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December 2, 2011
What is Going to Happen in Stillwater?
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: All Square in wins 65-65
Eddie Radosevich: There's absolutely no reason why UCLA should be playing in this game. There's absolutely no reason why Oregon shouldn't cover the 31.5 points. But is it easier said than done? It's these types of games that actually I find some intrigue. Will UCLA play for their HC Rick Neuheisel in his last game on the sidelines for the Bruins? Who am I kidding? Take the Ducks.
Josh McCuistion: I can't create any scenario in my head where the Ducks don't cover this, they can cement themselves as one of the early favorites for next year's national championship and lock up their BCS berth. Add in that UCLA is already petitioning for what will happen after they lose, they know what's coming and after last weekend, you can bet the Ducks are ready to make a statement.
ER: I rode with Kevin Sumlin and the Cougars a week ago when they went up to Tulsa and won 48-16 (outscoring the Golden Hurricane 35-6 in the second half). This week I'm doing the same as last. Houston is 10-2 this season ATS and should find the same results while playing in front of a sold out Robertson Stadium. A win could potentially land the Cougars in the Sugar Bowl and a match-up with perennial power Michigan.
JM: People made a huge deal about the Tulsa game but honestly thanks to Southern Miss.'s defense this is the game that could be the real challenge for the Cougars this year. That being said, I still think Case Keenum and co. know they are playing in possibly the biggest game in school history I think they'll come out humming and set themselves up for a BCS bowl. I think the Cougars win, and it's impossible for me to bet against a team like them against the spread.
ER: I simply can't talk myself into this being a close game. Sure the Georgia Dome will be rocking with Georgia fans but I really do feel that LSU is that much better than any other team in the country. Nine times has this Bayou Bengal squad been multiple digit favorites this season resulting in a 9-3 record ATS. We should note those three losses came on spreads of 48 (vs. Northwestern State), 29.5 (vs. Kentucky), and 42 (vs. Western Kentucky). Take the Tigers as they cement themselves amongst the best in recent memory.
JM: I think what Georgia has done is commendable but it doesn't change that they've played in a very lackluster SEC East and had the good fortunate of facing none of the three elite SEC teams this year. The Tigers really seem to be on the warpath and if they can spot an offense like Arkansas 14-points they'll handle this one. Take the Tigers and give the points.
ER: Like Oklahoma it's the Hokies that find themselves playing on the first weekend of December and- once again- in a conference championship game. Ironically it's a rematch of the one of the bigger headscratchers of the year when Clemson shut out Virginia Tech on Oct. 1 in Blacksburg. In VT's seven straight wins since that loss at home it's been almost entirely on the back of star quarterback Logan Thomas who has thrown 14 TDs and run for nine. Thomas' 10 rushing TDs overall set a new record for a quarterback in a season in Frank Beamer's 25 seasons. Clemson won't be able to rebound from last week's loss at South Carolina. Take the Hokies by more than a touchdown.
JM: Clemson is pulling a Clemson and is in absolute free fall. I can't make sense of what has happened as the Tigers collected good wins early in the year, they weren't some fraud of a team. It seems like a definition of just what we're talking about - Clemson being Clemson. Meanwhile the Hokies are doing what they do and getting stronger as the year goes on. I'll take the Hokies and perhaps double this line.
ER: Ah remember former Sooner Keith Nichol's miraculous last-second grab to lift Sparty over the (at the time) undefeated, national championship bound Badgers? So do I. So will the Badgers in the inaugural Big Ten championship. After demolishing Penn State (45-7) last week for the right to play in Indianapolis I look for the Badgers to return the favor and clinch their second straight trip to the Rose Bowl.
JM: This is a line I can't really make sense of, are we all forgetting the game in East Lansing. Don't get me wrong, I like the Badgers to win this game behind a backfield combo that is as good as any in the country but I just can't see them dropping enough points on Michigan State's defense - one of the best in the country. I'll take the Spartans and the points.
ER: Like the aforementioned Bears it's Bill Snyder's club that has turned in beyond expectations 2011 campaign. Only a Sooner Bedlam victory away from claiming a share of the Big 12 title the Wildcats return home to Manhattan where they sport a 17-4 record in season finales. I like the Wildcats to continue the trend and beat the Cyclones but look for a prideful ISU program to keep it closer than expected. Take ISU plus the points.
JM: Could this be a match-up for coach of the year honors? It's probably safe to assume that Bill Snyder has things all but wrapped up however you have to recognize what an exemplary jobs done by both coaches and both staffs so far this year. That being said when you look at the yardage Iowa State surrendered last weekend to Oklahoma I've got to think it's safe to assume the Wildcats and Collin Klein will find success on the ground and take care of business in this one. Man, what a brutal final three games for the Cyclones.
ER: Quietly Baylor has joined Kansas State as not only one of the biggest surprises of the conference but the Bears and Wildcats have turned in two of the more surprising seasons nationally. Last year Baylor scored 20 unanswered points in Austin while on their way to one of the biggest victories in school history. Fast forward to 2011 and- surprisingly- I think the Bears will have some success against the Horns yet again. Texas has been absolutely dreadful on the offensive side of the ball as it appears this thing isn't going to get turned around over night. Take the Bears at home minus the 2.5 points.
JM: I think this is one of the more interesting games of the Big 12 season. It's time to decide if Baylor is going to start making a push toward next year or if they'll succumb to a Texas defense that is playing elite football right now. Coming off the emotional high of last week's win in College Station something tells me 'RGIII' is going to find a way to work a bit more magic.
ER: If you need any proof of how wild Bedlam has become the last few years look no further than last year's 40- point fourth quarter. Add the fact that four of the touchdowns came in a 92 second span and you probably will have the attention of those listening. As for the 2011 edition we once again find the stakes to be just as high as most expected. The Sooners will need to control the trenches while also protecting the ball. It's tough for me to go against the history in this one but injuries (up to four Sooner starters could be out) and the Sooners performance in Waco leave me with too many doubts. Screw it, OU wins 41-37.
JM: With the way Oklahoma's pass defense has looked over the last month it's just tough for me to envision them consistently slowing down the Pokes, as I once thought they would. That being said, I still think Oklahoma will have plenty of success as they are facing one of the worst defenses they've seen this year. If Landry Jones can play a game similar to that of his performance against Texas, I see no reason Oklahoma can't win this game. That being said, without Ryan Broyles I'm not sure that level of play is attainable for Oklahoma's offense. In the end I just For the first time all year, I'm not picking the Sooners - Oklahoma State 42, Oklahoma 38.