We made no picks to start the season last week. Hey, it was Labor Day Weekend. And besides, I had a daughter turn 18 – it was emotional. Anyway, Matt and I get the picks started this week with a full slate of games.
West Virginia (1-0) at #16 Oklahoma (1-0)
Don’t expect these two to repeat the 50-49 classic when Landry Jones threw for 6 TDs and the teams combined for 1,440 yards of total offense. Um, no. But it is likely to see the passing game improve for Trevor Knight and the Sooners. OU’s defense won’t have to contain Geno Smith this year, but WVU coach Dana Holgerson seems to always get the most from an offense, and this year it begins with sophomore QB Paul Millard. OU leads the series 3-2.
Joey’s pick: OU 38-28
Matt’s pick: OU 35-17
#13 Oklahoma State (1-0) at Texas-San Antonio (1-0)
This game is being played in San Antonio? Actually, this works as a great recruiting tool because so many players on the OSU roster are from Texas. It looks as though J.W. Walsh is the man this week (to the consternation of Colton Chelf). The defense will not be the same as that the Pokes faced last week. Will the passing game show more signs of life? OSU fans should be happy with the Cowboys’ defensive performance against Mississippi State and hope that it continues to be strong in Game Two.
Joey’s pick: OSU 59-14
Matt’s pick: OSU 42-10
Colorado State (0-1) at Tulsa (0-1)
Tulsa owns a slim 4-3 lead over former WAC rival, but CSU has won the last two. Nine TU players made their first starts last week against Bowling Green and seven of them were on offense. Tulsa will need to make the most of opportunities this weekend and limit turnovers to beat the Rams. Additionally, the Golden Hurricane will be expecting a better game from RB Trey Watts this week.
Joey’s pick: TU 28-24
Matt’s pick: CSU 24-14
Central (0-0) at Missouri Southern (0-0)
These two teams met in the season opener last year with MSSU winning 25-20 in the series’ first contest. UCO has a young team, but does bring back seniors RB Joshua Birmingham and QB Adrian Nelson. Bronchos coach Nick Bobeck also brings a level on consistency to the team it hasn’t seen in some time. Many starters return on the defensive side of the ball for Central, and that experience will be tested against the triple option run by the Lions.
Joey’s pick: UCO 31-28
Matt’s pick: MSSU 35-14
Arkansas-Monticello (0-0) at East Central (0-0)
East Central has won three straight in this series and the Tigers are excited to open a season at home for the first time since the Roosevelt administration – pick a Roosevelt, it doesn’t matter, it’s been a long time. Fred Gaines has been chosen by three publications as a pre-season All-American and will highlight a strong Tiger defense. The Boll Weevils are coming off a 1-10 season in 2012 and move Ivory Washington from receiver to running back for this year. ECU leads the series 5-2. And by the way, 2006 was the last time ECU opened at home.
Joey’s pick: ECU 31-10
Matt’s pick: ECU 31-17
Northeastern State (0-0) at #21 Pittsburg State (0-0)
The RiverHawks take the longest active winning streak in the MIAA (four straight wins) on the road and into a tough season opener at perennial D-II powerhouse Pitt State. The Gorillas evened the all-time series at 12-12-2 with a 41-20 win in Tahlequah. But Johnny Deaton is back for one more season ready to make a run at (read here: assault on) the NSU record book and get the RiverHawks to a winning season. Joel Rockmore continues to put big numbers for NSU as well, but will the offense produce enough to grab the big upset on the road?
Joey’s pick: PSU 35-34
Matt’s pick: PSU 48-10
Arkansas Tech (0-0) at Northwestern (0-0)
It’s the first official Great American Conference game for the Rangers. ATU won last year 41-20 and has taken three of four all-time in Alva. NWOSU also brings a four-game winning streak into its season opener. Coach Alan Hall is back on the sidelines after a diagnosis of cancer in December 2012, but with a great report that the cancer is in remission. Northwestern hasn’t won a season opener since 2009, and will be breaking in a redshirt freshman, Reid Miller, at quarterback.
Joey’s pick: ATU 27-24
Matt’s pick: ATU 38-28
Sterling (0-0) at Panhandle State (0-0)
The Aggies have to get the sting of last week’s 75-0 loss to FCS Lamar out of their system. They look to do it at home this week. Caleb Holbrook has to right the ship and help get the passing game on track and OPSU must not allow the number of turnovers to reach the number it hit last week – six.
Joey’s pick: OPSU 30-22
Matt’s pick: SC 28-24
Southern Arkansas (0-0) at Southeastern (0-0)
The Savage Storm reveal a new mascot on opening night, as well as a new quarterback and a few other starters in key positions. SOSU was picked to finished right in the middle of the pack (sixth) in the GAC in 2013. It will need good production from sophomore QB Nick Sioson. The Storm bring back the leading rusher and two leading receivers, but will be looking to the defense as the strength of the team, at least in the early going. SAU leads the series 19-15-3.
Joey’s pick: SAU 38-27
Matt’s pick: SOSU 31-24
Southern Nazarene (0-0) at #13 Henderson State (0-0)
It’s also the first official Great American Conference game for the Crimson Storm. HSU is the prohibitive favorite to win the GAC in 2013. SNU was picked to finish last. There are many returnees for the Reddies and many skill position spots to fill for the Crimson Storm. Henderson State put up 50+ points per contest last season and return Harlan Hill candidate Kevin Rodgers at quarterback. It’s a tough matchup for SNU for its season opener.
Joey’s pick: HSU 45-24
Matt’s pick: HSU 48-17
Harding (0-0) at Southwestern (0-0)
Harding was the last team SWOSU faced at the end of 2012. The Bulldogs will get the chance to go up against the Bisons’ tough triple option offense in back-to-back games. Bulldog quarterback Dustin Stenta looks to start his senior season on a positive note, but will need his receivers to do their part as well. It’s a close series that HU leads 5-3, and the Bisons have won the last two.
Joey’s pick: SWOSU 28-27
Matt’s pick: HU 38-7
Northwestern (Ia.) (0-0) at Bacone (1-0)
The Warriors are coming off a big overtime win on the road, but come back to a tough one in Muskogee. The Northwestern Red Raiders have had 22 consecutive winning seasons and are looking to build off a playoff berth in 2012. Bacone’s David Chapman was the CSFL Offensive Player of the Week following BC’s win at McPherson in which he had 170 receiving and two touchdowns.
Joey’s pick: BC 35-28
Matt’s pick: BC 28-24
St. Mary (Kan.) (0-0) at Oklahoma Baptist (0-1)
The Bison are back! OBU suffered a tough loss last Saturday, but look to rebound against the Spires in the first meeting between these schools. Bison coach Chris Jensen has said he wants more production from his running game this week. The air attack accounted for all three Bison touchdowns in the opener. St. Mary is coming off a 6-5 season and third place finish in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2012.
Joey’s pick: OBU 35-22
Matt’s pick: USM 38-24