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October 19, 2012
Picked Over: Notre Dame a Week Away
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: So far so good for Kevin Sumlin and his Texas A&M Aggies. Through six games the Corps it would seem have made it out of every SEC stadium alive while the football team has been more than competitive sporting a 5-1 record. This week on paper it would appear that could change as LSU heads to College Station coming off of a big win vs. South Carolina. It's also strange to think a superb performance from Johnny Manziel could vault him into even more consideration for an invite to New York City. I'm going to go out on a limb with this and I hope you'll join me. 12th Man prevails in this one. I like Texas A&M straight up.
Josh McCuistion: More than any year in recent memory there seems to have been game after game that I'm just not sure how I feel about. However, I'm going to ignore the obvious choice of talking about how much A&M struggled with Florida's front seven and instead focus on the reality that Manziel is a budding star and that he'll really only have to lead the Aggies to 17 points to win this game. I think it's a trick he can pull off after watching a fairly inept South Carolina team do as much in Baton Rouge last week. This A&M team continues to surprise me and I'll take them straight up for the win here.
ER: Really intriguing spot for second year head coach Will Muschamps's Florida Gators who have quietly ran through the first half of there schedule without a loss. Stay with me on this but a Florida victory places the Gators in the driver's seat of the SEC east and talk of a national title run could start becoming more of a reality. Look at the schedule. South Carolina enters with a banged up Marcus Lattimore looking to rebound from last week's loss in Baton Rouge. Look for South Carolina's defensive front to play better and the Gamecocks steal one in The Swamp.
JM: Now on the other hand, this is a game I actually feel pretty good about. I should say that I don't think either of these teams are particularly special. I think Florida lacks dynamic ability on offense and for the Gamecocks I see a Marcus Lattimore that is dealing with what so many ACL injury guys talk about; 'that first year you're never quite right, the second year is when things come back'. Let's hope such is the case for a talent like Lattimore but for now he just isn't himself and considering the ability LSU had running the ball right at South Carolina and I think an even better and more physical Florida squad will be able to do the same. I'll take the Gators and lay the points.
ER: Like Oklahoma (see my OU prediction later) I don't expect Notre Dame to drop this one with next week's mega match-up looming but I do foresee Saturday's match-up in South Bend being a low scoring affair. Questions surrounding the Fighting Irish offense could still be in the air when Notre Dame heads to Norman next weekend as quarterback Everett Golson comes off a concussion that knocked him out of the Stanford game a week ago. BYU's inability to move the chains on offense will once again hurt the Cougars in an upset bid but I could see this one being worthy of a coach potatoes channel scroll well into the fourth quarter. ND covers the -13.5.
JM: I'll go ahead and peg this as Saturday's most boring game. The Irish and BYU both boast very able offenses and likewise both lay claim to fairly limited offenses. This line almost looks a little too easy and I've been caught by that a few times this year so I'll listen to Vegas and I'll take BYU to cover with the Irish in a serious lull week between Stanford and of course next week's big showdown in Norman.
ER: Last year's loss to Iowa State cost the Cowboys a chance to play for the national title. This year when the Cyclones roll into Stillwater a loss could cost Mike Gundy's program the chance at a respectable season in 2012 with the likes of Kansas State, West Virginia, TCU and Oklahoma still on the schedule. The major question going into Saturday morning's contest is the status of injured Poke signal caller Wes Lunt. If Lunt's unable to go J.W. Walsh will once again get the call. No matter who the quarterback is in this one I like Iowa State +14 points. EDDIE'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
JM: The interesting angle from all of the Big 12 last week that I'm not sure many people have explored - is Oklahoma State any good? The Cowboys were hammered against Arizona who, with schedule considered, is a respectable 3-3 but still, other teams are finding a way to win. Then you throw in the Cowboys struggling to slow down Texas and you start to wonder - is Oklahoma State for real? The one thing I do know is that Iowa State is perhaps the most consistent team in the Big 12, if not in all of college football. I'l take the Cyclones to cover here.
ER: I was on the exact opposite side of the Horned Frogs win in Waco last weekend while I hit Texas Tech's home victory over West Virginia right on the head. This week when the two programs meet in Fort Worth it will be the No. 55 all-time meeting but only the second time the two have met since the Southwest Conference broke up. I suppose I'm buying too much into the Red Raiders but I do believe they will have some success taking advantage of TCU's Trevone Boykin second career start under center (something an inept Baylor defense was unable to do last weekend). Give me Texas Tech to win this one and cover the -1.5.
JM: Wow, because of the West Virginia - Kansas State game this one is falling flat nationally a game that people really should be paying attention to. Again this one looks like an easy pick for the Red Raiders and this time I'm going to follow that instinct. I think the Horned Frogs are too good to fall apart, as they showed against Baylor last week. However, I'm starting to buy into this Tech team, we'll see what happens here but I'm guessing this won't be like last year for Tech following their big win in Norman.
ER: It would appear to me Kansas State heads to Morgantown in the exact same spot the Mountaineers found themselves in a last weekend. Coming off a hard fought road victory the Wildcats head back out on the road to a place that has been known as a tough place to play. West Virginia returns home after back-to-back weeks on the road welcoming the undefeated Wildcats following a their first loss of the year. Keep in mind the Mountaineers are 11-1 since 2001 at home after two or more consecutive road games. That and I think the WV speed will be too much for Kansas State to handle. Give me West Virginia and the points.
JM: With the exception of one of the worst defenses in major college football's recent memory this game reminds me a lot of when the Wildcats went to Norman over a month ago. If West Virginia can get into the 30s it's going to be tough for Kansas State to win this game. I know that will sound crazy to some but when you look at the Mountaineers run defense, No. 43 in the country, it actually hasn't been that bad. Don't get me wrong Kansas State will have success through the air, because who doesn't but I kind of like West Virginia here straight up and frankly Oklahoma fans need to be rooting for this to happen because if it doesn't it's hard to see two losses for the Sooners. JOSH'S LOCK OF THE WEEK
ER: Where to begin? A lot of the Longhorn faithful most likely wish the season could have been canceled following last weekend's embarrassing performance inside the Cotton Bowl. I suppose when looking at this match-up I can't help but forget that Baylor's defense has been nonexistent in 2012. Match that with the fact that Texas has never lost three straight games to Baylor and I look for the Horns to bounce back this weekend and cover the spread. Even I would motion for Mack Brown's removal if Baylor walks out of Austin with a victory.
JM: Following last weekend's beating Mack Brown commented that he still felt that this year's Texas team is better and I agree. I think we also all grant that Baylor isn't the team they were last year. When you add in that Texas players have had to hear all week that they are no good, and will never be equal to their prior groups and I think you've got a recipe for a solid, if unspectacular, win against the Bears. I don't love this match-up for the Longhorns but I expect you'll either see a team bounce back well here, or could be on the verge of a complete and total collapse.