The Week That Will Be (09.18.2010)

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 5-5-2 (.500) ($-70) ATS 10-2 (.833) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson must have idolized Vince Young, as his 502 total yards were enough to beat Notre Dame. Robinson is the nation’s leading rusher as a QB…

We learned that Mark Ingram is not missed in Tuscaloosa, as Trent Richardson accounted for 193 total offensive yards and a touchdown as Alabama stomped Penn State and their 104 year old coach…

We learned that Jacory Harris needs a refresh on which team he plays for, and Terrelle Pryor does a mean Denard Robinson impression, throwing for 233 and rushing for 113….

We learned that Oregon doesn’t give a damn about flying across the country nor about playing in front of 100,000 plus, while we also learned that Tennessee has a long, long way to go to get back to respectability…

We learned that Florida State is not nearly as good as Utah State as Oklahoma scored touchdowns on their first four drives and gained 294 yards on those drives against the Seminoles…

And finally, we learned that the next time Texas plays Wyoming that the Cowboys will take the lead late in the second quarter before Texas wakes up and puts it away…

Anyhow…

It is RIVALRY week around the University of Texas campus as the Longhorns travel to play Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech this week. Rivalry week? The designers of the popular video game NCAA Football 2011 might be the only people on the planet that thinks this is actually a rivalry game, including the people living on the south plains, but isn’t that the gist of this game over the years?

As of Wednesday night 1,600 students were skipping class, showers and any chance of getting a date the rest of the semester by camping out in hopes of getting the best seats for Saturday night’s game at Jones AT&T Stadium.

Why?

Because this is the game they have had circled on the calendar since the last time these two teams met. To Texas Tech, this is their BCS game, their Big 12 Championship, since they have never experienced either one, while to Texas, this is just an annoying field trip that they have to make every other year.

Perhaps it is time to start taking the red-headed stepchild seriously.

The Red Raiders are 41-6 in Lubbock since 2003. Mack Brown’s Longhorns are 3-3 at Jones Stadium. Texas has won the Big 12 South outright four times under Brown and none of those seasons included a win in Lubbock. Oklahoma hasn’t won there since 2003, when Jason White and BJ Symons squared off. The Aggies won once there last decade. Nebraska gave up 70 in 2004. Oklahoma State went there in 2008 ranked #9 in the country and left with a 56-20 defeat.

Lots of teams need "revenge" once they leave Lubbock.

The Longhorns should know better than anybody. In 2008 a Vondrell McGee 4 yard run with 1:29 left gave the Longhorns the lead, but it was short-lived as Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree ended the hopes of the Horns to reach the national championship game.

In 2002 Texas entered the game ranked #3 in the country, but a Chris Simms interception with 5:21 left sealed the fate for the Longhorns, who lost 42-38. Both times, the Red Raiders set themselves up for a chance to win the South, or in the case of 2008, perhaps play for the national title.

Both times, Oklahoma in Norman was next on the schedule. The combined score of those two games was Oklahoma 125, Texas Tech 36.

So this isn’t the case of Texas Tech slowly getting better, building a program and taking care of things on the home turf while winning some tough ones away from home.

Nope. They simply want the game more than their opponent does.

Focus shouldn’t be a problem for the Longhorns on Saturday night, as Garrett Gilbert makes his first start in a game that isn’t a Texas home game in disguise. In fact, if you are looking for some good news in all of this, Vince Young and Colt McCoy both won their first start in Lubbock.

Take the game seriously. Take the opponent seriously. Don’t let one misstep in Lubbock cost you the shot at something special later on in the year.

Otherwise, in 2012 when I sit down to write this article I’ll just have to add a couple of paragraphs and be done with it.

On to the games...

Florida -14 @ Tennessee:

Well isn’t this deciding whether to take the valedictorian or the drum major to the prom…Tennessee still has duck imprints on their jerseys while Florida has looked about as smooth on the football field as Chris Rainey is smooth with the ladies.

(Side note: Would Rainey be in more trouble with the law with his ‘Time to Die’ text message, or more trouble with the girlfriend if the text message had said ‘Time to Diet". Discuss.)

Well the title of this column isn’t The Week That Who Knows Will Be, so we have to pick a winner here. Give me Florida and their superior talent (even if it hasn’t made an appearance in 2010) over Tennessee and their no talent.

Florida 31 Tennessee 14
ATS – Florida
SU – Florida

Arkansas @ Georgia -2.5:

Georgia looks to avoid going 0-2 in conference in conference play as 61 yards rushing on 26 attempts doomed their chances against South Carolina last week. Arkansas is ready to join the 2010 college football season after pre-season wins over Tennessee Tech and Louisiana-Monroe.

Arkansas is the better team here, but Georgia is desperate, Arkansas might be looking forward to Alabama next week, lots of opportunities for Georgia to get up and sneak one out here.

Georgia 23 Arkansas 20
ATS – Georgia
SU – Georgia

Iowa -2 @ Arizona:

Well if you guessed that this is the only game on the slate this week between ranked teams you win a cookie, as Iowa travels to the desert for a late night match-up with the Cats.

Iowa performed well on the road last year, defeating Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State while losing in overtime to Ohio State. But something strikes me about traveling to the west coast, playing a late game in front of a raucous crowd, against an experienced quarterback and a solid defense.

Arizona 27 Iowa 20
ATS – Arizona
SU – Arizona

Baylor @ TCU -21.5:

It is an old-fashioned SWC match-up as Baylor travels to Fort Worth to take on TCU, who rolled Tennessee Tech (TT gets two mentions in TWTWB, woo-hoo!) one week after defeating Oregon State in impressive fashion.

Baylor’s best chance of an upset lies in the legs and arm of Baylor QB Robert Griffin, who has 7 touchdowns in the first two games of the year.

I look for Baylor to extend the game a bit here, keep the ball in Griffin’s hand and out of the hands of TCU.

TCU 31 Baylor 17
ATS – Baylor
SU – TCU

Nebraska -3 @ Washington:

Well, well, well…if any of you were worried about Nebraska traveling to the Great Northwest and playing in front of one of the loudest crowds in the country, never fear, because quarterback Taylor Martinez has seen all of this before:

"I played in high school in big games, the crowd doesn’t bother me very much."

Yes, he actually said that.

Wow.

The arrogance of the young signal caller aside, the question here is whether Martinez will be able to pass the ball if Washington is able to take away the run, not that there is any evidence that they will able to do so.

Jake Locker could use this game for his Heisman candidacy, but Nebraska’s defense is too stout while Washington’s is too porous.

Nebraska 34 Washington 24
ATS – Nebraska
SU – Nebraska

Texas -3 @ Texas Tech:

The one thing that jumps out at you when you look at Texas Tech this year is that their offense isn’t as explosive as the Mike Leach offense was, albeit with a small sample size of two games.

But last year through two games the Red Raiders were 1st in the country in passing offense (456.5 ypg) and 16th in the country in total offense (502.5 ypg). This year they are 11th in passing (334.5 ypg) and 29th in total offense (446.5 ypg).

Still impressive, but not Mike Leach Hide the Women and Children Grab a Receiver and Hold On Offense that we’ve grown accustomed to. Tech is making a concentrated effort to try to run the ball more, and while they aren’t having much success (93rd in the country with 112 ypg), they have some talent back there with Baron Batch and Eric Stephens.

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown comes to Tech from Troy University, and while I respect his efforts there, if you’re asking me to pick between Neal Brown and Will Muschamp, I’ll take Muschamp 100 times out of 100.

On defense, Tech is undergoing a rehaul from the base defense philosophy of Ruffin McNeil to the multiple sets of James Willis (the former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and linebacker coach at Alabama last year). The transition has not been a smooth one, as Tech ranks 80th in the country in total defense and 105th in passing defense after facing SMU and New Mexico.

The Lobos managed to throw for 336 yards and had 146 rushing yards before sacks. The week before, they managed 82 yards passing and 83 yards rushing against an Oregon team that will never be confused with the Steel Curtain.

This one will depend largely on the Texas offense. Will Gilbert and his receivers use this opportunity to get on track and put up some big numbers for the first time this year? Will a running back step up and be consistent for an entire game…or half? Will the offensive line be able to handle a defensive front that has already recorded 9 sacks this year?
Yes. No. Yes.

Call me foolish, but the Longhorns are simply better, and significantly better at that.

Texas 34 Texas Tech 21
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Bleachers.

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