Last Week: 3-3 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 22-19-1 (.537) ($70) ATS 28-14 (.667) SU
Quick Thoughts From Last Week:
Clay Helton Made it Past the Tarmac? Kedon Slovis was back under center for the Trojans, and he actually outplayed Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book (255 passing yards, 2 TDs vs. 165 passing yards, 5.2 yards per attempt), but the Irish ran over USC to the tune of 308 rushing yards.
Alabama Gives Up 28 Points, Still Covers Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdown passes to beome the all-time leader in passing touchdowns at Alabama (79) as the Crimson Tide toyed with the Aggies for much of the day.
Bayou Boom The LSU offense keeps rolling, as quarterback Joe Burrow completed 21 of 24 passes for 293 yards and three scores, leading the offense to a 10.6 yards per play clip (a LSU SEC record) against a stout Florida defense. I like to poke fun at Ed Orgeron as much as anybody, but he is now 8-3 against Top 10 teams since leaving Ole Miss.
Iowa State Rolling West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall was knocked out of the game on the second series of the game and the Mountaineers didn’t stand much of a chance after that against an Iowa State team that seems to be finding itself. Backup QB Jack Allison completed 12 passes for 33 yards in the second half as West Virginia was shut out in the half.
Baylor & Texas Tech Refuse to Win, Finally Baylor Says We’ll Do it This game featured six lead changes in regulation time as Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 352 yards and rushed for three touchdowns. Brewer threw his first, second and third interception of the season but also drove the length of the field with 1:21 left to tie the game after having a winning touchdown grab dropped.
Texas Hosts Mack Brown, Greg Davis Back for Retro Weekend I don’t know what that was in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, but that felt like a Mack Brown/Greg Davis Dallas Special (except we all know Mack would have lost that game by 30). Texas shot itself on offense (305 total yards), defense (NFL teams now tanking for CeeDee) and special teams (no returners at all would have worked out better).
It you read last week’s column, I implored the offense to not blink against Oklahoma like they did against LSU. It was going to take 40 points to win this game, and they blinked.
And nearly went blank for an entire half.
The offensive coaching staff apparently didn’t feel the need to watch tape of the Oklahoma defense this season, despite it being readily available, instead choosing to trot out the same game plan (attack the perimeter) from last year’s October contest…with disastrous results against an eager to prove it, “we’re better dammit and gosh darn it people like us” defense.
Texas fans were in denial at the time, but you knew from the first offensive play for -2 yards that you were in for a rough day.
Like stated earlier in the column, it felt like a Mack Brown/Bob Stoops game, where Oklahoma looked more motivated, better prepared, and more physical.
Yep, the Horns were physically whipped by a Bennie Wylie coached unit.
This probably isn’t a popular opinion, but I felt like the defense played well – particularly in the first half. If I told you before the game that Oklahoma would score 10 points in the first half, and if I told you that they would score 34 for the game, each and every one of you would have taken that to Vegas and bet the house (or mobile home for our Oklahoma friends) on the Texas money line.
Sure, the Texas defense looked like they had a few of those Cotton Bowl beers when trying to tackle Jalen Hurts or CeeDee Lamb. Sure, Todd Orlando inexplicably played a game against a running quarterback without a spy and let him run for a bajillion yards in the first half. They bent plenty but did not break, forcing two red zone turnovers and forcing perhaps the best offense in the country to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns on two occasions.
They did break plenty in the second half, but when you consider the average starting field position for the game was Texas at their own 18-yard line and Oklahoma at their own 35-yard line, they were playing with fire all afternoon and got burnt.
Show me the defensive coach that stops Oklahoma and LSU and I’ll show you a head coach at a blue blood program next season.
Jalen Hurts was who I thought he was, “big game” in name only, dependent on the scheme to make plays instead of making them on his own, but Sam Ehlinger was not who I thought he was on this day, he didn’t appear sharp all afternoon and looked flat out indecisive at times. The inability to make Oklahoma pay for their pressure up the middle all day was infuriating, this should be 2 + 2 stuff for a supposed top offense with a proven Junior quarterback.
And for about the umpteenth year in a row, it appears the Texas special teams are coached by Mr. Buttermaker.
But now that we have lit the kingdom on fire, here is a fire extinguisher because Texas brought their “C” game to a dogfight…and damn near won.
Yes, the final score was closer than it actually was, but the fact of the matter is that Texas was down by three entering the fourth quarter, a quarter they should own on conditioning alone, and failed to get a defensive stop the rest of the game and failed to score a touchdown instead of a field goal when they drove to the Oklahoma 14-yard line with 8:20 remaining.
It wouldn’t have been the prettiest victory in the annals of Texas history and probably won’t have been “deserved”, but not a single one of us would have cared.
It was altogether a frustrating and infuriating afternoon, because that game was there, and they let it slip away.
With that went their College Football Playoff hopes, but there is still plenty to play for – a return trip to New Orleans as the Big 12 champion should be the attainable goal here. It won’t be easy – it can be argued that the three toughest games on Texas’s remaining schedule will all be played on the road – but this is the hole that you have dug for yourself.
And none of those three are Oklahoma or LSU.
How satisfying would it be to knock the Sooners out of the playoff down to the Alamo Bowl and see Lincoln Riley with failed smile for a week of fun on the San Antonio Riverwalk?
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
’Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
Oregon -3 @ Washington:
One of the most under reported stories of this 2019 college football season has to be the Oregon Ducks defense, which has not allowed its last five opponents to score double digits in points, and have only allowed 49 points all season.
Mix that defense with a quarterback who is going to be a top pick in next year’s NFL Draft in Justin Herbert (1,602 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 1 interception), and you have an Oregon team who is riding a five-game winning streak after that heartbreaking defeat in the opener against Auburn when they led the entire ballgame until the last few seconds.
Oregon has won 13 of 15 in this series, but Washington has won two out of the last three, including last season’s 38-3 blowout in Eugene. An Oregon win here would effectively eliminate Washington from the Pac-12 title contention, and I think they get it done.
Oregon 31 Washington 20
ATS – Oregon
SU – Oregon
Michigan @ Penn State -9:
What a weird series this has been lately. Look at these last three games:
2018: Michigan 42 Penn State 7
2017: Penn State 42 Michigan 13
2016: Michigan 49 Penn State 10
Michigan held Penn State to 186 total yards last year in Ann Arbor, but Michigan at home against anyone but Ohio State has never been the problem. The Wolverines go on the road this week sporting a 2-7 record when facing ranked opponents on the road…Not Top 5 or 10…simply ranked.
The Wolverines also can have some trouble with unranked teams, as they were up 28-0 last week at Illinois before prompting giving up 25 straight points to make it a tight one in the fourth quarter.
Last week Penn State became the first FBS team since Louisville in 2013 to allow no more than 13 points in each of its first six contests, but the trouble is that their offense isn’t scoring much better than that.
As if Penn State wasn’t creepy enough, they are scheduled to do one of those inane “white-out” events this weekend. I’m not sure Michigan needs more distractions.
Penn State 23 Michigan 16
ATS – Michigan
SU – Penn State
TCU -3.5 @ Kansas State:
Kansas State was looking a lot more impressive in the first quarter of the season, when they had a win over a SEC team on the road, but then that SEC team lost to dreadful Tennessee last week so literally any team can beat Mississippi State when you put it like that.
Also since that game they have lost two conference games by a combined score of 57-25, largely because of an unimpressive offense. Their best passing game all season was Skylar Thompson throwing for 218 in K-State’s loss to Baylor two weeks go. Their best rushing performance against a Power Five team this year is the 94 yards that James Gilbert put up in that game, but in the two previous games he only had 103 rushing yards, total.
Not to be outdone, TCU’s best passing performance this year was the 219 passing yards that Max Duggan put up against Iowa State two weeks ago, largely in garbage time. Other than that, he doesn’t have another individual game in the 200s all season.
Whatever this game ends up being, the under is probably a safe bet.
Kansas State 23 TCU 16
ATS – Kansas State
SU – Kansas State
Iowa State -7 @ Texas Tech:
The Cyclones come into this one with a two-game winning streak, but what a streak it is, dismantling TCU and West Virginia in the process, with the latter on the road.
Texas Tech, meanwhile, has lost three out of four after their loss to Baylor last week, with that one victory the inexplicable affair against Oklahoma State. Jett Duffey has been an adequate replacement at quarterback (910 yards 5 touchdown 2 interceptions) after the loss of Alan Bowman five weeks ago but he’s going against an Iowa State defense that hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in regulation all year.
Iowa State has won three in a row in this series, including last year’s 40-31 victory in Ames, and I don’t see any reason why they can’t make it four in a row.
Iowa State 37 Texas Tech 31
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Iowa State
Baylor @ Oklahoma State -3.5:
The Baylor Bears are 6-0 and have their eyes on the Big 12 Championship game, and with good reason with the way their defense is playing and the fact that they get Oklahoma and Texas at home this season.
That defense took a blow last week with the loss of middle linebacker Clay Johnston to a season-ending injury. Johnston was a cog in the middle who Baylor coach Matt Rhule pointed out would make up for a lot of mistakes for with his play.
Not a good injury to have with Chuba Hubbard next on the schedule.
Baylor has been to Oklahoma State what Oklahoma State has been to Texas, winning 4 out of 5 in this series, with the Cowboys’ one victory coming in the 1-11 season for the Bears.
The Bears are much improved, but I have a hard time believing they come out of the Big 12 with less than three losses. This will be one of them.
Oklahoma State 33 Baylor 28
ATS – Oklahoma State
SU – Oklahoma State
Kansas @ Texas -21.5:
The song referenced in the intro to this column is “We’ll Meet Again”, a British song made famous by Vera Lynn in the Second World War. It is a song of optimism and hope for a generation that needed quite a bit of both…two idealistic concepts that are far gone from the lexicon of any Kansas football fan.
October 4, 2008 was the last time that the Kansas Jayhawks won a Big 12 game on the road, and no matter how many times your friend had to save you from Final Destinationing yourself this week, it isn’t going to happen this week, either, so relax.
You need to calm down.
That week was one week before Jordan Shipley parted The Red Sea with the great kickoff return of TX/OU 2008. In fact, that day Texas defeated Colorado 38-14 in Boulder behind the arm of Colt McCoy (262 passing yards), the legs of Chris Ogbonnaya (71 rushing yards and a touchdown) and 10 tackles from Roddrick Muckelroy. Dan Buckner and Brandon Collins caught passes that day, and John Chiles even had a couple of rushing attempts.
Hell, if that doesn’t tell you how long ago it was, the Jayhawks were ranked.
This year’s Jayhawks come into Austin under the tutelage of Les Miles, who has such a firm grip on things in Lawrence that he fired his offensive coordinator in his first year before they even got to October.
Carter Stanley is the quarterback for Kansas, and even though he was last seen throwing for 230 yards and three touchdowns against those same Sooners the Longhorns couldn’t figure out, he also threw for 107 yards and two interceptions against Coastal Carolina earlier in the season, so let’s heed the words of Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe first.
Kansas’s feature back is sophomore Pooka Williams, who racked up 1,400 total yards and 9 touchdowns as a freshman, with 115 of those yards and one of those touchdowns coming against Texas the day after Thanksgiving last season.
The KU defensive coordinator comes from Colorado and before that Kentucky. If you can remember either one of those teams having a good defense you have a better memory than I do. The Jayhawks rank next to last in the conference in both yards allowed and points allowed and 103rd in the country in defensive efficiency which is good if you are tanking for Tua but this is college football.
Kansas has visited Joe Jamail Field at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium eight times since the Big 12 was formed, and the Jayhawks have allowed an average of 50 points and lost by an average of 31 points in eight losses.
Time to take out some frustrations.
Texas 51 Kansas 17
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Big 12 Championship tickets.