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The Week That Will Be: Just Win.

We're at a point where Rice is an important game, people.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 5-1 ATS 6-0 SU

For the Year: 5-1 (.833) ($350) ATS 6-0 (1.000) SU

What we learned last week:

  • Ah Texas fans, remember the days where you were up 24-0 in a game and everyone leaves pissed off because it wasn't 38-0? That is the case in Auburn, Alabama as Jeremy Johnson threw three interceptions and the Tigers only had 327 total yards in their victory over Louisville.
  • Bad game against decent opponent or harbinger of things to come for TCU? The Frogs made 7 trips inside Minnesota's 35-yard line. The results? 3 field goals, 2 turnovers, 1 missed field goal and 1 touchdown.
  • The Annual Aggie Hype Machine After First Game is in full hyper drive, but if Myles Garrett has more games like that (2 sacks, forced fumble, 8 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 3 QB hurries), it will be justified this time.
  • Another year, another NFL caliber running back at Alabama, as Derrick Henry showed his efficiency by scoring three touchdowns on 13 carries in Alabama's domination of Wisconsin.
  • Ohio State's schedule the rest of the way: Hawaii, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, @ Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, @ Rutgers, Minnesota, @ Illinois, Michigan State, @ Michigan, Big10 Title Game.  See you in the semi-finals.
  • Trip report:  Chicago: Great!  South Bend: Bad! Bad! Bad!

Progress (prog-res): noun A movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage

I'm really tired of writing "this" column. Not "this" column, of course, but "this" one.

The one where I try to explain yet another disappointing defeat at the hands of an overwhelming foe. "Defeat" is used with trepidation, however, because what we saw on Saturday night was a complete and utter disaster by every unit of this football team.

This coaching staff wasted the entire offseason telling us how different the offense would be this year only to roll out the same schemes that we saw last season, with the exact same issues on the offensive line and quarterback. An "up-tempo" offense turned into guys staring at the sideline with their palms up, as if they had no clue where to line up or what the game plan was.

Of course that is IF there WAS a game plan. Apparently much of it was ditched mid-game, which is why a change in the coaching staff was made after 60 minutes of this season.

Make no mistake about it, I am 100% behind Charlie Strong and feel that he absolutely can get this program back on top, but you still have to question if all we have been doing for the past 20 months is spinning our wheels as a program.

Did I expect a win against Notre Dame? Of course not. They are even more talented than I thought they were, if they are still standing as one of the four on New Year's Eve it wouldn't shock me in the least. But I did expect to see some growth from last season, with flashes of promise for later this season.

As Strong likes to say himself, this is the University of Texas. The current product is simply not good enough.

You've seen the stats by now. Dead last in the nation in offense the last three games. Outscored by 97 points in those games. 512 total yards in those games. And one, yes one red zone trip in one hundred and eighty minutes of football.

With Rice (three straight bowl trips), Cal (on the cusp of being very dangerous), Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma awaiting this team before Columbus Day, this thing is teetering on disaster, when all of us thought that surely it could only go up from 2014.

Where does this thing go from here? Only those men on the field and the coaches in the locker room can dictate that, and while I trust Strong to get it right, it won't take many (any?) more losses like that before those far ahead of me in Steve Patterson's "points" system start to question whether they feel the same, as ludicrous as that might seem.

Get it done, Charlie.

On to the games...

Houston @ Louisville -13

This week Louisville named freshman Lamar Jackson their starting quarterback after he almost dug them out of a 24-0 third-quarter deficit last week. Houston, meanwhile, managed to roll up 621 yards in Tom Herman's debut against some team called Tennessee Tech, which sounds like a fake HBO show opponent.

Louisville 37 Houston 28

ATS - Houston

SU - Louisville

Boise State -2.5 @ BYU:

Boise State managed to edge out Washington last week in a 16-13 game which saw them average 3.3 yards per play in their final 10 possessions. BYU won a thriller in Lincoln, Nebraska, although Taysom Hill's 9th year of college football was cut short due to a foot injury.

Backup Tanner Mangum was impressive, throwing for 111 yards on 7/11 passing. A highly decorated recruit, he should be ready to go under the lights.

BYU 34 Boise State 27



LSU -4.5 @ Mississippi State:

LSU won 14 in a row in this series up until last year's 34-29 Bulldog victory in Baton Rouge, also known as the game where Dak Prescott started his Heisman campaign with 268 yards passing and another 105 rushing to go along with 3 touchdowns.

LSU, meanwhile, starts Brandon Harris, who was largely underwhelming for the Tigers last season. If Prescott has his day again, and the Bulldogs contain Leonard Fournette this one will be Mississippi State's first consecutive wins over LSU since 1990-1991.

Mississippi State 27 LSU 21

ATS - Mississippi State

SU - Mississippi State

Oregon @ Michigan State -4:

Oregon managed to rack up 731 yards in Vernon Adams's Ducks debut, but they also gave up 579 yards to Eastern Washington in the process.  Add the fact that Adams was the recipient of a brutal cheap shot that left him with a concussion, and this is a tough situation for Oregon.

This was one of 2014's best contests in Eugene, as Michigan State roared out to a 9-point third quarter lead behind Connor Cook's 343 yards passing, but Oregon scored the final four touchdowns of the game to win 46-27.

With some questions about the health of Adams, and questions about the Oregon defense, I think Michigan State gets their revenge in this one.

Michigan State 38 Oregon 31

ATS - Michigan State

SU - Michigan State

Oklahoma -1 @ Tennessee:

Time to put their money where their mouth is as Bob Stoops and Oklahoma have made a career of antagonizing the SEC SEC SEC without much to show as far as successful results against that conference when it matters.

A Tennessee defense that gave up more than 15 yards per completion against Bowling Green last week will be without starting defensive tackle Danny O'Brien, who is suspended for this game. They could have used him, as Baker Mayfield was most impressive in his Oklahoma debut last week, as was Joe Mixon.

Oklahoma handled the Volunteers 34-10 in Norman last year, and should be able to hold them off this year.

Oklahoma 34 Tennessee 24

ATS - Oklahoma

SU - Oklahoma

Rice @ Texas -15.5:

It is no secret that a loss here would be disastrous for Charlie Strong and Texas, as the Longhorns are 40-2 in this series since 1965, with the last loss coming in 1994. The last time this game was even a two score game was 1999, when Texas beat the Owls 18-13 in Mack Brown's second year.

Driphus Jackson enters his second year starting at quarterback for the Owls, and he showed some flashes last year, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns in Rice's 30-6 victory over Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl last December.

The Owls, of course, like to run the football, depending on an option attack that is rarely seen anymore to catch opponents off guard. Defending the option requires discipline and patience, something a young Texas defense might need to work on.

When Texas has the ball...well, your guess is as good as mine. My guess is that Johnathan Gray had better be prepared to be the workhorse, with hopefully a better effort against a Rice team that features no future NFL first rounders.

I'm not down on Tyrone Swoopes as others, mainly due to the atrocious play of the offensive line in his entire tenure here, but at some point you have to make plays with what is given to you and he hasn't done that enough. Perhaps it is time to see if Jerrod Heard plays in games better than he practices and his elusiveness can be an asset.

Texas bounces back, the only question is whether it is nicely or another stomach turner.

Texas 28 Rice 16

ATS - Rice

SU - Texas

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for beer in DKR.