American-Statesman columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden weigh in on 10 hot-button Texas, Big 12 and national topics:
1. What percentage chance does West Virginia have of upsetting Texas?
Bohls: Thirty percent. I really think this could come down to the play of Case McCoy, who must avoid throwing interceptions and especially any easy, pick-six Mountaineers scores. Texas clearly has the better team, but Morgantown’s one of the tougher places to play where West Virginia has posted huge upsets of Penn State, Miami, Virginia Tech and, last year, Baylor. That said, I see a tough 32-28 win for Texas.
Golden: Thirty-five percent. It’s a tough road environment, plus it’s a night game in a venue that none of these Texas players have ever visited. The Mountaineers were good enough to beat Oklahoma State at home, 30-21, but also bad enough to lose to Maryland there, 37-0. The Horns know this is a trap game, which should be enough to get them out of there with a 34-31 win.
2. Pick one national upset.
Bohls: It won’t shock me if Virginia Tech knocks off an emotionally-drained Miami team that’s already lost star running back Duke Johnson, but I’m going to take Utah — a touchdown underdog — over Arizona State. It’s been a bad week for the Sun Devils.
Golden: Give me those high-scoring Houston Cougars over Central Florida. The Cougars can’t stop anybody, but will put up some points.
3. Who are the Big 12’s two most underrated players?
Bohls: Offensively, Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett. Defensively, Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker. They’re both All-Big 12 locks in my book.
Golden: Offensively, Baylor running back Shock Linwood, who has quietly rushed for 443 yards. Defensively, Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley gets more headlines, but fellow tackle Malcom Brown has spent the first half of the season dominating opposing centers and guards.
4. How many Longhorns upperclassmen will be NFL draft picks?
Bohls: I count 10 juniors and/or seniors who could get picked. The three highest picks will be defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed, and wide receiver Mike Davis.
Golden: I see nine. Give me Jeffcoat, Reed and Whaley as the first three to get picked.
5. Which will be higher — Tyrone Swoopes’ snaps or Joe Bergerons’ carries?
Bohls: Bergeron carries. I can’t see Swoopes ever getting close to the field in a game that promises to be a tightly-contested one. Bergeron’s always good for a carry or two.
Golden: That’s a close one. Give Bergeron the edge because if it’s as close a game as I suspect it’ll be, Swoopes won’t see the field.
6. Which Big 12 quarterback will have the longest NFL career?
Bohls: Davis Webb, barely ahead of Bryce Petty. As a freshman, the Texas Tech quarterback has a big career ahead of him under the direction of accomplished offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury.
Golden: Baylor’s Petty has the potential to play for awhile. Nowadays, 6-2, 230 is plenty big enough to play quarterback at that level, and he has the arm to make things happen in the right situation.
7. How many league losses will the Big 12 champion end up with?
Bohls: One. Baylor will get knocked off with a tough closing schedule that includes only one more home game, that coming against Texas on Dec. 7. The Bears still have road games at Oklahoma State and TCU and a neutral-site game with Texas Tech in Arlington, but will win the league. But don’t sleep on Texas or Oklahoma State; the Longhorns have a lot of momentum and the Cowboys have the most favorable remaining schedule.
Golden: One. The race is too tight to call, but the champion won’t run the table. The teams in the top half of the league are pretty evenly matched, and the league title will remain up for grabs for awhile.
8. What will you remember most about the DeLoss Dodds era?
Bohls: More than anything, I’ll remember his signature quote, “We’re the Joneses,” the one he has always regretted but should have embraced. I’ll also remember the time in 1986 when I was sitting in his office in November, and he asked, “Do you think we should fire Fred Akers?” I told him there was no reason to fire Akers and that he didn’t deserve it, but I knew Dodds was going to it because too many Longhorns big-wigs wanted Akers out. And I’ll always recall Dodds calling me “a little (epithet)” to my boss and chewing me out on the phone after reading the book “Bleeding Orange,” which I co-authored with John Maher.
Golden: The thing I’ll remember the most is the feistiness he always displayed. We had a memorable after a 2011 Texas baseball playoff game. I was walking into the post-game presser with Kirk Bohls, and DeLoss was behind us. “Why aren’t y’all at the Texas A&M game?” Dodds asked. “It’s where your hearts are.” When he asked again, I turned and said, “I don’t work for A&M and I don’t work for you.” He was taken aback at first, but the mood lightened soon after.
9. What chance does Texas A&M have of sweeping Mississippi State, LSU and Missouri?
Bohls: Seventy percent. The Aggies will clobber the Bulldogs today and have a good chance of slipping by LSU and Missouri by outscoring both of them. My best guess is they’ll lose one of those two road games.
Golden: Fifty percent. With that offense, I give them a chance to win each one. But that game at LSU just doesn’t feel right. I don’t see them doing enough to stop the Tigers.
10. What is Oliver Luck probably thinking today?
Bohls: He may wonder forever why he didn’t get the Texas job, but I don’t think he lost it. Steve Patterson won it. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of the West Virginia athletic director. I expect his profile will soar over the next five years. He might even become a conference commissioner or have a successful run in politics.
Golden: “I don’t play the bridesmaid’s role very well. Run it up if you get the chance, Coach Holgorsen.”
How Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden are picking Texas-West Virginia. So far, Bohls is 5-2 and Golden is 4-3. Bohls came closest last week (Texas, 42-10):
Bohls: Texas, 32-28
Golden: Texas, 34-31