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The Week That Will Be: Taking Stock

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The Horns face an opportunity to do something wonderful.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Texas Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 4-2 SU

For the Year: 6-12 (.333) (-$660) ATS 12-6 (.667) SU

Last week…

  • Ole Miss scored on the very first play of the game, everyone was giddy, thinking who needs Hugh Freeze…and that was their only highlight of the day as Alabama scored the next 62 points.

  • LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed less than 50 percent of his passes once again, yet the Tigers don’t care as they keep winning. Fun stat: Ed Orgeron is the second winningest coach in the SEC since he was hired?

  • Oklahoma drew Iowa State’s back-up quarterback two years in a row, and they almost lost for the second year in a row. Kyler Murray was having none of that, though. Another fun stat:

2017 Baker Mayfield through 3 games: 1,033 yards 10 touchdowns

2018 Kyler Murray through 3 games: 1,030 yards 10 touchdowns

  • Oklahoma State only outgained Boise State by 8 yards, but two blocked punts and 7 sacks of Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien was enough for the Cowboys to gain an edge.

  • A brutal stretch during the third quarter for the Frogs: They allowed two offensive touchdowns and 88 yards on 4 plays; permitted Ohio State’s second defensive touchdown of the game, had a blocked punt and suffered a damning penalty as well. You can argue that TCU should have blown out Ohio State.

  • And finally, no matter where USC ends up this season, that was a huge win for the Tom Herman era at Texas. The way they won, the comeback, the putting the game away. All huge.

The Race To Play Another Team a Second Time And Chance Getting Your Season Completely Wrecked And Oh Yeah Let’s Do It in A Sterile NFL Stadium starts this week as Big 12 play gets started for the Horns.

As we do every year, let’s take a look at those with the best chance to get to Dallas Fort Worth the Metroplex Arlington and those that can go ahead and schedule their holiday parties for that night:

Booked It Weeks Ago

Of course the Kansas Jayhawks are more concerned about their basketball schedule getting preempted that time of year, but they for sure made other plans after losing to Nicholls State in their opener, but they have shown Central Michigan and Rutgers who is boss in successive weeks, so good for them.

Meeting the Jayhawks this Saturday is Baylor, who lost to Duke for the second straight year (in football, Kansas fans). You still wonder why Matt Rhule took this job, but not many are going to feel sorry for them.

Kansas State still scares the hell out of me, but that is probably the Texas fan in me talking. They could be 0-11 and a trip to Manhattan would still scare me, but that’s next week’s column. Right ahead of KSU is Texas Tech, who somehow managed to find someone that scores as many points as Mike Leach did but doesn’t win near the amount of wins, except against Texas in Austin, of course.

Insert side-eye emoticon here.

Go Ahead And Send the Save the Dates

Iowa State looks like they could be a pain for the Big 12 once again as they took Oklahoma to the wire last weekend in Ames. The schedule doesn’t do the Cyclones any favors, however, as they have to travel to TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas later in the season.

If Things Fall Perfectly

The trouble with West Virginia is that they are a lot like your drunk uncle at the Thanksgiving get together, he’s a lot of fun, can dominate the teenagers in the annual pick-up game in the back yard, but he’s asleep once the turkey is done and doesn’t even have the decency to offer to help with the dishes.

The Mountaineers have lost to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the past three years. Maybe this is the year they make that leap.

Right in here is probably where Texas fits in. They have the talent to make it to Arlington, but do they have the confidence? We’ll know a lot more about Texas after this Saturday.

Have Already Swiped Right

That Spiderman meme you see on the Internet applies to TCU and Oklahoma State, two teams with very good offenses, good enough defenses and a question mark at quarterback. Shawn Robinson is talented but young, and Taylor Cornelius is not young and not Mason Rudolph but has shown to be capable early this season.

Might As Well Name the Trophy After Them

Oklahoma loses their highly successful head coach and it doesn’t matter. They lose their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and it doesn’t matter. Their “dark period” was that 8-4 record in 2014, also known as the “Trevor Knight Era”. Their throwback uniforms commemorating their last conference title is literally last year’s uniform.

The only solace is that winning the Big 12 is akin to winning that Thanksgiving pickup game against the teenagers.


Nebraska @ Michigan -17.5

Nebraska fell to 0-2 last week for the first time since 1957 – and the worst of it is that they were favored in each game. Worse than that, they have lost six straight (and 8 of 9) going back to last year. Things don’t get any easier with a trip to the Big House.

Adrian Martinez is a game-time decision for the Huskers (those words that gamblers just love to hear). With him it will be a difficult quest to upset a Michigan team that has somewhat righted the ship since that opening disaster against Notre Dame (if wins over Western Michigan and SMU impress you). Without him will be impossible, as backup Andrew Bunch only averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and had two turnovers last week (and fumbled three other times only to see Nebraska recover).

Michigan will run into some trouble soon, but it won’t be this week.

Michigan 33 Nebraska 17

ATS – Nebraska

SU – Michigan

Stanford -1 @ Oregon

This is the first of two tough road tests for Stanford, as they travel to Notre Dame next week. Bryce Love is expected back for the Cardinal as he was rested injured against UC Davis last week.

You look at the stats and see that Oregon quarterback has been solid for the Ducks, throwing for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns in three games, but then you see that those three games were against Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State and you wonder A.) Should you even count those stats; B.) How does he have 4 interceptions; and C.) Who in the hell is doing the scheduling for Oregon?

Love has yet to get going for the Cardinal this year (although he is still averaging 4 yards per carry). This Stanford defense is tough (they have only allowed 23 points through 3 games), but something tells me Oregon is due for a big win like this.

Oregon 38 Stanford 31

ATS – Oregon

SU – Oregon

Texas A&M @ Alabama -26

I don’t have to tell you about Alabama’s dominance over the past 10 years in college football, but strangely enough the Crimson Tide have had their “struggles” against Texas A&M (save, of course, the 59-0 drubbing in Tuscaloosa in 2014).

Last year Alabama withstood a late A&M rally to win 27-19, and in 2016 the Aggies led in the third quarter before Alabama pulled away late. They don’t exactly circle the date on the calendar when the Aggies come to town, but in the Nick Saban era they have only beaten the Aggies by more than 20 points that one time.

All of that of course doesn’t matter in 2018, when Alabama has their strongest offense of the Nick Saban era, all due to the progression of Tua Tagovailoa, who is completing 72% of his passes at nearly 13 yards per attempt and has thrown for 8 touchdowns versus zero interceptions.

All of this is bad news for the Aggies, who have allowed a mind numbing 9 passes of 30 or more yards this season.

But this game will likely be decided on what the Aggies can do on offense, as Kellen Mond managed the game very well against Clemson, can he do the same against Alabama in a road environment?

The Crimson Tide have won 20 straight home games with an average margin of victory of 31 points per game in that span – the Aggies aren’t going to win, but they do rank sixth in the country in time of possession at more than 36 minutes per game.

Look for them to keep it close…..r.

Alabama 41 Texas A&M 24

ATS – Texas A&M

SU – Alabama

Kansas State @ West Virginia -16

West Virginia won one of the strangest games of the year last year, a game in which the Mountaineers raced out to a 28-20 halftime lead – and then ended up winning 28-23.

The difference in that game was the performance of West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (372 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) versus Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (159 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions).

This year promises to be more of the same, and that is a matchup that heavily favors West Virginia.

West Virginia 44 Kansas State 21

ATS – West Virginia

SU – West Virginia

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma State -14

In what is truly a weird stat, Texas Tech hasn’t beaten Oklahoma State in their last nine tries, and haven’t beaten the Cowboys in Stillwater since 2001. If you want to go even further down that rabbit hole, the Red Raiders haven’t beaten a ranked Oklahoma State squad in Stillwater since 1997.

Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman has done a solid job of replacing injured starter McLane Carter. Bowman threw for 605 yards and 5 touchdowns (a conference record for a freshman) last week against Houston, and has thrown for 1,160 yards and 8 touchdowns versus 0 interceptions on the year.

If Oklahoma State has a defense this year that could spell trouble for the rest of the conference, especially if Taylor Cornelius keeps up his solid play under center.

The Red Raiders have had dreadful trips to Oklahoma during the existence of the Big 12 (they have a 4-19 record), and I don’t see this being much different.

Oklahoma State 48 Texas Tech 31

ATS – Oklahoma State

SU – Oklahoma State

TCU -3 @ Texas

Tom Herman came out this week and said that he and the team had a meeting on Sunday where he stressed the importance of celebrating the win over USC, but also that they need to bring that level of energy and preparation to each week, and not to have a let down against a very good TCU team.

The fact that he felt the need to say that tells you all you need to know about where this program has been the past few years.

Of course, Herman’s team could come out with all the fire and brimstone that they can muster this week and it might not be enough.

TCU has won four in a row in this series, and “won” is putting it lightly, as the combined score in those four games is 153-33. These are the Texas touchdowns in four years of play against TCU:

· 2017 Collin Johnson 33-yard pass from Shane Buechele

· 2015 Lorenzo Joe 21-yard pass from Tyrone Swoopes

· 2014 Armanti Foreman 73-yard pass from Tyrone Swoopes

That’s it.

Texas has to be able to contain TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson, who threw for 308 yards last week against Ohio State and has shown an ability to score with his legs, logging three touchdowns on the season.

The Longhorns have struggled a bit in this young season at times on defense, and to make matters they’ll be without safety BJ Foster for a half after being flagged for targeting last week.

A pass rush that has only yielded four sacks on the season will have to be better, and a young secondary that allowed USC to hit some big plays last week will have to step it up against an offense that will be the best they have seen thus far.

TCU’s defense had some holes last week, as JK Dobbins sliced them for 6.7 yards per carry and Dwayne Haskins threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, but I don’t think we’re quite ready to compare the Texas offense to Ohio State offense.

All this talk about Ohio State softening up TCU is wishful thinking, as you can be assured that Gary Patterson will have his team ready to play. The Longhorns will have to play better than they have at any point this season. You would like to think that last week’s victory was a turning point, but based on the recent past, until we see it…

TCU 27 Texas 20

ATS – TCU

SU – TCU

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for an umbrella.