Last Week: 3-3 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 14-16 (.467) ATS 22-8 (.733) SU
We learned that Montee Ball might not fumble very often, but when he does, they are at crucial times, as his second career fumble came on Wisconsin's final drive.
...we learned that the Big Ten is.....zzzzzz.....
...ahem, we learned that Arkansas has given up on their season and themselves. There is absolutely no reason why a team that has a first round draft pick at quarterback, running back and wide receiver should lose by 48 points.
...we learned that Texas Tech's defense is still going strong, holding Iowa State to 189 yards and forcing 4 turnovers. We can make fun of their schedule all we want, but more than a few teams have also played soft schedules and don't have the number one defense in the country. But of course, the meat of the Big 12 schedule awaits.
...we learned that when West Virginia fans sang "Country Roads" after their 70-63 win over Baylor last week, they were telling us where the bus dropped off the defense.
...and finally, we learned that the University of Texas has their quarterback.
For the first time in 3 years, Texas fans were likely confident that when Oklahoma State took the lead on a Quinn Sharp 24-yard field goal with 2:34 remaining in the game that their offense would have enough firepower to get down the field in that amount of time and at least attempt a game-winning score.
First down. Incomplete to Joe Bergeron. Second down. David Ash runs into trouble, has to eat the ball for no gain. Third down. Pass complete to Jeremy Hills for 4 yards.
4th and 6. No rhythm. Three dreadful plays beforehand.
And then it came out of nowhere. Tight end D.J. Grant hadn't caught a pass all game, but he lined up in the left slot, beat his man off the ball, ran a crossing pattern, and managed to find a perfectly threaded pass in front of the converging defender.
First down Texas, two plays later they were inside the 5-yard line, and punched it in two plays after that.
That was the moment that David Ash went from Most Improved ribbon-winner and a pat on the head to playmaker, one that just might make enough plays to send Texas to that next level.
If you have watched it over and over like I have, you know how perfect that pass had to be, and more importantly, how perfect it was.
I certainly don't want to get ahead of myself. The road ahead for Texas is very treacherous, starting this week against West Virginia and continuing on next week in Dallas and going through the rest of the Big 12 slate. There is a lot of football left to be played.
But...if certain goals are reached that certainly appear to be more attainable than they were when this season started...this will be the play that we remember years from now.
Steelers roll left. 4th and inches...no question what is about to happen here...on a roll, gonna throw it...GOT ‘EM WIDE OPEN BABY!
4th and 18. Young needs 18...he's going to try to run for it...(No way)...he's gonna have the first down! (WOW!)...
4th and 5. he's going for the cornnnnnerrrr....and he's got it!
3rd and 10 needs 10...gonna go deep, got White wide open, got it...midfield, 35...30...20...out of bounds...
1st and 15 so it will be first down and 15 as we go now, from 32 seconds, clock running....Vince Young, high...deep route down the field, he's gotta man wide open, he's got the ball, Billy Pittman, touchdown!
4th and 6 from the 29....Ash...over the middle....OH WHAT A CATCH! Grant! Down the sideline and out of bounds on 4th down and 6 and he gets 29....ice water in the veins of this young quarterback...
Couldn't have screamed it better, Gus.
On to the games...
Nebraska @ Ohio State -3.5:
I was wrong last week, Braxton Miller apparently can beat good defenses all by himself. Miller accounted for 315 of Ohio State's 389 yards against Michigan State. Nebraska managed to keep Ball in check last week, but I keep thinking of that UCLA game and how they did against the most dynamic offense they have played.
Ohio State 24 Nebraska 17
ATS - Ohio State
SU - Ohio State
Georgia @ South Carolina -1:
South Carolina is tough at home, having won 7 in a row in Columbia, and to it again they'll have to stop a Georgia offense that leads the SEC in rushing after true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall combined for 294 yards and five touchdowns last week against Tennessee.
The Gamecocks have the defense, though, as they haven't allowed more than 17 points in any game this year, rank 2nd in the country in sacks and have given up only 288 yards per game.
South Carolina 23 Georgia 14
ATS - South Carolina
SU - South Carolina
LSU -2.5 @ Florida:
I think these two teams are fairly even. Neither has a very inspiring offense, but while Florida's defense has held Texas A&M and Tennessee in check, LSU hasn't faced a FBS offense ranked higher than 91st in the country (North Texas). Give me the home underdog to sneak one out.
Florida 28 LSU 24
ATS - Florida
SU - Florida
Iowa State @ TCU -11.5:
Iowa State is managing 11 points per game against BCS conference opponents, and I can't imagine it getting any better against a TCU defense that is only giving up 7 points and 255 yards per game.
TCU 28 Iowa State 7
ATS - TCU
SU - TCU
Oklahoma -5.5 @ Texas Tech:
Oklahoma hasn't won in Lubbock since 2003, giving up 32 points per game in that span. This Sooner offense is struggling to find their identity, as Landry Jones only has 8 touchdown passes in his last 8 games.
It's almost unfathomable to see Oklahoma lose yet another one in Lubbock, but if they struggle on offense and turn the ball over like they did against Kansas State, they'll get into some major trouble here.
Texas Tech 34 Oklahoma 28
ATS - Texas Tech
SU - Texas Tech
West Virginia @ Texas -7:
You know all about the ridiculous numbers that Geno Smith and West Virginia have put up this season. Simply put, if Texas plays defense against West Virginia like they did against Mississippi and Oklahoma State, then there will be no Pluckers coupons for us as we file out of the stadium.
You also know that the second-best quarterback in terms of passing efficiency this year (behind Geno Smith) is David Ash, who took the reins against Mississippi and continued that trend in Stillwater that week to the tune of 304 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The question is, is it possible to learn how to tackle in the span of one week, when apparently it wasn't possible to learn during the two week break for the bye? Texas fans should be confident in the ability of Manny Diaz to design a defensive scheme to at least limit Smith, garner some pressure possibly using only a front four that Smith has yet to see the likes of this year, and to limit them to field goals in the red zone as they did for the majority of the game against Oklahoma State...but if you can't tackle, well, guys tend to score touchdowns.
Even without the services of Malcolm Brown, Texas should be able to move the ball, as Baylor found some success early with the threat of a passing game to open up those lanes. Texas might have to get creative, but running the ball won't be a problem if they stick with it.
Will Ash be able to light up the Mountaineer defense like Nick Florence did last week? Probably not, as the schemes aren't the same, but he should have some success over the middle of the field (DJ Grant or Shipley come to mind).
Texas shouldn't want to get into a shoot-out here. West Virginia isn't going to lose many of those. But if they can pressure Smith, force him to make some decisions on his feet, and keep the ball out of his hands in the first place, they should able to manage the game effectively enough....
If they tackle.
Texas 44 West Virginia 38
ATS - West Virginia
SU - Texas
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for flame-retardant couches.