In honor of my Kerry Meier piece, Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman wrote on of his own. I think we know whose is better. Also, this week's Rock Chalk Roundtable has been posted over at Rock Chalk Talk, so be sure to check that out.
But you're here for the picks. And with only five league games this week, I'll have no choice but to stray from my recent stretch being mired in mediocrity. To review, I stand at 27-9 TGS and 18-18 ATS. The time for improvement is now.
Oklahoma State @ Colorado (+16.5)
For some reason, I'm tempted to take Colorado here. Obviously we all know that their offense is beyond awful. And while their defense is respectable, it can't carry them, especially against superior teams. But don't they always win one game like this? And couldn't the Pokes still be a little shell-shocked from the raping they took in Lubbock last week? I may be way off here and Okie State may come out and run all over them (they'll have to since Dez Bryant doesn't score outside of Stillwater), but I'm going to lean the way of Ralphie. I don't have the balls to take them for the outright W, but I'll let them cover. OSU 35 CU 24
Nebraska (-6) @ KSU
This line seems so far off that I'm a little scared to take it – just seems like someone knows something that I don't. K-State has only been competitive ONCE in Big XII play. Meanwhile, Nebraska has been steadily improving week by week (aside from that little trip down to Norman), ultimately leading up to their monumental win last week – after all, it was enough to bring out the blackshirts. Nebraska's still questionable defense aside, if they don't win this by at least a touchdown, I really want a do-over. NU 42 KSU 27
Methzou @ ISU (+28)
Tim Griffin wants to know whatever happened to Chase Daniel's Heisman hopes? As dumb of a question as it is, he does put together a nice little stat box in there comparing his first five games to his last five. Pretty astonishing, really, how much worse he is in every category listed. All that aside, the Tigers should roll this week. But unless Pinkel meant business saying that he's done playing nice (didn't they run a fake FG up by like 50 points in the non-conference?), ISU should be able to score enough late to cover. MU 48 ISU 24
Texas A&M @ Baylor (-8)
If that doesn't tell you all you need to know about A&M football right now, I don't know what does. Hey, at least Todd McShay things Stephen McGee is a great pro prospect! But actually, this line makes me a little nervous. I think Baylor is the better team – and really, I don't think it's debatable. But A&M can put up some points and it's pretty safe to say that Baylor isn't very familiar with the "favorite" role. I might not be basing this on anything more than sentiment, but I'm going to say Baylor covers. Baylor 38 A&M 28
Game of the Week: Texas @ Kansas (+13)
Is this really the game of the week? Well, you may remember once upon a time when it was conceivable that Gameday would be in Lawrence instead of FAMU this week. Of course that required Kansas to beat Tech or at least remain competitive and go on to beat K-State and Nebraska as well. Meanwhile, Texas would either be right where they are or Michael Crabtree wouldn't have scored and they'd be sitting pretty at #1. Suffice it to say, only one team held up their end of the bargain. Yet it remains far and away the best game of the week and really it's not that close.
On paper, Kansas really doesn't have a case. If Texas has two strengths on defense it's: 1) their d-line and everything it does well & 2) the speed of their linebackers, primarily Muckelroy. The two things that cause the most trouble for Kansas' offense are: 1) a good pass rush & 2) not being able to get the corner. Obviously, both of those look to be issues heading into tomorrow.
Defensively, well, you know what the problems are. We can't generate a pass rush. With the exception of Holt, our linebackers look lost whenever they have to play in space. And our entire secondary (aside from Stuckey) has been reconfigured throughout the season. And this week we get to face an offense racking up nearly 500 yards and over 44 points a game with a QB completing roughly 80% of his passes. Like I said, on paper, there's no argument. And special teams are just more of the same.
With all that said, all we've got to hang our hat on is the little somethings that add up to upsets. Maybe Colt and the rest of the team are affected by the cold weather and wind (wind chill expected to be in upper 20's through most of the game). Maybe this leads to some turnovers. Maybe Mangino, Warinner and Reesing say 'Fuck It' and just cut things loose. Maybe Texas' 3rd string center messes up a couple line calls and our typically bondaged d-line breaks free and makes a play. Maybe someone slips a little estrogen in Orakpo's "vitamins." Maybe Mack's hands are too cold to clap. Then what? I won't go so far as to call the all out win, but I'm just not ready to give up hope that this team is still good enough to play with anyone. And if that's the case, there's no reason they can't keep it close. Texas 42 Kansas 34