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The Week That Will Be: Big 12 Blues

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The college football committee hates the Big 12. Get in line, pal.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 1-5 ATS 4-2 SU

For the Year: 38-26-2 (.594) ($800) ATS 50-16 (.758) SU

We learned last week…

  • Houston keeps their New Year’s bowl hopes alive by becoming the first team in 262 tries (!) to come back from a 4th quarter deficit of 20 or more points this season…

  • Alabama is pretty, pretty good at defense. Mississippi State entered the match-up last weekend having allowed only 13 sacks all season. The Crimson Tide rolled up 9.

  • Yours truly picked Stanford to make the playoff, but that is a hard feat to accomplish when you give up 9.1 yards a play to Oregon.

  • Mike Gundy might propose to play Iowa State at a neutral site if they are undefeated entering the game next time…

  • Oklahoma had the three best offensive players on the field Saturday night (Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Sterling Shepard). Do that and you’ll win every time.

  • Perhaps the West Virginia players should have let the Turnover Fairy crowd surf in the locker room.

This week we take a dive into our entirely fake mailbag. Remember, these are not actual letters from actual readers:

Q: What gives with this playoff committee? What do they have against the Big 12?  

-- B. Bowlsby, Dallas, TX

Well Bob, I have a theory that the College Football Playoff is a mere scheme to dissolve the Big 12 by devaluing it so much that the league eventually says screw it and breaks up. Who is in charge of this? Deloss Dodds, of course, who tried to kill it off a few years back, or came up with this whole realignment thing as a ruse just to mess with Chip Brown. Okay now I have Inception-ed myself.

Q: Call your shot. Who makes the playoff?

-- J. Long, Fayetteville, AR

Okay, Clemson is in. Unless they lose this week to Wake Forest. And then they wouldn’t be in. Alabama can lose at least twice more and still make it. Ohio State just needs to beat a couple of Big 10 teams, so they’re in. The last spot? Does the committee keep up the Big 12 troll job and exclude Oklahoma or do they turn down TV ratings and exclude Notre Dame?

The committee might put Notre Dame #1 just to make sure they’re in.

Q: Do you think Charlie Strong will go to Miami? Does the University typically do "rehires?"

-- M. Brown, Austin, TX

There are people out there that think that Strong would take a $2 million pay cut and go from the richest program in college football to a program that plays its games in a NFL stadium and couldn’t even afford a full jersey for Michael Irvin.

And if Strong thought Red McCombs was persistent about trying to get him to appear on his rap album, there is Luther Campbell…

Q: Haha, you said Baylor would beat Oklahoma!

-- B. & M. Stoops, Norman, OK

Congrats. But remember that time you lost to Texas and it kept you out of the playoffs? That was fun.

Q: 10-0! #5! Iowa!

-- G. Davis, Iowa City, IA

Do we miss this guy yet?

Q: 10-0! #19! Houston!

-- M. Applewhite, Houston, TX

Something tells me that Shawn Watson’s career is on an upward path.

Q: Who is going to win the Heisman Trophy?

-- G. Torretta, Miami, FL

Derrick Henry. Or Leonard Fournette. Or Deshaun Watson. One of those. Or Baker Mayfield. It is truly wide open this year, which is because voters can be easily influenced by one game. We might as well vote by Twitter emoji.

Q: Would Texas really go to a bowl game at 5-7?

-- S. Patterson, Austin, TX

Is it possible? Sure. With the insane amount of bowls and the rush to get their pockets lined by said bowls, ESPN forgot to count the number of teams that actually finish bowl eligible each year, so yes it is still possible.

As of today they still don’t know how they would choose the 5-7 teams, but if it involves any of the following, I totally like our chances:

Who had the biggest jerk for an AD? The most different colors of orange on your uniform and in your stadium. Barrel racing. Slides. Loudest scoreboard in America. Entitled fanbase. Empty Seat Costume Contest. Own television network. Victory last time they played the Aggies. Victory last time they played the Sooners. Twitter fighting.

And if this extra bowl is the Las Vegas Bowl, I’m totally in.

On to the games...

Northwestern @ Wisconsin -10.5:

The first one to 17 might win this one, as both teams rank in the top 10 in the S&P+ defensive rankings. The Badgers have the advantage of playing at home, where they have allowed only three touchdowns all season.

In addition, the home team has won each of the last eight in this series dating back to 2000.

Wisconsin 24 Northwestern 16

ATS – Northwestern

SU – Wisconsin

USC @ Oregon -4:

Buried for dead earlier in the season, Oregon has now won four in a row, including the shocker at Stanford last week. A healthy Vernon Adams has been the difference for the Ducks, as he has thrown 12 touchdown passes to only 3 interceptions during this streak.

Of course USC has their own heralded signal caller, as Cody Kessler has thrown 23 touchdown passes to only 6 interceptions on the season.

These two teams always play entertaining games, and this one will be no different. I think USC is probably the better team, even in Autzen.

USC 41 Oregon 38

ATS – USC

SU – USC

LSU @ Ole Miss -4.5:

LSU trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since the Gerry DiNardo era, and with ludicrous rumors of Les Miles being on the hot seat, they need a win, badly.

Ole Miss lost a crazy overtime game against Arkansas last week, but that is what troubles me most about them. There was the Alabama game, where they won when the Crimson Tide went on a Texas in Morgantown-type turnover binge, but the other best teams they have played (Florida, Memphis and a streaking Arkansas team) all ended in losses.

Outside of that crazy Alabama game, their best win is against…Texas A&M? Auburn?

However, I’m not sure that I trust Brandon Harris to win a game like this on the road.

Ole Miss 28 LSU 24

ATS – LSU

SU – Ole Miss

Michigan State @ Ohio State -13.5:

Michigan State was playing with fire all season (defeating Purdue and Rutgers by a combined 10 points, miracle win at Michigan), and they ended up getting burned last week at Nebraska. Bad call or not, allowing 30+ points to the Cornhuskers isn’t how a Top 10 team should behave.

Ohio State had their issues earlier in the season, defeating Northern Illinois and Indiana by a touchdown each, but they’ve seemingly hit a defensive zone, only allowing a total of 34 points in their last four games.

The health of Connor Cook is an issue here, if he isn’t healthy, the Spartans have zero chance, but even if he is healthy, Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for 100 yards in 15 consecutive games and is eager for a game on the big stage again.

Ohio State 31 Michigan State 21

ATS – Michigan State

SU – Ohio State

TCU @ Oklahoma NL:

No line due to the TCU injuries. It really is rather unfortunate, as the Big 12 would own the night due to a weak college football slate, but what can you do.

Apparently I owe lots of apologies to Baker Mayfield, as he is much better than I ever imagined (at least against teams other than Texas), as he notched his seventh game with four or more touchdowns last week against Baylor. Add in the work of Shepard and the Perine/Joe Mixon running attack, and it really is hard to imagine how that Texas game ever happened.

With all the injuries, TCU doesn’t stand a chance.

Oklahoma 34 TCU 17

ATS – N/A

SU – Oklahoma

Baylor @ Oklahoma State -1:

T. Boone Pickens Rickie Fowler Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Baylor Bears, as the last time they won in Stillwater was 1939, or the last year that Texas A&M won the national championship. You know, before interstate highways, the year that Germany invaded Poland, The Grapes of Wrath was first published, as was the first Batman comic strip, and Lou Gehrig ended his 2,130 consecutive games played streak.

A long time ago.

None of that matters, of course, as this game will more than likely hinge on the health of Jarrett Stidham, who suffered a back injury on the first series of the game last week and didn’t look right the rest of the night. If he is able to stretch the field with Corey Coleman, it will certainly open up things underneath for Shock Linwood.

Oklahoma State keeps winning games by the skin of their teeth, but they’re winning, and they are doing it with strong quarterback play from the duo of Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh, who have combined for 39 touchdowns between the two of them. If Baylor can’t play any better than they did against Oklahoma defensively this will be a long, long night for them.

Baylor has waited this long to get a win in Stillwater, they can wait two more years.

Oklahoma State 38 Baylor 30

ATS – Oklahoma State

SU – Oklahoma State

Bonus game since NL on TCU/OU and I like even numbers:  Michigan -4 @ Penn State – Michigan 24 Penn State 13

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for actual activities with your family this weekend.