The Wang wants to take this opportunity to apologize to his faithful readers (wherever you maybe) for his momentary lapse in judgment last week. Picking against his beloved Sooners?! OU hadn’t let me down all year, and I go and pick against them versus Baylor of all teams. While my score prediction was still damn close, I ended up on the wrong side of the line. For that I am sorry.
Nevertheless, the Wang was able to hit on four of the six Big XII games last week, improving my season record to an unofficial 31-12. On top of that, I was able to widen my lead on Homerism. It may be time to start heading back to Buffalo Wild Wings to make sure I will be completely prepared once I win my free boneless wings.
One quick rant—The city of Buffalo has little to cheer for, really. This town really lives for its sports teams, and there are only two. On top of that, the Bills have been difficult to cheer for, to say the least, in the past decade. Yet this year the Bills have given Buffalo fans more to cheer for than just the Sabres, coming out of the gates at 4-0. So when the local cable network, which will remain nameless, announced last week that it would not televise the game against Arizona, you can imagine there was a bit of outrage. Apparently, there was a contractual problem revolving around a monetary dispute precluding the game from being shown in Buffalo. As a consolation, this generous cable company offered Buffalo residents free rabbit ears for their televisions to pick up a grainy, unwatchable version of the game. Thanks! I was wondering how I was going to be able to snag a brand new pair of bunny ears to go with my new HD TV, all in time to watch the football game!!! Now, we're still without a CBS feed, making my Survivor-watching a bit difficult. In its place--and this is no joke--the CBS channel here has resorted to playing a loop of SMU-Memphis womens soccer, SMU-Central Florida football and Rice-Tulsa football. Now that’s primetime TV!
A quick rundown of my thoughts on last week's OU game. The Wang could not agree more with Homerism in his recent “blueprint of an OU blowout.” It really is almost like science. This past weekend was more of the same for the OU offense, as they basically scored at will until they had built a comfortable lead. There were few surprises. Bradford was strong as usual; with his only interception really acting just as good as a punt. The receivers continue to impress, as you never know who will step up each week and dominate in the game. We have seen Manny “Being Manny” Johnson, Jermaine Gresham, Ryan Broyles and Juaquin Iglesias all act as the number one receiver in various games. The running game was able to put up over 200 yards on the ground, but the 3.7 yards-per-carry average is a little disheartening. The Wang would like to see Demarco bust one of his long runs from last year—next week would work.
As far as the defense goes, it’s hard to find much fault from last week. The secondary has been the biggest surprise to me so far this year. Even though it was Baylor, holding a conference opponent to just 75 yards passing is impressive. Baylor fans should be excited for the future, though, as Robert Griffin appears to be a star in the making. His success on the ground puts a little fear into the Wang, seeing how well Colt McCoy has been running this year. Ryan Reynolds appears to be back to 100 percent, and he looks to be the next great OU linebacker. One last observation that should be pointed out is the improvement in kicker Matt Moreland. At the start of the year his kickoffs were lucky to reach to 10-yard line. This weekend, however, he appeared to have little trouble reaching the end zone, which can work as a big advantage for a suspect Sooner kickoff team.
On to this week’s games…
Texas at Oklahoma (-7)
The time has arrived for this year’s version of the Red River Blowout... I mean Shootout. This year more than any other in the recent past has the capability of living up to its name. These two teams boast two of the best quarterbacks not only in the Big XII, but in the nation. Not enough can be said about the QB play in the conference this year, as four of the top five and six of the top 12 passers in the country reside in the Big XII. Both Bradford and McCoy complete well over 70 percent of their passes, with TD-to-INT ratios of 18-3 and 16-3, respectively. McCoy continues to lead the Longhorns in rushing with 317 yards and an impressive 7 yards-per-carry average. Something tells me that Mack Brown would like to see a little more consistency and production out of his running backs. If McCoy is forced to be the leading rusher against OU, Texas is in for a long day.
The recent emergence of senior running back Chris Ogbonnaya in last week’s game is promising for the Longhorns. Ogbonnaya rushed for 71 yards and added 116 yards on 6 catches to go along with his 2 touchdowns. Texas will need to rely on more production like this from Ogbonnaya to be able to hang with the Sooners. The big question coming into this season for the Longhorns was the play of the defense. While the competition hasn’t been great, the defense has shown great improvement, allowing just over 12 points per game. In its stiffest test last weekend at Colorado, the Horns gave up just 49 yards rushing and 266 yards total. Texas comes into this game relatively healthy, other than Mack Brown’s wife, who suffered a broken arm after falling down a mountain prior to the game. (Insert your own joke here.)
The bottom line here is that OU is just more talented and a better football team than Texas this year. I think we can look for a complete game from the offense this week--not just a dominating first quarter, then shutting it down. It’s scary to think what the offense can do if given the chance to play full tilt for four quarters. The defense appears to be ready for whatever Texas can throw at them, and for the first time in a while, I am confident in the secondary. I fully expect to see the running game get going this week and wouldn’t be shocked to see Demarco break a long run or two early in the game. I expect this game to be competitive for a while, but Oklahoma’s dominance will prevail in end...
The Pick: The Wang likes the Sooners, 35-24.
Oklahoma State at Missouri (-13.5)
If it wasn’t for the OU-Texas game, this matchup would be getting a lot more publicity and hype. This game features the other two quarterbacks ranked in the top 5 in passer rating in the country, and it promises to be an exciting affair. Missouri is coming off an old-fashioned whoopin’ of Nebraska after 30 years of futility in Lincoln. The loss was Nebraska’s fifth-worst in program history.
I hope Poke fans have enjoyed this nice little run, because it ends here…
Colorado at Kansas (-14)
If the Wang has an Achilles heel this year, it’s the Jayhawks. I just can’t seem to figure them out. Kansas was lucky to escape from Iowa State last week after falling behind 20-0 at halftime. To top it off, the Wang was actually feeling somewhat good about his pick in the fourth quarter when KU took a nine point lead. A late score by Iowa State sealed the deal for my defeat, though. Todd Reesing continues to be overlooked in this conference, as his numbers match up quite favorably with the previously mentioned signal callers. The KU defense had trouble with Austen Arnaud all day, as he threw for a personal best 268 yards and three touchdowns.
Colorado looked overmatched against Texas last weekend and now has suffered two blowout losses in a row after a promising 3-0 start. The Buffs were down a couple starters on the offensive line and were physically overmatched by Texas up front, limiting the running game and giving Cody Hawkins little time to throw. Colorado missed three makeable field goals in the first half—Mason Crosby where have you gone? The running game was absent, as they were forced to play from behind the entire game. The defense didn’t help matters either by giving up almost 450 yards of total offense and allowing Texas to convert on over 50 percent of their third downs.
Kansas State (-3.5) at Texas A&M
If you follow the Wang closely, and it would be in your best interest to do so, you already know what my pick will be in this game. I vowed last week to pick against the Aggies the rest of the season. The Aggies did make a run at the over last week in Stillwater, but that was long after the game had been decided. It just seems that A&M is weak in just about every facet of the game, as they allowed two defensive TDs and one on special teams touchdown to OSU. A quick look at the stats shows that A&M actually outgained OSU by one yard. but that is little more than a mirage, as many of those yards came when the contest was decided. A small spark came from running back Mike Goodson, who scored two touchdowns and gained 112 yards on just 8 carries. But the sun even shines on the dog’s ass some days.
Kansas State’s blowout loss last week to Texas Tech allowed the Wang to gain yet another leg up on Homerism in this epic Big XII pickin’ battle. Little went right for the Wildcats, as Graham Harrell dissected the defense with Wang-like surgical precision on his way to 454 yards and six touchdowns. Little went right for KSU, converting just 2 of 12 third downs. Josh Freeman continues to lead the team, though, and is actually having a nice year with 12 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions.
It will take more than just a 12th man in this game...
Nebraska at Texas Tech (-21)
I guess things haven’t quite turned all the way around for the Cornhuskers, who find themselves three touchdown underdogs this upcoming weekend. The sad part is the Wang thinks it could be more. Hard not to be impressed with the show put on by Tech last week against Kansas State. Mad scientist Mike Leach might have the best quarterback of his coaching career this year with Graham Harrell, who last week passed Kliff Kingsbury to become the all-time passing leader at Tech. Mike Crabtree continues to amaze, as his two touchdown catches tied him for the school record. The ground game averages a respectable 144 yards per game, which isn’t bad considering the damage done through the air.
Different story in Lincoln, where Nebraska looked completely overmatched against Missouri. Despite a raucous crowd and an evening kickoff, this game was over awfully fast. Chase Daniel tore up the defense to the tune of 52 points, and he was barely harassed all game. It appears the Cornhusker players have resorted to some bush-league tactics, as Daniel has accused a certain Nebraska player of spitting on him prior to the game. Reminds me of Puck spitting in the face of David on Battle of the Sexes a few years ago… those were the golden days. The Wang finds little to like about this year’s Nebraska team...
The Pick: Give me the Red Raiders laying the points.
Iowa State at Baylor (-5)
Oh boy. I have been waiting for this one. Saving the best for last.
I am not going to waste either your time or mine dissecting this game, as I can’t imagine there is a whole lot of interest. But I have vowed to pick each game, and pick each game I will...
The Pick: Give me Baylor please.