Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Football picksSeptember 27, 2012

West Virginia finally kicks of its Big 12 season on Saturday, taking on a good Baylor team in Morgantown. This is a game with a lot of storylines and a significant amount of intrigue. West Virginia might just be the best team in this league in its first season there. With quarterback Geno Smith leading the way and a host of good skilled players, West Virginia will have no trouble whatsoever scoring points. Last week, they took down Maryland in a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close. Now, they get a Baylor team that almost lost its game last Friday.

What do we make of Baylor in the year after Robert Griffin? What you should know is that they have lost more than just the QB. Baylor also lost its best running back and its best receiver. It lost a lot of skill on defense, too. These things can take their toll and they appear to have made life a little bit more difficult on Baylor. Last week, the Bears nearly lose on the road at Louisiana Monroe. They had to come from behind and hold on at the very end. If they come up with that kind of performance again, the Bears will struggle on the road.

This game presents some interesting challenges for Baylor. They have to make a long trip to West Virginia. The Mountaineers play in a tough stadium in the middle of nowhere. To be sure, this will be a foreign atmosphere for most of the Baylor guys. This game is also at altitude, so that should help West Virginia. Another challenge comes on the field. Baylor just could not tackle in its game against Monroe. They struggled to bring down running backs and wide receivers alike. If that continues, you can bet that West Virginia will have a lot of success through the air and on the ground.

West Virginia has not truly been tested up to this point. A big question remains about whether they will be tested in this game. West Virginia comes into this game as an overwhelming favorite – almost two touchdowns at many shops – and should have an easy time. If Baylor and its quarterback Nick Florence can take care of the football, they might have a chance to put some points on the board. Getting into a shootout with a good West Virginia offense might not be the best course of action, though.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat ”



Football picksSeptember 27, 2012

The Texas Longhorns have looked very good in the early part of 2012. After a disappointing season in 2011, the Horns have started out this year with convincing home wins against bad opponents. The Horns then went into Oxford and took down Ole Miss at night. Though the Rebels are certainly not an SEC powerhouse – and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is no Death Valley – that game was impressive in its own right. The Longhorns ran the ball well, threw the ball well, and lit up the scoreboard with a significant amount of authority.

Oklahoma State has struggled a little bit in the early going. After running up a huge number of points against Savannah State, the Pokes took to the road to play a difficult game against a good Arizona team. The Wildcats destroyed them in Tucson, leaving some major question marks about this Cowboy team. Can they score like they did last year? Can they play any defense this season? Will they get consistent quarterback play? These are all questions that must be answered going forward by Oklahoma State if they are going to have a chance to compete in the Big 12.

Last year, this matchup was pretty close. Texas managed to keep it competitive in front of the home fans. They just couldn’t make enough plays to close the gap. The big problem a season ago was the inability to stop the run. Texas let Oklahoma State run up and down the field for a number of long touchdowns. Texas has improved some against the run, so they should have more success in that department this year. One thing is different about this game, though. Texas heads to Stillwater, where Oklahoma State does not make a habit of losing.

The Cowboys demolished nearly everywhere in Stillwater a season ago. They even crushed a decent Oklahoma team there in the final game of the year. Texas has looked good against rough competition, but they have not truly been tested. That will all change this week. The difficult environment and high-flying Oklahoma State attack will prove troublesome for the Horns. Even in its blowout win against Ole Miss, Texas had trouble stopping the big play. If they don’t get that little problem corrected this week, they will walk away from Oklahoma State with another loss in this matchup. If they can fix this issue and keep up the strong running game, Texas might be real this year.

Posted by Wunderdog Trusty sidekick ” Wundercat