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The Week That Will Be: Thank You, Next

The Disaster on the Brazos continued a downward spiral for the Horns, and it doesn’t get much easier this week.

NCAA Football: Texas at Baylor
So that is what a touchdown looks like
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Last Week: 4-1-1 ATS 5-1 SU

For the Year: 38-37-3 (.507) (-$310) ATS 54-23 (.701) SU

Quick Thoughts From Last Week:

Oregon Ducks the College Football Playoff: Oregon decided that beating a team that had lost its last four games and HADN’T HAD A SINGLE LEAD IN THOSE GAMES was just way too trying as they fell to Arizona State. The Ducks tried to rally from a 24-7 deficit but came up just short.

Texas A&M Paying $75 MM to Rush For -1 Yards: The Aggies out-gained the Bulldogs by 14 yards, so expect a statue in College Station shortly, but Texas A&M came up short once again. Jake Fromm completed less than 50% of his passes for only 163 and continues to be one of the bigger frauds in the SEC.

Ohio State Toys With Penn State, Still Wins: My family used to have a cat that would catch mice and just toy with it before it killed it, and that seemingly is what Ohio State did to Penn State on Saturday. Two straight Ohio State fumbles by J.K. Dobbins and Justin Fields got Penn State back into the game as the Nittany Lions capitalized on both turnovers, but the Buckeyes quickly put the game away again. Penn State’s defense was allowing 76 rushing yards per game but Ohio State managed to run for 91 on the opening drive and 220 in the ball game.

Oklahoma State Manages to Win 8 Games in an Off-Year: Crazy, right? Spencer Sanders was a late-week scratch, which is why you never bet on college football. His replacement Dru Brown threw for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions, and Chuba Hubbard had his ninth consecutive 100-yard game as the Cowboys did what they had to do what they had to do to come up with a victory. Crazy, right?

Oklahoma Roller Coaster Continues: Oklahoma led 21-0 in this one, and needed a bullshit call on a third and one rush by Jalen Hurts (and review) to preserve their win Saturday night in Norman. The Sooners outgained TCU 511-204 in total yards but found themselves in a dog-fight due to two untimely turnovers by guess who, Jalen Hurts. The Horned Frogs need to defeat West Virginia in Fort Worth this week to avoid missing a bowl for only the third time in Gary Patterson’s 19 years in Forth Worth.

The 2019 Texas Longhorns = Failure: If you are a loyal reader of this column, you remember that the them of last year was “Be Humble”. If the events of Saturday afternoon aren’t the perfect reminder to stay humble, then I don’t know what is. Twenty-four months ago that Baylor team finished a regular season 1-11, and this weekend Texas didn’t even look like they belonged on the same field as they did. All of this with talent that Texas didn’t recruit. Kudos to Matt Rhule and his staff, they form a cohesive unit that works together, and adheres to the talent they have. 282 days until the South Florida Bulls come to town, Tom.

Get it done.

I don’t know about you guys but personally this has been one of the worst years of my life, and it has nothing to do with the product on the football field every Saturday, although a season that wasn’t a massive step back and the ridicule of every national media outlet would have been a nice distraction, but alas here we are.

Where is the Houston Astros support staff to warn you of impending doom when you need them?

Sports jokes make everything better.

2019 can’t get over soon enough.

But enough pity party, November is a time of giving thanks, and as we do every year, we give thanks to the following folks:

To Luka Doncic, thanks for coming along right at the right time. You don’t know me, and you don’t love me, but one day you will love me just as much as I love you, just watch.

To The Athletic, thanks for the best college football writing on the planet, next to Barking Carnival, of course. This subscription, along with the New York Times Crossword, was my best investment in the past calendar year.

To The Turnpike Troubadours, thank you for the musical entertainment these past six months. I am sorry that I discovered once you had broken up, seemingly for good, but if Evan ever gets it together, I’ll be there. I know hello would surely end up awkward, I never had the knack for talkin’ anyway…

To the Kansas State Wildcats, thanks for keeping Oklahoma out of the playoff again.

To Lamar Jackson, thanks for all those fantasy football points.

To Chris Del Conte, thanks for making all UT sports an event again.

To John Burt, Brandon Jones, Jeff McCulloch, Kirk Johnson, Mason Ramirez, Malcolm Roach, Zach Shackelford, Parker Braun, Jamari Chisholm, Gerald Wilbon thank you for putting your blood, sweat and tears into Texas football. Some of you were here one year, some of you were here six, but whatever the case, you chose to end your college football playing days with the Texas Longhorns, and that means a lot. Good luck in your future endeavors, whether that be on the field, on the track, in the classroom or in the office.

To Devin Duvernay, thank you for being the rock this year. It is an absolute travesty you weren’t named a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, but just know that everyone knows you were one of the best this year. Good luck at the next level.

To Collin Johnson, thank you for coming back for your Senior year. It didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, I’m sure, but you gave up short term gains for long-term goals, and while you had some setbacks this year, I know you are going to kill it at the next level. If we had 80 Collin Johnsons on this team, we wouldn’t be 6-5.

To the fine citizens of Barking Carnival, thank you for reading each and every week. I’m a college football geek, so I would write this if I was the only one laughing at my jokes, and I’m sure some weeks I am but this outlet makes my college football obsession justified and I truly appreciate all the reads, all the kind words and the discussions each week. I’ll keep writing as long as this website will have me and as long as you keep reading. Who knows, maybe I’ll expand my horizons and write a weekly PGA pick ‘em column this off-season.

To the knuckleheads that tailgate with me at 18th and Trinity, thanks for the friendship not only those six days out of the year, but the 359 others as well, too. If this year is the last for this group of folks, just know that you have made the last twenty years of my life the best imaginable. If this is it, I’ll miss each and every one of you…even you, Russell. We’re finally soaking up the hours that everyone else throws away. I know I’ll see each of you in some form or another, but it is truly special when you know every other Saturday in the Fall you have a family to gather with and make some memories. You simply cannot replace that, no matter how much you try.

To my wife, thank you for ten years of marriage. We share a love of trashy Bravo television shows (I don’t think I was supposed to admit that in a public forum), Taylor Swift (might as well get it all out at once), Taco Tuesday, raw emotion during Texas football games and a beautiful son. Life is short but sweet for certain…Grab the rope.

To my son, thank you for being the rock each and every day. Being a father is not an easy job, and I understand that it never gets easier, but when life gets messy, I just look at you and hear your laugh and enthusiasm for life and know that everything will be just fine. I’m so glad that this year you have discovered football and while I am sorry you are pre-destined to be a Longhorns and Cowboys fan, I hope to teach and share with you all the fine points and shield you from the low points. I love you, son.

Wisconsin -3 @ Minnesota:

Minnesota clinched their first 10-win season since 1905 with their victory over Northwestern last week. The winner of this game not only gets the coveted Paul Bunyan Axe, they also clinch a trip to the Big Ten Championship game. Two wins by Minnesota would put them in the playoff – a win in this one likely puts them at least in the Rose Bowl, where they haven’t played since 1961.

Minnesota won last year’s contest 37-15 in Madison, but before that, Wisconsin had won 14 in a row in this series, and 21 of 23. But of course this is a different Minnesota team, as those previous Golden Gophers teams didn’t know how to row the boat, this one has rowed it to the tune of five straight home victories by an average margin of more than 20 points per game.

Minnesota 26 Wisconsin 23

ATS – Minnesota

SU – Minnesota

Alabama -3.5 @ Auburn:

While Alabama and Auburn were sleep walking through wins over Western Carolina and Samford, respectively, last week, Oregon was going down in the desert, opening the door wide open for the Crimson Tide to make the playoff – with or without Tua.

The obvious question is how new Alabama quarterback Mac Jones will handle the hostile atmosphere of Jordan-Hare Stadium, but I’m guessing Nick Saban lets the kid throw longer than 7 yards about 6 times and relies on his defense and running game(Naje Harris has 9 touchdowns in his last five games) to win – neither of which are most impressive this season.

Jones might only have a handful of starts, but he couldn’t be any worse than true freshman Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, who has thrown only three touchdowns in his last four games and who completed 42% of his passes against LSU and 40% against Florida.

The Crimson Tide have won 4 of 5 and 8 of 11 in this series, but Alabama has had their struggles in Auburn – but a weakened Alabama should still come out on top in this one.

Alabama 27 Auburn 21

ATS – Alabama

SU – Alabama

Texas A&M @ LSU -17:

Well the good news for the Aggies is that they get to add another quality loss to their resume – the Aggies become the first team ever to face the Associated Press #1 team three times in one season.

Win this one and LSU is likely in the playoff – unless Georgia were to blow their doors off perhaps. 2019 has been the Joe Burrow Show, and for good reason, but quietly running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been very effective. He rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns against Arkansas on Saturday – ON SIX CARRIES. Edwards-Helaire is averaging 160 yards a game from scrimmage in conference play, the most in the SEC since Derrick Henry in 2015.

Before last year’s ridiculous 74-72 game in College Station that broke the college football overtime system, LSU had won six in a row since A&M had joined the SEC – and 7 in a row going back to the previous year’s Cotton Bowl. Most weren’t close, either, as only two of those losses were one score games.

The Aggies might be able to contain Burrow for a half, but eventually LSU will pull away and A&M won’t be able to keep up.

LSU 37 Texas A&M 21

ATS – Texas A&M


Ohio State -8.5 @ Michigan:

This line likely would have been at least a touchdown higher eight weeks ago – after Michigan was destroyed by Wisconsin.

Since then, Michigan has won 7 of 8, with the lone loss coming on the road to Penn State, a game where they trailed 21-0 and rallied enough to be throwing for the tie into the endzone late in the game. Since that loss, Michigan has won four in a row and have averaged 41.5 points per game during that streak, fueled largely by the play of quarterback Shea Patterson, who has 12 touchdowns to only 1 interception during this streak and threw for 366 yards and five touchdowns against Indiana last week in a win over Indiana.

Now the bad news – those wins have come over Notre Dame (okay, good win), Indiana (better than you think), Michigan State (would have been a good win three years ago) and Maryland (would have been a good win 10 weeks ago). None of those teams are on the level of Ohio State.

I still can’t get over the fact that Ohio State has won 7 in a row in this series, and 14 of 15, and 16 of 18, but the good news for Michigan is that their two wins since 2000 have come in Ann Arbor. Imagine how frustrated you were during Oklahoma’s five straight wins in the early aughts, that didn’t even approach this.

Perhaps this is the year that Jim Harbaugh’s team breaks through and comes away with the victory. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Ohio State 34 Michigan 21

ATS – Ohio State

SU – Ohio State

Oklahoma -13 @ Oklahoma State:

So here’s the deal.

Oklahoma is reeling – in the last four games, they are averaging 36.3 points per game, and giving up 36 points per game. They lost to Kansas State, needed a failed two-point conversion against Iowa State, a big comeback against Baylor and some “Sooner Magic” against TCU during that stretch – a stretch where they could have easily gone 1-3.

Oklahoma State is surging – they lost three of four in mid-season, but since then they have won four in a row to get to 8-3….doesn’t that sound infinitely better than 6-4?

The Cowboys are a home underdog, and that suits them just fine. They are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games as an underdog.

But here’s the thing. Mike Gundy is just 2-12 against Oklahoma. The Sooners have won four in a row in the series, including last year’s 48-47 win. Cowboys wins in this series feel like small miracles, and in some ways they are, as these two squads have met up 113 times and Oklahoma State has only won 18 of those.

Perhaps this is the game where Chuba Hubbard earns an invite to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and the Cowboys will likely need that, as it appears Spencer Sanders is going to miss another game with a thumb injury. His replacement, Dru Brown was okay last week (22/29 196 yards 2 TD 0 INT), but okay isn’t good enough against Oklahoma.

Oklahoma 41 Oklahoma State 34

ATS – Oklahoma State

SU – Oklahoma

Texas -10 @ Texas Tech:

Imagine walking out of Joe Jamail Field at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium after the LSU game and seeing that Texas is a 10-point favorite over 4-7 Texas Tech at home. You’d have run over each and every grandmother to get to your bookie.

And now, some two and a half months later, we look at that line and snicker.

What the hell happened?

What the hell happened to the offense that looked unstoppable against the #1 team in the country? I know LSU’s defense is not “LSU” caliber this year, but they are a hell of a lot more talented than TCU, Iowa State and Baylor.

If LSU does what LSU used to do and they punt the ball after not picking up a first down after running the football on 3rd and 17, Texas wins the football game. You know it, I know it, Ed Orgeron knows it, that’s why they threw the ball downfield on 3rd and 17.

The defense was always going to be sub-par this season, especially after injuries took out every starter in the secondary and your neighbor Larry. But the offense, and I know the offense has had some injuries, the offense was supposed to be the rock on this team, with a Heisman Trophy caliber junior QB and now they look like a David McWilliams offense.

Nobody has given me a good answer on that, and judging the responses in the news conferences, nobody on the team knows either, which is very concerning.

But enough of that.

In order to properly judge this game, you have to realize that this is Texas Tech’s bowl game. The Red Raiders have four losses by 3 points or less this season, including a three-point loss in double overtime loss in Waco to Baylor (the team that just kicked the hell out of you) and a two-point loss to TCU (the team that kicked the hell out of you about a month ago).

So if you have it in your head that Texas Tech is some down on their luck crappy team, get that out of your head now, because they will be motivated on Friday morning and they will beat the hell out of you if you roll over and expect a pillow fight. Ask Oklahoma State.

Yes, I am pleading for the team that is “back” to show the same intensity as the 4-7 team.

To win this game, Texas is going to have to find their offense, and that begins with Sam Ehlinger, who was a serious Heisman Trophy candidate earlier in the season, but now has 12 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions in his last 7 games. That just isn’t good enough to win football games these days. Sam would be the first to admit that he needs to be better, and this is a good game to start.

The Longhorns haven’t beaten the Red Raiders in Austin since 2013. Texas Tech won 48-45 on Thanksgiving weekend of 2015, and 27-23 on Thanksgiving weekend of 2017, when McLane Carter was injured in the fourth quarter and Nic Shimonek came off the bench and led the Red Raiders to 14 fourth-quarter points, which saved Kliff Kingsbury’s job for another year.

But I hear Kliff landed on his feet just fine.

I think Texas gets the win here – but when you have lost four of six games – and those two wins were by a combined five points over very bad to mediocre teams – I can’t justify picking them by double digits.

Texas 34 Texas Tech 28

ATS – Texas Tech

SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for the Cheez-It Bowl!!!