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The Week That Will Be: Bear Raid

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Actual football to be played this week.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 5-1 ATS 4-2 SU

For the Year: 10-2 (.833) ($700) ATS 10-2 (.833) SU

We learned last week...

  • If you want stock in Tom Herman, LLC., you'd better buy it now.
  • BYU is making that old video game adage, "when in doubt, throw it deep" come to life as they now have two in two weeks, both game winners.
  • Perhaps Texas should move to the SEC West, as year after year LSU seems to do just fine with no quarterback.
  • Michigan State is now a remarkable 5-1 in their last six games against Top 10 opponents...
  • Then there is Butch Jones at Tennessee, who is now 1-12 against ranked teams during his tenure on Rocky Top, as they somehow blew a 17-0 lead (the largest they've ever blown at Neyland Stadium) against an Oklahoma team that had nothing going through three quarters. Bob Stoops called the victory their best since 2000, which makes me think Bob Stoops must have spent a lot of time in Colorado during the off-season partaking in the recently legalized local fare.
  • I don't know if we can proclaim "Texas found their quarterback" after seven pass attempts, but Jerrod Heard's performance on Saturday night was a refereshing step in the right direction.

In the span of seven days, the Texas Longhorns football team demoted two offensive coordinators, promoted a wide receivers coach who has been on the job for about 30 minutes, fired (fine, accepted the resignation of) an athletic director who had been on the job for not much longer than that and possibly, if we squint our eyes and tilt our heads a certain direction, might be looking at the next quarterback at the University of Texas.

When you stop to think that the two most exciting guys on either side of the ball are a true freshman (Malik Jefferson) and a redshirt freshman (Heard) and that overall 24 underclassmen played at least a down against Rice, you realize that any talk of Charlie Strong being on the hot seat because The Brow got canned is ludicrous at best.

As I said in this space a fortnight ago, it is a process, and Charlie has this, get out of his way. And as far as I am concerned, the firing resignation that happened yesterday was removing an impediment, not placing one in his way. He can now coach football, not spend time worrying about how much sunscreen he might need to buy to last a week in Dubai.

On to the games...

BYU @ UCLA -17:

This one has the potential to be a defensive slugfest, as both teams like to play physical (UCLA held Virginia to 98 yards on 34 carries while BYU has yet to allow a fourth quarter score this season.

UCLA 31 BYU 20

ATS - BYU

SU - UCLA

Auburn @ LSU -7:

I don't know what shocked Auburn fans the most last week...to see their team almost suffer the biggest upset loss in college football history, or to find out that Jacksonville State is not even located in the state of Florida.

The Tigers' struggles have been apparent thus far this season, with starting quarterback throwing five interceptions in two games and the offense (97th) and defense (88th) both well towards the bottom of the FBS stat sheet.

As we discussed earlier, LSU doesn't have a quarterback either, but they do have Leonard Fournette, who scored three touchdowns last week against Mississippi State.

The Tigers from Louisiana have won three of four in this series, and until Auburn gets their act together, you can't trust them going on the road in the SEC and pulling one out.

LSU 27 Auburn 21

ATS - Auburn

SU - LSU

Stanford @ USC -10:

USC quarterback Cody Kessler is coming off a game that saw him throw for 410 yards against Idaho last week, and while Stanford is certainly better than the Vandals, that loss at Northwestern was ugly.

The Cardinal have a young secondary, which sounds like trouble against a USC team that had 14 different players catch a pass.

USC 38 Stanford 17

ATS - USC

SU - USC

Mississippi @ Alabama -6.5:

Ole Miss scored 149 points in their first two games, but of course those games were classic rivalry games against Fresno State and Tennessee-Martin, not Alabama.

The Crimson Tide have held their first two opponents to less than 300 yards, and should be able to contain new Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly. Alabama has won 17 in a row at home, and have only lost to Ole Miss once in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama 31 Mississippi 21

ATS - Alabama

SU - Alabama

Texas Tech @ Arkansas -11.5:

Last year's game in Lubbock was a disaster for the Red Raiders, as they allowed 438 rushing yards on the way to a 49-28 defeat. The Razorbacks are down two key players this time around, however, as running back Jonathan Williams (who had 4 touchdowns in that game) and leading wide receiver Keon Hatcher are both out with injuries.

Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes has the nation's longest consecutive 300-yard passing game streak at 5 and has already thrown for 786 yards and 8 scores this season.

The Red Raiders stand a chance if they can force Brandon Allen to try to beat them, but I can't trust a team that tends to be much worse on the road.

Arkansas 35 Texas Tech 28

ATS - Texas Tech

SU - Arkansas

Cal -7 @ Texas:

The good news for the Texas defense last week is that they forced Rice into 21 third-down attempts. The bad news is that they converted 14 of them, contributing to the nation's worst defensive third-down conversion rate.

The good news is that there is nowhere to go but up from there, and if we're to believe that Texas will always, at the very least, have an above average defense under Charlie Strong, we're due for a massive regression to mean...the bad news is that we're not playing Rice this week.

The Cal Bears went just 5-7 last year, but if you look at their season closer, you see a team that lost to Arizona by 4, UCLA by 2 and had one score games against USC and BYU.

But, of course, you could argue that they also only beat Northwestern by a touchdown, needed double overtime and 59 points to beat Colorado and every bit of 60 points to defeat Washington State.

They are led on the field by junior Jared Goff, who started from the moment he walked on campus, throwing for 3,500 yards as a freshman and 3,900 as a sophomore. He's projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick whenever he comes out, and if you're thinking well they throw the ball a lot so he must turn the ball over a lot, you'd be mistaken as he only threw 7 in more than 500 attempts last season.

So even if Texas is used to playing these kinds of offenses in the Big 12, it will take a massive improvement from the Texas defense from their first two contests to hold Cal to less than...30?

However before we crown them Rose Bowl champs let's look at their defense, which gave up an astounding 477 points in 12 games last year, good enough for 120th in the country.  For comparison's sake, the Longhorns gave up 310 in 13 games last year.

They were dead last in passing yards per game given up at 367 yards per game (!), which was the worst in the country by 71 yards.  71!

Their defense is supposed to be better this year, although I'm not sure how anyone gathers that by playing Grambling and San Diego State, but more power to you if you are able to draw conclusions based upon that.

Basically it comes down to this...if you were to put a friendly wager on this game you are a degenerate who needs help, because when the Cal defense is good and the Texas defense is bad, who the hell knows what is going to happen?

My gut is that this turns into a shootout that Texas just doesn't have the weapons for, but after the relative success Vance Bedford had against Bryce Petty and Trevone Boykin last year, I'm not putting anything past him.

California 41 Texas 35

ATS - Texas

SU - California

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for Steve Patterson's going away present.