October 14, 2011

Picked Over: Big 12 Leading College Football

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: Josh leads in wins 36-32

Last week: Josh - 7-3

Overall Weeks: Eddie leads 3-2-1

Virginia Tech (-6.5) @ Wake Forest

Eddie Radosevich: The Hokies have sported a 7-1 record in it's last eight trip to Winston-Salem with it's last loss coming in 1970 and I expect that trend to continue in 2011. Winners of last week's match up with Miami (Fla.) the Hokies are in need of an impressive performance this week and I think they will realize that by covering the 6.5 points in a respectable manner.

Josh McCuistion:We all love and respect the type of thankless job Jim Grobe does at Wake Forest, guy took Wake Forest to a BCS game, that's like winning a national title at most places. However, that hard work, all-go, kind of mentality is something Tech prides itself on and I don't think they'll allow themselves to be outworked this weak by the Deacons. Add in that this is generally the time of the year you start seeing the fighting Beamers hitting their stride and I like the Hokies.

South Carolina (-3) @ Mississippi State

ER: Perhaps the dismissal of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia will offer a chance for the Gamecock players and fans to escape what seems to have been a dark cloud hovering over the USC program. A win for the Bulldogs would be much needed in what was suppose to be a turn-around year for the program. However, I look at MSU's 1-5 record vs. the spread this year and have to think the USC ground game will be too much. Take the Gamecocks to cover the 3 points.

JM: Well whatever happens, let's hope that reporters write nice things about the Gamecocks because we now know if it's not pleasant - we'll see nothing but South Carolina press releases for the foreseeable future. Well actually, it's fair to assume that all decisions of 'justice' will be aired several months after the offense and will not be simply a diversion from a seven-time reinstated player being dismissed when he is no longer the team's best option at quarterback. Oh I'm sorry, did I rant? Yeah, I think it's clear I'm pulling for the Bulldogs in this one and for my pick I'll go with my emotion - though you probably shouldn't.

Arizona State @ Oregon (-14.5)

ER: While Oregon rebounded from a sloppy first half last Thursday night the main loss for the Ducks came in form of an injury to star running back LaMichael James. Arizona State will have success moving the ball And that's why I like them to cover the 16 points while playing on primetime.

JM: I can't lie, I'm really looking forward to this game but there is a part of me that would really enjoy it if someone could plant some ugly comments from Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas in regard to Arizona State linebacker Vontze Burfict. I can't lie, there is a part of me that still associates college football with this angry dude. As one buddy of mine said recently 'we now really get to see Alvin Mack play college football. All that said, I like what Arizona State is doing on defense and though they won't win in Eugene I think they'll keep it close.

Michigan @ Michigan State (-2.5)

ER: Rivalry game in mid-October? I'm in. Last week's 42-24 victory in Chicago sends the Wolverine's into what I believe is their first true road test of the 2011 campaign. Michigan State -who boasts three straight victories over their in-state rival- will look to make it a fourth straight victory over Michigan which would be the longest win streak in school history. Go crazy Sparty as I like the Spartans in a wild and crazy game to cover the 2.5 points.

JM: I think we all know I'd like to pick the Spartans here but I really like what Michigan is putting together and though the Spartans defense is quality they've not faced anyone of note offensively and certainly not anyone of Denard Robinson's caliber. Add in that Michigan's defense is greatly improved and Michigan State hasn't been quite as precise as recent years.

Ohio State @ Illinois (-3.5)

ER: One of the more surprising team's this year has been none other than the Fightin' Illini as they sport a perfect 6-0 record into a home tilt with the Buckeyes this weekend. Ohio State comes into the match up with what I'll take as an impressive performance in Lincoln a week ago. Keep this food for thought: the visitor is 14-5 since 1990 in thi series while Ohio State has won 8 straight in Champaign. I don't know if I think Nebraska is a lot better than advertised or if I'm just clinically insane but I like the Buckeyes to ruin Illinois run to perfection straight up.

JM: This is an incredibly interesting game to look at, and it's the type of one if I'm betting I stay far, far away from. You don't know what either team really is. The Illini are coming along but it's hard for me to buy the maturity of any Ron Zook coached team. At the same time I thought Ohio State made some real strides last week. In the end, I don't know if Braxton Miller will be full speed or not and think that may be the difference.

Big 12:

Iowa State @ Missouri (-16)

ER: Even though the Cyclones have had set backs in back-to-back weeks with losses to Texas (37-14) and Baylor (49-26) look for Paul Rhoades bunch to take notice of last year's 14-0 season ending loss that subsequently knocked the ISU program from bowl contention. While I'm not confident the Cyclones will win the game having dropped their last four in Columbia I do like the bunch from Ames to cover the 15.5.

JM: To me this is a battle to figure out which team doesn't want to start making travel plans for Shreveport. I can't quite figure how Missouri is in the spot they are, they have some good young talent and I think James Franklin has real promise. I'm going to buy the Tigers one more time (though I admit that I doubted them last week) as Columbia is always a tough place to play and Iowa State isn't doing a strong enough job taking care of the ball.

Baylor @ Texas A&M (-9)

ER: In my opinion Baylor's win in Waco last weekend says a lot for where the Bear program currently stands with a body slam of Iowa State 49-26. Improving to 4-0 for only the fourth time in 62-year history of Floyd Casey Stadium the Bears also continued to be the only FBS school averaging 300+ yards passing and 200+ yards rushing through five games. That and a suspect A&M defense makes me like the Bears plus the 9.5 points.

JM: Last week there were several games I was really bullish on but I'm not seeing those so much this week, a lot of games I'm going back and forth on. On a neutral field I'd like Baylor a lot in this one but the last time Baylor had a chance to prove themselves as a real contender they found a way to slip against what should have been an overmatched Kansas State squad. That said, I'm going with 'RGIII' to dice that putrid A&M pass defense.

Kansas State @ Texas Tech (-3.5)

ER: This match-up on the west Texas plains comes as one of the more surprising lines of the weekend. The Wildcats could be poised for a match up with the top ranked Sooners if they are able to pass this test and I'm not so unsure they won't. I've doubted Bill Snyder's bunch twice already this season so here's to not making it a third. I like the Wildcats plus the points and straight up. Let the talk begin for a 'Little Apple' showdown between Kansas State and the Sooners.

JM: I'm not sure that people are noticing what Seth Doege is doing in Lubbock and I think the Wildcats at some point have to run out of good fortune and good things seemingly falling in their lap. While it would help them keeping momentum going toward the Sooner game in Manhattan in a few weeks at some point it has to come into play that Kansas State is horribly one-dimensional and this may be the time.

Oklahoma State (-7) @ Texas State

ER: On paper this game shouldn't be close. I like the Cowboys big. Wait… that's not right… or is it? Last year's 33-16 Cowoby victory made it the first OSU victory in Austin since 1944 and I find no reason why history won't repeat itself a year later. Quarterback Brandon Weeden comes off a Kansas game in which he set a single-game record completion percentage (.857 percent) while en route to a 24-of-28 288 yards five touchdown performance. Only early turnovers and a powerful by the Texas running back tandem of Fozzy Whittaker and Malcolm Brown should get in the way of a Cowboy victory. Take the Pokes by more than a touchdown.

JM: Texas' offense will at least show a pulse this week but still Oklahoma State may triple that line. They just have way, way, way too much offense for the Longhorns. Won't shock me a bit if you're looking at 38-17.

Oklahoma (-36) @ Kansas

ER: How does a defense prepare for one of the nation's best after giving up 70 points a week ago? That's the question first year Kansas head coach Turner Gill is forced to ask himself as he gets prepared to welcome the country's top ranked team Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks they must also prepare for an Oklahoma defense that could be playing it's best ball in years after setting three single game records a week ago vs. Texas: most defensive touchdowns (3), most tackles-for-loss yardage (113) and most sack yardage (84). Give me the Sooners and I'll even add four points. Oklahoma by 40 or more.

JM: I tried to think of a way to interestingly breakdown this game but there just isn't any. The Jayhawks score some points, and they might find some fortune with Oklahoma suffering from a 'Red River hangover' but I don't see anyway they keep Oklahoma under 36. And if you look at that, Kansas will have to score 20 and the only way I see them hitting that mark is a late score against the back-ups. I'll take Oklahoma.

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