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September 7, 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: It's finally here for the Aggie faithful their debut in the vaunted SEC power conference has come. Unfortunately I'm going to disappoint those that are looking for an ass kicking in College Station this weekend. This isn't the Urban Meyer Gators of seasons past and I expect Kyle Field to be lively. Of course the 12th Man won't be making any plays for Kevin Sumlin's debut but I do think they might be the difference as Florida shuffles quarterbacks in and out. I like Texas A&M in this one to cover at home. (This will also be one of the few bright spots in the A&M schedule. Let's let them have their fun.)
Josh McCuistion: This game, along with Missouri-Georgia could play a role for Oklahoma's national title hopes if they handle their own business. If the Aggies and Tigers can pull off big home wins it would go a long way to shaking some of the talk of 'SEC dominance' now if the two long-time SEC rivals pull things out, that figures to do just the opposite. That being said, I don't love either of these teams but I do think Kyle Field going absolutely nuts can be a factor. That said, the Aggies new quarterback Johnny Manziel has not a start under his belt but in the end a green Manzeil has to be better than what Florida is currently putting on the field. I'll take the Ags in what, to my mind, is a mild upset.
ER: Perhaps the best quote of the season came from Washington State head coach Mike Leach this week when he heard the Huskies had brought in a live tiger to practice prior to heading to Baton Rouge. "I think it would be impressive if they let that tiger out of the cage," Leach said. "The other thing they could have done is they could have stuck a husky in there with that tiger and let that husky out-duel that tiger inside that cage, and I think it'd send a message to everybody. It's great to have him back, isn't it? Oh the game? Give me the Bayou Bengals for the game but I think the Huskies could keep it close and inside the 23.5.
JM: I've never made any denials about being a huge Steve Sarkisian fan, he has a great energy for the job and Washington has long been a sleeping giant of college football. That being said, I can't get what Alabama did to Denard Robinson last week out of my head when thinking about how the Tigers might deal with Keith Price. I'd like to take Washington, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
ER: Last week I believed in the Nittany Lions and took them at home vs. Ohio. I was right for about a half and won't be fooled for a second straight week. Playing Virginia for the first time since 2002 Bill O'Briens club will travel to Charlottesville this weekend where the Cavaliers have posted a 4-1 record in non-conference home games vs. BCS school opponents (last loss Southern Cal '04). While most think the NIittany Lions will be outmatched keep in mind the fact that Mike London's club posted a 1-3-1 record a season ago when favorites at home. I like Virginia in the game but I like Penn State to keep it close. Those guys are really hurting from last weekend and will leave it all on the field- again.
JM: The fact that this is included in our three out of conference games of the week says something about the slate this week. That being said, another young coach that just doesn't get his due is the Cavaliers head man, Mike London. He has the Cavaliers recruiting to a level they've not seen since the glory days of George Welsh. The great question for me is whether Penn State comes out with a bee in their bonnet over the way they finished last week or if an emotional letdown is inevitable. I'd bet they come out with their hair on fire but, for the second week in a row, fade down the stretch. I'll take the Cavs.
ER: While I do think Texas will be much improved from a season ago I- like everyone else across This is one of the more intriguing lines of the weekend as Miami heads to Manhattan coming off of- what I would have called- a surprising victory a week ago when they knocked off Boston College 41-32. While I count that as a quality win for the Hurricanes I would have to warn you to pump the breaks before thinking they will pull off an upset for the second weekend in a row. Colin Klein and the Wildcats pulled off a thriller last season on Miami Beach and I expect them to take care of business again. This time by more than a touchdown.
JM: This was the game that started to wake people up to the Wildcats last year and though they aren't nearly so under the radar in 2012 it's safe to say that Colin Klein still doesn't get his due nationally. The Hurricanes do seem to have a budding star in Duke Johnson at tailback but as Sooner fans know, going into Manhattan and winning is never a simple thing and frankly Oklahoma fans have watched better teams fight against lesser Wildcat bunches. I'll take the Big 12 here.
ER: Last week Iowa State to cover at home was one of my favorite plays of the weekend. I don't see why you shouldn't trust in Paul Rhoades Cyclones for a second straight week when they travel to Iowa City. I almost thought this was a misprint as the Hawkeyes come off a 18-17 victory over Northern Illinois. It's no secret the road team is at a disadvantage posting a 1-7 record in the last eight but I will leave you with this: In the last three years 12 Cyclone turnovers have turned into 45 of Iowa's 111 points. They hold onto the ball and I like their chances. Give me the Cyclones and the points.
JM: This is one of those games that through the years has always been really tough to peg, particularly against the line. With Iowa escaping by the skin of their teeth against Northern Illinois and the Cyclones collecting a quality home win against Tulsa this choice should seem obvious. However, I'm guessing that James Vandeberg bounces back from a fairly putrid performance and that the Hawkeyes defense forces some turnovers from Steele Jantz.
ER: Big weekend for Charlie Weis and his Jayhawks as this could be one of the only true great gamedays in Lawrence this year. Rice heads to Jayhawk country after allowing 646 offensive yards in a 25-point loss at home to UCLA. KU quarterback Dayne Crist should be more than ready for the chance to put up gaudy numbers and I expect them to do so. Rice won't be making any bowl plans in 2012 take Kansas to the bank.
JM: I'll be honest I saw Kansas as a 10-point favorite and thought that I must have misread it. But, checking again, there it is. We won't call the first week of the Charlie Weis era (or should I be bold and predict 'hour'?) a success nor a disaster but it's safe to say tickets are still available at Memorial stadium in Lawrence. Alright, so as for the game itself, I just have trouble picking Kansas, almost regardless of the opponent - so I'll take the Owls and the points.
ER: Again this is one of those games that could leave you scratching your head if you look at the numbers too hard. Texas State heads into the match-up after scoring the upset of the week one knocking off Houston on the road. On the flip side Texas Tech leaves a lot of us still wondering what Tommy Tubberville's team is going to offer as he heads into his third year at the helm. A season ago Texas Tech reeled off 44 points in a mere 18:55 span and I look for them to be able to take care of business again. Take the Red Raiders minus the points.
JM: This one just seems like a severe over correction to me and honestly could be one of the stronger plays of the week. It's not that I think Texas Tech is special but Texas State is a first year FBS program and pulled off a shocking win against a shockingly bad Houston team last week. Just because the Cougars head coach may be following his offensive coordinator out the door doesn't mean that the Bobcats are special. And with that in mind we'll take the Raiders - who I think might double this line.
ER: I wouldn't necessarily say the Longhorns had a scare last week but they did trail after a quarter to Wyoming. Look for Horns quarterback David Ash to take another step in separating himself from Case McCoy and I expect Texas to have a much cleaner showing this weekend when they host the Lobos and actually cover the 38 before heading on the road for what will be a four game stretch that will decide the Longhorns season (at Ole Miss, at Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Oklahoma).
JM: This is the same story as last week, I think Texas wins this game decisively, probably even more than the score will indicate but have trouble giving a 38-point win to a team that has scored 38 points just four times in it's last 26 games. Until the Longhorns offense shows the spark to get rolling at that level lines like this are a safe bet to go against. Don't get me wrong, Texas will manhandles New Mexico but may struggle to score 38-points, much less be 38-points better than the Lobos.
ER: If this game is catching your eye I can't say I blame you- or your eye. It's a really interesting match up for a multitude of reasons. Oklahoma State travels to Tucson with not very many questions answered. Sure freshmen quarterback Wes Lunt didn't have an incomplete pass last weekend but who is to say that I couldn't have done the same vs. lowly Savannah State. Add the fact that this will be the freshmen's first true road game and Saturday night's showdown becomes even more intriguing. With that said I like Oklahoma State to cover because of a better defense as well as success on the ground if it's not working for Lunt through the air. Take Oklahoma State by a pair of touchdowns.
JM: This one feels a lot like the Tech game to me, and since there is no obvious reason for a massive change in line - I feel like this one is a trap. The Cowboys have absolutely dominated Arizona in recent years and with new leadership of a team that went to overtime with Toledo it seems obvious for the streak to continue. I'm a little scared of this line as Vegas is a lot smarter than I am but I just can't convince myself that the two teams have seen the gap between them close that drastically.