Football

Goin’ Up the Country: Week 3 in the Big 12

I’m going to start tracking my pick record. Each week I’ll list it here and in the wrap-up descriptions I’ll include a or  depending on how I did.

KEITH’S PICK RECORD

Week 1:

7 – 2

Week 2:

9 – 1

SEASON:

16 – 3

My Week 2 Game of the Week was Iowa State @ Iowa, the Battle for the CyHawk Trophy. What I thought would be a potential offensive shootout became a defensive struggle. Ultimately, the Hawkeyes took their fourth in a row defeating the Cyclones 13-3 behind what is looking like an exceptional defense. They allowed only 188 yards on 56 plays, forced five three-and-outs in 11 drives, and only allowed Iowa State into the red zone once. Iowa has now given up only 10 points through two games. Iowa State’s defense was no slouch either, not allowing Iowa to score a touchdown until the final two minutes of the game. Iowa State made it all the way to the Iowa one-yard line on their first drive but didn’t get it punched in.

Week 3 Game of the Week:

#17 Boise State @ #24 Oklahoma State

The Boise State Broncos are bringing their offensive firepower to Stillwater, facing the Oklahoma State Cowboys at 2:30 on ESPN. The Broncos are bringing a prolific balanced offense into Stillwater that dropped 818 yards (400 passing, 418 rushing) on the UConn Huskies last week. The Twenty Two Mulleteers took down South Alabama last week and are still looking for an answer in the rushing game. This one should prove to be quite the shootout and a fun one. I’ve said before I’m picking games of the week based on their potential for fun football, I think this one will be close and probably high-scoring.

Rutgers @ Kansas

                               

Last Week: Rutgers (1-1, 0-1) faced utter destruction losing 52-3 at the hands of the #4 Ohio State Buckeyes. They gave up 30/33 passing for 354 yards and another 225 yards rushing on 40 carries. Ohio State held Rutgers to a combined 134 yards of offense. Rutgers quarterbacks were picked off twice and their special teams netted 13 return yards on six kicks. Ohio State’s backup quarterback Tate Martell, seen on Netflix’s QB1: Beyond the Lights, was a perfect 10/10 for 121 yards and a touchdown, he chipped in another rushing touchdown and led the Buckeyes in rushing with 95 yards.
 Kansas (1-1, 0-0) The Jayhawks went on the road and defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas 31-7, snapping a 46-game road losing streak dating back to 2009. I’d like to take a moment to say – BOOM BABY, CALLED IT. Ok, now that that’s out of the way, the Kansas offense was led by quarterback Peyton Bender who went 17/26 for 130 yards and 1 touchdown. Kansas rushers combined for 216 yards and were led by Pooka Williams, Jr. with 125 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries. The Kansas defense was the real story, recovering 2 fumbles on the day and picking off Chippewas’ quarterback Tony Poljan 4 times.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15, 11:00 a.m.
Location: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
Television: Fox Sports KC
Line: Kansas -3
All-Time Record: Rutgers 1-0-0 KU
Overview & Breakdown:

Rutgers is basically the Kansas of the Big 10, it’s almost an embarrassment that they’re in the conference. The difference is Rutgers isn’t any good at another marquee sport to make up for it. A lot of teams would be completely outclassed playing the Buckeyes, but it’s not quite so common for a team in the conference to be used as a tool up game. Rutgers’ freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski was injured on a sack. He didn’t have any structural damage to his shoulder but is listed as day-to-day and will be limited in practice this week.
Kansas is still terrible, they just beat a team worse than them. This is a bit of a quandary though. Kansas spent $425,000 for FCS Nicholls to come to Lawrence and beat them at home in double overtime. But they beat a bad Central Michigan team that turned it over 6 times. On the other hand, Rutgers beat a terrible Texas State team by a similar margin but got smoked by a great team, which tells us nothing.
Biggest Question: Can Kansas beat a team that isn’t totally self-destructing? The Chippewas threw 4 picks and coughed up 2 fumbles, Rutgers, on the other hand, had no turnovers against Ohio State.
My Pick: I’m taking Rutgers in this one. I have to think a Big 10 bottom feeder that doesn’t turn it over is going to beat the Big 12 bottom feeder than can’t beat an FCS team at home.

#5 Oklahoma @ Iowa State

                               

Last Week: Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0) beat a very young UCLA Bruins team 49-21. Kyler Murray accounted for 5 total touchdowns going 19/33 for 306 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Murray also led the team in rushing with 69 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 carries. Oklahoma’s special teams unit was also quite impressive. Returner Tre Brown gained 121 yards on 2 returns with a long of 87 yards. 
Iowa State (1-1, 0-0) 
dropped their fourth straight CyHawk game to the Iowa Hawkeyes 13-3. The Cyclones were held to 188 yards on 56 plays, five three-and-outs in 11 drives, and only made it into the red zone once. Iowa has now given up only 10 points through two games. Iowa State’s defense was no slouch either, not allowing Iowa to score a touchdown until the final two minutes of the game. Iowa State made it all the way to the Iowa one-yard line on their first drive but didn’t get it punched in.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15 @ 11:00 a.m.
Location: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Television: ABC
Line: Oklahoma -17.5
All-Time Record: OU 74-2-6 ISU
Overview & Breakdown: Oklahoma is really something to watch at this point. I’ve raised concerns previously about Mike Stoops’s defense and from a yardage standpoint they kept it respectable. They allowed 16/26 for 254 yards and 1 touchdown passing and UCLA combined for 129 yards rushing. The leader had only 56 yards with 2 touchdowns on 15 carries, a 3.7-yard average. The Oklahoma defense combined for an astounding 94 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks. It’s clear that this team is going to continue to get better as they progress into Big 12 play.
Biggest Question: Who will step up at running back? The Sooners lost Rodney Anderson to a season-ending injury. Anderson has had three season-ending injuries in his Oklahoma career and has also been described as the “heart and soul” of the team. I’m honestly not overly concerned with this, but it is a hole to fill. Marcelias Sutton seems to be the most likely candidate. He stepped in against South Alabama and averaged 6.6 yards per carry.
Iowa State got the benefit of the doubt from me before the Iowa game after having their game cancelled. I know the Hawkeyes have a stout defense, but Iowa State’s offense should have more firepower than a single field goal. Rivalry games are crazy like that though, especially this one. The Cyclones’ defense held down the Hawkeyes for the majority of the game, but the Oklahoma defense under Kyler Murray is a completely different animal.
Biggest Question: Will Iowa State’s offense show back up? I was a bit surprised to see Iowa State’s offense completely stifled by Iowa’s defense. They seemed to have more offensive firepower than that and I thought they may be the surprise unit of the conference this season. We’ll see Saturday if it was a rivalry game fluke or if they were a one-hit-wonder last season.
My Pick: I’m taking the Sooners here. I know that’s a pretty safe pick even though crazy things happen to good teams in Ames, but I can’t see Lincoln Riley’s team overlooking a Big 12 road opener.

Duke @ Baylor

                               

Last Week:  Duke (2-0, 0-0) took down Northwestern 21-7 to improve to 2-0 on the season. Northwestern outgained the Blue Devils in total yardage but Duke hurried the Wildcats’ quarterback 14 times, produced 4 sacks, and snagged two interceptions. Duke scored all of their points in the third quarter while Northwestern scored on their opening drive and were blanked the rest of the way. The Blue Devils lost starting quarterback Daniel Jones to an injured clavicle and he’s expected to miss significant time. Additionally, they lost star cornerback Mark Gilbert to a hip injury.
Baylor (2-0, 0-0) The Bears took down in-state foe UTSA 37-20 in San Antonio. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer went 23/34 for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Bears traded a lost fumble for an interception to even the turnover battle. UTSA’s defense combined for 9 tackles for loss and allowed Baylor 1 touchdown per quarter, they also held the Bears to field goals three times.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15, 2:30 p.m.
Location: McClane Stadium, Waco, TX
Television: FS1
Line: Baylor +4
All-Time Record: Duke 2-0-0 BU
Overview & Breakdown: Duke’s injury-depleted team is going to face a challenge on the road. They’ll need to find a way to score more consistently to keep up with the Bears, and now they’ll be forced to do so without their star quarterback. Furthermore, Duke’s secondary will be forced to contend with Baylor’s athleticism and Charlie Brewer as he appears to be hitting his stride.
Baylor is my favorite dumpster fire to watch burn, but they seem determined to at least have some semblance of a season. The Bears produced 494 yards of offense to UTSA’s 255, but they also worked to give UTSA opportunities. Jalan McClendon gave up a fumble and UTSA pulled within one score late in the game until Baylor hit a field goal, got a defensive stop, and reeled off a seven minute, 78-yard drive to seal the game.
Biggest Question: Can Baylor put together a whole game against a real Power 5 opponent? When UTSA beat the Bears last season it was their first Power 5 win since elevating to FBS in 2013, so beating them doesn’t impress me, especially with them down 12 starters from that team. Duke has been a rising program since David Cutcliffe took the helm there. They’re not a world-beater but they’ve consistently been competitive since Cutcliffe led them to a bowl ending an 18-year drought. In 2013 he also secured their first 10-win season in school history.
My Pick: I think Baylor’s got this one. They’ve got whatever home-field advantage the toilet seat provides, a capable quarterback, and a hunger to prove themselves again. I hate that I’m doing it, but I’m taking Baylor to get themselves a Power 5 win.

CANCELED FOR HURRICANE FLORENCE
#14 West Virginia @ North Carolina State

                               

Last Week:  NC State (2-0, 0-0) dispatched the Georgia State Panthers 41-7, a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Ryan Finley went 31/38 for 370 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception for the Wolfpack. NC State had two players over 100 yards receiving, highlighting tthe depth of their receiving corps, which is their greatest strength. The offense was the difference-maker for the Wolfpack, with the defense getting some pressure on the Georgia State quarterback and forcing a fumble, but overall playing a pretty basic game against this level of FBS talent.
West Virginia (2-0, 0-0) manhandled Youngstown State 52-17. Senior quarterback Will Grier went 21/26 for 332 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. West Virginia had a 100+ yard receiver in Marcus Simms and a 100+yard rusher in Leddie Brown. Overall, West Virginia more than doubled up on the Penguins’ offensive production outgaining them 625 yards to 293 yards. The Mountaineer defense also showed up with 1 sack, 9 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hurries, and an interception.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 8 @ 2:30 p.m.
Location:  Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Television: ESPNU
Line: West Virginia -4
All-Time Record: WVU 5-0-5 NCSU
Overview & Breakdown: NC State has yet to play a quality opponent. Hosting the Mountaineers in Raleigh will be the marquee matchup of their non-conference slate. They opened the season with a 24-13 win over James Madison, which doesn’t engender much confidence that they’ll be able to do much to stop the high-powered offense of West Virginia. The Wolfpack’s greatest strength is their depth at receiver, however, they lost a top target when Jakobi Myers went down with an ankle injury. They regained Stephen Louis, who missed the opener with hamstring tightness, but he went back out after a hit to the head in the fourth. For NC State, facing West Virginia with any depletion to your marquee unit does not bode well.
West Virginia seems to be rolling. They haven’t played much quality competition either, but even a down-and-out Tennessee team provides a test against SEC-talent. West Virginia’s offense has been very productive and my biggest question for them, the running game, was much more productive this week. I know they were playing Youngstown State, but production is production, in my opinion. The momentum and confidence gained can pay dividends in the next week.
Biggest Question: Can West Virginia take better care of the football? The Mountaineers haven’t faced a serious defense yet, but they’ve turned the ball over once a game. Additionally, in the Youngstown State game, they coughed the ball up three times but recovered all three. That’s a potential turnover nightmare that they need to get cleaned up.
My Pick: I’m going with Vegas on this one, I think West Virginia will win. However, I do think the margin will be wider than the experts think. NC State doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Mountaineers, and they don’t have the defensive prowess to stop them.

#17 Boise State @ #24 Oklahoma State
GAME OF THE WEEK

                               

Last Week:  Boise State (2-0, 0-0) destroyed the UConn Huskies 62-7 producing an eye-popping 818 yards of total offense. Quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Chase Cord combined to go 25/33 for 418 yards and 4 touchdowns. Also, nine ball carriers rushed for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns on 45 carries. Alexander Mattison led the way with 115 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing on 11 carries. John Hightower led the receiving corps with 5 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, with a long of 67 yards. A.J. Richardson followed close behind with 3 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown, with a long of 74 yards.
Oklahoma State (2-0, 0-0) took care of business against South Alabama 55-13 led by Taylor Cornelius going 25/40 for 428 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. The Cowboys saw Tylan Wallace gain 166 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches and Tyron Johnson with 5 catches for 137 yards and a long of 60 yards. It appeared that the Jaguars focused on stopping the Oklahoma State running game, which still combined for 164 yards rushing, but had no individual rusher break 50 yards. Even so, Oklahoma State rushers still scored 4 touchdowns. Despite turnovers and rushing difficulties, the Cowboys outgained the Broncos 617-214 in total offense. The Cowboy defense combined for 11 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and an interception as well.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15 @ 2:30 p.m.
Location: T. Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
Television: ESPN
Line: Oklahoma State -3
All-Time Record: No Previous Matchups
Overview & Breakdown: Boise State appears to be ready to roll and many in the country are beginning to think they are the real deal this season. The Broncos tooled up early against Troy, only allowing 20 points and working through some ball protection difficulties. They absolutely dominated UConn, a Group of 5 opponent who is obviously no Oklahoma State, but this level of domination over an FBS opponent can’t be ignored. The Broncos show a propensity to grab turnovers, with 5 in their first two games. This could come into play if Cornelius continues to show a tendency to throw picks (3 in the first two games).
Oklahoma State does look to have their offense rolling, but I’m hesitant to call it a juggernaut at this point. The potential offensive shootout of this game makes for a fun and compelling possibility. However, Oklahoma State has shown difficulty in getting the ground game rolling and they are undoubtedly facing the best team on their schedule to date. This will certainly be the week we learn what the Cowboys are capable of and I expect to see their defense get exposed by a prolific and balanced Boise State offense.
Biggest Question: Can Oklahoma State get the ground game going and limit turnovers? If a team is going to key in on the Cowboy rushing game Taylor Cornelius has to step up and simply cannot throw interceptions. The Cowboys are currently tied for 97th in the country in interceptions thrown and the Broncos are tied for 38th in interceptions. Additionally, the Broncos have found their way to the quarterback and are 28th in sacks (averaging 3 per game) while the Cowboys are tied for 99th in sacks allowed (also averaging 3 per game).
My Pick: I think the Broncos defense could be the difference-maker in this game. Oklahoma State hasn’t protected the quarterback well and Taylor Cornelius hasn’t protected the ball well. I’d expect an offensive show, but see Boise State winning due to Oklahoma State turnovers and difficulty keeping the offense balanced. So take that Vegas!

Houston @ Texas Tech

                               

Last Week: The Houston Cougars (2-0, 0-0) demolished Kevin Sumlin’s Arizona Wildcats 45-18 and shut down any whispers of discontent that sprang up after struggling at Rice. The Cougars won that one 45-27 but were only leading 31-27 heading into the fourth quarter. Houston quarterback D’Eriq King went 17/34 for 246 yards and four touchdowns. Houston combined for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns on 40 carries, with three rushers over 60 yards. The Houston defense combined for 96 total tackles (69 of them solo), 1 sack, 7 tackles for loss, 7 quarterback hurries, and Garrett Davis snagged two interceptions. Ed Oliver accounted for 4 of the team’s quarterback hurries on the day.
Texas Tech (1-1, 0-0) absolutely destroyed the Lamar Cardinals 77-0 (as they should have), claiming their first shutout since 2006 and their most points scored since 2005. Every Red Raider fan is fully aware that we can’t take too much from this win, but we can take some things from the total domination that Tech doled out and I laid some of those things out in this week’s Weekly Awards. Ultimately, it was good to see the Red Raiders do what they were supposed to do against a bad FCS opponent. The team played well together, quarterback Alan Bowman was much sharper and more comfortable, the defense was relentless and opportunistic, and the coaching staff and players seemed determined to play all 60 minutes with no letup.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15 @ 3:00 p.m.
Location: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Television: FOX
Line: Texas Tech -1.5
All-Time Record: UH 18-1-12 TTU
Overview & Breakdown: Houston isn’t as good as they’re getting credit for, there’s my hot take for the week. Much of Houston’s credibility is coming from this Arizona win, but Kevin Sumlin’s latest project is their own special brand of disaster so I’m not putting much stock in that. The fighting Sumlinses forced 6 Cougar punts on the day. I know, Khalil Tate is supposed to be great, so if anything, I’d say Sumlin is wasting him and losing because of it. Ed Oliver gets a lot of coverage, and rightly so, his numbers are impressive and he is a difference-maker. But the story with Houston isn’t their ability to stop anyone, it’s the ability to stop them. Their offensive production against bad teams hasn’t been terrible, but it’s not great, and it’s certainly not up to par with a Texas Tech team that’s firing on all cylinders.
The Red Raiders have a real chance to win this game if they keep on the trajectory they started on with Lamar. This is about discipline, mental toughness, and accountability. Texas Tech simply has to get down to business, and it falls to coaches and team leaders to keep this team focused and moving in the right direction this week. Texas Tech has the offensive line to contain the Houston front four and minimize Oliver’s impact, which we saw last season in Houston as well. Bowman has shown poise under pressure and is gaining confidence in the ability of his receivers to bail him out and to make a play for balls as well. If the Texas Tech defense can put together the performance they should be capable of this contest could never be in question. Linebackers and the defensive line will need to get pressure on the quarterback and limit the run game, everyone needs to limit big plays and play good assignment football.
Biggest Question: Can the Red Raider defense put together the game Tech needs to win? David Gibbs has his chance here to prove his defense is capable of making the differences Tech needs to win. It’s not the first game of the season, they just utterly dominated a lesser opponent, now is the time to show up and play like champions.
My Pick: I think Texas Tech takes it, I’m letting the hope monster grab me. I think Tech will respond to the home crowd and play with fire and pride and dominate the Cougars. This game will prove that the way they played against Ole Miss is going to be an outlier, not the norm.

UTSA @ Kansas State

                               

Last Week: UTSA (0-2, 0-0) dropped their week 2 game to the Baylor Bears in Waco 37-20. The Roadrunners managed only 255 yards on the day and threw an interception as well. UTSA did hold the Bears to three field goals and recorded 9 tackles for loss in the contest. The Roadrunners opened the season with a loss at what is turning out to be a salty Arizona State team under new head coach Herm Edwards. The Roadrunner defense allowed 503 yards to Arizona State followed by 494 by Baylor.
Kansas State (1-1, 0-0) dropped game two of the season at home to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 31-10. The Wildcats only managed 213 yards from scrimmage and allowed Mississippi State to churn out 384 yards and 2 touchdowns on 39 carries on the ground. Kansas State just can’t get much going this season, almost dropping game one to the South Dakota Coyotes and now looking almost hapless against an SEC opponent.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15 @ 3:00 p.m.
Location: Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, KS
Television: Fox Sports KC
Line: Kansas State -21.5
All-Time Record: UTSA 0-0-1 KSU
Overview & Breakdown: UTSA is just really bad at football. They have combined for 100 yards rushing on the season, 2 yards in game one, 98 yards in game two. Now there’s a little more to unpack there. B.J. Daniels only had 9 carries for 24 yards and 1 touchdown against ASU, but he did churn out 90 yards and 1 touchdown on 16 carries against the Bears (that’s 5.6 yards per carry). His numbers were negated though by a -30 rush attributed to quarterback Cordale Grundy. UTSA will absolutely need to find a way to get the ground game going opening up the passing game for Grundy if they want to have a shot against the Wildcats. I can’t imagine a situation where they do much to surprise us in this game.
Kansas State has a real opportunity here to get things back on track. UTSA is not a quality opponent, but sometimes you just need to get the monkey off your back and UTSA provides that opportunity. The Wildcats should be able to stop the Roadrunners on the ground and their defense should have the opportunity to force some turnovers as well. Kansas State has struggled offensively and again, here is an opportunity to take advantage of a porous defense, put up some yardage, and gain some confidence.
Biggest Question: Can Kansas State right the ship? Bill Snyder is a legend and he’s highly respected, but this team has not been good and as Snyder said after the near-loss to South Dakota, he just doesn’t have this team ready to play. The Wildcats need a positive football game to regain some confidence, and it’d be a bonus to see their special teams dominate again.
My Pick: I think Kansas State will win this game, but I don’t have confidence they’ll cover.

#4 Ohio State vs. #15 TCU

                               

Last Week: Ohio State (2-0, 1-0) demolished Big 10 foe Rutgers 52-3 The Buckeyes went 30/33 passing for 354 yards and another 225 yards rushing on 40 carries. Ohio State held Rutgers to a 134 yards of total offense. Rutgers quarterbacks were picked off twice and their special teams netted 13 return yards on six kicks. Ohio State’s backup quarterback Tate Martell, seen on Netflix’s QB1: Beyond the Lights, was a perfect 10/10 for 121 yards and a touchdown, he chipped in another rushing touchdown and led the Buckeyes in rushing with 95 yards.
 TCU (2-0, 0-0) was not sharp in the Battle for the Iron Skillet against cross-town rival SMU Friday night. They beat the Mustangs 42-12 but Shawn Robinson posted a pedestrian 16/29 for 154 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Robinson also ran for 67 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries. The Horned Frogs combined for 239 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns as a team with three players over 50 yards, including Robinson. TCU could not hold onto the football fumbling 5 times in the contest but only giving up 1 of those to the Mustangs. KeVontae Turpin also chipped in a touchdown on a 78-yard punt return. The Horned Frogs came out off-kilter from the start going down 9-0 early giving up a 51-yard run for a touchdown followed by a safety. The Frogs scored 14 points per quarter after getting blanked in the first. Their defense stepped up producing 4 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 3 quarterback hurries.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15 @ 7:00 p.m.
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Television: ABC
Line: TCU +12.5
All-Time Record: Ohio State 4-1-1 TCU
Overview & Breakdown: Ohio State has been dominant this season over FBS opponents Oregon State (77-31) and Rutgers (52-3). The Buckeyes are 2nd in the nation in total offense and 7th in tackles for loss allowed. I’d say that can be attributed in large part to some excellent offensive line play, and strong skill position players in the backfield. Between Dwayne Haskins and J.K. Dobbins alone, the Buckeyes could chip in 450+ yards of offense without batting an eye, if they decide to mix in Tate Martell and his legs they could get even more dangerous and stretch the field further. Haskins is also top three in the country in completion percentage. The Buckeyes’ defense has not been tested to the extent TCU could test them, however, TCU will need to bring their best game to do so.
TCU has not seen quite the success over quality opponents that Ohio State has demonstrated, they’ve had inconsistent quarterback play from Shawn Robinson and struggled with a far inferior SMU team. In my opinion, these kinds of troubles stem from immaturity and mental weakness. A focused and mentally tough team doesn’t let themselves fall into the trap of underestimation or underperformance. This is a prime time game at Jerry World, and College Gameday will be on hand (although on the TCU campus) to further increase the level of expectation and grandstanding. TCU has shown some defensive prowess, they are 1st in the country in red zone defense and 6th in overall defense, but it’s only fair to question those numbers based on their competition thus far.
Biggest Question: Which offense will show up? In week one against Southern University the Horned Frogs looked like world-beaters, and even considering the FCS opponent, Shawn Robinson looked to be the lockdown starter without question. After the SMU game doubt is creeping in as to his long-term ability to run the offense effectively. Robinson will need to have a great game for TCU to hope to hang around. 
My Pick: 
I think Ohio State is going to run away with this one, I don’t see TCU having the defense to consistently stop the Buckeye assault or the consistent offensive play to keep up with it.

#22 USC @ Texas

                               

Last Week: USC (1-1, 0-1) dropped its game last week to Pac 12 opponent Stanford. The Trojans gained 114 yards on the ground on 37 carries and outpassed the Cardinal going 17/36 for 215 yards. USC couldn’t translate that yardage into points though, tossing 2 interceptions on the day and losing a fumble as well. The USC defense only allowed 342 yards of total offense and forced 8 punts on the day, but that wasn’t enough to overcome three turnovers and an offense that never found the end zone.
 Texas (1-1, 0-0) The Longhorns snuck by the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 28-21 in Austin last week. Sam Ehlinger constructed a 13-play fourth quarter scoring drive completing seven passes in a row and running for two first downs to win the game for the Evil Empire. Texas outgained Tulsa 478-353 yards in total offense. Sam Ehlinger was 21/27 for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns. Amazingly, Ehlinger didn’t throw a game-ending interception, but he did cough up a fumble. Ehlinger has turned the ball over in 7 of his last 10 games. An additional wrinkle there, Ehlinger fumbled twice against Oklahoma last year but didn’t actually turn it over. Way to keep the streak alive kid.
Date & Time: Saturday, September 15 @ 7:00 p.m.
Location: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field, Austin, TX
Television: FOX
Line: Texas -3
All-Time Record: USC 5-0-1 UT
Overview & Breakdown: USC is not what they used to be, and I’m kind of sad about it. I mean, we have a rematch of the 2006 Rose Bowl here, arguably one of the greatest national championship games in college football history, layed between two of the most storied programs in college football history, and no one cares. I know, they’re on national tv, they’re in primetime, but do you care? These teams are a combined 2-2 and struggling to do much of anything against mediocre opponents. USC is coming to play Texas in Austin and it’s not even the best game in the state. My how times have changed.
Texas picked off the Golden Hurricane twice in this game but somehow only recorded 47 total tackles. I know you’re thinking “they just forced a lot of punts,” nope, only three. Texas special teams were exceptionally bad, D’Shawn Jamison had one punt return for -6 yards and punter Ryan Bujcevski averaged 36.5 yards a punt on 4 punts, that’s good enough to place Texas at 109th in the nation this season. The Texas “faithful” have turned on Tom Herman, live reports were that before halftime he tried pumping up the student section and paid seats personally –  and they ignored him. Other reports from those at the game are that the PA announcer began reminding fans not to throw things on the field in the third quarter. Texas ranks at 100th or below in the nation in 11 categories, ELEVEN. They are worse than 50th in 25 additional categories, yeah, TWENTY FIVE.
Biggest Question: Is Tom Herman on the hot seat? He lost to Maryland for the second year in a row, this time with Maryland seemingly poised to be a total mess. Then he only beat Tulsa by one late touchdown in the home opener. In the words of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, “you simply have to win these games convincingly.” Even if you put wins and losses aside, this team is not good.
My Pick: USC is 112th in rushing defense, so Texas has the opportunity to make some things happen on the ground. Texas bad punting is outdone by USC’s, ranked 112th in the country, so short fields for everybody! My gut tells me to go with the home team, but I’m not, I’m picking USC in this one.

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