John Mitchell: College football season is moving quickly, and it’s hard to believe we are already in week four of the season. Zach Bigalke and Matt Strobl will join me to break down the week four action. A lot of teams are starting to get into conference play this week, while other teams continue their out of conference tune-ups. Speaking of conferences, it was another crazy week on the conference realignment front. The biggest news was the Pac-12 releasing a statement that the conference will NOT expand further. What does this mean for the shifting landscape of college football?
Zach Bigalke: The landscape is still as tectonic as ever. The plates haven’t yet settled completely… nor will they ever, really. The ACC will eventually hit sixteen, if only to placate all the North Carolina schools and allow all four to stay in a South division. The Big East must expand or die — and how much is TCU regretting that decision right now?! — and the Big XII is just as tenuous despite the eleventh-hour decision by the Pac-12 not to shed it of all of its commodities. And don’t look too soon, but the Mountain West and Conference USA might merge football operations sooner than later in hopes of becoming attractive enough for BCS consideration. This thing hasn’t even neared any semblance of cohesion. Stay tuned.
Matt Strobl: The Pac 12 is in a position of power at the moment, and can therefore afford to dictate terms. But I don’t believe for a second that the conference would stand pat if and when the dominoes resume falling. It was interesting to see former Big XII commissioner Dan Beebe get ousted this week; he was an easy target to blame for the recent upheaval, and his league was saved only by the Pac 12’s hesitation. However, I think what we’re seeing at the moment is a stay of execution so to speak. The old conference setup is still dying. What is most surprising is that the ACC is now the conference in the driver’s seat. It can influence which other seek to expand to keep pace, yet not too long ago it was the ACC that appeared to be on the verge of being raided by its stronger neighbors.
Mitchell: I tend to agree with Matt that the Pac-12 will expand further if other conferences start moving toward Super Conferences. But, for now, the Pac-12’s decision to stand pat offers a little stability to the Big XII. The Big XII’s demise is still likely to come at some point, but it was well known that Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and even Texas were looking at moving to the Pac-12 if the Big XII folded. This also keeps the SEC from making the mistake of adding Missouri and jeopardizing longstanding rivalries such as Alabama/Tennessee. Obviously, the college football’s landscape is anything but stable at this point, but for now conference expansion has been put on hold a bit.
There are upsets each week in college football, and there are plenty of matchups this week that look to have upset written all over them. Who are you putting on upset alert this week?
Strobl: There are plenty of amusing betting lines this week. Florida State as an underdog versus Clemson? Texas A&M favored against the Cowboys? Arizona State over USC, even after last week’s flop against Illinois? Considering any of these to be upsets would be a little disingenuous. In each case, the lower ranked team is favored. The game that intrigues me is Arkansas at Alabama. The Tide are favorites by double-digits; 11.5 points is a mighty big spread for a game of this caliber. And while I expect Alabama to successfully defend its home turf, this will be its biggest test of the year thus far. The Crimson Tide defense is arguably the best the country, and the Razorbacks have yet to play a team of consequence. So on the one hand, this could be much ado about nothing. On the other, recall that last year’s meeting was a 24-20 ‘Bama squeaker. Tyler Wilson is proving to be a strong replacement for Ryan Mallett, so the question in this matchup is can the Arkansas defense step up against Trent Richardson?
Mitchell: I think Michigan has been overrated at this point. A lot of people are wanting to believe that this season of Michigan football will be different than the last couple of years where they started fast and then fell apart later in the season. Michigan still does have an offense that can score points, but I’m still not sold on Denard Robinson as a passer. He’s completing less than 50% of his throws this season. San Diego State is a better team than they’ve been credit for, led by the running of Ronnie Hillman. I think San Diego State comes to the Big House and upsets Michigan.
Bigalke: A couple of Mountain West/Big Ten showdowns have me intrigued. First, I think San Diego State will win outright at Michigan. The Aztecs, balanced on offense with Ronnie Hillman on the ground and Ryan Lindley through the air, are intimately familiar with the Brady Hoke system after he spent two years in San Diego before taking the post in Ann Arbor. And while Nebraska is a three-touchdown favorite for their cross-border showdown with Wyoming in Laramie, don’t sell these Pokes short. I expect Wyoming to easily cover the spread and threaten the Huskers. In these two showdowns between undefeated teams, sell the mid-majors short at your own peril.
What team is in most need of a statement win in week four?
Mitchell: We’ve heard for a couple of years now that Arkansas was ready to take the next step and win the SEC. Well, they’ve once again got their chance to prove themselves in Tuscaloosa against 3rd-ranked Alabama. The Razorbacks are off to a 3-0 start, but they’ve feasted on cupcakes to this point. This is their first real test of the season in front of a raucous crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. There’s no denying that Arkansas has an offense that can score points, and their skill-position players are better than any in the nation. They had Alabama on the ropes in Fayetteville last season, and if they can finish the job this time around, then they will put themselves in position for an SEC West title, and be in the thick of the National Title race.
Bigalke: This one comes back to conference realignment talk. News came out today that East Carolina once again threw its name into the hat for a move to the Big East. The Pirates are 0-2 after admittedly-tough contests against South Carolina and Virginia Tech. And while they acquitted themselves well in both games, they still walked away with defeats in both cases. Big East competition isn’t exactly the ACC or the SEC at this point, but there is no way they consider the Pirates unless they turn things around and have a strong season. They have six wins against BCS competition in 21 games since the advent of the universal 12-game schedule in 2006. But five of those wins came before Skip Holtz’s final season in Greenville, and their only win against a BCS opponent under Ruffin McNeill is last year’s overtime squeaker against NC State at home. The Pirates MUST win their game against UAB to build momentum for next week’s home game against North Carolina.
Strobl: I hate to keep flogging my beleaguered Buckeyes, but last week’s stinker at Miami is hard to forget. In week 4, Ohio State hosts Colorado in its final non-conference tune-up, and coach Luke Fickell has finally seen the light with regard to his QB situation. Freshman Braxton Miller will be taking the reigns. The Buckeyes are out of the Top 25 for the first time in seven years, and this season has the potential to get out of control rather quickly. Colorado is one of the Pac 12’s weakest teams; the Buckeyes must not only win, but win convincingly to get themselves re-established as a BCS power.
What player will be the biggest game changer in week four?
Bigalke: I don’t want to give away too much yet, but let’s just say Landry Jones is in for a less-than-comfortable day in the pocket with Missouri DE Brad Madison coming from the edge. With three sacks and five tackles for loss, the junior should have a big game against the Sooners.
Strobl: Good call, Zach. The 21-point spread in that one should raised some eyebrows. I’m looking at Jones’ counterpart from last week’s Top 5 tilt. Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was kept under wraps and eventually knocked out of the game by a physical OU defense. Now his status is in doubt for week 4, and he didn’t practice earlier in the week. If Manuel can’t go, the task of keeping pace with the Tigers offense falls to Clint Trickett. Whichever QB plays, Florida State will need to avoid mistakes. The FSU defense is good enough to win this game, but the Seminoles have to play smart offensively.
Mitchell: It’s going to be interesting to see how West Virginia QB Geno Smith fares against the swarming LSU defense. In Dana Holgerson’s air-raid offense, Smith has already surpassed 1000 yards through the air in just three games, and has completed 69.5% of his passes with 7 touchdowns to just 1 interception. It’s safe to say though that he hasn’t gone up against a secondary this good. If he’s able to throw the ball well against the Bengal Tigers, then the Mountaineers have a shot at pulling the upset. But, if he struggles, then this one could be over rather quickly.
What positional matchup is most intriguing to you?
Strobl: Going back to Zach’s upset alert, I’m interested to see how Michigan QB Denard Robinson fares against the San Diego State secondary. We all know that D-Rob can run, but I’m not convinced of his ability to fit into brady Hoke’s system as a passer. And now he’s facing an underrated team with a solid pass defense. Hoke’s former squad will have a chip on its shoulder and is coming off of a 42-24 drubbing of Washington State in which cornerback Larry Parker snatched a pair of interceptions.
Mitchell: I think it’s Alabama’s secondary against Arkansas’ wide receivers. Like I said earlier, you’d be hard pressed to find a better group of receivers than what the Hogs boast led by Joe Adams, Cobi Hamilton, Jarius Wright, and Greg Childs. But, you’d also be hard pressed to find a better secondary than Alabama’s. The Crimson Tide ranks in the top-five in the nation in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense. Alabama’s secondary took their lumps last season, but all of those guys are back from a year ago, and they’ve looked very good up to this point. Also, if Alabama’s secondary can keep the receivers covered, it will give the pass rush more time to get pressure on Tyler Wilson, and force him to make mistakes.
Bigalke: I really can’t wait to see how South Carolina’s offensive line tries to contain a stronger-than-you’d-expect front four for Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks have ambitions on another trip to the SEC Championship and a BCS bowl, but while Marcus Lattimore has managed to plow for a ton of yardage the line still has some major flaws. Only two other teams in the entire FBS have allowed more tackes for loss than South Carolina, which plays to the Commodores’ strengths. DE Tim Fugger and DT Rob Lohr have teed off on opponents so far; Fugger is tied for 11th in the nation with three sacks already, while Lohr is tied for 15th nationally with 5.5 tackles for loss (with Fugger right behind in 25th with 5.0 TFL). Lattimore will find his running room — he’s a talented enough back — but if Stephen Garcia doesn’t at least have some time to find receivers, an opportunistic Commodores secondary that leads the nation with 10 interceptions will pad its lead even further thanks to the pressure of that front four.
Let’s move on to the picks for the week. Early on Saturday Brady Hoke’s new team, Michigan, takes his old team in San Diego State at the Big House. You have to believe the Aztecs will be extra motivated for this game, but will they have enough to take down Denard Robinson and the Wolverines in Ann Arbor?
Mitchell: I’m expecting a relatively high scoring affair. Michigan’s offense will be able to put up points with Denard Robinson having a Denard Robinson-like game. But, Michigan’s defense won’t be able to stop San Diego State. It might surprise you to learn than Ronnie Hillman is the nation’s 2nd leading rusher behind South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore. Ryan Lindley is a pretty solid passer, but he’ll need to throw a bit more if the Aztec offense is to find success. There is obviously a lot of emotion on the San Diego State side as they look to beat their former coach Brady Hoke. It should be a close game, but I’m sticking with my upset selection. PICK: San Diego State
Bigalke: Unequivocally yes. The Aztecs are for real, and vendetta or no vendetta San Diego State is one of three (or possibly four if Wyoming can surprise on Saturday) Mountain West teams that could realistically compete for BCS consideration. Ronnie Hillman, second in the nation in rushing, is the real deal, and SDSU gets enough passing yards from Ryan Lindley (207.33 YPG) — and keeps him well protected, with just one sack so far this season — to keep defenses honest. And the Aztec defense should be able to do its own damage against Hoke’s offensive schemes, knowing better than most how he might try to deploy Denard Robinson. This is my upset of the week right here, as mentioned before… PICK: San Diego State
Strobl: The Wolverines are feeling their oats after earning a 3-0 start and a #22 ranking. But a last second comeback win over Notre Dame and two drubbings against Directional Michigan shouldn’t get anyone too excited just yet. San Diego State will come in angry, motivated that, from their point of view, Hoke saw fit to cut and run. And make no mistake- this is a quality team. The Aztecs should give Michigan every bit the same fight Notre Dame did. Don’t be surprised to see that Top 25 ranking fall away in the wake of a close loss. PICK: San Diego State
Arizona State stumbled last week on the road against Illinois, but they still have the Pac-12 South division title in their sights. On Saturday night in Tempe they’ll face their conference opener against the USC Trojans. Will the Sun Devils gain an early edge in the division, or will the Trojans begin playing the role of spoiler?
Bigalke: We’ve said it before, but it bears mentioning again — I have absolutely no clue what to make of the Pac-12 South. It is starting to feel more and more like USC intends fully to feast upon a division it cannot win thanks to a Bush Push of sanctions, and render things silly as a #2 team contests the first Pac-12 Championship Game in the stadium of whichever North team awaits to dominate them. But this is also Lane Kiffin… and, I guess, Dennis Erickson on the other sideline. Arizona State played well at home against Missouri, and they seem to love night games in Tempe. So the atmosphere should be able to motivate Osweiler, Burfict and company to get up for their conference opener. This one will be close, but… PICK: Arizona State
Strobl: I share Zach’s lack of faith in Kiffin, but I can’t get behind Arizona State after its weak performance in Champaign. The offensive line looked totally lost against an Illini defensive front that frankly is not nearly as impressive as it appeared. A half dozen sacks, three turnovers, and too many penalties spoke volumes about ASU’s lack of preparation. And while USC may not be its full-strength former self, the Trojans still have elite athletes on both sides of the ball. I’m done expecting a shake-up in the division. USC may be out of the running for the Pac 12 title, but until proven otherwise, I’m assuming that it still owns the South. PICK: USC
Mitchell: It’s unanimous among all of us, that we don’t have faith in Lane Kiffin. USC has had their struggles this season, but they have managed to come through the first three games unscathed. They’ve played and beaten three BCS conference schools in Minnesota, Utah, and Syracuse already this season. I had some faith in Arizona State before they fell on the road against Illinois last week. Both quarterbacks, Matt Barkley for USC, and Brock Osweiler of Arizona State should have pretty good games, but the Trojans are more talented everywhere on the field. USC should find a way to squeak by in Tempe. PICK: USC
In other Pac-12 action, the 10th ranked Oregon Ducks see their first test since the opener against LSU when they travel to Tucson to take on Nick Foles and Arizona. The Wildcats might be 1-2, but the two losses were against top-10 opponents. Who wins this Pac-12 battle?
Strobl: Oregon may be in the same conference, but the Ducks are out of Arizona’s league. It would be nice to see the Wildcats put forth a better effort than they did in week 3’s 37-10 loss to Stanford, but don’t hold your breath. PICK: Oregon
Mitchell: I think Arizona is a good football team, but they have faced a murderous row of tough opponents so far in 2011. After blowing out Northern Iowa in the opener, they’ve lost consecutive games to Oklahoma State and Stanford, and they didn’t seriously challenge either team. Nick Foles to Juron Criner should be a potent offensive weapon for the Wildcats, but they aren’t going to be able to outduel the Ducks. Led by Darron Thomas and LaMichael James, Oregon is still the team to beat in the Pac-12. They shouldn’t have much trouble dispatching the Wildcats in Tuscon. PICK: Oregon
Bigalke: This one is a lot easier to project. Arizona should have a fully-recovered Juron Criner to help balance what is already a top-five passing attack thanks to the emergence of Dan Buckner on the other end of Nick Foles’ passes. And they always give the Ducks fits, especially in Tucson. But Oregon has won the past three editions for a reason. Expect the Ducks to blaze the field with the one-two punch of LaMichael and De’Anthony on the ground, and for Darron Thomas to do his best Foles impression through the Arizona air. It isn’t like losing closer-than-most-like-to-admit contests to Auburn last January and to LSU to begin September exactly made Oregon forget to play their brand of blur football… PICK: Oregon
Top-ranked Oklahoma, fresh off of their big win in Tallahassee over Florida State, comes back to Norman to open Big XII play against Missouri. In Columbia last season, the Tigers upset the Sooners, and that has to be fresh on Oklahoma’s minds. Will the Sooners continue their run toward the National Championship, or will Missouri win a 2nd straight over Oklahoma?
Mitchell: I think the 21-point spread is a bit much, but Oklahoma is still vastly the superior team. Missouri is 2-1, but their two wins came against Miami (OH) and Western Illinois. The only good team they’ve played up to this point is Arizona State and they were defeated. The Sooners proved worthy of the lofty preseason rankings by going down to Tallahassee and knocking off Florida State. They weren’t at their best offensively, as Landry Jones continued his struggles on the road. But, this game is in Norman and the Sooners have compiled a 73-2 record at home since Bob Stoops took over, including 37 straight. I don’t see Missouri being good enough to bring that streak to an end. PICK: Oklahoma
Bigalke: Haven’t we seen this script before? James Franklin has helped the Tigers’ offense miss not a beat — through Week 3 they’re actually better, with run-pass balance providing an extra hundred yards and 5.3 points per game compared to this point last season. And while Oklahoma just came off a huge win against Florida State last weekend the Sooners are still scoring five fewer points than Missouri and allowing less than a point fewer. Last year Aldon Smith wreaked havoc and got into Jones’ head; this year Madison, my game-changer of the week, will have the same effect on an otherwise efficient Sooner offense. A 20-point spread is ridiculous. Bob Stoops knows it. And after last year, you should know better than to expect too many miracles from Big Game Bob… PICK: Missouri
Strobl: If the schedule had aligned a bit differently, I’d be tempted to take Missouri. THis could have been quite a trap game if it was sandwiched by Florida State before and Texas after, but the Sooners get Ball State before having to face the rival Longhorns. There probably won’t be much looking ahead by the nation’s top team. While the point spread is clearly insane, Missouri simply doesn’t have the same level of talent that it did last year, nor will it have homefield advantage. PICK: Oklahoma
Florida State looked a lot better this season against Oklahoma than last, but they get no breaks this week as they travel to Death Valley to take on a Clemson team fresh off of a win over defending National Champion Auburn. Will the Seminoles suffer a letdown, or will they win this big ACC Atlantic matchup?
Bigalke: I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with Clemson in their come-from-behind, pull-away victory over the other Tigers last weekend. They had no easier a test, if only because of the mojo that has surrounded Auburn as of late, and both teams will be happy to get into conference play. The Seminoles have the stronger defense, but they also haven’t yet seen Tajh Boyd in person. I’ve written off Clemson too often, and after having taken a chance on them last week to upset Auburn it would feel wrong to slide — especially since I never really have been sold on Florida State as a top-five or even a top-ten team this year… PICK: Clemson
Strobl: I will concede that the normally disappointing Tigers came through last week, but one win over an overrated Auburn team is hardly enough to get me betting on Clemson. Dabo Swinney’s squad is the embodiment of the term letdown, and week 3’s emotional high is about to meet the frightening reality of the FSU defense. Clemson’s best chance is to hope that QB E.J. Manuel can’t go on Saturday. If his shoulder prevents his return, Clint Trickett will need to step up and lead the Seminoles to victory. That could mean a touch-and-go contest for FSU, but in the end the ‘Noles will have enough to avoid back-to-back losses. PICK: Florida State
Mitchell: How is Clemson favored in this game? I understand the uncertainty surrounding the health of EJ Manuel, but even after he was knocked out last week, the Seminoles stuck around with the #1 team in the nation. A lot of people are so high on Clemson based on their performance last week against Auburn, but I watched that game from start to finish and wasn’t impressed with the Tigers. It was more of Auburn’s glaring deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball that led to all the offense by Clemson. Florida State’s defense held Oklahoma’s potent offense to just 23 points last week. Even in Death Valley, I can’t see Clemson posing that serious of a threat to the Seminoles. PICK: Florida State
It’s hard to say anybody has faced a tougher schedule to start the season than LSU, at least among the National Title contenders. After already playing ranked teams in Oregon and Mississippi State, they finish off their home-and-home series with West Virginia in Morgantown. Will LSU get another statement win, or will West Virginia pull the upset?
Strobl: West Virginia is not escaping with a win this week. The Mountaineers needed a late surge to beat FCS foe Norfolk State, and it was only thanks to Danny O’Brien’s interceptions that they were able to best Maryland in week 3. I have to wonder if the oddsmakers even watch football; Mizzou is a 21-point underdog to Oklahoma but LSU is only giving 5.5 to West Virginia? Hilarious. LSU will cover easily as its defense clamps down on Geno Smith and company. PICK: LSU
Mitchell: I think this game might be closer than a lot of people think, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if West Virginia were to pull the upset. If you remember back to last season, the Mountaineers came very close to upsetting the Tigers in Baton Rouge. West Virginia has a very dangerous offense, but LSU has faced a high-octane offense already in Oregon. LSU is more battle tested than probably any other team in the country with two wins over ranked opponents — LSU and Mississippi State — already this season. As good as West Virginia’s offense has proven capable of being, LSU has one of the best defenses in the nation and they should walk out of Morgantown with their third win over a ranked opponent in four games. PICK: LSU
Bigalke: Let’s face it… there is little that the Mountaineers can do to prevent LSU from returning to Baton Rouge in the driver’s seat for the national title game. They stopped Oregon and Mississippi State, two very dangerous offenses, from ever really getting going in their encounters with the Tigers defense. Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are providing a hell of a 1-2 punch in the backfield, and Jarrett Lee has been good enough managing the games to keep the offense humming. For all of Les Miles’ nuttiness, he has the Bayou Bengals rolling stronger than any other team in the country at this point, and they’re battle tested against two stout opponents already ahead of this showdown. Expect the Mad Hatter to be tasting some victory grass in Morgantown on Saturday… PICK: LSU
Arkansas had Alabama on the ropes in Fayetteville last season only to see the Crimson Tide rally and win 24-20. The matchup moves to Tuscaloosa this season in the SEC West opener for both teams. Will the Crimson Tide top the Razorbacks for a 5th straight season, or will Arkansas finally beat Alabama and gain control of the SEC West?
Mitchell: The 11.5 point line in favor of the Crimson Tide is a bit ridiculous. This should be a close game that comes down to the final quarter much like last season. Arkansas has a very good offense and talent galore at the skill positions. But, this will be Tyler Wilson’s first start on the road and against a defense better than he’s seen in his young career. Arkansas has yet to face a real test in 2011, while Alabama boasts a win over Penn State in Happy Valley on their resume. The battle up front will also be key, and if Alabama can get the push from their offensive line to open up running lanes for Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, then they should have offensive success. I would also look for Nick Saban to open up the playbook somewhat this week and allow sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron to use his great arm strength on some deeper routes. I think this will be a close game, but Alabama should make a play or two in the fourth quarter to pull it out. PICK: Alabama
Bigalke: Something has to give. Both teams have strong offenses, with the edge there going to Tyler Wilson and the Razorbacks. Both teams have strong defenses, with the edge going to Courtney Upshaw and the Tide. Wilson has proven to be up to the task replacing Ryan Mallett as the full-time starter in Fayetteville, but this year he has to take on the Tide in Tuscaloosa. That’s what will make all the difference, as the community gathers after a rough offseason to celebrate once more… PICK: Alabama
Strobl: I know this was my upset alert, and while I do think that Arkansas poses a danger to ‘Bama’s title hopes, the Tide are the better team here. The Hogs will need some breaks, whether they be turnovers, negative plays, or field position woes for Alabama. Everything will have to go right for the visitors to emerge victorious from Tuscaloosa. That being said, ‘Bama is relying heavily on its defense and ground game, and Arkansas has a decent stop unti of its own. If the Razorbacks can keep the Tide one-dimensional, they have a shot. Expect them to come close, but in the end I can’t pick against the nation’s best D. PICK: Alabama
The matchup of the weekend features a battle of top-10 Big XII team with Oklahoma State traveling to College Station to take on Texas A&M. The winner of this matchup should come out as the top challenger to Oklahoma in the Big XII. Will it be the Aggies or Cowboys who come out with a huge conference victory?
Bigalke: Well, as I said earlier I have a feeling that the winner of this game will be battling not just Oklahoma, but that’s beside the point. No other team gains more yards through the air than Oklahoma State, and that’s the biggest Achilles heel for an A&M defense that loves to bring lots of pressure (which has amounted to more sacks through three weeks than any other team has amassed) but also is weaker on the back end (51st and 32nd respectively in pass yardage allowed and defensive passer efficiency) because of it. Justin Blackmon gains the bulk of the attention for a deep and underappreciated receiving corps, and Brandon Weeden is a smart, worldly passer who is efficient and effective. The Cowboys have too many weapons for a smart but overmatched Aggies defense to contain… PICK: Oklahoma State
Strobl: Last year’s 9-3 record was all well and good, and Ryan Tannehill makes it easy to forget the loss of Jerrod Johnson. But the Aggies have yet to be tested this season, and they’re about to lose their Top 10 ranking. Oklahoma State has shown its potential with a dominating win over Arizona and a solid victory against a surprisingly tough Tulsa team in week 3. The Cowboys have a significant edge offensively, and while the OSU defense may not be among the nation’s best, it will be good enough to stay ahead of A&M. PICK: Oklahoma State
Mitchell: Last season in Stillwater Oklahoma State won a 38-35 shootout over Texas A&M and I’m expecting a similar game this time around. I don’t see either defense having much success stopping the opposing offense. Brandon Weeden is playing as good as any quarterback in the country, but he’s going to have to cut down a little on the interceptions. It’s going to be tough for Oklahoma State to win in College Station against as good of a team as Texas A&M if they don’t take care of the football. It will be interesting to see which combo –Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon or Ryan Tannehill and Jeff Fuller — have the bigger day. Cyrus Gray should rack up a good bit of yards on the ground for the Aggies, but I believe that Oklahoma State has the potential to seriously challenge Oklahoma for the Big XII Championship and possibly more. Look for them to win the shootout at Kyle Field in what could be the last meeting for a while between the two. PICK: Oklahoma State