It's been nearly a week and my heart is almost back to normal. Someday I'll watch the replay of Iowa State's game last week against Toledo and think about how great a college football game I watched. That game had everything – big plays, points upon points, blocked kicks, hard hits and once in a while a defensive stop. It was a great game.
But I couldn't enjoy it. I was
terrified throughout the game, afraid that at any time Toledo would take over and
the Cyclones would start the season with a loss. Sitting in the press box at
Jack Trice Stadium, I spent much of all three overtimes pacing back and fourth,
unable to just sit and watch. Think my four first half Mellow Yellows had
anything to do with that?
At least the Cyclones know what
they have to work on. Their pass defense had more holes in it then an isle of
Swiss cheese. My buddy Brett and I have started using the phrase "soft
underbelly" when talking about the ISU defense. How many times was the Toledo tight end wide open
in the gaps in ISU's zone? I shudder to think what Texas Tech might do when they
Don't get me wrong. I'm not a
panicked sissy who is ready to throw in the towel. There were a host of good
things the Cyclones did; Bret Meyer was in midseason form, Todd Blythe is
amazing, Stevie Hicks is healthy again, the offense can dominate, Rashawn Parker
is going to be a stud, Alvin Bowen and Tyrone McKenzie are everywhere and the
ISU rush defense is stout once again. I'd talk about all of them but I'm sure
some of you are bored already and those who aren't just really want my
So here they are. Happy
During any other week of the
season, this is the point where I would plug myself and how much of a prophet I
really am. If you take a glance back at last week's column, you will see that I
put up some impressive numbers. I went 11-1 with my only misstep coming thanks
to Colorado and the egg they laid against
State. If not for the
Buffalos - and really, who saw that one coming? - I would have a perfect record
through week one. (And yes, I called them a sleeper to contend for the North.
I'm sorry. I was wrong. They might not be able to contend for the CIML
Iowa State welcomes UNLV, another team with
a pass-happy offense that will look to exploit ISU's group of young defenders.
UNLV got their quarterback courtesy of USC, meaning the kid has serious talent.
He will be another tough test for the Cyclone defense. Even though they were
abused last week, John Skladany will have his unit ready to play. The defense
that hits the field against UNLV will be leaps and bounds better then the one
that played Toledo. The Runnin Rebels will still put up
impressive numbers against the Cyclones, but the Cyclone Hitmen (seriously,
Bowen or McKinzie will kill someone before the season is over, they hit that
hard) will make more then enough stops to win.
THE PICK: Iowa State
Ohio State at Texas
This is the game I've been looking
forward to for months. No. 1 vs. No. 2. with both teams having something to
Ohio State needs to prove they belong. They
are good but earning a No. 1 ranking after losing all but two of your starters
on defense is a bit odd. The Buckeyes couldn't stop Garrett Wolfe last week,
which isn't a good sign. Wolfe ran for 172 yards and had another 115 yards
receiving as they only beat Northern Illinois
35-12. Imagine what Texas and its stable of backs will be able to
Texas has to prove that last season
wasn't a fluke. The knock on Longhorn coach Mack Brown has been that he can't
win the big game. This season we'll find out if Brown truly has overcome that
hurdle (Rose Bowl win over Michigan, beating
Ohio State, trouncing Oklahoma and a national championship say he
has) or if Vince Young was really THAT good. If Texas can win, it will prove that the
Longhorns are here to stay and not just ridding the coattails of one of the
greatest college football players ever.
Not only do the two teams have
something to prove, both quarterbacks do too. If Ohio State's Troy Smith has a big game, his
Heisman Trophy chances skyrocket. Freshman Colt McCoy of Texas can go a long way
to establishing himself as a star if he can get the Longhorns a victory. This
will be a game that will be talked about for weeks to come.
Texas has a great defense and
State has a great offense.
We know that much. While there isn't a star on the Texas offense that can
take over a game, the constant pounding of that many exceptional athletes will
be too much for the Buckeye defense to handle. Especially on the road.
THE PICK: Texas
And now that the Texas-Ohio State game is out of the way, here are the
picks for this week's games that don't matter.
Washington at No. 15 Oklahoma
One of three Big 12 teams who
scheduled legitimate games this week, the Sooners play host to Washington. On paper this
looks like a good game. But Washington is a mediocre team in a Pac-10
conference that is WAY overrated. The only reason anyone pays attention to the
Pac-10 is because USC is so good. Outside of the Trojans, this conference has
nobody. Put UCLA or Cal in the Big 12 or Big Ten and they would be a seven or
eight win team who puts up a .500 record in conference play. Instead they play
on the West Coast and somehow find their way into the top-10 by season's end.
That's how week that conference is.
THE PICK: Oklahoma
Nicholls State at No. 21 Nebraska
One more game for Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor to pad his stats before the Huskers travel to face USC. Taylor looked sharp and Nebraska showed they can replace graduated
running back Cory Ross in their 49-10 win last week over Louisiana Tech.
THE PICK: Nebraska
No. 24 Texas Tech at
The fun-and-gun Tech offense is in
full bloom and UTEP won't be able to do anything to stop it. The Red Raider's
492 yards last week against SMU might be matched. Oh, and they have a pretty
good running game too. Could they challenge for the Big 12 South? I think
THE PICK: Texas
Northwestern State at
Baylor looks to rebound after a
tough loss to TCU. The Bears needed that game if they wanted to make their first
bowl since joining the Big 12. Beating
Northwestern State (The same school that beat Iowa in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament,
the tournament where Iowa was a three seed. Remember that?
Awesome!) will get them in the win column, but Baylor will have to steal a
couple games they aren't expected to win if they want a shot at the
THE PICK: Baylor
Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas
There isn't much to say about this
game other then A&M will win easy.
THE PICK: Texas A&M
Oklahoma State at Arkansas State
It says something about the state
of the Cowboy program when one of their non-conference games is a road one
State. Enjoy the win OSU
fans, just don't get used to it.
THE PICK: Oklahoma State
Colorado at Colorado State
What a way for Dan Hawkins to
start at Colorado, with a loss to a 1-AA opponent. The
Buffs need to rebound and unfortunately this isn't the week to do it. Intrastate
State is a good team that
almost won last season's game. A 0-2 start in Boulder is right around the
THE PICK: Colorado State
Mississippi at Missouri
Chase Daniel is good. Remember
that. But is he good enough to save Gary Pinkel's job? This is the type of game
the Tigers have lost in the past.
THE PICK: Missouri
Louisiana-Monroe at Kansas
A source inside the Kansas football program
tells me there's a reason for the Jayhawks schedule. Kansas and portly coach Mark Mangino scheduled their first
two games against Northwestern State and Louisiana-Monroe because of his
personal attraction to Cajun foods. I hear gumbo and jambalaya have a large
place in Mangino's heart and his stomach. Kansas wanted to play LSU next week but had to back out of
the game when people in Louisiana started to complain about being
What? You expected real analysis
for this game?
THE PICK: Kansas
Florida Atlantic at Kansas State
This is a game Kansas State
should win, but after their poor performance against Southern Illinois last week, anything is possible. Follow
me Wildcats, I'll show you to the bottom of the Big 12
THE PICK: Kansas State