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The Week That Will Be: Why Not Us?

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This might be the worst major conference...but somebody has to win it.

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Last Week: 2-4 ATS 5-1 SU

For the Year: 13-11 (.542) ($70) ATS 14-10 (.583) SU

We learned last week...

...that David Shaw might be on the Board of Regents at UCLA as he is now 7-0 against the school after quarterback Ryan Burns threw for 66 of his 137 total passing yards for the game on the last Stanford drive. The Cardinal defense even added a touchdown to please the Brent Musbergers of the world.

...Tennessee can finally join the modern era after they finally defeated Florida on the strength of 38 straight second-half points. Joshua Dobbs accounted for all five touchdowns, and the defense got in on the fun as well, holding the Gators to -9 yards for a stretch of five drives in the second half.

...every sportswriter in America can make the same joke, as Ole Miss did finally hold on to a three touchdown lead, and even added to it. The "good" Chad Kelly showed up in Oxford last week, as he threw for 270 yards in the first half. The Rebels averaged 10.1 yards per play, and the Kirby Smart honeymoon is officially over.

...I watch more college football than the average human being and I can't even begin to explain what happened in East Lansing on Saturday, as Wisconsin walloped the Spartans. Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw for 127 yards on third down alone, and Michigan State for their part threw in four turnovers to help the cause.

...here is an unpleasant visual, as Kevin Sumlin continued his dominance over Bret Bielema on the legs of Trevor Knight, who ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns. The Aggie chirping began in earnest this week, which means college football season is indeed here.

...and finally, we learned that Jim Grobe not only doesn't know who Shawn Oakman is, he also knows to get out of the way during games, as Seth Russell threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns in Baylor's victory over Oklahoma State.

Anyhow...

At the Charlie Strong weekly press conference earlier this week, the coach was asked about team goals coming off the loss to California:

"I say to them, why not? Why not us? You look what we have, we're a very talented football team. We can make an excuse as being young. That's no excuse. (via TexasSports)

As bad as the Big 12 has been in this young season, everyone in the conference is asking "why not us", so let's take a look at why none of these teams will win the Big 12:

Kansas and Iowa State would be better served spending their free time watching This is Us instead of asking the "why not us" question. Among the teams ranked higher than the Jayhawks in the S&P+ team rankings are Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas and Old Dominion (actually delete delete delete...I don't want the Big 12 expansion brigade to  get any ideas).

Texas Tech probably features the best quarterback in the conference in Patrick Mahomes, but unfortunately for Kliff Kingsbury the second best quarterback in the conference is whoever is playing Texas Tech. If Coach Bro is going to survive on the South Plains, they might want to consider mixing in a couple of stops.

The Mountaineers of West Virginia are one of two undefeated Big 12 teams remaining, but they showed some vulnerability by going to halftime tied with Youngstown State (and Bo Pelini) and getting into a shootout with what appears to be a very mediocre BYU team.

Kansas State is Kansas State, which means Bill Snyder will coach them up to 8 or 9 wins, but will do so into perpetuity when they figure out how to 3D print an exact replica of him year after year (complete with Alamo Bowl windbreaker). One of those 8 or 9 wins could very well come over Baylor, the Big 12's other remaining undefeated team, a team that has to collapse under the weight of itself sooner or later.

Speaking of Sooners, Oklahoma was supposed to be the class of the conference, but Houston beat them so bad they changed the Oklahoma school president's mind on conference expansion, and Ohio State did the same two weeks later. The Sooners might very well still win the conference, but it is apparent that Baker Mayfield isn't playing as well as he did last season, and it is apparent that their defensive problems are probably going to be too much for the Stoops brothers to fix anytime soon.

We probably find out more about TCU when Oklahoma comes to town this weekend, but they've looked shaky at best for a rather large portion of three games, and will probably go as far as quarterback Kenny Hill and a defense that really struggled in their first two games will take them.

The perpetual question for Oklahoma State is if they can take the next step to be the class of the conference, and luckily for them if Texas knocks them off this weekend they won't have to ask that question again until next Summer.

And the Longhorns?

Charlie is absolutely right.

On to the games...

Stanford @ Washington -3:

This could be a coming out party of sorts for Washington, who has quietly climbed to a Top-10 ranking (although with Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State in the win ledger it is understandable how they've been so quiet).

The Huskies went 7-5 last season and haven't lost fewer than four games since 2000, but they did return 16 starters this season, including sophomore quarterback Jake Browning, who has thrown 14 touchdown passes this season to only 2 interceptions.

Stanford has won 7 of 8 in this series, and they have the best player on the field in Christian McCaffrey, but I worry about Ryan Burns and his ability to win in what should be the most hyped game at Husky Stadium in quite a while.

Washington 24 Stanford 16

ATS -€” Washington

SU -€” Washington

Wisconsin @ Michigan -10.5:

How does Michigan get five straight home games to open the season? I can only imagine that damage that would be done to my long-term health outlook by five straight tailgates, but here we are.

The Badgers have to be one of Vegas's favorite teams this year, as the rumor was that LSU was one of the heaviest played teams in years in their season opening match-up, and most thought Michigan State was legit after their dismantling of Notre Dame...before we saw the Irish lose to Duke.

It doesn't get any easier for the Badgers, as this is the second in a tough stretch that sees them hosting Ohio State and traveling to Iowa in the next two ballgames. When you have a young quarterback, you can't expect a lights out performance each week, but a defense that is ranked 6th in the country in the S&P+ rankings should be able to help them out.

The Wolverines have lost 11 straight games against Top-10 opponents, but they'll get their first win over such a team here.

Michigan 31 Wisconsin 17

ATS -€” Michigan

SU -€” Michigan

Louisville -2 @ Clemson:

This game opened during the Summer with Clemson as a 10-point favorite. It opened this week with Clemson as a 3-point favorite. Now the Cardinals are the favorite.

That is because they are the hottest team in the country, of course, led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has 25 touchdowns on the year -€” more than any FBS TEAM other than Michigan (28).

Louisville played the Tigers very close last season -€” Clemson won 20-17 in a game Lamar Jackson hardly even played -€” so they won't be intimidated by Clemson.

I hate to go against a hot hand, but Clemson is better than Florida State, and they have the defense to contain Jackson.

Clemson 30 Louisville 24

ATS -€” Clemson

SU -€” Clemson

Kansas State @ West Virginia -3.5:

These two played a thriller last December, with Kansas State defeating the Mountaineers by one in Manhattan.

Kansas State has only given up 33 points in three games, but to be fair one was called at the half due to lightning, and the other was against Florida...Atlantic. When in doubt, take the home team.

West Virginia 27 Kansas State 20

ATS -€” West Virginia

SU -€” West Virginia

Oklahoma -3.5 @ TCU:

This one looked a lot better before the season started -€” before Oklahoma decided to drop two games and before TCU decided to get beat by a bad Arkansas team -€” but in this conference, this could very well go a long ways towards deciding who wins it.

This one is always tight. Since the Horned Frogs joined the conference these teams have played four times and the total margin of victory is 15 points -€” including a 30-29 Oklahoma victory in Norman last year.

Baker Mayfield was held in check that game, as he completed only 14 of 37 pass attempts for 203 yards. While the Sooners have been ripped for not leaning enough on their running game, Mayfield has to be good in order the Sooners to win.

Oklahoma gave up 78 points to Houston and Ohio State, but their biggest problem on defense is a lack of playmaking ability. They only have five sacks in three games and have yet to get an interception.

TCU 38 Oklahoma 34

ATS -€” TCU

SU -€” TCU

Texas @ Oklahoma State -3:

Both teams need a win rather badly.

Texas needs a win to recapture the momentum of a season that was a skyrocketing before an all too familiar road loss against California, while Oklahoma State can't afford to drop any home conference games with trips to TCU and Oklahoma looming at the end of the year.

These two teams are quite familiar with each other, of course. Mason Rudolph threw for 290 yards on 34 attempts in last year's controversial Cowboys victory in Austin, but the Longhorns were able to keep superstar wideout James Washington to only 4 catches for 42 yards.

If you told Texas coaches they could hold those two to that output again -€” they would likely take it.

Rudolph has thrown for nearly 1,300 yards already this season, but like last season when he threw two interceptions against Texas -€” he has shown that he still doesn't perform very well under pressure, only completing 7 of 12 passes for 84 yards and an interception in their loss to Baylor last week.

Get to Rudolph any way possible and the results will be favorable. Let him sit in the pocket all day and pick you off -€” well, this defensive staff would be answering some tough questions once again.

On offense, once again this is a team that Texas should be able to move the ball against. While their defensive line is the strength of their defense, they let Central Michigan run 71 plays for 418 yards, let Pittsburgh run 85 plays for 527 yards (and an astounding 5.4 yards per carry), and let Baylor run 66 plays for 518 yards...but that is only because the goal line kept stopping the Bears.

Just one thing to look out for on special teams -€” Oklahoma State has had two punts blocked this year (we Texas fans know how that can be a schematic failure), and we know what Brandon Jones as done in that area this year.

The road woes have reached a boiling point in Austin -€” the Longhorns simply cannot afford to come out and look listless in yet another road loss. While the Cowboys are a quality opponent -€” if the defense has their act together this is a road win the Longhorns can very much steal.

Texas 31 Oklahoma State 28

ATS -€” Texas

SU -€” Texas

For entertainment purposes only.  Save your money for pints for your European buddies when they win yet another Ryder Cup.