The Week That Will Be (10.15.2011)

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 19-17 (.528) ATS 24-12 (.667) SU

Last week we learned that Gus Malzahn is no magician, as Auburn completed 9 passes for 104 yards. The fact that Auburn is 4-2 might be a minor miracle…

…we learned that this Nebraska team is not that good, as they had to mount a furious comeback on a beleaguered Ohio State squad. We might have learned that Joe Bauserman might be the most troubled quarterback in college football, as he went 1 for 10 with an interception in relief of the injured Braxton Miller.

…we learned that the new NCAA celebration rule is truly lame, as the LSU punter is the first victim. Kind of like arresting Al Capone’s shoe shine guy, no?

…we learned that Gary Pinkel is still a jackass, as he ignored Bill Snyder’s overtures at the end of K-State’s win over Missouri.

…we learned that Texas A&M would have once again blown a second half lead had it not been for a blocked field goal and a punt returned deep into Tech territory. The Aggies only averaged 3.2 yards per play in the half.

...and finally, we learned that no matter how much we wished it wasn’t the case, a rebuilding job isn’t done in a day.

Anyhow…

I stood in the courtyard of the Old Mill, unable to even speak due to a mixture of disappointment, befuddlement and general crankiness, drinking a beer that didn’t taste any better than the wax cup that it came in. Surrounded by merriment and joy, I couldn’t think of a worse place to be on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

How in the hell did that happen?

If you read this column last week you probably know what I think about the youth theory…Missouri has a sophomore quarterback and a sophomore running back and seemed to handle the moment just fine in Norman. Florida State lost their quarterback and had to put in a freshman quarterback that handled the moment adequately.

Perhaps it does make a difference when just about EVERYONE on your two deep is playing in their first Texas/OU game, but c’mon, we need guys with 2 or 3 years experience to stay within 38 points of Oklahoma?

But it’s over. There have been some fabulous write-ups on this website and others about what happened and why, so I’m not going to dwell too much on it.

Instead, where do we go in the short term? Here is what I’d like to see as we go into the second half of the season after this game:

- Find a quarterback. There has not been a quarterback rotation in the history of football that has actually worked*. Whether the idea was to see both of these guys, or whether neither of these guys seized the reins since then, the quarterback rotation needs to settle into a manageable situation where one guy can start working on a rapport with his already depleted receiving corps. I know at Texas we like to pick sides and call ourselves a "Fill in the Blank" guy, but I honestly don’t care who it is, he just needs to be pinpointed over these next couple of games so we can go into next season with a clear path, and so the University Co-op doesn't have to keep making a bunch of different jerseys.

*don't quote me on that

- Give the ball to Malcolm Brown. I thought we had decided to make this Malcolm Brown’s offense in Pasadena when he carried the ball 22 times, but against Iowa State he carried the ball 15 times and against Oklahoma he carried it 17 times. This team is not a passing team by any sense of the imagination. Begin to embrace the identity of a run first team that sets up the pass, like Boise State has been the past few years. More people around the country should know who Malcolm Brown is at this point of the year. Pull a Barney Stinson and say "excuse me America have you met Malcolm?"

- Keep up the Accountability. Rotate in and out. If someone looks at you wrong, take him out and put someone else in. If someone misses a block and our quarterback gets clobbered, take him out. If techno music is played at all, take the sound guy out. This year is about getting back to where you want to be, yes, but it is also about finding the guys that can help you get there.

- Win. Duh. We’re back to trying to be realistic here, but win the games you should win on paper (Kansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State); win at least one in the trio of Texas A&M, at Missouri and at Baylor; and give Oklahoma State all they can handle this weekend and show me that you’re better than the product put on the field last week. How are we supposed to be arrogant Texas fans if we get beat by 38?

But, if this season should go the way of 2010, please give the proper notice to find a decent beer.

On to the games...

LSU -17 @ Tennessee:

The one thing you need to know about this game is that Tennessee has struggled mightily against the two best defenses they have faced, needing 10 fourth quarter points to make it respectable against Florida and rushing for -21 yards against Georgia last week.

LSU is slightly better than those two squads. Factor in that Vols QB Tyler Bray is out and while these two teams usually play close games, I’m not sure how Tennessee scores here.

LSU 31 Tennessee 6
ATS – LSU
SU – LSU

Michigan @ Michigan State -2:

Michigan State has won the last three in this series, and they get it done here as they are at home and have the better defense. The Spartans actually have statistically the nation’s best in total defense, but of course they have played juggernauts like Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic before Notre Dame and a watered-down Ohio State team.

Michigan State 24 Michigan 16
ATS – Michigan State
SU – Michigan State

Arizona State @ Oregon -14.5:

In what looks to be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game, Arizona State looks for more respect here after a road win at Utah last week and a close loss in Illinois earlier in the year.

The Sun Devils might have a chance if Oregon comes out as sloppy as they did last week, but Brock Osweiler will have to play his best game yet in order to beat Oregon at Autzen.

Oregon 44 Arizona State 24
ATS – Oregon
SU – Oregon

Kansas State @ Texas Tech -3:

If it isn’t surprising that Kansas State is 5-0 it might be surprising how they got there, defeating Miami, Baylor and Missouri along the way. And they’re doing it with defense again, giving up only 326 total offensive yards to Missouri last week, who is averaging 478 yards otherwise.

Tech might very well protect their home field here, but it is setting up for the classic trap game right after a rivalry game (Texas A&M) and right before a big game (@ Oklahoma). Kansas State likes to run the ball, and Tech is more than willing to let them, giving up 224 yards on the ground per game this year.

Kansas State 31 Texas Tech 27
ATS – Kansas State
SU – Kansas State

Baylor @ Texas A&M -9.5:

How in the world does Texas A&M stop Baylor here? The Bears average 562 yards and 47 points per game, and Robert Griffin is 2nd in passing efficiency and 5th in total offense. If the Aggies couldn’t stop Tyler Wilson (510 yards passing), Seth Doege (391 yds, 3 TD) and Brandon Weeden (438), how in the world are they going to stop Griffin, who is certainly better than two of those guys and might be the best of the bunch?

This will be a shootout, and right now I think Baylor is a better football team. They go into Kyle Field and pull off the upset.

Baylor 42 Texas A&M 37
ATS – Baylor
SU – Baylor

Oklahoma State -8 @ Texas:

Oklahoma State dominated last year’s game in Austin, adding 10 points in the final 1:15 of the first half on their way to a 33-3 lead at one point before giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it somewhat respectable.

You know Weeden and Blackmon. Weeden had 409 and a touchdown against us last year, that touchdown going to Blackmon, who had 145 yards receiving against NFL second-rounder Aaron Williams.

The Cowboys are averaging 577 yards and 51 points per game…so forget about winning any sort of shootout with them, at least with our offense. About your only chance is to have Weeden throw interceptions, which he was apt to do early in the season, but he hasn’t thrown an interception in his last two games, throwing the ball 88 times in that span.

Get the running game going, shorten the game and get the turnovers that they got against UCLA and Iowa State and the Longhorns might have a chance. But this team might be better than OU. Uh oh.

Oklahoma State 37 Texas 21
ATS – Oklahoma State
SU – Oklahoma State

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for removable paint and fish bait.

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