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October 10, 2013
Of course you all know by now that SoonerScoop.com has you covered for any and all aspects of Oklahoma football however that's not to say that Sooner fans aren't simply college football fans who enjoy talking about the top match-ups from coast to coast. As such each week in 'Picked Over' SoonerScoop.com writers Eddie Radosevich and Josh McCuistion will offer you their take on games across the Big 12 along with a few of the top match-ups from coast to coast in college football. So take a look as one staffer offers random musings, while another brings real numbers to the table.
Season to Date:
Eddie Radosevich: It's a quick turnaround for Stever Sarkisian and his Washington Huskies this weekend following a loss to Stanford. Even more so when considering the fact of who is headed to Seattle. If you like being enamored by offensive statistics it's hard to imagine that Oregon finds themselves behind Baylor in most of those categories nationally. What isn't hard to imagine is why the Ducks are two touchdown favorites on the road this weekend. Through five games Oregon has already posted a 4-0-1 record ATS while tossing up an 8-0-1 record ATS in its last nine vs. Washington. If you're halfway through this read and have already called in and locked down your bet on the Ducks let me offer this tidbit of wisdom for balance. Washington is tough at home. Boasting a 13-2 record ATS in its last 15 at Husky Stadium. While ranking No. 2 behind Baylor having gone three and out only six times this season (6-for-65 9.2%). Give me the Huskies plus the points. I consider myself a fan of 'coach Sark'.
Josh McCuistion: I've been a big fan of Sark for a while and admit for a while wondered if my faith would go the way of former mancrushes of mine - Lane Kiffin and Manny Diaz. However, he finally has the kind of team that can truly start looking like those great Don James teams of the 80s and 90s. Though they aren't quite to the level James had them at there is no doubt it's a very different day in Seattle for the Huskies. That being said for all the love of the Baylor team (more below) Oregon is the best offense in the country and it's not really up for debate - they've actually played some real teams and proved their defense can do it through the years, as to where Baylor's usually folds the second you believe in them. This game should be a ton of fun to watch and two weeks ago I think I'd have taken Washington and given the points but coming off that heartbreaking physical game in Palo Alto next weekend I struggle to see Washington bouncing back this fast. Take the fighting Emilio Estevezi.
ER: I can't figure out what's more surprising. The fact that Georgia is a 8-point home favorite (seems too low). The fact that Missouri is ranked No. 25 in the country. Or the fact that Missouri is one of two undefeated teams left in the Southeastern Conference. A season ago UGA welcomed Missouri to the SEC with a three-touchdown victory over the Tigers in Columbia (MO). This season Georgia- while still one of the stronger teams in the conference- limps back home 'Between the Hedges' after an overtime scare in Knoxville. With a number of UGA players already sidelined it will be interesting to see if RB Todd Gurley tries to give it a go after being listed as 'doubtful'. Either way I see this one falling squarely on the back of Aaron Murray. I've often liked to compare Murray to someone Sooner fans should be very familiar with in Landry Jones (struggles vs. ranked teams support this thought). At the end of the day I can't buy into the fact that Missouri has improved this much over the course of a year. Even with the improved play of James Franklin at quarterback. Murray has a big day and the home team covers the -8 even with nearly half of their offensive roster littered with injuries.
JM: Like Eddie I don't have a clue what to make of this game. A week ago I'd have given you 18 points and taken the Dawgs without batting an eye. This week? Man that's a scary amount of lacking depth for Georgia particularly coming off the heart stopping win in Knoxville. Still though I struggle to think Missouri has grown up this much, this fast. I'll take the Dawgs to simply find a way to do the work in spite of well, everything.
ER: Something will have to give when the Gators head to Baton Rouge this weekend. Cam Cameron has been masterful in the use of quarterback Zach Mettenberg having already thrown 15 touchdowns in '13 compared to just 12 a year ago. Florida on the other hand continues to be Florida. Atleast defensively. With athletes across the board Will Muschamp's defense has continued to play very well holding its last 12 conference opponents under 20 points. Last year's meeting in the Swamp brought with it a 14-6 decision in favor of the the home team. Heading into Saturday's contest I don't think anyone would be surprised to see the final land somewhere well north of the 20 point total that was posted a season ago. Before unloading on LSU at home keep in mind the Gators are 6-1 ATS in its last 7 on the road vs. LSU. Regardless, you get the feeling that this LSU team could have been lethal if matched with defenses of past Bayou Bengal teams. I'll take the home team by more than a touchdown. EDDIE'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
JM: I like this game for the Tigers a lot. Why? As great as Florida's defense is if the Gators give up more than 14 points it seems an almost certain cover. Yes, the Gators are THAT bad offensively (No. 78 in the country). At home they put up 30 points against one of the SEC's worst defense last week and now get to head into arguably the toughest place in the country to play and have to keep up with a revamped offense? Frankly I may like this one as well as my lock of the week. I think the Tigers cover this with some breathing room. For those doubting me, think of it this way, anyone believe Miami's defense is any considerable amount better than LSU's? OK, let's assume you do, fine. Now, how about Miami's home field advantage for an 11 a.m. kickoff against LSU? How about LSU's offensive weaponry against Miami's? OK, I'm pilling on, enjoy your Gator, Les.
ER: Before we dive straight into this one let's take a moment and recap one of the worst beats in betting history. That's right I'm talking about Northwestern's 'L' against the spread Ohio State into a winner ATS. Turning Vegas upside with it. If Nortwestern wants to pull the upset in Madison it will need to continue to force turnovers. Currently the Wildcats lead the Big Ten in forced turnovers (14) including three a week ago versus Ohio State. A common opponent between both the Wildcats and the Badgers is the league leading Buckeyes. Look for Wisconsin to get most of their work done via the ground this weekend as Carlos Hyde did just a week ago for Ohio State rushing for 168 yards and three touchdowns. With the No. 1 all-purpose back in the country in Joe Mixon in town it couldn't hurt Wisconsin to be more 'run happy' than usual. Like Steve Sarkisian I'm a big believer in Pat Fitzgerald and that's why I like Northwestern plus the points to atleast keep in close into the fourth quarter.
JM: I'd like to commend Eddie on bringing up the bad beat last week. I think it only seems right that the fluky score was the only thing that separated him from the first 0-fer in 'Picked Over' history.
But I digress, I'm not exactly sure what it's going to take for Vegas to give Northwestern a little credit, this is a team that just fought a very good Ohio State squad to a near stalemate and they go on the road a week later and give 10 points to an average Wisconsin team? Don't get me wrong I like the Badgers and the way they play football but I think, in a rare thing to say about the Wildcats, they are more dynamic and have more weapons than most of their Big 10 foes. I think Northwestern is very likely to win this one head up - and as Eddie also mentioned, that'd be good news for Oklahoma - and if not they'll cover. .
ER: In any normal year it would be safe to assume that Baylor is in for a dogfight in Manhattan. A season after dashing any hopes of Kansas State playing for a national title it's now Baylor that sits in the drivers seat this weekend. Since defeating Colin Klein and Kansas State a year ago Art Briles and his Baylor Bears have rattled off eight straight victories. Through four games in 2013 there hasn't been much of a fight put up against the Baylor offense. Check this stat. Out of the BU offense 61 drives in 2013 they have gone three-and-out exactly one time. ONE!!!. You then look at a Kansas State team that seems as if it is a shell of itself. In a loss last weekend to Oklahoma State, KSU committed 12 penalties and turned the ball over five times. You do that this weekend and Baylor might reach the half of a hundred mark by the end of the first half. Life's all about chances though and I bank on the fact that Bill Snyder's team usually improves throughout the season. Just as much as Iowa State will be a test for Texas Tech. I expect Kansas State to give Baylor an early knock in the mouth. Remember this Baylor squad hasn't played a road game yet this season. Wearily I'm going to take Kansas State plus the points. However, I must admit I don't feel great about this one.
JM: It's going to shock people but I can see Eddie's side on this deal. Sooner or later Baylor is going to come back to Earth - or we're just going to accept that the Bears are the greatest in college football history.
The problem with Eddie's pick?
Even if Baylor comes back to earth and is held in the high 30s, is anyone convinced the Kansas State score 24 against what looks to be a much improved Bears defense? I know I'm not. And for those that do buy that this is the greatest Baylor offense, consider that much of Oklahoma State's success last week against the Cats came while going with an uptempo offense - now multiply that speed and weapons two-fold for the Bears and it's got to have the folks in Manhattan truly concerned. I'll take the Bears here and lock it up. JOSH'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
ER: This match-up should come with a warning as I really can't get a good feel for it. Iowa State heads to Lubbock this weekend with a couple days of extra preparation after a spirited effort versus Texas. While the Cyclones came up short vs. the Horns there were flashes of improvement. One of those is running back Aaron Wimberley who has quietly recorded back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. Sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson has also improved with the ball in his hands throwing for a touchdown in seven straight games. On the other side of the field Kliff Kingsbury's first year at the helm continues to be a successful one. So much so that he's yet to record his first loss through five games. A win over Iowa State will get the Red Raiders one step closer to heading to Norman in three weeks with an unbeaten record. But for some reason I feel like Iowa State will give them everything they want this weekend. Keep in mind that Iowa State is one of four teams in the country (along with Ohio State, Oregon, and Alabama) that have walked away with a road win over a ranked opponent in each of the past three seasons. Paul Rhoads will have his men ready. Take Iowa State plus the points.
JM: This line looks like yet again another classic over correction to me. I think sometimes Vegas forgets how different it is to play (and travel to) places like Ames, Iowa or Pullman, Wash. as compared to asking those programs to travel to another school's homebase. Iowa State played a middle of the road Big 12 team really tough on it's homefield, how in the world does that equate to playing within two touchdowns of a team with a similar homefield advantage? Flip this one around, this would have the Cyclones as a single-digit dog to the Red Raiders in Ames - as tough as Ames is, I'd be all over that action. Take the Raiders here
ER: A trip from the Jayhawks is just what the doctor ordered for TCU. A week after giving Oklahoma a scare Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs return to Fort Worth this weekend with a much needed break from the Big 12 schedule. Last weekend, I made the dumb decision of rolling with the Jayhawks at home. While they fought early to a 10-0 lead the Red Raiders would rattle off some 50-straight points to make it a laugher. Usually you can make a case for a team jumping up and biting a team by surprise on the road but Kansas may be a different story. TCU hasn't lost three conference games in a season in any league since 1997. More importantly the Frogs haven't lost three straight conference games since 1998. Expect TCU to 'flex' its muscle a bit this weekend and regain some confidence before heading back on the grind next weekend when they head to Stillwater. Take TCU minus the points.
JM: It's hard for me to not just say 'every game this season, bet against Kansas' and think you wouldn't come out far, far ahead. Last week some thought Kansas was the pick against Texas Tech (ahem, EDDIE!) but I told you the Raiders were going to double that line?well I was wrong. They doubled it and then some. Now I think that's a product of some interesting things happening right now in Lubbock but it doesn't excuse just how bad Kansas is. TCU is flat out bad offensively and that's my only concern - can they score the four touchdowns they'll need? I'll go ahead and bet they can and count on Kansas being in the midst of another season with Weis failing, again, to resurrect the career of another former high school All-American.
ER: There's just something about OU-Texas weekend. Somewhere in between the parties, wax cup beers, and corndogs we manage to find time for a football game. Albeit an early kickoff but that's what I like to call part of the show. As it does every year the 2013 edition of the Red River Rivalry comes with a number of intriguing angles. While most burnt orange fans south of the Red River feel that Mack Brown's job may well be on the line this weekend it's hard to imagine-another- blowout. Or is it? Bob Stoops is 9-5 versus the Horns including a 7-1 mark when his team is favored. The lone exception to this came in 2008 when Oklahoma lost to Texas but still found their way into the BCS Championship game. But before we hand the Golden Hat to Oklahoma for the fourth straight year let me warn you. If John Blake can win in Dallas anyone can? Right? I'll take Oklahoma minus the points.
JM: This is one of two things, either one of the easiest lines I can remember in recent Oklahoma football or Oklahoma is walking into a trap and we're all missing it. I'm going to go with the former but every time I listen to my instincts, they end up wrong, and when I don't?they end up right so proceed at your own risk. I'm not one who ever advocates betting rivalry games, these are college kids and there are variables every week but in rivalry games it can get wildly out of control fast.
I like how Oklahoma matches up with Texas - I just don't see a decided edge for Texas anywhere on the field but again when things look too easy, they usually are. Again, I'll take the Sooners but if I were you - I'd steer clear. No pun intended.