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National Game of Interest (Week 13)

Picking football games against the spread is hard.

He's a man.  He's (older than) 40.
He's a man. He's (older than) 40.
Stacy Revere

Yesterday we picked this week's conference contest of interest and tried to console ourselves by thinking about the reality of luck and statistics. Well, our national picks don't provide many comforting statistics at all. Our Washington whiff brings our record to 9-13. I went into law because I'm not great with numbers, but even I know that number stinks. Perhaps we should start calling this feature Don't Bet On It! again.

Nearly every conference has a potentially interesting match-up this weekend. We've already covered the most interesting match-up in the best conference in the land, but even the woeful Big Integer has a meeting between two ranked teams: No. 19 Wisconsin at No. 25 Minnesota. The always interesting PAC-12 features two potentially competitive contests: No. 17 Arizona State at No. 14 UCLA and No. 5 Oregon at Arizona. The Big 12 offers No. 20 Oklahoma at Kansas State and this week's National Game of Interest: No. 4 Baylor at No. 10 Oklahoma State.

The pick: Baylor -9.5

Why you should care: This is Baylor's Super Bowl. The Bears are 9-0 and averaging a truly astounding 61.2 points per game. That's 8.5 points more than FSU, which is second nationally and has posted back-to-back 59-3 blow-outs of overmatched foes. If Baylor can best the Cowboys, they'll only have to beat Texas (7-3) and TCU (4-7) to cruise to 12-0. And since the Big 12 no longer has enough teams for a conference championship game, this might be your last chance to see Baylor play a competitive game before January.

Rationale: You read that part about how Baylor has the nation's best offense, right? Well they also have a top-10 defense. In fact, they lead the Big 12 in literally every meaningful basic statistical category (i.e., scoring offense, rushing yards per play, passing yards per play, total yards per game, scoring defense, rushing yards allowed per play, passing yards allowed per play, and total defense). Any way you slice it, the Baylor Bears are the cream of the Big 12 crop.

And they're still going to get left out of the BCS championship game unless two of the two teams ahead of them lose. Well, that or style points. I think they're going to be playing for style points. And I also think that Oklahoma State may be getting a little too much credit for laying the wood on Texas 38-13 last week. Don't forget that this is the same Cowboy team that lost to lowly West Virginia, who's currently 4-7, back in September.

Go Dawgs!