Keegan and I combined to finish just two games over .500 last week, an embarrassing effort that has both of us reeling and feeling the need to make up for it big-time this week.
We finally have a full slate of Big 12 games to pick this week and added five other good battles, featuring some of the country's best teams.
As you might have guessed, both of us picked Baylor to top the Jayhawks, but, as you might have heard on our podcast, we both give KU a fighting chance to perform better than our scores indicate. That's thanks to KU's defense.
Overall, last week's effort by Tom pulled us back into a tie and, this week, with two games different, it presents the chance for one of us to take control of this thing once and for all.
The big game to watch here — and, really, throughout the Big 12 slate — is Oklahoma at Texas Tech, where Keegan went with the Sooners and I predicted Tech to keep its dream season rolling.
We'll see what plays out. Here's a look at the rest of our picks:
Tait: 5-5 in Week 6; 45-15 overall
Keegan: 6-4 in Week 6; 45-15 overall
WEEK 7 GAMES:
Kansas vs. Baylor
Oklahoma State at Iowa State
Texas Tech at Oklahoma
West Virginia at Kansas State
Texas at TCU
UCLA at Oregon
South Carolina at Missouri
Stanford at Oregon State
Penn State at Ohio State
Clemson at Maryland
Question: Who's your favorite role player of all-time, any sport, any level?
Baylor 49, Kansas 14
Oklahoma State 30, Iowa State 17
Texas Tech 35, Oklahoma 30
Kansas State 31, West Virginia 21
Texas 27, TCU 17
Oregon 45, UCLA 28
Missouri 28, South Carolina 24
Stanford 28, Oregon State 20
Ohio State 33, Penn State 21
Clemson 41, Maryland 27
Answer: There have been so many good ones in all sports throughout time that it was kind of tough for me to pinpoint just one. But a name that kept jumping out at me was NBA point guard Derek Fisher. Fisher was the unsung hero on so many of those L.A. Lakers teams who won titles with Shaq and Kobe and his toughness, unselfishness and clutch performances saved L.A. on more than one occasion. Known for always being in the right spot at the right time, helping offenses flow and never backing down from a challenge, Fisher owns five rings and is in the process, at age 39, of trying to help Kevin Durant get his first in Oklahoma City. There's not a selfish bone in this dude's body and not only can he play ball but he also seems like one of the best teammates of all-time.
Baylor 55, Kansas 17
Oklahoma State 35, Iowa State 21
Oklahoma 31, Texas Tech 30
Kansas State 28, West Virginia 24
Texas 28, TCU 24
Oregon 42, UCLA 31
South Carolina 31, Missouri 24
Stanford 35, Oregon State 13
Ohio State 28, Penn State 17
Clemson 38, Maryland 17
Answer: Hockey goon John Wensink with his Afro, bushy mustache, evil eyes and extra-mean sneer. Before Wensink played for the Boston Bruins he played for my hometown Rochester Amerks. We loved him. And unlike many goons, he had skill. He scored many goals, broke plenty noses, won a ton of lifelong fans. He was a bloody good role player. Every time I played that table-top hockey game with the steel rods you twisted to move the metal players, I designated one of the players as John Wensink and I always spun that player super fast, clanging on the nearby opponent, hoping to knock him off his peg.
I've worked at the Journal-World since July 2007 and been covering KU football, at least in some fashion, since 2008, which means I've been making picks on college football games — at least on the record — for the past five seasons.
During a couple of those years I finished with the best record of our entire staff and during the others I finished, well, without the best record.
Win or lose, it's always been fun to put my picks down on paper for our KUsports.com readers to praise or mock and, until recently, I thought it was only a few readers who mocked my picks. Turns out, there's a guy in our office, who sits a mere 8 feet away from me, who also thinks my picks are soft and always have been.
I learned this when we found out recently that our beloved KUSports.com picks were in jeopardy because the guy who usually runs them, Jesse Newell, is busy tracking our Pro Football picks contest (it's new this year and you should totally sign up) and can't keep tabs on both. That's when sports editor Tom Keegan, a man who's never backed away from a showdown or a dessert table, called me out and said we should do a one-on-one, battle of the generations picks challenge ourselves this year.
As we did before, we'll keep a running tally of our records throughout the season and, because it's just the two of us, we'll pick 10 games each weekend (every Big 12 game and a few others) and report back each week with a little banter that should make it interesting, if not outright ridiculous. A bonus victory will be awarded for any game in which one of us picks the correct score.
We'll inevitably wind up playing for something but we haven't pinned that down just yet. Could be strokes on the golf course, desk cleaning duties at the office or dessert from any number of Lawrence eateries.
Regardless of what we settle on, it's bragging rights we're both after.
So, with KU set to kick off the 2013 season vs. South Dakota at 6 pm tonight, here's the first installment of our teacher-vs.-pupil picks battle.
Week 1 Games:
Kansas vs. South Dakota
Oklahoma vs. West Virginia
BYU vs. Texas
Kansas State vs. Louisiana Lafayette
Texas Tech vs. Stephen F. Austin
Baylor vs. Buffalo
Oklahoma State vs. Texas-San Antonio
TCU vs. Southeastern Louisiana
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Miami vs. Florida
Off the wall question: What's the coolest sports venue you've ever been to?
Kansas 45, South Dakota 13
Oklahoma 33, West Virginia 14
Texas 42, BYU 20
Kansas State 27, Louisiana Lafayette 17
Texas Tech 48, Stephen F. Austin 28
Baylor 63, Buffalo 10
Oklahoma State 41, Texas-San Antonio 19
TCU 45, Southeastern Louisiana 7
Michigan 30, Notre Dame 21
Florida 24, Miami 23
Answer: I've enjoyed watching sports at a number of great places and feel like I could pick any one of the classics here and be safe. Wrigley Field. Yankee Stadium. Rosenblatt Stadium for the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., for a Nebraska football game. All of those, and many others, would be worthy picks, but I'm going with one that's near and dear to my roots: Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo. The stadium is fantastic and I love the ramped end zone on the south side. But the setting behind it is what makes it my favorite. Boulder's famed Flatirons mountains are visible from many parts of Folsom and they hover over the stadium in the distance, making this place as picture-esque as it gets.
Kansas 41, South Dakota 10
Oklahoma 41, West Virginia 17
Texas 31, BYU 24
Kansas State 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Texas Tech 55, Stephen F. Austin 21
Baylor 56, Buffalo 14
Oklahoma State 48, Texas-San Antonio 14
TCU 49, Southeastern Louisiana 10
Notre Dame 28, Michigan 24
Florida 28, Miami 21
Answer: Since I refuse to pander to the audience, I won't say Allen Fieldhouse. I'll say Estadio Universitario in Caracas, Venezuela, home of the city's popular baseball team, Leones del Caracas." The Spanish I learned from Seniorita Hess at Marquette came flooding back to me on that 1994 day when I needed to ask what would be the safest way to walk from where the cab dropped me to the stadium entrance. Students protesting the city's decision to hike bus fares were shooting bullets in the direction of the cops. I was told if I crossed the street I should be safe, so I crossed the street. The crowd was super into every pitch and it wasn't long before I figured out why. Many of the spectators at the sold-out stadium that holds 25,690 were making ball-strike wagers on the pitches, as well as bets on whether the team on the field would get out of the jam without letting in a run, etc.