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September 21, 2012Of 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: The eyes of the college football world will focus on this one come Saturday night- and deservedly so. ESPN's College Gameday returns to Tallahassee for the second straight year and much like the Oklahoma game a year ago I expect this one to be physical in every sense of the word. Keep in mind the home team is 9-1 in the last 10 match-ups and I also side with the fact that Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has drawn up a gameplan vs. Florida State two years in a row allowing an average of less than 300 yards. Call it a hunch but I like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins to keep it close well into the fourth quarter. Take Clemson plus the points.
Josh McCuistion: I've said it for a long time now but to me Florida State has become the Texas of the early 2000s, at some point you've got to show more than recruiting rankings to become an elite top five team. This is the first step in that direction though I'm not overly sure what Clemson is aside from the skill positions. At the end of the day this is a question to me of do you trust E.J. Manuel that completely? I don't and I admit I'm tempted to take the Tigers straight up. AS good as the Florida State front seven is their offense is suspect in my opinion - and no don't give me the Wake Forest game as proof, the Deacons don't have a single defensive starter who'd crack the Seminoles two-deep. I'll guess the Seminoles find a way to get out alive, but I'm tempted to lock this one as 14-points is a mountain to give that Clemson offense when all it has to do is keep up with Manuel. JOSH'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
ER: We are four weeks into the season and I still feel a little fooled by Brian Kelley's Fighting Irish. Coming off an impressive win in East Lansing a week ago Notre Dame returns to South Bend this weekend where they welcome a Michigan club that has had the Irish number the last three straight years. It should also be noted this game has been decided by five points or less in the last six straight meetings including last year's 35-31 last second Michigan victory inside the Big House. If Notre Dame can win again this week I'll jump on board but it'll take a win over Michigan at home. I like the Wolverines to keep it close and inside the 5.5.
JM: I picked against the Domers last week and they made me look silly for it and this is a line that just scares the life out of me. All good sense says Notre Dame takes care of business but for all the renewed athleticism in the Irish defense does anyone really think it's taken a quantum leap forward from a year ago when Denard Robinson absolutely torched them? I'm going to go with the Wolverines here, but kind of like Florida and Tennessee last week I admit that I do not have a good feel for it at all.
ER: It shouldn't be surprising that Arizona heads to Eugene this weekend nearly a four touchdown underdog. After all Oregon has won four straight vs. the Wildcats by an average of 51 points per game. Rich Rodriguez has had some kind of welcoming party to Tucson including a Week 2 upset of Oklahoma State but i's hard to forget the fact that Oklahoma State moved the ball at will vs. an Arizona defense that ranks No. 61 nationally in total defense. Oregon will find that same success but I think the Arizona offense could find some success of their own (especially in the first half). Take the Wildcats plus the points.
JM: It amazes me how much life Rich Rodriguez has breathed into the program in a short amount of time but that doesn't change that the Ducks offense is operating at comical levels at the moment. Now, like many quality teams, they've not yet played anyone of real substance but based on previous years is there any reason to doubt that they are for real this season? This game kind of reminds me of what Oklahoma is looking at, a team that has kind of been lying in the weeds and will now get a chance to show it's stuff to a national audience - I expect both teams to win convincingly and the Ducks to cover here.
ER: Call me crazy but I'm going to go ahead and make this EDDIE'S LOCK OF THE WEEK in playing Baylor -7.5 on Friday night. Here me out. For two straight weeks Louisiana Monroe has made a remarkable run vs. the powerhouses of college football. For two straight weeks Louisiana Monroe has gone on the road and taken an SEC team to the brink. While the win over Arkansas is the trademark win of the season I can't help but bring up the fact Arkansas blew a three touchdown lead. Auburn did the same a week ago when they lead 28-14 in the fourth quarter. With that said I think we'll see a pretty worn down ULM squad (who will be playing in the school's biggest game in school history) and I expect a better Baylor squad to win this one in the second half and cover the 7.5. Nick Florence will be the difference for Art Briles and the Bears.
JM: I realize that UL-Monroe has been great on the round two straight weeks in the SEC but as bad as Auburn has been and the spiral that Arkansas seems to be on, it's hard for me to get this excited about them. I think Baylor has plenty of offense and will find a way to slow down the Warhawks passing attack. I'll take the Bears and the points in a total change of roles where the Bears are now Goliath to ULM's David.
ER: Dear Gary Patterson and Frogs: Welcome to the Big 12 but don't ever fumble four times inside your opponents 10 yards line. If you weren't playing the worst team in the Big 12 you would have been the recipients of a rude welcome. With that said, TCU heads into this one without their top two running backs the latest blow coming this week when they lost Waymon James. Good news for the Frogs is the fact that they welcome a Cavalier program that appears to have taken a step back last week when they were trounced by Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The Horned Frogs sport a clean 19-2 record vs. non-conf. opponents under Patterson and I have no reason to think that will change this weekend. Look for TCU to make a statement (even if it is against Virginia) following a less than stellar performance a week ago.
JM: The Cavaliers were a team I came into the season with some real belief in - not a for a national title or anything along those lines but I really thought the pieces were there for a top shelf season for an up and coming program. Let's just say that faith has not been justified to date. Add to it that the Horned Frogs were my lock of the week last week and if not for a gaggle of turnovers in Lawrence would have been an easy cover. I think this week they come out with something to prove and handle things convincingly in their newly updated digs.
ER: Playing West Virginia has been anything but fun for Maryland head coach Randy Edsall who is just 1-6 vs. the Mountaineers all-time. West Virginia welcomes the Terps to Morgantown this weekend after almost being upset a season ago in College Park (35-31). While I don't think Maryland can duplicate their performance a season I ago I do find the 27 points to be a little too much for me. Keep in mind West Virginia big conference opener sits just a week away (vs. Baylor) and I like Maryland to keep this one close again in 2012. Take Maryland +27.
JM: A game that on paper looks great but it's tough to ignore how well Randy Edsall has handled Big East foes (admittedly, other than WVU) both during his time in Storrs and since then during his move to College Park, Maryland. That being said, perhaps the Mountaineers can shake that off as they did their former conference. I'll take Geno Smith to have a huge day but something tells me that West Virginia defense will give up a few late scores to give the Terps a backdoor cover
ER: Is this what Kansas football has become? A nine-point underdog to Northern Illinois. Say it with me Jayhawk fans. Basketball season starts (fill in the blank). All joking aside Kansas did put up quite a fight a weekend ago when they covered the +19 vs. TCU. Last season's match-up saw seven lead changes in a Jayhawks win in Lawrence and for some reason I feel like the Kansas program can replicate their performance from a week ago. While I'm not bold enough to say Kansas will pull out a victory in DeKalb this weekend I do see them keeping it within a touchdown in what should be a competitive game. Take the Jayhawks +9. I just don't believe they can be this bad.
JM: So far I've made a killing picking against the fighting Charlie Weis' - last week's fumble-prone TCU aside. I'll stick with my guns and think that you simply can't give the Jayhawks anemic offense and porous defense enough points. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a ton about this year's Northern Illinois team - and you couldn't pay me to watch this game - but whatever I don't know, can't hurt me so long as I'm not taking Kansas.