Wall's World : Week One

The only drawback to the beginning of college football season is the relatively boring matchups that dot the national landscape each year. This season is no exception. A quick glance across the Big 12 shows only two legitimate games on the schedule. Fortunately, Iowa State is one of those two teams that chose to schedule someone other then the college equivalent of Mason City High School.

The Iowa State-Toledo game will be interesting because of the matchups it involves. The Cyclones are breaking in a brand new defense, while Toledo has nine new starters on their offense. When Toledo has the ball, the field will be littered with players getting their first exposure to major college football.


Whichever unit wins this battle might be the team that wins this game. If the ISU defense shuts down Toledo, the Cyclones will win no problem. The Cyclone offense will score their points and a strong performance from the defense would go a long way to starting the season off 1-0. At the same time, if Toledo torches the ISU defense, things could get a little dicey. The Cyclones sometimes struggle getting off the ground in their opener (see last season's Illinois State debacle). Putting pressure right away on the offense to win a game might lead to problems.


The Cyclone offense will dominate some games, carrying an inexperience defense to some wins, but putting that pressure on Bret Meyer and Co. this early in the season isn't a good thing. The offense can't afford to get into a mindset that they have to score 45 points each game to carry a floundering defense. This game is critical for the defense to show they will be carrying their weight throughout the season.


Iowa State also needs this game to springboard their season. Wins against Toledo and UNLV early will give them confidence going into a tough game at Iowa. If the Cyclones can start their season 2-1 (or very possibly 3-0 given their proven success against the Hawkeyes) the inevitable stumbles at Texas and Oklahoma won't seem so bad. A 1-2 start puts the Cyclones in a hole they can't afford to get in. This season's schedule is tough enough – Iowa State can't be handing out favors to their opponents.


While Toledo will put up a fight, Iowa State will come out on top. The defense will make enough stops to keep the Rockets from lighting up the scoreboard and ISU's offense will demonstrate flashes of the form that will make them one of the best scoring groups in the conference. It will be interesting, but the Cyclones will start the season in the win column.


THE PICK: Iowa State


The only other legitimate game this week comes courtesy of two teams that gave Iowa State fits last season – Baylor and TCU.


TCU is quickly becoming a mid-major powerhouse. They handled Oklahoma at the beginning of last season and their speed gave Iowa State fits during the Houston Bowl. Much of that bowl champion team returns, giving the Horned Frogs a solid base to make a run toward the nation's top-15 with.


Baylor is on the rise, coming close to making a bowl last season. I really want the Bears to win this game, but I don't think they will. Since the start of the Big 12, Baylor has been the conference's kid brother. They are relatively harmless, kind of cute and when you really need to you can beat them up and put them back in their place.


Well, the kid brother is starting to grow up. Guy Morriss is a phenomenal coach who is rebuilding the program. Baylor is just a couple years away from a legitimate yearly bowl contender. Unfortunately for the Bears – a team that still needs to win all their non-conference games to have a chance for the postseason – this isn't the way to start. TCU is too good. This will be a great game that could easily go down to the wire but the Horned Frogs will prove to be too much.




And now the yawners begin.


Forgive me if there isn't much analysis here, these cupcake games are pretty easy to pick. So let's start in the Big 12 North, I'll tell a couple jokes and we'll get out of here before anyone can get hurt.


Louisiana Tech at Nebraska


This could be the year the Huskers take steps toward returning to their national power status. The only real question in this game is how many yards the fourth string running back will put up.


THE PICK: Nebraska


Northwestern State at Kansas


Here's a question. Who will eat more at the pregame players buffet? The entire Northwestern State team or rotund Kansas coach Mark Mangeno?


THE PICK: Kansas


Murray State at Missouri


While these games should all be easy for the Big 12 teams, if there is one coach who can blow a non-conference cupcake, it's Missouri's Gary Pinkel. Brad Smith isn't there to make him look even mediocre. I hope he enjoys his final season with the Tigers.


THE PICK: Missouri


Illinois State at Kansas State


Kansas State is in the mist of rebuilding after the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder. The Redbirds are feisty (as Iowa State found out in 2005) but the Wildcats should come out with a victory.


THE PICK: Kansas State


Montana State at Colorado


Of the two teams in the North with first year coaches, Colorado will take the shortest time to return to success. Dan Haskins is a great coach and he has many of the athletes needed for his system to thrive already in Boulder. The Buffalos are this season's sleeper in the Big 12 North.


THE PICK: Colorado


North Texas at Texas


This isn't fair. Where's the U.N.? There could be war crimes in this game.




SMU at Texas Tech


Will Tech be held under 100 points? Maybe, maybe not.


THE PICK: Texas Tech


UAB at Oklahoma


Even though Oklahoma has questions at quarterback, the Sooners will…I'm done with the analysis. This is going to be a blowout.


THE PICK: Oklahoma


Citadel at Texas A&M


I didn't even know Citadel played football.




Missouri State at Oklahoma State


At least this is one win for a gawd awful Oklahoma State team.


THE PICK: Oklahoma State





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