Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
It is time we recognize those that make our life better.
Last Week: 2-4 ATS 2-4 SU
For the Year: 29-43 (.403) ATS 44-28 (.611) SU
We learned last week that there is absolutely nothing witty to come up with when talking about Wake Forest and Notre Dame, but the Irish did what they had to do against an inferior opponent, something they haven't always done this year...
...we learned that the Battle of Los Angeles might have swung UCLA's way for at least a year, but if I told you a year ago that UCLA would play in the first two Pac-12 Championship games...you might have had me committed.
...we learned that Oregon has trouble with physical front lines. That was Oregon's lowest scoring output since Chip Kelly's first game as Ducks head coach, a loss at Boise State featuring the infamous LaGarrette Blount incident.
...that Texas Tech finds it impossible to win in Stillwater (winless since 2001), and Oklahoma State wins despite starting quarterback Clint Chelf completing only 10 passes...for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns.
...we learned that West Virginia is in trouble with Mike Stoops next year, as the Sooners will no doubt take it personally that the Mountaineers put up 49 points. West Virginia might only put up 45...
...and finally, we learned that you just don't go into Waco, Texas in mid-November and expect to come away with a win.
It is that time of year that we give thanks for everything we have, only to have our women-folk leave us in the middle of the night to go stand in line in the name of corporate America and desire what we do not have. Women ruin everything.
Anyhow, since it is Thanksgiving, it is time to give thanks to those that have touched my life this past year.
To Les Miles, thanks for being yourself, and thanks for not being the coach of the team that I follow.
To Austin Beer Works, thanks for Fire Eagle.
To Marquise Goodwin, thanks for pursuing your Olympic dream and then rushing back to be a part of this football team. From your kickoff return against Texas A&M in '09 or the touchdown against Oklahoma that same year, you always provided a spark and your big play ability will be missed.
To D.J. Grant, thanks for saving us against Kansas this year and for fighting back to be a part of this team after a devastating knee injry.
To Jeremy Hills, thanks for doing the dirty work in the backfield and for keeping the quarterback upright.
To Alex King, thanks for saving our team at points this season, and for being our MVP against Oklahoma this year.
To Barrett Matthews, thanks for boosting our rushing totals the past two years.
To D.J. Monroe, thanks for the excitement you brought every time you touched the ball, and for your versatility and ability to play multiple positions during your tenure here. You weren't always utilized effectively, and that is unfortunate.
To Alex Okafor, thanks for sacrificing portions of your career to play out of position at defensive tackle, and for morphing into one of the best pass rushers in the country this year.
To Luke Poehlmann, thanks for your versatility and for that mullet.
To Ryan Roberson, thanks for switching positions and realizing your best path to help this team.
To Kenny Vaccaro, thanks for your work on the field, shutting down the opponent's best receiver a multitude of times.
To Jackson Crawley, Michael Cruciani, Jaren Nickleson, Taylor Silguero, Brad Terry, thanks for walking on to this team, sacrificing your body, brain and time in order to make your University's football team that much better.
To Nate Boyer, thanks for your service, performing operations far more important than anything that happens on Saturdays around here. You were recently named the most inspirational figure in college football, and I can't find any fault in that.
To Tommy Tuberville, thanks for not slapping me.
To Texas A&M, thanks for the one week reprieve from talk of SEC winning yet another national championship.
To Victoria's Secret, thanks for the annual fashion show.
To The College Football Games That I Picked This Year, thanks for making me look like an idiot. I appreciate it, pal.
To Maryland/Rutgers, thanks for not blaming the Longhorn Network as a reason for leaving your conference, too.
To the Longhorn Network, thanks for the effort, but my satellite provider doesn't want to hear it anymore.
To Art Briles, thanks for not going for it on 4th and 1.
To Samantha Steele, thanks for validating being up at 8:00 AM on a Saturday.
To the people of Oxford, MS, thanks for showing us tremendous hospitality. We hope we can return the favor next fall.
To Terrelle Pryor, et al, thanks for getting tattoos and saving us from having to hear about Ohio State all year only to crap the bed in a BCS bowl.
To my five-month old son Jackson, thanks for giving me perspective and for a newfound purpose in this mundane life that we live. You are a blank canvas, and it is my every intention to mold you into a man that does the same for the world.
To Starbucks & Coffee Bean, thanks for being the father of a five-month old with an 8-5 desk job's best friend.
On to the games...
Florida @ Florida State -7:
Florida State is a one-point defeat to North Carolina State from being in pole position to play in the national championship game - a game that they lead 16-3 heading to the fourth quarter - ouch.
Florida, of course, only has one loss as well, but they have needed miracles from Lord Tebow to beat Louisiana-Lafayette, Missouri and, to some extent, Bowling Green.
How does Florida's anemic offense come away with points in Tallahassee?
Florida State 23 Florida 10
ATS - Florida State
SU - Florida State
Stanford -2 @ UCLA:
We gave Stanford a lot of respect last week...my only question is, how much do they have left in the tank after facing Oregon State and Oregon the past two weeks? Of course the same could be said about UCLA after an emotional win last week.
Stanford still needs to win this one to punch their ticket to the Pac-12 Championship game...against UCLA. They have more to play for here.
Stanford 27 UCLA 17
ATS - Stanford
SU - Stanford
Notre Dame -6 @ USC:
USC is just looking to save some face while Notre Dame is looking to lock a trip to their first BCS Championship game. The Trojans will be without Matt Barkley, starting fellow Mater Dei alum Max Wittek in his place, who was brazen enough this week to guarantee a win over the Fighting Irish.
I'm not sure that Notre Dame plays like a number one team in the country should play, but they have been getting by, and while USC certainly has the talent and the ability to upset the Irish here, I wonder if after three losses in four games if they just want to get this over with at this point.
Notre Dame 24 USC 17
ATS - Notre Dame
SU - Notre Dame
Texas Tech vs. Baylor -2.5:
A Texas Tech defense that everyone was finally praising after holding West Virginia to 14 points has given up 2,275 yards in the five games since then - an average of 455 yards per game. They now face a Baylor offense that just put 580 yards on the #1 team in the country...
Baylor 45 Texas Tech 38
ATS - Baylor
SU - Baylor
Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma -7:
Oklahoma State has a nice run going since their September loss to Texas, going 5-1 in that time period despite injuries at the quarterback position. Their offense gets the headlines, but their defense has only given up 93 points in those five wins.
Oklahoma had the shakiest of shaky wins last week in Morgantown, this following a Baylor game that came down to the final minutes and an Iowa State game that was close into the fourth quarter.
Which Landry Jones shows up for Oklahoma? The 2011 version that threw 2 interceptions in Stillwater during a 44-10 Oklahoma State win? Or the 2010 version that threw for 468 yards and 4 touchdowns (but did have 3 interceptions)? Or the 2009 version that threw for 224 yards?
The Cowboys haven't won in Norman since a 16-13 upset over #4 Oklahoma in 2001...a game that sent Texas to the Big 12 Championship game...a game that never happened.
Unfortunately I don't see history repeating itself here.
Oklahoma 37 Oklahoma State 33
ATS - Oklahoma State
SU - Oklahoma
TCU @ Texas -7:
TCU has lost four out of six games since Casey Pachall was arrested, suspended and left school...but Trevone Boykin has been adequate in his place, throwing for 13 touchdowns in those six games.
The flip side of that is that Boykin has also thrown 8 interceptions in 6 games, at least one in every game besides their 49-21 victory over Baylor. The Horned Frogs have also been sloppy carrying the football, fumbling at least once in their last 5 games. Add to that the fact that they have committed 41 penalties in those 6 games, and it is easy to see how they have lost four out of six...they commit dumb mistakes at the wrong time.
And they've also given up 211 points in those 6 games. Of course this is the Big 12, so in four of those games they actually gave up less points than their opponent was averaging on the season.
Besides the turnovers, their offense has been up and down. They scored 23 against Iowa State in Boykin's debut, only to score 49 the next week in a victory over Baylor. They scored 53 in a triple overtime loss to Texas Tech, but then went out the next week and only put up 14 in Stillwater. They win in Morgantown scoring 39 points (in double OT), but then only score 10 against a Kansas State defense that was just blasted by Baylor. Injuries at the running back position has hampered the team all season, not really allowing them to develop a consistent rushing attack, but it appears for the most part they'll be healthy in this one.
The Texas defense has improved upon their disastrous start, giving up 46 points in their last 3 games, including giving up only 277 yards to Iowa State last time out at home. Their play of late not only has you wondering why they couldn't have played this well all year, but also makes you wonder how good they might have been with a healthy Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks.
Quarterback David Ash has put his Kansas troubles behind him, throwing for 628 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions in his past two games. They might need to rely on Ash here, as TCU is only giving up 98 yards per game on the ground this year.
Expect a hard fought, tough game that will likely be close well into the fourth quarter, as TCU certainly won't be intimidated by the national stage, and their defense is good enough to keep them in most games.
I think Texas eventually wears them down and makes a few plays late to pull away.
Texas 31 TCU 21
ATS - Texas
SU - Texas
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for your "Anything But Turkey" dinner Saturday night.