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The Week That Will Be (11.12.2011)

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 32-28 (.533) ($80) ATS 41-19 (.683) SU

We learned last week that Oregon can throw for less than 170 yards, commit 9 penalties, can convert less than half of their third down conversions but can still beat a quality opponent on the road by 17…

…we learned that South Carolina is lost without Marcus Lattimore, committing four turnovers in the second half while barely managing 200 yards of offense…

…we learned that "The Game of the Century" wasn’t even "The Game That Started at 7:00 PM Central on 11/5/2011" as Alabama and LSU managed to set back offensive football about 30 years. Great theater, but I can’t handle four missed field goals, two quarterbacks on one team throwing for less than 100 yards combined and said quarterback running the wrong way on an option play…

…we learned that Oklahoma State can give up 507 offensive yards and improve upon their national ranking. Flashy stats are nice, but ask Oregon what happens when flashy offense meets tough defense…

…we learned that the Aggies can win in Norman…if you discount the third quarter. Texas A&M tried a new strategy of coming from behind in the second half, but failed miserably as Oklahoma scored on their first three drives of the half…

…and finally, we learned that the wishbone can’t be far behind at Texas, who rushed for 400 plus yards in two straight games for the first time since 1977.

Last week’s LSU/Alabama game was seen as a de facto National Championship Semi-Final, and while LSU is certainly deserving, I think we can all agree that we hope that one of the participants in the closest thing we have to a national championship game is better than what they showed on Saturday night. But can LSU trip up along the line? Let’s take a look at the BCS Championship game contenders…

Western Kentucky, @ Ole Miss, Arkansas, SEC Championship

We’ll see if LSU can get past that obvious trap game of Western Kentucky. Arkansas might provide a challenge, but with the game in Baton Rouge you have to like LSU’s chances. And Georgia or South Carolina don’t provide much of a challenge in Atlanta. Pencil in LSU for New Orleans…which drives me nuts. They seem to rise to the occasion when the game is in the Crescent City, no?

Oklahoma State
@ Texas Tech, @ Iowa State, Oklahoma

Save another spoil job by Texas Tech in Lubbock this weekend, Oklahoma State will go into Bedlam with a "win and go to the national championship" shot…and they haven’t defeated Oklahoma since 2002. That is despite being favored the last two years (47-41 in 2010 and 27-0 in 2009). In 2008 OSU was thought to be just as good as Oklahoma and lost 61-41. Get over that mental hurdle and you’re in…but that is like saying buy Alessandra Ambrosio a drink and you have a chance. It’s going to take a lot of work to get over that.

@ Mississippi State, Georgia Southern, @ Auburn

Alabama has the advantage of not having to go to the SEC Championship game, but should they survive the Iron Bowl, they’ll have to ward off other one loss teams (or Boise State) and get past the stigma of a rematch in the title game…no matter how that first game went. If everyone else collapses, I can see it, but Alabama has an uphill climb here.

Stanford & Oregon
Oregon, California, Notre Dame; @ Stanford, USC, Oregon State

I’ll go ahead and put these two together since they are about in the same boat. Stanford wins out and OSU falls and they are in. Oregon might have a tougher lobbying job, but you have to like their chances. Notre Dame could be very tough for Stanford, USC is playing very well right now, and there is the Pac-12 Championship game against Arizona State or UCLA (yes, it can still happen). It wouldn’t surprise me if both of these teams drop a game (yes, one of them has to lose this weekend).

Boise State
TCU, @ San Diego State, Wyoming, New Mexico

Oh, Boise is like the SEC and schedules their out of conference patsies at the end of the year…oh wait, that is their conference? Hmm. TCU and San Diego State can beat Boise…Wyoming and New Mexico have about as much chance as Rick Perry does winning the Republican Primary. Still, chances are that Boise will finish undefeated…and play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl or Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

Oklahoma; Arkansas
@ Baylor, Iowa State, @ Oklahoma State; Tennessee, Mississippi State, @ LSU

Oklahoma’s chances looked a lot better before Alabama only dropped to #3 last week. They basically need to win out, have Stanford and Oregon both drop one, beg that Alabama doesn’t get the rematch vote and beg that Boise State plays late at night and nobody notices that they finish undefeated. There is still a chance…but they need a lot of help. But let’s not kid ourselves, this is Oklahoma, these things happen for them. Arkansas has an interesting road…win out and they could be in the SEC Championship game should Alabama fall, win that….and does anyone keep them out of New Orleans? Sure, they got manhandled by Alabama, but they would have beaten #1 LSU and a Top 12 Georgia or South Carolina team…they would certainly have as good of an argument as any of these other teams mentioned.

So who makes it? Well I’ve offered my prediction twice this year only to have one of the teams lose that very week. I’ll abstain.

On to the games...

TCU @ Boise State -15.5:

Defense is a TCU mainstay, but this year that hasn’t been the case. The Horned Frogs rank only 38th in the country in total defense and gave up 1,018 yards in their two losses to Baylor and SMU. Boise comes into this one a little banged up, and coming off very lackluster wins against Air Force and UNLV.

Boise’s weak spot in those games was the rushing defense, and if there is one thing that TCU does well this year it is run the football. Boise wins…but close well into the fourth quarter.

Boise State 34 TCU 24
SU – Boise State

Auburn @ Georgia -12.5:

Well, I originally had the Penn State/Nebraska game in this slot, but with Wednesday night’s events it is apparent that there are far more serious concerns in State College than football.

Georgia has had an interesting strategy this season, dropping their first two games to drop off the national radar before winning their last seven. They’ve done it with defense, only giving up 20 points twice in that span.

Auburn has struggled against the top teams, but have held their own against the next tier. I think they stay in this one.

Georgia 28 Auburn 24
ATS – Auburn
SU – Georgia

Oregon @ Stanford -3.5:

The winner of this game likely has the inside lane to New Orleans should Oklahoma State fall before season’s end, and if it is anything like Oregon’s 52-31 win last year in Eugene, it should be entertaining (if you like scoring with your football games).

With Stanford’s problem with injuries (Two of Andrew Luck’s top four targets are out), their lack of team speed and the fact that Stanford has yet to play an opponent of this caliber yet, I see Oregon winning this one with a little comfort.

Oregon 37 Stanford 28
ATS – Oregon
SU – Oregon

Texas A&M -5 @ Kansas State:

Both of these teams have lost two games in a row…kind of expected for Kansas State, disastrous for Texas A&M. This week is a slightly better match-up for the Aggies, as Kansas State struggles to defend the pass while struggling to throw the ball downfield themselves.

I will probably regret this, but looking at this match-up, this is a game the Aggies should win and win comfortably. If they haven’t given up on the season, that is.

Texas A&M 31 Kansas State 24
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Texas A&M

Oklahoma State -17 @ Texas Tech:

The over/under on this game is 78.5 points…which is a little high based on recent history (51 total points in 2010; 41 in 2009). This one looks to be higher scoring, as Texas Tech hasn’t given up less than 34 points since Week 2 against New Mexico, while Oklahoma State hasn’t given up less than 24 points since….Week 2 against Arizona.

You also have to wonder about the pressure mounting on the Cowboys…they are three victories (and will likely be favored in all three) from the national championship game…can they go into a historically tough place to play in the Big 12 and win?

Oklahoma State 42 Texas Tech 31
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Oklahoma State

Texas -1.5 @ Missouri:

Sure, Missouri is 4-5, but the teams that have beat them have a combined record of 35-9 on the season…and two of those teams have beaten Texas as well.

Missouri likes to run the football, averaging 244 yards per game on the ground this season (just behind Texas and their 246), but can also pass the ball as well, throwing for 291 against Oklahoma and 319 against Arizona State earlier this season. For the first time this season, Texas will face a mobile quarterback, as first-year starter James Franklin has rushed for a gross of 735 yards this year. Franklin has been efficient as well, combining 6 of his 7 interceptions into three games, losses to Oklahoma State and Kansas State and a win over Iowa State.

On defense, the Tigers have a nice front, but they struggle. They gave up 686 yards to Baylor, 500 to Texas A&M, 533 to Oklahoma State, 592 to Oklahoma and 492 to Arizona State. The problem being, of course, that most, if not all, of those teams have a better offense than Texas.

That Texas offense is on a roll, rushing for 880 yards the last two games while only giving up 28 rushing yards. That is video game quality right there.

Texas is going to have to be better here. While the running game is fun, at some point David Ash is going to have to make a play with his arm, and that very well might be this game against a Missouri offense that can get you in shootouts.

With an early start time that should take the crowd out of the game, and a running game that can control the clock better than the opposition, Texas comes out on top here…but it might get dicey.

Texas 27 Missouri 24
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for new SEC! t-shirts.