John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
Perhaps Texas should visit that Yellow Brick Road as well.
Last Week: 1-5 ATS 3-3 SU
For the Year: 23-31 (.426) ATS 33-21 (.611) SU
We learned last week that although Michigan hasn't been very good with Denard Robinson this year, they are terrible without him, as back-up quarterback Russell Bellomy had as many completions to his own team as he did to Nebraska (3)...
...we learned that Will Muschamp is a Georgia spy, as the Florida coach is now 0-2 against his alma mater, and Georgia has their first win streak in this series since 1987-89...
...that Alabama is a Terminator machine, facing their first challenge in the SEC and spitting Mississippi State out. The Crimson Tide have only given up 65 points in 8 games...
...speaking of machines, Kansas State scored on 8 straight possessions starting in the second quarter on the way to a rout of Texas Tech. The Wildcats only have 4 turnovers in 8 games...
...and finally, we learned that Texas might want to ride that Kansas tornado to the Yellow Brick Road to find their Relentlessness, Intensity, Swagger and Emotion. Hell, Texas fans will settle for one of them.
I'm not really sure what that display was on Saturday, but I sure didn't see any swagger or emotion and the only intensity I saw was the quickness in which the offensive players wished to get back to their rented heated benches on the Kansas sideline.
A game that should have been over by half-time, a game that was a brief respite in the middle of a brutal Big 12 slate, instead turned into a game where some of us were wondering if a loss wouldn't be the best thing for this team to awaken the giant that appears to be sleeping, the giant that will fix the three-year malaise this squad has been under.
If Mack Brown or his assistants are indeed fighting for their job, or certain players are working towards making themselves better, that certainly wasn't on display, as the team and coaching staff looked like they couldn't wait to get back to Austin to go to dinner or hit up that Halloween frat party.
If this is Texas football...the timid are winning.
This is the 15th year for Mack Brown at Texas, and it appears that we still don't understand that we are indeed Texas, and that every opponent circles this game on the calendar and knows that if they beat Texas...if they knock off the big boy in the conference, that is one hell of a feather in the cap when they hit the recruiting trail and talk to the guys that Texas doesn't even bother talking to.
Or perhaps Texas isn't any good, which is also perplexing seeing as how every assistant coach makes top money, highly ranked recruiting classes continue to filter in, and the most profitable athletic department in the country means that every resource is at their fingertips.
Which is it? A team that hasn't earned anything is going through the motions, or this team with everything at its disposal is so bad it can only barely beat Kansas?
It is so-called SHOWDOWN SATURDAY this weekend in college football, which sounded a lot better when LSU was undefeated and USC didn't have two losses. In a season devoid of a whole lot of drama amongst its top teams, the drama might very well be....what if everyone goes undefeated?
It won't happen, of course. These things normally work themselves out, but look at the remaining games left for each contender and see if you see much in the way of a challenge:
Alabama: at LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn
Oregon: at USC, at Cal, Stanford, Oregon State
Kansas State: Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor, Texas
Notre Dame: Pittsburgh, at Boston College, Wake Forest, at USC
Get past LSU this weekend, and Alabama will be a double-digit favorite at home for its remaining three games (and of course a likely SEC Championship match-up with Georgia or Florida).
Oregon travels to pre-season favorite USC this weekend, but after that has 3-6 Cal on the road before they return to Autzen for their tougher games. Kansas State might find tough sledding if TCU or Baylor catch fire, but should be able to handle an Oklahoma State team starting a true freshman and a Texas team that it owns.
And finally, if Notre Dame can keep playing defense like it is playing, those three ACC/Big East also-rans will be easy sledding before a tough trip to the Coliseum, but one which they won in 2010.
Likely? No, but certainly conceivable, and although a playoff is within sight, BCS Armageddon is always worth watching out for.
On to the games...
Texas A&M -6.5 @ Mississippi State:
The Bulldogs don't get after the quarterback much, so that should open some things up for Johnny Manziel to improvise, but at the same time, their back seven is good enough to hold A&M in check. The Aggies win, but it will be a close one.
Texas A&M 28 Mississippi State 24
ATS - Mississippi State
SU - Texas A&M
Oregon -8 @ USC:
USC was thought to be a contender, if not the favorite, for the national championship coming into the season, but find themselves in the middle of the pack in both total offense and total defense...that might be good enough to beat Utah, Washington and Colorado, but not Oregon, who has 49 or more points in 6 of their 8 games and this year features a defense, which is holding opponents to 19 points per game.
There is something amiss in Los Angeles, and this is a terrible week to try to fix things.
Oregon 43 USC 31
ATS - Oregon
SU - Oregon
Alabama -9.5 @ USC:
I'm having a hard time imagining LSU doing anything when they have the ball. They had a better offense last year, but could only manage three field goals against Alabama in their two meetings. Add to that mix a shaky offensive line situation and the dreadful Zach Mettenberger, and seriously, how do they score?
Alabama, meanwhile, features A.J. McCarron, who has seen defenses like this, seen a scene like this, and has won games like this. The Tide rolls again.
Alabama 27 LSU 10
ATS - Alabama
SU - Alabama
TCU @ West Virginia -6.5:
TCU has fared okay against Air Raid offenses the past two weeks (Texas Tech and Oklahoma State), but at the end buckled under the pressure of having to score so much to keep pace.
West Virginia's struggles are well documented, but I have to think at some point they turn it on again.
West Virginia 41 TCU 34
ATS - West Virginia
SU - West Virginia
Oklahoma State @ Kansas State -9.5:
With all the crazy offenses in the Big 12, it is Oklahoma State that not only leads the conference, but the nation in total offense, averaging 586 yards and 44 points per game. This is, however, only the second career road start for true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt...and what a place to make it.
You have to think that Kansas State struggles in one at some point, but Klein is too good, and Lunt to inexperienced, for the Wildcats to go down here.
Kansas State 38 Oklahoma State 35
ATS - Oklahoma State
SU - Kansas State
Texas @ Texas Tech -7.5:
Texas Tech is trying to avoid a similar collapse to last season, when they were 5-2 coming off a monumental upset over Oklahoma in Norman then proceeded to lose their last five, including a 52-20 loss in Austin.
They face a Texas team that obviously has enough problems to almost lose to Kansas and never seems to play well in Lubbock despite winning three out of their last four ballgames in the South Plains.
After a strong first half of the season defensively, Tech has shown some holes lately, giving up 108 points and 377 yards rushing in their last two games. Texas should be able to move the ball effectively if last week's offensive output was an aberration.
On defense, Texas doesn't have much to stop Tech. Seth Doege is a fifth-year senior who fits right in line with other Red Raiders quarterbacks, throwing for 2,540 yards and 30 touchdowns this season to only 8 interceptions in 317 passing attempts.
It is put up or shut up time. We're heard the excuses, we've heard the proclamations, we've heard the "we can do so and so and still go to a nice bowl game...." statements.
Show us the baby.
Go out and win this one with a demanding performance and perhaps you'll earn a bit of respect.
Right now, I don't see how Texas doesn't get blown out here, much less wins the ballgame.
Texas Tech 48 Texas 28
ATS - Texas Tech
SU - Texas Tech
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Wurstfest.