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The Week That Will Be: We Give Thanks

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You know, Kansas was the best 9 loss team in the country...

Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 2-4 SU

For the Year: 38-34 (.528) ($20) ATS 45-27 (.625) SU

We learned last week...

  • Houston's Tom Herman is now 5-0 as an underdog at Houston, with four of those wins by double digits. Apparently he used to coach at Ohio State, where they were 6-0 in his last six games as an underdog. I don't know, haven't heard much about this guy.
  • Colorado is now a win over Utah away from winning the Pac-12 South as they scored on three of their last five possessions to put away Mike Leach and Washington State. We could be seeing this game again next weekend.
  • LSU had a first and goal from the 7-yard line with a chance to win the game last week against Florida, but were denied twice from the 1-yard line to end the game. Oh how we were robbed of what Les Miles would have done in that situation. Why isn't he on TV yet?
  • Oklahoma State is now a win away from winning the Big 12 (where have we heard this before), but of course in 2017 they would have to beat Oklahoma this weekend...and then beat them again next weekend to win the Big 12. Fine system we have here, folks.
  • Speaking of Oklahoma, they ripped the contender mask off of West Virginia like the villain on Scooby Doo, and now we get to watch Oklahoma try to win their tenth conference title in the Bob Stoops era, and then of course we get to watch them crash and burn in a bowl. This is more predictable that Gilligan's Island.
  • And finally, I think my tagline said it all last week: The real story will be if Texas doesn't come home from Lawrence bowl eligible...

Anyhow...

This is the time of year most of us like to give thanks, even if we say it through clinched teeth, being peer pressured by all of our Facebook friends or in the midst of a political fight at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I hope you guys bear with me as I divulge what I am thankful for this year:

To the Big 12, thank you for not forcing me to get excited about games with Cincinnati and UConn every year.

To the other 31 NFL teams, thank you for passing on Dak Prescott.

To ESPN's Brett McMurphy, thank you for .this list.

To Kliff Kingsbury, thank you for being you (see above list).

To DKR game presentation staff, getting better, closer to what it used to be. Keep going.

To Notre Dame, thank for you letting us get up to #2 in the all-time wins list again.

To Auto Nation, thank you for sponsoring the "Cure Bowl", which is played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, but I'm a little confused on why the Independence Bowl has Camping World as a sponsor and not the Cure Bowl. Let's fix this next year.

To Clown Shows, people give you a bad rap, but you give our athletic department a nice model to emulate, and for that we must be grateful.

To my wife and 4-year old son, thank you for your support and encouragement along the way. I'm not going to pretend this is rocket science, but it does take a bit of a commitment and you are always more than willing to give me the space to do it.

To my fellow writers at Barking Carnival, thank you for the outstanding content each and every week. I don't have time for much recreational reading, but the articles here are always a must stop before and after games.

To the readers at Barking Carnival, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this column each week. I would likely do it if nobody read it, but to get such interaction each and every week is rewarding and enriching.

To Tyrone Swoopes, thank you for everything. For using a year of eligibility for 13 pass attempts in 2013 to doing your best in 2014 to being a team player and finding a role this year and last. And of course, thank you for Notre Dame. One of the best moments I have seen in DKR.

To all the Texas seniors, thank you for your time, your efforts and your sacrifices. This wasn't an easy tenure for you on the field, but you guys made the best of it and carried the torch for the next generation of Longhorns.

To Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox, thank you for giving the Longhorns an offensive identity again.

And to Charlie Strong, if this is it, Godspeed and thank you for your efforts in rebuilding this program from the studs up. From lawsuits to a really bad hire of an athletic director, to losing your PR voice to untimely injuries and setbacks, you handled it all with class and dignity that was unparalleled. There were missteps along the way, but you were always willing to take the fall and never willing to take the credit, and because of your tireless work this program is setup to succeed if you are here to see it or not.  The outpouring of support from your players this week is not due to your work between the lines, it is due to your work in their hearts and home.

On to the games...

LSU -6.5 @ Texas A&M:

Despite the loss to Florida last week, LSU still hasn't allowed more than 21 points in a game all year, and here they face a Texas A&M squad that very well could be down their top two quarterbacks, as Trevor Knight has been ruled out for the regular season and Jake Hubenak suffered an injury last week.

If Hubenak can't go (or starts the game and decides he can't continue), it would likely be senior Conner McQueen under center, who has attempted all of one pass in his collegiate career.

LSU has won every game in this series since the A&M move to the SEC, and they have done it defensively, only allowing a combined 53 points in four meetings. IF Leonard Fournette plays here, this one could be a comfortable LSU win. But the Tigers have yet to win on the road this year, and I'm not sure it starts this week.

Texas A&M 28 LSU 24

ATS -€” Texas A&M

SU -€” Texas A&M

Washington -6 @ Washington State:

This one is for the Pac12-North, and possibly the inside track for the playoffs for Washington, who travel to Pullman having won 6 of 7 in this series.

The Huskies came off their disappointment of losing to USC by putting a beating on Arizona State, and while this might be a beating like that, the Cougars defense just isn't on the same level as Washington.

Washington 44 Washington State 31

ATS -€” Washington

SU -€” Washington

Auburn @ Alabama -17.5:

Alabama has won 6 of 8 in this series, with one of those wins coming on the miracle field goal return and another coming when Auburn had Cam Newton under center. All of those except for one have been by double digits.

Alabama's defense is a national story, and their latest feat of strength is not allowing a touchdown since the Texas A&M game on October 22nd, but underrated is Auburn's defense, which comes into this game ranked 10th in the country in S&P+ defense (Alabama is 2nd), and have already held Clemson, Texas A&M, LSU and Ole Miss to score 29 points or less. They have their own scoreless streak, having not allowed a touchdown in the last 10 quarters of play.

Alabama might very well blow them out, but Auburn's defense keeps them in this one for at least a little bit.

Alabama 27 Auburn 13

ATS -€” Auburn

SU -€” Alabama

Michigan @ Ohio State -6.5:

In November of 2000 Michigan went to Columbus and came away with a 38-26 victory, buoyed by a 300-yard passing game from Drew Henson and 149 total yards from Anthony Thomas. The win marked the 12th win in 15 tries in this series for Michigan.

They haven't won in Columbus since.

The Wolverines haven't been much better in Ann Arbor, only winning two games in that span and got embarrassed last year, 42-13.

This one looks to be a defensive battle, as both teams are ranked in the top-10 of the S&P+ defensive rankings, so when it promises to be a game with little margin of error, you go with the team with the better quarterback, and that is J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes.

Ohio State 24 Michigan 17

ATS -€” Ohio State

SU -€” Ohio State

Baylor -5.5 vs. Texas Tech (Arlington, TX):

Lost in the Texas woes of last week was the fact that Texas Tech somehow lost to Iowa State by EIGHT touchdowns, a 66-10 beatdown in Ames that was the largest margin of victory for Iowa State since the Jimmy Carter administration.

You have to wonder if all this defensive ineptitude will eventually catch up with Kliff Kingsbury, but likely not...at least this year.

This series has been a mess, as the teams have combined for 577 points in 6 years, all Baylor victories, including last season's 63-35 showing (the Bears have scored 60 points or better 3 times in their last 5 tries against the Red Raiders).

It was a so-so debut for Baylor quarterback Zach Smith last week, as he threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns but also threw three interceptions and only averaged 5.7 yards per attempt. But that was against Kansas State, who might as well be the 1985 Chicago Bears compared to Texas Tech.

Baylor 48 Texas Tech 38

ATS -€” Baylor

SU -€” Baylor

TCU @ Texas -3:

TCU comes into this game also looking to get bowl eligible, which certainly wasn't looked upon as a possibility when the season started as many picked them to win the Big 12 conference.

But the Frogs are here because they have lost 4 out of 6 games, with their two wins a one-point victory over Kansas (no small feat, we know) and a romp of Baylor. That streak does not tell the full story, however, as they have been playing improved defense since the Oklahoma loss, holding Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State far below their season average point totals.

Their rush defense has been all over the map this season. They gave up 7.4 yards per carry against the Cowboys last week (and 334 rushing yards), but prior to that held Baylor to 3 ypc (on 45 attempts), Texas Tech to 2.8 (on 49 attempts) and 3.3 to West Virginia (on 48 attempts). Oklahoma was able to run on them earlier in the year (5.4 on 48 attempts), so D'Onta Foreman should be able to find some running lanes as long as they stick with it.

At least the Horns hope he can, because a Texas passing game that can be shaky meets a TCU team that leads the conference in sacks at 3.6 per game, which is also good enough for third nationally.

The Texas defense is improved as of late as well. They allowed 6.38 yards per play in their first five ballgames, but only 4.96 in their last six. More importantly, they have a defensive takeaway in every game since Charlie Strong took over the defense, which might come into play as Kenny Hill, Jr. has thrown 12 interceptions on the season.

The guy to watch out for is running back Kyle Hicks, as he not only leads the team in rushing (836 yards, 12 touchdowns), he is also the team's second leading receiver with 35 receptions. Wide receiver KaVontae Turpin is working his way back from injury, but Longhorn fans should be familiar with him as he had four touchdowns against Texas in Fort Worth last season.

These two teams are a lot alike, as both are young (TCU has just 8 scholarship seniors), both feature a defense that is coming on and an offense that can be explosive at times.

All in all, this one probably comes down to the mindset of Texas. Are they checked out, coaches looking for their next job and players just wanting this season over with, or are they invigorated and embarrassed by last week and want to show the country their potential?

Something tells me the latter.

Texas 38 TCU 34

ATS -€” Texas

SU -€” Texas

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for buyouts or a new defensive coordinator, who knows?