Dr. Wild Wang would like to welcome everyone back to the second edition of his weekly Big XII picks. Here’s hoping last week’s prescription for success wasn’t taken lightly. By going 11-1 straight up (thanks Aggies) and an impressive 6-2 against the spread, we have taken the early lead on Mr. Homerism (who is certainly NOT a physician). I can almost taste those boneless wings now… Mango Habenero sauce please!
Cincinnati at Oklahoma (-21)
After beating down Chattanooga to the tune of a 50-0 halftime lead, the Sooners returned from the locker room in the second half looking anything but dominant. Blame it on the score, the weather, or the co-eds in wet shirts sitting in the student section, but the final 30 minutes of last week’s game give Sooner fans something to ponder. Is this team mentally prepared to make a run at the national championship? I am not ready to draw any drastic conclusions from a blowout such as this one, but with the first 2 drives of the second half netting a dismal -21 yards, there may be cause for concern.
Nonetheless, the defense was dominant, as expected, allowing one first down and 36 total yards for the game. Bradford picked up where he left off last year, throwing with Jason White-type consistency and spreading the ball all around the field. His 77% completion percentage could have been even better had the normally sure-handed Jermaine Gresham not dropped a couple passes. Even backup Joey Halzle showed expert marksmanship by completing 14 out of 16 passes. The running game hasn’t missed a beat since losing Allen Patrick. Sophomore Demarco Murray reminded everyone how important his health will be this year with a tantalizing 49 yard run in the first half, and Chris Brown was as reliable as expected. Now if we can get the special teams to join the party…
Cincinnati went into last week’s game with Eastern Kentucky with somewhat of a question mark at quarterback. After Ben Mauk lost his FOURTH appeal to the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility, Dustin Grutza was called upon to lead the Bearcat offense. If last week is any indication, Mauk may not be missed. Grutza was an impressive 21-28 for 296 yards and four TDs (one rushing). Cincy rolled up a daunting 557 yards of total offense while going 3-3 on fourth down conversions. What will need to be improved upon though before heading into Norman is the 11 penalties for 106 yards. Those types of mistakes will make for a long Saturday afternoon for coach Brian Kelly and crew.
While Cincinnati’s offense may have been hitting on all cylinders, the same can’t be said for the poor Bearcat mascot. While attempting a spectacular entrance via a parachute, the lovable mammal got caught in the field goal netting. After dangling for a few seconds the mascot proved once and for all, no matter how you drop a cat, it always lands on its feet. (Although the angle of the dangle was unknown.)
The Pick: Despite the step up in competition, the Sooners continue to roll, 52-10.
Texas (-28) at UTEP
It is only fitting that on the night Vince Young’s jersey was retired, Colt McCoy decided to do his best Vince Young impression. By rushing for 103 yards on 12 carries, McCoy helped lead the Longhorns to an easy victory over Howard Schnellenberger’s Florida Atlantic Owls. Pregame comments by The Schnell questioning Texas’s toughness probably didn’t help. "I know one thing…” Schnellenberger said, “They're a lot tougher than we are. I don't know if my remarks helped their team…” Let me clue you in, they did.
If there is one thing Buffalo Wild Wang knows, it's Buffalo football. And after watching the Bulls dismantle UTEP 42-17 last week, Dr. Wild Wang now knows something else… UTEP is bad. Three INTs from QB Trevor Vittatoe helped doom the Miners against a very pedestrian Bulls squad.
The Pick: I don’t care where this game is being played; Texas has no trouble covering this one.
Houston at Oklahoma State (-16.5)
Can you hear it? That’s the sound of excitement coming from Stillwater with the unveiling of the “new” Boone Pickens Stadium only days away. Too many times have I heard Poke fans complain that the only thing keeping them from competing with OU is facilities. Thanks to the deep pockets of Mr. T. Boone, the time has come. No more excuses…
As far as the game goes, the opener against Washington St. has to leave some OSU fans scratching their heads. While the defense looked impressive in holding the Cougars to less than 200 yards total offense, Mike Gundy’s first game calling the plays for the offense was far from a success. OSU finished the game more than 120 yards off last season’s average, and the Pokes had to rely heavily on the special teams to find the scoreboard early. Nevertheless, an early season blowout away from home against a BCS foe is nothing to be ashamed of.
Meanwhile, Houston took care of business with a 55-3 drubbing of Southern University in their opener. The offense looked sharp compiling over 600 total yards, and QB Case Keenum had a career day throwing for 5 TDs. Expect fireworks out in Stillwater this Saturday with a high scoring affair.
The Pick: OSU is the pick here.
A quick look back at last week’s pick reveals that yours truly predicted that A&M would have trouble with Arkansas St. While I didn’t quite expect the Aggies to lose outright, I wasn’t high on them coming into the season. My opinion hasn’t changed. Four second half turnovers doomed the Aggies in this one. On the defensive side of the ball, A&M looked very vulnerable in allowing over 200 yards rushing.
The Lobos of New Mexico didn’t show much more in their disappointing opening day loss to TCU. The offense was only able to garner 186 yards of total offense, while turning it over 3 times.
You couldn’t pay me to watch this one, but I have to make a pick nonetheless.
I will take the lesser of two evils here and guess that Sherman gets his first victory at A&M.
San Jose St. at Nebraska (-21.5)
The rebuilding process in Lincoln got off on the right foot, with Bo Pelini securing his first win in an impressive victory over Western Michigan. Joe Ganz became the first Nebraska QB to have four 300 yard passing games to go along with four TD passes. The defense looked especially tough against the run, allowing a paltry eight yards all day.
California transfer, Kyle Reed led San Jose St. to an exciting opening day victory over UC Davis with a game winning touchdown pass with only eight seconds left on the clock. What is a bit unsettling though is the fact that the Spartans used three QBs to manage just 13 points against Davis. Not sure it’s going to matter which of the three QBs play.
Eastern Washington at Colorado (no line)
Colorado let it be known last week that there would be another team to challenge for the Big XII North title this year with a convincing victory over rival Colorado St. Stud freshman Darrell Scott delighted the crowd in Denver with his first career touchdown run. But, oddly enough, it was his uncle, Josh Smith, who stole the show with a 93-yard kickoff return. This may go down as the most impressive performance by an uncle since Uncle Jessie delighted a throng of fans in Japan with his band, The Rippers.
Eastern Washington makes its second trip to play a Big XII opponent after playing Texas Tech last week. Reigning Big Sky MVP, Matt Nichols, did throw for 335 yards, 114 of those going to leading receiver Tony Davis, but suffered three interceptions in the process.
The Pick: A tough schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Eagles who get blown out again.
Kent St. at Iowa St. (-9)
Dr. Wang will be the first to admit that he felt the Cyclones were going to have a bit more of a struggle last week than they did. But looking at the numbers, we will see they still weren’t particularly dominant. Gene Chizik’s squad outgained South Dakota St. by a mere 38 yards, but forced the outmanned Jackrabbits into six turnovers. Hard to take away anything meaningful in a game against a team making its first appearance against a major college opponent since 1984.
Kent St. had trouble moving the ball last week against Boston College, but the Golden Flashes mananged to keep the game relatively close after falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter. Eugene Jarvis, the nation’s leading returning rusher from last season, was held to 51 yards on the ground. Three turnovers proved too much for the Golden Flashes to overcome.
The Pick: Another hard game to call--and watch--but I think the pick here is Kent St.
SE Missouri St. at Missouri (no line)
The Wild Wang has long been respectful of how dangerous Missouri can be come Big XII Championship time. Last week against Illinois, Chase Daniel picked up where he left off last year, executing the spread offense with uncanny precision. Tony Temple doesn’t seem to be missed too much, as Derrick Washington ran for 130 yards on 19 carries. My early pick for the John Mackey Award didn’t disappoint as Chase Coffman hauled in 9 catches for 120 yards and a score. What worries me though, as it should Missouri fans, is the state of the defense and the health of Jeremy Maclin. Juice Williams was able to throw for over 450 yards as the Illini put 42 points on the board.
SE Missouri St. on the other hand… Oh forget it….
The Pick: With or without Maclin and a defense, the Tigers have no problem here.
Northwestern St. at Baylor (no line)
Baylor offered little resistance to Riley Skinner and the Deamon Deacons in a blowout loss last week. QB Kirby Freeman may have changed jerseys, but apparently he hasn’t lost his propensity for throwing balls to the other team, as he tossed two picks in only 11 attempts. There were few positives for new coach Art Briles to take away from this performance.
Northwestern St. won its home opener last week with an impressive win over Texas A&M-Commerce. NW St. was able to rush for over 200 yards, but only managed 83 yards through the air.
The Pick: Briles can smile for one week at least as Baylor beats up on a lesser opponent.
Louisiana Tech at Kansas (-21)
The Jayhawks threw their hat into the north division ring with a 40-10 victory week one over Florida International in front of a record 55,112 people. Todd Reesing found WR Dezmon Briscoe for three scores. Now here’s hoping the Jayhawk football team doesn’t enjoy the same type of off-the-field activities as the basketball team.
(Honestly, could Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur be any dumber than to bring pot to an NBA rookie transition program? Do they seriously deserve to have millions of dollars thrown at them if they can be THAT stupid?)
La. Tech scored an impressive opening week victory over SEC opponent Mississippi St. Tech was able to force five turnovers to aid in the upset, while QB Taylor Bennett was able to avoid the turnover bug.
The Pick: KU killed me last week, so this week I am going with Tech to cover this spread.
Montana St. at Kansas St. (no line)
If QB Josh Freeman wants to make sure his name doesn’t get lost in the shuffle when discussing Big XII quarterbacks, last week’s performance will help. Freeman threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, as K-State blew out North Texas. The defense was equally impressive, holding the Mean green to just 200 yards total offense.
Quick… Where is Adams St. located? I have no clue either, but Montana St. didn’t care as they manhandled their Division II opponent last week. At least I think they did, as more than 15 minutes of this game was played in front of no fans due to lightning in the area. This week figures to be a bit more of a test for Montana and will probably include a few more hostile fans in the crowd.
The Pick: Wang’s choice… K-State.
Texas Tech (-10.5) at Nevada
My guess is that there were a few extra sprints run in Lubbock this week, as Texas Tech set a record for penalties in a game last week with an astounding 18 against Eastern Washington. Nonetheless, Graham Harrell was business-as-usual, throwing for 536 yards and two touchdowns. What was a bit surprising, though, was that Michael Crabtree wasn’t his top target, finishing third in yards. Could this be a blessing in disguise, as Harrell now has a bevy of receivers to choose from?
Nevada did its best mid-90s Nebraska impression in rushing for 426 yards last week against Grambling St. In the meantime the defense was holding Grambling to just five yards on the ground. Nevada had a few problems of its own, though, turning it over three times and being hit with seven penalties. The Red Raiders have too much firepower, though.