Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Week That Will Be (09.22.2012)

My preview for Texas/Bye Week can be found at Barking Carnival.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Week That Will Be (09.15.2012)

My take on Texas and Ole Miss can be found here...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Week That Will Be (09.08.2012)

This week's post can be found at Barking Carnival here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Week That Will Be (09.01.2012)

This week's post can be found at Barking Carnival here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Week That Will Be (2011 Holiday Bowl)



for only love can conquer hate… – Marvin Gaye, “What’s Goin’ On?”

When Texas and Cal meet on Wednesday night in the Holiday Bowl, it will be the first meeting for the teams since the fall of 1970, when the Longhorns defeated the Golden Bears 50-15 on the way to their second consecutive national championship. Cal would finish the season at 6-5, their 18th consecutive season with at least three losses (their streak would reach 38 seasons until the 1991 team went 10-2). The game was an afterthought, not much of a blip on the radar for Texas fans.

But the summer of 1970 was certainly noteworthy. It was then in the famous studio Hitsville, USA in Detroit that Motown artist Marvin Gaye began recording what would become one of the most celebrated tunes of all-time, What’s Goin On, a soulful, jazzy take on the political climate surrounding the quickly disintegrating Vietnam War.

Inspired by the letters sent home to him from his brother fighting in the war, Gaye put his career on the line to bring the controversial tune to the masses, refusing to record anything else until producer Berry Gordy agreed to release it. Gaye won out when a Los Angeles disc jockey started playing the single in January of 1971, spurring on the record label to release the full album later that spring when it vaulted to the top of the R&B charts. Ultimately, good taste won out, as the single and album are both recognized as one of the greatest of all-time by Rolling Stone and several other publications.

It was controversial, of course, due to the unrest occurring in cities across the country in response to the unpopular war, and one place where that climate flourished was Berkeley, California, and specifically on the campus of the University of California.

Noted as one of the finest public institutions on the globe, Cal has become famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint), for its activism, most notably the Free Speech Movement of 1964 and various Vietnam War protests in the 60’s and 70’s. That tradition has carried on today, as tree sitters have halted construction on campus, most notably California Memorial Stadium, where several trees needed to be removed for civil progress.

Ask anyone on the street about the University of California, and you are likely to hear about the activism or the scholastic reputation…you’ll probably hear something about anti-war protests and love.

If only that love extended to the University of Texas. And Mack Brown.

If you are reading this column, you likely know about the controversy in 2004 when Texas passed Cal in the final BCS standings and denied the Golden Bears their first Rose Bowl berth since 1959. The media perpetrated the theory that Brown “lobbied” for votes after the Longhorns’ 26-13 victory over Texas A&M to finish the regular season at 10-1. Never mind the fact that Texas actually lost votes the next day despite defeating the ranked Aggies and Cal enjoying a bye week.

Nope, it was easier for a anti-BCS, bloodthirsty media to latch on to Texas as a villain (the current realignment and Longhorn Network issues come to mind), insisting that it was Brown that won over the votes needed in the AP and Coaches’ poll to vault Texas over Cal, ignoring that the fact that for one, California was ahead of Texas in the final voters polls, and second, that even if the perceived pro-Texas biases were “corrected”, Texas would have still finished ahead of Cal in the BCS due to their strength in the computers.

“I guess we didn’t run up the score at the end, or beg for votes after the game,” Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers said at the time. “I thought it was (wrong) for Coach Brown to beg for votes after the A&M game.”

Welcome to big time college football, California. Texas felt the same way in 2008, and Oklahoma State feels the same way this year. With the imperfections of the system that we have, it is rare that there is going to be a year that a controversy of some sort isn’t present.

But all of that was a long time ago, right? The freshmen on this year’s team were 10 or 11 years old when that controversy occurred, probably more occupied with their Xbox than they were with keeping up with college football politics. That, coupled with the facts that Cal has since gone into a nosedive (or corrected itself if you look at its record prior to that year), Texas won a national championship the following year, Texas played for a national championship in 2009, and the fact that that California was drubbed by a 7-4 Texas Tech team in the Holiday Bowl while Texas defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl, and all of that groundswell would have died out by now, right?

“Yes, I’m still upset about it. We got ‘em now in the Holiday Bowl.” – Aaron Rodgers, December 2011

Wow.

Rodgers has since, of course, gone on to replace the legendary Brett Favre in Green Bay, leading the Packers to a Super Bowl title last season, and has made fantasy football owners giddy by posting ridiculous numbers, has led the Pack to a 14-1 record…but still can’t get over the BCS snub seven years ago.

And he isn’t alone in that sentiment. If you went to any Cal message board that isn’t dedicated to the fine art of arbor perching when this bowl match-up was announced and you would have found much of the same sentiment, wanting “revenge” for taking what was theirs.

Those, of course, are the opinions of fans or alumni and not the coaching staff or current players. Cal coach Jeff Tedford, to this credit, has largely taken the high road on the subject, praising Texas and just saying that the Bears were disappointed. And once that football is kicked into the brisk San Diego air, all of this will fly out the window and it will just be football.

But for those Cal fans out there that still wish to harbor ill will towards Texas, and still hold on to that thought that big bad Texas took what was rightfully theirs, I remind you that love conquers hate, that it goes against the fiber of your school’s moral climate to hold on to that angst for this long.

But if you still must hate, I would love for you to see Texas get over on your school once again.

On to the game…

California vs. Texas -4:

Okay I’m about to invalidate my whole column, but forget everything that you read up there, that is all window dressing for the fans. Like I said, the players don’t really care about what happened seven years ago, and the coaches aren’t going to get dragged down that path either.

All that matters in this game is what happened in 2011, and what happened is that both teams predictably had topsy-turvy years that resulted in 7-5 years. Texas went from Garrett Gilbert’s team to dual-quarterback team to a power running team to David Ash’s team to Case McCoy’s team to relying on the defense to bail them out team. Cal went from relying upon the arm of Zach Maynard (averaged 262 yards passing through the first 7 games) to relying upon the running game (230 yards per game in the last four), finishing 3-1 in that stretch with their only loss a three point defeat at the hands of Stanford.

Texas appears to have everyone but Fozzy Whitaker back for this one, which means they’ll likely try to establish a running game above all else. Cal’s rushing defense was solid this year, giving up only 130 yards per game, but did have their troubles against rushing attacks such as Oregon (365 yards), UCLA (294 yards) and Arizona State (213 yards).

It is a defense that was solid for the most part, ranking near the top in the country in sacks and tackles for loss, but also giving up 30 points per game against Pac-12 opponents not named Washington State or Oregon State.

On offense, Cal relies on Maynard and running back Isi Sofele, who ranked 20th in the country in rushing yards per game. They cut back Maynard’s pass attempts dramatically in the last half of the season, instead focusing on Sofele and picking their spots with a receiving corps that combined for 2000 yards receiving between the two starters.

Truth be told, Texas saw better this season, and should be able to handle a Cal offense that isn’t as good as at least six teams that the Longhorns saw this year (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Missouri and Texas Tech), and should be able to run on a defense that hasn’t seen a running game capable of such things outside of Oregon.

Cal will stay in this one for a half, but I see the Texas running game wearing them down in the second half.

Texas 34 California 21
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas

Random Hot Dallas Chick

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Week That Will Be (12.03.2011)

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 41-37 (.526) ($10) ATS 51-27 (.654) SU


We learned last week that Andrew Luck is good again, but might not be as good as Matt Barkley, but we might punish Barkley for Reggie Bush’s family getting free housing, so then we’re going to give the award to Robert Griffin III, who three weeks ago everyone had written off until his epic efforts against the Herculean defenses of Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas, but he goes to Baylor so we’re going to give the award to Trent Richardson because he’s a running back and he plays for Alabama and they’re good and stuff and they’re in the SEC, but first we’re going to pretend like we’re going to give it to the commuter school quarterback…

…we learned that Auburn’s worst offensive output in a decade (138 yards) shockingly wasn’t good enough to beat Alabama, and we’re almost certain that Kristi Malzahn had a word or two to say about that*.

*YouTube Link

…we learned that it has been four days since Michigan beat Ohio State.

…we learned that LSU’s defense is ridiculous…but their offense is rounding into shape as well as their 495 total yards were their most since 2007, their last BCS Championship season.

…we learned that Art Briles has no problem burning the redshirt of a quarterback he wanted to sit out in week 13 against a Texas Tech defense that I’m pretty sure J.J. Joe could have beaten off his couch.

And finally, we learned that things are all right in the world again.

Anyhow…

It is finally here, college football fans, it is CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK. In the Big 10, we have ads on Craigslist for seat fillers because they can’t sell all the seats in Indianapolis for a game against Wisconsin and Michigan State (Kramer just told Jerry he’s going to Indy); in the ACC we have a championship game between the worst #4 team in the history of the sport (Virginia Tech) against Clemson, who has about as much of a lifeline as Rick Neuheisel’s coaching career…

And speaking of Neuheisel, he’s already been fired because UCLA is having such a crappy season, yet they are playing in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game, but only because the NCAA is punishing the current USC squad for Reggie Bush’s transgressions while Bush flies Kim Kardashian around the country in private jets…oh and UCLA will need a waiver to play in a bowl game if they lose this game because they will have a losing record…and THEY APPLIED FOR THE WAIVER ALREADY. Hey, come to Eugene and watch your Bruins take on the Ducks…oh wait, nevermind, we’re DOOOMED!”

Then you have LSU having to play in a SEC Championship game for the right to play in the BCS National Championship game against….Alabama, who they beat less than a month ago…that’s right, the BCS, where you lose a game in the regular season and then get a bye week while the team that beats you has to go against a pretty good Georgia squad….but oh wait, every BCS nerd with a #2 pencil is telling us that it doesn’t matter if LSU lines up my high school team that went 2-8 this year in LSU uniforms, because even if LSU loses, they’re going to the championship game…can you FEEL the excitement, SEC fans?

Then the best game of the weekend features Oklahoma against Oklahoma State, for the right to play Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl…yippee! Oklahoma State fans wear crimson and cream 51 weeks out of the year, so it will be odd for them to root against Oklahoma for a change, but really these two teams should sit down and try to decide which was a worst loss, OSU to Iowa State or OU to Texas Tech, but since Tech lost to Iowa State by about a Neuheisel (50 points), we’re going with Oklahoma losing to Tech.

So with Totally Meaningless Weekend (hype that one, ESPN…or sit on it for 8 years and don’t tell anybody for the sake of journalistic integrity and just throw common decency out the window) upon us, here are some more random thoughts…

-- And it’s goodbye to A&M… Really, could it have been scripted any better for Texas fans? I don’t think even beating the Aggies 66-6 would have been as satisfying as letting them blow yet another halftime lead, having them seemingly take the lead for good, and then finally putting together a scoring drive to snatch it from their fingers tightly holding it against their chest with a foot out the door to the SEC. If the Aggies had won that game, they would have thrown out the overwhelming series record and proclaimed all-time scoreboard, but now they just avert their gaze at you, curse the officials and Mike Sherman under their breath and try to convince themselves that a 6-6 record in the mighty Big 12 really translates to 9-3 in the watered-down SEC.

-- But there is one more left… Yes, it is somewhat sad that we’re pining for the Alamo Bowl while living in a town that the Brazos River doesn’t pass through, but 8-4 and a third tier bowl would be a welcome sight after last season and after looking at 6-6 in the face this time last week.

Not only that, but win in Waco and we’re looking at a 3-0 record against our in-state conference rivals…reasserting our place as the top dog in this state and reminding Baylor that beating Texas is a rare event for which they should not become accustomed.
Win in Waco, win the bowl game, and you’re riding a three game winning streak into the recruiting period and, more importantly, into next season with a squad that loses very little.

-- My weiner had a first name… Urban Meyer decided that his health and his family that he saw during the week while working for ESPN on the weekends was too much to handle, so he got back into the college game this week, agreeing to a 6-year, $24 million contract to head the Ohio State Buckeyes. Buckeye fans were even more annoying than usual this week, proclaiming that Meyer got his “dream job” and wouldn’t have come back for any other position….riiiiiiight. If Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, LSU or Alabama would have been open, and would have been offering that contract, the Ohio native would be coming up with some other excuse to spout during his introductory press conference. He’s a catch, Buckeye fans, but don’t fall in love…

-- Lord those hard times…Who knows better than I? A bunch of mediocre teams decided that their current coaching staff wasn’t getting the job done this week, as Arizona State, Washington State, UCLA, Illinois, Kansas and others made a coaching change. Mike Leach has already been hired in Pullman, which tells you how desperate he was to get back into the game, while UCLA and Arizona State seemed determined to fight over Kevin Sumlin at Houston before he inexplicably decides to stay there, because they are going to the Big East after all. No, you can’t just keep losing, but a dollar says that most of these places go cheap and we see their schools putting an ad on Monster within 3-4 years from now…

-- Leave the gun, take the cannoli… Back away from Manny Diaz and nobody gets hurt…does everyone understand?

-- But let’s hit rewind again… LSU vs. Alabama. You know what? Those two teams might very well be the best two teams in the country. But there is something wrong in a re-match in the BCS Championship game, which is a subjective contest in the first place.

Alabama had their chance, at home, and blew it in one of the least watchable games that I can remember this year. And then you add in the ridiculousness that if LSU loses and still goes to the game, we’ll have LSU vs. Alabama for the championship, while SEC Champion Georgia plays Houston in the Sugar Bowl. I find it hard to believe that Oklahoma State isn’t being punished here just because they are Oklahoma State, while Alabama is getting the benefit of the doubt because well, they’re Alabama. Signature win for Alabama this year? Arkansas? Eh. OSU will have beaten Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor and Texas. And yes, that loss to Iowa State, so they don’t really have an argument at all…I get it.

If only there was another way to determine a champion…and hey we wouldn’t be subjected to college basketball on December Saturday afternoons…

On to the games...

PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP: UCLA @ Oregon -31.5:

You could make the argument that the players might try to win this one for Neuheisel, but you could have also said that about Saturday’s game against USC. UCLA is terrible, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Oregon 52 UCLA 13
ATS – Oregon
SU – Oregon

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: Virginia Tech -7 vs. Clemson:

Clemson won with shocking ease in Blacksburg in October, but they’ve lost three out of their last four by a combined score of 130-74. They don’t have the stomach for this fight.

Virginia Tech 27 Clemson 16
ATS – Virginia Tech
SU – Virginia Tech

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin -9.5:

If you remember Michigan State won the regular season match-up with a hail mary at the end of regulation in a tie ballgame…both of these teams have a top 6 defense nationally but put up a combined 68 points in that ballgame, so figure out that one.

I think Wisconsin is more battle ready here. Michigan State lost two games against quality opponents on the road this year (Notre Dame and Nebraska), struggled against Ohio State in Columbus, and then handled Iowa and Northwestern away from East Lansing. But the Badgers have the big game experience.

Wisconsin 34 Michigan State 21
ATS – Wisconsin
SU – Wisconsin

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: Georgia vs. LSU -13.5:

Georgia somehow won their tenth straight ballgame last weekend against Georgia Tech but still fell in the BCS standings, while we all know LSU is sitting pretty no matter what they do.

With that in mind, do they come out and erase all doubt, or do they come out flat knowing that their bad is still probably good enough to beat Georgia, and that they’re still going to New Orleans?

No matter which LSU team shows up, Georgia should be able to stay in this one. They’re allowing a little under 100 yards rushing for the season, so they should be able to stifle the LSU offense as long as they don’t see the field too often.

LSU 28 Georgia 17
ATS – Georgia
SU – LSU

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State -3.5:

Oklahoma State is the better team here. They have a better offense, a more opportunistic defense, a healthier squad, they’re better than Oklahoma…but we all know this one is mental.

The Cowboys own a 16-82-7 all-time record against Oklahoma, and haven’t won a game in this series since 2002 despite being favorable with Oklahoma the past four or five years.

The Cowboys are going for their first Big 12 title (they never even won an outright Big 8 title)…and while this might be foolish, this Oklahoma team has struggled with the injuries and an average defense.

Oklahoma State 41 Oklahoma 34
ATS – Oklahoma State
SU – Oklahoma State

Texas @ Baylor -2.5:

This game starts and ends with Robert Griffin III. The guy is the most complete player Texas will see this year, ranking sixth in the country in passing and tying Brandon Weeden with 34 touchdown passes on the year. He can throw every route, has one of the best deep balls you’ll ever see, and doesn’t get rattled.

Then if you somehow stop him through the air, he’ll run it on you, rushing for 612 yards (counting sacks) and 7 touchdowns on the ground this year. Simply put, contain Griffin? No chance. You have to stop everyone else, mostly running back Terrence Ganaway, who only had 160 combined rushing yards in their losses to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Griffin is damn good, but he can’t do it all by himself.

On offense, Texas is going to have its best game in weeks. Lucky for them, Baylor should give them every opportunity to get healthy on the ground, giving up 198 yards per game. Only three teams failed to reach 150 yards rushing against Baylor (Kansas State – 83, Texas A&M – 50, and Oklahoma – 131), but those three teams combined for 1,261 passing yards on a Baylor pass defense that ranks 107th in the country.

Five teams were able to rush for 250 on them (Stephen F. Austin – 266, Rice – 306, Iowa State – 395, Missouri – 280, Texas Tech – 360). Give the ball to Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron (if healthy), Jeremy Hills, Ramonce Taylor…whoever you want to, just run the ball, and run it often.

Baylor hasn’t beaten Texas in Waco since 1997, and even though the Texas defense is playing as well as any unit in the country, I’m a little worried about the possibility of getting into a shoot-out with the Bears here. But, as this season has shown, give this defense even a little bit of offense and the defense will take it from there.

Texas 31 Baylor 27
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas

Random Hot Dallas Chick

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For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for drinks on the Riverwalk.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Week That Will Be (Thanksgiving 2011)

Last Week: 5-1 ATS 2-4 SU
For the Year: 39-33 (.542) ($210) ATS 46-26 (.639) SU


We learned last week that Arkansas plays with more footballs than everyone else, as six receivers had at least 3 catches and three running backs had at least 10 carries in a blowout win over Mississippi State.

…we learned that USC is an inexplicable blowout loss to Arizona State away from having deep, deep regret over their post-season ban this year. Take away that loss and the ban, and USC is perhaps a win over UCLA and a win at home in the Pac-12 Championship from going to the BCS National Championship game. They would certainly be in the argument with Alabama. Which is, of course, to say if I was Tom Brady…

…we learned that what a difference a year makes in Ann Arbor. After holding Nebraska to a season-low in total yards, Michigan now ranks in the top 15 in total defense and scoring defense. If Denard Robinson can improve on an inconsistent junior season, you have to think Michigan is a good candidate for the national title next season that might fly under some people’s radar.

…we learned that Baylor can actually beat Oklahoma, after Robert Griffin III led them on six touchdown drives in the last three quarters, three of which took less than a minute. Griffin’s 562 total yards are at least worth an invite to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

…we learned that Oklahoma State will never win the national championship. If they don’t win it this year, with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon playing at a ridiculous level, with a running game that is a nice complement, and a defense that leads the nation in takeaways, they’ll never win it. Championship programs don’t fall to Iowa State, no matter where the game is or what the circumstances are. They had one game to focus on before a de facto title game semi-final and blew it.

…and finally, we learned that 18 points in two weeks will drive a fan of a college football team very, very crazy.

Anyhow…

It is that time again, the time of year where we all gather around and make small talk about how it is the holiday season already even though we all just lived through the hottest hell of a Summer that man can endure, or perhaps your cousin from Pennsylvania has somehow convinced himself that ESPN, and The Longhorn Network hoodwinked Penn State into firing Joe Paterno in order to cover-up that whole conspiracy about 1969 and you sit there with failed smile nodding your head because the time it would take to refute this argument would be better spent putting him back on the next flight to Pittsburgh.

It is also the time that we give thanks, and for that reason, I present to you what I am thankful for this holiday season…

To Tim Tebow, thanks for the food on my plate this Thursday, for ridding us of the Aggies, for lowering the price of gas by 10 cents this week, for my beautiful wife, for killing and presiding over the funeral of Osama bin Laden, and for most of all, being relevant again so the Tim Tebow Joke Series has more legs.

To Penn State school officials, thanks for being unethical buffoons (via The University of Miami and Ohio State University).

To David Stern, thanks for allowing the Dallas Mavericks to be all-time NBA Champions.

To Christine Michael, thanks for this ringing endorsement of Texas A&M University: "I want to go to A&M," Andrew Michael (a Junior recruit) said. "It would be cool but he wants me to be in a better place than him. Like he wants me to be at LSU or something like that."

To Gary Pinkel, thanks for teaching the school kids of America how NOT to recite the Alphabet.

To Lee Corso, thanks for being that crazy uncle that might say anything at anytime.

To Michael Vick, thanks for having a low pain threshold so Vince Young could win another game as a quarterback.

To Austin Beer Works, thanks for the outstanding brew.

To Urban Meyer, thanks for the one year hiatus (via @UrbanMeyer’sHeart)

To T-Baby, thanks for letting us know it is cold in the D. We were not aware.

To Time Warner Cable and The Longhorn Network, thanks for absolutely nothing.

To the readers at Friday Night Tailgates, thanks for taking the time to read this column each and every week.

To Texas A&M, thanks for humping it, for your ridiculous haircuts, for having someone stand with a chalkboard at all times showing the score to Reveille, drawing your swords on SMU cheerleaders, for Coach Fran’s newsletter, for non-sanctioned bonfires, for Dave South, for acting like you care about women’s basketball, for your refusal to have female cheerleaders, for Yell Leaders for that matter, for Mike McKinney, for “can you help me with this?”, for proudly being in the 98th percentile, for maroon carrots, for athletic directors that write “tu” in e-mails, for your undefeated record at half-time, for calling a tradition “elephant walk”, for hissing, for Hullabaloo Caneck Caneck, for having the courage to Whoop, for your jars of special sauce, for Aggie Yell Leaders singing in the car and putting the video on the Internet…and for running to a conference that kicks your ass every time you play them. Goodbye.

To Emanuel Acho and Fozzy Whitaker, thanks for not only your notable contributions on the field, but for the outstanding contributions off the field. We are proud to have you in the Longhorn nation and wish you well in your future endeavors.

To Nolan Brewster, thanks for your contributions to the program. Your dad made his mark on this program, and we know that you will follow in his footsteps closely.

To Blaine Irby, thanks for your heart and determination. We can’t tell you how proud we were when we heard you were coming back, how proud we were when we saw you back, and how emotions nearly boiled over when you scored a touchdown in your final home game. That determination will get you very far in life.

To Christian Scott, thanks for coming back from a personal setback to make a strong contribution on the field.

To Justin Tucker, thanks for your diversity and for being such a strong contributor to this team for the past few years. You were the team MVP several times, and you will be missed next year.

To Blake Gideon, Cody Johnson, Kheeston Randall and Keenan Robinson, thanks for being a part of some very notable teams, and for several years of contributions.

To Tray Allen, Jamison Berryhill, Mark Buchanan, Ahmard Howard and David Snow , thanks for sticking with it. You guys were never the guys on the front of the program, but you stuck with it and contributed where you could without taking the easy path elsewhere.

To Anthony D’Addeo, John Paul Floyd, Luciano Martinez, Patrick McNamara, John Osborn, Christian Randolph, Sam Walker, Trey Wier, Nick Zajicek, Alex Zumberge, thanks for the thankless job of being a walk-on at the University of Texas. You know you are pretty much guaranteed zero playing time when you set out on this path, yet you sacrifice your health and time each and every week in order to make this program the best in the country.

On to the games...

Notre Dame @ Stanford -6.5:

Notre Dame has played well against the pass (even holding Matt Barkley to 224 yards), but seeing them struggle against Boston College last week, in addition to their troubles on the road this season (Michigan – L, Pitt- Close W, Purdue – W, Wake Forest – Close W), I think Stanford gets back on track here.

Stanford 31 Notre Dame 24
ATS – Stanford
SU – Stanford

Alabama -21 @ Auburn:

Auburn held it together the first couple of weeks of the season, but they’ve fallen apart lately, losing by 35 to LSU, 38 to Georgia and only leading Samford by 8 going to the fourth quarter last week. Alabama should be focused on winning convincingly and then letting the dominoes fall on them going to the BCS Championship game…

But this series is always close. Look at this point differential the past 10 meetings: (1, 5, 36, 7, 7, 10, 8, 5, 10, 24). Alabama wins, but Auburn sticks around for a while.

Alabama 34 Auburn 17
ATS – Auburn
SU – Alabama

Ohio State @ Michigan -7.5:

It has been 2,922 days since Michigan beat Ohio State in football. The big musical hit was Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, Steve Bartman had just ruined the Cubs title hopes, LeBron James was a rookie for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Gmail was months away from being introduced…and Facebook was weeks away.

And with the news that Urban Meyer is on the way, Michigan had better do it this year.

Michigan 20 Ohio State 16
ATS – Ohio State
SU – Michigan

Arkansas @ LSU -13:

Oh what an interesting game. If Arkansas wins, the tidal wave of chaos that will engulf college football will be delicious…if LSU wins, we’re likely looking at LSU/Alabama once again.
Arkansas has actually won 3 out of 4 in this series, including a 31-23 win last year. They feature a high-powered offense that has scored 40 points three straight games, but they must find success against a LSU defense that has given up more than 11 points in a game since September.

This is always a great game, and I don’t see it being any different this year. LSU just has a monster of a defense, and it will come up big when needed.

LSU 28 Arkansas 24
ATS – Arkansas
SU – LSU

Texas Tech vs. Baylor -12.5:

Baylor hasn’t beaten Texas Tech since 1995, but then again they had never beaten Oklahoma, so perhaps it is their week. Tech appears to have given up on the season, and players are dropping like flies…but Baylor’s defense still has its troubles.

Baylor 44 Texas Tech 34
ATS – Texas Tech
SU – Baylor

Texas @ Texas A&M -7.5:

Last meeting, Texas offense sucks, Texas defense good, Texas A&M offense good, Texas A&M defense sucks, Texas A&M dreadful in the second half of games…that about covers it, right?

The Texas defense that held Collin Klein to 4 rushing yards last week might catch a break with Cyrus Gray possibly being sidelined….Gray last year ran for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Longhorns….or is it Gray receiving a break?

How do you beat the A&M offense? Force turnovers. A&M struggled the most against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, mostly because of Ryan Tannehill’s 6 combined interceptions in those games. They also had two fumbles in a loss against Missouri.

So you’ve forced turnovers, but can Texas convert those into points? Obviously the health of Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Jaxon Shipley factor into that. If they are healthy, then Texas can run on an A&M team that gave up 284 yards rushing to Missouri….if those guys are “limited” again, then they won’t be able to run on a team that only gave up 2.5 ypc to Kansas State, 3.17 to Oklahoma, 2.37 to Arkansas and 1.31 to Oklahoma State.

Sure, you can beat the Aggies through the air, as evidenced by them giving up 292 yards per game, but you are a better prognosticator than me if you see a Texas quarterback that will be able to exploit that.

And then it gets worse. The Aggies lead the country in sacks, averaging 3.73 a game, and they face a Texas offensive line that has shown little ability to protect the quarterback, ranking 80th in the country in sacks allowed at 2.20.

It is a broken record, but this team simply won’t get better until the quarterback position gets better. One of these guys shows something, and Texas can escape here with a win on the back of a defense and running game. Play like they did against KSU, Missouri and Oklahoma, and the Horns get blown out of the building.

Unfortunately, I think we know which is more likely.

Texas A&M 30 Texas 17
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Texas A&M

Random Hot Dallas Chick

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For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for post-holidays gym fees.