The Week That Will Be (10.08.2011)

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 17-13 (.567) ATS 20-10 (.667) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Clemson might actually be for real…if they don’t pull a Clemson. While we were all enamored with their offense in their wins over Florida State and Auburn, they held Virginia Tech to 258 total yards and more importantly did it in Blacksburg. Impressive.

…that Russell Wilson would win the Heisman trophy if the season were four games long, as he ranks first nationally in yards per attempt and second in passing efficiency while leading Wisconsin to a drubbing of Nebraska.

…that Florida’s defense was over hyped while Alabama’s was not. Well, we knew that Alabama’s defense was for real, but after giving up 119 yards in the first two Gator possessions, they allowed 77 in the next nine and knocked John Brantley out of the game. Stout.

…that Robert Griffin won’t even get invited to New York with that defense. That Bears defense is giving up nearly 29 points per game, and sometimes you are going to lose shootouts.

…that A&M…what joke hasn’t been made already? The Mike Sherman era (21-21) is eerily similar to the Dennis Franchione (22-20) era at Texas A&M, which will join the toughest conference in the country next season, where games against Arkansas not in Fayetteville are looked upon as bye weeks.

And finally, we learned that there is something to this "Redemption Tour" (I refuse to call it "revenge") as Texas steamrolled Iowa State in the first half and thought about what might be in the new iPhone the rest of the night.

Anyhow…

"If you want it you can get it for the rest of your life." – Kanye West & Rhianna, All of the Lights

From this column in 2008:

"Youth wins.

Young Wilkinson beat old stodgy Texas. Young Royal turned the tables. Young Switzer did what Royal and his replacement Fred Akers better. Young Stoops beat Mack Brown with fresh new schemes and by being one of the first to use the spread offense which would become a staple in college football in this decade."

That was before the Texas/OU match-up where newly hired Will Muschamp and Major Applewhite helped Texas come out on top 45-35. Fast forward to 2011, and Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz will experience their first Texas/OU game.

They aren’t the only ones. Case McCoy and David Ash will go under center for the first time in this game. Malcolm Brown will play in his first OU game. As will Mike Davis. And Jaxson Shipley. As will most members of a young secondary.

At first glance, and apparently a lot of sports reporters this week never got past that first glance, that is an obvious downside to going with youth, that when you get to monumental games like this where emotion plays a big part and every play seems to be life or death that experience seems to triumph over talent.

But we all know that Texas and Oklahoma isn’t just another game.

Let’s look at just the Brown/Stoops Era. Quentin Griffin had 6 touchdowns in 2000. Jason White came off the bench in 2001 and led his team to victory. Adrian Peterson had 225 rushing yards in 2004. Jamal Charles (we finally get to a Longhorn) had a 80 yard touchdown scamper and a Texas freshman record 116 yards in 2005. Colt McCoy in 2006 threw for two scores.

Demarco Murray had 128 yards and a touchdown in 2007. Jermichael Finley didn’t have a catch in 2006 but had 4 for 149 and a touchdown in 2007. In 2008 Sam Bradford threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns, two of those to Jermaine Gresham, also playing in his first Texas/OU game. In 2009 Landry Jones threw for 250 yards and a touchdown in relief of an injured Bradford. Marquise Goodwin had the only Texas touchdown as a freshman that year. Kenny Stills had 78 receiving yards last year.

And who can forget James Brown in 1994 or Peter Gardere in 1989.

Experience matters…to a point. But in this game, where any Texas fan worth his salt can tell you who Bubba Jacques is, what matters most is opportunity.

It will be a wild scene on Saturday, as Lee Corso no doubt will fire off those deafening Ruffneck cannons just as 11 o’clock rolls around on the dial in a game that is literally in the middle of a carnival. But all of that will go out the window when the first person gets smashed in the mouth on the opening kickoff. Then it is just football.

And the opportunity to become the next Texas legend…no matter how many games you’ve played.

On to the games...

Auburn @ Arkansas -10:

Lost in the hoopla of Auburn’s win over South Carolina last week was the fact that Auburn turned the ball over four times, completed passes at a 3.4 yards per attempt rate and gave up 11 tackles for loss. Oh, South Carolina turned the ball over four times themselves and was 2 of 10 on third down conversions.

Arkansas should be able to move the ball here, but will they be able to stop anyone? They’ve allowed 104 points in the last three contests, don’t generate any sort of pass rush and don’t tackle anyone behind the line of scrimmage.

Arkansas 38 Auburn 31
ATS – Auburn
SU – Arkansas

Ohio State @ Nebraska -11:

Ohio State came very close to being shut out at home for the first time since 1982, averaged 3.3 yards per pass attempt and 3.4 yards per rush attempt last week…and now get to face a pissed off Nebraska team that is looking for a "name" win after getting embarrassed in their Big 10 opener last week.

Michigan State turned the ball over three times and missed a field goal inside the Ohio State 40 yard line last week. Nebraska in Lincoln won’t do that.

Nebraska 31 Ohio State 13
ATS – Nebraska
SU – Nebraska

Florida @ LSU -13.5:

Will Muschamp has his work cut out for him this week, getting this demoralized Florida team ready to go to Baton Rouge and take on LSU. True freshman Jeff Driskel gets the start, and if it is possible the defense he will face this week will be better than the defense he played last week.

That Florida defense might be able to keep it a game for a half or so, but LSU will eventually wear them down on both sides of the ball and run away with it.

LSU 31 Florida 10
ATS – LSU
SU – LSU

Missouri -3.5 @ Kansas State:

Yep, that about tells you the quality of the slate of games in the Big 12 this week.

Missouri 31 Kansas State 24
ATS – Missouri
SU – Missouri

Texas A&M -8.5 @ Texas Tech:

After getting owned by Tech for the better part of the aughts, the Aggies have won the last two in this series including a 45-27 win at Kyle Field last year where Ryan Tannehill threw for 449 yards and 4 touchdowns. But Tannehill has been rather ordinary this year, ranking 51st in the country in passing efficiency.

If he isn’t better than that, it is going to be hard for A&M to come out of here with a win. And it is going to be hard to come out of here with a win if the nation’s worst pass defense (allowing 337 yards per game) doesn’t snap out of it. A&M likes to put pressure on the quarterback, but they are sacrificing yards for sacks, and eventually that has killed them.

Aggies win…but have to hold on again.

Texas A&M 41 Texas Tech 37
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Texas A&M

Oklahoma -10 vs. Texas:

Awake from an alcohol-induced coma sometime in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game and you’ll probably be able to tell who is winning by how clean Landry Jones’ white jersey is. Let him stand in the pocket and he’ll pick you apart with his multitude of weapons. Rattle him, or pressure him, and he’ll start throwing the ball to the wrong team, hurry the already hurried offense and generally panic like an air traffic controller with a case of the runs. Get him out of his space, knock the Gatorade out of his hand on the sideline, just get him out of his rhythm.

It is also no secret that Jones struggles away from Norman, looking very pedestrian against Florida State in Tallahassee earlier this year and losing five of his first six road starts in his career. Oklahoma fans will try to tell you that it isn’t the case anymore, as he beat Baylor, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Connecticut on the road (or at neutral sites last year) to end the season, but you’ll kindly remind them that it is Baylor, he had three first half interceptions against Oklahoma State, that Nebraska was up 17-0 in that game and that wins against UConn only count in basketball.

Texas played Jones well last year, and played Oklahoma as a whole fairly well with the exception of Demarco Murrary, who is currently sparing everyone to death as a Dallas Cowboy this year and should be ineligible for this game but I wouldn’t put it past a Stoops brother to pull a fast one.

Play defense like we did last year and this game is very winnable (Ryan Broyles in three career games against Texas: 12 catches for 130 yards. Salty). Get in a shootout and we might as well go look for the fried banana pudding.

On offense, the good news is that Brent Venables was seen crying while cleaning crews cleaned out his office of 13 years of Greg Davis tendencies. Venables had to clear Dancing With the Stars and Heart of Dixie off his DVR and actually record more than one Texas game this year.

Now that the Greg Davis joke series is over, what will Texas try to do? Hell if I know, and that is the beauty of mad scientist Bryan Harsin. We know he will attack an Oklahoma defense that has looked flat out ordinary at times from multiple angles. He might try to pound Malcolm Brown against an undersized front seven that allowed 5.80 yards per carry to Missouri, or he might try to air it out against a defense that is susceptible to the big play (again), giving up scoring plays of 56, 24, 56, 45, and 48 (rushing) in their first three games.

There is absolutely nobody giving Texas a shot this week. Strike up the All I Do Is Win on the floor of the Cotton Bowl, LHB.

Texas 27 Oklahoma 24
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Fletcher’s Corny Dogs.

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