College football game of the week preview and best bets: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Iowa State Cyclones

Spencer Sanders and Jaylen Warren of the Oklahoma State Cowboys
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Ricky Dimon

NCAAF· 1 month ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

College football has been quite crazy in recent weeks. There is no reason why that can’t continue on Saturday, but it would have to come from some relatively unexpected sources given the schedule. There is not a single all-top 25 showdown on the entire slate. However, we do have some intrigue in the Big 12. Oklahoma State has surged into the top 10 and will put its undefeated record on the line as a road underdog at Iowa State.

Suddenly in the mix for the Big 12 title and even in the National Championship discussion, can the Cowboys keep the train rolling? Let’s take a look at what could be in store for this conference rivalry game.

Breaking down the Cowboys

Not only is Oklahoma State undefeated, but it is also coming off three consecutive top-25 victories over Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas. That was preceded by a win at Boise State. Head coach Mike Gundy’s squad has won just a single game by more than 10 points (31-20 over Kansas State), but there is no need to apologize for perfection in any way shape or form.

Running back Jaylen Warren has been a big reason for the Cowboys’ success. In last weekend’s 32-24 upset of Texas, Warren rushed 33 times for 193 yards. His last four yardage totals are 218, 123, 125, and 193 to go along with 4 TDs during this stretch and an 81-yard receiving performance against Kansas State. The 5’8’’, 215-pound senior has helped make up for the struggles of quarterback Spencer Sanders, who has completed only 58.6 percent of his passes and has almost as many interceptions (5) as touchdowns (6). As for the defense, it is one of the best in the nation at stopping the run at 98.8 yards allowed per contest.

Check out our reaction to what happened in college football during Week 7

Breaking down the Cyclones

Iowa State has gone in the other direction this season. After being ranked inside the top 10 in the preseason poll, the Cyclones are out of the top 25 following losses to Iowa and Baylor. On the bright side, head coach Matt Campbell’s crew heads into this one on the heels of back-to-back defeats of Kansas (59-7) and Kansas State (33-20).

The Cyclones’ defense has been outstanding so far. They are near the top 10 in rushing defense at 97.7 yards allowed per game and they are fifth in passing defense (153.7 ypg). The key is for quarterback Brock Purdy and the offense to hold up their end of the bargain. Purdy has been solid for the most part in 2021, but in his biggest game of the year to date, he had no TDs and 3 INTs in a loss to Iowa.

Check out our college football futures report heading into Week 8

Predictions and best bets

This is a battle between the current No. 8 team in the land (Oklahoma State) and the team that started the year ranked No. 7 (Iowa State). The jury is still out on the Cyclones because their impressive defensive statistics may be due to the fact that they have faced teams like Northern Iowa, UNLV, and Kansas. It did not go well when they went up against their two toughest opponents so far, Iowa and Baylor. It is true that this could be a letdown spot for Oklahoma State following a big road win over Texas, but getting 7 points is too good to pass up.

I also like the over on a modest 47 total. As mentioned above, Iowa State’s defense is still relatively unproven. Generally speaking, when it comes to the Big 12, good offense beats decent defense. Each of the Cyclones’ last four outings has surpassed this 47 number, and two of the Cowboys’ last three have done the same.

Be sure to check out our picks and predictions for all the big college football Week 8 games

At Pickswise we offer free expert College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for all games in the Power Five conferences and the top 25 teams outside of Power five, including our College Football Parlay picks each week.

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