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The Week That Will Be: Toto, We're in Kansas!

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The Longhorns look to avoid the trap before the meat of the Big 12 schedule.

Cooper Neill

Last Week: 4-2 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 11-13 (.458) ATS 18-6 (.750) SU


We learned last week…

• In a year where there is no clear favorite, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah is playing well enough to get an invite to New York in early December…

• Will Muschamp has a record-setting defense at Florida, as Alabama’s 645 yards is a Florida record, and the Crimson Tide for the first time in their illustrious history had a 400-yard passer, a 200-yard receiver, and a 100-yard rusher all in the same game.

• Florida State’s Sean Maguire was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and the Seminoles rushed for -12 yards in four quarters. Of course they won. Of course they did.

• LSU gave up 570 yards to Mississippi State, the most the Tigers have given up since before Nick Saban was hired in Baton Rouge. Dak Prescott is a special player, but the Tigers had better find their way on offense, as they averaged less than 3 yards a carry against Wisconsin and Mississippi State.

• Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns as Oklahoma seems to be finding an offensive identity again…

• And finally, Kansas State missed three field goals, had only 40 yards rushing, they let Jake Waters throw the ball 40 times, they handed Auburn the ball three times, including one in their red zone and one at the Tigers’ goal line…of course they lost.

In a year where the strength of the conference has come under question, the Big 12 has jumped out of the gate with some really, really quality losses.

Sure, wins are nice, but when you can cover against Auburn (Kansas State), Florida State (Oklahoma State), UCLA (Texas), and Alabama (West Virginia), it really goes to show that the conference as a whole is really, really close to the SEC on a sliding scale.

With conference play starting in earnest this weekend, those quality losses can now come to each other, but before that happens, let’s take a look at who we think might win this conference in an anti-climatic way while everyone else has a conference championship game the first weekend in December.

The clear favorite to finish at the bottom of the conference is KANSAS, as we must enter a basketball school joke here followed by a shot at Charlie Weis’s waistline. I can’t imagine Weis surviving another last place finish, but then again I didn’t expect Taylor Swift to write perform a song I liked (haters gonna hate hate hate hate…).

On the next tier up is IOWA STATE and TEXAS TECH. One school is perennially thought to be ready to take that next step up, and the other can get up for one or two games a year but otherwise shoots down the dreams of its alumni. I’ll let you decide which is which.

Next up is TEXAS, who is glad BYU never joined the conference or they would be even lower, but with the weight that Texas has in the Big 12 Charlie Strong might be able to dismiss Baylor and Oklahoma from the conference altogether.

OKLAHOMA STATE, WEST VIRGINIA, and TCU form the next triumvirate, featuring two of those teams with great losses, and another team (TCU) that is smart enough not to schedule teams that they can lose to in September (I’m looking at you, Texas).

Next up is KANSAS STATE, who always sits right about here, which reminds us all that Bill Snyder could probably take a penitentiary football team and win 9 games, and to top it all off they would still have less arrests than Texas A&M (zing!).

The class of the conference is clearly OKLAHOMA and BAYLOR, which is really something when one of those schools, is well, Oklahoma, and the other you know has something up the sleeve of that coach that never takes off that damn jacket.

They meet November 8 in Norman, which means Baylor would have actually played against a team that everyone can find on a map by then. Good luck, we’re all counting on you.

Stanford -7.5 @ Washington:


Washington might be 4-0, but that is a shaky undefeated mark as they gave up 52 points to Eastern Washington, trailed by two touchdowns to Georgia State and to top it all off they gave up 19 points to Illinois.

Stanford statistically has the best defense in the country, that should be enough to counteract a strong homefield advantage in Seattle.

Stanford 28 Washington 24
ATS – Washington
SU – Stanford


UCLA -4.5 @ Arizona State:

It could be the battle of the back-up quarterbacks in Tempe, as UCLA coach Jim Mora is being coy on whether or not Brett Hundley will suit up for the Bruins. Arizona State starter Taylor Kelly has already been ruled out, leaving it up to redshirt junior Mike Bercovici to solidify their hold on the Pac-12 South.

The Sun Devils have some problems on defense (only 2 returning starters from 2013), but UCLA has had their problems on both sides of the ball. The last three games in this series have been decided by a grand total of 8 points. Live by the Thursday night home underdog, die by the Thursday night home underdog.

Arizona State 31 UCLA 28
ATS – Arizona State
SU – Arizona State


Arkansas vs. Texas A&M -9.5:


Look at Arkansas, all of the sudden looking like an actual live, Power 5 football team again. The Razorbacks have lost 13 straight SEC contests, which of course is okay because it is the SEC SEC SEC.

Arkansas will have to rely on the rushing attack of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams to shorten the game and keep the Aggies off the field. The duo have combined for more than 750 yards and 12 touchdowns on the young season.

I see the Razorbacks keeping this one interesting all game, but the Aggies win out in the end.

Texas A&M 37 Arkansas 27
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Texas A&M


Baylor -21 @ Iowa State:


Baylor gets the services of wide receivers Corey Coleman and Antwan Goodley back this week, as well as running back Devin Chafrin. The rich get richer.

The good news for the Cyclones? Baylor hasn’t beaten them in Ames since 2005.

Baylor 45 Iowa State 20
ATS – Baylor
SU – Baylor


Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State -13.5:


Texas Tech hasn’t beaten Oklahoma State since 2008, and haven’t beaten them in Stillwater since 2001. Most of those haven’t even been good games, with Tech losing by a combined 133 points in the last four contests (52-34, 59-21, 66-6, 34-17).

The Red Raider defense has been a mess, ranking 122nd (out of 125) teams in the country against the rush. They are 7th in the country against the pass, but that is only because teams say why bother?

Oklahoma State is led on the field by Daxx Garman, who has filled in admirably for J.W. Walsh. The Cowboys have some youth issues of their own, ranking dead last in the Big 12 in opponent’s passing efficiency rating due to three new starters in the secondary.

Oklahoma State maintains the winning streak.

Oklahoma State 41 Texas Tech 24
ATS – Oklahoma State
SU – Oklahoma State


Texas -13.5 @ Kansas:


Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the President of the United States the last time that Kansas defeated Texas in football, and while Cotton Hill might think he is a son of a bitch, there is no reason to suspect that he had anything to do with the loss.

Texas might be rebuilding under the new regime of Charlie Strong, but it can be argued that Charlie Weis is tearing apart Kansas and the glory days of Mark Mangino.

In three seasons, they have three wins over FBS opponents. Since 2008 (before Weis, to be fair), they are 3-40 in Big 12 play. In 2013, in their 8 Big 12 losses the average margin of defeat was 27.6 points.

Yikes.

Yes, Texas fans will remember 2004 and 2012 where Texas needed guys like Tony Jeffrey and D.J. Grant to win them ballgames, but you have to hope after the BYU debacle every game is a precious commodity that should get the respect it deserves.

Montell Cozart is the quarterback for the Jayhawks, and while he has a cool name, the play doesn’t match the coolness factor. Cozart has only completed 54.8% of his passes on the year, at 6.08 yards per attempt. You don’t have to worry about his escaping the pocket, either, as in two of their three games this year he’s finished with negative rushing yards.

Their defense statistically hasn’t been good this season (tied for 78th in total defense), but it has some talent in the secondary and linebacker Ben Heeney would start at most Big 12 schools.

With a week off to lick their UCLA wounds and to work on a team that needed a lot of reworking this early in the season, Texas should be roaring to go here. I expect them to finally showcase Tyrone Swoopes’s arm a little bit, and the running game should benefit as a result.

Texas 31 Kansas 13
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas


For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Jameis Winston game worn sweat pants.