Big 12 Championship Pick: Bedlam Edition

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If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve watched a few Bedlams, probably more than a few. If you’re like me, it’s the single most important sporting event of the year, every year. If you told me I would only be able to watch one thing on TV for the next 365 days, I wouldn’t hesitate before saying: Gimme Bedlam.

Bedlam, 2000. The first Bedlam I can remember: Derrick Strait knocking the end-zone pass away from Marcellus Rivers on the game’s final play to allow OU’s championship season to stay alive, with a 12-7 victory. I was ten. I ran out of the house in tears.

Bedlam, 2001. Rashaun Woods catching Josh Fields’s fade to upset the once-again title-contending Sooners, 16-13. I remember the joy so, so well.

Bedlam 2002. RASHAUN IS STILL OPEN.

It was a long few years after that–I remember watching the 2003 game, which OU won 52-9, listening to the OU student section chanting O-S! U-SUCK! That’s when I felt my first real bitterness towards the Sooners, I think. That moment right there. It’s a feeling I would carry with me the next eight long years in which the Pokes failed to beat the Sooners. The 2010 game was so devastating I had to go see a David Bazan show right afterward just to salve the pain. Bedlam 2013 was the most personally painful of all: Blake Bell still lurks in my dreams. Still marks the coldest football game I’ve ever attended. 2014 was, of course, beautiful; last year’s bludgeoning by the Sooners hurt to watch.

Here’s how I’ve done picking the Bedlam brothers this year:

My record picking OU this year: 7-4. Misses: Houston, Ohio State, Kansas State, TCU.
My record picking OSU this year: 9-2*. Misses: Central Michigan, Baylor.

*10-1 if you give OSU the CMU game.

My record picking the Bedlam game the last two years: 2-0.

Bold prediction: You know Mike Yurcich and Mike Gundy have a whole chapter of their offensive playbook devoted to this game. We’re going to see something we haven’t seen all season, a whole new wrinkle that will result in at least one unexpected score.

Key to the game: OSU has to get at least four three-and-outs–at any point in the contest–and win the turnover battle. Do that, and the Pokes win, #MULLETFOREVER.

At the start of this season I predicted the Pokes would go 11-1. If the CMU game had been called properly, I’d be right on track for that. I’m sticking with it.

FINAL SCORE:

No. 10 Oklahoma State 38, No. 9 Oklahoma 34.

 

 

Week 14 Big 12 Picks

 

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Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Bedlam gets its own post–to come later today. Here’re my picks for the other two games of the final weekend of regular season play.

Last week: 4-0 (1.000)

Overall: 53-19 (.736)

Kansas State 35, TCU 28. After last week’s 31-6 beatdown at the hands of the Pokes, TCU is in danger of ending the season on a serious downturn, having lost three of their last five games. K-State, on the other hand, has finished strong, winning four of their last five. Of the Wildcats four losses, three have been decided in the fourth quarter. I find it hard to bet against TCU two weeks in a row at home, but I’m gonna. Worth noting: Bill Snyder got his 200th career victory last week against KU. Many congratulations to the Wizard.

Baylor 10, No. 16 West Virginia 49. I fully expect West Virginia to beat the ever-loving, supposedly Bible-believing, rape-culture-embracing Baylor Baptists this weekend. By a lot. the Baptists will have ended the year on a six game skid.

 

Week 13 Big 12 Picks: Rivalry Week Edition

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Look! Happy Kansas football fans!

I have many, many thoughts about #Bedlamforallthemarbles, but I’m gonna hold ’em for next week. Nationally, there are games with all sorts of Playoff implications for OSU and OU this weekend, with Michigan/Ohio State, the Apple Cup, Utah/Colorado, and Penn State/Michigan State.

Curious stat from last week: the Big 12’s former Big 8 schools went a perfect 5-0. Its former SWC schools went 0-4. Are the times they a changin’?

Last week: 3-2 (.600)

Overall: 49-19 (.720)

FRIDAY

TCU 34, Texas 31. In my first draft of last week’s picks, I wrote that Charlie Strong would lose his job if Texas lost to Kansas, but that seemed so obvious as to be redundant, so I deleted the thought and moved on. And so, having lost to KU for the first time since 1938, Strong is all but officially out in Austin. TCU, on the other hand, spent last weekend getting shit-kicked on its own field by the Pokes, who rushed for a whopping 334 yards against the Horned Frogs, which leads me to believe that Mr. D’Onta Forman shouldn’t have too much trouble this weekend, after having rushed for 250 yards last week against the Jayhawks. That is, if he has any energy left–Foreman gained those yards on a staggering 51 carries.

Texas Tech 39, Baylor 35. Tech won 15 straight games in this series from 1996-2010, and Baylor’s taken the last five in a row, but finding two programs with less all-around momentum–aside from Texas, of course–would be tough. Tech’s slaughtering last week at the hands of Iowa State would’ve been the death knell for Kingsbury if it weren’t for his hefty buyout. I think Tech wins in Arlington.

SATURDAY

Kansas 23, Kansas State 28. Under Bill Snyder, K-State is 18-1 against KU since 1993. The Wildcats have won the last seven Sunflower Showdowns by an average margin of victory of 33.8 points. I have a feeling that this one may be closer than usual–the Jayhawks have to be feeling pretty good after having beaten Texas last week. Doesn’t matter that the Longhorns are down. For a program like KU, a win against a team like that is a blast of confidence.

No. 18 West Virginia 35, Iowa State 27. I came within a hair’s breadth of picking Iowa State to beat Tech last week and really wish I would’ve. But I didn’t. I did pick the Mountaineers to fall to the Sooners, but thought it’d be closer than it was. I think this is an incredibly dangerous trip to Ames for Holgersen’s team, but what trip to Ames isn’t, especially lately?

 

 

Week 12 Big 12 Picks

go-pokes

West Virginia is 9-1. Southern Cal is 7-3. Southern Cal is ranked above West Virginia in this week’s College Football Playoff poll. The College Football Playoff Committee is clearly very smart and good and not biased at all towards college football’s bluebloods. The end.

Okay. Let’s make some picks.

Last week: 4-0 (1.000)

Overall: 46-17 (.730)

Kansas State 33, Baylor 27. Here’s a weird fact: before Bill Snyder’s first retirement in 2005, K-State was 4-0 against the Bears. Since his return to the sidelines in Manhattan, the Wildcats are 0-5 against Baylor. Now, a lot of that can be chalked up to the presence of one Art Briles. Over the past three games the wheels have fallen off the Baptist wagon, however, and Seth Russell’s grisly injury would seem to spell doom in Waco–but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a tough pick. Still–I’m going with K-State to get the road victory.

No. 11 Oklahoma State 38, TCU 34. These two teams first met way back in 1915, a game the then-Oklahoma A&M Aggies won 13-0. This week, in the year 2016, Vegas has TCU winning this one by 4 1/2 points on Saturday. They say the home team always has an automatic 3-point advantage, which means that there are some folks–quite a few at least–out there in the Mojave who think that this Gary Patterson squad would beat the Pokes on a neutral field. And I have no doubts that it’s possible. I’m also sure that the way the Frogs whipped up on Baylor two weeks ago didn’t hurt, and after all, last week’s close call against Tech showed that sometimes there’s nothing scarier than playing a talented team with nothing left to lose. But–and it’s definitely a but–if the Pokes keep their eye on the ball, and if the Sooners win in Morgantown, it sets up a Bedlam matchup for all the conference marbles.

Texas Tech 49, Iowa State 47. Lost in all of the Cyclones’ many losses this year has been the fact that they haven’t given up 40 points since October 1st–and since then they’ve played both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, to which they allowed 35 and 38 respectively. My point? Texas Tech is not a team that’s gonna win many games without scoring more than forty–and they’re going to give up far more than Iowa State is usually able to manage. I think it’ll be a close one in Ames.

Texas 34, Kansas 10. Kansas hasn’t beaten the Horns since 1938. To put that in perspective, Bernie Sanders would not be born for another three years. Do I think Charlie Strong and co. take care of business in Lawrence this weekend? Yes I do. But if they don’t? Goodbye, Mr. Strong, so long.

No. 9 Oklahoma 35, No. 14 West Virginia 31. West Virginia, 0-4 against OU since joining the conference, is a 3-point dog with Oklahoma coming to Morgantown for a game under the lights, and I get it, because, well, Oklahoma. The name on the jersey also happens to be the only reason the Sooners are ranked higher than the Mountaineers. For a pretty good discussion of this, head on over to Pistols Firing. What do I think Vegas is looking at, though? Primarily, the way in which OSU routed West Virginia a few weeks back. OU has a fairly similar offensive identity, although they have not one but two All-Big 12 caliber running backs. I think if WVU manages to bottle up Dede Westbrook–who, if you haven’t noticed, is averaging 157.1 ypg in conference play–they have a real chance. My preference, of course, is an OU victory before Bedlam.

Here’s your weekly I Hate Baylor Link. 

Week 11 Big 12 Picks

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Not able to summon a whole lot of outrage about the newest CFP rankings, all considering Tuesday. So, uh, how about let’s just head right to the picks, shall we?

Last week: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: 42-17 (.711)

Baylor 34, No. 11 Oklahoma 45. Baylor may have taken two of the last three games against the Sooners, but anyone who watched the Baptists get publicly beheaded, skinned-alive, torturously disemboweled and generally farted all over last week at home by TCU, to the tune of a 62-22 slaughtering, probably doesn’t give them much of a shot this weekend in Norman. Stranger things have happened, and OU did not look all that great against Iowa State, but I’m not seeing it.

Iowa State 30, Kansas 24. One of these teams has to finish last in the conference. The sad thing is: while both teams stand at 1-8 on the year, both teams have improved from last year. It’s just not showing up in the records. This is the 95th meeting between these two teams, who have played every year going back to 1932. KU owns the all-time edge 50-39-6.

No. 16 West Virginia 31, Texas 28. A lot of folks are doubting the Mountaineers in this one. Vegas gives the Horns a 2-point advantage, and it’s true the UT has been pretty good at home this year. I think it’ll be a tight one, but West Virginia pulls it out in Austin.

Texas Tech 28, No. 13 Oklahoma State 44. The Pokes are favored by 12.5 in this one. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Glenn Spencer this season. Anyone with a brain who watched OSU’s defense in the first half last week against K-State would’ve wondered why the Pokes were dropping back two safeties on nearly every play against a team that has trouble throwing the ball. That said, the Pokes delivered late in the game with a key goal line stand, and made a couple huge stops in the fourth. That said, I have a lot more confidence in Mason Rudolph, James Washington, and Justice Hill at home against Tech than I do in the Red Raiders’ ability to stop them. Aside from the tremendous anomaly that was their 24-17 performance against TCU, Tech hasn’t stopped anybody this season. OSU has won the last seven meetings between these two by an average of just over 23 points per game.

Week 10 Big 12 Picks

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Fact #1: We may now officially begin wondering what might have been if the OSU-CMU game would’ve been called correctly, and if Justice Hill hadn’t fumbled twice against Baylor. Without those three things happening, the Pokes are in the Top 10 right now, maybe even as high as 7-8.

Fact #2: The first official College Football Playoff rankings came out this weekend. Can we talk about that for a minute? Let’s talk about it. First off: the Big 12 is totally screwed. As in, screwed like an three-legged dog in a four-legged dog race.

That wasn’t a very good metaphor, but close enough I guess. It’s not such a terribly big surprise that the Big 12 is so in the shitter, so I’m not terribly upset about that, but what I am bothered by is 6-1 Texas A&M checking at No. 4 ahead of 8-0 Washington. Sure, the Aggies played a tougher non-con schedule, but they have a fucking loss. 

Sorry about all the foul language. Maybe I just find it kind of upsetting that we “fixed” the BCS by instituting a 12-person committee who publicly shows its bias for for the two conferences that play the committee’s favored brand of football.

Fact #3: This time next week we will know who our next president will be. Scary stuff.

Fact #4: Is this not the reason why we love sports?

Last week: 3-2 (.600)

Overall: 38-16 (.704)

No. 14 Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 31. Joe Mixon has been suspended, because, as Joe Mixon has proven in the past, Joe Mixon is a really classy guy. What does this means for the Sooners this week? They’ll be without both of their top rushers, on a Thursday night in Ames. Sounds fun, right? I thought the Cyclones would manage to finally get a win last week, but K-State prevailed again. I still think Iowa State will pull off a major upset this year. Aside from a trip to Lawrence on the 12th, ISU faces Tech and WVU to close the season. Fun facts: Iowa State has not had a better final record than OU in a season since 1960, and has not beaten the Sooners since 1990. If you’re counting, that’s 26 years.

Texas 47, Texas Tech 45. I’m not sure what was more surprising last week: Texas Tech only scoring 24 points, or only giving up 17. How did that happen? A team that scored 59 points and allowed 66 followed up that performance by scoring 24 and allowing 17. I’m so confused, but I think they’ll be back to their gunslinging ways at home against the Horns. But in this case, I think tradition will win out in the final minutes

TCU 35, No. 17 Baylor 41. The all-time series between these two teams is tied at 52-52-7, but things aren’t quite as heated without Art “Rape is Fine With Me As Long As No One Finds Out About It” Briles on the sideline.

No. 18 Oklahoma State 35, Kansas State 28. I look forward to this game every year. Not because I hate K-State but quite the opposite: I pull for the Snydercats in every game they play but this one. OSU may lead all-time series between these two 38-24, but they’ve only won in Manhattan twice since Bill Snyder began patrolling the sidelines in the Little Apple. I don’t think the Wildcats have the horses to hang with the Pokes, but it may well be closer than I’m predicting.

Kansas 0, No. 20 West Virginia 56. After having their perfect season derailed by OSU last week in Stillwater–in rather convincing fashion, I might add–I think Dana Holgersen and co. will bring the ever-loving, shitkicking, curb-stomping thunder against the Jayhawks this weekend in Morgantown.

 

Week 9 Big 12 Picks

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Managed to get another perfect week of picks last week, so naturally I’m going to pick three ‘dogs this week.

Also, the Big 12 just declared that its conference championship, starting in 2017, would have no divisions, matching up its top two teams. It is very hard to state how stupid this is. Would love to hear what other people think of this.

Last week: 4-0 (1.000)

Overall: 35-14 (.714)

Kansas State 27, Iowa State 30. In the hundredth consecutive iteration of the rivalry we’ve come to call Farmageddon, I think the Cyclones will finally pull a win out of the hat. K-State has won eight straight in the series, but with the exception of 2013, every game in that streak was decided by a touchdown or less. Before getting handled Texas last week, ISU had put together two very quality games against superior opponents in OSU and Baylor. I think they’ll summon up some good old-fashioned Midwestern fury this weekend against K-State.

No. 10 West Virginia 21, Oklahoma State 23. It might be crazy to pick OSU here, against a West Virginia team that has looked every bit the part of a major player in the conference race–has, in fact, looked like a real College Football Playoff contender. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have been wildly inconsistent, but are really only three plays from being 7-0. Last  year’s Pokes team that managed to start the season on a perfect 10-0 run was as many plays from being 7-3, and that’s the beauty of college football. I think the Pokes win this one with a late score.

Texas Tech 47, TCU 53. Tech gave OU a whale of a time last weekend, just as I thought they would, but gave up touchdowns on eight straight drives during the second half of last week’s game. TCU got manhandled in Morgantown, but I give them the edge at Amon Carter. TCU has won three of their last five matchups with Tech going back to 2006, when Gary Patterson’s squad beat a Mike Leach-coached team 12-3. Pretty hard to imagine such a total these days.

No. 8 Baylor 35, Texas 37. It should tell you something about this rivalry that a 6-0 Baylor team ranked in the top ten is only favored by 3.5 points versus Texas team with a losing record. Or maybe it would just tell you that Baylor is largely untested, and Texas has played  pretty well within the confines of Darrell K. Royal Stadium. A blowout victory for Baylor–which could totally happen–would be a major nail in Charlie Strong’s considerably near-finished coffin. Texas succumbed last week to K-State, but I think they’re going to shock Baylor in Austin.

Kansas 17, No. 16 Oklahoma 49. Believe it or not, there was a time when Kansas beat OU eight straight times. Of course, that was over a hundred years ago, in the first eight meetings between the two teams, from 1903-1910. In other news, that loss to Houston just keeps getting better and better for the Sooners, doesn’t it? The Cougs got thumped by SMU last week.