Last Week: 4-2 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 27-27-1 (.500) (-$280) ATS 37-17 (.685) SU
Quick Thoughts From Last Week:
BYU Rolls Boise State BYU’s 34-point victory over Boise State was the Broncos’ worst home loss since 1997. The Cougars are now 8-0 with games left against North Alabama and San Diego State, and are assured of a NY6 bowl if they can beat those two powerhouses.
Clay Helton Tries to Get Fired in Game One But USC quarterback Kedon Slovis had other ideas, throwing for two touchdowns in the last three minutes to squeak out the win (one of those to Bru McCoy). Helton will have to get fired another day.
It Is Official — Offense Beats Defense Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s 474 passing yards were the most by a Florida quarterback against Georgia, and the most that Georgia has given up in 20 years (Trask had 300+ yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half alone). Trask now has at least four touchdown passes in every game this year, while Georgia has given up 122 points in their last three losses. They simply don’t have the offense to keep up.
Notre Dame Wins a Thriller in OT In what very well could be the first of three meetings between these two teams this year, Notre Dame outrushed the Tigers 217-48 but still had to go to overtime because D.J. Uiagalelei had the most passing yards of any Notre Dame opponent ever — 439 yards. Clemson’s 36-game regular season winning streak was snapped, as the Irish extended their home winning streak to 23 games.
Short Handed Cowboys Survive Trip to Manhattan Tylan Wallace wasn’t available due to an injury in practice last week, and Chuba Hubbard was hurt during the game, but Oklahoma State was able to overcome Hubbard and Spencer Sanders only combining for 152 total yards with what has brought them this far this season — their defense. The Cowboys rallied from a 12-0 halftime deficit, holding the Wildcats to 6 second half points and scoring a defensive touchdown to pull out the victory.
Horns Out Mountaineer the Mountaineers A week after holding Chuba Hubbard (the conference’s third leading rusher) to 72 yards on 25 carries, the Longhorns defense held West Virginia’s Leddie Brown (the conference’s second leading rusher) to 47 yards on 15 carries. The Longhorns offense was far from perfect, but did enough in spurts and converted 8 of 17 third downs to keep ahead long enough until the clock ran out. Not the prettiest or most memorable win, but a win nonetheless.
With the Longhorns off this week, and half of the college football world with them due to COVID protocols, let’s pivot a little this week and discuss the rather large golf tournament going on in Augusta, Georgia, this weekend.
And specifically, the plight of our very own Jordan Spieth.
Spieth took the golf world by storm when he arrived as a rookie in 2013, winning the John Deere Classic that year to secure his PGA Tour card and then vaulted himself to the literal top of the golf world in 2015, when he won The Masters and the U.S. Open in the span of two months.
All in all, he won 14 times around the world before he turned 24 years old — including an incredible shot from the driving range at Royal Birkdale to capture The Open in 2017.
He played the next month at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte looking to achieve the career grand slam — which only Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have achieved.
He finished tied for 28th.
Three years later, that was still his last win on Tour.
Speith, who at one time was #1 in the world, has plummeted to 80th in the world, and the 37th best American.
The Ryder Cup, if it chose players by world ranking alone, would fill three teams before coming to Spieth.
Worst of all, it isn’t like you can point to driving the ball, or a lost putter, or his touch around the greens — it seems like the whole thing has gone off the rails.
Spieth’s ranking in Shots Gained Off the Tee in 2020: 165th
Shots Gained Approaching the Green: 97th
Shots Gained Putting: 105th
Shots Gained Tee to Green: 90th
He ranked 181st in driving accuracy percentage. 190th in greens in regulation. 78th on the money list. He missed the cut at the first FedEx Playoffs event and was out of the playoffs after that.
Midway through the season, when COVID-19 hit the sports world, and everything was put on pause for months, it was said that the player that might benefit from all of this the most would be Jordan Spieth, due to his tendency to overthink things, to dig a hole deeper when he is struggling.
And it worked. For one week. At the Colonial, he finished 10th. But his next three tournaments? T68. T54. CUT.
He finished 71st in the PGA Championship, and missed the cut in the U.S. Open, shooting an 81 on Friday.
Jordan Spieth can come out of this. He is still only 27-years old. There are rumors of perhaps a coaching change soon — his longtime coach Cameron McCormick has done wonders, but sometimes it just helps to hear a different voice. There are many, including fellow UT alum Brandel Chamblee, that believes Spieth’s problems are all mental, that he is suffering from overload and has tinkered with his swing too much.
He can get it back, but he can also be the next David Duval or Ian Baker Finch.
Which, of course, brings us to this week at the Masters. Augusta has always been kind to Spieth — it was the site of this first major win, and his worst showing there is the T21 he finished last year. The other five years?
That third was 2018, where a sliver of his golf ball caught a tree on the 18th tee box, causing him to bogey. Birdie that hole and he goes to a playoff with Patrick Reed — and perhaps he saves the Augusta membership from having to see Patrick Reed all the time.
That second second was the infamous double dip into Rae’s Creek in 2016 — but people forget he birdied 13 and 15 and damn near jarred it on 16.
Perhaps more than any other golf major, The Masters is prone to a dramatic storyline fluttering out of those Georgia pines. Golfers who seemingly were done suddenly find the fountain of youth at Augusta National Golf Club.
There was Jack Nicklaus in 1986. Ben Crenshaw in 1995. Tiger Woods in 2019.
“That part of knowing the course well, being prepared for anything, not being afraid to contend there,” Spieth said of Augusta recently. “I feel more comfortable. Even when I’m feeling uncomfortable over the ball.”
In this improbable year, on this improbable course, why not the guy that has played it as well as anyone?
Go win the damn thing, Jordan. Hook ‘em.
Arkansas @ Florida -17.5:
Well let’s see, I’ve had Ohio State/Maryland, A&M/Tennessee and Alabama/LSU cancelled on me, so I’m not going to do a big write-up on this one, because who the hell knows what is going on in the SEC this week (Ohio State is a de facto SEC school, right).
Florida 31 Arkansas 17
ATS — Arkansas
SU – Florida
SMU @ Tulsa -3:
These two like to keep it close, as evidenced by the fact that their last six contests have been decided by 10 points or less, with the last four by 6 points or less. SMU needs this one if they want to compete in the conference championship game, as Tulsa currently sits 3-0 in the conference, while SMU is 2-1.
That one loss for the Mustangs was three weeks ago against Cincinnati, and there is certainly no shame in losing to them this season. The Ponies have won two straight by double digit points since then, so they aren’t dwelling on that loss.
While SMU sits at 7-1, Tulsa has had three games postponed and have only played four, but when they have played they defeated #11 Central Florida and gave Oklahoma State all they could handle in Stillwater in the season opener. They had been playing good defense, but then they allowed 428 yards and 30 points to 1-4 East Carolina last week.
I don’t know how good Tulsa’s defense is, and if they aren’t good, Tulsa’s offense isn’t good enough to keep up with Shane Buechele and the Mustangs.
SMU 38 Tulsa 24
ATS – SMU
SU – SMU
Wisconsin -3.5 @ Michigan:
Oh Michigan. Texas fans feel your pain.
Three games into the season and it is already a tumultuous and just flat out weird season for Michigan, who looked like world beaters on opening night against Minnesota (before we found out they weren’t any good) , and then fell flat on their face against rival Michigan State, and then last for the first time since 1987 to Indiana.
It all adds up to Michigan’s first 1-2 start since Rich Rodriguez in 2008.
Not a man you want brought up in discussing your program milestones.
Of course this is all familiar territory for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, who seemed destined for a split sooner rather than later. Last year’s hand wringing started after these Wisconsin Badgers waxed the Wolverines 35-14 in Madison, a game that was 28-0 at halftime. The Badgers rushed for 359 yards that day and held Michigan to 40 rushing yards and didn’t allow them to convert a third-down in ten tries.
All that being said, it is a bit weird that Wisconsin is such a small favorite in this one, although they will have to see if Graham Mertz is able to play in this one after returning from COVID protocols. I’m not sure it will matter.
Wisconsin 28 Michigan 17
ATS – Wisconsin
SU – Wisconsin
TCU @ West Virginia -3:
West Virginia has won the last two in this series, in fact TCU hasn’t won in Morgantown since 2014, losing their last two games there by a combined score of 81-20.
Max Duggan had him a game against Texas Tech last weekend, rushing for 154 yards on 19 carries and 3 touchdowns. Unfortunately, TCU will need him to play quarterback for this one, and TCU’s offensive line has given up 22 sacks this year (second most in the Big 12), and West Virginia’s defensive line might be the best in the conference.
Not a good combination.
West Virginia 34 TCU 14
ATS – West Virginia
SU – West Virginia
Baylor @ Texas Tech -1.5:
Here is a fun fact: Baylor hasn’t won in Lubbock since 1990.
Now that is mostly due to the fact that these teams have met in Arlington at AT&T Stadium for the better part of a decade, as Baylor has actually dominated this series of late, winners of the last two and 7 of the last 9.
But going back to 1990, Baylor’s leading passer that year was J.J. Joe, who threw for all of 714 yards, while Texas Tech’s leading passer was Robert Hall, who threw for 1,581.
Tech’s leading rusher that year? Current Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn.
Texas Tech 38 Baylor 31
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Texas Tech
Penn State -3 @ Nebraska:
The Cornhuskers had the unfortunate task of opening the season against Ohio State, and did okay...for about 20 minutes, until the Buckeyes went on a 38-3 run to close out the game. Nebraska’s next scheduled game was against Wisconsin, but they had to cancel due to (all together now) COVID protocols, so then Nebraska had a very winnable game against Northwestern...and still lost.
And got shut out in the second half.
Scott Frost now sits at 6-14 in his tenure against conference opponents, and it doesn’t get any easier this week with Penn State coming to town. Penn State might be 0-3 for only the fourth time in 80 years, but they were a preseason Top 10 team, and certainly are way more talented than 0-3.
The Nittany Lions’ problems have been poor offensive line play, spotty quarterback play and a propensity to turn the ball over, other than that, their offense is great.
It is a standoff as Nebraska can’t afford to go 0-3 in year three of the rebuild, but James Franklin REALLY cannot afford to go to 0-4. I think I’ll trust the more talented team.
Penn State 28 Nebraska 17
ATS – Penn State
SU – Penn State
Since pretty much my dream job is becoming a golf writer, why not have a little fun in this year of the global pandemic? First of all, it is extremely weird that The Masters is happening during college football season and not the opening week of Major League Baseball, but it does mean we get two Masters tournaments in 6 months so I’m here for it.
Favorite that Won’t Win: Bryson DeChambeau. If Clifford Roberts’ ghost has to blow his approach shot on 15 into the water on Sunday, expect that to happen.
Favorite That Will Win: Dustin Johnson.
Mid-Range Guys That Can Win: Um, why is Justin Rose and his 8 career T15 here +6500??? Matthew Wolff (+3800) can make some noise, and Adam Scott at +5000 (5 career T10 here and a win) seems silly, too.
Longshots to Win: Is Francesco Molinari (+10,000) on milk cartons yet? Sungjae Im (+13,000) finished 22nd at the U.S. Open, has a win in the last year and is in the Top 25 of Shots Gained. Brendon Todd (+18,000) had a ridiculous run this summer and finished Top 25 at both the U.S. Open and PGA.
Longhorns in the Field: Scottie Sheffler (+6000) will win one of these things, why not this year? We talked about Jordan Spieth (+7000), and Dylan Fratelli (+25,000) also had a good summer and is a good bet to be near the top of the leaderboard on Friday, when you can tell all of your friends, “hey he is a Longhorn”.
Thank you for indulging me this week. All football next week.
For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for $1 bets for The Masters.