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The Week That Will Be: To the Moon

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When your football team gets wet, find some Rice.

LSU v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 4-2 SU

For the Year: 7-5 (.583) ($130) ATS 7-5 (.583) SU

Quick Thoughts From Last Week…

Your Shane Buechele Update: Buechele completed 21-of-31 throws for 292 yards and three touchdowns as SMU soundly defeated the Mean Green. SMU hosts Texas State next week as they look to go 3-0 for the first time since 1984, when the great Reggie Dupard was their leading rusher.

Nebraska Left the Big 12 to Spite Texas and Left Their Winning There: The Cornhuskers blew a 17-0 lead in Boulder as the Buffaloes ignited a comeback with an absurd 96-yard fleaflicker for a touchdown. Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez came into the season as the hyped signal caller, but it was CU’s Steven Montez who threw for more than 200 yards in the fourth quarter. The Buffs are now 2-0 with winnable games against Air Force and the Arizona schools before they get into the meat of their Pac-12 schedule.

Ho hum, Another Ohio State Victory Over an Ohio Team: The last time the Buckeyes lost a game to an in-state opponent was 1921 when they lost to those bastards from Oberlin, 7-6. 1920s Reporter Guy kept busy as Ohio State fans were pissed at the offensive coordinator after that effort.

USC Coaches: Kedon Slovis Better Than Leinart, Carson Palmer: Slovis threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns in USC’s win over Stanford, a game that saw the Trojans outscore the Cardinal 42-3 in the final three quarters. If Slovis is as good as the USC coaches raved about afterwards, many lives were changed when J.T. Daniels went down with a season-ending injury last week.

Clemson Now Bored Until December 28th: The Tigers didn’t scored in the first quarter but then scored 24 unanswered points as Clemson put away Texas A&M in a game that never really felt like a game. Kellen Mond wasn’t sharp (roughly half of his 236 passing yards came in the fourth quarter when down by 21) and his running game didn’t help him (The Aggies only had 53 yards rushing for the game). Upsets happen, but the Tigers do not face a currently ranked team the rest of the season.

Will the Real DBU Please Stand Up? No, Really: If I told you last week that the Horns would score 38 points (and 530 yards) against LSU you would have taken that in a heartbeat (in fact I told you they would score 35), but Todd Orlando’s youthful defense gave up the most yards in the Tom Herman era at Texas and turned Joe Burrow into a Heisman candidate.


“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” –

John F. Kennedy, Rice Stadium, September of 1962

The Texas Longhorns travel to Houston this weekend for a Saturday night tilt at NRG Stadium against the Rice Owls…pretty much the exact opposite of what Saturday night in Austin was like this past weekend.

But this time you can put it in three-inch headlines – the Longhorns defeat Rice on Saturday.

Okay, so last week my guarantee didn’t work out, but never in a million years did I expect Joe Burrow and his top three receivers (Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall) to come into DKR in the second week of the season and complete 23 of 26 targets for 433 yards.

But still, due to the heroics of Sam Ehlinger and his group of receivers, the Longhorns had a real shot at winning in the final minutes until that 3rd and 17 conversion that might go down in Texas lore along with 4th and 18 and 4th and 5.

One (more) stop in the second half and they win that game. They blinked, LSU didn’t.

Simple as that.

Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is understandably taking it in the shorts this week, and he might be the first to tell you it is deserved after surrendering one of the great all-time opponent performances in the long history of Texas football.

But consider this – the Longhorns top four corners (Jalen Green, Kobe Boyce, Anthony Cook and D’Shawn Jamison), had a combined three starts entering the season. It is certainly up to the defensive coordinator to scheme around youth, but corner is a position where it just takes time to learn the craft – unfortunately the Horns don’t have time as Oklahoma State comes to town in a week and a half, and it also appears nickel back Brandon Foster will miss that game.

Yikes.

Orlando will adjust – he has before, but the Horns don’t much room for breathing as two of their most important games left in the schedule come in the next five weeks, and while this offense can keep up with anybody (I don’t think we’re hearing enough talk about how well the Texas offense played against a defense a lot were calling the nation’s best last week), when you play with fire you tend to get burnt.

It will be interesting to follow LSU and their plight the rest of the season, to see if that offense has any craters against Florida or Auburn or Texas A&M and of course Alabama, but I don’t see many teams defending offenses like that well anymore, including Nick Saban.

Even Dave Aranda gave up 530 yards this weekend.

You don’t play the LSUs of the world because they are easy – you play them because they are hard. The Longhorns have a far better idea of how good their team is after a loss to LSU than they would with wins over UTSA, Texas State and Sam Houston.

All the season goals are still there, yes including the College Football Playoff, as asinine it is to be talking about that in mid-September, but of course right now Texas needs to focus on defeating Rice so another guarantee doesn’t go up in smoke.

The moon will have to wait.


Stanford @ Central Florida -7:

Stanford travels to play in the state of Florida for the first time since 2011, when they walloped Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl by a score of 40-12.

K.J. Costello is back under center for Stanford. Costello threw for 3,500 yards and 29 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2018. He’ll enter the field here trying to right the ship that run aground last weekend in Los Angeles.

Last week in a win over Florida Atlantic, UCF eclipsed the 30-point mark for the 28th consecutive game, a modern-day record. The turnstile at quarterback could continue this week as former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Whimbush might still be out with an injury that caused him to miss week two after starting against Florida A&M in the opener.

Freshman Dillion Gabriel got the start replacing Wimbush in Week 2, but had mixed results. Darriel Mack Jr. was cleared to play this week after missing some time. Mack took over when McKenzie Milton injured his knee late last season and threw for 348 yards in the AAC title game last year.

The Cardinal did not look good last week against a USC team that appears to be down, and had a very lackluster win in the first week of the season against Northwestern.

Central Florida 34 Stanford 23

ATS – Central Florida

SU – Central Florida

TCU -2.5 @ Purdue:

It’s defense versus offense here as Gary Patterson will face off with Jeff Brohm.

Fifth year senior quarterback Elijah Sindelar is the nation’s leading passer at this early point in the season after throwing for 509 yards and five touchdowns in their 42-24 win over Vanderbilt last week. Sindelar did suffer a concussion in that game, however, so there is some doubt whether he plays this game or not.

If he can’t go, it will be former Sun Devil Jake Plummer, who took his team to the Rose Bowl in 1997 – wait, no, sorry that is Jack Plummer, who despite being from Arizona is no relation to Jake the Snake.

TCU will go with the quarterback rotation of Max Duggan and Kansas State transfer Alex Delton. Both quarterbacks played in the Horn Frogs’ opener against Arkansas Pine Bluff, but we know Patterson likes to win games with defense. The Boilermakers have been happy to oblige their opponents this year, giving up the ball six times in two games.

I’m not sure that TCU has the offense to keep up in this one if things go awry early. Purdue doesn’t have much of a defense, but TCU doesn’t have much of an offense, either.

Purdue 38 TCU 28

ATS – Purdue

SU – Purdue

Kansas State @ Mississippi State -7.5:

In one of those odd SEC scheduling quirks, Kansas State is the first Power Five non-conference opponent to visit Starkville since 2009. The Wildcats are in the first year under the direction of Chris Klieman, formerly of the powerhouse North Dakota State program.

Kansas State is 2-0 on the young season, and they have impressed, rolling up 694 yards rushing and outscoring their opponents 101-14. Sure, they only played Nicholls and Bowling Green, but tis better to play those games and kick some you know what than to play them and struggle or lose (I’m looking at you Tennessee and Florida State).

These two teams met last year in Manhattan in a game that turned into a 31-10 Mississippi State romp. That game saw Kylin Hill and Nick Fitzgerald contribute to 384 rushing yards for the Bulldogs. Hill is back, Fitzgerald is not.

It is Tommy Stevens at quarterback for Mississippi State…perhaps. He was injured in their 38-15 victory over Southern Miss and is questionable for this game.

The Wildcats might be improved this year, but not three touchdowns improved.

Mississippi State 27 Kansas State 14

ATS – Mississippi State

SU – Mississippi State

Iowa -2.5 @ Iowa State:

College Gameday will be in Ames, Iowa for this matchup which always promises to be low scoring and not a lot of fun, but it is a changing sport, so who knows.

Iowa State is looking to rebound after their not very impressive win in their opener against Northern Iowa, while Iowa started out 2-0 with wins over Miami (okay) of Ohio (oh) and Rutgers. Again, not exactly world beaters, but quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 488 yards, 6 touchdowns and no interceptions in those two games, which qualifies for an offensive renaissance in those parts.

The Hawkeyes have dominated this series in recent years, winning four in a row and five out of six, but something tells me Brock Purdy and that Iowa State defense are looking to erase that opener from everyone’s mind.

Iowa State 31 Iowa 24

ATS – Iowa State

SU – Iowa State

Oklahoma -23.5 @ UCLA:

If you are reading this column you know how good Oklahoma’s offense is so I don’t think we should spend much time on it, because UCLA doesn’t have a magic elixir ready to go unless Chip Kelly is just playing the slow play game here and has Oklahoma right where he wants them with his 0-2 record.

Last week’s loss was especially tough for the Bruins as they fell to San Diego State, who had only won 6-0 over FCS foe Weber State the week before.

The Bruins can’t do anything right, the Sooners can do nothing wrong right now.

Oklahoma 48 UCLA 20

ATS – Oklahoma

SU – Oklahoma

Texas -32 @ Rice (NRG Stadium):

Rice hasn’t defeated Texas since…well if you are about my age you remember that rainy Sunday night at Rice Stadium in Houston where the Owls snapped a 28-game losing streak to Texas by defeating the Longhorns 19-17.

That was the beginning of the end for John Mackovic as head coach, despite the conference championships the next two years – you don’t lose to Rice and survive as head coach of Texas, they remember and will use it to get you in the future.

Of course, that was a long time ago, for heaven’s sake Nebraska was good in football back then, and this is now, when the Longhorns have the nation’s sixth best offense in the S&P+ rankings, while Rice gave up 513 yards to a basketball school (Wake Forest) last week.

The Owls aren’t any better on offense, ranking 120th in the country in S&P+ offense. And they lost the services of their starting quarterback last week due to injury. It will be transfer Tom Stewart starting, who threw for 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions at Harvard last season.

Texas should, and will, dominate this one.

Texas 48 Rice 7

ATS – Texas

SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for the GoFundMe for pickle juice for the LSU defenders.