Big 12 predictions: Week 4

Kansas wide receiver Tony Pierson

ED ZURGA/AP

My home state, Arkansas, ruined a possible second consecutive perfect week of picks by quite literally running over Texas Tech in Lubbock. 

No worries, I’m back again with a small, but difficult set of games to decipher this week. All three games could go either way, but let’s get to the official picks: 

Auburn 34, Kansas State 27: Before the season, I picked K-State to win this game and the Wildcats have a great shot to do so, but I see their young front seven getting worn down by Nick Marshall and Auburn’s running game in the second half. The SnyderCats’ best chance to win is a quick start that doesn’t allow the Tigers to settle into that power running game that can be so difficult to slow down when Auburn gets on top early. My head says K-State will be able to load the box and stop Marshall from winning the game with his arm. My gut says Gus Malzahn will scheme the read option well enough to make sure Marshall can win it with his legs. Seeing K-State give up 28 consecutive points to Iowa State gave me too much pause to go with the Cats tonight, but it should be a fun game.

Kansas 24, Central Michigan 20: Kansas is favored against a team who beat Purdue by three touchdowns on its home field two weeks ago. However, CMU won that game with senior running back Thomas Rawls, who won’t be in Lawrence on Saturday after an alleged theft at a casino. He missed last week’s game and the Chippewas lost 40-3 to Syracuse. Charlie Weis is calling this a "critical" game, but if the Jayhawks are going to win it, they better get Tony Pierson, their best offensive weapon, more than the two touches he got in last week’s 41-3 pasting at Duke. How Pierson gets so few touches in an offense with so little firepower is baffling. Watch how Oklahoma State uses Tyreek Hill and get creative. 

Oklahoma 37, West Virginia 27: The Mountaineers’ offense is for real, but so is Oklahoma’s defense. The Kevin White-Zack Sanchez matchup will be a must-see game-within-the-game in primetime in Morgantown, but the Sooners are too balanced to lose this game. Sterling Shepard has a big night without Daryl Worley (suspension) on the field and OU hardly misses Keith Ford (broken fibula) after Samaje Perine and Alex Ross combine for 175 yards on the ground.