Last Week: 3-3 ATS 3-4 SU
For the Year: 41-29-2 (.586) ($770) ATS 53-20 (.726) SU
We learned last week...
- Rundown of Wisconsin & Northwestern on Saturday: Wisconsin fans throw snowballs at their cheerleaders, causing them to vacate the field; the Badgers have three touchdowns overruled by replay, then turn it over on downs in the final seconds; they then precede to throw snowballs at the officials; No word if any of them were signed to play quarterback.
- Somehow I don't think letting Vernon Adams throw for 313 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half was part of USC's game plan going into Autzen Stadium...
- The tale of two programs: LSU loses their third game of the season and $15 million buyouts are being discussed, while at Ole Miss their three-loss season is celebrated.
- As bad as Ohio State was last week (more on that later), Michigan State and Mark Dantonio are now 5-1 in their last six games against teams ranked in the Top 5. Wow.
- If it works, Gary Patterson is hailed a genius, but it didn't, so now we get to second guess why you don't want to go to overtime with the momentum and facing Trevor Knight. But that's why you get paid multi-millions of dollars to make these decisions.
- And finally, we learned that it is extremely hard to go undefeated in a season, as all Oklahoma State needed to do was beat a third-string quarterback at home and they couldn't get it done. Baylor's 73 (!) rushing attempts were one less than the total amount of plays Oklahoma State ran the entire game.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, which means we pretend to like our families, drink entirely too much, eat entirely too much food that we wouldn't even consider eating at any other time of the year, and consider committing a felony due to the insane traffic everywhere we want to drive.
But other than that, it is great.
It is tradition in this column to give thanks for everything that has inspired me for the past year, so here we go.
To the University of Notre Dame football team, thank you for putting my football hopes and dreams out of their misery early on this season. If Texas had played say, Lamar, or Northwestern State for their first game, it might have been several weeks of hope and glee before it all came crashing down.
To the Michigan State Spartans, thank you for saving me from weeks and weeks of Ohio State talk yet again.
To Dirk Nowitzki, thanks for being you.
To Tony Romo, remind me to thank you in about a month for leading the Cowboys back to the playoffs.
To Torchy's, thank you for that delicious queso.
To J.J. Abrams, thanks for if nothing else, a kick ass trailer. The future appears to be in good hands.
To Andrew Luck, thanks for ruining my fantasy football season. Defending championships are overrated, anyhow
To Leon Bridges, thank you for that silky smooth style.
To Bob Stoops, thank you for that victory. Sorry but not sorry if it costs you a shot at the playoff.
To LSU boosters, thank you for reminding me that rich people are crazy and irrational.
To Steve Patterson, thank you for Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart...and that is about it.
To Shiro Davis, Peter Jinkens, Duke Thomas, Nick Rose, Nick Jordan, Alex De La Torre, Marcus Hutchins, Sedrick Flowers, Taylor Doyle, and Desmond Jackson, thank you for sticking with it. This senior class has been much maligned, has seen many different coordinators, two head coaches, three athletic directors and seen several of your classmates leave before they made it this far. It wasn't what we had hoped for, but you'll always be a Longhorn.
To Daje Johnson, thank you for sorting through the madness and finding your way back to this club. It is truly special, and I've always been a big fan.
To Marcus Johnson, thank you for those touchdowns against Oklahoma.
To Johnathan Gray, thank you for your leadership, fighting back from injury and being the consummate teammate.
To Hunter DeGroot, Dillon Boldt, Tyler Lee, Gaston Davis, Tyler Marriott, Logan Mills, Dominic Cruciani, Trey Gonzales and Clark Orren, thank you for your hard work and dedication. The walk-on never gets the headlines or even the last paragraph, but your duty is invaluable.
To the Barking Carnival readers, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this column throughout the year. I'm one of those writers that thinks everything he writes is terrible, so it is nice to get a dissenting opinion every now and then. I truly enjoy putting this up for you guys each week, and I hope that shows.
To my Facebook friends that "like" every column, you know who you are, and I do notice it every week. Your support is appreciated.
To my tailgate family, thank you for your hard work and dedication week in and week out. As the victories on the scoreboard wane, so does attendance at the tailgate but we still put on a production as good as it always has been, and for that I am proud. These days we certainly can't do it without everyone pulling extra weight, and we've done it without much complaint.
To my wife and son, thank you for clearing your schedule for me these 14 Saturdays a year. I know I'm not the best husband and father when vetoing any and all activities to watch Random Team A and Random Team B on a random Saturday morning, but it's me and it's not personal. I love you guys.
On to the games...
Ohio State @ Michigan -1.5:
Ohio State hasn't looked quite right since about the first 7 minutes of the season opener against Virginia Tech, and it finally manifested itself in a loss to Michigan State last Saturday. How bad was it for Ohio State?
Ohio State's 132 total offensive yards were the lowest of any Urban Meyer coached team, and was more than 100 yards less than the next lowest output, the 236 they put up against Wisconsin in 2012. If advanced stats are more your speed, the 2.93 yards per play were also the lowest, and the previous worst was 3.86 yards per play against Penn State in 2014.
It is against that backdrop, and mixed in there a seemingly disjointed locker room that they travel to Ann Arbor to face a Michigan team that hasn't beaten the Buckeyes since 2011 and have only beaten them once in the last 11 games in this series.
Michigan hasn't played defense lately quite as good as they earlier in the season, but they still have the nation's second best defense in the S&P+ rankings and have only allowed one opponent to score more than 27 points all season, and that was a double overtime game against Indiana in which they surrendered 41 points.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Ohio State can play some defense as well, and as bad as they looked last week, they have a better offense than Michigan. The Wolverines drought continues.
Ohio State 24 Michigan 16
ATS - Ohio State
SU - Ohio State
Florida State -1.5 @ Florida:
You have to wonder if Florida spent one single minute game planning for Florida Atlantic last week, instead shifting their focus towards the Seminoles. While it almost bit them, you certainly couldn't blame them, as a 2-8 opponent doesn't deserve as much respect as the Florida State team that has now won four out of five in this series.
It has been a strange season for the Gators, as they have blown out Ole Miss and Georgia but struggled against East Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic. It is apparent that they were a different team with the play of now suspended quarterback Will Grier, and now they're depending solely on their fifth-ranked defense to win games.
Much like Michigan, they run into a team that also plays defense, and has much more of a dynamic offense. Florida State handles the Gators in the Swamp.
Florida State 27 Florida 17
ATS - Florida State
SU - Florida State
Notre Dame @ Stanford -3.5:
Notre Dame is limping towards the college football playoff, as last week DB KeiVarae Russell and running back C.J. Prosise joined the long injury list for the Irish. Win this one and they have as good of an argument as any of the one loss teams.
Stanford's Christian McCaffrey continues his remarkable season, running up 389 total yards last week against Cal to up his average to 255 yards a game, which leads the nation.
The Irish have struggled on the road this year, losing to Clemson and winning close ones against Virginia, Temple and Boston College. Their, ahem, luck runs dry here.
Stanford 31 Notre Dame 24
ATS - Stanford
SU - Stanford
Baylor -1.5 @ TCU:
Well your guess is as good as mine in this one. TCU loses Trevone Boykin, is left for dead against Oklahoma and somehow finds themselves with a chance to win with seconds left on the road, while Baylor goes on the road with an injured quarterback, jumps out to a big lead and then the third-string Chris Johnson brings it home with three touchdowns.
This series has seen lots of points, with 119 scored last year, a rather pedestrian 79 the year before that and 70 and 98 points scored the two years prior.
I just don't think that TCU has the firepower to keep up this year, and while Gary Patterson has shown he can stop other teams, he hasn't stopped Art Briles enough to make me think he can do it here.
Baylor 41 TCU 28
ATS - Baylor
SU - Baylor
Oklahoma -5.5 @ Oklahoma State:
Oklahoma can clinch the Big 12 with a win, but the conference has been anything but predictable thus far, as Oklahoma State walloped a Trevone Boykin-led TCU, who then went into Norman and nearly (should have?) pulled off the upset of the Sooners without Boykin. Previously Oklahoma walloped Baylor, only to have the Bears go into Stillwater and take it to the Cowboys.
Flip a coin, it seems.
Oklahoma seems like the best team in the conference, but of course that hinges on the health of Baker Mayfield, who left last week's contest after a brutal hit to the helmet. Without him they looked very average and certainly beatable.
This has been a very even series of late, with each team winning 2 out of the last 4, and each showing the ability to win in the other team's stadium. These are two of the best defenses in the conference, but Oklahoma's is just better, and Mayfield is better than the Mason Rudolph/J.W. Walsh duo.
Oklahoma 38 Oklahoma State 31
ATS - Oklahoma
SU - Oklahoma
Texas Tech @ Texas -1.5:
Three things stick out when focusing on this matchup:
A.) Texas Tech is atrocious on the road. The Red Raiders are 4-11 in Big 12 play away from Lubbock in regular season games in the Kliff Kingsbury era, with two of those wins coming over Kansas, so it is almost like they don't count.
This year they do have a victory at Arkansas in non-league play, but got throttled by Baylor at AT&T Stadium, only beat Kansas by 10 in Lawrence, was beaten soundly by Oklahoma in Norman and lost a close one to West Virginia in Morgantown. Weird things might happen in Lubbock, but nothing good happens for the Red Raiders away from home.
B.) The Red Raiders haven't won in Austin since 1997. In fact, Texas Tech has only beaten Texas twice since 1998 (2002, 2008).
C.) There are bad defenses, and then there is what Texas Tech puts out there. The Red Raiders rank 126th in the country (out of 127) in total defense (546 yards per game). They give up 6.6 yards per play, which ranks 118th in the country. They rank 120th in S&P+ defense. And dead last in opponent rushing success rate.
Everyone knows their offense. Patrick Mahomes will pass the 4,000 yards barrier in this game, DeAndre Washington has rushed for more than 1,200 yards, and Jakeem Grant has more than 1,000 yards receiving. They don't give up a lot of sacks (only 17 in 478 pass attempts from Mahomes this year), so same old story, disguise your coverages and keep the guy that will inevitably catch the ball in front of you and cut down on the yards after catch.
Texas has their injury concerns with D'Onta Foreman, Johnathan Gray and Patrick Vahe all potentially missing this game, but Chris Warren, Kirk Johnson, Jerrod Heard and Tyron Swoopes should be more than enough against this defense. When you give up 260 rushing yards a game you give it up to anybody.
Texas cannot afford to get in a shootout here, but if they play solid defense and assert their will on offense, I don't see any reason why they don't win this game.
Texas 31 Texas Tech 24
ATS - Texas
SU - Texas
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for some ice, an extension cord, some bean dip, some Diet Rites, a box of tampons and some Marlboro Lights.