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The Week That Will Be: Levelland

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Going uphill, staying steady or staying level? Who knows with this Texas team?

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 1-5 ATS 3-3 SU
For the Year: 23-30-1 (.434) ATS 39-15 (.722) SU


We learned last week…

• Utah’s fan base was so shocked to beat USC that they rushed the field…what a great moment for them…oh, what’s that, Utah was ranked higher than USC? We really need a Rushing the Field Czar that doles out punishment as needed…

• Michigan drove a stake onto the field at Michigan State in a pre-game show of false bravado, and then appeared that they enjoyed one too many steaks in the pre-game meal. Look, I get it, your coach is getting fired, but at least try to show some effort out there against a top rival, okay?

• Ole Miss coach said that the final play against LSU (where Bo Wallace threw an interception when the Rebels were in reasonable field goal range) was not what he drew up, but anytime you let Bo Wallace throw the ball, you take fate in your hands. You choose poorly, coach.

• West Virginia won a game with their running game and defense, on the road. There had to be a long shot futures bet in Vegas on that one.

• You’re feeling good about things, you finally got rid of that stodgy old guy, you get a school legend to be your coach, he starts out 6-0, and sure he lost every game the rest of the season, but he’s just cool, man, and he’ll get it turned around. We don’t care about winning out here as long as we score a lot of points and beat Texas and/or Oklahoma every couple of years, we have a coach that gets invited to the Oscars! And wears Ray-Bans! And gives up 82 points in a game? Wait, what?

• And finally, looking at my picks last week, the only entity that had a worse week than I did was the Texas Longhorns.

Well I don’t want to write about that game about as much as you don’t want to spend your Internet time on a company computer reading about that game, so how about this week we look at some bowl/playoff projections? Remember, as always, comedy comes before bowl hierarchy and accuracy.

THE ENOUGH ALREADY BOWL : THE BCS VS. THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Enough already. In the BCS days it was wah wah, so and so should be #2, and then not a word is mentioned about said team weeks later when they lose to Northwest Directional State on a Tuesday night ESPN game.

There is plenty of football left. Way too much bandwidth is being wasted on playoff talk already. It will play out. Chill.

THE AUTOGRAPH BOWL – TODD GURLEY VS. JOHNNY MANZIEL

So…Todd Gurley has to miss four games for signing a few autographs, and has to do COMMUNITY SERVICE like he is a criminal, yet Johnny Manziel missed half a football game against Rice, and I don’t think he missed it at all, if you get my Office Space drift.

All that we ask is that the NCAA be fair and consistent, and they are about as fair and consistent as a night out in a border town.

THE ESPN BIAS BOWL – THE SEC VS. THE SEC

Of course the SEC would get two teams in this game. Look, ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports. As heavy and self-aggrandizing as that tagline might be, it is true. And as heavy and self-aggrandizing as the SEC is, they are the best conference in college football. Period.

Bo Pelini, if you don’t want to hear about the SEC all the time, try not to get your ass handed to you by teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12…conferences worse than the SEC.

THE LIBERTY BOWL – BAYLOR VS. TENNESSEE

Tennessee takes a break from getting their heads beat in by the SEC to get their heads beaten in by the Big 12 again.

THE RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL – DUKE VS. TCU

What, "Starter" wasn’t available?

THE ADVOCARE TEXAS BOWL – TEXAS VS. TEXAS A&M

College football’s most anticipated bowl outside of the playoff has ADVOCARE in the title? This will never happen, by the way. Sadly I’m not sure whether it will never happen due to Texas not being able to score enough to win football games or if it is because of the political cloud that still hangs over the rivalry…but dammit this is my column and I can write whatever I want.

THE COTTON BOWL – OKLAHOMA VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE

The Bulldogs are regulated here after losing to Alabama. Between the cowbells, Oklahoma’s cannons and the noise pollution at the Death Star, most watch this game on mute.

THE CACTUS BOWL – WEST VIRGINIA VS. WASHINGTON

The one not played in Glendale.

THE ALAMO BOWL – KANSAS STATE VS. ARIZONA STATE

A new windbreaker for Bill Snyder!

THE FIESTA BOWL – MICHIGAN STATE VS. CLEMSON

The Fiesta Bowl always gets the sexiest match-ups, right?

THE ORANGE BOWL – NOTRE DAME VS. EAST CAROLINA

Lincoln Riley leaves before the game to take the SMU job.

THE ROSE BOWL – OREGON VS. OLE MISS

Why haven’t we been doing this before?

THE SUGAR BOWL – FLORIDA STATE VS. ALABAMA

Doesn’t get sweeter than that.

THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – ALABAMA VS. OREGON

Wait, how the hell did that happen?

On to the games…

Florida State -4 @ Louisville:


Florida State puts their 23-game winning streak on the line as a Thursday night favorite at Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville, which has to be the worst stadium name out there but at the same time makes me very hungry.
The Seminoles have needed three comebacks from second-half deficits to keep that streak intact this year, but have scored at least 31 points in every game that Jameis Winston has started this season.

Charlie Strong left a full pantry in Louisville, as the Cardinals have the country’s top defense (243.9 yards per game), best rush defense (66.9 yards per game), and the fourth best scoring defense (14.6 points per game) in the country entering this contest. Simply put, they have the athletes to run up and down the Seminoles and not be intimidated.

The question here is if Louisville can put up the points. Florida State’s defense isn’t as strong as it was last year, but can still clamp down, allowing 20 points or less in four games this year.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see the Cardinals come out here and get the upset in a hostile environment, but when it comes down to it, I trust the Seminoles offense to be able to find themselves before I trust the Louisville offense to pull off the upset.

Florida State 31 Louisville 24
ATS – Florida State
SU – Florida State


Arkansas @ Mississippi State -10.5


Arkansas becomes the first team in college football history to play five straight top 10 teams in conference this week as they travel to Starkville to play the Bulldogs.

The Razorbacks came close to beating Alabama, and probably should have beaten Texas A&M if they didn’t suddenly think they were a passing team. But they’ll have their hands full here with a Mississippi State team that is averaging 42 points per game and has the rushing defense (118 yards per game) to contain Arkansas.

The Bulldogs roll.

Mississippi State 38 Arkansas 24
ATS – Mississippi State
SU – Mississippi State


Auburn @ Mississippi -2:


Ole Miss began to show some cracks in the armor last week, allowing LSU to rush for 264 yards on 55 carries, and by allowing Bo Wallace to throw a forward pass, but this one is in Oxford, which could be bad news for Auburn.

The Tigers average more than 46 points per game at home, but only a little over 21 in their two road games this year.

Ole Miss gets back on track.

Mississippi 34 Auburn 28
ATS – Mississippi
SU – Mississippi


Oklahoma State @ Kansas State -14.5:


Oklahoma State has managed a grand total of 19 points in back to back losses to TCU and West Virginia, hampered by poor quarterback play (Daxx Garman 1,735 yards 11 TD, 9 INT), a poor rushing attack (only 156 yards per game), and turning the ball over (97th in the country in turnover margin).

That is not the formula to defeat Kansas State.

Kansas State 37 Oklahoma State 17
ATS – Kansas State
SU – Kansas State


TCU -5.5 @ West Virginia:


ESPN’s College Gameday travels to Morgantown for this one, and it will be a miracle if they make it out of there without the set burning down.

Both games in this young series have gone to overtime, with TCU coming out ahead 39-38 in Morgantown in 2012 and West Virginia defeating the Horned Frogs 30-27 last year in Fort Worth.

As mentioned above, the Mountaineers have been doing it with defense, as evidenced by the fact that they held Baylor and Oklahoma State, their two most recent victories, to 16% on third down conversions. If that is not enough, West Virginia has only allowed 9 passing touchdowns all year, when they allowed 62 the previous two years combined.

It should be another exciting one, but this is a tough trip for the Frogs.

West Virginia 34 TCU 31
ATS – West Virginia
SU – West Virginia


Texas @ Texas Tech NL:


Much has been made of the Texas Tech magic over the years, especially the myth of the
"weird things happen on the great plains", but for all that talk, Texas has won 13 of the last 15 in this series, the only losses coming in 2002 and 2008…in Lubbock.

2002 was that game where Kliff Kingsbury threw for about a million yards, while 2008 has been erased from my memory. Can’t remember what happened.

Texas, of course is sitting at 3-5 and desperately needs a win here if they want to entertain any thoughts of going to a bowl game. The last time Texas finished with three or fewer wins was 1956, when they went 1-9 under the tutelage of Ed Price. He was replaced the following year by a guy by the name of Darrell Royal.

Neither team knows which quarterback will play Saturday night. Tech’s Davis Webb was injured in their beatdown at the hands of TCU last week, so it might be Patrick Mahomes, who was 5/11 for 45 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

There are no injuries or quarterback controversy at Texas, of course, it is just a matter of whether the confident, eyes down the field Tyrone Swoopes shows up, or the in a shell, eyes at his happy feet Tyrone Swoopes that will show up.

Your guess is as good as mine.

You know a few weeks ago, when I said it was now or never for Texas to get a win against Iowa State, and they promptly almost lost that game? Well, if this Texas offense is going to get going….all together now….it is now or never.

The Red Raiders fired a defensive coordinator this year and it didn’t help one bit. They are still giving up more than five hundred (!!!) yards a game, including nearly 250 on the ground. They give up more than 42 points a game, they’re near the bottom in third down defense, fourth down defense, first down defense, second down defense, and probably would be worst in the country in fifth down defense if we could bring those Colorado officials back for another game.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, they are near the bottom in the country in turnover margin and penalties, so if they don’t let you waltz into the endzone or give you a few extra downs, they at least let you keep the ball.

Once again, if this offense plays like they did against Oklahoma and Iowa State, this is a win going away. If they play offense like they have in most other games this year, well, hopefully Vance Bedford can do to them what he did to Baylor and Oklahoma.

I feel that this team is desperate, and for all the grief that this senior class has received, I do believe that they want to go out with something resembling a feather in their cap, even if it is off the clearance rack at Michael’s.
Texas wins…but they’ll have to work for it.

Texas 31 Texas Tech 24

No line on this game at the time of publication, so if one ends up getting posted, we’ll keep the same score and work from there.

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for the Advocare Texas Bowl.