September 8, 2006

Around the Big 12: Staff Picks

The Sooners burst onto the scene last weekend with an unimpressive victory over UAB, but they hope to open some eyes in week two with Washington coming to town. While there are some less-than-intriguing matchups in the Big 12 Conference this weekend there still happen to be a few eye-openers.

How will Colorado recover from a Week 1 loss to Division I-AA Montana State? Was the impressive showing from Missouri last week an aberration or are the Tigers a serious player in the Big 12?

Texas will have the opportunity to show they are still national championship contenders with Ohio State visiting Austin while Baylor hopes to get back on the winning track.

SoonerScoop.com staff members, Matt Hensley and Josh McCuistion, give their thoughts on this weekend's conference and national games:

Ole Miss @ Mizzou

Hensley: 27-24, Missouri

I am always hesitant to jump on the Pinkel-wagon especially after the past four years promising “next year is the year.” That promise has proven to be all foam, no beer over the past few years, but Chase Daniel has made me a believer once again! Only.. in next year. The Tigers should have plenty to move the ball up and down the field on a poor Mississippi defense, but an improved Ole Miss offensive line should be key to putting some points on the board.

McCuistion: 34-24, Ole Miss

Every time I jump on the Missouri bandwagon, I get torched.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for three years, shame on me.

Nicholls State @ Nebraska

Hensley: 56-14, Nebraska

Who better to prepare the Huskers for a fierce battle with Southern Cal than Division I-AA power Nicholls State? The Colonels are not horrible, but the Huskers will march up and down the field. This game promises to be as exciting as a wet weekend in Wewoka.. something I can vouch for being uber-exciting.. really.

McCuistion: 45-10, Nebraska

I remember Nicholls State having a pretty good team with some nice athletes…wait, wait, it’s coming back to me now. THAT was a basketball game. You know a sport in which they are division one.

Nebraska huge, and shamefully I might add. No Husker fans this is no slight at you, I think any team scheduling a division-II opponent should be ashamed.

Colorado vs. Colorado State

Hensley: 31-21, Colorado State

How atrocious was that Buffalo pass defense against Montana State? In addition, a believed-to-be talented Colorado offensive line gave up three sacks. The Rams are no powerhouse, but Caleb Hanie is no slouch at quarterback. I believe the Buffaloes play better this week, but I still see the Rams coming out on top unless I see something from Colorado.

McCuistion: 24-17, Colorado

Oh, that’s right…a shocker!

This game is perpetually a case of the team who wasn’t supposed to win. I mean Bradlee Van Pelt is still earning a NFL paycheck due to his beatings of the Buffs. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Rams are certain to come in looking down their noses.

Colorado has too much talent to do so, and Montana State or not…Dan Hawkins can coach.

UL Monroe @ Kansas

Hensley: 27-13, Kansas

The battle of the Hawks. Jayhawks versus Warhawks. Gives you chills, doesn’t it? No? It’s a far cry from the battle of the Tigers with LSU and Auburn. Hell, it’s a far cry from anything remotely entertaining. Kansas should have a more difficult time this week than last week, but they should still skate to a victory against a bad UL Monroe football program.

McCuistion: 31-10, Kansas

It’s a Louisiana city-state squad, just name your score and let’s move on to next week.

UL Lafayette @ Texas A&M

Hensley: 31-17, A&M

Uh oh! The Aggies have their swagger back. They continue their daunting non-conference schedule with UL-Lafayette after a smack down of the Citadel. Let’s be honest, the Aggies are easing into the season. They go from playing a poor Division I-AA school to playing one of the worst Division I-A schools. Talk about battle-tested.

McCuistion: 35-10, A&M

The only reason I changed the score up is because the reasoning is sadly becoming repetitive around the Big 12.

UNLV @ Iowa State

Hensley: 38-24, Iowa State

The Cyclones better learn to defend the pass this week. Wait, we’re talking about Iowa State, right? The Cyclones will put points on the board and so will the Rebels. Lucky for the Cyclones, UNLV is not exactly known for their offensive prowess and at least they were successful in not allowing the Rockets many big plays.

McCuistion: 35-14, Iowa State

Much like Oklahoma I have strong expectations for the Cyclones and saw last week’s game as more of an aberration, no slight to Toledo a solid MAC squad, then the norm. And plus while in Vegas I made a bet with a UNLV fan. I know, I was also stunned that they exist- that they weren’t even good enough to compete in the sluggish Big 12 North.

Northwestern State @ Baylor

Hensley: 35-10, Baylor

The Jayhawks got to whip up on ‘em last week. Now it’s the Bears turn. After a tough loss to the Horned Frogs last week, Baylor is hungry to turn things around in a tune up again before a big road contest at Washington State. Expect a solid performance offensively as the Bears try to get their running game going in Week 2.

McCuistion: 31-7, Baylor

They’re from Louisiana right? Let’s call this week the Louisiana invitational.

Oklahoma State @ Arkansas State

Hensley: 31-14, Oklahoma State

The Pokes put a licking on a horrible Southwest Missouri State team. And yes, I brought back the old school “Southwest” title, I hope you enjoyed it. Now, they face the challenge of taking on the feared ASU Indians. Last year the Indians were down by a field goal in the fourth quarter. This year the Cowboys are better. It will not be a blow out, but it will be the same result.

McCuistion: 35-7, Oklahoma State

I really liked what I saw out of the Cowboys and with a few more wins over hapless opponents I might be inclined to actually watch them play Baylor. Then again the Indians are awfully tough in Jonesboro, or is it Fayetteville, maybe Little Rock…

Florida Atlantic @ Kansas State

Hensley: 23-14, K-State

At least we know the Wildcats can kick field goals. They survived by the skin of their teeth a week ago. I expect the game to be a bit closer than most K-State fans would prefer, but the bottom line will again be a victory in the Little Apple.

McCuistion: 27-14, K-State

Apparently the ‘Catwalk’ didn’t inspire anyone but the field goal kicker, but that’s why I’m picking not two field goals but nine. That’s right Jeff Snodgrass go get ‘em Tiger…err Wildcat.

Ohio State @ Texas

Hensley: 20-13, Ohio State

I fully expect a defensive battle between these two schools known for their defensive prowess. Which, judging from past expectations, probably means it will be a shoot out. Either way, I expect the Buckeyes to come out on top. My thoughts were confirmed with the news of Tarell Brown’s suspension. The two teams could play ten times and probably each win five, but Saturday I believe the Buckeyes come out on top based on quarterback experience, although I’m not convinced Ohio State is numero uno in college football.

McCuistion: 24-17, Texas

I know people are going to call me crazy, but the more I think about it, for all of Troy Smith’s hyperbole what defense has he seen that comes close to the speed and talent of Texas?

The answer, not a single one.

Sure Tarell Brown is gone, but was everyone expecting him to lock up Ted Ginn Jr. one on one? If so, they assume Gene Chizik is an idiot. Looking at his track record, I’d be inclined to strongly disagree.

Where will Texas find the points? A punt return, a blocked kick recovered, and Limas Sweed will make another miraculous catch…oh and a field goal somewhere, anywhere, for good measure.

Texas Tech @ UTEP

Hensley: 42-17, Texas Tech

UTEP was absolutely picked apart defensively by San Diego State last weekend as the Aztecs completed 80-percent of their passes. Not good news when your next opponent is the most potent passing offense in college football. The Red Raiders and Graham Harrell will manhandle UTEP with.. “El Pass-o”? I was never good with Spanish.

McCuistion: 35-14, Texas Tech

Give Tech some credit, one of the few schools in the Big 12 who is actually playing a team in which they know the name of the opposing head coach prior to kickoff.

Forget the game, where are Mike Leach and Mike Price partying afterwards? That’s the place to be guys and gals.

Georgia @ South Carolina

Hensley: 13-10, South Carolina

The Gamecocks are still struggling to find themselves offensively, but their strong defense continues to fill the gap. Georgia is talented offensively, but I’m not convinced they can muster the offense needed to come out victorious. Not that South Carolina is an offensive titan at all. I expect a very low scoring game with the home team escaping victorious with the upset.

McCuistion: 14-13, South Carolina

And the winner for the ugliest game of the week goes to…you guessed it.

This one will be brutal to watch, with two anemic offenses both of whom have talent but neither have a quarterback to run their system in the manner in which their head coaches would like. I like South Carolina’s defense, and Georgia is just looking for a reason to run Matthew Stafford out.

Penn State @ Notre Dame

Hensley: 24-21, Notre Dame

If the Nittany Lions hang onto the football they will have a chance against the Fighting Irish. The defensive backfield has failed to answer any questions. Calvin Johnson had a big game a week ago and I expect Derrick Williams to have a big game this weekend. While my brain tells me to pick Penn State, my gut tells me Notre Dame will pull out a close one in the fourth quarter.

McCuistion: 31-17, Notre Dame

I like Notre Dame quite a bit and much like Oklahoma I found a lot more positives in their narrow win than I did negatives. The biggest question for the Domers was their ability to defend, they defended a pretty talented offense for four quarters on the road last week.

I think they can handle a young, albeit talented, offense on their own field.

And does anyone really expect Quinn to play like that for two straight weeks?

Arizona @ LSU

Hensley: 24-10, LSU

As much as I would love to see Mike Stoops prevail in landing the Wildcats on the national scene with a victory in Baton Rouge, Louis., it’s simply not a reality. The ‘improved’ Wildcats offense failed to muster much against Brigham Young. The speed LSU has defensively is going to be even more stifling. Arizona will corral them defensively, but the Tigers will deliver much more offensively.

McCuistion: 31-13, LSU

This one will be dominated from start to finish, I just don’t see Willie Tuitama being at all prepared for this type of situation. He’s a talented kid, but he’s just that…a kid walking into one of the most hostile environments in all of college football. I wish I could say differently for ‘Coach Mike’ but I just don’t see it happening.

And of course finally, the pick you're all interested in:

Washington @ Oklahoma

Hensley: 38-14, Oklahoma

The Washington pass defense is far beyond atrocious. Paul Thompson should be primed for a big day through the air. I was surprised by the offensive productivity a week ago and I believe they carry their momentum and limit turnovers this week. The defense will be facing quite a challenge on the ground this week. I expect several turnovers from Washington and for the Sooners defense to live up to the preseason hype. Anyone else surprised Washington is still horrible?

McCuistion: 42-10, Oklahoma

You know when I like picking Oklahoma, and picking Oklahoma big?

When absolutely no one else is. They say a team is a reflection of their coach and if there is anyone that likes being counted out more than Bob Stoops I’ve yet to meet him. He simply relishes being told his team can’t do something. Look through the years, and the games in which Oklahoma was starting to slip from the national limelight, are almost invariably the ones in which they took the camera time from the rest.

Season Pick Results:

Hensley: 12-2
McCuistion: 11-3



 

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