Same song, different verse.
Last Week: 4-2 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 33-45 (.423) ($1530) ATS 48-30 (.615) SU
We learned last week that when it is a showdown between the SEC and the ACC, always, always take the SEC...
...we learned that Stanford indeed had a lot left in the tank...
...that Notre Dame brings the ratings even if they don't always bring good football games...
...we learned that even if you score on 7 of 12 possessions, like Texas Tech did last Saturday, that can be cancelled out quickly if you turn it over on 4 of those other possessions...
...that Bobby Stoops can't beat the Irish, but certainly has the luck of the Irish...
And finally, we learned that if Texas can avoid being a touchdown favorite they are good...they've now lost 6 games since 2010 as a 7-point favorite or more...and all 6 of those were at home.
I simply don't know what to write about this week. We hear from the Austin American Statesman that Mack Brown is "drained", perhaps that explains the effort and the obvious lack of preparation for a TCU team that has been decimated by injuries and suspensions. A TCU team that starts 12 freshmen and sophomores and a TCU team that features a starting-22 that you'll be hard pressed to find a guy that Texas even offered.
No, much like his basketball counterpart, I'm drained from hearing the excuses from Mack Brown.
I'm tired of hearing that the "kids played hard" when it is obvious to everyone in the stadium that it just wasn't the case. I'm tired of getting dominated by teams when they throw the ball 9 times all game. I'm tired of walking into the stadium and seeing near empty sections because "we're Texas and they're not."
All week I had to hear Texas fans and bloggers sound incredulous that we would have a Hex Rally for TCU, as if TCU was a program that the SEC might schedule in mid-November. TCU has a Rose Bowl win since we've last been to a BCS game. TCU has won their conference. And TCU has a good chance to finish with the same record as we did this year despite losing their starting quarterback halfway through the year.
I'm tired of being second rate. Or hell, with a conference record of 11-14 the last three years we might be third rate right now.
We have a coaching staff that apparently is tired of trying to make adjustments, as the TCU offense gouged the same defensive fronts that we used going back to Ole Miss. The "power running SEC-style offense" that Mack Brown has talked about for three years averages less yards rushing per game than Temple and Ohio and Toledo and North Carolina and Western Kentucky and California. It barely ranks in the top half of a 10-team conference despite having two five-star running backs.
Where is the improvement? Where is the improvement from 2011, where we had a lackluster game against an inferior opponent on the road (2012: Kansas 2011: Missouri), a lackluster home loss (2012: TCU 2011: Kansas State), a blowout loss to Oklahoma, and a valiant effort home loss against a conference opponent (2012: West Virginia 2011: Oklahoma State)?
We have the highest paid coaching staff in the country, recruiting classes that rank near the top every year, the best resources available to any head coaching in the state...
And we're 11-14 (yes I can repeat that twice in one column) in conference play in the last three years, losing to programs like Iowa State and Missouri and would trade three-year records with Baylor and Oklahoma State.
Texas is still the best head coaching job in the country, and it is time for Mack Brown to step aside if he doesn't want it anymore or if he is "drained."
$3.5 million will buy many weeks in Cabo.
The sleeping giant in College Station has been awoken. Down years at Oklahoma are trips to the Sun Bowl. Oklahoma State and Baylor don't show any sign of dropping off after losing key players at key positions. And that TCU team that just whipped our ass up and down the field, as I said, returns many underclassmen next season.
Bury your head in the sand and say "we're Texas" and be content because 7 years ago he won a national championship and 3 years ago we lost a national championship, but in this fast paced world of college football, nothing is guaranteed, as we've seen programs like Alabama, Notre Dame and Michigan have extended down periods recently.
Or be like me, a season ticket holder, and be damned tired of teams coming into Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium and punching harder and longer. And being told in a roundabout way that we expect too much.
And with out of conference games against tougher than usual opponents Ole Miss and BYU, and road trips to TCU, West Virginia and Baylor on the schedule next season, should we expect any better next season record-wise?
No, Mack. I am drained.
At least the basketball games are on a network that most still can't get.
On to the games...
UCLA @ Stanford -9:
UCLA looked about as interested in winning this game last week as Texas was in beating TCU, prompting Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers to accuse Jim Mora Jr. of throwing the game to avoid Oregon.
Nevermind the fact that Stanford beat Oregon...and that Stanford is playing as well as anyone in the country right now. Their defense has been insane, holding UCLA and Oregon to a combined 31 points the past two weeks. They had 7 sacks last week...if UCLA lets that happen again, it will get ugly quick.
Stanford 27 UCLA 23
ATS - UCLA
SU - Stanford
Nebraska -3 vs. Wisconsin:
Wisconsin shouldn't even be here, finishing 4-4 in the conference but making the trip due to the post-season ineligibility of Ohio State and Penn State. To their credit, they have been close losses, losing three games in conference play in overtime (Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State).
Nebraska is playing defense well, too, ranking first in the country in pass defense and holding their last six opponents to an average of 17.5 points per game.
The regular season meeting between these teams was a three-point win by Nebraska, but I think they roll here.
Nebraska 31 Wisconsin 17
ATS - Nebraska
SU - Nebraska
Alabama -7 vs. Georgia:
Georgia has heard all week how it will be a Notre Dame vs. Alabama BCS National Championship game, so there might be some sort of pissed-off factor here, but consider Georgia's last few high profile affairs:
2012: Beat Florida 17-9; Lost to South Carolina 35-7
2011: Lost to Michigan State 33-30; Lost to LSU 42-10; Beat Florida 24-20; Lost to Boise State 35-21
Yikes. Can they win? Sure, their defense hasn't given up more than 14 points in their five games, quarterback Aaron Murray is first in the country in passing efficiency, and running back Todd Gurley has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven games this year.
But show me first.
Alabama 24 Georgia 13
ATS - Alabama
SU - Alabama
Oklahoma State -4.5 @ Baylor:
Oklahoma State is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma, but you have to wonder how much Baylor has left in the tank after beating #1 Kansas State and then coming back to defeat Texas Tech and become bowl eligible last week.
Oklahoma State has more to play for here.
Oklahoma State 44 Baylor 31
ATS - Oklahoma State
SU - Oklahoma State
Oklahoma -6.5 @ TCU:
Ever since the Baylor game week where Mike Stoops urged his defense to take "things personally" after the Bears won in 2011, the Sooners have given up 131 points in three games...but of course they have scored 143.
Can TCU win here? Sure. They have shown repeatedly they are not scared of the stage, and definitely have the defense to force Oklahoma to become one dimensional and perhaps pressuring Landry Jones into a few of his patented mistakes.
But is a young team that is prone to making mistakes good enough to beat Texas and Oklahoma in back to back weeks? Perhaps, but I don't see it.
Oklahoma 33 TCU 24
ATS - Oklahoma
SU - Oklahoma
Texas @ Kansas State -11.5:
Manhattan, Kansas has not been kind to Texas quarterbacks.
1998: M. Applewhite: 16/37 239 1/2
2002: C. Simms: 13/24 184 2/1
2006: C. McCoy 4/4 51 0/0; J. Snead 13/30 190 1/0
2010: G. Gilbert 32/59 272 1/5
Colt McCoy, of course, was injured in the 2006 affair, perhaps costing Texas the conference championship.
None of those games have anything to do with what will happen on Saturday night, but I just can't see it going any better for Case McCoy or an injured David Ash if he should see any playing time. If Alex King goes under center, we might as well find Die Hard 2 on cable.
The Wildcats only rank 80th in the country in pass defense, but those numbers might be inflated by playing in the Big 12. And any time they have allowed a quarterback to go crazy, they have made up for it by forcing turnovers.
A pair of Oklahoma State quarterbacks threw for 417 yards, but they were also intercepted 4 times. They allowed 331 to Seth Doege, but forced Texas Tech into 3 turnovers. Landry Jones threw for 299 yards but threw an interception and of course had the fumble near his own end zone.
They might bend a bit, but eventually they'll get theirs.
Yeah, Baylor got to them, but we all know how out of left field that was.
Texas has their work cut out for them here. What is their path to victory? Run the ball. Baylor was able to run for 342 yards, so the lanes are there, and the Horns of course have the backs to be able to do something similar to that.
Case McCoy doesn't have to be everything, but he'd better be effective, and absolutely cannot have any, "hey I can run for the first down but I'm going to launch a pass into a crowd of 4 guys" mishaps again. Turn in a performance like he did against UCLA last year (12/15 168 2/0), and we might have a chance with a decent running game.
Run the ball and don't turn the ball over. Good thing you aren't paying anything for this column.
Anyhow, I don't think the Longhorns have it in them to steal one here. They have already shown that their running game can be shut down this year, and we haven't seen enough from Case McCoy to make us believe that he can take an offense on his shoulders and lead it to victory against a top level opponent. Kansas State has had two weeks to sit there with a bad taste in their mouth...we had just better hope that it doesn't get out of hand...again.
Kansas State 34 Texas 17
ATS - Kansas State
SU - Kansas State
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Cabo.