Last Week: 3-3 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 32-28 (.533) ($80) ATS 41-19 (.683) SU
We learned last week...
- Texas A&M's reign in the playoff stratosphere lasted about five days, as Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald scampered 74 yards for a touchdown on the very first play of the game. The Bulldogs ran for 365 yards on the day, and the beating could have been worse as they threw two interceptions in the end zone.
- When the third play of the game is a pick six, Nebraska had to know that their trip to the Horseshoe was not going to be a pleasant one.
- Alabama's stranglehold on the Alabama/LSU rivalry continued, as LSU now has a little over 300 yards of offense against the Crimson Tide in the last two years.
- Oklahoma State had three turnovers to Kansas State's one, but 200 more yards of offense goes a long way towards mitigating that.
- I hear that the truth doesn't lie, and the truth was that Baylor couldn't stop anyone last Saturday, least of all TCU running back Kyle Hicks, who rushed for 192 yards and five touchdowns against the Bears. It was part of 431 total rushing yards for the Frogs.
- And finally, if you hold Texas Tech to less than 300 total yards in the last three quarters of the game, it becomes a lot easier to get out of Lubbock with a win.
Charlie Strong wasn't just feeling particularly charitable when he gave Texas junior running back D'Onta Foreman the highest grade possible - Foreman had just run for 341 yards (and three touchdowns, including a 74-yarder with one shoe), the third most in a single game in Texas history.
A history that includes guys like Ricky Williams, Earl Campbell, Jamaal Charles and Cedric Benson.
"As good as I've ever seen," Strong said.
The narrative out there is that Foreman, a less-heralded recruit out of Texas City in the class of 2014, only came to Texas because they wanted his brother, wide receiver Armanti, who has more than contributed himself this season. Among those who also offered D'Onta a scholarship offer were Missouri, Kansas State and Illinois.
Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
Foreman now leads the nation in rushing, averaging 180.8 yards per game, and has rushed for at least 124 yards in every game he has been on the field this season.
Furthermore, his 1,446 total rushing yards through 8 games is the second most in Texas history, trailing only Ricky Williams and his record-setting 1998 season, where he had 1,634 yards through the same number of games.
That 1998 season, of course, was the season that Williams won the Heisman Trophy.
Could Foreman's season end with the same award?
It would take a gargantuan effort, as Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson appears to all but have this thing wrapped up, even a month out.
But it is an honor in itself to get invited to the ceremony - especially for a two-star running back from Texas City. And he certainly is a favorite for the Doak Walker award, given to the nation's most outstanding running back.
And, of course, if Jackson should falter - and Foreman has a productive game against a respected West Virginia defense...
How can you count him out?
On to the games...
Auburn -10.5 @ Georgia:
Georgia has won 4 of 5 in this series, with that lone Auburn win coming on that 73-yard deflected pass with less than 30 seconds left in the ballgame. Extend that a little further and the Bulldogs have won 8 of 10.
The Tigers could be without the SEC's leading rusher for this one, as Kamryn Pettway is listed as questionable with a leg injury suffered last week.
This one could be a defensive battle as Auburn has held 7 opponents to 16 points or fewer while Georgia boasts the conference's third-best rush defense. Look for Auburn to win - but it will come down to the final moments.
Auburn 28 Georgia 21
ATS - Georgia
SU - Auburn
Michigan -22 @ Iowa:
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz signed a six-year extension at $4.5 million annually and then proceeded to lose to North Dakota State before dropping three more games in a six game stretch, including a drubbing last week at the hands of Penn State.
Michigan has allowed more than 10 points only once in the last 6 tries, and judging by recent Hawkeyes' offensive outputs, this one will be more of the same.
Michigan 28 Iowa 10
ATS - Iowa
SU - Michigan
USC @ Washington -9.5:
Washington went from under the radar to in the middle of the playoff race this week, as all they have to do is win out and they'll be in the tournament.
The Trojans, meanwhile, have won five in a row and the rumblings of firing Clay Helton seemed to have settled down.
USC has lost three of four away from the Coliseum this year, and I don't see this as anything different.
Washington 41 USC 28
ATS - Washington
SU - Washington
Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State -12.5:
It takes some scoring to win this match, as the winning team in recent years has scored 70 (2015), 45 (2014), 52 (2013), 59 (2012) and 66 points in 2011. You know both of these teams have offense, while Oklahoma State brings somewhat of a defense while Texas Tech brings none.
Oklahoma State 41 Texas Tech 23
ATS - Oklahoma State
SU - Oklahoma State
Baylor @ Oklahoma -16:
The Bears (and their coaching staff) has seemingly given up on the season, as they had no business getting blown by TCU last week. Adding to the misery is the fact that Shock Linwood is suspended for this game for getting into a physical altercation with an assistant coach...and you get why they are 16 point underdogs.
Oklahoma's defense hasn't fared well against good offenses (look at Lubbock last month), but again....what is Baylor's mindset?
Oklahoma 48 Baylor 31
ATS - Oklahoma
SU - Oklahoma
West Virginia @ Texas -1.5:
In what is quite the statistical anomaly, Texas is looking for their fifth straight win over an AP Top-12 opponent...a streak that nationally only trails Alabama.
Offense isn't a problem in Austin these days, as Saturday against Texas Tech was Texas's sixth 500-yard effort of the season, which ties the school record set in 2005 and tied in 2009...it seems like those teams went somewhere. That should be a good match-up for the much improved West Virginia defense, which has only allowed 21 points or less in six of eight games played this season.
I'm not sure what kind of voodoo magic they are working there, but they held Kansas State running back Charles Jones to a 3.31 yards per carry average, held Patrick Mahomes to "only" 305 yards, held Kenny Hill to 148 yards and held Mason Rudolph to 273 yards passing.
Do that, and it doesn't take much from your offense to be successful.
But quarterback Skyler Howard has been more than adequate, throwing for 2,293 yards and 16 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions.
The Mountaineers were on fire early in the season, but there are questions about how tough that schedule was (Missouri, Youngstown State, BYU, Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma State and Kansas) so you have to feel like this is a winnable game for Texas, especially at home.
Texas 37 West Virginia 31
ATS - Texas
SU - Texas
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