The Wang strikes again. Just another successful week of Big XII picks for the Wild One, going 5-2 and almost hitting the OU score exactly on the head. By my unofficial count (since Homerism refuses to tally the score here), the good doctor now finds himself sitting at an astonishing 27-10 against the spread thus far into the Big XII season. I challenge you to find any so called expert with those kinds of numbers to this point.
As for the recent Oklahoma game, the Wang does not share the same type of pessimism as Homerism. It seems to me that as Oklahoma fans, we are victims of our own success. We have gotten used to 200-yard rushing performances and 350-yard passing games. We are used to winning games by 40 points and hanging “half a hundred” by halftime. I myself find it hard to find fault in a dominating victory over a strong top 25 opponent. Granted, the rushing game didn’t put up huge numbers, but let’s not forget that TCU did come in with the nation’s top-ranked defense. Sam Bradford was able to put up the best passing performance of his young career. Manuel Johnson has solidified a deep and talented receiving corp. The defense held the Horned Frogs to just 10 points after giving up a long opening kickoff return. One final note, the Wang is waiting for Homerism to start showing some Blatant Homerism--rank OU where it belongs… number one, baby!
One final non-football thought: Dr. Wild Wang, on top of being an OU and Buffalo Bills fan, is a rabid Texas Rangers diehard. Yes, the same Rangers who threw $252 million at A-Rod and $60 million at Chan Ho Park. Fortunately, there is a certain hefty lefty starter hitting the free agent market this winter who has been as dominant on the mound as anyone in recent history. The Achilles heel of this team has forever been starting pitching. Alas, owner Tom Hicks doesn’t feel like spending money on big-name free agents anymore. The Rangers have been tainted by poor singings such as Park and lopsided recent trades. So, again, I will sit and watch Dr. C.C. dominate the playoffs, then go sign with the Yankees or Angels… The life of a Rangers fan, never easy.
Enough of that…
Oklahoma at Baylor (+27)
Let the Big XII season begin. And let it begin with a trip to Waco against an improved Baylor squad that lost a tight battle against Connecticut last week. Freshman quarterback Robert Griffin continues to look impressive as he threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns, all without throwing an interception. Griffin is completing over 60 percent of his passes and has yet to throw a pick this year. OU will need to be on its toes when Griffin leaves the pocket, as he is also the Bears leading rusher and has 5 touchdowns on the ground. On the flip side, Baylor has lost 35 of its last 36 games against top 25 opponents, while being shut out in nine of those losses.
OU will need to avoid the temptation to look ahead to next week’s game against Texas and make sure it first takes care of business. Being ranked number one recently seems to be more of a curse than anything, and it is not a position I am particularly comfortable with. Being the top-ranked team in the country ensures that you will get the absolute best effort from each team, every week. Baylor is not a team to be taken lightly this year, and OU has had some trouble in the recent past with dual-threat quarterbacks. Sam Bradford continues to climb the Heisman ladder and it is of this author’s opinion that Bradford has actually surpassed the great Jason White on the OU quarterback list. I fully expect Demarco Murray and Chris Brown to get back on track and have big games this week. Which receiver steps up big is anyone’s guess, as the playmakers can be found far down the depth chart. OU will win this game, and win it easily, but Baylor has improved enough to avoid a blowout. Combine that with the Texas game next week and the motivation to knock off the top ranked team, and the Wang is feeling a Baylor cover here…
The Pick: Wang goes with OU, 45-20.
Blatant Homerism: Baylor.
Texas at Colorado (+13.5)
After coming off an emotional victory over West Virginia the previous week, Colorado traveled to Florida State and promptly got blown out by 18. Colorado has lost five of its last six games against Texas, including the last matchup in the Big XII championship game in 2005, which Texas won 70-3. Texas has looked just as dominating as any team in the country this year. I think it’s safe to say Colt McCoy has bounced back nicely from last year’s disappointing season. So far, he has completed 80 percent of his passes, with 14 touchdowns and just one interception. Add that to his four touchdown runs and 8.2 yards per carry, and you have to place him right up there with Chase Daniel and Bradford in the Heisman race. The defense, a question mark coming into the season, is giving up just over 10 points per game so far.
Rodney Stewart has taken over the top running back spot from fellow freshman Darrell Scott and performed quite well. Cody Hawkins was effective last week against FSU, tossing 3 touchdown passes.
If I am going to accuse OU of looking ahead to the Texas matchup I guess I have to assume the opposite is true. While this may be the case, I am quite impressed with the Longhorns so far, and I don’t think that will have much of an impact here…
The Pick: Texas covers and wins this one easily.
Texas A&M at Oklahoma State (-24.5)
This just in! Texas A&M is bad. The Wang felt good about the Aggies covering a big spread last week against Army. This was one of the rare instances in which the Wang was way off. The Aggies were able to hold off Army and win by a paltry four points against one of the worst teams in college football. Army managed just four yards passing on one pass completion, but stayed competitive. Quarterback Stephen McGee left the game early after re-injuring his shoulder, allowing Jerrod Johnson to take the unenviable position under center for A&M. The Aggies have managed to win the last four meetings between these two teams, but I am thinking that won’t matter here.
Don’t look now, but the Oklahoma State Cowboys rank third in the nation in points per game and fourth in total yards. While Zac Robinson has been effective, it’s the running game that really keeps the gears turning. Kendall Hunter has already rushed for 618 yards on the season, while Keith Toston has been equally impressive in averaging 9.0 yards per carry. This kind of tandem hasn’t been seen in Stillwater since the Thomas/Sanders days. This week marks the first trip into the top 25 for OSU in the last four weeks, and I think it is safe to assume they will still be found there next week.
I will say it now: Wang will pick against A&M the rest of the year…
The Pick: Pokes in a blowout.
Kansas at Iowa State (+11.5)
The Wang isn’t real intrigued by this game. KU is coming off a nice bounce-back win against Sam Houston State after a tough loss to South Florida. Todd Reesing continues to put up big numbers, yet gets overlooked due to the league he plays in. He was able to throw for 356 yards and two touchdowns last week and outplay his counterpart, Rhett Bomar. Those two TD passes allowed Reesing to become the all-time leading touchdown passer in KU history. The Jayhawks are still looking for some consistency in the running game, though, as they rank 95th in the nation in yards per game.
Iowa State, on the other hand, comes home after suffering two straight road losses, including a 34-31 overtime loss to UNLV last week. The defense allowed 454 total yards last week, including over 200 on the ground. This seems like the perfect recipe for the ailing Kansas running game. Iowa State continues to rely on Asten Arnaud to lead an offense that actually is averaging a surprising 32 points per game.
I’m liking Kansas more and more each week, and I like them here too…
The Pick: KU.
Texas Tech at Kansas State (+7)
Tech finds itself ranked seventh in the country this week as it opens Big XII play on the road against Kansas State. This ranking represents the highest position the Red Raiders have occupied in over 30 years. These teams both find themselves in the top 10 in the country in points per game, ensuring a high scoring affair if nothing else. Tech has been aided by a more than adequate running attack this year that is gaining almost 150 yards per game. Graham Harrell had a typical day last week against Massachusetts, when he threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns.
Kansas State jumped out to an early lead last week against Louisiana-Lafayette and held on in the second half to win 45-37. Josh Freeman set a record of his own after throwing for 272 yards as he took the school record for career yards. A bit discouraging, though, was the fact that the defense gave up over 300 yards rushing to an inferior opponent. The defense also had a hard time getting off the field, as they allowed the Cajuns to convert on over 50 percent of their third downs.
The Wang thinks the Red Raiders are a good pick in this one…
The Pick: Tech.
BH: Kansas St.
Missouri at Nebraska (+10)
Well, it’s been 30 years since Mizzou has won in Lincoln, and that’s where they will find themselves this coming Saturday night. The Tigers have risen to number four in the polls after the last week of upsets and can boast the second-ranked offense in the entire country. Everyone who reads these pages knows what the Wang thinks of Missouri, and a bye week hasn’t changed my opinion. This offense has no holes and is loaded everywhere with Chase Daniel, Chase Coffman, Derrick Washington and Jeremy Maclin. Averaging 600 yards per game is nothing to be ashamed of. This team will go as far as the defense takes them. That could very well be a Big XII championship and a shot at the national title.
Nebraska will have to take advantage of the leaky Tiger pass defense if it wants any chance at the upset. Missouri ranks 112th in the nation against the pass this year, and Nebraska QB Joe Ganz will look to up his 250 yards per game average. The defense cannot expect to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard, so the passing game will need to be in top form. Running back Marlon Lucky will also need to improve on the 17 yards rushing he managed in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech.
Nebraska has won 30 consecutive conference home openers. Kiss that streak goodbye, Cornhuskers…
The Pick: Missouri is the Wang’s choice.