By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
We’re now two weeks into our CycloneFanatic.com pick’em season and I’m happy to announce that I’m still on top of the standings. Trust me. This won’t last long.
Looking back at least week, not one of our experts picked the Iowa State-Iowa game correctly. Every single one of us took Iowa State to cover the opening spread of 14.5. Ouch. Only two of us (Chris Hassel and me) picked Ohio State to cover the 9.5 point spread over Miami. Those are about the trends I picked up on from last week. Week three’s games are challenging to say the least. Here are the picks. Keep in mind that the final two games this week (Texas @ Texas Tech and Nebraska @ Washington) are being picked against the spread.
Chris Williams, 11-1
Adam Carper, 10-2
Brent Blum, 9-3
Steve Deace, 9-3
Matt Perrault, 8-4
Chris Hassel, 8-4
Dave Zawilinski, 8-4
Adam Gray, 7-5
Bret Meyer, 7-5
CycloneFanatic.com Publisher Chris Williams
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – My head is telling me to pick Kansas State in this one. I just don’t think that the Cyclones will be able to slow down Kansas State’s running game. Now, the homer in me thinks that Iowa State’s offense will rebound nicely to the debacle we saw a week ago. If that happens and the defense isn’t on the field much, Iowa State has a real shot. Keep in mind that Missouri State did drop 447 yards of total offense on the Wildcats last weekend. Because of that, I’m going to lean towards my heart and pick a close Cyclone victory. Iowa State 27, Kansas State 24
Kansas @ Southern Miss – This is a really tough game to pick. Kansas probably has more raw talent than the competition but a Friday night game at Southern Miss makes for a difficult situation for any BCS school. Southern Miss only returns three starters on offense this year. Kansas’ defense really has been pretty good this year, although it hasn’t been tested much against an FCS school and Georgia Tech’s one-demensional offense. Kansas’ situation is starting to have a ‘feel good’ twist to it. I’ll take the Big 12 on the road 21-17.
Iowa @ Arizona – The Hawks are ranked ninth nationally in total defense and 25th on offense. Arizona is ranked third nationally in total defense and 12th on offense. I think Iowa wins this game due to the fact that they’ll literally beat up Arizona in the second half, but I still think it is a close game in the end. Iowa 27, Arizona 21.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – The Tar Heels lead the nation in averaging 412 passing yards per game. Can Tech’s untested pass defense stop that attack? My guess is no. North Carolina 38, Georgia Tech 21
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Any other year, I’d take Tech to cover this spread in a second. I still don’t trust Tech’s new coaching staff though. The Horns boast the nation’s 15th best defense heading into this ball game and they’re 13th against the run. Give me Texas 27, Texas Tech 17.
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – I hate to admit it but I am slowly starting to buy into Nebraska. Not really as a national title contender, but they’ve performed better than I thought they would against cupcakes in weeks one and two. The Huskers are currently averaging just over 324 rushing yards per game. I’m sure not worried about Jake Locker or Nebraska’s defense. I’ll take the Huskers to win and cover, 31-17.
Former Iowa State linebacker Adam Carper
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – The offense will get back on track and move the ball effectively but I just don’t know if anyone right now can stop Daniel Thomas. K-State 31-28
Kansas @ Southern Miss – It’s hard to predict this one with the resurgence of Kansas after their week 1 loss to North Dakota State. I’ll play it safe and take the home team in this toss-up.
Iowa @ Arizona – Regardless if Iowa hasn’t won a non-conference away game against a ranked team in 20-some years, I don’t think Arizona has the talent to keep up with the Hawkeyes. Iowa wins convincingly.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – North Carolina looked impressive in week 1 despite their loss to LSU. Georgia Tech’s lack of WRs will definitely hurt them in this ball game. UNC
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Texas gets revenge in Lubbock after the Red Raiders spoiled their title hopes in the 2008 thriller. Tommy Tuberville gets a thumping in his first Big 12 game. Texas 35-17
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – Bo Pelini’s defense will be tested in this contest but Taylor Martinez brings a different dimension to their offense that Husker fans haven’t seen in years. Nebraska 31-20.
The Cyclone Radio Network’s Brent Blum
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – If there is one thing we learned from last year, this team is a resilient bunch. The Cyclones were 4-2 after losses a year ago. Daniel Thomas is a great back and Iowa State has some issues in the front seven. But I think we will see a determined effort and the good guys make some play to come out on top. Iowa State 27 Kansas State 21.
Kansas @ Southern Miss – Good win last week for Kansas, but I don’t see any way that team is capable of winning on the road. Southern Miss got beat up in their only test against South Carolina, but a home game against a Big 12 school should have them fired up. I think they take care of business. Southern Miss 24 Kansas 13.
Iowa @ Arizona – Iowa looked infallible on Saturday. I haven’t seen a half as dominant as they played in the first half in a long time. But by my very unofficial research, the Hawks haven’t won a game west of Texas since 1987 when they defeated Wyoming 20-19 in the Holiday bowl. Since then they’ve gone eight games without a victory. I think they are too good for Arizona to handle. But Ricky Stanzi has never gone 3 games in a row without a pick. Scary game. Iowa 24 Arizona 16.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – Why are we picking this game? Can I abstain. North Carolina has a guy that can throw a forward pass, so I will pick them. North Carolina 31 Georgia Tech 26.
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Generally, I love home dogs in games like these. Texas hasn’t looked dominant and Tech is capable of scoring points. And I can already picture ESPN.com’s headline after any Texas loss, "What’s eating Garret Gilbert?…. (Insert winning team here)." That will happen at some point this year, book it. But I don’t see Tommy Tubs hanging within seven. Texas 34 Tech 24
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – Speaking of asinine headline possibilities, I guarantee someone will cue this one up after a Washington loss this year: "Hurt Locker." Yes, my dream job is to be a bad headline writer. This is a scenario where I love the home dog. Nebraska has played garbage so far and has a quarterback that hasn’t seen a BCS defense. Washington has played two games against BCS opponents, including a tough road game at BYU. If this is NCAA Football ’11, they’ve played at the Heisman difficulty, while Nebraska is used to Varsity. Field goal game one way or another, but I like the Huskies to win outright, leading to this headline: "Lock(er) and Load." Washington 27 Nebraska 24.
WHO Radio’s Steve Deace
Kansas State vs. Iowa State – Cyclones’ psyche has to be damaged after last week, but who knows how good K-State is? Impossible game to predict. Kansas State 28, Iowa State 27
Kansas at Southern Miss – Short turnaround for Jayhawks, and emotional letdown waiting to happen. Southern Mississippi 24, Kansas 20
Iowa at Arizona – Game is being played six years to the day of Iowa’s last trip to desert, which was one of the worst games of the Ferentz era. Arizona 23, Iowa 21
Georgia Tech at North Carolina – Tar Heels have a week off to heal up and get people back. North Carolina 28, Georgia Tech 24
Texas (-7) at Texas Tech – Last time they were in Lubbock the Longhorns lost the national title. This game will be closer than the experts think. Texas 26, Texas Tech 20
Nebraska (-6) at Washington – First road start for new Nebraska quarterback, and defense is taking a big step up in competition. Washington 24, Nebraska 22
1460 KXNO’s Matt Perrault
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – This is a really tough game for Iowa State given the Wildcats amazing rushing attack but after the heartbreak of last year’s game in KC versus K. St. and the embarrassment of the CyHawk game – I’m banking on Paul Rhoads to pull a Turner Gill here. Iowa State wins 24-20.
Kansas @ Southern Miss – Kansas going on the road scares the heck out of me. This will be there first road test of the year under first year head coach Turner Gill and coming off of the shocking win over Ga. Tech, they are bound for a let down. However, they showed a lot of heart last week and I think they will do just enough to get the win 21-20.
Iowa @ Arizona – Iowa last went to the desert in 2004 and got blown out by Arizona St. Last year, they beat Arizona at Kinnick. I think they showed that they are ready to compete for a national title last week by taking apart Iowa State and controlling the line of scrimmage. The game will not be over at halftime like last week though. Iowa can NOT turn the ball over but I think they will control the time of possession again and win 21-17.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – UNC showed a lot of heart against LSU and the Heels are starting to get players back after the NCAA investigation. I did not like what I saw last week out of Tech’s offense. It looked slow and their QB, Josh Nesbitt, can’t throw to save his life. I’ll take the home team here 30-24.
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Is Texas really a top 10 team? I don’t think they are but they hate losing to their instate little brothers. They will be tested and will need to fight this one out but I think they barely escape with a win 31-30. I’ll take Tech with the points.
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – If Washington had a few more weapons, I think they would beat Nebraska…but they don’t. I’m not buying the T-Magic talk just yet with all the fumbles NU has committed this year, but I think they do cover barely in this one 28-21.
WHO-TV 13’s Chris Hassel
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – Before the season began, I penciled this one in as an ISU win — luckily I didn’t use a pen. Other than the kick return game, the Cyclones didn’t take anything positive out of Iowa City. Kansas State makes it two straight at Arrowhead with a 28-20 victory.
Kansas @ Southern Miss – The Jayhawks beat an overrated Georgia Tech team at home, but they won’t beat Southern Miss. KU falls 31-28
Iowa @ Arizona – The Hawks haven’t won a game west of Texas since the Reagan administration, but that changes in Tucson. I don’t want to hear all that crap about the hot weather or the late start time — Iowa is a better team, and they should win. I’ll take the Hawks, 24-14.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – There should be a rule against trying to predict ACC games because it’s simply impossible. The conference is mediocre and so are its best teams. Give me the ‘Heels at home, 28-24.
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – The Longhorns finally play somebody with a pulse, but TTU doesn’t have enough life to kill Texas’ title hopes. I’ll take the ‘Horns to cover, 35-20.
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – Outside of Iowa and Iowa State wins, there’s nothing I’d rather see more than a Nebraska loss. Cornhusker fans have seen their fair share of future NFL QB’s (Tommy Frazier, Eric Crouch etc…) but this week they get to watch a quarterback that will actually fulfill expectations. Unfortunately, Jake Locker won’t be enough. Nebraska wins, and covers, 34-27.
ABC 5’s Dave Zawilinksi
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – Like everyone else, I was really disappointed in the way the Cyclones played last Saturday against Iowa. I knew the Iowa defense was good but I still expected more from Arnaud and the offense. Kansas State looked really good in week one against UCLA. Daniel Thomas is a BEAST. If he runs anything like Adam Robinson and Jewell Hampton did last week, it could be a long day for the Clones. My heart says Iowa State, my brain says Kansas State. Always go with your brain when making picks. I’ll take K-State.
Kansas @ Southern Miss – Let me get this straight. Kansas fails to score a touchdown vs. FCS team South Dakota St., then they beat the #15th ranked team in the country!? No way Kansas loses to another non AQ. Give me the JayHawks.
Iowa @ Arizona – Last year’s Iowa-Arizona game was very entertaining and I expect it to be that way again this year. This is the first time since 1998 that a ranked Arizona team has hosted a ranked team. Tuscon will be off the chain on Saturday night! However, I really like the leadership qualities from several of the Hawk players. Gone are the days of the Drew Tate tirades. Ricky Stanzi and Adrian Clayborn have complete control of this team. Until the Hawks show me a reason not to pick them, I will. Iowa improves to 3-0.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – I really admired the way NC almost overcame a 21 point deficit to beat LSU in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. But was that on emotion or talent? Most of their talent was sitting on the sidelines or even the stands. But how in the world can I pick a Ga Tech team that just lost to Kansas and by association now has a loss to UNI!!! Ill take UNC.
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Oklahoma is the only Big 12 South team that I have been impressed with thus far. Texas did not beat rice convincingly and Tech hardly put SMU away. I think both will be significantly better than week 1. I’ll take Tech in a shootout because god knows they don’t have the defense to win a close low scoring game.
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – To me, Nebraska @ Washington is one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend I think this one comes down to quarterback play. Can Martinez really go on the road in a hostile environment as a true freshman and lead a team to victory? I say no. Ill take the points here too. Give me Wash in an upset.
CF advertiser Adam Gray (Adam Gray Agency)
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – Concerned about the depth at linebacker and if we can do a better job stopping the run. I can’t get past the fact that we have been cursed in Arrowhead stadium. I hope Arnaud and the offense gets back on track but I see Kansas State holding on for a 35-31 win
Kansas @ Southern Miss – Kansas rebounded unbelievably well to beat a ranked GT team. I think Southern Miss provides a tougher matchup for Kansas as they aren’t so 1 dimensional. Southern Miss 27-17
Iowa @ Arizona – Iowa physically will wear down Arizona. They don’t have a weakness on the defensive side of the ball. A field position game in the first half with Iowa taking over in the second half to win 24-10
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – North Carolina’s defense has a lot more talent than Kansas and Kansas was able to slow down the triple option that GT loves to run. Must win game for both teams but I will go with the home team here. UNC 21-13
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Texas BIG 31-13
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – First challenge for Nebraska’s freshmen QB. I think he struggles early but the defense keeps them in the game and in the end the Cornhuskers are to physical for the Huskies. 27-14
Former Cyclone quarterback Bret Meyer
Iowa State vs. Kansas State – Until we can be more effective against the run, we will struggle with teams like K-State. Lack of depth at linebacker coupled with an undersized defensive line spells trouble. K-State controls the line of scrimmage and wins 28-17.
Kansas @ Southern Miss – Couldn’t be happier for Turner Gill and the way he led the Jayhawks in week two after an embarrassing defeat opening weekend. Kansas continues to spread the ball around and gets a big win on the road. KU prevails 30-17.
Iowa @ Arizona – Iowa can take their formula anywhere and win. Great defense, solid running game, good special teams. Stanzi’s ability to avoid the costly turnover will be key, and the defense will need another big day from the front seven. Iowa wins on the road 14-10.
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina – It’s the ACC, but we still have to pick a winner. UNC wins at home 33-10.
Texas (-7) @ Texas Tech – Tech lacks the dynamic playmakers on the outside upset the Longhorns. Texas covers and gets a jump on the rest of the Big 12. Texas 28-14.
Nebraska (-6) @ Washington – “T-Magic” can’t throw, but he sure can run. He runs all over Jake Locker and the Huskies. Nebraska covers. 34-17.