2012 Week 7 Weekend Preview

October 11, 2012

Somehow, I managed not to fall any further behind my readers in the head-to-head prediction game. After three weekends of play, the records now stand:

K. Becks: 10-5

Guest Prognosticators: 13-2

This week, Bill Hughes (roommate of Coleman Mahler, the Week 4 guest prognosticator) will take on the prediction duties for the readers. Based on the games I think you should pay attention to this weekend, it might be hard for me to make up any ground on the readers, but I definitely don’t want to fall behind even further.

Here is a list of my top five games to watch this weekend, as well as five more to keep an eye on.

5 Games to Pay Attention to This Weekend

#6 Kansas State at Iowa State (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

It appears that both of these teams are headed in the right direction this season. While Kansas State sits in the Top 10 just waiting for a chance to pounce on West Virginia in what should be a marquee matchup next weekend, the Cyclones aren’t playing badly this season either, pulling off a 37-23 win over then 15th ranked TCU. If the Wildcats are at all thinking ahead to next weekend, they’d be making a huge mistake. Iowa State is a tough team to beat at home, and this game should be a dogfight.

The Cyclones have been solid on defense this season, allowing just 15.8 PPG and 338 YPG, which put them in the top half of the Big 12 in both categories. However, Iowa State has yet to face a quarterback like Colin Klein, who has been giving every defense he faces fits this season. The Cyclones have only allowed two rushing touchdowns this season, but will have their hands full trying to stop both Klein and running back John Hubert in this game. It will be imperative that Iowa State’s defensive front limits the Wildcats’ rushing attack, or Kansas State will not only be able to pick up big chunks of yards, but also control the clock.

If Iowa State wants to pull off the upset, they are going to need to score a lot of points. Chances are, the defense will have at least some trouble with Klein and Hubert, which will put pressure on the offense to keep up. The Cyclones are more than capable of doing so as they proved against TCU last weekend, but will it be enough to counter the Wildcats’ offensive output? I think they’ll be just short, but it should be a very interesting three hours.

My Pick: 28-24 Kansas State

Bill’s Take: Kansas State will roll into Ames, Iowa this weekend like the Nazi’s rolled into Poland in 1939. The Cyclones only hope is for the lights to go out, but it’s a day game so get ready Iowa State fans, you’re in for a long day on Saturday. Kansas State wins this one easily, and can start looking forward to their next game against #5 West Virginia.

Iowa State will find a way to put up a fight early on, but Kansas State will leave Ames without so much as a ding in their mighty fists. #6 Kansas State 42, Iowa State 10.

#15 Texas vs. #13 Oklahoma [in Dallas] (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Last Saturday night David Ash was more accurate than Geno Smith, and the Longhorns managed to score four rushing touchdowns even without usual starter Malcolm Brown playing. What does this mean? That Texas’ offense is for real, and that they have a shot at beating archrival Oklahoma as a result. The only thing holding them back? You guessed it: the defense.

Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Kansas State may have finally awoken the beast two weekends ago. Oklahoma was sputtering offensively and paid for it when they visited Manhattan, but last weekend the Sooners’ offense was a finely tuned machine. Landry Jones actually looked good for once, throwing for 259 yards and two scores while the Sooners only turned the ball over once (Oklahoma had three turnovers in its loss to the Wildcats). Turnovers will be key in this matchup as it has been in the past two Red River Shootout games, as Texas has turned the ball over seven times the past two years compared to Oklahoma’s one.

The two teams appear to be pretty evenly matched, with Texas looking better overall on offense and Oklahoma boasting better defensive numbers. However, if the Sooners really were motivated by the loss to Kansas State so early in the season, it may be tough for the Longhorns to take back the Golden Hat. I’d be surprised if Bob Stoops loses twice in the span of a month, especially against a rival school.

My Pick: 31-24 Oklahoma

Bill’s Take: Red River football at its finest will be in store this weekend in Dallas. That is, of course, if you want to see 100 points put up. Personally I do not expect classic Big 12 football. With Texas averaging over 46 PPG and Oklahoma around 38 PPG, this game will be a shoot-out that would make cowboys of the old Wild West proud. The Longhorns will need to get to the bus sooner after Landry Jones and the Sooners make a mockery of Texas this weekend. #13 Oklahoma 42, #15 Texas 38.

#17 Stanford at #7 Notre Dame (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

It might be an odd thing to say about the 17th ranked team in the country, but the Stanford Cardinal have only played well in two of its five games this season. The jury is still out on quarterback Josh Nunes, and after last weekend’s game there are questions as to the strength of the defense. Still, after Nunes’ performance against Arizona, there is reason to believe that Stanford has a shot to upset the Fighting Irish, who have yet to provide me a solid reason as to why they shouldn’t be ranked as highly as they are (and believe me, I’m searching hard for a reason).

Notre Dame’s defense has only given up 12 points in its last three games, suggesting that it has only gotten better after a close call against Purdue on September 8th (a 20-17 Fighting Irish victory). I still have my reservations about whether the defensive secondary, which has been relatively (if not completely) untested this season, could contain a team that wants to throw the ball more than run it. Last weekend should have provided an answer, but really just left me with more questions. Neither team did much through the air, but Notre Dame rolled over the Hurricanes on the ground. 

Stanford doesn’t have the worst defense in the ACC (as Miami does), but rather the second best rush defense in the Pac-12. However, the Cardinal passing game ranks in the bottom half of the conference, and it’s hard to say that Nunes is capable of putting up similar numbers against Notre Dame’s defense that he did against Arizona. I expect this to be a close, defensive battle that is won by the team that manages to throw the ball better. Based on what we have seen from both teams this season that could really go either way.

My Pick: 20-14 Notre Dame

Bill’s Take: The Four Horsemen need to step aside because Notre Dame is back to glory. Stanford will put up a fight in South Bend this weekend, but it will be Notre Dame coming away with victory. Brian Kelly has brought Notre Dame football back to glory as the Irish are still undefeated, and look to keep that going this weekend. #7 Notre Dame 21, #17 Stanford 14.

#3 South Carolina at #9 LSU (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

The Mad Hatter has been disturbed, which should make for a very entertaining contest come Saturday night. LSU’s weaknesses were exploited last weekend against Florida, but to think that Les Miles doesn’t have a plan to bounce back this week against the number three team in the nation would be foolish. The Tigers haven’t lost two straight regular season games since 2008, and it’ll take the same amount of focus the Gamecocks displayed last weekend against Georgia to upend top 10 teams in consecutive weeks.

South Carolina was extremely impressive against Georgia last week, making mincemeat of the Bulldogs’ potent offense and putting up 35 points on their own offensive end. The Gamecocks proved that they not only have one of the best defenses in the nation, but also have the ability to score with the best as well. However, the Gamecocks should be wary of assuming that they can put up that many points against every SEC team. While Georgia has one of the best offenses in the league, its defense is one of the worst, especially on the ground. So are Vanderbilt and Kentucky’s, two teams that South Carolina struggled with for awhile. This weekend, the Gamecocks go up against the best pass defense and third best run defense in the SEC, which allows just 12.8 PPG.

It is unlikely that Marcus Lattimore will have nearly the amount of success on Saturday that he has been having against less talented defenses. The same goes for Connor Shaw, who has been a very productive passer for the Gamecocks so far. This game will ultimately come down to whether LSU can muster any sort of offense against South Carolina’s athletic defense. If they can, then LSU has a chance to exact revenge for last weekend’s loss to the Gators.

My Pick: 14-10 LSU

Bill’s Take: South Carolina will head to Death Valley this weekend and try to upset the mighty giant of LSU. After last weekend’s disappointing loss to Florida, LSU looks to dominate the field. I sense that this game will be a rematch of the Cold War. Both the Gamecocks and the Tigers won’t really do much offensively, contrary to both teams’ average points per game, which are around 35. This game will be reminiscent of the battle between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War because both teams will fight for a defensive position and find obscure ways to say they won.

I believe LSU will get to the finish line first. LSU wins this one in a rather mundane way, 17-14.

#22 Texas A&M at #23 Louisiana Tech (Saturday, 9 PM ET)

This game has gotten a lot more intriguing since it’s originally scheduled date of August 30th. Since that time, both teams have worked their way into the Top 25, and have both shown the ability to score at will. While the conferences these two teams are a part of couldn’t be more different, the similarities between the squads should make for a very interesting game.

Louisiana Tech is essentially the lone bright spot keeping the WAC somewhat relevant. The Bulldogs have been outscoring the opposition all season, and will probably have to do so again in order to beat the Aggies. Louisiana Tech doesn’t stop a lot of teams on defense, but do have the ability to create turnovers, and often times those turnovers result in touchdowns. In addition, the Bulldogs do not turn the ball over a lot on offense, thanks to senior quarterback Colby Cameron, who has yet to throw an interception this season.

If Texas A&M takes care of the football, it’s defense should be capable of slowing down Louisiana Tech enough that freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel can lead the Aggies to victory. However, Texas A&M was sloppy last weekend, and the Bulldogs ball-hawking defense has been wreaking havoc the last three games. This one should be as close as the respective Top 25 rankings would suggest.

My Pick: 38-33 Texas A&M

Bill’s Take: Louisiana Tech sits at this point in the season averaging 53.2 PPG and is undefeated, but let’s be honest; who have they played yet this year? Illinois, Virginia…congratulations, even Massachusetts could compete with those teams (not really). On the other side of the field stands Texas A&M, the “superior” opponent. The Aggies have been contested once this season against Florida, and we all know how that turned out, with Florida walking out College Station with a well-deserved victory.

This game between Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech reminds me of the War of 1812. It is easy to say that one side will win, since it happens every week. However, at the end of Saturday no one will have really won anything. The Aggies will go home Saturday night with another win in their pocket, but they will have won nothing and will settle with the same territory that they had at the beginning of Saturday. #22 Texas A&M 35, #23 Louisiana Tech 28.

5 More to Flip To

Duke at Virginia Tech (Saturday, 12:30 PM ET)

These teams seem to be heading in opposite directions, and surprisingly enough Virginia Tech is the team headed in the wrong direction. Duke becomes one win away from bowl eligibility with a victory.

#1 Alabama at Missouri (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Missouri’s offense has been struggling, at least partially due to James Franklin’s shoulder issues. The only way they win this game is if Alabama scores less than two touchdowns.

#5 West Virginia at Texas Tech (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

As long as West Virginia continues facing teams that have good offenses but shaky defenses, Geno Smith will continue to lead them to victory.

#10 Oregon State at BYU (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Some may call it luck, but BYU has won games it shouldn’t have this season thanks to a very stingy defense.

Tennessee at #19 Mississippi State (Saturday, 9 PM ET)

Derek Dooley’s team frequently seems to give ranked teams trouble on the road. Don’t be surprised if the Volunteers are in another close one this Saturday.

If you would like to become a guest prognosticator like Bill did this week, please let me know in one of the following ways: email me at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com, send me a message on Around The Corn’s Facebook page, post a comment under this article or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. Opportunities to become a guest prognosticator will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Thanks everyone.

– K. Becks

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