Season record 28-21-3 up 9 units. 6-4 in two unit plays.
Well, went a stellar 4-1 last week and would have swept the board with an Illinois cover. Up 11 points, Illinois ran 4 plays inside of Ball State's 12 yard line with the last play being a clock killing first down. Now if your Ball State's head coach, after watching B.C. last week and knowing there are 2 plus minutes to go and you need two scores if you hold IU to a field goal, why the hell wouldn't you use your time outs? I don't understand how some of these clowns get coaching jobs. Going for two with an 11 point lead, punting with under two minutes to go down by a TD, etc. Some of these asshats should be wearing clown suits with over-sized shoes. On to the picks.
Call a f'n timeout.
KSU -14 @ ISU. Iowa State has spent the last three weeks playing a murderer's row of conference opponents in Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. They were manhandled by Texas, but played Oklahoma tough leading most of the game, and staying within earshot of an explosive Mizzu club in a 42 to 28 loss. Folks, this is a tired, beaten down football team that needs to play Baylor quick. In Kansas State we get a team that is 6-1 against the spread with its only loss coming in a let down spot after an upset against Texas. They waxed a hapless Baylor team last week after coming out rather slow in the first half.
The numbers tell an even better story if you're a KSU backer. KSU is averaging 5.8 yards per play (ppl) vs. opponents that average giving up 5.2 yards ppl. On defense Iowa State is allowing 5.6 yards ppl vs. offenses that average 5.8 yards. There is a solid advantage for KSU when these two units are on the field. But it gets even better when you look at the other unit matchup. KSU's defense gives up 4.8 against opponents averaging 5.4 ppl while Iowa State's offense averages gets 4.5 ppl vs. opponent defenses averaging 5.5 ppl. A full yard difference. For ISU, their offensive output includes 400 yard games vs. Toledo, Northern, Iowa, and Nebraska. With Jordy Nelson and James Johnson returning punts and kicks, they have a huge edge in special teams. Not to mention a coaching advantage in Michael Wilbon look-a-like Ron Prince vs. Mean Gene "playaction machine" Chizik. Can anyone forget how Prince's KSU offense pantsed Chizik's Texas defense last year? A defense that started atleast 6 NFL players. KSU is going to have fun in this one. 34 to 10.
Ron Prince will exploit Chizik once again.
Washington -3 @ Stanford.Nice short line here for a superior Washington group as well as a homecoming of sorts for coach Willingham who might be on the hot seat. Consider this game to be a clash between two teams with completely different public perceptions. Eventhough they are 2-6, Washington is grossly under valued considering they have played boise state bcs #22, Ohio State bcs #1, ASU bcs #4, and Oregon bcs #5 and USC when they were #1. Stanford obviously has the glamour win vs. USC. Hence we're laying the short 3 here.
Matchup wise, you couldn't ask for a better situation if you're the beleaguered Husky rush defense giving up 5.2 yards per rush which is .8 yards more than opponents have averaged. Stanford runs it for a flat 3 yards per carry and is currently ranked 105 in rushing and now the Cardinal is down to its 3rd string tailback. On offense, Locker and company should find success on the ground as they've dropped points on virtually every team they've faced. This is also a revenge spot for Washington. Stanford will score but they won't be able to score with UW. 34 to 24 Washington.
**TCU -3 vs. New Mexico. Two units**After a disappointing start this year, the Frogs have a chance to turn it around coming off a bye last week. They'll be as healthy as they've been all year as their best offensive player Aaron Brown and their best defensive player Tommy Blake will play in the same game for the first time since opening up against Baylor. The linesmakers are telling us that New Mexico would be a favorite on a neutral field against TCU, but if you lined this game at the beginning of the year it would be double digits. Lots of value here.
It's tough to accurately project this TCU squad's performance based on the results of the last 8 games. They simply have not been healthy, and I'm betting they'll begin to perform at a level most folks expected prior to the season. I expect Aaron Brown to run, Andy Dalton to stop hitting LB's and CB's in stride now that he has a running game, and Tommy Blake and Chase Ortiz to get pressure without blitzing.
Conversely New Mexico is sitting at 6-2, using smoke and mirrors in winning the last two games vs. below average opponents. At San Diego State, UNM struggled to run the ball vs. an Aztec team that has given up 4.8 yards a carry to a schedule of opponents that average an anemic 3.7. In that game UNM averaged just 3.3 yards per rush and needed 10 fourth quarter points to win 20-17. In a 34 to 31 win at home vs. Air Force, the Lobos needed 5 Falcon turnovers and two fourth quarter field goals. UNM also averaged a paltry 3.3 yards a carry and 6.1 yards per passing attempt, taking advantage of short fields in getting scoring drives of 21, 12, 12, and 8 yards to beat the Falcons.
I project TCU to absolutely smother UNM's rushing attack, forcing Porterie to throw to move the ball. The Frogs should be able to pressure UNM's passing attack with the front four while defending with a secondary full of good athletes. I expect TCU to be the beneficiary of several Lobo turnovers caused the pressure on Porterie and UNM's lack of a bonafide running game. On offense, watch for Dalton to manage the game and lean on Brown to move the ball early. If TCU can stay ahead of the chains and avoid mistakes, they should roll here. I like TCU in a blow out, 34 to 14.
Tommy Blake should give a much needed boost to TCU's defense.
Three Totals I'll be on with quick write-ups. All one unit:
Texas A&M/Oklahoma under 57.5
Franchione plays the game to avoid a blowout at all costs. He'll play 3 deep and give Oklahoma plenty of room to run. On offense, expect the aggies to run and keep the clock moving even when they're down multiple scores. The only way this goes over is if OU decides to drop 50 on the aggies and/or McGee starts chunking it around the yard. TAMU plays for a moral victory. 38 to 10 Oklahoma.
SMU/Houston under 69
Lame Duck coach Phil Bennett will have to score a bunch to push this number over. I think they play to avoid the blowout and I don't see Briles running it up on his good friend and perhaps future defensive coordinator. Cougs win 42 to 14.
Texas/OSU over 61
Everyone and their brother is picking the Cowboys to upset the 3 point favorite Longhorns in this spot. Well, they'll have to score to do it and they will. I'm quite certain Adarius Bowman can have Nate Swift kind of success agains the Texas secondary, while Dontrell Savage running the ball should occupy Texas' talented front 4 at least as much as Marlon Lucky. Who would you take in a pickup game featuring Dontrell and Adarious vs. Marlon and Nathan?
So when the Cowboys score, you know Texas will. Hell, OSU has given up 600 yards to Troy, 700 yards to Tech, 350 to Sam Houston, and 529 to Kansas State. Texas misses Limas Sweed, but there is still is plenty of big play capability with folks like Charles and Finley, especially if OSU blitzes every down. The only way this goes under is if Texas shuts down the Cowboys and we all know that won't happen. Plus, the game is on turf. It'll be a shoot out. Texas 38-37.
Adarius or Nathan?
Good luck everyone.