Last Week: 3-3 ATS 3-3 SU
For the Year: 13-5 (.722) ($670) ATS 13-5 (.722) SU
We learned last week:
- BYU finally learned you have to score other ways than 40-yard bombs at the end of regulation...
- Or if you have Leonard Fournette you just give him the ball on the very first play from scrimmage and he goes 71 yards for a touchdown. After averaging 12 yards per carry against his defense, Will Muschamp was likely having flashbacks to Manhattan, Kansas and 2010.
- Others having flashbacks on Saturday night were USC fans, who remembered the time they were good and Steve Sarkisian wasn't their head coach. Sarkisian suffered his second loss as a double digit favorite at USC in two years.
- You know Nick Saban didn't sleep at all this week. How could Alabama score 37 points, at home, and lose?!? The second win in Tuscaloosa in Ole Miss history was a dandy, as 17 points off turnovers in the Crimson Tide's first three possessions is enough to bury anyone.
- Which was more entertaining, the Hogs losing another one in Fayetteville or the slap fight between Kliff Kingsbury and Bret Bielema in the media?
- I hesitated to say it last week...but yes, Texas, you have a quarterback. Since 2000, only one player gained as many total yards as Jerrod Heard did on Saturday night...Johnny Manziel in 2012 against Louisiana Tech...oddly enough also coached by Sonny Dykes.
This week is the conference opener for the Longhorns, so it is as good time as any to take a look around the Big
10 12 and perhaps give some predictions on who might lose out to four loss Alabama for that final playoff spot.
At the top of the conference, of course, is TCU and Baylor, who this week had a little slap fight of their own after the arrest of two TCU football players in the great Keystone Robbery of 2015. Gary Patterson thought that this was the best time to talk about the pristine nature of his football program, perhaps forgetting about his program's own record, so to speak, but those are just details, like having more coach suspensions (3) than games played (2) like Art Briles and the Bears.
On the field those teams should have the offense to outlast bad defenses, and hey, perhaps that old "defense wins championships" adage should be updated to that, although it admittedly isn't as catchy.
The next tier would include Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The former was likely feeling a lot better about themselves before they gave up 500 yards to Tulsa, while the latter, well let's talk more about them later. If you guys have watched the last five years of Bob Stoops and feel like hitching your wagon to him (pun intended), more power to you.
Texas and Texas Tech are next. Longhorn fans are in such a rush to compare Jerrod Heard to Vince Young they forgot that they lost last weekend, or that their defensive problems could wipe out a lot of progress by the offense since South Bend. The Red Raiders are also very excited about going into Fayetteville and beating a team that lost to Toledo, but the Longhorns got waxed by the Razorbacks last season so I can't bring that up. Whoops.
Next up is Kansas State, which is starting a quarterback that didn't even start for his high school team, but he still scares the living daylights out of me because they're Kansas State and well, I don't have to remind you of the memories there (plus I already did once this column, I'm not a masochist). West Virginia rounds out the Big 8, as they've already taken it to Georgia State (take that, Oregon, see below) this season. The advanced metric sites love the Mountaineers this early season, so if they can keep playing GSU and Liberty, they have a shot at a New Year's Eve/Day bowl.
I know this might shock you, but Iowa State (remember when people seriously threw out Paul Rhoads as a potential replacement for Mack Brown?) and Kansas bring up the rear, as those two teams have combined to lose to Toledo, South Dakota State and Memphis already this season. In football.
So who is going to win the whole enchilada?
Well duh, did you see Jerrod Heard last week?
On to the games...
Utah @ Oregon -11.5:
The question in this one is whether Oregon will start Vernon Adams or Jeff Lockie under center, but does it really matter? It is Oregon.
And then there is the defense. The Ducks have given up 101 points in three games, with two of those against not really powerhouses Eastern Washington and Georgia State.
Utah hasn't fared well against Oregon in their two Pac-12 matchups, but the Ducks seem a bit off this year and Utah always hangs around in ballgames.
Oregon 41 Utah 34
ATS - Utah
SU - Oregon
USC -6 @ Arizona State:
Things were set up well for USC this year, with Oregon possibly down, UCLA starting a freshman quarterback and Notre Dame suffering enough injuries to make their trip to South Bend next month less enticing.
Then Sarkisian happened.
Meanwhile, Arizona State is playing the part of South Carolina this year, getting spanked by Texas A&M in the first game of the year and then meandering through the rest of their schedule, following up that loss with uninspiring wins over Cal Poly and New Mexico.
The Trojans still have all the offense in the world (1st in offensive S&P+), but it is the Sun Devils that have lit them up recently, scoring 100 points the last two years.
It might be a shootout, but USC comes out on top.
USC 44 Arizona State 35
ATS - USC
SU - USC
Texas A&M -7 vs. Arkansas (Arlington, TX):
There are times in Vegas that they get a bit tired of building new casinos and waterfalls and icy swimming pools and roller coasters and Mariah Carey's doctor bills and they throw you a bone.
This could be one of those times*.
While Texas A&M is building an SEC contender, Bret Bielema is spending most of his time criticizing Ohio State's schedule, the Spread offense, the availability of pork rinds in Fayetteville, everything except his own football team.
Texas A&M 45 Arkansas 24
ATS - Texas A&M
SU - Texas A&M
UCLA -3 @ Arizona:
While Arizona is likely to get the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Scooby Wright back this game, UCLA learned that linebacker/running back Myles Jack is out for the year with a knee injury.
If this one comes down to quarterbacks Arizona will gave the edge with Anu Solomon, however UCLA has the better defense, and the running game to keep that Wildcat offense off the field.
UCLA 27 Arizona 21
ATS - UCLA
SU - UCLA
TCU -7 @ Texas Tech:
TCU will likely be down to one starter that also played in last year's Peach Bowl when they take the field in Lubbock on Saturday, which is known to treat visitors the absolute worst, especially visitors that put up 82 points against them the previous season.
Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been fantastic, throwing for 1,029 yards already this season, so there is no question that the Horn Frogs better bring their best effort to come away with their national championship hopes still intact.
However, lost in the hoopla surrounding the post-game comments from Kliff Kingsbury last week is the fact that the Red Raiders are dreadful on defense once again this season, giving up more than 1,000 yards to Sam Houston State and UTEP...who don't feature any Heisman Trophy contenders.
Tech will provide a sufficient scare, but they just don't have the defense needed to slow down Trevone Boykin.
TCU 52 Texas Tech 42
ATS - TCU
SU - TCU
Oklahoma State -3 @ Texas:
There have been worse cases, but to me nothing shows the fallacy of early season college football polls as "#24 Oklahoma State comes to Austin this Saturday afternoon...."
Perhaps those that vote in these polls have better eyes than I, but what could they possibly have seen in victories over Central Michigan, Central Arkansas and THE University of Texas....SAN ANTONIO that could have led to them to the conclusion that the Cowboys are one of the Top 25 teams in the country?
Now they very well might be, but let's talk about how good they are when they don't play someone with Wile E. Coyote's arch nemesis on their helmet?
Sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph is off to a fast start for the Cowboys, throwing for 945 yards and 5 touchdowns in three games. However, last year, against real competition, he only completed 56% of his passes and had a 3:2 interception ratio, so the jury is still out on him.
Running back Chris Carson is a JUCO transfer, which means Mike Gundy will likely schedule his former team next season, but for now he's averaging 4.4 yards per carry and could certainly give the Longhorns some fits if they continue to play rush defense like the French Army.
Oklahoma State has won three in a row in Austin, and it will be four if Jerrod Heard remembers that he is a redshirt freshman and it isn't supposed to be that easy, if the Longhorn defense continues to swipe right on third down, and if Texas once again loses the turnover battle.
Otherwise this is a very winnable game for the Longhorns, one they likely need if post-season football is going to be an option this year.
Texas 38 Oklahoma State 31
ATS - Texas
SU - Texas
*For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Joe Wickline's Settlement Fund.