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The Week That Will Be : Home Sweet Home

The first home game in a month brings the dreaded Cyclones to Austin. Mount up.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 5-1 ATS 5-1 SU

For the Year: 20-16 (.556) ($200) ATS 23-13 (.639) SU

We learned last week...
  • Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya received a visit from the tooth fairy Saturday night as the Junior signal caller lost a tooth on a sack and then his team lost the game when a potential game tying extra point was blocked late in the game. Florida State has now won 7 straight games in that series.
  • With the two defensive touchdowns scored Saturday night against Arkansas, Alabama now has NINE defensive touchdowns on the year. I'm not sure the Texas offense had nine touchdowns at this point last year.
  • Speaking of the 2015 Texas offense, Ohio State's J.T. Barrett was 9 for 21 for only 93 yards against Indiana...but 135 rushing yards on 24 carries led the Buckeyes to a convincing win over the Hoosiers.
  • You can take the Aggies out of the Big 12, but you can't take the Big 12 out of the Aggies as they held a 28-7 lead in this one that eventually went to overtime. The Volunteers had 7 turnovers, 12 penalties and gave up nearly 600 yards of offense but were still able to force another period.
  • Bill Snyder celebrated his 99th 77th birthday on Friday and then stayed up late on Saturday to see his Kansas State squad send Texas Tech back to Lubbock with a loss after only allowing only 10 second half points to the Red Raiders.

  • And finally...dammit, Charlie.


351 days.

It has been 351 days since a Texas team that had saved its season just three weeks prior went into Ames, Iowa, an unassuming place where they haven't had too much trouble in the past -€” and it all came crashing down.

Iowa State 24 Texas 0.

The Longhorns looked lost, lethargic, whatever bad descriptor you want to use, they were it. I only wish I had enough candy corn to get through that night.

Even the most stringent Charlie Strong apologist will tell you that losing to Iowa State isn't acceptable -€” getting embarrassed by them is downright intolerable.

I can only imagine what that flight home felt like.

The worst part of it? Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads wasn't given a pat on the back for beating mighty Texas. He wasn't given a contract extension, a subscription to the Steak of the Month club or a new Cadillac -€” he was fired less than two months later.

You shut out TEXAS and that isn't even enough to save your job -€” at Iowa State.

Think about that one for a second.

Only time travelers and gypsies know if the door slammed shut on the Charlie Strong Era last week with the defeat at the Cotton Bowl. He -€” and the team -€” might simply be playing for pride at this point.

But pride shouldn't be overlooked -€” if this program is going to get back to where it once stood, if these players are going to realize the potential that they were brought here to unlock, and if these coaches are going to save their jobs -€” a convincing win Saturday night over the 1-5 Cyclones won't be an elixir for any of those ills, but it would be a win.

And that's a start.

On to the games...

Ole Miss -7 @ Arkansas:

Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly is expected to play after inexplicably running onto the field during a brawl in a high school football game involving his brother. It seems "Chad Kelly" and "inexplicably" are used in the same sentence a lot.

These two teams were involved in that crazy game last year where Arkansas converted a 4th and 25 in overtime on a blind lateral play and then went for two -€” and got it -€” to defeat Ole Miss in Oxford, 53-52.

The Razorbacks have wasted a good year from Austin Allen, who has thrown for more than 1,600 yards with 15 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions, with a porous defense, who is giving up 560 yards and 44 points per game against Power 5 opponents thus far this year.

As long as Ole Miss doesn't allow the back door cover, I think they take care of the Razorbacks.

Ole Miss 44 Arkansas 31

ATS -€” Mississippi

SU -€” Mississippi

Ohio State -10 @ Wisconsin:

Somehow despite the recent success of both programs this is the first time in 62 years that this game is matches up two Top-10 teams. Wow.

While this won't get out of hand like the 2014 Big 10 Championship did (a 59-0 Ohio State victory), I just don't see any way this stays close if Ohio State doesn't make a multitude of stupid mistakes.

While both teams have very good defenses (6 & 7 in Defensive S&P+), Ohio State manages to actually play offense as well (11th in offensive S&P+ while Wisconsin is 100th). Madison is a good home field advantage, but the Buckeyes are a lot better.

Ohio State 31 Wisconsin 14

ATS -€” Ohio State

SU -€” Ohio State

Alabama -12.5 @ Tennessee:

Another week, another long opponent's winning streak the Volunteers are trying to best -€” this time it is Alabama, who they haven't beaten in nine tries, dating back to 2007.

Unfortunately for the state of Tennessee this appears to be an awful matchup for the Volunteers. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has eight interceptions on the year, which doesn't bode well if you read the last paragraph. Dobbs has also been sacked 14 times this year, and we all know how Alabama likes to feast on quarterbacks.

Fitting into the Tennessee "charmed life" narrative, Texas A&M missed 31 tackles last week, setting the scene for the Volunteers to come back from a three touchdown deficit. They won't get that benefit this week...the Alabama defense has missed 24 tackles all season.

Alabama 34 Tennessee 24

ATS -€” Tennessee

SU -€” Alabama

West Virginia -1 @ Texas Tech:

West Virginia enters this game at 4-0...which includes a defensive victory against Kansas State two weeks ago 17-16.

They're playing really well defensively, quarterback Skyler Howard has been efficient, and running back Justin Crawford is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, but doesn't this feel like one of those games where Texas Tech blows the doors off the opponent, especially one that needed a bit of magic to get to 4-0?

Texas Tech 45 West Virginia 24

ATS -€” Texas Tech

SU -€” Texas Tech

Kansas State @ Oklahoma -11:

Another year, another year where we are left wondering how Kansas State is doing it -€” they sit at 3-2 with losses coming to a Stanford team that was playing a lot better at the time, and West Virginia, who is undefeated.

Of course, two of those wins are against Florida Atlantic and Missouri State, so maybe you see how they have a winning record despite quarterback Jesse Ertz only throwing for 688 yards (!) through five games. Or running back only rushing for 287 yards and two touchdowns on the year.

So as good as their defense might be (26th in the country in S&P+ defense), the offense could drag it down in the gutter (see Texas, 2014).

Oklahoma appears to be firing on all cylinders, and nobody has been hotter than wide receiver Dede Westbrook, who in the last two games has been targeted 18 times and has 17 catches, 390 yards and five touchdowns to show for it.

The Wildcats have two straight victories in Norman, but not here.

Oklahoma 41 Kansas State 24

ATS -€” Oklahoma

SU -€” Oklahoma

Iowa State @ Texas -14:

Forget 351 days, it has been thirty-five days since the Longhorns last played under the lights of Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium...and what a thirty-five winless days those were.

As I mentioned, Iowa State enters this one at 1-5, with their lone victory coming over San Jose State. They ceded the Iowa State Championship belt by losing to both Northern Iowa and Iowa, and hung with TCU for a bit and Baylor and Oklahoma State for even a little bit longer.

Some this week have pointed to those last two weeks and said, "see, this team can bite you."

First, if you need false motivation against a team that beat you 24-0 last year, get out of here with that. Second, no. You can't lose to Northern Iowa and be considered a good team.

Defensively the Cyclones are....Big 12ish, giving up 647 total yards (469 of those on the ground) to Baylor two weeks ago and 459 to Oklahoma State a week ago (with 351 of those through the air).

They are good enough to take something away from your offense for a while -€” but not good enough to shut down your whole offense. This year.

Offensively, they are what they were from last year, if you're brave enough to keep memories from that game. Quarterback Joel Lanning makes up for what he lacks in arm strength by using his legs, and by using them effectively, rushing for 274 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Keep Lanning in the pocket and get them to third down and he isn't nearly as good, only completing 6 of 14 passes for 40 yards and 4 sacks last week on obvious passing downs against Oklahoma State.

Running back Mike Warren could play for any team in this conference, as Texas should remember last year when he ran for 157 yards and a touchdown against them.

This is a game I would like to see our offense pick up the slack from the defense. If they give up 45, then go score 46. Control the tempo, control the game.

Texas gets one...finally.

Texas 48 Iowa State 27

ATS -€” Texas

SU -€” Texas

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for actual tailgating supplies.