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Picks from Joe’s – Coronavirus Edition

So we’ve decided to play football. Let’s pass some virus around, shall we?

Kempton Races Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

I’m going to avoid the easy target of “Why the hell are we doing this because we are still dealing with a public health emergency” and focus more on…

“WHY THE HELL ARE WE DOING THIS BECAUSE THIS MEANS KANSAS FOOTBALL WILL BE ON PUBLIC TELEVISION!”

Unfortunately this also means Texas is back. The beautiful part of this is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Regardless of what happens Texas will be back, it is just a matter of what the Longhorns do to get there. I’m confident most of us are hoping for this...

With the Pac 12 and Big Ten taking a far more prudent course of action deciding to sit this one out, all eyes will be on the Big 12, SEC, and ACC to play out a college football season that, IF IT ACTUALLY MAKES IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO A PLAYOFF, will have an asterisk next to it bigger than a Texas A&M fan’s ego.

Enough of this, let’s look at this week’s miserable slate of matchups.

So right out of the gate three games were either rescheduled or postponed due to coronavirus-related issues (oh boy I can’t wait for this to happen during conference play):

• LaTech at Baylor…Postponed due to a virus outbreak as part of the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. The teams have not agreed to a new date yet.

• SMU at TCU…Postponed due to positive tests among TCU players and staff. The teams have not agreed to a new date yet.

• Tulsa at Oklahoma State…Rescheduled to September 19 due to a recent coronavirus-related interruption during Tulsa’s fall camp.

Of course these changes robbed us of the two most intriguing games and has left us with probably the worst slate of Big 12 contests EVER as the league is the only conference playing non-league opponents.

12:00pm Games (all times in ET)

Louisiana at Iowa State (ESPN)

The Cyclones are favored by 11.5 over the Rajin' Cajuns who are coming off an 11-3 season with a bowl win over Miami (OH). This is likely the most interesting game this week for a Big 12 team that is expected to compete for space in the top half of the league and features one of the best returning QBs in the country. I like Iowa State but 11.5 feels like a lot of points for an opener against a decent opponent.

Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia (FS1)

The Colonels lost to Marshall last week 59-0. The fact that I'm typing these words is an insult to humanity.

Arkansas State at Kansas State (FOX)

The Wildcats are favored by 10.5 as Chris Kleiman comes off a decent rookie coaching season in the Big 12 after leaving FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. The Wolves were expected to be feisty after going 8-5 in 2019 with a bowl win over FIU, but lost 37-24 at Memphis in their season opener last week. KState had a history of struggling with early season opponents like this, but if 2019 was any indication Kleiman has addressed that issue, not to mention he returns his starting QB. I think Kansas State takes care of business.

Night Games

Missouri State at Oklahoma (7pm, PPV)

This game is only slightly less offensive than Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia, mainly for the fact it's on pay-per-view. The FCS Bears went 1-10 last season and are only slated to play three games this season so I can't think of a single reason to watch this even if it was free.

UTEP at Texas (8pm, LHN)

The Miners went 1-10 last season but did manage to slip past SFA in their season opener, 24-14. The Longhorns are favored by 43 so hiding this on the Lousy Hacks Network is perfect. Expect Texas to coast and queue the media chatter, but hope for Texas to stumble a bit so we can feast.

Houston Baptist at Texas Tech (8pm, ESPN+)

The Big 12 on ESPN+ makes its debut with another riveting matchup. The Huskies lost their opener last week at North Texas, 57-31, and only have two more scheduled games. Red Raider coach Matt Wells is coming off a disappointing first season and will look to get things off on the right foot. Anything less than a four TD blowout will raise questions.

Coastal Carolina at Kansas (10pm, FS1)

No Pac 12 after dark? No problem, we've got the Chanticleers at the Jayhawks. Now before you get intrigued about this hoops matchup let me remind you this is a football game. I'll give you a few minutes to get your head around that…

This is a rematch of last season's truly engaging 12-7 Coastal Carolina win. Let me also remind you that Coastal Carolina finished 5-7 in 2019 (2-6 in the Sun Belt), so how the JayHacks are favored by 7 with an O/U of 56 is beyond my comprehension and I wouldn't take KU with Baylor's money (ok, that might not be true). For those of you who choose to stay up for this, I say…

Not much else is happening. The SEC and ACC are playing conference games only so are generally a week behind in schedules. We will get Syracuse at North Carolina (12pm, ACCN), Duke at Notre Dame (2:30pm, NBC…Yes, Notre Dame is playing an ACC schedule!), and Clemson at Wake Forest (7:30pm, ABC).

Everyone enjoy this opening barrage of crap and I will look forward to my normal Picks From Joe’s video next week.

GO POKES!!!