Week 14 Big 12 Picks

Man, how things can change. A couple weeks ago, most Pokes fans, myself included, wanted to simply cancel the rest of the season. And then on a rainy night in Waco Texas Mason Rudolph waltzed out onto the field and acted like he did not give any of the fucks that he was facing one of the best statistical defenses in the conference. Suddenly, OSU fans have a little hope.

I have to say, I found it a little funny to watch everyone bitch about how it was crazy that Gundy was going to remove Rudolph’s redshirt before the game, and then how a lot of the same people turned right around and acted like Gundy was an idiot for not wasting the red shirt earlier. Personally I’ve been pushing for Rudolph since halftime of the TCU game (ask my dad, who I’m sure was partially glad to see the true freshman in the game just so he wouldn’t have to get so many texts from me about it!). In any case, I’m glad Gundy finally came around.

Bedlam looms next week. I dread it more and look forward to it more than any other game of the year. I might even say I look forward to it even more than most holidays. Actually, hell, I totally do. Back when I was growing up it was always this week, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I wish it still was. Oh well.

Last week: 2-1 (.666)

Overall: 51-14 (.784)

THURSDAY:

No. 5 TCU 30, Texas 28I recall the last time I pulled for Texas on Thanksgiving: 2011, when they sent the Aggies packing to the SEC with one final loss. I know I get up on my soapbox about this every year, but the fact that this game is between TCU and Texas, while A&M will play LSU the same day, is absolute and utter horse shit. Horse shit. Both teams need to eat crow and PLAY. Because TCU and Texas just ain’t the same kind of fun. Here’s a stat: while in the Southwest Conference, Texas once beat the Horned Frogs 24 times in a row, from 1968-1991. That’s insane. They have a good chance to upset Gary Patterson’s squad this weekend, though I think TCU keeps its CFP hopes alive in the end.

SATURDAY:

West Virginia 38, Iowa State 17. The Mountaineers have lost three in a row, falling so far it’s almost hard to believe that they were right in the thick of the conference race just a few weeks ago. Ball control has been a major issue–WVU has turned it over 11 times in the past three games. Iowa State on the other hand, is coming off a rough loss against Texas Tech.

No. 7 Baylor 63, Texas Tech 14. You know what would be magnificent? If Tech could somehow pull off a major upset against the Baptists in Arlington this weekend. But it will not happen. Of note: Tech owns the all time head-to-head advantage in this series by a slim margin of 36-35-1. A win by Baylor will even it out, and should set up a mammoth matchup between the Bears and K-State next weekend.

Kansas 7, No. 12 Kansas State 51. Some stats for you on the Sunflower Showdown: these two teams have played each other every year since 1911. It’s the sixth-longest running active series in NCAA football. Despite the fact that this is the 103rd year in a row that the two teams have played, only once (once!) in the entire history of the series have both teams been ranked at the time of the contest.  This was in 1995, which, if you’re counting, was 19 years ago. The Jayhawks have not won in Manhattan since 2007, and have only ever beaten a ranked K-State team once. It is worth noting here that Kansas owns the series edge 65-41-5 (though this is, of course, disputed by K-State, who only count 64 victories for the Jayhawks), which means that Kansas beat unranked Kansas State teams 64 times, which just goes to show you just how bad football was in Manhattan until Bill Snyder showed up back in 1989. Snyder himself owns a 18-4 record against KU. Like the Bedlam rivalry here in Oklahoma, these two schools hate each other’s guts, although I suspect the victories are sweeter for the Ag school, whereas KU fans, like OU fans with their “true rivals” the Horns, like to pretend that Mizzou is a bigger deal. In any case, K-State will take home the Governor’s Cup with ease this weekend.

OFF: OSU, OU.

Week 13 Big 12 Picks

Welp, being a big dummy most of the time and in particular this week, I forgot to post my picks before the Thursday night clash between K-State and West Virginia. I had planned to pick K-State, and they did win 26-20, but in the spirit of all honesty, I expected them to win by much more, a la 38-27 or something like that. So I’m counting that a victory.

There’re also some rumblings that Mason Rudolph might start for the Pokes on Saturday, which I’m happy about–but Lord help us, with the way things are going.

Pressed for time this evening (heading to a reading in Perkins), so these’ll be brief.

Picks:

Last week: 1-2 (.333)

Overall: 49-13 (.790)

Kansas 21, No. 21 Oklahoma 34. Oklahoma played much better than I thought they would against Tech, especially considering Cody Thomas was making his first career start behind center. However, before the Sooners went almost exclusively to the ground game in the second half, things looked pretty grim for OU, as Thomas threw three first-half interceptions. OU should handle the Jayhawks fairly easily this weekend in Norman, but Kansas is strongest on D against the run, which could make things interesting.

Texas Tech 34, Iowa State 37. While Tech has to be feeling at least slightly encouraged by their good showing against OU, Iowa State has had the past two weeks to think about the fact that Kansas beat them by twenty points the last time they suited up. The last two matchups between these two teams were close ones both won by Tech, 42-35 and 24-13 in 2013 and 2012. The last time ISU beat the Red Raiders it was in Lubbock, a 41-7 face stomping that didn’t help  endear Tech fans to then-coach Tommy Tuberville. Look for the Cyclones in a close one this weekend.

No. 7 Baylor 56, Oklahoma State 10. I so very badly want to predict this game will be closer, but have no solid reason to do so. I thought the Pokes would show some signs of life against Texas last week, even in the freezing cold for the entire fucking four quarters of the 28-7 ball game to wait and see if they would, in fact, prove that they had some spark, but there was no such luck. There are rumors that Rudolph will start next week. Like I said, I hope he does. A new QB might bring some life to the offense, but I’m not going to expect much. Still, Baylor often does bring out the best in us (see last year’s 49-17 smackdown), and OSU is 16-3 against the Bears since the founding of the Big 12 back in ’96.

Week 12 Big 12 Picks

Welp. I cruised to a pretty 0-4 last week on a nasty wave of bad picks, with Kansas nabbing their first conference win, Baylor pounding the living shitcickles out of OU in Norman, Texas upsetting WVU, and TCU pouring it on the Wildcats in Ft. Worth. Phew.

What did we learn? That West Virginia’s sloppiness against TCU in week ten wasn’t a mirage. That OU is not even close to being a championship caliber team, and that there isn’t just one, but two miserable fan bases in the state of Oklahoma. That TCU has what looks to me like the makings of a championship team. And that Baylor is still right in the thick of the hunt.

…. and this week’s picks:

Last week: 0-4 (.000)

Overall: 48-11 (.813)

No. 4 TCU 59, Kansas 10. The official Vegas line for this is TCU by 29.5, but I think it’ll be much worse, despite KU’s shellacking of Iowa State last week. There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not TCU or Baylor is more worthy of the Playoff–I’m  of two minds on this. While I’d normally favor head-to-head as a metric for assessment, Baylor barely squeaked by the Frogs, and had a nonconference schedule that essentially consisted of three exhibition games, whereas TCU beat a currently ranked Minnesota squad. Advantage TCU.

Oklahoma 21, Texas Tech 24. Sitting at 6-3 in a year that held the promise of much more, Trevor Knight’s virtuoso performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl seems very, very far away, and the Sooner faithful are in full-grumble mode, and some are even calling for Bob Stoops’s head on a platter. While I think it might be time for Stoops as a coach to head to fresh territory–he’s been at OU long enough to have worn all the shine off those walls–I think that, as an OU fan, it’s insane to wish for him fired. Oklahoma fans ought to look back to the years that immediately followed Barry Switzer’s ouster to see just how easy it is to replace a coach like Stoops. John Blake, anyone? Texas Tech has looked competitive in exactly one conference game this year, and that was against WVU, in a 37-34 home loss. Which makes this game hard to predict: typically, you’d expect Bob Stoops to rally the troops after a big loss. But you’d also typically not expect OU to lose by by 34 points at home to Baylor. The real problem for OU this weekend in Lubbock, at the reason I’m going with the Red Raiders: there’s been no word on Sterling Shepard’s status, which is a bad sign, to me, and Trevor Knight is out after suffering an injury against Baylor. Cody Thomas will get the start, but he won’t have anyone to throw it too, and a cold day in west Texas will get even colder for Sooner Nation.

Texas 27, Oklahoma State 30. Why do I think that the Cowboys, who have scored a grand total of 34 points in the past three games, will score 30 against the Horns on Saturday, especially after Texas pounded West Virginia last weekend, holding that potent offense to a mere 13 points? Because after young teams play up, they often play down–and vice versa. At night in Stillwater, with rain and snow likely, the Cowboys will find a way for the first time in over a month, and will guarantee a bowl berth with a sixth win.

Week 11 Big 12 Picks

The Pokes continue their slide into total oblivion and despair. For the past three weeks I’ve read explanation after explanation for why the Pokes are as bad as they are. The ’11-12 recruiting classes washed out. There is no offensive line. Yurcich spends every game with an Xbox controller in his hands and hasn’t yet realized that Daxx Garman doesn’t respond to A-B-X combos. And of course, there’s Mason Rudolph’s oh-so-holy redshirt.

Truth is, as much as everybody wants an answer, all we really want is to win. Or, at the very least, be competitive. OSU has lost its last three contests by a combined margin of 124-34, while scoring an average of 11.3 points per game. That’s less than two touchdowns.

It was a good time to be granted an off-week. A chance to regroup after three horrific ass-kickings in a row. Luckily for us, there’re two potentially excellent match ups this weekend.

 

On to the picks!

Last week: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: 48-7 (.872)

 

No. 12 Baylor 30, No. 15 Oklahoma 37. This game could easily go the other way, but despite Baylor’s recent rise to prominence, the Bears have struggled against big time opponents on the road in the past few years. Last season’s total destruction at the hands of OSU in Boone Pickens comes to mind, as does West Virginia’s 41-27 takedown of the Baptists earlier this year in Morgantown. OU, on the other hand, seems to have finally figured out what to do with Trevor Knight, although last week’s dominant performance against ISU ought, clearly, to be taken with a grain of salt. I think BU’s road struggles will continue.

Iowa State 21, Kansas 20. This is Kansas’ best shot at a conference victory this year. They came close in a shocker against the Pokes a month ago, losing at the hands–feet, rather, of Tyreek Hill on a massive, game-winning runback. But if you look at what OSU has been reduced to in the past three weeks, their narrow victory over Kansas is not so surprising. ISU has dominated this series in recent history, going 4-0 against the Jayhawks since Mangino was oustered as KU’s coach, and last year ISU thunderfucked the Rockchalks 34-0. Now, Mangino is on the Cyclones’ sideline.

No. 23 West Virginia 27,  Texas 24. I almost went with this as my upset special. It’s not as if I don’t think WVU is the better team right now. They are, no question. Good enough to nearly overcome five (five!) turnovers against one of the best teams in the country, only losing to TCU 31-30 on a last second fieldgoal. That, folks, is slop skill. And slop outcome. Texas, on the other hand, marched over to Lubbock and traipsed out with an easy victory. Don’t be surprised if the Mountaineers have a hangover Saturday afternoon in Austin.

No. 7 Kansas State 44. No. 6 TCU 38.  I expect this to be a shootout all the way through. K-State dealt OSU a crushing round of blows last week in Manhattan, while, as I’ve mentioned, TCU nearly lost to a team that turned the ball over five times, only managing to win on a last second field goal after two quick WVU three-and-outs, while Trevone Boykin, in a Daxx Garmanesque performance, threw for only 162 yards on 12-30 passing. I think Boykin will be much better on his home turf, but you can bet that DE Ryan Mueller and the K-State defense will lay him on it more often than he, or his coach, will like.

Week 10 Big 12 Picks

Damn, I wish Louisville woulda beaten FSU last night. Has Florida State pretty taken over for Alabama as America’s most disliked team? Seems like it. Jimbo Fisher, besides being named Jimbo, has dead fish eyes.

Anyhow. Not much to say about OSU’s futility than has already said. On the bright side, OSU did manage to score an offensive touchdown last week, on the only drive that had Tyreek Hill on the field for the entire series. Of course, Yurcich went away from that immediately, and Daxx Garman et al. returned to the sputtering futility that has settled on the offense in full force over the past three weeks.

Think about this: in the last two games, OSU has scored one offensive touchdown, and scored a total of nineteen points. For a team that went over fifty games in a row without scoring less than twenty, to not even make twenty cumulatively in two straight games–I don’t even know. Something is rotten in Stillwater, really rotten, and if Gundy and Yurcich don’t get things straightened out, it’s hard to see them going to a bowl this year.

Even typing that makes me want to ralph on something. On to the picks.

Last week: 3-0 (1.000)

Overall: 44-6 (.880)

No. 18 Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 14. Personally, I can’t remember the last time the Cyclones played OU tough, which makes sense, considering the Sooners’ all time record against ISU is a cool 71-5-2. The reason I can’t remember the last time: it was 1990, 33-31, in Norman. I was approximately one year old, and Gary Gibbs was patroling the OU sideline.  For the last time ISU beat OU in Ames, you gotta go all the way back to 1960. Ouch.

No. 7 TCU 45, No. 20 West Virginia 49. I honestly believe that West Virginia might be the best two loss team in the country. It is, however, very hard to bet against a team that scored 82 points last weekend. I think the ‘Neers matchup exceedingly well against TCU, and pull this one out by a hair’s breadth in Morgantown.

Kansas 18, No. 13 Baylor 56. After two weeks to lick their wounds in Waco after suffering defeat against WVU, I think Baylor will mop the floor with the Jayhawks this weekend, and it won’t be pretty. Not pretty at all.

Texas 23, Texas Tech 17. Neither team is all that familiar with the feeling of being 3-5, but here we are. A classic in-state rivalry, you have to know Tech has it in for Texas the same way that OK State has it in for OU, Michigan State for Michigan, Kansas State for Kansas. And by the same token, with both teams enduring down years, I think Texas’ defense claw Tech apart in this one.

Oklahoma State 10, No. 9 Kansas State 31. I have no reason to believe that the Pokes will be better on offense than they have the past three weeks. For fuck’s sake, K-State didn’t allow a single point last week against Texas. The Cowboys’ horses have been shot from beneath them; not to put to fine a point on it, but Mike Yurcich’s offense doesn’t so much fly as crawl along the ground with bloody knees in the gravel, blubbering and howling like an ugly baby in a Cormac McCarthy novel.

PS: Gundy’s press conference, after Saturday night’s game in Manhattan, will look like this.

PPS: happy halloween

Week 9 Big 12 Picks

Last week’s action served as a kind of reality check for the whole state of Oklahoma. OU lost at home on a missed point after followed by missed chip shot of a field goal. Luckily, Michael Hunnicut wasn’t crucified. OSU, on the other hand, walked into the teeth of a TCU buzzsaw down in Fort Worth, and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since 2009. Expectations for both teams have been scaled way, way back. Of course, OU started the season in the top 5, with hopes of a national title. Now, the Sooners are nearly guaranteed not to play in a January bowl game. The Pokes, on the other hand, knew that this year might not be pretty, with a bevy of inexperienced players, but got their hopes up after a close loss to defending champs Florida State. Now, for the first time in a long time, OSU fans are worried about even making a bowl game.

What is this, 2006?

The last time OSU lost by more than thirty was in 2008, in a tortilla flavored beatdown in Lubbock, which was roughly the last time Texas Tech was respectable.

And while I know that yes, the team is radically inexperienced and as young as a bunch of goddamn butterflies struggling out of a cocoon, I was surprised that Mike Yurcich had a job to return to this past Monday morning.

Yeah, yeah, I know it wasn’t all on him.

But down 28-9 at the half how do you not even complete a single pass for the rest of the game?

Daxx Garman, now in total freefall as OSU’s signal caller, was 0-6 after the break with an INT and 10-26 passing overall. After TCU went up 35-9 on their first possession of the half it seemed like Gundy, Yurcich, et al were already thinking about the plane ride home, and they left Garman in to take blow after blow. No reason to leave a guy in who can barely complete a third of the passes he throws. Dispiriting to say the least.

Oh well. We’ll see what happens this week.

On to the picks!

Last week: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: 41-6 (.872)

 

Texas 24, No. 11 Kansas State 48. Last week, K-State knocked off OU for the second straight time in their last two trips to Norman. Texas, on the other hand, nearly managed to lose to lowly Iowa State in Austin. Needless to say, I do not see an upset in the makings in Manhattan.

Texas Tech 17, No. 10 TCU 41. Forth Worth will not be kind to the Red Raiders this weekend. The Horned Frogs’ offense is clicking like a finely tuned machine, and Trevone Boykin looks like anything but a player who was a wide receiver only two years ago. With Baylor and OU both losing last weekend, Gary Patterson’s bunch suddenly seems like the Big 12’s best shot at a playoff berth.

No. 22 West Virginia 31, Oklahoma State 23. I had a strong feeling about West Virginia last week, only picking them to lose by seven to Baylor. Wish I had gone with my gut, as they sent Baylor packing with a fourteen point loss that the Baptists will get a whole two weeks to think about. Last year they played spoiler to to the 2013 Big 12 favorite OSU. You might remember that clusterfuck of a game, when the OSU offense sputtered and stalled, sputtered and stalled, sputtered and stalled. Sound familiar? Right now the Pokes’ offense seems like it’s in total and complete freefall; the Pokes haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in six(!) straight quarters.

PS: I found OSU’s offensive gameplan for this weekend

Week 8 Big 12 Picks

On a time crunch this afternoon, so I’ll keep most of my commentary to the game picks themselves. This is a big time weekend for the conference race.

On to the picks.

Last week: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: 37-5 (.880)

 

No. 4 Baylor 52, West Virginia 45. Baylor ripped out a huge heartbreaker of a victory last week against TCU. If this were a night game in Morgantown, I’d have a hard time not going with the upset here. Neither team has much defense to speak of; I think Baylor overruns the ‘Neers in this one.

No. 14 Kansas State 27 No. 11 Oklahoma 21. OU managed to pull out the victory at the Cotton Bowl last week despite only gaining 29 total yards of offense in the first half against Texas. These two teams, however, seem to be heading in different directions. OU’s offense has looked progressively worse in the past two games, while Snyder’s squad seems only to be getting stronger. Trevor Knight’s struggles will continue this week–while Jake Waters makes the Sooner D look shoddy enough times for the K-State victory.

Kansas 24, Texas Tech 21. Upset special. KU came close last week against the Pokes, and it wasn’t an accident: their defense played extremely well, and they may have found their quarterback of the future in Michael Cummings. Unfortunately for Jayhawks, they don’t possess Tyreek Hill. Neither does Tech, however.

No. 15 Oklahoma State 36, No. 12 TCU 44. Lots of folks are picking TCU running away with this one, and look–I get it. OSU looked worse than awful last week, managing 62 yards of second half offense. If not for Tyreek Hill’s kickoff touchdown return, the Pokes are most likely sitting at 4-2 and in possession of the most embarrassing defeat of the year. I wonder, too, if such a thing had come to pass, if Mike Yurcich would’ve had a job to return to on Monday morning. Makes you wonder. It’s not that I think he’s entirely to blame–OSU’s offense line couldn’t block a pack of angry special needs third-graders in wheelchairs–but lordy lordy, the offense sucks right now. TCU on the other hand lost a game it absolutely should’ve won against Baylor, and will probably come out pissed-off. I don’t think the game will be quite as close as I’m predicting it–I give OSU a TD in garbage time–but Gundy-coached teams rarely get embarrassed against superior opponents, so I expect a decent showing out of the Pokes.

Iowa State 10, Texas 21. This game sounds about as exciting as watching a tired cowboy dig post holes on a cloudy day on a Fall afternoon. The Horns are getting better. Iowa State is Iowa State, and I guarantee you that if this game’s close late in the fourth quarter and a questionable play comes up for review, Texas’ll get the benefit of the doubt.

PS: Watch out for that right hook, Bob.