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Picker: Watching epic football adventures unfold can be exciting
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Picker: Watching epic football adventures unfold can be exciting

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Everyone loves a good epic adventure story. Heroes travel a dangerous path, dodging dangerous obstacles and devious foes on their way to the ultimate prize.

Sometimes Hollywood takes these stories, gets the right director and cast, and the result is a classic. Sometimes, not so much.

Our area football teams have been on the trail for treasure this fall. As they near the big finish, how well have they told the story so far? Let’s dive in.

Oklahoma started the season dodging huge boulders and frightening pitfalls as the team surprisingly had to identify its true leader. Once the Sooners chose who should be holding the torch, they still struggled through the elements. But for all their trouble, they found their way to the final stretch. Now they face four more hurdles with the gold statue still within their grasp. Rating: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” The tale is familiar, but too many twists and turns seem unbelievable.

For Oklahoma State, the Cowboys find themselves on an unfamiliar path that still somehow carries disturbing memories. They have been able to make it this far mostly because they have held tight together and defended themselves from most of the attacks foes have thrown against them. The last barrier looms ahead, but to reach the top they may have to defeat a massive crimson dragon that has knocked them back down the mountain many times before, and this time they may have to slay it twice to emerge victorious. Rating: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”. No matter what happens, it won’t be the perfect tale.

As for TU, it needs to take care of business against weaker opponents Tulane and Temple before all of its remaining hopes for a prize come down to a trip to the domain of Dallas to face the Pretty Little Ponies of SMU. Best possible result: “Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold”. Story may end up with a satisfying ending, but telling of the tale has been disappointing.

On to this week’s chapter, I mean games.

College

Oklahoma at Baylor: Sooners finally begin their season-ending stretch. The Bears fell to TCU last week (see next entry), giving up more than 562 total yards of offense, and now face an OU offense that features rising star Caleb Williams. Sooner defense must show it can support the drive toward the College Football Playoff. They take the first of four needed steps here, getting a 36-27 victory.

TCU at Oklahoma State: Horned Frogs playing on after parting ways with coach Gary Patterson. TCU got a huge boost last week from quarterback Chandler Morris, an OU transfer who threw for 461 yards and rushed for 70 more in his first collegiate start, an upset of Baylor. He gives the TCU offense a different element, but OSU defense now stands in the way. The Horned Frogs defense should be a welcome sight for Spencer Sanders and Cowboys offense. OSU wins, 35-24.

Tulsa at Tulane: If you haven’t been keeping track of Tulane since its game against OU, then you may be surprised to discover the Green Wave stinks with seven losses in a row. Up-and-down season continues for TU, with plenty of heartbreak to go around. It showed heart against Cincy, even if the performance wasn’t perfect. TU gets a road win here, 31-26.

Purdue at Ohio State: The Boilermakers have already defeated two teams that were ranked in the top 5 when they played. Here is their third chance. The Buckeyes have found their stride on offense, and Boilermakers could have trouble keeping up. Other OSU scores 40-24 win.

N.C. State at Wake Forest: Wolfpack earlier scored an exciting win over Clemson, but road losses against Miss State and Miami have left them chasing the Demon Deacons in the ACC Atlantic. High-scoring Wake Forest must bounce back from last week’s loss to North Carolina or risk tarnishing what has been a fantastic season. Bet on Deacons outscoring the ‘Pack here, 45-38.

Georgia at Tennessee: So, no team has scored more than 13 points on the Bulldogs; Tennessee struggles on defense. Not much to cling to for the Vols. Georgia will control the action in a 42-17 win.

Washington State at Oregon: Ducks can pretty much clinch a division title with a win here, but of course their focus is on a bigger goal. The Cougars’ offense shines against weaker teams, so Oregon should be able to keep them at arm’s length. Quack on: Ducks score 37-21 win.

Penn State at Michigan: If running back Blake Corum can’t go for Wolverines, the offense may find it difficult to move the ball. You know the Nittany Lions will struggle to score. Michigan keeps itself on track for showdown with Ohio State for the division title with a 24-17 victory.

NFL

Kansas City at Las Vegas: No matter what on-field problems the Chiefs are having, they are nothing compared to the Raiders’ off-field troubles. The Vegas defense has not been terrible against the pass, which is not good news for KC’s offense. But the Raiders feel like the camel with too many straws on its back. KC wins a close one, 30-27.

Atlanta at Dallas: The Cowboys are in need of a major bounce-back after their flop against Denver last week. Dallas has the top offense in the NFL, but found itself chasing garbage-time points last week. The Falcons’ defense is not on the Broncos’ level, however. Dallas gets back on its roll with a 34-20 victory.

New Orleans at Tennessee: Titans lost their superstar running back, Saints lost their QB. New Orleans went out and fell to Atlanta, while Tennessee rolled past the LA Rams. Too soon to see a pattern, but we get the idea. Titans win a close one, 24-20.

Tie-breaker

Texas A&M at Ole Miss: In good news for Reveille, the Aggies’ defense has stepped it up in recent weeks, reviving the A&M season. Ole Miss will try to offset that with a balanced attack led by quarterback Matt Corral and the deep passing game. I think the Aggie defense may still have enough to allow for a close road win. High-and-tight haircuts for everyone! A&M wins, 34-30.

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