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September 14, 2012
Picked Over: Can Trojans Change History?
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: Following an opening weekend victory over Navy it's my opinion that Notre Dame had a majority of the gambling public fooled. Look no further than last weekend as nearly a two touchdown favorite (at home) the Fighting Irish relied on a Kyle Brindza 27-yard field goal to squeak out a victory in front of Touchdown Jesus. Quietly Michigan State continues to look like a solid team under the direction of Mark Dantonio and I look for a recent trend of this game being decided by single digits to come to an end. I like Michigan State to expose Notre Dame in this one and win big.
Josh McCuistion: I heard a Notre Dame reporter mention that this is a game that sets up pretty well for Notre Dame due to the Spartans not being a team with a powerful running game and not one that tries to beat you with overwhelming athleticism. I can buy that, but isn't that kind of the pot calling the kettle black? And at the end of the day the Irish are a less talented and less experienced group of bigger and slower guys. I like the Spartans here in what figures to be a wild atmosphere.
ER: This tilt shapes up as almost a blast from the past as ESPN's College Gameday makes a return to Knoxville for the first time in a long time. I can't help but think Tennessee will be hungry for this one under lights of Neyland Stadium as they have dropped seven straight vs. Florida including the last five by double digits. Add to the fact that I'm not much of a fan of Will Muschamp's current work with his squad in Gainesville and it's hard for me not to take the home team in this one. Rocky Top Vols by a touchdown.
JM: Why is consistent quarterback play such an impossibility in the SEC? I mean I've heard mention of Tyler Bray as a first round draft candidate and the guy has yet to throw for 2,000 yards in a season. Don't get me wrong, Bray has real potential but he has been incredibly up and down in his career and big games in particular haven't always been his brightest moments. That said, I kind of like what I've seen from Tennessee and I've always been a big Derek Dooley fan. This is a make or break year, and in that kind of year this could be a make or break game for him. I'm going with the Volunteers here but with money in my hand it's a game I'd stay far, far away from.
ER: It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Stanford has reeled off three straight wins vs. Southern Cal. Gone from the Cardinal offense is No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck who was a huge player in those Stanford victories. The last four times a Southern Cal team has faced a three game losing streak versus an opponent they have won the fourth game by an average of 19-ppg. Southern Cal returns to the west coast this week following a lackluster performance vs. Syracuse a week ago and I look for them to get back on track this weekend adding some style points along the way. EDDIE'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
JM: It's one of those few games I look at every week and the line just looks too easy. Stanford had a nice bounce back win but is nowhere near the Trojans level and shouldn't be able to keep pace with a USC offense that has three, and possibly four, first round draft picks currently starting at the skill positions. It's at 'The Farm' and the Cardinals haven't been an underdog at home since 2009. That being said it won't shock me if USC doubles this line.
ER: What better way to open your Big 12 slate than by seeing the Kansas Jayhawks on the schedule. While that feeling wouldn't exactly be as comfortable if this game was being played in the Allen Fieldhouse vs. Bill Self's bunch I do think Kansas will come out and put up a fight vs. the Big 12's newest member. That said I don't believe it will be enough for any field goals to be torn down on Saturday as the Horned Frogs roll and cover the large point spread on the road.
JM: TCU gets a serious welcoming party to the Big 12 by facing a Jayhawks squad that seems as lost as ever. Maybe Kansas can shock me but they aren't within five touchdowns of this Horned Frogs squad, this is another play that is strong within the Big 12. The nation's No. 86 run defense - after games against high powered South Dakota State and Rice - is going to slow down the always physical Frogs? Not buying. JOSH'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
ER: There's no other way to put it. Oklahoma State was exposed last weekend on the defensive side of the ball. The good that came out of last weekend's loss vs. Arizona was the fact that it does appear Mike Gundy and friends have found themselves a very talented quarterback in freshmen Wes Lunt. I look for Oklahoma State to clean up the mistakes from last week in a game that could get ugly in the fourth quarter. Mark it down Oklahoma State rolls to a four-touchdown victory a week before a bye weekend and the looming showdown with Texas.
JM: How will the Cowboys bounce back? This one looks incredibly straight forward but it's worth noting that the Ragin' Cajuns (come on, that's just fun to say) already took down Troy on the road just last week. The Trojans may not be where they were a few years ago but they never want for talent. I think the Cowboys will come out with something to prove here but when you consider Oklahoma State has played ULL to an average of 57-31 the past two years. I expect a younger Pokes squad to fall short of winning to a similar level, take the Cajuns to cover in a surprise.
ER: Kansas State was the showcase team of the Week 2 across the college football landscape. While it's important to note last week's opponent Miami (Fla.) is nowhere near the team of the early 2000s the victory and the way they accomplished it was just as important. This week the Wildcats find themselves in a odd spot with next week's match-up in Norman surely in the back of most Kansas State players minds. Good news for the Kansas State faithful is the fact that they have one of the best coaches in the country getting their squad ready for this week. There will be no upset in Manhattan but look for the Mean Green to build off its experience in Baton Rouge (week 1) and they'll keep it within the 28.
JM: The Wildcats are so big and physical that this just seems like a rapid dissent for them. However, it's also worth nothing they've already faced another team of similar physicality when they played within this line against LSU in week one, 41-14. I don't know why I could just see the Wildcats not covering this line as they might be caught looking ahead a bit to next weekend's big early season test in Norman.
ER: Last week the Red Raiders were my lock of the week as they covered the 19 on the road at Texas State in going away fashion. This week they welcome in a lowly Lobo team that failed to find the endzone in Austin and I expect those offensive problems to continue this week. Texas Tech has won the last three match-ups with New Mexico by an average of 34-ppg and I see no reason why that stat will change in 2012. With that said I expect this one to come right down on the number. Barring a late New Mexico touchdown I like Tommy Tubberville's squad to roll and cover the rather large spread.
JM: This Tech team is showing some promise but who knows what they really are after playing one game against an FCS opponent and the next a team that has just started their FBS competition this year. On the other hand, perhaps even less is known about the Lobos who were pretty poor against Texas but collected a lop-sided win in the season opener against Southern. I'm expecting a solid performance for the Red Raiders and for them to cover this spread. But if not, Red Raiders fans don't worry your boring home schedule is about to end with back to back home games with Oklahoma and West Virginia.
ER: This is undoubtedly the most interesting game of the week as Texas takes their show on the road to what- if I may add- is the one of the best settings for college football in America. While there's no doubt the frat stars and sorostitutes will win the tailgating battle in The Grove this weekend it's important to note that the Rebels haven't magically gotten better over night. I know a lot of the betting public would love to see an Ole Miss upset here but I just don't see it happening. Texas has won an impressive 11 straight 'road openers' by an average of 40-19 and don't expect that to change this weekend as the Horns minus the points is the play this weekend in Oxford.
JM: A really intriguing game for a variety of reasons but for all of those now convinced that Hugh Freeze in a few months has turned around a program that's been down for years - I can't be more simple than 'stop'. Ole Miss has some talent, simply because Mississippi produces so much of it. However they aren't going to have the same kind of depth as the Longhorns and Bo Wallace hasn't seen any talent near the level of guys like Alex Okafor Carrington Byndom, Jackson Jeffcoat and many others. If the Rebels have any hope it's some of their famous co-eds doing their best 'The Replacements' impersonation. Yeah, Keanu Reeves and football, I referenced it.