The MVP Draft returns to normal this week, as OSU resumes its season. This week, the Cowboys take on the Jayhawks of Kansas, who are 1-5 and coming off a 49-7 beat-down by Baylor.
We also welcome Christopher back to the draft after his two week sabbatical. We appreciate Kyle filling in.
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the rules: Every week, each writer picks the player they think will be the MVP on offense, defense, and special teams for OSU and their opponent. If a player has the best game out of those chosen, the writer who picked him gets a point. We’ll keep track of the points through the season.
Here’s the standings so far:
Phillip - 18 points
Cade - 17 points
Joel - 16 points
Christopher/Kyle - 13 points
Dustin - 13 points
Joel was the big mover last week, going from last to third after the Bye Week Bonus Round. Now, on to this week’s picks:
O - James Washington | D - Jordan Burton | ST - Ben Grogan
Offense: I really debated here between Justice Hill and James Washington. Kansas is giving up 197 yards a game on the ground. For some reason though, I just have a good feeling about Washington in this one.
Defense: I rode Burton before he was hurt, and he never let me down. Now that he’s back and had a couple weeks to get healthier, I expect a strong performance against a bad (albeit improving) Jayhawks team. I’m not usually one to pick the top defender statistically, but it’s hard not to love what Burton does on the field for the Cowboys. He leads the team in total tackles and interceptions. Sounds like points to me!
Special Teams: Normally I would go with Sinor because of what he’s been doing for the Cowboys, but Grogan is two points away from becoming OSU’s all-time leading scorer. Let that sink in for a second. He’s going to pass Dan Bailey, who I think we would all agree was the greatest kicker to ever come through OSU. So for this week (and this week only), I’m pulling a Joel and taking the kicker.
O - Ke’aun Kinner | D - Marcquis Roberts | ST - Cole Moos
Offense: I was going to go with Sims. Then everyone else did. Does this sound crazy? All OSU fans expect the script to follow what it’s supposed to, and then “something completely crazy that blows your mind” happens? I’ve been a poke long enough to expect the WTF? That’s why I’m going with KU’s leading rusher. Let’s be honest. It’s a crap shoot.
Defense: As I’ve mentioned before, I’m big on players who get into the backfield. Roberts is fourth on the team in total tackles and third in tackles for a loss with 5.5. The four pass break-ups don’t hurt either.
Special Teams: Kansas gets to punt a lot. Luckily for them, their punter Moos averages over 41 yards a punt, has planted nine inside the 20, and has a D1 leading season long punt of 82 (!!!) yards. If he can boot another one close to that on Saturday, I should get the point.
O - Justice Hill | D - Jordan Burton | ST - Zach Sinor
Offense: I’m taking Justice Hill because of how awful the Kansas rushing defense is. They actually have the second-ranked secondary in the conference, if you can believe that. I think OSU tries to run the ball early and often.
Defense: Jordan Burton returned from injury last weekend against Iowa State and played very well, and against a team that likes to pass it a lot (and turn it over a lot) I feel like Burton should be in position to make a few plays.
Special Teams: I don’t think I’ve picked Sinor yet, and for that, I should be ashamed. He’s a very real weapon for OSU and I’ll take him this week.
O - Ryan Willis | D - “Fish” Smithson | ST - Matthew Wyman
Offense: For KU, it’s basically “who touches the ball the most?” Well, it’s the quarterback. And then the opposing defense! HEYYYO!
Defense: The guy’s name is Fish... How could I not take him? Alternate take: His nickname is Fish... because he stinks! HEYYYO!
Special Teams: I didn’t take Ben Grogan so I’m definitely taking the KU kicker. There’s a whole lot of irony in that statement, y’all.
O – Justice Hill | D – Ramon Richards | ST – Ben Grogan
Offense: The Jayhawk defense is allowing nearly 200 yards per game on the ground this season. This is good for 8th in the Big 12. I think Justice Hill has a big day against KU and finds the endzone a couple of times. I have a feeling OSU will get up early on Kansas and will rely on the running game to take them home.
Defense: Kansas quarterbacks have combined for 12 interceptions this year. Yes... 12. I think Ramon grabs himself a pick or two and has himself a solid game all around. It might be a bold strategy going with #7, but hopefully it pays off for me.
Special Teams: As I stated above, kicker... safe bet. Plus, he only needs two points to pass Dan Bailey for the Oklahoma State all-time scoring record. So, unless someone scores 5 TD's in the return game, I think Grogan wins this point no matter what.
O – Steven Sims Jr. | D – Anthony "Fish" Smithson | ST – Matthew Wyman
Offense: Alright, this was slightly difficult. Why you ask? Because Kansas is literally ranked at or near the bottom of the Big 12 in every offensive statistic. To put it in simpler terms... their offense sucks. Their quarterback situation is a mess and they're averaging less that 100 yards per game on the ground, so I am going to stay away from both of those areas. What's left? Well, unless I want to pick an offensive lineman (which might not be a bad idea), I'm left with WR/TE. So, I went with Steven Sims Jr. He's had 3 game this season with over 100 yards receiving and he's also found the endzone 5 times. With OSU's pass defense being their weakness on that side of the ball, I think that Sims might have a decent outing... actually, I think he's going to have a horrible game, but I had to pick someone.
Defense: Kansas surprisingly gives up the second fewest yards in the Big 12 through the air. The senior safety, Smithson, has four passes defended, two picks and a forced fumble to go along with 22 total tackles this season. "Fish", as he's referred to, has NFL skills and is a bright spot on this Kansas defense.
Special Teams: I'm going with the kicker here. Safe bet.
O - Mason Rudolph | D - Jordan Sterns | S - Ben Grogan
Offense: Kansas does give up almost 200 yards rushing per game, so Justice Hill is a really strong choice here, but for all the progress the running game has made, OSU still averages over 350 yards through the air and less than 130 yards on the ground. This offense runs through the right arm of Rudolph.
Defense: It's a risk taking Sterns as he is rehabbing from an injury that kept him sidelined against Iowa State. But if he's on the field, I like his chances to have a big game against a Kansas team that will try to throw the ball and has a tendency to throw it to the other team.
Special Teams: I still haven't seen much out of our return game. Our kickoff return game, in particular, is less than spectacular. The Pokes needed a big return last time they went to Lawrence, I'm hoping that's not the case this time around. Until I see more production from the return game, I'm sticking with Grogan for the same reason Gundy does - because Dan Bailey ain't walking through that door.
O - Steven Sims Jr. | D - Dorance Armstrong, Jr. | S - LaQuvionte Gonzalez
Offense: Is taking "the field" an option? No? Okay. Kansas is probably going to throw the ball better than they run the ball. However, they play multiple QBs and there's too many interceptions there for me to feel safe saying any of their QBs are going to be their offensive MVP, so I'll take their leading receiver.
Defense: Rudolph has seen a substantial amount of pressure at times this season. Armstrong leads the Jayhawks in tackles for loss and sacks. He could easily cause issues for an inconsistent Cowboy offensive line working without a starter.
Special Teams: The kicking situation in Lawrence isn't what I'd call great. I'm hoping (and definitely ignoring the last couple of trips to Lawrence and what KU did against TCU two weeks ago) that there will be many Cowboy kickoffs, giving the Jayhawk return man several opportunities. And I really just wanted to type his name.
O - James Washington | D - Vincent Taylor | S - Zach Sinor
Offense: OSU's top wide receiver will continue his monster season with another great game against KU. He'll garner a lot of attention for the Jayhawk secondary, but will find a way to top the 100 yard receiving mark once again.
Defense: KU only averages 94 yards rushing per game, and OSU has had a fairly stout defense against the rush so far this year. Vincent Taylor has been a force on the inside for the Cowboys all season long, and I expect him to wreak havoc in the Jayhawk backfield all game long.
Special Teams: Hopefully Zach Sinor does not have to be used a whole lot on Saturday, but if he does come in I know he'll continue to be the 12th defender pinning teams back deep in their own territory. James Washington | D- Vincent Taylor | S- Zach Sinor
O - Steven Sims Jr. | D - Fish Smithson | S - Cole Moos
Offense: Steven Sims Jr. is the leading receiver for the Jayhawks, with 453 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns thus far. As the #1 WR for KU, I expect him to get a lot of attention from either Ryan Willis or Montell Cozart when they are in the game.
Defense: In his third year with the Jayhawks, he has become a force in the secondary for the team. With 111 tackles last season, he made a name for himself. Last week against Baylor he had 8 tackles, 7 of which were solo. I am not sure how strong the front 7 of the Jayhawks is, so we might hear Smithson's name called quite a bit on Saturday.
Special Teams: Cole Moos will most likely get a lot of work on Saturday, as he has already this season. With 38 punts already on the year, his kicking leg is pretty much warm the whole game. Last week against Baylor, he had his longest punt of the year, it went 82 (!!!) yards.