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The Week That Will Be: Build A Bear

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Good news for Texas fans is there is absolutely no shot at a moral victory this week. Or is that bad?

Oklahoma State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Last Week: 1-5 ATS 5-1 SU

For the Year: 25-23 (.521) (-$50) ATS 36-12 (.750) SU

We learned last week…

  • Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush completed only 9 passes all game, but two of those were for touchdowns. He also added two more on the ground as Notre Dame defeated USC by their largest margin since the LBJ administration.

  • Saquon Barkley scored a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage and added another touchdown shortly thereafter as Penn State was up 14-0 fewer than five minutes into the ballgame against Michigan. The Nittany Lions rolled up 506 total yards…and do we begin to dare question the job that Jim Harbaugh is doing up there?

  • Baylor outgained West Virginia 230-11 in the fourth quarter, and were a missed two point conversion away from sending the ballgame to overtime after being down by more than 30 points. As it stands, the Bears are now 0-7 for the first time since, well, the Nixon administration.

  • Iowa State hadn’t beaten Texas Tech since the last year of the Obama presidency, but the Cyclones held the Red Raiders to 200 yards less than their season average and won going away in Lubbock. Texas Tech was once 4-1 and ranked, now they stand at 4-3 and still have Oklahoma, Kansas State, TCU and Texas left on the conference slate.

  • Kansas State jumped out to a 21-7 lead at home, but in the end, Oklahoma had Baker Mayfield (410 yards passing, 4 total touchdowns) and help, while the Wildcats had Alex Delton (144 yards passing, 4 total touchdowns) and that was about it.

  • I’m going to find the son of a bitch that sold his soul to the devil to beat Nebraska in the 2009 Big 12 title game and I’m going to kick his ass.

I’m not going to do a deep dive into that mess at DKR on Saturday…what else can be said at this point? Either you want it or you don’t, and that includes coaches…

This week we’re going to dip into the old mailbag. Just a reminder that these are not actual letters from actual readers.

Q: Is that Jim Harbaugh overrated? I think so! -- M. Ueyer, Columbus, OH

No, Harbaugh isn’t overrated. Sure, he’s only 6-5 in his last 11 games, and sure, you can pick out an arbitrary number of games and compare him to Brady Hoke, for the third straight year he isn’t going to the Big 10 championship game, and he has had his struggles with Ohio State and Michigan State….oh hell, he’s in trouble, no?

No, but when you bring the ego that he has, and you take trips to Italy and such, you open yourself up to a lot of criticism, and if next year doesn’t start off well, then maybe. And their first opponent next year? Notre Dame.

Q: What is it with Florida and head coaches? – S. Spurrier, FL

From Spurrier to Zook to Meyer abruptly quitting to Muschamp to current head coach Jim McElwain, Florida has had their share of characters. McElwain might top them, as there was the bizarre story with the nakedness and the shark this off-season, to this week declaring that there were death threats against him and his team – only for the school releasing a statement that essentially is that emoji with his hands up and shoulders shrugging.

At 3-3, with a probable third loss in a row coming this week against Georgia, it wouldn’t surprise me if Florida found an out in that coaching contract this off-season.

Q: I need a quarterback. Who is the best in college? – Cleveland Browns owner

First of all, shame on you for passing on DeShaun Watson, but the best draft eligible quarterback is clearly, well…um.

Darnold. Mayfield. Rosen. Jackson. Rudolph. Allen.

Do you want to trust any of those guys with your multi-billion dollar investment? As a GM, do you want to trust any of those guys with your job? As a head coach, do you want any of those guys in care of your career?

Q: Dude. Remember that time Texas lost to Kansas? -- every Twitter troll

First of all, it is always rich when Aggies hit you with that – hey guys, remember Case McCoy? But the Jayhawks are now 3-28 under David Beaty, with the other two wins coming against Southeast Missouri State and Rhode Island.

Southeast Missouri State. Rhode Island. Texas. Jesus, Charlie.

KU football has gotten so bad that honestly who would even want that job now? It is an afterthought on its own campus. Thankfully the Jayhawks fans still have basketball. For now?

Q: Tennessee or Nebraska. Which job do you take? -- Bill Callahan, Washington DC

I saw a headline asking this question today and had to stop and think about it…what an awful hypothetical. I guess you would have to pick Tennessee, with the better recruiting base, right?

Or do you take Nebraska and try to get the pipeline back into California and know the only tough team in your division is Wisconsin?

What a nightmare.

Q: First Playoff rankings out next week. Who do you have in the playoff? – J. Mora, New Orleans

Alabama could lose to Mercer and still be in. Ohio State. Clemson. Both got their losses out of the way early.

And the last spot to…TCU. But will they have a loss?

On to the games...

North Carolina State @ Notre Dame -7.5:

I feel like we know all we need to know about Notre Dame, they went 4-8 last year but their only loss this year is a one point defeat at the hands of Georgia, they like to run the ball (377 rushing yards last week against USC), and have won their last five games by an average of 28.4 points per game, but what do we know about NC State?

I can tell you that they are one of those teams you might see on Channel 51 at 11 AM on Saturdays, that Phillip Rivers went there, and they blocked three Texas punts to defeat the Longhorns in 1999, but what about this year?

Well, they lost their season opener to South Carolina but have won every game since, including a 6-point win over Florida State and a 14-point win over Louisville three weeks ago. They feature quarterback Ryan Finley, who has thrown for just short of 2,000 yards this year but has yet to thrown an interception, and running back Nyheim Hines, who is averaging 5.6 yards per carry and has six touchdowns on the season.

These two teams played in a hurricane a year ago, this year’s edition should just feature a comfortable Notre Dame win.

Notre Dame 34 NC State 24

ATS – Notre Dame

SU – Notre Dame

Georgia -13 vs. Florida:

Apparently this series runs in threes, as Florida has won the last three in this series, but before that Georgia had won three in a row, but before THAT Florida had won three in a row.

But this Florida team is just a mess. Former Florida quarterback Will Grier had five touchdown passes against Baylor last week….that is the same amount that Florida quarterbacks have all season for the Gators (with one of those being that freakish hail mary against Tennessee).

In fact, quarterback Feleipe Franks has been sacked 14 times this season, more than three times the amount of touchdown passes he has (4).

The Gators still do play decent defense (they held LSU’s Darius Guice to 50 yards on 17 carries earlier this season), so they might be able to slow the Bulldogs for a half, but eventually they’ll get worn down.

Georgia 28 Florida 17

ATS – Florida

SU – Georgia

Penn State @ Ohio State -6.5:

Doesn’t this feel like a classic Vegas trap game, because after all, Penn State manhandled Michigan last week, which even inspired their crowd to chant the always a bad idea “We Want Bama” while Ohio State was last seen on the public airwaves getting blasted by Oklahoma?

Since then, Ohio State has won five straight games by a combined score of 266-56. The strength of schedule in that stretch is certainly questionable (the highest ranked S&P opponent - #68 Army), but other top tier teams have had their near losses…Ohio State has not.

Penn State has their own strength of schedule concerns, but they have yet to give up 20 points in any game this season, and in fact have only given up 67 points all season (in 7 games).

Quite the impressive feat.

JT Barrett has thrown 18 touchdown passes to zero interceptions since that Oklahoma loss. As goes Barrett seems to go the Buckeyes, and being at home, I think they pull this one out.

Ohio State 31 Penn State 23

ATS – Ohio State

SU – Ohio State

TCU -6.5 @ Iowa State:

Look. I’ve picked against TCU four times this year, and they have proven me wrong each time. I even picked them once and they lost that game against the spread just to spite me.

But that’s it.

When an opposing team’s best drive is 7 plays for 17 yards, and that comes when the defense is in “run out the clock” mode? They’re just playing on a different level right now.

Iowa State has cracked the Top 25 in the AP poll for the first time since 2005, and their 5-2 record is their best this far into the season since they started 6-1 in 2002, but I’m not picking against the Horned Frogs again.

TCU 28 Iowa State 13

ATS – TCU

SU – TCU

Oklahoma State -7 @ West Virginia:

This one could be a Big 12 championship elimination game, as both teams have one loss. The Cowboys have the easier schedule remaining of the two, with Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas remaining on the schedule, while West Virginia still has Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State’s defense might not be the juggernaut that Texas made them out to be last week, but they have shown more ability on that side of the ball than West Virginia has shown this season (35th in S&P defense vs. 102nd). That should be enough to outweigh the home-field advantage.

Oklahoma State 35 West Virginia 31

ATS – West Virginia

SU – Oklahoma State

Texas -9.5 @ Baylor:

This game is simply a must win for Texas.

If they want to get to a bowl game for the first time in three years (the lowest of goals for Texas football), then they have to win this one less they think they can win at West Virginia or at TCU.

They might very well have to do it without Sam Ehlinger, or with a hobbled Shane Buechele, whichever way you want to look at it. Perhaps that is what this offense that suddenly looked oh so stale last week needs.

After all, relying on hero ball from an 18-year old quarterback who holds on to the ball so long that the original play call is a wash was eventually going to be stopped by an opposing defensive coordinator that also watches game film during the week.

Catch them off guard, no?

Defensively, just do what you did last week and that should be enough more weeks than not, right? If only it were that easy. The Longhorns held the Cowboys to an incredible 4.8 yards per play and held Mason Rudolph without a touchdown pass for the first time this season.

Baylor’s offense is a work in progress, and Matt Rhule seems to be leaning towards sophomore Zach Smith, who has completed a paltry 53.5 percent of his passes for 7.7 yards per attempt this season, with eight touchdowns against six interceptions.

A much easier task on hand than the last two weeks, for sure.

Texas has righted the ship the last two years after a 1-4 stretch against these Bears, and with Baylor’s sketchy defense (122nd in S&P+ rankings, giving up 39.7 points per game), Texas should be able to move the ball no matter who starts at quarterback. Or left tackle. Or slot receiver.

Texas 31 Baylor 17

ATS – Texas

SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for fun at the Silos.