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The Week That Will Be: Week 4

The fall of an empire is never majestic, but always spectacular.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 4-2 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 11-7 (.611) ($290) ATS 14-4 (.778) SU

What we learned last week:

• 38 unanswered points from UCLA and a head coach in turmoil. For once we are not talking about Texas, here.

• Ohio State scores 52…but gives up 500 yards on defense. Too bad they won’t face another dynamic offense until January.

• This year’s Game of the Century lived up to the hype, as Aggies who made reservations for Pasadena when up 14-0 had to quickly cancel after falling behind 35-14. Johnny Football was great, but that A&M defense is a problem and might end up costing them again before LSU.

Blake Bell (I refuse to use that stupid nickname) had more completions (27) than he did rushing yards (24) in a romp…whatever happened to halfway decent Tulsa squads?

• TCU is so bad on offense they might only score 28 points on Texas.

• And finally, we learned that Texas coaches played disc golf all week, because what we saw Saturday night was no different from Provo, despite the supposed wake-up call.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this.

In a parallel universe, in a galaxy far, far away, Colt McCoy is stopped for no gain without incident, but on 2nd and 10, DJ Monroe still takes the ball down to the 1-yard line, where McCoy finds an open Jordan Shipley in the back of the end-zone.

In this other universe, Mack Brown retires following his second national championship, or perhaps after the following year, to transition in the Garrett Gilbert era. Either way, he leaves Bellmont a hero on the proverbial horse, no doubt soon to find his name lionized in Texas lore, the man who restored Texas football to its rightful place.

If only.

It is often said that history is written by the victors, and if that is the case, history won’t be kind to Mack Brown.

Because make no mistake, this is the end. And what a sad end it is.

Brown won a ton of games at Texas. He won bowl games, rivalry games, ended two Nebraska home-win streaks and yes, won that elusive national title that a good number of Texas fans and alumni had not seen in their lifetime, and he did it all the while maintaining a clean program and without being a classless buffoon.

Brown built one hell of an empire at Texas, and should be lauded for that.

But in a plot twist only known in Shakespearean literature or perhaps Breaking Bad, Mack took it all down himself. He’s said that he was so disappointed in the loss to Alabama that it affected him for quite some time, deep into the following season, when the Longhorns inexplicably tried to put a square peg (a spread quarterback) into a round hole (a pro-set offense).

He is the one that retained the assistant coaches that let recruiting services do their work for them, he’s the one that made poor choices when he got around to replacing those coaches, and he’s the one that panicked and meddled too much when he decided that he finally wanted to coach again.

And oh yeah, there was the knife in Will Muschamp’s back.

As I said three weeks ago, Mack told anyone that would listen how good the Longhorns would be this season, that this was the culmination of three years of hard work, that it would finally result in the wondrous return of Texas football to the national landscape.

He said it so many times that after Provo and Ole Miss we have to wonder if he was trying to convince himself as much as anybody.

Mack isn’t alone, of course. Deloss Dodds fostered the environment that let Brown become complacent, too intent on changing the landscape of national college athletics to notice his own home developing serious cracks.

Like Brown, Dodds will likely be remembered at least in the short term as a man whose loyalty led to his downfall, who let the foundation of the best athletic program in the country deteriorate to the point where only a massive overhaul seems to be the antidote to the disease.

We live in a world of absolutes, where you are either a Republican or Democrat, like domestic brew or craft beer and who can’t be objective long enough to clean the blood from their pitchfork. Brown has been vilified on message boards and in his home stadium, and while I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, it just didn’t have to be this way.

After all the good, after the extreme highs, and the supposed lows back when 10 win seasons were laughed at, yes, it is quite sad how the Mack Brown era at Texas is ending.

The fall of an empire is never majestic, but always spectacular.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away. – Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Michigan State @ Notre Dame -6.5:

The good news for Michigan State? They have only given up 36 points in three games. The bad news for Michigan State. That slate included Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State. Their fans that paid hundreds of dollars for season tickets must be thrilled.

Notre Dame 23 Michigan State 20
ATS – Michigan State
SU – Notre Dame

Auburn @ LSU -17:

Auburn has won as many games as it did all of last season…but has used a bit of smoke and mirrors as they have given up 433 yards per game in doing so. Baton Rouge isn’t a good place to find your confidence.

LSU 41 Auburn 17

Arizona State @ Stanford -7.5:

Stanford has struggled a bit in their first two games, but their physicality should win over here. Wisconsin ran for 7.2 ypc against Arizona State in Tempe, the Cardinal should be able to run all over the Sun Devils at home.

Stanford 31 Arizona State 17
ATS – Stanford
SU – Stanford

Tennessee @ Florida -17:

Serious question here…Can Florida score 17 points??? Florida has won the last 8 games in this series, but none by that large of a margin since 2008. Give me the Vols.

Florida 27 Tennessee 23
ATS – Tennessee
SU – Florida

Louisiana Monroe @ Baylor -29:

Baylor is averaging 69.5 points per game, yes, in football, and is only giving up 8 points per game, yes, to Buffalo and Wofford.

ULM certainly isn’t scared of games like this, though. They keep it close for a little bit.

Baylor 52 Louisiana Monroe 28
ATS – Louisiana Monroe
SU – Baylor

Kansas State @ Texas -5.5:

Forget all the big picture stuff, or that the last time Texas beat Kansas State Vince Young was our quarterback, Ell Roberson was theirs and Sloan Thomas and Roy Williams appeared in that game.

Look at every Texas game in their totality. How many decent quarters have the Longhorns played this year? Three? Two against New Mexico State and one against Mississippi?

Say what you want about Kansas State losing to North Dakota State, but would anyone out there wager against the Bison coming into DKR and winning a game? Some analysts say that if they were a FBS team they would likely be ranked somewhere in the Top 30-35 or so. I certainly wouldn’t pull out my wallet.

Then they were up 34-3 on Louisiana-Lafayette, and coasted against Massachusetts last week. Is Kansas State going back to the Fiesta Bowl? No, but don’t ever take a Bill Snyder coached team lightly.

And if you still don’t feel bad enough, running back John Hubert scored 3 times against Texas last year in Manhattan…and if you feel good about Texas stopping the run then I seriously don’t know what to tell you.

I put the faith in the rebound game last week, but until Texas shows me that they care about playing a football game for four quarters, I can’t do it again.

Kansas State wins, and if Texas doesn’t watch it, they get blown out at home in consecutive weeks.

Kansas State 34 Texas 24
ATS – Kansas State
SU – Kansas State

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for your Breaking Bad death pool.