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The Week That Will Be : Designated Survivor

The next biggest week of Charlie Strong's coaching career is here.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 4-2 SU

For the Year: 15-15 (.500) (-$150) ATS 18-12 (.600) SU

We learned last week...

  • It is possible for Stanford to be overpowered in a football game, as Washington had nine tackles for loss, eight sacks and held Stanford to less than a yard per rushing attempt in a 44-6 blowout. Wow.
  • ZZZZZ...huh, what? Oh sorry, was just watching that Michigan/Wisconsin game again. The highlight of the game was an interception, that's all you need to know.
  • The game of the year thus far has to be Louisville and Clemson, which saw the Tigers leading by 18 at halftime before their first five possessions of the second half resulted in four turnovers and punt, which lead to a 26-0 Cardinals run. Deshaun Watson promptly led them to two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and the result was what is now a 19-game home winning streak for Clemson.
  • There is some defense (or maybe just bad offense) in the Big 12, as West Virginia and Kansas State combined for *gasp* 33 points last week, 14 of which were scored in the fourth quarter by the Mountaineers to come back from a 16-3 deficit to win 17-16.
  • They say the Big 12 football is a game of runs (okay nobody says that but they should), as a 42-3 Oklahoma run leading up to the fourth quarter had some Horned Frog fans heading for the West Seventh district a bit early, but TCU had the ball with a chance to take the lead late in the fourth before Bob Stoops threw a temper tantrum and the Big 12 refs rewarded him with an intentional grounding call against Kenny Hill and the TCU rally was done.
  • Finally...I really, really, really like you, but yikes, Charlie.


Somewhere along the line, the Red River Shootout became the Red River Showdown that became the Red River Rivalry, but this year's matchup, which occurs on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, might as well be the Red River Buyout, as the losing coach of this game (and let's face it, the winner still might) faces the stark reality that this might be their last time on the sidelines of this matchup.

When these teams meet again in 2017 at the Cotton Bowl under the presidency of Mark Cuban, will Tom Herman be on the sidelines, and if so, which one sideline will it be?

Do we have a prop on that in Vegas yet, and if not, then why not?

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops came under fire as little as two weeks ago as Oklahoma at 1-2 after they looked woefully underprepared against Ohio State, which followed a performance two weeks before that in which they looked woefully underprepared against Herman's Houston Cougars.

Much of the criticism was earned, as the defense was awful, the offensive play calling was dreadful and the sheer difference between the athleticism of the Buckeyes and Sooners had many wondering if Stoops's time in Norman was done.

What a difference a victory over a very mediocre TCU team will do.

Meanwhile, Texas once again enters the Red River Rivalry needing a win to perhaps save a coach's job (this is the fifth time in six years they enter this game as a double digit underdog), and quite frankly, it is exhausting. While it is a trend that has become tiresome, but hey, the beer still tastes the same out of a wax cup.

ESPN's College Gameday will be in Texas on Saturday, but it will be 183 miles to the south in College Station, where 5-0 Texas A&M hosts 5-0 Tennessee, and while this writer expects each team to get their comeuppance at some point this season, the fact remains that that is a relevant match-up.

This match-up, long reserved for a 11:00 AM national showcase game on a premiere broadcast network, is this time cast aside to a 11:00 AM national game on a network that your parents will need to call you at 10:58 in a panic to find the damn channel on the clicker.

Win and this game will be a nice pin on the collar of Charlie Strong's turtleneck or the visor of Bob Stoops, but lose, and the writing could very well be on the wall.

And a different coach and his grill on the sideline next fall.

On to the games...

Florida State @ Miami -2.5:

In one of those stats that doesn't sound quite, this is the first time since 2002 that Miami (4-0) enters this matchup with a better record than Florida State (3-2). Chris Rix and Kenny Dorsey were the opposing quarterbacks in that one.

The Seminoles travels to get here are a bit more documented, with the big comeback victory over Ole Miss to begin the season, the blowout loss to Louisville and the loss last week at home to North Carolina. Miami has been under the radar, which tends to happen when you open with Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and Appalachian State.

Florida State has given up a school record 177 points through 5 games, and it doesn't get any easier facing junior quarterback Brad Kaaya, who threw for more than 400 yards in last year's matchup. They've won 6 in a row in this series, and it hard to imagine them losing two straight, but Miami appears to be the better team this year, and they're at home.

Miami 27 Florida State 24

ATS -€” Miami

SU -€” Miami

Alabama -14 @ Arkansas:

Speaking of streaks, Alabama has won 9 in a row in this series, but the last two have been somewhat close, a 13-point game in Tuscaloosa last year and a 1-point Alabama win in Fayetteville two years ago.

But this Razorbacks team doesn't appear to be as good as recent teams -€” they rank 102nd in the country in S&P+ rushing offense (their leading rusher Rawleigh Williams only has 559 yards rushing) and even worse (115th) against the run.

Arkansas will keep it close for a quarter or two, but with Tennessee and Texas A&M looming for the Crimson Tide, they'll want to take care of business and go home.

Alabama 41 Arkansas 21

ATS -€” Alabama

SU -€” Alabama

Indiana @ Ohio State -29.5:

I am pretty certain that this is the first time the Indiana Hoosiers have ever been featured in this column -€” and could possibly be the last, so enjoy it.

It was John Cooper's first year in Columbus, 1988, the last time that Indiana defeated Ohio State in football, but yet the last two have been relatively close, with the Buckeyes needing J.T. Barrett coming off the bench to lead them to a touchdown victory last year and a 15-point defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes the year before.

The Hoosiers are much improved under Kevin Wilson, but they just don't have the horses to make this much of a ballgame.

Ohio State 44 Indiana 24

ATS -€” Indiana

SU -€” Ohio State

Tennessee @ Texas A&M -6.5:

I'm not sure how Tennessee has arrived to this point undefeated (for the first time since 1998 they are 5-0) -€” either they are very opportunistic or lucky or both.

The Aggies are also undefeated, and the big debate in college football circles is whether the Aggies are actually any good -€” they've been here before only to falter quickly and end the season with 4 or 5 losses.

One difference in this season could be the defense -€” the Aggies lead the nation in tackles for loss (50) and they've held every opponent to 24 points or less.

The Aggies appear to be a more consistent product thus far this season, but Tennessee could put up points in a hurry and render that point moot.

Texas A&M 34 Tennessee 27

ATS -€” Texas A&M

SU -€” Texas A&M

Texas Tech @ Kansas State -8:

It is not known whether Patrick Mahomes will be available, but if he isn't, then Nik Shimonek is ready to show that he's next in line, as he threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns in relief duty against Kansas last week.

Manhattan has not been kind for the Red Raiders in their last two trips -€” in 2012 they lost 55-24 and in 2014 they lost 45-13.

If Mahomes plays I like Tech's chances...if not, not so much.

Kansas State 27 Texas Tech 21

ATS -€” Texas Tech

SU -€” Kansas State

Texas vs. Oklahoma -10.5 (Dallas, TX):

One thing is certain in this match-up -€” neither team is much interested in playing defense, as the Oklahoma Sooners are currently ranked 103rd in the country in scoring defense. Texas is even worse than that, 116th in the country at 38.3 points per game.

And that included a lay-up game for each squad, UTEP for Texas and Louisiana-Monroe for the Sooners.

Oklahoma has also been decimated by injury -€” their best pass rusher Charles Walker and nickel linebacker Will Johnson are both out, defensive end Matt Dimon was already out and linebacker Tay Evans had to retire earlier this week.

So a much maligned defense -€” one that gave up more than 500 yards to TCU last week -€” gets even weaker.

And oh yes, Sterlin Gilbert's Tulsa squad put up 603 total yards and 38 points against the Sooners last year. He is familiar with what they want to do.

Advantage Texas.

Unfortunately, we all know that the Texas defense eventually has to take the field, and if they can replicate their performance against Oklahoma they did last year -€” when they held Samje Perine and Joe Mixon to 60 total yards and held Oklahoma to 278 total yards, then we all know that they gave leave that building with a win.

Mayfield has been limited in practice this week, and even if he does, he likely won't have much mobility on a bum ankle. Texas sacked Mayfield 6 times last October -€” and with Oklahoma's offensive line struggling as much this season as they were last season (they entered last year having allowed 10 sacks, they enter this year's game having allowed 10 sacks), the pressure on Mayfield will be there -€” it is up to the players to execute and finish the job.

Texas is looking for their fourth straight win over a ranked opponent, and we all know their success against Oklahoma when they are unranked (Texas is 6-2 when they enter the game unranked while the Sooners are ranked).

Can Texas win this game? Of course. I think Oklahoma likely loses two other games outside of this one. And in Strong's two games in this series, he's brought the fight to the game, not reacting to the fight of others like some other head coaches at Texas have done.

But after these last two weeks, someone is going to have to show me some massive improvement before I begin to believe that they can come through in this game again.

Just win the damn ball game, Charlie.

Oklahoma 41 Texas 34

ATS -€” Texas

SU -€” Oklahoma

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for beer in a wax cup and a corny dog.