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November 2, 2012

Picked Over: Battle on the Bayou

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: 30-28-1
Eddie: 29-29-1

Last Week (Two Weeks Ago): Josh 3-1
Overall Weeks: Eddie 3-2
Locks of the Week: Josh: 3-3, Eddie: 1-5

Alabama (-8.5) @ LSU

Eddie Radosevich: When the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide roll into Baton Rouge this weekend it's almost befuddling to think that they will be nearly a double digit point favorite. The Bayou Bengals- who are winners of 22 straight in Death Valley- will need to rattle the cage of A.J. McCarron early and often if they want to pull what most think would be a monumental upset. A stellar performance out of McCarron could bump the Tide signal caller into legitimate Heisman Trophy contender talk. Just look at his stats. Look for the Tiger defense to force a couple turnovers early & this one should be down the wire. I'll take LSU plus the points.

Josh McCuistion: Alabama's defense and Zach Mettenberger on the same field? Has there ever been an easier scenario? Unless everything we've seen from Alabama and it's offense this year is a phantasm I really can't envision Alabama needing more than 20 points to cover this spread - a total their last two opponents, Texas A&M and South Carolina, have averaged. JOSH'S LOCK OF THE WEEK

Oregon (-8.5) @ USC

ER: At the beginning of the season I would have been hard pressed to pick anyone but Southern Cal to come out of the Pac-12. Fast forward to what we know now and it appears it's Oregon who is the serious national title contender. For the first time in a long time it's Chip Kelly's defense that make me think Oregon could be a serious BCS title contender. The Trojans will need the type of performance out of Matt Barkely that most thought would make the USC quarterback at No. 1 overall pick. I just don't see anyway USC outscores the 'Quack Attack' so give me Oregon minus the points in a game that is never even really that competitive.

JM: This is another one that seems fairly straight forward to me. Don't get me wrong, on the road is always a tricky situation but are we under any illusions that USC is a huge home advantage - the likes of Oregon, LSU, etc.? No, I don't think we're living in that world and with all of those offensive weapons for the Ducks, I think this is a game I'm not going to overthink - I like Oregon by two touchdowns.

Texas A&M (-7) @ Mississippi State

ER: I find it interesting to see A&M traveling on the road and yet still a touchdown favorite this weekend in Starksville. Since leaving for the SEC it could be said it's been a pretty seamless transition for the Aggies who have seen only two blemishes on their slate. I look at this weekend as a big bounce back for Dan Mullen's squad who let's remember some said had at the very least a fighter's chance vs. Alabama only a week ago. Give me the home squad in this one to not just cover the points but win the ball game straight up.

JM: Really, really interesting game here. Sure the Bulldogs got slapped by Alabama last week, but really who hasn't taken a beating at their hands so far this year? I'm going to go with Texas A&M having some real offense but I do like what Dan Mullen and co. are doing and as sure as I am that Johnny Manziel is going to make some plays I'm equally certain that he'll make a few mistakes on the road in a hostile environment. I think A&M wins this one but I see something like 28-24.

Big 12:

TCU @ West Virginia (-6.5)

ER: Like it was for Oklahoma following a him loss to Kansas State I suspect it's been a long two weeks for the Mountaineers who return to the field this weekend following a 'BYE' weekend. In a game that will feature both if the Big 12's newest members I can't help but to think WV will use this game as a bounce back game like the aforementioned Mississippi State. I don't see TCU slowing down Geno Smith who really needs to have a bounce back performance of his own as the Mountaineers get into the heart of their run through the former Big 12 south. Take the home team West Virginia to cover this one.

JM: Has Vegas gone crazy? At some point you've got to jump off the Mountaineers bandwagon, right? Whatever magic Geno Smith and co. had going before the Texas Tech game, has vanished somewhere in the Appalachians. TCU is growing into a quality team and you can bet Gary Patterson will have a serious gameplan for the West Virginia offense. And I'm more willing to bet that his defensive group comes up with a few stops of Smith than I am that West Virginia can come up with well…any stops.

Texas @ Texas Tech (-7)

ER: As a junior in college I can distinctly remember the night Michael Crabtree had previously dreamt about. This season the Longhorns head to Lubbock following a come from behind victory over Kansas. This is also the point where I tell you to listen to Craig Way's radio call from last weekend's win in Lawrence. I've often been a supporter of the Longhorn movement in 2012 but I've also seen enough to know there's now way I can justify picking the Longhorns in this one. Get your guns up. Tech wins this one by a pair of touchdowns.

JM: I fought off the Red Raiders for a long time but the more I look around the more impressed I am with what is going on in Lubbock. And when you consider that Texas has had trouble making defensive plays in space this looks fairly straight forward. I'll take Tommy Tuberville's bunch thanks to a defense that can slow down Texas enough to handle business - particularly a bunch that is kind of unsure of just what they are about right now.

Kansas @ Baylor (-17)

ER: I find my interest level for this match-up to be just a little ahead of my desire in following the Tulsa Shock and their run for a WNBA title. With that said I do have to believe Kansas will show up and be competitive as head coach Charlie Weiss won't be one to put up with shenanigans or lack of heart on the gridiron. I expect this one to be high scoring and perhaps the Jayhawks find it in them to keep their fans interested for at the very least one more week. Take Kansas plus the points on the road.

JM: This seems like a bit of an over correction based on Kansas' performance against Texas last week. And while I have been mildly impressed with what Kansas is doing on defense I do think that their offense is going to have real problems keeping up with the pace in Waco. I feel like I've gone with a lot of favorites here but I'm going to stick with another one. Baylor should be able to score in the high 30s or more, I just don't see Kansas keeping pace.

Oklahoma State @ Kansas State (-9.5)

ER: A season ago these two programs gave us one of the better college football games of the year as Colin Klein lead Kansas State back from a fourth quarter deficit only to come up short. This season those roles are reversed as it's Klein- not Brandon Weeden- & the Wildcats who are controlling their own destiny. Cowboy quarterback Wes Lunt returned to the starting role a week ago and I can't help but think the OSU offensive attack will be able to puts some points on the board. Each week I've expected the Wildcats to have a hiccup & they've responded in going away fashion. I'm pretty stubborn so I'll go ahead and take the Cowboys plus the points but I do think Kansas State continue their improbable run through the Big 12 with a late field goal.

JM: Maybe I'm just out of my mind but there seem like a lot of easy winners in this week. Oklahoma State is a solid team but this Kansas State team just seems like a bunch that is gaining momentum, and perhaps that's the perfect time for them to slip up but if someone beats them, I think they are going to have to simply be beaten rather than them giving a game away. I'm just not sure I see the Cowboys young quarterbacks avoiding mistakes while in Manhattan and this isn't last years Oklahoma State defense that created mistakes. This is another one that it won't shock me if the Wildcats double this lone it just won't surprise me at all.

Oklahoma (-12) @ Iowa State

ER: Prior to Oklahoma's loss to Notre Dame last weekend I had already planned on saying this was going to be the one Sooner fans needed to keep an eye on. Making their first trip to Ames since 2007 I don't know if even the most diehard Oklahoma fan knows what to expect Saturday morning. If we have learned anything from the Oklahoma losses it would be the fact that the Sooners must be able to get off the field on 3rd down. Last week it was Everrett Golson that made the plays late in the 4th. This week I have trouble thinking the Cyclones have a quarterback that can do the same. Look for OU to put on a dominating defensive effort as I look to party with Larry Eustachy in the second half. OU 38 ISU 17. LOCK OF WEEK

JM: For all of the easy picks, this one is tricky, I'm just not sure I make of this game. Does Oklahoma come out down about being legitimately removed from all national title contention. I mean sure, the Sooners still have Big 12 title hopes but even that is far beyond their own hands. Traditionally the Sooners have done well against the Cyclones but Iowa State has made a habit of a big upset in Ames the last few years and after just missing one against Bill Snyder's bunch could this be their big one? My issue is that while I like Iowa State on defense, I'm not sure of their offensive identity. They've been a bit turnover prone this year, particularly with their two quarterbacks. I'll take Oklahoma to cover but barely q `1with something along the lines of 31-14.



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