After one week I'm 6-0 Tim Griffin style and 4-2 ATS. Unfortunately, that was in a week when the top 6 faced off against the bottom six. Here on out promises to be much tougher. Especially with no one in the league playing a whole lot of defense. Kudos to Jesse Newell for his Sideline Report, without which, this would be the only football related piece produced by the LJW the day before a conference game. Alright, onto the picks.
Texas (+6.5) v. Oklahoma
I love that the Hawks are televised on ESPN2. And I love the occasional 11:30 kickoff and preceding early morning tailgate. But I really wish I didn't have to miss this game. On the one hand, I've been higher on Texas than most people for a while and I'd love to play the I-told-you-so card after they beat OU. On that same hand, I not only love Will Muschamp, but I also think that he was hired, in part, to dismantle OU's offense. But on the other, I still have no confidence in Greg Davis and Bob Stoops has a habit of winning every big game that's not directly associated with the BCS. Plus, he's got a pretty decent team on his hands as well. In the end, players have a bigger impact than coaches and while Texas has been able to hide their young secondary with a pass rush thus far, OU's wall of a line won't allow for the same.
OU 30 Texas 27
Oklahoma State @ Methzouri (-14.5)
To be perfectly candid, I don’t know too much about the Pokes. They obviously have a world-beating offense, but a suspect defense. In my opinion, Methzou is in much the same boat, but I've watched them play three times so I feel like I have somewhat of a grasp on them. Rare is the day when I'll trust a shoddy defense and concede two touchdowns against a team scoring 53 points per game, but so is life in the Big XII. I'll be happy to eat a big heaping pile of crow if I'm wrong, but OSU was out-gained by Texas A&M last week. And yes, they won huge, which is all well and good. But if they can't hold A&M under 400 yards, what are Booger, Maclin and the rest of the Methzou caitiffs going to do to them?
Methzou 45 OSU 28
KSU @ Texas A&M (+3)
Speaking of despicable, how would you like to have to watch the game in College Station this week? Prince is obviously doing nothing but driving his program into the ground. Could Mike Sherman be doing the same? Do we have Bill Callahan all over again? It could come to be. As for this game, sure the Ags have looked like arguably the worst team in football so far. And the Cats have shown a penchant for beating teams on that same level and below. But if you've watched their "attempts" to tackle ball-carriers in the last few games and know that this week they'll have to do so against Mike Goodson (arguably the best back in the league) and Jorvorskie Lane, how good would you feel about them covering on the road? Me neither.
Texas A&M 34 KSU 29
Nebraska @ Texas Tech (-20.5)
Three TDs in a league game is a lot to give. But the Bugeaters have a very giving defense. It just so happens that leach and his merry band of pirates have a very taking offense. Last time they played this game Tech snuck out with a 70-10 win. My hunch is that it won't get quite that bad, if only because Nebraska is sure to put up more than 10. I've posed this question a few different places, but I think it's worth asking again; is this Nebraska defense as good as last year's? Personally, I'm leaning towards no, but I'm willing to reconsider upon further evidence. What they have going for them that last year's didn't was that they haven't quit. Yet.
Texas Tech 58 Nebraska 35
Iowa State @ Baylor (-4.5)
I saw an interesting stat (I can't remember where) about this game that I think is worth passing along. Baylor has lost 13 consecutive conference games. ISU has lost 13 consecutive road games. So obviously something has to give. And I'm going with the former. ISU has a lot more talent that I previously thought and I'd love nothing more for them to go on the road and steal a victory, taking some of the public stank of that close win last week. But they're just a different team and the road and they definitely don't tackle well enough to hold down Robert Griffin.
Baylor 34 ISU 27
Colorado @ Kansas (-13.5)
Our friends over at The Ralphie Report have apparently changed their tune from earlier in the week. And in his defense, he makes a very compelling case, albeit without a ton of football-like substance. Now obviously I don't have a clue what's going to happen tomorrow. I rarely do. But for some reason, this just feels like a comfortable win.
Colorado really slowed our passing attack last year. But honestly, I think that was as much a road thing (aside from Stillwater) than a scheme/execution thing. Hypolite and Lucas are pretty good at creating Havoc. And the offensive line has been less than stellar. But this is nothing new for Todd and if the second half last week was any indication, the tackle switch does seem to be an improvement. Chalk it up to homerism, bias or stupidity, but I have very little doubt that Todd and his receivers will be able to move the ball through the air.
It seems like a lot of people have been pegging this game as the one where the ground game breaks out (and I'd love for nothing more). But I'm just not one of those people. Although, and it's easy to say after last week, I would expect to see a good amount of Jake Sharp this week. I say that mostly because of Hypolite and his ability to tie up blockers in the middle. The best way to counter that is to get to beat the backers to the outside, and nobody on this team does that better than Jake. All that said, I don't see any of them cracking 100 yards, though I think the team will.
Defensively, this is a good match-up. Even before Colorado's line became patch-work, they needed to run the ball to be effective. Despite what you think of Cody Hawkins, he can't run an offense on his own. But he sure can beat you if you’re concentrating entirely on the run game. Fortunately, the Hawks can usually slow or stop a running game without having to shift their entire focus. If that's the case this week, and they can get some pressure, young Cody could have a rough day. If the opposite happens and Stewart/Scott get going early, they could give KU a lot more trouble than they want.
Much like last week, it just comes down to execution. KU is the better team (as they were a week ago) and if they come out and take care of the primary details, they shouldn't have a whole lot of trouble. However, if they chose to lay an egg or just forget their brains entirely (which may have actually happened), Colorado is more than capable of pulling the upset. Here's to hoping they learned their lesson and that this isn't the week Colorado pulls out their how-did-they-win-that game that always seems to surface when you least expect.
Kansas 31 Colorado 16
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!