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November 18, 2011
Picked Over: Sooners Try to Slow Griffin
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 55-53
Eddie Radosevich: Perhaps there was no bigger winner than the Houston Cougars last week when Boise State's Dan Goodale missed a game winning 39-yard field goal and with it the Broncos BCS hopes. This weekend keep in mind that Houston has won five straight in this series by 15 points per game while also posting an 8-2 record ATS in 2011. I like the Cougs to continue rolling.
Josh McCuistion: Who ever thought in the pre-season that this game was going to be home to Gameday? I'm still kind of in shocked disbelief and have to think Boise fans are outraged that for all the quality teams they've produced that Houston's first top 10 run in roughly 20 years has them in college football's spotlight, particularly when playing a team barely above .500 in winning percentage. Also, tough break for Tulsa to play the Cougars on the weekend of Arkansas-LSU or gameday might have a real game to watch. Houston, by a lot, lot, lot. If they double this line, I won't be surprised.
ER: Meeting for the first time since 1962 the Cornhuskers travel to Ann Arbor after outlasting Penn State 17-10. The question in this one is will the Blackshirt defense be able to stop Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson? Despite the hiccup in Lincoln two weeks ago I'm leaning toward the Huskers side in this one. Bo Pelini will have his bunch ready to play and I like Nebraska plus the points.
JM: The first trip to the Big House? That's got to be a unique sensation for a bunch from Lincoln that normally would be preparing for a trip to Lawrence. As it is, back to back trips around Big 10 country is probably a lot to ask for form Michigan but then again the Wolverines are having real problems with quality defenses. Which raises the question is Nebraska a quality defense or are their numbers starting to look better due to weaker Big 10 offenses? I'm talking in circles but I'll go with the Wolverines to find a way.
ER: After watching Oregon absolutely embarrass Stanford a week ago one would be hard pressed to go against the Ducks in this one. But in usual fashion I'm going to make an argument to take the other side. Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin built up last week's showdown with Washington as SC's 'Super Bowl'. They responded in resounding fashion with a 40-17 win. With that mentality and current probation placed on the Trojans every week is essentially an opportunity to play in a 'bowl' game. I like SC to keep it close.
JM: This one seems like simple math for many of the 'prognosticators' that I've read this week, USC lost to Stanford, who lost to Oregon so Oregon wins, right? Well, yeah, but comparative scoring is still chocked full of idiocy. The twist? I'll take the Trojans with the points.
ER: Winners of four of their last five (including 4-1 ATS) Florida State continues to look like they are getting back to full strength after starting the season just 2-3. The Seminoles have enjoyed a lot of success at the expense of the Cavaliers going 14-2 since the two teams started playing in 1992. However, this isn't your everyday Virginia squad as they are looking for their eighth win of the season. I like the Cavs to keep it close and make it interesting plus the 17.5.
JM: Quietly Mike London is doing a fantastic job at Virginia after being left with less and little following the Al Groh era. He is pulling in quality talent and is starting to see signs of life on the football field as well. I've always felt the Cavs were a program that had the basic building blocks to be a consistent winner and he seems set on establishing that. With that being said, this is a lot to ask but with a near top 25 defense I'm guessing they give E.J. Manuel some troubles and keep things within reason. I'll take the Cavs and the points.
ER: It's been just as much of a up-and-down first year for Miami head coach Al Golden as it has been for second year South Florida head coach Skip Holtz. Last week, the Bulls snapped a four game losing streak in a Friday night match-up with Syracuse but I'm looking past that when I pick this one. Miami has at times played pretty decent football (see Oct. 22 win vs. Georgia Tech) and showed some fight down the stretch in Tallahassee a week ago overcoming three early turnovers. I like the Hurricane straight up over South Florida.
JM: I'm officially off the South Florida bandwagon, they just seem to keep finding ways to lose - in spite of last week's win at Syracuse. They are just too inconsistent to trust and I really like what I see from Al Golden, an odd thing to say for a 5-5 team. I'll take the Canes and give the point.
ER: Behind Heisman front runner (in my opinion) Brandon Weeden's 423-yard performance a weekend ago Oklahoma State kept it's march toward the national title going. If there was ever a week to bet against the Cowboys I think it would be this one as a huge Bedlam Dec. 3 showdown looms and frankly the 27 points might not be enough if the Cowboy offense gets rolling. Weeden also passed his head coach Mike Gundy on the school's all-time passing list (now No. 2). I like the Cyclones plus the points but Oklahoma State to certainly win the game.
JM: This may be the easiest pick of the week. I like Iowa State, think the world of Paul Rhoads and what he has done in Ames but they'll have to score in the 20s to have any chance of covering. I'll take the Cowboys, they have their sights set and all year have remained focus - I don't see that changing now. It's going to take a superior team to stop their roll.>
ER: While there's no question Texas A&M is capable of getting up by 31 points on Kansas the question that has most scratching their heads is if the Aggies can actually hold onto that lead. After blowing a two touchdown lead last weekend in Manhattan I expect the Aggies to come out and play well in their final tune up before their last meeting with the hated Texas Longhorns but I expect a Kansas team who has played well in recent weeks to stay within the point spread. Didn't think I'd say this all year but take the Jayhawks and the points.
JM: First, I wouldn't touch this line with a 10-foot pole, Kansas has played tough the last few weeks (in spite of my repeated picks against them) and A&M is the conference yo-yo. I continue to be baffled by what I see from the Aggies offensively, I realize Jeff Fuller isn't quite himself but if he is that limited, then why is the team throwing their best vertical threat bubble screens? It just doesn't make any sense what is happening but if you made me pick I'll go with the Jayhawks because A&M's pass defense is poor enough that they'll have to score 50 points to cover this.
ER: One of the more perplexing match-ups of the weekend in my opinion as Missouri will be without head coach Gary Pinkel following his arrest for DWI early Thursday morning. The Red Raiders who come into Saturday's game in an absolutely dreadful slide south are looking to salvage it's season only four weeks removed from snapping Oklahoma's 39-game winning streak. While expect Missouri to win the game I can't help but not having their head coach on the sidelines will only be a distraction for the Tigers and I like the Red Raiders and the points.
JM: I couldn't, in good conscience, pick the Red Raiders with what they've produced since leaving Norman. For whatever reason this team has absolutely gone in the tank. I've said for two weeks that they'll lose out and miss a bowl game. I'm sticking to it and I expect Dave Steckel and his defense to dominate an offense that is averaging just over six points per half since half-time in Norman on Oct. 22. Missouri has fallen off a bit this year, but they haven't fallen that far, Tigers and the points.
ER: I can honestly say I don't have any idea what the Vegas oddsmakers are seeing that the rest of the general public doesn't when placing the Longhorns at an 8.5-point favorite. Coming off a weekend when Bryan Harsin's Texas offense was unable to reach the end zone for the first time since 2004 I can't say I see much improvement in just one week. Combine that with the Wildcats-who continue to be a player in the Big 12 conference standings -owning a two game winning streak vs. Texas and there's no way I can pick Texas to cover in this one.
JM: I can make absolutely no sense of this line. Kansas State has struggled against quality aerial attacks but is a top 25 run defense and is facing Texas without Fozzy Whitaker and possibly Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown. Obviously Texas also boasts a great run defense but I trust Collin Klein to make plays much more so than David Ash at this point in their career. I'd take the 'Cats straight up because unlike the youthful Horns Bill Snyder's bunch won't beat themselves.
ER: Last year it was in Waco where the Sooners found their stride while on their way to a seventh Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl victory. 2011 brings with it the same opportunity for the Sooners yet this time they will be doing it without their All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles. The Sooners are 6-3 ATS this season and are in much need of an 'impressive victory' and I look for their dominance to continue over the Bears. I like Oklahoma and the emergence of true freshmen Kameel Jackson in this one. Oklahoma 55-20.
JM: I've tweeted about it all week (far from being alone in my rants) but Oklahoma has been absolutely stellar on the road this year claiming wins over Florida State, Kansas State, and the neutral field demolition of Texas. This team seems to have completely reversed field with the unit's shakiest performances (though still mostly solid efforts) have come at home. Before the season I argued with many a Sooner fan that Robert Griffin was every bit the equal of his counterpart in Norman (yet to hear much feedback about that some 3 months later, ha) and he is currently on pace to be one of three to break the NCAA pass efficiency record. Still, Landry Jones has a defense capable of getting stops, Griffin does not. I'll take Oklahoma 52-24.