Week 4 Predictions
By Queen Carioca
Come in and have a seat. Close the tent flap behind you as once again I glance into my crystal ball.
Overall record to date…
Big 12 Prophecies: 14-for-17
Other College Prophecies: 0-2 (Betrayed last week by Sparty and the Men of Troy).
The Big 12 weekend kicks off with Baylor’s visit to Louisiana-Monroe. Suddenly, the Warhawks have emerged as a force to be taken seriously. Last week Todd Berry’s squad followed up its stunning win at Arkansas with another near upset of an SEC squad, this time an overtime loss at Auburn. A week ago the Bears survived a bona fide scare, overcoming a 20-10 halftime deficit against a scrappy Sam Houston squad (SHSU was 14-1 a year ago) to pull away in the second half for a 48-23 win. Nick Florence wasn’t flawless, but he did rebound from a pair of first half picks to pace the Bears comeback with 312 yards and three scores. Led by trigger-man Kolton Browning, the Warhawks will move the football on a Bears defense that yielded nearly 650 yards through the air to SMU and Sam Houston. In the end, however, Art Briles’ crew will have just a little more pop. Baylor 38, Louisiana-Monroe 31
Through two games Geno Smith has as many TD passes (9) as incompletions. Last year thru two games RGIII had 8 TD tosses and 8 incompletions. Yes, those are the kinds of comparisons that Geno’s white hot start is now inspiring. And while we’re comparing numbers, here’s another interesting one. Stedman Bailey through two games: 22 catches, 275 yards, 5 TDs. Here’s how that stacks up to 2011 Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon: 22-72-2 TDs. Figures like these provide some perspective on just how dynamic the WVU offense has been to this point. The question: can they keep up the pace? Break out your Magic Eight ball and give it a shake and the answer that likely surfaces is “All signs point to yes.” Maryland’s 8th ranked defense has in large measure been the product of its early season schedule (William & Mary, Temple & UConn) and offensively the Terps have been box of matches away from a dumpster fire. Randy Edsall has had to duct tape his offensive his line-up and the blemishes have been apparent. With true freshman Perry Hills under center the Terps are 119th in the country in yards per game and have turned it over 10 times. Those aren’t the kinds of numbers that inspire confidence in a team on the road as a 27-point underdog against a Heisman frontrunner and one of the most explosive offenses in the country. The Terrapins have outright leaky at the point of attack, allowing eight TFLs per game and a sack every 6.3 pass attempts. Is this the week the West Virginia defense has its breakout game with 3+ turnovers and/or 5+ sacks? If WVU jumps out to a sizeable early lead, those things could easily happen. With enough help from the Mountaineers, Maryland could tip a ball, break a return or two, control the clock and capitalize on some turnovers to pull an upset for the ages. I’m not convinced WVU will offer that help. Sometimes a mismatch is a mismatch for a reason. Let’s party like it’s 1988. West Virginia 55, Maryland 24
Only one man in the Big 12 – and in the entire country – has the edge on WVU’s Geno Smith in passing efficiency. That man is Horned Frogs signal caller Casey Pachall. Not surprising that Pachall and Smith are 1 & 2 in the nation in Passing Efficiency. The Big 12, after all, boasts 6 of the top 9 on the list. Through two games Pachall has amassed an absurd efficiency rating of 242.37. TCU did take a hit this week with the loss of leading rusher Waymon James. That will matter far more in the weeks to come that it will Saturday against the Cavaliers. A Frogs front 6 yielding just 2.05 yards per rush will stymie UVA’s struggling ground game and TCU will lean on the talents of Pachall and dynamic receivers Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter to outgun the overmatched Cavs. TCU 38, Virginia 17
If you can’t be good, you’d better be scrappy – and Charlie Weis’ Jayhawks are at least that. A week after gift wrapping the game for Rice with a 4thth quarter meltdown, Kansas could have easily folded the tents against TCU. Instead, they threw a scare into the more talented Frogs before wilting in the second half. Expect the same type of effort, and the same type of result, against a UNI squad that has won 24 of its last 31 overall. Northern Illinois 27, Kansas 20
After a pair of test runs against UTEP and Florida A&M, the Sooners are primed for their first crack at a league opponent. Or are they? Landry Jones has never quite returned to form since losing record breaking wideout Ryan Broyles to injury late last year. In the six games since, Jones has eclipsed the 300-yard mark only once while tossing 5 TDs against 7 picks. That might serve to keep things interesting until Jones gets his feet under him, but the key point to remember here is the Sooners record in Norman under Bob Stoops: 78-3. Oklahoma 44, Kansas State 24
Other prophecies this week beyond the Big 12:
Notre Dame 27, Michigan 24
Florida State 34, Clemson 20
Oregon 52, Arizona 31
Lead photo: Dale Sparks/All Pro Photography