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The Week That Will Be (Thanksgiving 2010)

Last Week: 2-3-1 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 29-38-5 (.433) ($-1240) ATS 47-25 (.653) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Ohio State can keep motoring along and Terrelle Pryor doesn’t need to be great with that defense…

We learned that Houston Nutt can play some good football against LSU, as the Tigers score late to keep their BCS hopes alive…

We learned that Andrew Luck has a mean stiff-arm…

We learned that Oklahoma might be a bad road team, but all of that goes out the window when you travel to apathetic Waco…

We learned that Bo Pelini can blow a gasket because of a 16-2 penalty discrepancy between the Cornhuskers and Aggies, but the Aggies can only take advantage of that to the tune of a 3 point victory…

And finally, we learned that yes, it is possible for Texas to blow out an out-matched opponent once again.


It is that time of year again, the time for turkey, dressing, football and getting high on Ambien and running your Cadillac Escalade into your neighbor’s tree while your wife runs after you shattering your windows with a five iron.

So on this day of Thanks, it is time for me to give thanks to all of you that make my life better each and every day:

To Cam Newton, thanks for taking over the headlines and covering up the fact that Texas has gone from the BCS National Championship Game to needing to win their last game in order to go to a crappy bowl game.

To Notre Dame, thanks for not killing anybody today.

To Deloss Dodds, thanks for saving me the money that it would take for me to travel to Los Angeles, Tempe, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Seattle, etc. and not going to Manhattan, Lawrence and Ames.

To Bo Pelini, thanks for making me realize that football really doesn’t make me angry at all…compared to you.

To Four Loko, thanks for the Oklahoma State tailgate shenanigans.

To Sofia Vergara, thanks for wearing those dresses on Modern Family.

To ABC, thanks for broadcasting in HD.

To Northwestern Football, thanks for letting us know what Wrigley Field looks like in November.

To Joe Paterno, thanks for letting us know what was on the site of Wrigley Field before it was built.

To Texas A&M, thanks for letting me re-live my high school days by being good again.

To The Old 97’s, thanks for a great album after a string of bad to mediocre ones.

To Wade Phillips, thanks for claiming that you had “as good of a record as Tom Landry” and verifying to everyone that you needed to be fired.

To the TSA, thanks for making public fondling okay and something we can all watch.

To Dancing With the Stars, thanks for keeping Bristol Palin on the show, giving America something to bitch about over those unimportant things such as, you know, the economy, national security and the new Congress.

To @chrissyteigen, thanks for the entertaining tweets.

To Sam Acho, thanks for the great play on the field, but more importantly for being someone on the team to look up to, as a two-time Academic All-American.

To Chykie Brown, thanks for the solid career and the 29 starts on teams that lost one game from 2008-2009.

To Curtis Brown, thanks for your 26 career starts, the touchdown against Oklahoma State last year and for your solid special teams play. We’ve had our share of problems back there, too, but we all know it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Most importantly, I hope your daughter is fully recovered.

To John Chiles, thanks for a career that was never boring and the teaching of the young receivers on the team this year.

To Dustin Earnest, thanks for the flexibility of playing all three linebacker positions and for the solid contributions to special teams.

To John Gold, thanks for keeping on kicking, and for the very good year this year.

To Kyle Hix, thanks for the 38 career starts and for the solid contributions all through your career.

To Michael Huey, thanks for the 20 career starts and solid contributions all through your career.

To Blaine Irby, thanks for trying to make it back if this is it. You had a bright future before the injury, and took it in stride and kept going despite the seriousness of the injury. If we see you next year, fantastic, but if not, thanks and good luck in everything you do.

To Eddie Jones, thanks for only missing two games in four years, and for sticking with it behind guys like Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle. You probably could have gone somewhere else and started more games, but you chose to stay here, and for that we are proud.

To James Kirkendoll, thanks for the 27 career starts and those two touchdowns against Texas A&M last year, and for being the most consistent receiver this year.

To Britt Mitchell, thanks for the conversion to tight end and the 11 career starts.

To Steve Moore, thanks for your contributions at guard and on special teams through your career.

To Jared Norton, thanks for fighting your way back from injury. You were one of my favorite players before the injury, but although the injury might have robbed you of a dominating end to your career, the perseverance and dedication to the organization will not go unnoticed by the Longhorn nation.

To Greg Smith, thanks for your versatility. Numerous injuries to other players and what not have forced you to play every single position on the offensive line and tight end, and I’m not sure that didn’t hinder your career. Your dedication is noticed and appreciated.

To Mark Fisher, Michael Summerville, Chris Torbert and Ryan Zych, thanks for walking on and showing the ultimate dedication to this team. Your efforts are never recognized, but the role is important and appreciated.

To Aaron Williams, thanks for being one of the best this program has seen if this is it. The interception against Oklahoma was the best I have ever seen last year, and the sack was a game changer. Again, if this is it, good luck at the next level, and if not, let’s kick some ass next year.

To Keenan Robinson, thanks for being a game changer if this is it. From Nebraska and Alabama last year to Oklahoma last year, you seemed to save the best for the largest stage, and it is much appreciated. If you are back next year, we’ll have a great rock in the middle of the defense, and if not, good luck at the next level.

To the Longhorn coaching staff, thanks for an outstanding run. I know we all like to be cynical and snarky, but the fact of the matter is that nobody else has done what we’ve done in the past ten years on this level, and for that we should all be proud. It might be time for a shake-up, but we all appreciate the good run that we’ve had and we know that times will once again be good in short time because of a lot of the people on this staff.

To Greg Davis, thanks for giving us one of the country’s best offenses for the past 12 years. The great run that we’ve had for that time period has been this program’s richest in terms of offensive success, and even though everyone likes to pretend that Vince Young and Colt McCoy came from spaceships, I know that it was hard work on your part and their part to make those relationships thrive and make them the special players that they were. It is probably time for some fresh ideas, so if this is it, thanks for your contributions and I appreciate the class and the humbleness you exhibited in the good times and bad.

To Sailor Ripley, thanks for giving me the opportunity to write for the best Longhorn site on all of the Internets, Barking Carnival. It means a lot to me to be recognized, and I hope that I have brought value to the site.

To Barking Carnival, thanks for giving me a vessel for my thoughts and for commenting on my columns each and every week. Being a writer, I think that every column I write sucks and it is good to know that my efforts are appreciated out there.

To the tailgate crew, thanks for another great season of camaraderie and good times. It wasn’t the best of seasons on the field, but our dedication and support never wavered. I can’t see my family as much as I would like to these days, and you guys provide me with a second family. Other than at home, I can’t imagine a better place to spend a holiday full of togetherness than with you guys underneath a tent in a state parking lot. You never know when it is going to end, so I’m going to enjoy the ride.
I hope that you all have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving holiday, but most of all I hope that you all stay safe, stay warm, eat well and that we beat the hell out of A&M.

On to the games...

Arizona @ Oregon -19.5:

This one has been a good one in recent years, with Oregon winning last year’s game in Tucson 44-41 in OT; Oregon winning 55-45 in 2008 and Arizona winning 34-27 in 2007 in the game that ended Dennis Dixon’s career at Oregon.

This year’s game could be more of the same, but Arizona hasn’t played well as of late, losing their last game at home to USC 24-21 and getting routed by Stanford 42-17 the week before that.

My brain tells me that Arizona will keep this close, but then I look at the fact that Oregon has blown out everyone that has come to Autzen this year, including Stanford, who is better than Arizona.

Oregon 47 Arizona 24
ATS – Oregon
SU – Oregon

Boise State -14 @ Nevada:

Lost in all the hoopla of Chris Petersen and Kellen Moore is the Boise State defense, which got its third shutout of the year against a solid Fresno State team and ranks second in the country behind TCU in total defense and ranks first in rushing defense, sacks and tackles for loss.

They will have their hands full with Nevada, who is led onto the field by three years plus starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Nevada would like nothing better than to ruin Boise State’s title hopes, after losing to Boise State by 11 points in 2009, 7 points in 2008 and 2 points in 2007.

Kaepernick has thrown for 7 touchdowns and no interceptions lifetime against Boise State (with two rushing touchdowns thrown in as well), so he’s not fearful of the mighty Broncos.

I think Kaepernick gets the job done here. Boise State has an a great run at it, but the Wolfpack knocks them off their pedestal.

Nevada 37 Boise State 34
ATS – Nevada
SU – Nevada

Auburn @ Alabama -4.5:

One team has two losses, while one has none, but the one with two losses is the decided favorite in this game.

There are a couple of reasons for that. First, Alabama has won the last two games in this series, including a 36-0 victory the last time these two teams played in Tuscaloosa.

Second, Auburn has been vulnerable on the road this season. They won by 3 at Mississippi State and Kentucky before winning by 20 at Mississippi but also giving up 31 points in the process.

It isn’t a secret that Auburn’s defense has been shaky, and now they have to face seasoned veterans Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson (most likely) and Julio Jones….and oh yeah face the best defense they will play all year.

And if none of that convinced you…Saban v. Chizik.

The Tide will roll.

Alabama 31 Auburn 24
ATS – Alabama
SU – Alabama

LSU @ Arkansas -3.5:

Another good rivalry game..on Rivalry Weekend of all things. Weird. Anyhow, the last time this game was decided by more than 5 points was 2004, when LSU beat Arkansas 43-14.

Since then it has been back and forth, with LSU winning 3 games and Arkansas 2. To even up that match-up Arkansas will have to do it on a pass defense only giving up 151 yards per game.

Arkansas has a good enough defense to keep LSU at bay, and a good enough offense to score on that defense. Add to it the game is in Little Rock and I think you have to go with Arkansas here.

Arkansas 28 LSU 24
ATS – Arkansas
SU – Arkansas

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State -2.5:

Bedlam. It has been bedlam for Oklahoma State in recent years, with their most recent victory against Oklahoma coming in 2002 in Stillwater. They were supposed to compete in 2008 and lost by 20; in 2006 they were also supposed to compete and lost by 6.

Can the Cowboys avoid the Poke Choke and make their first ever Big 12 game?

I think so. I’ve watched both of these teams in almost every game they have played this season and Oklahoma State looks better. Brandon Weeden has been slightly better than Landry Jones (numbers very similar but Weeden has decided edge in passing efficiency). Justin Blackmon has been slightly better than Ryan Broyles (Broyles averages more receptions but Blackmon averages more yards 156-119 and 17 touchdowns to 12 touchdowns). Kendall Hunter has been better than Demarco Murray.

But of course none of that matters because they aren’t facing each other, it will come down to which defense can stop which offense…and I think in this situation, Oklahoma State’s will be better.

Oklahoma gave up 33 to Texas A&M. 36 to Missouri. 29 to Cincinnati. Oklahoma State’s offense is a lot better than all of those teams.

Oklahoma State, meanwhile, gave up 14 to Kansas and 16 to Texas. 14 to Kansas State. The OSU defense has been better as of late, and I think they do enough here to allow OSU to outscore Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State 38 Oklahoma 34
ATS – Oklahoma State
SU – Oklahoma State

Texas A&M -3 @ Texas:

The last time Texas was an underdog in this series? 1999. The last time they were a home underdog? 1998. The first two years of the Mack Brown era.

Texas A&M looks to win their third game against Texas in five years, and many would ask why not after the Aggies dominated Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Baylor and handled Nebraska last week, while Texas was losing to Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State in that same time period.

The Aggies have the edge in offense, of course, with their rejuvenation being led by Ryan Tannehill, who has thrown for 1,300 yards and has a touchdown/interception rate of 10/3. Tannehill has thrown for 9 percentage points better than Garrett Gilbert, while throwing for 1.5 yards more per attempt as well.

The hope that the Horns have in this one comes from their defense, which is somehow still ranked 8th in the country, but who we have seen lit up by Oklahoma State, Baylor Kansas State and Oklahoma in recent weeks.

The Aggie defense is improved in this stretch as well, with Von Miller coming on after a slow start with five sacks in four games.

Looking at the numbers this one is going to be tough for the Horns. Contain Tannehill and Jeff Fuller, hold Cyrus Gray to around or less than 100 yards, and they have a shot. Let anyone of those guys go wild, and it could be a long, cold night.

Texas A&M 34 Texas 21
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Texas A&M

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for trips to Ames, Waco, Columbia and College Station.