Tramel college football predictions: Iowa State could take Big 12 control
College football’s crazy 2020 season heats up this weekend, with Big Ten and Mountain West teams starting. But could the Big 12 race be nearing an end?
In Stillwater on Saturday, OSU hosts Iowa State, and a Cyclone victory would mean a likely berth in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The top two teams in the Big 12 make it to Arlington, and if Iowa State beats the Cowboys, ISU will be 4-0 in the league, with victories over OSU and OU, which would give the Cyclones the tiebreaker. Iowa State would have a virtual 1½-game lead over OSU and a virtual 2½-game over OU.
Kansas State also is unbeaten in the league, but the Wildcats have lost quarterback Skylar Thompson for the season and don’t appear to have the offense to sustain the momentum of their 3-0 start.
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An OSU victory would put the Cowboys in great shape, too, but OSU doesn’t have OU in the rearview mirror. Iowa State does.
Let’s get to the predictions:
Oklahoma at TCU: Sooners 34-24. Will the Sooners ever play a Big 12 breather? In OU’s nine games against Big 12 foes, only Bedlam (a 34-16 Sooner victory) was decided by more than seven points.
Iowa State at Oklahoma State: Cowboys 27-24. Reversal of identity. Cyclones have been known for defense the last few years; OSU has been known for offense for more than a decade. But this year, ISU might have the Big 12’s best offense and OSU might have the Big 12’s best defense.
Baylor at Texas: Longhorns 41-17. When last we saw the Bears, three weeks ago, quarterback Charlie Brewer was struggling. Will he keep his job?
West Virginia at Texas Tech: Mountaineers 24-19. WVU could get off to a 3-1 conference start.
Kansas at Kansas State: Wildcats 26-14. KU could make its season with an upset, but the Jayhawks’ only win in Lawrence the last 31 years came in 2007.
Alabama at Tennessee: Crimson Tide 48-20. Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts. Doesn’t matter who quarterbacks the Tide when you’ve got receivers like Bama has.
Auburn at Ole Miss: Rebels 31-21. Funny team, Mississippi. The Rebs played tougher against Alabama than against Arkansas. But Auburn might not be very good at all.
Kentucky at Missouri: Tigers 29-21. Mizzou might have grown up a little with that win over LSU.
South Carolina at LSU: Tigers 35-23. A week after the Gamecocks beat Auburn for the first time since 1993, it’s asking a lot of them to win in Baton Rouge. It’s happened once ever, 1994.
Syracuse at Clemson: Tigers 41-14. The Orange is 1-3 in the ACC and has yet to play Clemson or Notre Dame.
North Carolina State at North Carolina: Tar Heels 37-20. UNC jeopardized its ACC title game hopes with that horrid first half at Florida State. Losing to the ‘Pack would jeopardize the season period.
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest: Hokies 33-20. The Hokies are in the group with N.C. State, Carolina and Miami, trying to keep up with unbeaten Clemson and Notre Dame.
Georgia Tech at Boston College: Eagles 27-24. The winner is 3-2 in the ACC. Not bad.
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh: Fighting Irish 26-24. The 303 Panthers have navigated COVID quite well. This is their seventh game.
Virginia at Miami: Hurricanes 41-14. The Cavaliers have been huge disappointments.
Florida State at Louisville: Cardinals 28-27. Louisville is the only team winless in ACC play. That could change.
Nebraska at Ohio State: Buckeyes 42-30. The Cornhuskers know they were invited to be the log in a Columbus buzzsaw, but I’m betting they’re competitive against the Buckeyes.
Michigan at Minnesota: Wolverines 26-21. If this game gets played, it’s a monument to football’s importance. The entire Michigan campus is on lockdown.
Illinois at Wisconsin: Badgers 27-16. A Friday night Big Ten Network opener. I don’t happen to have the Big Ten Network.
Rutgers at Michigan State: Spartans 32-7. Are we sure that the Scarlet Knights really want to have a season?
Penn State at Indiana: Nittany Lions 49-13. Some explain why the Hoosiers are only 6½-point underdogs.
Iowa at Purdue: Hawkeyes 24-13. Iowa rarely plays blowouts.
Maryland at Northwestern: Wildcats 30-19. Northwestern was given a cushy schedule -- Maryland and Michigan State are its cross-division games.
Tulsa at South Florida: Golden Hurricane 31-17. TU has played only twice but been impressive both times. Close loss in Stillwater, then an upset of Central Florida.
Cincinnati at SMU: Mustangs 34-24. One of the day’s biggest games. The winner keeps alive a shot at the College Football Playoff.
Houston at Navy: Cougars 41-22. Houston’s American Conference title hopes are intact, but they haven’t been overly impressive since finally getting to play.
Temple at Memphis: Tigers 48-10. Memphis’ win vs. Central Florida was the most entertaining game of last Saturday.
Tulane at Central Florida: Knights 38-13. Josh Heupel’s team off to a rough start.
Texas State at Brigham Young: Cougars 51-31. Is BYU’s schedule going to hold up enough to let the Cougars contend for a playoff berth? Probably not. Western Kentucky and North Alabama still await.
Mercer at Army: Black Knights 31-7. Army is 5-1 and played Cincinnati tough. Good team in West Point.
Southern Mississippi at Liberty: Flames 33-14. Liberty is 5-0. Win here, and it sets up two huge games. At Virginia Tech on November 7, at North Carolina State on November 21.
Arkansas State at Appalachian State: Mountaineers 31-30. Appalachian State’s loss to Marshall doesn’t look so bad, now that the Thunder Herd still is unbeaten.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Alabama-Birmingham: Ragin’ Cajuns 32-27. ULL’s loss to Coastal Carolina ruined a chance at a special season.
Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina: 41-31. The Chanticleers are the nation’s surprise team.
Georgia State at Troy: Trojans 30-20. Troy and Appalachian State could end Coastal Carolina’s Cinderella season.
Louisiana-Monroe at South Alabama: Jaguars 26-7. South Alabama is the Sun Belt West’s only team unbeaten in conference play.
Louisiana Tech at Texas-San Antonio: Bulldogs 27-13. UTSA has been playing well. Can the Roadrunners keep it up?
Middle Tennessee at Rice: Blue Raiders 35-15. The Owls finally get to open their season, just like a Big Ten team.
Texas-El Paso at Charlotte: 49ers 34-11. It’s 1,661 miles from El Paso to Charlotte, and these teams share a conference.
Florida Atlantic at Marshall: Thundering Herd 45-14. No team in America is more likely to go undefeated than is Marshall.
Jacksonville State at Florida International: Golden Panthers 26-24. Jacksonville State pushed Florida State to the wire.
Utah State at Boise State: Broncos 33-23. The Mountain West returns, and this is a rousing opener. The Aggies always are competitive, and Boise State is the cream of the conference.
Wyoming at Nevada: Wolf Pack 29-28. Jay Norvell’s fourth Nevada season will be key for his future. He’s 18-20 in three seasons.
Hawaii at Fresno State: Bulldogs 38-21. Fresno State should be more of a Mountain West power than it is.
Nevada-Las Vegas at San Diego State: Aztecs 28-19. Brady Hoke’s second go-round as the Aztec coach begins.
Air Force at San Jose State: Falcons 51-7. The Academy got a jump on the rest of the Mountain West and routed Navy a few weeks ago.
Last week: 21-7. Season: 124-43.