November 4, 2011

Picked Over: No More Talk in T-Town

Of course you all know by now that 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' 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 leads in wins 46-42

Last week: 4-4

Overall Weeks: Eddie leads 3-2-3

South Carolina @ Arkansas (-5)

Eddie Radosevich: The old saying 'you play with fire and your bound to get burned' goes no better with any team than with the Old Ball Coach and his South Carolina Gamecocks. Escaping near losses earlier this season against Navy, Auburn, and Mississippi State I like Arkansas to take advantage of a suspect South Carolina offense. Match that with what should be a hostile Razorback Stadium the No. 2 ranked SEC game of the week shouldn't be nearly as close as the one down further south. The Razorbacks aren't here to paint. Arkansas wins big.

Josh McCuistion:A month ago this looked like a really compelling match-up as it would be a battle of two very different teams who enjoy their success in two very different ways. Unfortunately after the injury to Marcus Lattimore I see no way for the Gamecocks to force their will and as such it just seems like a track meet that South Carolina lacks the sprinters to compete in.

Oregon (-16.5) @ Washington

ER: Possibly getting overlooked as a possible upset special the Ducks enter Seattle more than a two touchdown favorite. Keep in mind Husky Stadium will get rocking on Saturday and Washington holds a 6-2 record ATS in 2011. Don't know if I like Washington to win the game but there's no doubt I like them with the points. Here's a fair warning to the Ducks. You better be ready Saturday night and not be looking forward to next week's match-up in Palo Alto.

JM: This is a really interesting game and as much as I love what the Ducks do offensively I really think Steve Sarkisian has the Huskies head in the right direction. Much as a lot of people nationally don't realize how loud and chaotic games in college station can be it's been too long since Washington was a power for people to forget about how hostile things can be there. That said, Oregon has been operating at a high level, I'm guessing they will continue to do so and cover here.

Washington State @ California (-9.5)

ER: With both teams tied for fifth place in the Pac-12's north division look for this one to be a yawner. While Wazzu's second ranked passing game vs. the Cal defensive secondary will surely be the match-up to watch for I like the Bears to take advantage of having played previously at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Both teams have been dreadful in 2011 but each team also still holds on aspirations of playing in a bowl game. Look for it to be a close one (Wash. State covers the 9.5) but the Bears win the game.

JM: I like what Wazzu is trying to get going but obviously the mountain they are climbing is a massive one after the program had become one of the worst in major college football. I'm going to stick with the Cougars as I think the Bears have become such a shadow of a program that once seemed on the verge of becoming a PAC-12 power under Jeff Tedford.

South Florida (-2.5)@ Rutgers

ER: While I've often been fond of the South Florida program it's hard for me to pick them here. Losers of their last three- including an embarrassing Thursday night ESPN match-up with Pittsburgh- the Bulls might need a little help with reaching their seventh straight bowl in 2011. Rutgers showed some fight last week in a 10-point loss to West Virginia and I look for them to be competitive again this week while scoring the upset. Give me the Scarlet Knight plus the points.

JM: I really thought that Greg Schiano had lost the plot a bit at Rutgers but they seem to be getting their feet back and are putting together a solid recruiting class for 2012. That being said, they are coming off a pair of losses including that blizzard against Big 12 new boy West Virginia. Something just tells me USF will get back on the right track here.

LSU @ Alabama (-4.5)

ER: Could the build-up for this monumental clash get any bigger? The Hat vs. The Almighty Chosen One. You can break down the stats and match-ups anyway you want to you but can anyone truly get a handle on what is going to happen in Tuscaloosa Saturday night? I'd be hard to be convinced that's the case. This one will come down to getting a break at the right time. My gut says 'Bama cause they're at home but for this purpose I like LSU plus the four and a half points. And just for fun I like LSU in the upset.

JM: I'm just sick of talking about this thing, let's get going, right? The thing I hate most is that no matter what I say in this blurb, it's going to be unoriginal. So I'll spare you all the drivel and breakdown - Bama has a better offensive group of weapons, led by Heisman contender Trent Richardson and is at home, that equals a win and a cover. I'm thinking 20-13.

Big 12:

Kansas @ Iowa State (-14)

ER: After scoring the upset last weekend in Lubbock Paul Rhoads club now returns home to Ames where they host Kansas. A double-digit favorite for the first time all season Iowa State now prepares for what they hope will not be a let down of which they took advantage of a week ago. And while I like the Cyclones to cover the 14 points remember this tidbit prior to last Saturday ISU hadn't won a Big 12 game by more than two scores since Nov. 5, 2005 (a 45-17 victory over Kansas State).

JM: There are a few teams every year that you just starting betting for or against. Kansas, welcome to that list, I'm taking your opponents all year and I'm willing to guarantee I'll make some money doing it.

Texas Tech @ Texas (-14)

ER: I think I should know where to stand on this game but after watching Texas Tech's debacle last weekend as I write this I'm still not sure. After allowing 368 rushing yards a week ago I can't help but think freshmen running back Malcolm Brown is salivating at the chance of running wild. Combine that with injuries to a depleted Tech secondary I can't find any reason to take the Red Raiders. I got the Horns who continue to improve. Possible Cotton Bowl on the horizon?

JM: I should note for fans, that Eddie was unaware of the absence of Jaxon Shipley prior to writing his blurb so should he be wrong, only berate him somewhat. That said, I think people jumping off the Red Raiders are just as over reactive as those convinced they were a top 20 team last week. It's a solid group and if Oklahoma proved anything, it's that a quality quarterback can throw against Texas' secondary. I'll take Red Raiders with the points.

Missouri @ Baylor (-2.5)

ER: Scoring an impressive victory in College Station a week ago Missouri still lingers as one of the harder teams to figure out for yours truly. Each week I think I have them figured out (see loss to Oklahoma State) they turn in rather impressive performances (see at Oklahoma, at Texas A&M). This week I'm going to go with my heart again and taking the Bears -2.5. I think they'll rebound from even by Baylor standards is an embarrassing performance a week ago in Stillwater.

JM: Baylor seems set for it's second half swoon again this year and there is just something about James Franklin that I really do like - the kid just has an ability to seemingly will the Tigers toward wins. I'm going with the Tigers to not just cover but to win perhaps by a touchdown. The more I look a this line, the more I like this line quite a bit.

Kansas State @ Oklahoma State (-21)

ER: Looking to make its first 9-0 start since 1945 Oklahoma State is beginning to tred in uncharted waters. And while the pressure continues to build around Stillwater there are those that also thing the pressure will begin to become too much. While I am not one of those doubters I do think the 21 points could be too many this weekend. I like the Wildcats to take advantage of the Cowboys defense who could get caught into taking too many chances but give me the Cowboys in the win.

JM: Oklahoma State is becoming the flipside of the coin I talked about with Kansas earlier, if you bet them, you're winning as of late and I think Kansas State is still getting a bit of credit against teams as equally inept on offense as they are - with the exception of Texas Tech. Let's go with the Cowboys here as they'll just have way too many points for the Wildcats to keep up.

Texas A&M @ Oklahoma (-14)

ER: In my eyes we learned a lot about Oklahoma last weekend in Manhattan. Falling behind 17-14 after blowing an early two touchdown lead Oklahoma responded on a Jaz Reynolds acrobatic, diving touchdown to pull back ahead 21-17 and also never looked back. Showing that growth of being able to answer on the road let's me know another set of questions could be answered this weekend when Oklahoma hosts Texas A&M and what could be the most well-balanced offense they have seen to date. I expect the Sooner defense to force turnovers late and score often as Brandon Williams shows shades of why he was a five-star recruit by

JM: I picked it in the pre-season and I'm not going to change it now. Let's go with 49-24.

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