Last Week: 3-3 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 7-5 (.583) ATS 9-3 (.750) SU
What we learned last week:
• Will Muschamp might be the supposed master motivator, but it is hard to motivate a quarterback not to throw two interceptions and fumble once…as Florida has found out about Jeff Driskel more than once before.
• Georgia might still have a chance at a national championship despite their loss to Clemson in Week 1, but that won’t happen if they give up the 6,000 yards they are on pace to give up this regular season the rest of the year.
• Devin Gardner might have weird taste in uniform numbers and might have made the worst decision in the history of football, but five scores in primetime against Notre Dame says he has a little something.
• An awful game for Oregon that included 9 penalties, only two third down conversions and featured Marcus Mariota only completing 50% of his passes for 199 yards…and a 49-point margin of victory in a game that wasn’t that close from the beginning.
• If West Virginia didn’t have the offense of a Pop Warner team more concerned about post-game sodas, they might have done something with the two red zone interceptions that Trevor Knight handed them last week. Bob Stoops then intervened and had Knight Nancy Kerrigan-ed behind the Gatorade coolers to rid him in a nice way. That last part might have been made up…but we can’t prove it.
• And finally…oh Mack. Mack, Mack, Mack.
Look, I’m not going to go into this too deeply. There has been plenty written on this site this week about the ineptitude displayed last Saturday in Provo, including here, here, here, here, here and here. We said two weeks ago that we were tired of Mack Brown talking, and wanted to see some meaning behind those words, and it took exactly two weeks to show that the Wizard behind Oz wore shirts tucked into gym shorts and relied on a defensive coordinator that scribbled defensive schemes down off his copy of NCAA Football 2014, and if this administration and top-level boosters cared about this football program anymore he would be designing the new basketball arena starting in December.
But they apparently like their access better than their alma mater, so let’s move on.
This week in The Week That Will Be we take a look at a rematch ten months in the making, as the two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide travel to College Station to take on the state’s premier football program (raised eyebrow) Texas A&M…
While you were enjoying your summer, perhaps taking in a baseball game, or taking a dip in the pool, or renting a catamaran in the Caribbean, I picture Nick Saban this summer spending his time in a dark basement.
A projection screen captures Johnny Manziel galloping through the Alabama defense like DMX in a Detroit hotel, all the while Saban scratches his four-day old beard with a pencil, scribbling notes on a worn notepad amidst jars of urine and discarded Red Bull cans.
And we all know what Johnny Manziel’s summer looked like.
So will we see Alabama rise up, and see Manziel wilt under the pressure of high expectations, or will we see Manziel score a few touchdowns, all the while eating the head off a live bat, exposing Nick Saban’s defense as vulnerable to the spread offense?
Does Texas A&M, a school many laughed at when it joined the SEC (including yours truly), suddenly become top dog of the conference 12 months into its membership? Well no, there is such a thing as a conference championship trophy to win, and oh yeah, Reveille will no doubt have a good view of Alabama’s two straight crystal trophies, but there could be a legitimate conversation over whether the Aggies are at least the future of the conference.
Or does Alabama put the Aggies back in their place, go on to Pasadena in January while the Aggies go to Arlington or Orlando or Tampa or whatever other non-descript Florida city on January 1st, spending their New Years ringing in 2014 playing shuffleboard (while Johnny Manziel spends it on South Beach, of course)?
Does Kevin Sumlin become the hottest coaching property this side of Eric Taylor or does Nick Saban further solidify his leadership of the old guard of college football? Does Jake Spavital or Kirby Smart become the hottest upstart head coaching candidate? How many questions can I ask and not answer in my own column?
It should be great theater.
On to the games...
UCLA @ Nebraska -4.5:
UCLA took Bo Pelini’s defense to the woodshed last year in Pasadena, rolling up more than 650 yards in a 36-30 Bruins win. Jim Mora’s squad is the better one here, as they’ll wreck an inconsistent Cornhusker defense once again.
UCLA 31 Nebraska 24
ATS – UCLA
SU – UCLA
Ohio State -16 @ California:
The question here is whether or not Braxton Miller will play, but when California gets ran by Northwestern in Week 1 and pulls out a narrow victory over Portland State in Week 2 you get the feeling it doesn’t matter if he plays.
With that being said, beware the back-door cover here.
Ohio State 41 California 28
ATS – California
SU – Ohio State
Alabama -8 @ Texas A&M:
The Aggies have their full assortment of defensive talent available (at least at press time they do), and they need them, as they have given up points and yards to schools more known for their academics (Rice) or criminal justice degrees (Sam Houston), rather than their fortitude on the football field, much less against a mighty S-E-C team.
Alabama looked mighty ordinary on offense against Virginia Tech two weeks ago, but you have to wonder how much they really tried, because really, is Virginia Tech beating Alabama in any universe out there?
All big picture stuff aside, if the Aggies could pull this one off, they have an outside shot at being ranked #1 in the country and likely not facing another Top-15 opponent until LSU the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
But…how many times does Nick Saban lose to an opponent two times in a row? Well, in the last 12 years, once, LSU in 2010 and 2011. And, of course, we all remember that Alabama defeated LSU 21-0 two months after that 2011 rematch.
Saban takes this round.
Alabama 27 Texas A&M 21
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Alabama
Tulsa @ Oklahoma -24:
Wow. Previewing this game after this that one?
Oklahoma 38 Tulsa 10
ATS – Oklahoma
SU – Oklahoma
TCU -3.5 @ Texas Tech:
It is Thursday night on the Plains, which means like every Thursday night lots of students will get drunk and be loud, only this time they’ll do it in a campus facility.
It is the Baker Mayfield/Trevone Boykin Show, which excites nobody but their respective families, but this game was a good one last year as it went to triple overtime before Tech eventually won 56-53.
I wouldn’t quite expect those fireworks, but I think TCU stumbles here.
Texas Tech 34 TCU 27
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Texas Tech
Mississippi @ Texas -2.5 :
The only safe bet here is that this game will in no way resemble last season’s massacre in Oxford, where Texas ran up 676 total yards in a 66-31 drubbing of the upstart Rebels.
David Ash, who threw for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns against Ole Miss last season, likely won’t even suit up for this one, so things will be left in the hands of back-up Case McCoy, who threw six touchdowns and three interceptions in limited duty last year.
Amid the turmoil on defense, Texas will have to face Ole Miss quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, who have combined for 40 carries this season, compared to 16 for their top running back Jeff Scott.
Look, I trust Case McCoy leading my team into battle about as much as I trust Kim Kardashian to baptize my child, and every trend in the book tells us that Mississippi could very well line up and do much the same that BYU did to our little team, but something tells me that we’ll hear some crap about "nobody believed in us", there will be a fire in the belly, and Texas manages to pull one out in the end.
It is up to you to decide whether or not that pleases you.
Texas 31 Ole Miss 28
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Oklahoma State’s legal fund.