By Kolby Paxton
For the next eight weeks, I will continue to offer up a Pick Six, exclusive to the readers of Razorback and Jenkins. Concurrent with these selections, I offer the following disclaimers: a) I don’t completely suck at this, but b) keep in mind that gambling is illegal – sort of. Still, in case you’re wondering, c) I do put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.
Last week, we handled the action as it related to the state of South Carolina – winning with the Gamecocks (-10) and Clemson (-14) – took advantage of a grossly overrated Utah club – Arizona State (-7) – and we cashed in on Landry Jones’ big game bumbling, taking Kansas State (+14.5). Meanwhile, I swung and missed on my second consecutive lock – UCLA (-7) – and whiffed on LSU (-20.5) so badly that it has me questioning the Tigers entire offensive make-up.
Season record: 13-11, LOTW: 2-2
What we learned: The only thing more predictable than the John L. Smith face is the Landry Jones face. The Sooners may not be better off with Blake Bell, but they cannot be any worse. Utah stinks – nearly as bad as its fans, it turns out. South Carolina doesn’t stink. Meanwhile, Clemson is developing a nasty habit of showing up for two quarters, but getting lost in the tunnel at halftime.
I considered locking the Dodgers this week, just so I could strike out on the entire city of Los Angeles. As good as the Pac-12 appeared to be early, the conference really needs Stanford to take care of Washington Thursday night. Otherwise, it just looks like Oregon and a bunch of average squads. Meanwhile, what the hell happened in Auburn, Ala.?
According to what we’ve seen over the course of the previous two weeks, the Cardinal are tough as in nails, beef jerky, cowhide, etc., capable of physically dominating the pre-season favorite to hoist the crystal football. Meanwhile, U-Dub is doing its best to extinguish the notion that Steve Sarkisian is an up-and-comer, after receiving a 38-point swirly in Baton Rouge, La.
The likely reality, for both teams, is somewhere in between. Stanford is strong, but Southern Cal played into its hands, what with a weakened offensive line playing straight drop football. Washington isn’t great, but its not awful. At least not offensively. The Huskies need this one, with Oregon, USC, Arizona and Oregon State to follow. They won’t roll over. Ultimately, however, they will sit.
For the Dennis Erickson Sun Devils, this game would’ve been an automatic loss. Losing to a 1-3 Cal bunch after starting 3-1 and blowing the doors off of Utah is just how ASU rolls. Besides that little trend, there’s an argument to be made here (that is clearly being made in Vegas) that Berkley isn’t bad.
Here’s the thing, though: Arizona State should be a football power. Tempe, Ariz., is nothing short of awesome. The females in Tempe, Ariz., well, suffice it to say they’re a better recruiting tool than any trophy case. Undie run, anyone? The Sun Devils’ inability to firmly establish themselves amongst the landscape of the Pac-12 boggles my mind. Lose to Cal and its the same story – umpteenth verse. No more, ASU. Stop it.
At the risk of pushing Doc and Heather completely over the edge, I’m taking the points in this one. I’ve also decided, in spite of her apparent gender-induced short-comings as a sports radio head, that more Heather Harrington is never, ever a bad thing. “Back up!”
The ‘Dawgs have managed to avoid their annual September collapse, and I see no reason to expect a hiccup now. (Though, in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought Baccari Rambo would be back when I made this pick.) Having said that, I don’t think Georgia gives them the Vandy treatment. One second half collapse isn’t reason enough to sound the emergency sirens.
I think I’ve run out of ways to express my disdain for the John L. Smith administration. I find it entirely conceivable that the Hogs manage only to defeat Kentucky in Fayetteville and – maybe – Ole Miss in Little Rock.
In other news, is anyone sure that the Aggies don’t back out of an agreement to move the Southwest Classic back to Jerry’s World in 2014? I just don’t see the advantage in doing that if I’m A&M. Wouldn’t you rather get the Hogs in College Station, in front 314,000 seats (hopefully filled by fans) every other year, at the expense of playing to the wine and cheesers in the Ozarks? All due respect, of course. Thus, keeping Arkansas out of the Dallas Metroplex at the very same time.
A total darkhorse candidate that will probably never be considered, but whom I would like to see hired at the University of Arkansas, is Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald. At a school with no background of success on the gridiron, Fitzgerald has slowly transformed the ‘Cats into Big Ten contenders in 2012. We’ll just forget that this ever happened.
Northwestern is 4-0, with wins over Syracuse, Boston College and Vanderbilt – no big deal for most, but a huge deal in Chicago, Ill., where a road victory in the Carrier Dome, followed by SEC/ACC triumphs constitutes celebration. Fitzgerald’s crew could be 7-0 when it hosts Nebraska on Oct. 20.
It’s the Meteor Bowl in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday night, as the (possibly back?) Fightin’ Mack Browns travel to Motionless-H20. No one’s quite sure about the mysterious injury that ails Wes Lunt – as apparently withheld by Pat Jones – but it doesn’t appear likely that he’ll play versus Texas.
In any event, the Longhorns defense is fully equipped to handle Oklahoma State, and the Cowboys defense bears a strong resemblance to the Ole Miss unit that was mercilessly shredded by David Ash & Co. two weeks ago. Somebody check the lights in the scoreboard.
On a larger scale, if the Ash we’ve seen thus far is the Ash we’re getting for the next eight weeks – and with OSU/WVU/OU over the next three weeks, we’ll find out in a hurry – Texas could be all the way back.