Week 8 Trap Games

Story posted October 17, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Patrick Murphy

Looking at the schedule for Week 8, three games stand out as potential traps for a couple power programs. There may be a trend in most of these games that will be evident by the end of the article.

The first team in danger of falling into the complacency trap this week is the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners, who travel to face the 3-3 Kansas State Wildcats.

The Wildcats have been competitive in every game this season except for their recent loss to TCU. Most notably, they pushed the Texas Longhorns to double overtime, who the Sooners almost fell to last week.

Jesse Ertz is a solid veteran quarterback who can get it done on the ground if need be. Given the difficulty the Sooners had last week with Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, a similar type of QB, Ertz may give Oklahoma a headache or two.

The Sooners know they must win out to have a shot at the Playoff, but could easily find themselves looking ahead to the brutal three-game stretch that comes after this game and may overlook a formidable Kansas State team that has been ranked as high as No. 18 this season.

Keeping with the Oklahoma theme, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are in danger of succumbing to the same type of loss that I feel their in-state rivals are. The No. 10 Pokes travel to Austin to face the most talented 3-3 team in recent memory, the Texas Longhorns.

After a rough start, the Longhorns have played great football, losing two heartbreakers at the hands of Oklahoma and USC. Freshman Sam Ehlinger has cemented himself as the starting quarterback over last year’s freshman phenom Shane Buechele and looks like the guy going forward.

While Mike Gundy is surely preparing for a test this weekend, I see it quite possible that his players’ minds will drift to their road trip to face the No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers, and even possibly to the Bedlam rivalry with Oklahoma the week after.

Oklahoma State could be complacent, and I personally don’t think they are the better team in the matchup. This isn’t a very good combination, and I’d consider this trap game to be by far the most dangerous of the week.

Though this may seem a bit out of left field, I’m going to stick with the Big 12 theme here and say that No. 23 West Virginia could fall victim to the trap in Waco of all places, at the hands of the winless Baylor Bears.

With losses to Liberty and Texas-San Antonio it may seem crazy to think that the Baylor Bears have a shot at an upset here. Perhaps they don’t, maybe they’re sitting at 0-6, crippled by sanctions, and deciding to give up.

However, what Baylor managed to do to against Oklahoma makes me think they have one good win in them, if they realize it. The players who decided not to leave after the sanctions will have to play at an extremely high level if this is to be possible, but if quarterback Zach Smith can replicate the 463-yard, three-touchdown passing performance he put up against Oklahoma the Bears will be in with a chance.

On the West Virginia side, Baylor obviously looks like a joke. Dana Holgorsen will try to focus the players on the task at hand, but I’d be surprised if even he wasn’t looking ahead to their huge home game against No. 10 Oklahoma State next week. The Oklahoma State game is far and away the hottest ticket in Morgantown this year, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if this distraction leads to a stumble in Waco this week.

It may seem odd that the major trap games of the week happen to be located in the Big 12 of all places, but these three teams all happen to be one game away from stretches that will decide their seasons. Should they all fall, the conference would be launched into anarchy.

 

Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email pqm5315@psu.edu.