By Ron Jumper
My sincere apologies for disappearing for a couple of weeks but the combination of work, moving, and planning a wedding was just too much to overcome for me to make my regular blog posts. Unfortunately, all of the things I mentioned above trump posting picks and talking about fantasy football. To some, that may sound outrageous but it should make it much more obvious why you are not planning a wedding and would settle for…well you get the idea. Anyways, moving on to tonight’s game.
The consensus has been that these teams are both “unproven” and it is “unknown” what will happen in tonight’s game. I completely disagree and think it is all right there in front of you. Has either team beaten a powerhouse yet? No, but have they played identical schedules? Wrong again. Let me explain.
Texas A&M (3-0):
Stephen F. Austin 48-7
Louisiana Tech 48-16
Florida International 27-20
SFA is an FCS school and the other two teams are from a non-BCS conference and have a combined 1-6 record so far this season. While I will say FIU is better than their 0-3 record suggests, it still should not take a 21-point fourth quarter rally to escape from a 20-6 deficit at home. This reminds me of last season when the Aggies were undefeated and had been putting up cute offensive numbers but then got whipped by Arkansas 47-19.
Oklahoma State (3-0):
Washington State 65-17
While none of those three were ranked or are considered powerhouses, I can’t help but think it is much stronger schedule than that of the Aggies. Washington State is at the bottom of the Pac-10 but I have to think they are better than SFA. If the Aggies struggled so mightily against Florida International, what would fellow Sun Belt conference member Troy have done to them? As for Tulsa, if you remove the Oklahoma State game, their other 3 games compare similarly to A&M. Tulsa lost a 51-49 heartbreaker to East Carolina on the road (last-second Hail Mary) but beat the other two inferior opponents soundly. If A&M had gone on the road to ECU, I can’t say with certainty they win that game. However, the Cowboys pounded Tulsa 65-28.
All of that is way too much Team A vs. Team B so Team B should beat Team C. I realize that but Oklahoma State is at home and they have played a tougher schedule. It also doesn’t hurt that they have pounded that tougher schedule more than the Aggies have pounded a light schedule.
I learned a long time ago when both teams run similar styles, it is actually less likely an upset will occur. Some think because they do similar things they will pose matchup problems or be able to recognize what the other is doing, I completely disagree. What I have always found is when teams are built the same way, the better team wins and wins big because they are not going to get beat playing their own game with superior talent. In this instance, the better team is also at home.
Look at the playmakers for the Cowboys, Justin Blackmon leads the nation in receiving yards per game and in touchdown receptions (despite playing only 3 games to everyone else’s 4). Kendall Hunter is second in rushing yards per game and is actually the top running back (Michigan QB Denard Robinson leads the nation in rushing yards per game). If Hunter hadn’t only gotten 11 carries against Tulsa because the game got out of hand, he would likely have even better numbers to brag about. Lastly, Brandon Weeden has been fantastic . He isn’t the dual-option threat that Zac Robinson was but his arm has been more than enough so far.
Thursday Free Pick:
Oklahoma State -2.5