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The Week That Will Be: Thriller Night

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The Horns head to Waco in a fight for their season.

Oklahoma State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 3-3 SU

For the Year: 23-25 (.479) (-$430) ATS 31-17 (.646) SU

Chalk (Oklahoma State +7 @ Iowa State): Brock Purdy threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns and the Iowa State defense held Oklahoma State to 2 of 10 on third down as Iowa State pulled out the win. Matt Campbell’s team is now 16-2 in October since 2017, with three of those victories over top-10 teams.

Bad Beat (South Carolina +20.5 @ Texas A&M): Don’t ever rely on bad offenses on the road. From about midway through the first through the third quarter, the Gamecocks had -1 total yards. One yard less than you sitting on your couch.


This week let’s take a look around the college football landscape with some Quick Hits:

The Heisman Trophy

The straw poll Heisman leaders at this point: Bryce Young, Matt Corral, Kenny Pickett and Jordan Davis.

Do we have to award this award every year?

The Coaching Carousel

Two bluebloods are already open (USC and LSU), as are two other Power 5 programs (Texas Tech & Washington State), and many others will be open once those jobs above are filled, or we reach the end of the season. Miami might find the cash in the couch cushions to rid themselves of Manny Diaz, Virginia Tech is tiring of yesteryear’s darling Justin Fuente and many more, including Oregon, Florida, TCU and Michigan State.

With all that movement, Tom Herman will surface somewhere again, no? LSU & USC are the sexy jobs, but Texas Tech with the right hire could rule this new Big 12 conference at the outset. I know who is guaranteed to bring them back to relevance out there and it isn’t a guy 20 games into his college coaching tenure at UTSA, either. It’s the guy that they would get a lot of flack for hiring, but Tech has been there before, right Knight?

Either way, this combined with the transfer portal and this off-season might be one of the juiciest in quite some time.

The Top 10

So right now the top-10 is:

Georgia

Cincinnati

Alabama

Oklahoma

Ohio State

Michigan

Oregon

Michigan State

Iowa

Ole Miss

You know it is an off year when Cincinnati is #2. If Oklahoma is the fourth best team in the country then this country is far worse than we thought it was. Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State haven’t played anybody, and the one they did, they lost to Oregon. Oregon lost to a very average Stanford. When Ole Miss is cracking the top-10, let’s just clear the records and start the year over again. Louisiana, come to Austin.

The Big 12

Remaining schedules for teams still in it (yes, Texas is still in it):

Oklahoma (5-0 in the Big 12): Texas Tech, @ Baylor, Iowa State, Ok. State

Ok. State (3-1): Kansas, @ West Virginia, TCU, @ Texas Tech, Oklahoma

Baylor (3-1): Texas, @ TCU, Oklahoma, @ Kansas State, Texas Tech

Iowa State (3-1): @ West Virginia, Texas, @ Texas Tech, @ Oklahoma, TCU

Texas (2-2): @ Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, @ West Virginia, Kansas State

We can probably go ahead and put Oklahoma in the game, after them you probably like Oklahoma State’s schedule the best, but they aren’t exactly known for their ability to perform under pressure, but hey it happens to all of us, dammit.

With two wins the next two weeks Texas can go a long way towards helping themselves, but they also could have helped themselves tremendously the last two games and we see how that went.

Either way will someone else win this conference for my sanity’s sake?

Texas and “Game Control”

Game Control is a metric that tells us the percentage of a game’s plays that a team has had the lead. You see Texas at 6. The five teams ahead of them? They have a combined record of 34-2. And then you have Texas there at 4-3. What could have been…


SMU @ Houston PK:

Every time I see this match-up I think of that 95-21 mess back in 1989. Jack Pardee and John Jenkins were something else.

SMU enters this match-up with a perfect record of 7-0, and if they get past this one they have two more winnable games before going to Cincinnati the Saturday before Thanksgiving for what would be a high profile game. Meanwhile Houston is 6-1, with their only coming to Texas Tech in the season opener, a game in which they led by 14 points at halftime. They also have a favorable schedule remaining as they do not face another team with a winning record after this one.

The Cougars didn’t look too good last week against East Carolina, but that might be understandable as the game was delayed five hours due to lightning in the area. Houston blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and eventually had to win in overtime.

The quarterback matchup is the one to watch here. Houston’s Clayton Tune is experienced but he is having a very mediocre year, throwing for 1,427 yards with 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Contrast that to SMU starter (and Oklahoma transfer) Tanner Mordecai, who has thrown for 2,320 yards with 29 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

I think SMU has too much firepower for the Cougars in this one.

SMU 38 Houston 30


Florida vs. Georgia -14.5 (Jacksonville, FL):

Going back to last year’s LSU game, Florida is now 4-6 in their last ten ballgames and 2-6 in their last 8 against Power 5 opponents. With the loss to LSU last week, the Gators don’t have a realistic shot at the SEC Championship game so this is their chance for respect this season.

The trouble with the Gators is that they are just not that good. Their best “win” is a two-point loss to Alabama, considering their actual wins came over Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. They haven’t had a running back finish with 100-yards since week one. In fact their top two leading rushers are quarterbacks.

Georgia has proven to be the best team in college football this season thanks to a very good defense…not that they have played a team with an offensive pulse. They have yet to give up more than 13 points all season, which is fantastic no matter the opponent, but the opponents have been good lately with Georgia facing three Top-20 teams the last three games. They have outscored them 101-23.

J.T. Daniels is expected to get the start for the Bulldogs. It is yet to be seen how much rust he might have since he hasn’t played in a month, but Georgia keeps rolling along despite not having a 100-yard rusher all season, which is just mind blowing.

Georgia has won three of four in this series, but Florida did win 44-28 last year in a game that saw Kyle Trask throw for 474 yards and 4 touchdowns. That might be three games for this Florida team.

Georgia 34 Florida 17


Penn State @ Ohio State -18.5:

Penn State might still be playing in overtime against Illinois for all we know.

It would be just as well anyways as the Nittany Lions have only defeated Ohio State five times this century, and haven’t won in Columbus since 2011. The good news is that they are generally close losses, as Ohio State’s average margin of victory in the last four years has been 6.5 points.

The story of the game was of course the ineptitude of both squads in scoring from the three-yard line last week, but before that Illinois had outrushed Penn State by an astounding margin of 357-62 and had been held to 4-of-17 on third down. With this matchup and Michigan and Michigan State still left on the schedule, Penn State is desperate for a victory here.

You do remember Ohio State, right? The last time most of us saw them they were getting their hides handed to them by Oregon in the Horseshoe. And with good reason, as they have defeated Tulsa (3-4), Akron (2-6), Rutgers (3-4), Maryland (4-3) and Indiana (2-5) for the last month and a half. Texas would be a one-loss team with that schedule, too.

Their offense has been great and their defense has been up to Ohio State standards, but it is impossible to judge how much of that is the quality of the opponent and how much it is Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have won 25 consecutive Big Ten games and they aren’t going to drop this one, but I think Penn State at least gives them a better fight than Tulrongerslandana did.

Ohio State 35 Penn State 21


Michigan -4 @ Michigan State:

For the first time since 1964 these teams meet as top-10 teams, as both enter this match-up with unbeaten records. Of course between the two of them they have no wins over a ranked team, but don’t worry about that right now.

Five of Michigan’s seven wins have been by 21 points or more, although you wouldn’t really know it looking at quarterback Cade McNamara’s stats, which include 27 completions last week for 129 yards and only five touchdown passes on the whole season.

McNamara has been the prototypical bus driver thus far this season, but for Michigan to get past Michigan State and Penn State and Ohio State and get to the Big Ten Championship, he’ll have to be a race car driver at some point.

This isn’t your mother’s Michigan State team, or even your little sister’s as the Spartans have scored 30 or more points five times season, more than the last two seasons combined. They are led on offense by running back and Heisman nominee Kenneth Walker III, who has rushed for 997 yards at 6.6 yards per carry.

Look for this one to be a low scoring mess as both teams will be content running the football, protecting their quarterback and playing defense. If it comes down to it, Michigan special teams have converted 14 of 16 field goal attempts this season, while Michigan State has only converted 10 of 15.

Michigan 27 Michigan State 20


Texas Tech @ Oklahoma -19.5:

Oklahoma has won 9 in a row in this series. In the late aughts Texas Tech had a stretch of 4 wins in 7 years but like a lot of things out there, that went away with Mike Leach. What is worse for Tech is that the games haven’t been very close for the most part, with only three of those having been a one score game.

This might shock you but defense has been the culprit in this series for the Red Raiders. Oklahoma hasn’t scored less than 49 against Tech since 2014 and they haven’t scored less than 38 since 2009.

The Matt Wells era ended with Tech taking a lead on Kansas State 14-0 after three minutes on Saturday but then being outscored 25-10 the other 57 minutes of the game. The Wildcats had 12 penalties, two turnovers and only 81 rushing yards but still won the game on the road – it is hard to survive that.

For the second time in three weeks Oklahoma scored 35 points in the second half to erase a double digit halftime deficit…for the life of me I can’t remember the other team they did against.

Tech might hang around a little bit in this one but it should be low stress for Oklahoma.

Oklahoma 41 Texas Tech 24


Texas @ Baylor -3:

If I would have told you back in August that Texas would be an underdog against Baylor, who went 2-7 last year, you might have been a bit distraught. Hell you might be right now.

But I am here to tell you that Baylor was the best 2-7 team in the country last season. Afterall they lost six conference games by a combined 51 points and then suffered a blowout loss to Oklahoma State in the season finale.

In the off-season Dave Aranda jettisoned his offensive leadership and brought in Jeff Grimes from BYU along with his offensive line coach. That, combined with a tough, fundamental defense has the Bears sitting at 6-1 and with a real chance to get back to the conference title game.

Gerry Bohanon is the starting quarterback for the Bears. Some raised their eyebrows this Summer when he was named starter, but all he has done is throw for 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns while only throwing one interception. No, he hasn’t been great, but he’s done most of what they have asked him to, and he is certainly not losing games for them. The 6’3” former 4-star signal caller from Earle, Arkansas had offers from Arkansas and Ole Miss as a dual-threat quarterback, but they don’t use him as a runner much, only totaling 141 rushing yards this season.

Defensively the Bears haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 29 points this season and have held five of seven to 20 points or less. An upperclassman-laden defense, the Bears rank 16th in SP+ defense this year. You can make an argument that they are the best defense we have seen thus far.

A win here would give Texas their 80th win against Baylor all-time, the most of any opponent (second is Texas A&M, with 76 victories. The Horns have won 4 of 5 against the Bears and desperately need one here. That desperation outweighs what could be a tough match-up for the Horns here.

Texas 28 Baylor 24

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for Halloween candy in this supply shortage.