The Week That Will Be (10.09.2010)

Last Week: 2-3-1 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 12-14-4 (.462) ($-360) ATS 23-7 (.767) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Nick Foles must be wrecking shop in Tucson, because he threw for 303 yards against an Iowa defense that has allowed a combined 17 points in the four games against opponents other than Arizona (including 3 in a hapless effort by Penn State on Saturday), who scored 34…

We learned that Oregon might not be able to stop a team, but they’ll take the ball away from you at some point and then score on you. A very impressive beginning to the season for the Ducks, but what happens when they play a team in their house that can also score?

We learned that Alabama is in a class by themselves. Florida looked like they were building something with an impressive win over Kentucky the week prior, but Alabama tore all of that down with a 31-6 rout on Saturday night. Again, who beats this team? Only Alabama can beat Alabama…

We learned that Mark Richt’s days in Athens might be numbered, as the Bulldogs fell to 1-4 with a loss to Colorado, despite the return of AJ Green (who had a ridiculous TD catch). With the meltdown on the football field, and the arrests off of it, you have to wonder if the Georgia players have simply tuned Richt out…

We learned that Jerrod Johnson might not be the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, an honor bestowed on him in the pre-season, but he might be the Big 12’s most exciting player, because you never know if he can score a touchdown for his own team or the other team on any given play…

And finally, we learned that hey, it isn’t possible to beat your rival in an emotional game when you commit 9 penalties, and it seemed like a lot more than that.

Anyhow…

Again, I don’t want to hear about how this is a “transition” year, that the Longhorns are “reloading” for another run in 2011 or 2012, that we’ll take our lumps this year and be ready to roar next year.

To paraphrase the great Norm Hitzges, that sounds like the droppings of a large farm animal.

16 of the 22 players in the starting lineup are juniors or seniors, so it isn’t like this team doesn’t have the seasoning of a national title run last year or a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2008.

Yes, some of the positions are young, such as quarterback, and perhaps defensive tackle.

But the running backs are juniors and sophomores who didn’t redshirt. The wide receivers are juniors and seniors, with a little bit of youth mixed in. An offensive line that boasts the nation’s 81st rushing attack has three seniors and a junior. The tight end is a senior.

Two seniors start at defensive end. The starting linebackers are juniors and seniors. Same for the defensive backfield.

Stop with the lame excuses.

This team should be better than they are. The players aren’t executing, and the coaches aren’t coaching.

Falling down 14-0 against Oklahoma because you act like the Sooners running the hurry up offense is a new wrinkle is absurd. They’ve only been doing it for three years.

Committing penalty after penalty after penalty, extending drives on defense and ending drives on offense isn’t youth. 9 penalties for 81 yards against Oklahoma. 8 for 75 yards against UCLA. 11 for 95 yards against Tech. It is an undisciplined wreck of a team.

Dropping punts and committing personal fouls on 3rd and 20 isn’t youth. It is bad coaching.

Having two of the fastest players in the country returning kicks for you, but ranking 98th in the country in kickoff returns is….bad coaching.

Being criticized for an absurd horizontal gameplan the week before against UCLA and coming out of the gates on Saturday (already down 7-0 mind you), with two horizontal passes just reeks of arrogance and stubbornness…and bad coaching.

Look, I hate to be the curmudgeon, but the simple fact of the matter is that the players are not getting the job done and the coaches aren’t doing the things needed to right the ship. We all saw problems back at Rice, and home against Wyoming and in the plains of Lubbock, but we just got called bad fans who cry when we win.

Fix it. Now.

I am 100% positive that this coaching staff can get it back on track, and we can even accomplish some smaller goals this year while building momentum for next year. We’ve seen them do it before.

But this “We’re Texas” attitude that we have around here sometimes has to go, and it has to be replaced by the humility of knowing that you are an unranked team along with about one hundred others entering this Saturday, with more talent on this roster than any one of those one hundred.

It won’t be easy. Nebraska is a fine football team who will be smelling blood in the water. Which makes them the perfect opponent to start the road back against.

Bye week? It should be hell week.

Some other random college football thoughts:

• Where are the upsets? Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State and Oregon have all gone through this season relatively unscathed, with Alabama the closest of those teams to getting beat (at Arkansas). Compare this to 2007 where Michigan, West Virginia, Rutgers, Florida, Kentucky, Penn State, Louisville, Oklahoma, Texas and USC were all ranked in the Top Ten and had lost at this point of the season. If we’re going to suck, I want to see some utter chaos, dammit.

• Isn’t it fun to guess which team Brent Musberger has money on each week? He sounded downright depressed when Oregon would score the other night…

You never know how the booty hole gonna act. – Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington. So true, Ron, so true.

• Adam James’s statistics this year: 0 catches, 0 yards. Good trade off, Tech.

• Les Miles. You don’t even need a punch line, do you? How can a team be 5-0 but everyone wants to fire the head coach? How bad is it going to be when one of these blunders actually costs his team a win…or two?

• If this had happened against Texas A&M, would the book stores start selling, “We Only Need Twelve Men” t-shirts?

• Don’t worry Boise, Oregon might have jumped you in the polls, but you get a chance to impress the nation this week against…Toledo. Okay, next week against…San Jose State. Louisiana Tech? Hawaii? Well you get three straight Friday night games in November, which tells you where you are in the college football landscape…but you get on TV. Congrats.

• Ohio State, with their yearly close game against Illinois, to be followed by a close win at Wisconsin next week. Yawn.

• How is a Top 10 team (Utah) less than a touchdown favorite at Iowa State this week? It’s either parity or Iowa State is better than we think (for sure better than Tommy Tuberville thought). Oh hell, we’re not going to lose to them, too, are we?

On to the games...

Michigan State @ Michigan -4.5:

The first match-up of undefeated teams in this series since 1999, this looks to be a good one as both teams come in playing well. The Spartans beat Wisconsin last week, while Denard Robinson put on another showcase against Indiana.

MSU’s defense has been decent this year, but they haven’t seen anything like what they’ll see Saturday from Robinson.

Michigan 38 Michigan State 31
ATS – Michigan
SU – Michigan

LSU @ Florida -6.5:

Well one team got their butts whipped last week, while the other probably feels like they lost the game. Neither of these teams have an offense, but Florida’s is just a tad bit better.

Florida 24 LSU 13
ATS – Florida
SU – Florida

Alabama -7 @ South Carolina:

If you’re hoping Alabama slips up somewhere along the way, this might be the best chance of that happening, as the only two other road games on the Crimson Tide schedule are Tennessee and LSU, and we all know what a mess those two teams are.

Alabama has shown no letdown despite losing a number of starters on the defensive side of the ball. South Carolina is trying to get things back together after a tough loss at Auburn two weeks ago.

South Carolina has some talent, and they’ve nearly pulled off some upsets in recent years, but Alabama is on a completely different level than the Gamecocks.

Alabama 27 South Carolina 16
ATS – Alabama
SU – Alabama

Baylor v. Texas Tech -2.5:

Texas Tech brings a 14 game winning streak into this series, but is reeling after a 52-38 loss at Iowa State last week, a game in which they fell down 24-0 in the first half. It was not the performance that Tech was looking for coming off a bye week.

Meanwhile Baylor rolled Kansas 55-7, with Robert Griffin accounting for four touchdowns. Baylor has a bowl game on their mind…it would be their first since 1994.

Tech is a mess right now, but I’m not sure that Baylor has the overall talent to win a game like this yet.

Texas Tech 31 Baylor 24
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Texas Tech

Texas A&M v. Arkansas -6:

Texas A&M is coming off that heartbreaking loss in Stillwater on national television last week, while Arkansas had the week off after a heartbreaking loss against Alabama the week before.

Arkansas won this game by 29 points last season, and while it will be closer than that, the Razorbacks are the better team here.

Arkansas 41 Texas A&M 34
ATS – Arkansas
SU – Arkansas

Nebraska -12 @ Kansas State:

This was a classic in the early days of the Big 12, and is on the road back to respectability after a 4-0 start by both teams.

Nebraska has looked a lot like the Cornhuskers of old, averaging 309 yards on the ground while only allowing 265 yards per game on defense.

Look for the Wildcats to feed the ball to Daniel Thomas over and over, trying to shorten the game and keep the Manhattan crowd in it.

Nebraska keeps winning, but this one will be hard fought.

Nebraska 27 Kansas State 21
ATS – Kansas State
SU – Nebraska

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Rangers playoff tickets.

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