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October 12, 2012
Picked Over: Big 12 Gets Rolling
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 getting pretty ugly in Columbia following a home loss to Vanderbilt a week ago. And while Gary Pinkel and the Tigers have gone bowling seven straight seasons that streak is now starting to look like it could be in jeopardy as the country's top ranked team comes to town. Add in the fact that Mizzou will be playing without starting quarterback James Franklin as well as a 3-36 record all-time vs. Top 10 teams and it's hard to even think about taking Missouri and the points. I would stay away from it and be fearful of a backdoor cover if I were in Vegas. But here I'll take the Crimson Tide and the points.
Josh McCuistion: I'll go ahead and say it right now, it won't shock me for a minute if Missouri fails to score an offensive touchdown in this one. I've never quite understood the fascination that many had with James Franklin and so far this season he has backed that up. He has fought through some injuries, or well in the opinion of some around Columbia, 'isn't' fighting his way through some nagging stuff. I just think there are problems from the top down in Missouri and think the SEC has been much, much more of a problem than they had anticipated. Well, now you get to face the reigning father of the SEC that has been questioned by some as the best team in the SEC after South Carolina's stunning performance. This is a line 'Bama may double, and as such it's JOSH'S LOCK OF THE WEEK.
ER: Notre Dame just keeps rolling. Week in and week out it seems like the Irish defense only gets stronger while a trip to Norman now looms only two weeks out. This weekend the Cardinal head to South Bend riding a three game winning streak vs. the Gold Domers. Josh Nunes will need to keep the turnovers at the minimum and I see this one going late into the fourth quarter a tight one. The road team is just 4-12 in this series and I don't expect anything different in the No. 17 meeting. The Irish pull out a close one but take the Cardinal plus the points.
JM: This is a really interesting game but Stanford reminds me a lot of Michigan State, who Notre Dame handled with a fair amount of ease. Both teams have quality defenses, play physical football up front but lack game changers at quarterback and on the perimeter of the offense. As such the Irish's largely untested secondary will be given yet another free pass and I expect another roughly 10-point win.
ER: History sends a mixed signal in this one as South Carolina faces LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend. While the Gamecocks enter the match-up behind the eight ball with a 2-16-1 all-time record vs. LSU it's the ole ball coach who has had his own kind of success vs. the Bayou Bengals sporting a cool 11-2 record during his tenure at Florida. What gives? With a win South Carolina could be considered the best team in the country as they beat top-ten team Georgia a weekend ago. But for some reason I keep finding myself seeing LSU find a way to win this. I'll take the Tigers minus the points and keep my fingers crossed.
JM: Every week there is one game that just confuses the life out of me and the battle on the Bayou is this week's winner. I loved what I saw from Steve Spurrier's bunch last week but they've struggled somewhat on the road. In the end though buying into Zach Mettenberger is a recipe for disaster. I don't think it's going to be a pretty game but they'll find a way to get this thing done, take the Gamecocks straight up.
ER: Like the WV-Tech game below this was one of the match-ups that makes the Big 12 so intriguing this year. The Cyclones return home for a match-up with Kansas State as the Wildcats enter the game having won four straight games vs. ISU all under 8 points a piece. I expect Kansas State to keep rolling in this one as they set up a big time match-up next weekend in Morgantown. Take Kansas State to make it five in a row for Bill Snyder's club over their old Big 12 'north' rival.
JM: Talk about two teams that are mirror images of each other, they simply manage the game, play smart football, and limit mistakes. However, the Cyclones are currently No. 80 in the country in turnover margin and as Sooner fans know far too well if you hand things over to the Wildcats, they'll make you pay. I like Kansas State to force a few turnovers and will take Bill Snyder's giving the points.
ER: When Charlie Weis held practice this past week without the Jayhawks seniors it raised my eyebrow. I know, I know. If I take Kansas and the points it'll be three weeks that I've taken the Jayhawks side. Crazy indeed but I've seen crazier things happen in college football as the weather in Lawrence is expected to be nasty with wind and rain. IF Kansas can find a few turnovers it could be interesting but I do see Oklahoma State winning the game by three touchdowns. I'll take Kansas plus the points though.
JM: I'm not going to over complicate anything, pick against Kansas and you'll be a winner on the year, take the Cowboys, and yet again if they double this line, don't be shocked.
ER: Undoubtedly this was the point spread that has had everyone talking this week as West Virginia returns to the Lonestar State only one week after recording a huge victory in Austin. I like many give Vegas too much pull on this one as I find myself wondering what they know that I don't? Last week Texas Tech ran into a perfect storm in Oklahoma who stewed for two weeks following the home loss to Kansas State and believe they will put out a better effort this weekend. I couldn't pull the trigger on Iowa State (above) so I will do so here. Give me Texas Tech in the upset.
JM: This has become a really popular upset pick and I certainly understand that mentality as West Virginia has flown all over the country over the last seven days, have never played in the under appreciated difficulty of Lubbock. Add that their defense plays right into the hands of an offense like the Red Raiders' and obviously those questions are validated. However, while I think Oklahoma certainly has a superior defense to the Mountaineers, I was left pretty unimpressed with what Tech has up front and their ability to defend the pass (in spite of a lofty ranking - aided by a poor season opening schedule). I like West Virginia by a couple of touchdowns here as I just don't think this is your older brother's Tech offense that can win any shootout.
ER: Who could forget last year's Friday night thriller in Waco. This year's match-up will take on quite a different look as TCU stumbles in looking to rebound following last weekend's upset in Fort Worth. Even worse for the Horned Frogs is the fact that they'll officially be without the services of quarterback Casey Pachall who entered a rehabilitation facility this past week. The Bears have dropped 3 of 4 to TCU with the lone victory coming a year ago and I have no problem thinking it will be two in a row following 2012. Take the Bears and the points as this will be my EDDIE'S LOCK OF THE WEEK prior to Baylor's trip to Austin next weekend.
JM: Baylor has impressed me with how well they've bounced back from the loss of the greatest player in school history. And it's almost impossible to gauge, or put into words, just what a huge loss can mean to a team like TCU with the removal of Pachall from the team. The Horned Frogs will get right again before the season is over but in 10 days I really don't think the problems are all solved and that they are prepared to keep pace with a Baylor offense that will inevitably score points.