-1 record, they’ve got a shot to make the College Football Playoff by beating Texas Tech and Oklahoma and winning the Big 12 championship game.

Oklahoma State 35, Texas Tech 21

Iowa State (+4) at No. 12 Oklahoma

Picked second in the Big 12, Iowa State has been perhaps the league’s most disappointing team besides Texas. The Cyclones are 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the Big 12 with no real prayer of reaching the Big 12 championship game.

An Oklahoma team that never looked like a juggernaut finally dropped its first game to Baylor, 27-14, after a few previous scares. Collecting five sacks, the Bears rattled freshman quarterback Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler when he stepped in late in the third quarter.

Though their CFP shot has diminished, they can still reach the Big 12 championship game by beating Iowa State and Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma 38, Iowa State 31

Texas (+2.5) at West Virginia

With five straight losses, the Longhorns are in the midst of their worst losing streak since 1956, a year before legendary coach Darrell Royal rejuvenated the program.

They’re coming off a 57-56 loss to Kansas, which won a Big 12 road game for the first time since 2008. Now their best player, running back Bijan Robinson, is out for the season with an elbow injury.

Both Texas and West Virginia are 4-6, so they both need to win to have a shot at bowl eligibility. This is a good weekend for the Mountaineers to break their two-game losing streak against the underachieving Longhorns.

West Virginia 31, Texas 24

Kansas (+22) at TCU

The few Kansas fans who were in Austin last weekend united to chant “S-E-C” after the Jayhawks’ monumental upset of the Longhorns.

Can they make it two in a row in the Lone Star State? Let’s not push it.

TCU 42, Kansas 28

Last week: 2-3 overall, 2-3 against the line

Season : 37-18 overall, 26-29 against the line

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