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FEPO: College football picks - Oklahoma State/Texas, TCU/Texas Tech, UCLA/Arizona

We celebrate the true return of conference play with five great matchups from three of the nation's best leagues.

Is it time for Texas Tech to finally get a meaningful Big 12 win under Kliff Kingsbury?
Is it time for Texas Tech to finally get a meaningful Big 12 win under Kliff Kingsbury?
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday conference games aren't just for the SEC anymore. Kansas State, of course, just finished up its regular slate of cupcakes (why so spicy, Louisiana Tech?) last week and will be taking a break to gear up for a brutal three-week stretch of Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma to open Big 12 play. Rest assured Bill Snyder is hard at work finding out the Cowboys' weaknesses and devising genius ways to exploit them.

But there's no need for you to start stressing just yet, gentle readers. Instead, grab a few beers, sit back and enjoy a strong schedule of matchups that actually matter in some of the nation's best conferences. Jon and I are here to offer a few predictions, for entertainment purposes only. We're dead even at 14-16 overall after another awful week for me at 4-6 combined with a solid 6-4 week for Jon. Seriously, don't take our advice.

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin TX
Oklahoma State -3

LT: Let's start with the obvious. Texas is not a good football team. Surprisingly, the Longhorsn have actually shown some offensive prowess lately, although it's hard to know if that's a mirage or not considering it came against Rice and Cal. Either way, all the defensive issues are going to be a serious problem against Oklahoma State, who scored 69 points last week against UTSA and is averaging more than 500 yards per game. Texas can't compete with that. Cowboys cover.

JM: I am absolutely not sold on the Texas offense. Rice proves nothing, and has anyone actually watched California play football the last several years? This is a team whose fans actually had a hashtag referencing the fact that they'd drop 50 and still lose. If this line were more wide open, I might be inclined to take Texas and the points. But it's too close for that. Cowboys cover.

Saturday, 3:45 p.m. Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock TX
TCU -8.5
Texas Tech

LT: Texas Tech pulled off a mild surprise last week against Arkansas, or if you work at a network who also owns the SEC Network, a shocking upset. The Red Raiders are still searching for that signature win under Kliff Kingsbury, and they'll have a chance in each of the next two weeks at home against TCU and Baylor. I don't see them challenging the Bears, but TCU, especially on defense, has shown some flaws. The Horned Frogs may survive, but Tech covers

JM: Add to that the fact that this is a rivalry game, and it's (usually, ahem) pretty close. My heart says TCU should cover, but the reality is that Tech has not shown us any reason to suspect they won't, and the Red Raiders may be this year's surprise team in the conference. Viva los Matadors, and take the points.

Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington KY
Missouri +3

LT: Well, here it is. What should have been Missouri's first actual challenge. You could make an argument that close, ugly wins at Arkansas State and home against UConn are actually worse that last year's narrow home loss to Indiana wihtout Markus Golden, but the fact is winning is everything in college football, at least when you play in the SEC or most Power 5 conferences.

Kentucky is once again trying to make people finally take it seriously in the SEC East, and a win at South Carolina looked to be a good start. But it turns out the Gamecocks are terrible and then the Wildcats lost to Florida. Kentucky's not ready yet, and whatever you think about Missouri's offense, there's no denying the defense is legit. That will be enough this week. Tigers win.

JM: Wait. Kentucky's favored? That's all I even needed to know; everything else is just superfluous babble to fill space. Mizzou covers.

Saturday, 7:00 p.m. Arizona Stadium, Tucson AZ
UCLA -3.5

LT: As we know, the Bruins are quite good with a great running back in Paul Perkins, and they've got a freshman quarterback, Josh Rosen, who will only get better as the year goes on. Arizona is a little tougher to read, considering the Wildcats haven't played anyone yet, but they have been taking care of business. In the end, I think UCLA is the better team here, although Arizona's home field advantage makes it a tough call. Bruins cover.

JM: This has all the makings of a typical Pac-12 WTF, so while I don't necessarily expect Arizona to win, I think this one will come down to the wire. Unfortunately, "down to the wire" can mean a seven-point win just as easily as a three-point win, but that's not important right now. Wildcats cover.

Saturday, 9:30 p.m. Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe AZ
USC -6
Arizona State

LT: I would have really liked to make a pick for the Utah at Oregon game, but presumably because of Oregon's quarterback situation, no line has been posted as of this writing Monday afternoon. So, we'll go to another fun, exciting and thoroughly unpredictable Pac-12 matchup. This one almost feels like you could flip a coin and that's kind of a large spread, so let's go with the underdog and home team. Sun Devils cover.

JM: I really should have listened to you last week, but you'll have to acknowledge my analysis was on the money. Stanford's now looking much better than they did two weeks ago thanks to Northwestern. But fools rush in and all; I'm going to hitch my wagon to my own logic. I said either USC would roll, or USC was once again overrated. They proved the latter, and I'm taking Arizona State to cover.


The Utah-Oregon line is up now, so Luke's wish is granted. Meanwhile, Jon will continue to scour the lines for value. Luckily, the Utah-Oregon line provides.