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November 24, 2011

Picked Over: SEC Full of Battles

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 61-60
Last week: 7-6 Eddie
Overall Weeks: Eddie leads 4-3-3

Houston (-3) @ Tulsa

Eddie Radosevich: When Boise State lost to TCU only a few weeks ago it was Kevin Sumlin's group picked up where the Broncos left off. Playing in their headline game of the year I expect a very good Tulsa team to put up a fight but believe the Cougars have too much Case Keenum on their side. Take Houston for the win on the road and continue what appears to be a magical ride that will land the Conference USA school with a trip to a BCS bowl game.

Josh McCuistion: I really like what Tulsa is doing this season and it's a shame they've played a schedule that would make most of the SEC blush this year but still…there is a reason we consider their schedule brutal, and not Houston's. Cougars are rolling and at the end of the day I'd take Case Keenum over G.J. Kinne. And to me that will be the difference of what is otherwise a fairly even matched game.

Arkansas @ LSU (-12)

ER: This match-up has been decided by a touchdown or less (five games decided by five points or less) the last six years. All good streaks are meant to be broken though as I expect LSU to answer the call is yet another 'primetime' game. I like the Bayou Bengals by two touchdowns in this one as they prepare for next week's SEC Championship game in Atlanta and an inevitable trip to the BCS National Championship game in their own backyard.

JM: I think Arkansas' defense has grown up some since the beating at the hands of Alabama. It's not a dominant group but neither is LSU's offense. The more I watch the more I think Arkansas is a pretty legitimate team but if anyone is capable of dealing with their receivers in space it's LSU's startlingly talented secondary. However, I do expect the Tigers to outdistance the boys from the slop, that said…I'll take the fighting Bob Petrino's to cover. And let me be the first to say, Alabama will be your national champions.

Clemson @ South Carolina (-4)

ER: After struggling a week ago versus The Citadel Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks will be looking for their third straight victory over Clemson for the first time since 1968-70. Even without quarterback Stephen Garcia and stud sophomore Marcus Lattimore I expect the home team to get it done in this one. Take South Carolina and the points.

JM: What on Earth is one to expect from each of these teams, much less when they meet up? The Gamecocks are the more complete team and aren't coming off an embarrassing loss. I do love what Clemson's offense is capable of but they just seem like they are going to be too far from what they have been. I really expect South Carolina's quality defense to shut them down enough to buy Alshon Jeffrey and co. enough time to make plays to cover this one.

Alabama (-21) @ Auburn

ER: You can throw the records books out of the window when these two get done in the Iron Bowl. While 'Bama fans surely hope and pray for an outside opportunity to reach the BCS Championship game- and I do expect them to get there- I expect the Tigers to keep this one tight until the fourth quarter. I like Bama by 10 but by the allotted three touchdowns.

JM: Don't get elaborate, there are few teams in the SEC that better embody the SEC getting respect for the greatness of former years, and ignoring what they are, more than the Tigers. Take the Tide, BIG.

Virginia Tech (-4) @ Virginia

ER: Last week I rode the Cavaliers to a victory (with the points) over Florida State. I can't say I like UVA head coach Mike London chances this weekend as I like the Hokies to cover the four points on the road. VTech has been in this position a countless number of times and with the win should set up a really good showdown with Clemson in next week's ACC title game. Remember the Hokies success against the Cavs as well as Frank Beamer's club has won seven straight in the series.

JM: Last week I sung the praises of Mike London and I'm sticking with him this week. I'm not as convinced as I was that he'd take out the now perennially underachieving Seminoles but just the same I'm not sure the Hokies annual tradition is that different. The Cavaliers are a team that wins with a strong ground game and good defense, I'm taking them straight up.

Big 12:

Texas @ Texas A&M (-8)

ER: We knew there was going to be a lot of hype surrounding this final UT-A&M showdown. Both teams battling it out for that ever important seventh win of the season should be quite entertaining. Even without starting running backs Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray I think the Aggies finally get it together in this one putting an exclamation point on the series and giving the LHN some highlights they can show for a long, long time. Take the Ags minus the points.

JM: So we're just a few hours away from this one kicking off and though I see this game a lot like a poor man's Clemson and South Carolina in that we just don't know what we're going to get from either of these teams. Something tells me not to write off Texas, but I just have trouble (even with eight points) thinking Texas can score 17-points which to me is what they'll have to do to keep pace with an A&M offense that figures to have some success.

Kansas vs. Missouri (-23.5)@ Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium

ER: The question heading into this one is will this be Kansas head coach Turner Gill's final game on the Jayhawk sidelines. It isn't hard for one to think there's a very good chance that could be the case. Missouri has won four of the last five Border Showdown's and I don't expect that to change. I'm not one to forget about the Jayhawks dreadful performance a week ago in College Station. Take the Tigers in this one.

JM: This is like the Iron Bowl, don't overt hink it. Missouri, HUGE.

Texas Tech @ Baylor (-13)

ER: This game should be given a catchy name this year as the two programs who have handed Oklahoma losses wage war inside of the DeathStar (JerryWorld). Last week Robert Griffin III led his Baylor Bears to the first victory over Oklahoma in school history. This week the Bears end a 17-game losing streak to the Red Raiders. Take Baylor and give the points as even the folks in Waco find something to party about this Thanksgiving weekend.

JM: The 'we beat Oklahoma' bowl. Following Tech's win in Norman many would have seen this line going the opposite way but as time has worn on the Raiders can't get out of their own way, in spite of an improved performance at Missouri last weekend. That being said, something tells me Baylor (like most teams that have given OU a run this year) is due for a letdown. But I also think Robert Griffin has to realize he may now be the Heisman favorite. Stick with the Bears, but honestly I'd jus stay away from this game.

Iowa State @ Oklahoma (-28.5)

ER: I told myself all week this isn't a game I would want to touch with a ten-foot pole. The Sooners enter this one reeling off last weekend's performance in Waco but nonetheless still have a very good opportunity to win it's eighth Big 12 Championship. If Oklahoma can come out and run the ball (haven't we heard something like this before?) I like their chances to cover. I'll take Brandon Williams for a touchdown in this one as well. Give the Sooners 41-24.

JM: Talk about coming from different ends of the spectrum. Paul Rhoads just collected the biggest win of his coaching career and all but ended Oklahoma State's national title hopes. Meanwhile the Sooners were bombarded by Baylor and ended all national title hopes for the 2011 season. The other thing worth remembering is that Oklahoma, in polar opposition to recent years, has been a bit shakier at home than on the road. That being said, tough to imagine Iowa State getting up two straight weeks. Still though, for the first time all year I'm picking against the Sooners against the spread. I'll go with 41-17 Oklahoma.



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