The Week That Will Be: Reputation

Posted by    |    November 8th, 2017 at 11:59 pm

This one has been circled for 12 months. In pen.

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 3-3 SU

For the Year: 30-30 (.500) (-$300) ATS 44-16 (.733) SU

We learned last week…

  • Miami held Virginia Tech to 150 yards and 25 points below their season averages, and the Hokies offense committed 4 turnovers to ruin any chance Virginia Tech had of coming back in this one. Finally, the Hurricanes looked impressive, but another test is only two days away.
  • Somehow Michigan State thought it was a good idea to have their quarterback throw it 56 times on a rained soaked afternoon that featured a three and half hour weather delay. But it worked, as quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for 400 yards and the Spartans came away with the win. Saquon Barkley lost the game and probably lost the Heisman as well, only rushing for 63 yards in the effort.
  • LSU outgained Alabama and held the ball for 34 minutes, but somehow despite that they were never in this one as the Crimson Tide prevailed….again.
  • West Virginia raced out to a 20-3 lead over Iowa State, and then didn’t score once in the second half but held on for the win. Moutaineers quarterback Will Grier had another solid afternoon as he has now thrown for more than 300 yards in eight of nine games this year.
  • Oklahoma State’s defense let Baker Mayfield throw for a third of a mile, and then their offense couldn’t capitalize on a Mayfield interception that was returned to the Oklahoma 35-yard line with 3 minutes left. Mike Gundy is now 2-11 against Oklahoma in his career as a head coach.
  • Texas has now lost to TCU four times in a row…and didn’t look competitive in any of them. The more things change…the more they stay the same.

I’m a fighter. I believe in the eye-for-an-eye business. I’m no cheek turner. I got no respect for a man who won’t hit back. You kill my dog, you better hide your cat. – Muhammad Ali

Bill Munny riding off into the night. Lambda Epsilon Omega. Rocky IV. The Sith. Daniel Larusso is going to fight. John Creasy walking out of the fire. The Nerds.

Victor Stracci. Moe Greene. Carmine Cuneo. Philip Tattaglia. Emilio Barzini.

This is the one Texas fans circled on the calendar when the schedule came out. USC? Eh, beat them years ago. Oklahoma? The fun of beating them has worn off. TCU? We can’t beat them anyways.

But Kansas. Kannnnsas.

It was 12 long months ago that the hopes and dreams of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl came crashing down before about 8,000 fans in Lawrence, Kansas, a game that got a coach fired and sent the Longhorns down a spiral that culminated in a season ending loss to TCU the night after Thanksgiving.

Kansas fans rushed the field. Kansas coach David Beaty got something like a lifetime coaching contract. Jayhawks fans sitting at home even took time from their pre-season basketball preview reading to crack open a nice domestic brew. I’m sure the game ball was flown to the college football hall of fame, wherever that might be.

Cameras caught Texas defenders throwing a tantrum on the field after the game, because of course they were, they just lost to Kansas. In football.

But the beautiful thing about sports is that what goes around comes around, and when the Jayhawks hit the field at 5:00 PM on Saturday afternoon, they’d best believe there will be about 50,000 Texas fans there ready to boo them in between sips of beer and text messages to their friends not lucky enough to attend the ultimate vengeance game.

It won’t be easy, of course.

Kansas did defeat Southeast Missouri State this year, who sure, is 2-7 at a lower classification, but who can compete when you have to run the Austin Peay, Jacksonville State and UT Martin triumvirate?

Not only that, but the Jayhawks have hit 13/15 field goals this year. Texas might be undefeated if they had that percentage. The Jayhawks are 1-1 in night games this year. Wouldn’t Texas love to be at a .500 winning percentage? And you’d better come to play early, because this Kansas team is 1-0 when leading at halftime. Also 1-0 when allowing less than 100 yards rushing and less than 300 yards total offense (okay this is a tongue in cheek column but now I can’t sleep between now and Saturday).

One can only hope that the Texas players that were there on that fateful night in Lawrence, or those new guys who are really sensitive to Internet memes come ready to play on Saturday night, because this is Texas and everyone gets up for Texas.

Because the only thing worse than losing to Kansas in football is losing to Kansas in football twice.

Georgia -2.5 @ Auburn:

This is one of three games involving head-to-head matchups of Top 10 teams, as Georgia enters this game undefeated and ranked #1 in the college football playoff rankings, while Auburn ranks #10.

Georgia is already in the SEC Championship game, but with only Kentucky and Georgia Tech remaining on the schedule, they could put themselves in prime position to grab a spot in the playoff if they can win this one at Auburn. The Tigers, meanwhile, have an outside shot at the playoff if they can knock off Georgia in this one and Alabama later in the month.

The Bulldogs have been dominant all season, only allowing one team to score more than 14 points (Missouri). Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has been gar more than a game manager, throwing for 15 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions.

Auburn, meanwhile, has regressed a bit on defense, allowing 97 points in their last 4 games after only giving up 55 in their first 5 games. If they allow the Georgia running game to get going, it could be a long day.

Georgia appears to be a team on a mission this season, and I’m just not sure that Auburn has the firepower to seriously challenge them.

Georgia 27 Auburn 21

ATS – Georgia

SU – Georgia

Michigan State @ Ohio State -15:

The winner of this game likely heads to the Big 10 Championship game to play Wisconsin, and certainly would also be in position to receive a New Years Six bowl invite.

The Buckeyes ran into a world of unexpected trouble last week at Iowa, allowing the Hawkeyes to outscore them 31-0 at one point in the game to drop out of any playoff consideration.

Meanwhile, Michigan State is now 7-2 after their win over Penn State. This is despite only having three seniors on their 22-man depth chart.

Hmm.

This is a game that is usually close, as the last two meetings can tell you. In 2015, the Spartans won 17-14, while last year the Buckeyes prevailed 17-16 despite Michigan State’s poor season.

The Buckeyes haven’t lost two regular season games in a row since 2011, and I’m not sure that I see that happening here, as well. The Spartans put up another valiant effort, however.

Ohio State 23 Michigan State 17

ATS – Michigan State

SU – Ohio State

Notre Dame -3 @ Miami:

Oh yes, the matchup with the colorful nickname “Catholics vs. Convicts”. They have played 13 times since 1980 with Notre Dame winning 7 of those, including last year’s 30-27 win in South Bend.

We talked about Miami’s recent dalliances last week, but they took care of any of that talk with a dominating win over Virginia Tech. With Virginia and Pitt remaining on the regular season schedule after this one, the Hurricanes stand a real chance of being undefeated when they play Clemson in the ACC Championship game, which of course would lead to the college football playoff.

The Hurricanes have been very solid on defense, not allowing more than 24 points in a single game since the second week of the season. They’ll need it against the Irish, as they have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the last three games alone, all against teams with a winning record.

Notre Dame 31 Miami 24

ATS – Notre Dame

SU – Notre Dame

Oklahoma State -7 @ Iowa State:

The most famous game in this series is the Iowa State upset victory over a Top 10 Oklahoma State squad on a Thursday night in Ames in 2011, but the last two years the Cowboys have only won by a combined 11 points, so they definitely have their fits with the Cyclones.

The question here is which defense shows up for Iowa State. Is it the one that dominated Oklahoma for three quarters and held TCU to 307 total yards, or is it the one that last week allowed 524 yards in a loss at West Virginia?

The Cyclones defense will hang tough for a while in this one, but they need some offense to win here, and not reaching 20 points in either of their last two games won’t cut it.

Oklahoma State 38 Iowa State 24

ATS – Oklahoma State

SU – Oklahoma State

TCU @ Oklahoma -7:

So I was in Vegas last weekend, and on Saturday morning I noticed that Baker Mayfield was at 10-1 to win the Heisman…thought about it, and said nah, Penn State is going to beat Michigan State so Saquon Barkley will still be the favorite, and besides, I think Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma.

Yeah. By Sunday morning he was at even.

Anyways, I’m done betting against that guy. He throws interceptions and they turn into roses, so I’m done. Besides, I’m not sure that TCU can go into both Stillwater AND Norman and come away with wins this season, right? And even less likely that they hold every team in the Big 12 to way below their season average, right?

By the way, how good has that TCU defense been? They’ve only allowed 27 points in their last four games. And the team with the most yardage in those four games?

Texas.

Yes, as wretched as that game was to watch last week (no matter how much whisky you ingest), three other fanbases had to watch worse performances. Unbelievable.

Oklahoma 38 TCU 27

ATS – Oklahoma

SU – Oklahoma

Kansas @ Texas -33.5:

First, the necessities.

Kansas is awful. There is a reason why the Texas loss to Kansas in Lawrence last year is still a meme, and while we all hate it, it is deserved because they acted like they won a national championship and gave everyone raises after beating a 5-5 team for a reason.

They stink.

They haven’t won a road game since the Colt McCoy era at Texas, and if you have been under a rock for a while, Colt McCoy is currently 31 years old and in his 8th season in the NFL. There have been 44 consecutive losses to date, which ties the 81-year old record of Western State, so when Texas beats them on Saturday, they will be the sole record holder.

And oh yes, if you are wondering about this year’s squad, they haven’t scored a touchdown in over a month, spanning three games, so you or I could replace Holton Hill and not get embarrassed.

But let’s talk about Texas for a minute here.

I have seen this season before. It was 2014 when Texas had a new coach, a supposed new culture, a stout defense and an offense that couldn’t move the ball enough to win many games, but the excuse was a poor offensive line and injuries at quarterback.

We were told it was a lack of talent. And sure, that was a valid concern. But at the end of the day it was a below average season with promises of a brighter future.

And two years later that new coach was fired before the Thanksgiving turkey was even cold.

Tom Herman and his staff deserve the requisite time to get it turned around in time, but 3/4 of the way through the season I am just seeing a bunch of the same that got the old coach fired.

Ineptitude on offense. Penalties. And not just penalties. Personal fouls. Three in the span it takes you to go to the bathroom and get a beer the other night. And worst of all, no sense of urgency to get things fixed.

The same offensive issues that plagued this team against Maryland and USC plagued them against TCU.

And while I understand the issues on the offensive line, there are 120+ teams in the country that have injuries and some of them have injuries on the offensive line and they manage to field a more than adequate offense each and every week.

Texas is still paying their last two coaches a lot of money, and they are paying the current coach a lot of money, and they are paying this staff that he brought on a lot of money, and this staff was brought on supposedly because of “alignment” and being on the same page was supposed to fix a lot of issues.

But 9 games in we just have a bunch of excuses for why once again Texas is scrambling just to be bowl eligible.

Excuses. Texas fans hear them every week. And have been hearing them for 8 years now.

Enough already.

Texas 38 Kansas 0

ATS – Texas

SU – Texas

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for the next 10-1 Heisman odds.