Thanks to some (closer than expected) 1AA opponents, we were an impressive 11-3 straight up. Many of those games were easy to pick so I am happier with the 7-4 against the spread start on the year. It wasn't a good week for the Big XII but thanks to a number of things (favorable matchups being one) I expect a better week, for the most part.
On to the games...
Baylor will start 2-0. The Bears get a 1AA patsy after a nice road win. Let's call it 34-6.
KU will start 2-0 against a 1AA patsy. Let's call this one 38-3.
On to the real games. Lines from today's KC Star)
New Mexico (+9) at MIZZOU - "Stay calm, Rah it was a bad opponent, stay calm, Rah it was a bad opponent." Oh the heck with that, this offense looked fantastic on Saturday and the defense exceeded my expectations.
This team will score points this year, when they run what I like to call a "quadruple option" (Smith run, Temple/Woods on the pitch, Ek for the shuffle pass, and a deep man) good luck trying to stop that. This offense has speed to burn and Brad Smith looked like he has been in this offense for years. BUT now the competition ratchets up several notches. This game should be on TV. UNM is picked ahead of CSU in most polls but that CU game was on TBS and this game can't get on Fox Sports? What garbage. New Mexico will know how to defend this offense.
The suspension of Marcus Bacon is not good for the Tigers but I did like the depth at linebacker. Chase Coffman will be a Freshman All American and Rucker/Ekwerekwu/Franklin/Ray/Britt and Coffey when he comes back from his shoulder injury look like a great recieving corps. I am FIRED UP! I think this one won't be that easy but from what I saw in the UNLV game, MU has a fair amount more team speed than UNM. This is a type of game the Tigers traditionally blow so this week will tell us a lot. I like what i have seen so far.
Pick MU 31-20, not as easy as we'd like but a cover.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Texas (+1) at Ohio State - I, like many others, am not a big UT fan. BUT I want the Big XII to get some respect and I'd like to see a highly ranked team in Columbia in a few weeks so I will root for the 'Horns.
Texas has had some nice wins but they easily could have lost to Arkansas last year and they did the year prior. Ohio State is a different animal, I just don't think UT can do it on the road.
Pick Ohio State 24-17
Iowa State (+8.5) vs. Iowa - Iowa State had a terrible outing last week. I may have been too high on these guys, I REALLY like this Iowa team so it's not that I'm completely throwing ISU under the bus but I don't see how the D can get it done here. ISU will put up a few points but this one gets UGLY.
Pick IOWA 48-17
Texas Tech -34.5 vs. FIU - FIU gave K-State a pretty tough ballgame but KSU had a lot of turnovers, FIU did not move the ball that well. I have no idea on this one but my guess is Mike Leach will grab some QB off the intramural team who will throw for 500 yards in this one. Not a game I would bet but it's easy to pick Tech to run it up.
Pick Texas Tech 58-10
Kansas State (+10) at Marshall - Well, the 'Cats made my pick look awfully foolish last week but I still see a lot of value in this play.
Kansas City resident KSU apologist Kevin Keitzman was on the radio yesterday trying to make Marshall sound like the second coming of USC. Trouble is, they have a new coach, new QB and SIX returning starters from last year's team. Phil Steele thinks they are the WORST team in CUSA, that means they are worse than SMU, Tulsa, East Carolina, I could go on and on.
This team also struggled with a 1AA opponent.
It appears that not only are they down but they are TERRIBLE. KSU had success running the ball last week, Marshall returns ZERO starters in the defensive front seven.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
KANSAS STATE 44 Marshall 14
New Mexico State (+24.5) at CU - I didn't really like this spread at 23 and now I really don't like it. CU is not an offensive juggernaut and this game screams back door cover to me. I have changed my mind on this several times but I've gotta take the points. Nice win for the Buffs in the rivarly game but closer than I expected. Let's face it, CSU's QB virtually handed this game to Barnett's boys late with untimely interceptions.
CU wins but does not cover 38-17
Tulsa (+31) at OU - The 14 points last week was an easier pick but Tulsa is going to be mad at TCU for getting OU mad. OU is clearly down but Tulsa is poor. This spread just reinforces my KSU pick above. OU had better fix their O line issues, and discover a QB.
Pick OU 48-7
Wake Forest (+7) at Nebraska - Speaking of O line issues. I watched the Maine tape on Fox Sports. Nebraska has serious O line issues. I liked the play of Octavien (Sp?) the linebacker but I guess he is out for some time with an injury. The defense LOOKED very good but it was against Maine, let's withhold judgment. Same can be said for Taylor at QB, he had several dropped passes but I thought he locked in on his recievers. The refs gift wrapped an early TD for the Huskers on a blown fumble call at the one so this one could have been even closer.
That all being said, I do think the defense is solid, Ross had fumblitis and not good blocking but he is still a solid back and the JUCO WR looked like he ran good routes but had a couple drops as well.
The question is "Why do you schedule VANDERBILT?" Answer "For an easy win against an SEC opponent". Maybe I am wrong but there is no way I am picking a team that just lost to Vanderbilt at home (even without a top RB who will play this week) to go in to Lincoln and even keep it close. Vanderbilt ran the ball well, I think Nebraska will as well.
Pick Nebraska 27-13
OSU (Thurs. Night) - 14.5 at FAU - Florida Atlantic had KU off balance early and kept things respectable. OSU struggled to beat Montana State. I am looking forward to watching this game on ESPN2 but this has ambush written all over it. I was down on OSU before the season, now I am really down.
UPSET SPECIAL FAU 24 OSU 20, this game would have been a lock of the week but the spread has fallen dramatically, I hate losing games because I am too late to get on a team.
Other games I like...
ARKANSAS (-10)did not play well in the opener but I think they cover against the aforementioned Vanderbilt.
San Jose State (+15) loses a close one against an Illinois team that got a LOT of questionable calls to beat Rutgers.
Navy (+2.5) beats Stanford outright, this is still a decent team.
UAB (-10) works over Troy but this game was a much better pick at -7, oh well.
Good luck to your team!