The Week That Will Be (11.20.2010)

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 27-35-4 (.435) ($-1110) ATS 43-23 (.652) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Marcus Lattimore is fully healthy after he gouged the Gators for 248 total yards and three touchdowns…21 yards and two more touchdowns than the entire Gator offense…

We learned that Oregon’s offense can be stopped…if you fake more injuries than WWE’s Monday Night Raw. You might as well don a mask and steel chair, Tedford…

We learned that Auburn says “screw it we’ll just take the AP national championship”, thank you, continuing to play Cam Newton despite all the evidence that he will one day be Reggie Bushed. But I guess you can’t blame them at this point…

We learned that Baylor can score 30 points in one half, and do an impersonation of the Texas offense in the second half and lose to Texas A&M…

We learned that Tommy Tuberville’s Tech can do the same as Mike Leach’s Tech…go up to Norman and get their ass kicked…

And finally, we learned that Justin Blackmon > Aaron Williams, Brandon Weeden isn’t bad for a 40 year old and Four Loko makes the ass beating a little easier to take.

Anyhow…

Okay, let’s stop one thing right now.

As if the poor offensive performances weren’t already reminiscent of the Longhorns of the early 2000s, now we’re going to bring back the embarrassing way in which we treated our starting quarterback?

Are we really going to turn this into a Longhorn Fan base v. Garrett Gilbert kind of crap again?

Thankfully the more educated faction of our fan base hasn’t latched on to this mindset quite yet, but a quick scour around the Longhorn message boards and it is embarrassing how many people take their angst for the pathetic showing from the Longhorns and project it upon a 19 year old kid who has shown nothing but class in a year where very few of us can say that.
As if we didn’t already have the reputation of a spoiled, petulant child fan base that turns on their own on a dime, this season’s performance could go into the Smithsonian Natural Museum of Whininess.

Waahhh, Garrett Gilbert isn’t Vince Young or Colt McCoy!!!!11!!1!!

Well Boo-fucking-hoo.

Who is?

You’re talking about a quarterback that won the school’s first national championship in 35 years, and a quarterback that had four years of work and won the most collegiate games in history against a quarterback with less than a full season of experience surrounded by the worst collection of offensive talent in the Mack Brown era?

To quote a very hot chick in a Windows phone commercial, “really?”

Now, we can all agree that Garrett Gilbert hasn’t been adequate this season. The interceptions are too high (although 11 of those have come in three games), the signature throw that we’ll all remember hasn’t been there, and he probably should have been pulled in Manhattan to save his confidence if nothing else.

But I’m not going to blame a kid that spent all off-season learning a completely new offense than what he’s learned in his entire life, learned a new offense than what he learned last season, is also the leading rusher on the team because the running game has given him no help, and is throwing to receivers that look like they slam Four Loko on the sidelines.

But maybe that is just me.

And through it all, through the worst season that a lot of this fan base has ever had to endure, the guy has been nothing but class.

He’s blamed himself. Said he has to get better. Said that the team has to rally and get better. Said that they’ll keep working until they get it right.

He didn’t blame his teammates for dropping passes or not protecting him in the pocket, or for giving him a deficit to come back from. He didn’t pass blame to the coaches for not letting him do enough. He didn’t say that these things happen and if the worst thing that ever happens in life is he loses a football game he’s okay. He didn’t complain about the lofty expectations hoisted upon him from his first start.

Nope, he’s just promised to get better…and what more can you ask than that?

Garrett Gilbert didn’t forget how to play football when he stepped on the Forty Acres. He didn’t set all sorts of records in high school because he was woefully inaccurate and lacked field vision.

And he damn sure didn’t almost come back to win us the national championship last season because he was a poor quarterback.

Do you remember that fateful night at the Rose Bowl, ten months ago?

That night where all of our shoulders did a collective slump when Colt McCoy came out, when Gilbert couldn’t find his helmet, when the rest of the first half looked admittedly a lot like this year? Where we couldn’t move the ball to save our life, and Gilbert threw a couple of interceptions? When we were down 24-6 at halftime?

Well do you remember the second half, too? The half where Gilbert threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns, and completed seven out of eight passes and threw for 64 yards on the scoring drive that brought them to within 24-21? Do you remember that we had a chance to win a national championship with 90 yards and three minutes to go, and how he was pulling his arm back to pass to a wide-ass open Jordan Shipley streaking down the sidelines before being hit from the blind side?

All done against an Alabama defense that allowed only 166 yards passing per game last season and only 244 yards total. The Crimson Tide defense allowed 11 points per game last season. The only quarterbacks to throw for more yards against Alabama last season were Paul McCall (FIU), Stephen Garcia (USC), Jonathan Crompton (TN) and Tim Tebow (FL).

Gilbert didn’t talk after the game about how excited he was just to get the opportunity. He didn’t make excuses about how he was short-handed, only throwing 26 passes all year before that moment. He didn’t gush about how it was really neat to get out there on the field.

He talked about his turnovers and how they cost his team the national championship.

He needs to get better on the field. He needs to get better in the film room. He needs to progress from a thrower to a quarterback. He needs to be more vocal. He needs to be that leader and iron rod in the huddle that his two predecessors were.

But this is the guy that wanted to be a Longhorn when he was 7 years old, whose hero was Major Applewhite and didn’t even entertain the thought of going to any other school.

Maybe the coaches will open up the quarterback position to competition this Spring. That might even be good for Gilbert, to show him that nobody here can be anointed anything after a season like this. But you know what? He’ll win that job because he’s the best man for the job.

He is going to work his ass off in the off-season to get better, because he’s lived his whole life to be the starting quarterback for the University of Texas.

Jump off the bandwagon if you must, but you can sit right over there on the couch with the Vince Young doubters and the Colt McCoy doubters.

On to the games...

Ohio State -3 @ Iowa:

Iowa hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 2004, but came close last year when the Buckeyes won in OT 27-24. Terrelle Pryor was held in check that day, throwing for only 93 yards and rushing for 29.

Iowa has struggled as of late, losing to Northwestern for the third straight year last week and skating by Indiana the week prior.

Ohio State owns the month of November, and own the Big 10. They win here.

Ohio State 24 Iowa 13
ATS – Ohio State
SU – Ohio State

Mississippi @ LSU -16:

Jeremiah Masoli hasn’t been much of a pick-up for the Rebels this year, throwing for more than 200 yards only twice on the season and rushing for 100 yards twice as well. Add to that a defense that is allowing 35 points and 382 yards per game, and it isn’t hard to tell why Mississippi is at 4-6.

LSU has won nine games and lost by a touchdown to what many consider the best team in the country (Auburn). But I’m not sure they have the offense to run away and hide from Mississippi…if they haven’t given up already.

LSU 28 Mississippi 16
ATS – Mississippi
SU – LSU

Stanford -6.5 @ Cal:

Cal sits at 5-5 but have played well at home, holding Oregon to a season low 15 points last week and only 34 combined points in four other home games.

Stanford was held to a season low 17 points last week against Arizona State, which was 14 points below their previous season low. Jeff Tedford is 7-1 against Stanford in his career at Cal, but he hasn’t faced a Stanford team such as this one.

Stanford 28 Cal 14
ATS – Stanford
SU – Stanford

Oklahoma -7.5 @ Baylor:

Which Oklahoma team shows up here? The one that is 1-2 on the road this year, with that one a two point win over 3-6 Cincinnati, or the one that can blow Texas Tech and Florida State out at home with ease?

It isn’t like Waco is an intimidating place to play at all, but they did roll up 500 yards in a loss to Texas A&M and 560 against Oklahoma State…so they’ll move the ball.

I think RGIII and Finley keep it a close game, but OU wins out in the end.

Oklahoma 34 Baylor 31
ATS – Baylor
SU – Oklahoma

Nebraska -2.5 @ Texas A&M:

The Aggies are feeling it with a four game winning streak under their belts, and this will be the biggest game in College Station in several years as it will be a good test of how far this team has progressed this year.

Nebraska can clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game here. I’m interested to see how Texas A&M and Tannehill do against a top notch defense, as they haven’t seen one in this stretch (Kansas 91st, Texas Tech 115th, Oklahoma 60th, Baylor 97th).

Should be a good game, but Nebraska is better.

Nebraska 31 Texas A&M 23
ATS – Nebraska
SU – Nebraska

Florida Atlantic @ Texas -21:

Sigh.

Who knew that a game against Florida Atlantic would turn out to be so important? Can the Horns snap a four game skid and give themselves a shot at bowl eligibility on Thanksgiving night?

And how depressing is it that we even have to think about that…or root against it if you are one of those types.

Anyhow, it is a bit hard to get a grip on Florida Atlantic. They only lost by 13 to Michigan State earlier in the year, throwing for 256 yards and holding the Spartans to 142 in the process. On the other hand, they’ve lost to 3-7 North Texas and beat 2-8 Western Kentucky and 2-8 Louisiana Lafayette by one point the past two weeks.

They have the nine returning starters on defense and three seniors in the secondary, so they will play some defense on you, allowing more than 31 points only once this year.

I’d like to think that this is the game where Texas figures it out and shows that they are interested in going to a bowl, but the problems here seem much deeper than what can be fixed in a week, even against a team that lost to North Texas.

Texas 24 Florida Atlantic 13
ATS – Florida Atlantic
SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for stocking up on Four Loko like Nucky Thompson.

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