Before we get to the Panel of Pokes we're going to update the Pick em' contest standings. Last week was fairly easy and almost everyone finished with a perfect six points. Things are a little tougher this week.
Forever Blue is in first place and four others are tied for second. Interesting to see three of our Panel of Pokes members in the top four.
|Rank||Pick Set Name||Total Pts||W-L|
|5||Wyoming Cowboys All Day||30||30-9|
My first time I really saw Reno was the from the movie "The Wizard" starring Fred Savage. They stop at the arcade in Reno to prep for the contest. Relive part of my childhood.
Poke Pick: QB Brett Smith
Score Prediction: Wyoming 38 Nevada 35
Thoughts on the game: There could be a lot of points scored in this game and I think a similiar finish as the UW/Idaho game two weeks ago. The key to victory could be which defense forces critical turnovers or makes a big play in the right time. I do think the Cowboys with a week off have some advantage in preparation for the Wolf Pack and defending their Pistol Shoot Offense. I see the Pokes ready to go on Saturday, playing their best game of the season. Will it be enough?
Poke Pick: Brett Smith
Score: Wyoming 34 Nevada 30
I picked this score on Poke Pride months ago so I am going to stick with it. With the Pokes coming off a bye week they have had a chance to get healthy. If the Wyoming defense wants to stop the Nevada offense they will have to pressure the quarterback so this mean that defensive coordinator Chris Tormey can not only send three men rushing. To stay in the game Smith will have to have a big day and with both Chris McNeill and Robert Herron both on the field Smith will feel comfortable in the passing game, don't look for much of a rush from The Pokes and this game should come down to who scores last, it may be a who has the ball last wins this shootout.
Poke Pick: Brett Smith. Brett Smith is going to be my default Poke Pick until someone else steps up. No one on the Cowboy offense has stepped up since week 1 when Robert Herron exploded for a couple of touchdowns and a pile of receiving yards. This week Smith will have Herron back in the lineup.. and the Pokes are going to need that weapon because this week is going to be a track meet with Nevada. Brett Smith is likely going to carry this team vs Nevada on his feet and with his arm. Look for a big day from one of the nation's best athletes.
Score: Nevada 48, Wyoming 41. The Wolfpack is a good team who should be undefeated right now and should be carrying a top 25 ranking. This team is legit. The Pokes are on the road and still trying to find their way on defense. They gave up a lot of yards to a pretty underwhelming Idaho team.. Nevada is probably better than Idaho which could be trouble for the Cowboy rush defense. I hope this doesn't turn into Temple in 2011.
This is going to be a good measurement for the Cowboys to see how good this team is. This game also features two of the nation's best quarterbacks in Brett Smith and Cody Fajardo. Both quarterbacks rank near the top of the country in total yards per game. The difference between Nevada and Wyoming? A strong rushing attack. Nevada is able to take some of the load off of the shoulders of Fajardo by running the football effectively. The only Cowboy that has proven to run the football right now is Brett Smith. That's a bad thing, and that's what got Brett Smith hurt vs. Toledo.. too much running. The quarterbacks in this game are severely underrated by the national media but they are two of the best in the country and definitely the top two in the Mountain West. Sorry, Derek Carr.
This game is a pretty interesting matchup on paper.. the Cowboys, and it's well documented, are terrible on rush defense. Everyone knows this. Even Idaho figured it out as their previously non-existent rushing attack blistered the Cowboys. Nevada, on the other hand, loves to run the football. They rank in the top 10 in college football in rushing yards per game. Uhh.. well, that sucks, right? Here's where the game is going to turn into a track meet.. Nevada is as bad at pass defense as Wyoming is at rush defense. Robert Herron is back, Brett Smith is healthy, Jalen Claiborne is stepping up, and apparently Trey Norman thinks he's over his dropping the football. This could be bad news for the Nevada secondary. Nevada, despite being a strong rushing team, can score in a hurry.. with any luck Wyoming can control the tempo of the game and keep Nevada from the endzone. Nevada's running back Stefphon Jefferson ran for an obscene 7 touchdowns vs. Hawaii.. Wyoming's going to have to slow that guy down if they want -any- chance to win this football game.
The Cowboys need to keep their defense off the field to have any chance at winning this game. Nevada is too good on offense to let them get in a groove. Wyoming has their work cut out for them, but who knows, if the chips fall right maybe the Cowboys can win this game. Nevada has so many weapons I just don't know if the Pokes can slow them down. However, a matchup with Fajardo and Smith sounds pretty exciting for anyone that loves college football and watching two really good players duke it out. A lot of similarities between the two and both will be doing battle over the next few years in the MW.
Matt Hargleroad - Cowboy Altitude
Poke Pick: For the sake of variety I'm not picking Brett Smith. Instead I expect Dominic Rufran to have a big game. McNeill and Herron will go most of the attention from the Nevada secondary and Dominic will exploit that.
Score: Nevada 45 Wyoming 36
Two weeks ago I used a little reverse psychology and predicted a Cowboy loss. That worked as the Cowboys won in OT. I'm hoping the same occurs this time as well. Teams typically perform well after bye weeks, though that didn't happen for Wyoming last year with Utah State. The stats say that this will game will be a blowout loss for the Cowboys. I can't decide if this will be a close game or a blowout.
Share your picks and predictions in the comments.