Since the days of Agamemnon – the Trojans always lose
1. More ‘Cutty’ Sark?
He is who we thought he was! At least some of us thought that. Others thought that he would be more Pete than Lane. They never listened when the handful of us told USC fan, this guy is not your answer to returned-glory. The Trojans lost again, at home, and to Sark’s former program that now employs Chris Petersen. Of the two coaches, who would USC fan rather have now?
The game started in the twilight (omen?) with a sparse crowd that watched a double-digit underdog upset USC 17-12. The Huskies of U-Dub looked enthusiastic and the USC offense never just ran the DAMN ball. Does Steve drink on the sidelines? How does Tre Madden average 7.1 ypc and Ronald Jones II averages 8.1 ypc, but you only give them the ball 25 times? Reads like a repeat of the game against Texas in the Rose Bowl a few years ago when he was the O.C.
SoCal fan had a lot of Hot Takes after the game and they are correct – he is doing turrable, (said ina Charles Barkley voice) with all this perceived talent. We have seen all we need to see of ‘Cutty’ Sark – from his sophmorish behavior at a pep rally, to choosing to throw the ball on second and third downs – to then settle for a 45yd FG on 4th down, to trying to get the crowd fired up on the sideline – that’s what those nice girls in the white sweaters are for! Sark will not make it at USC and the program will sink to pre-Pete levels. Although, I bet Terry Saban wouldn’t mind living in Palm Springs – it beats Tuscaloosa!
2. You Better You Bet
In year’s past, all we would hear about this week, is OU v. Texas, or Miami v. FSU – but right now I’d hedge that more people are interested in Northwestern-Michigan, and Utah-California – at least I am, along with a few other games that are slated this Saturday – all times EASTERN. So Let’s Get It On!
- (10) Oklahoma v. Texas (@Dallas) noon ABC – OU -17.5
- There is no reason for Texas to keep this close. Oklahoma is a legitimate Big 12 contender. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is averaging 10.2 yards per attempt, proving to be an effective fit for Lincoln Riley’s system, but also a dangerous improviser. Beyond struggles against Tulsa’s Baylor-influenced offense, Oklahoma’s defense has been excellent too. Simply put, the Sooners are a much better, more complete team than the Longhorns. Texas’ offense is a mess, its defense ranks 110th in yards per play and the team is suffering social media meltdowns.
- Oklahoma 41 – Texas 14—94.85%
- Maryland @ (1) Ohio St – noon Big (not)10 Network – OSU -33
- Ohio State may put an end to the Randy Edsall era. On Thursday, 247Sports reported that Maryland is planning to fire Edsall, perhaps after the Terrapins inevitably lose to the Buckeyes. They have a bye week next, so the timing would make sense if they’re planning to cut him loose during the season. Maryland has been awful thus far, getting off to a 2-3 start with a blowout home loss to Bowling Green, and a total of six points scored the last two weeks in embarrassments at the hands of West Virginia and Michigan.
- Maryland 7 – Ohio St 39—93.3%
- Illinois @ (22) Iowa – noon ESPN2 – Iowa -11
- Raise your hand if you had these teams a combined 9-1 at this stage in the season. The Fighting Illini will likely fall off a bit, but Iowa might be the best bet in the Big Ten West right now. The Hawkeyes won 10-6 on the road vs. Wisconsin last week, and they play Maryland and Indiana in their two cross-division games. They won that game despite the fact that quarterback C.J. Beathard, who was sharp in September, completed just 9 of 21 passes for 77 yards. The Hawkeyes are doing what the best Kirk Ferentz teams have done.
- Illinois 16.45 – Iowa 27.55—73.9%
- No. 3 Baylor at Kansas – noon, FS1 – Kansas +44
- Last week, Baylor scored seven first-half touchdowns in a 63-35 win over Texas Tech. The 63 total points merely matched the Bears’ season average. Kansas, meanwhile, is well on its way to losing every game this season. It can reasonably be assumed that Baylor can name its point total in this one. It’s a 44-point favorite on the road in a conference game, and in the last three matchups Baylor has won by a total score of 160-42. Unless Baylor shows up completely uninterested, this will get out of hand in a hurry.
- Baylor 54.1 – Kansas 16.3—97.05%
- Indiana at Penn State – Noon, ESPN – PSU -6.5
- The Hoosiers, who have never won in Happy Valley, and the Nittany Lions are a combined 8-2, but their wins have come against Southern Illinois, FIU, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Buffalo, Rutgers, San Diego State and Army. There hasn’t been a whole lot proved here, with Indiana coming close to an upset of Ohio State and Penn State’s offense, despite the presence of touted quarterback Christian Hackenberg, seeming to rely solely on the health of stud freshman tailback Saquon Barkley, who averages nearly nine yards per carry despite playing behind a suspect O-line.
- Indiana 20.35 – PennSt 30.3—73.15%
- No. 13 Northwestern at No. 18 Michigan – 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network – Michigan -7.5
- Last year, Michigan beat Northwestern in the infamous M00N game. It took more than 38 minutes for either team to score. They each turned the ball over three times. And Northwestern out-gained Michigan 264 to 256. There was a lot of bad offense, between two mediocre teams. This year … well, the result could be very similar, even if both teams have now played their way into the top 20. That’s because both defenses have been excellent.
- Northwestern 13.15 – Michigan 20.9—67.25%
- Georgia Tech at No. 6 Clemson – 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2 – Clemson -7
- This would seem to be the perfect opportunity for Clemson to fall victim to a trap or hangover or whatever you want to call it. The Tigers just vaulted into the playoff frontrunner discussion by holding off Notre Dame for a key win at home. Now, they welcome in Georgia Tech and its option offense. This was supposed to be one of the biggest games of the ACC season, but Georgia Tech has faltered, losing to Notre Dame, Duke and North Carolina for a puzzling three-game losing streak.
- GaTech 16.95 – Clemson 32.05—82.35%
- No. 19 Georgia at Tennessee – 3:30 p.m., CBS – Tennessee +3
- The same thing could be said about last week’s Tennessee-Arkansas game: Both of these teams desperately need a win here. Georgia needs to rebound from its embarrassment at the hands of Alabama. Tennessee, after losing yet another close game to Arkansas, has to finally win a big game. The Vols, expected to be SEC East contenders, are sitting at 2-3, and now both teams are staring up at Florida in the division. Tennessee has had a chance to win every game, while Georgia simply failed to show-up against Alabama last week.
- Georgia 28.15 – Tennessee 26.05—61.95%
- South Carolina at No. 7 LSU – 3:30 p.m., ESPN – LSU -15
- This game was supposed to be played at South Carolina, but the devastating flooding there has forced a move to Baton Rouge. LSU is admirably doing everything it can to make South Carolina feel at home, with all the revenue going to South Carolina.
- SCAR 18.25 – LSU 38.6—87.95%
- Navy at No. 15 Notre Dame – 3:30 p.m., NBC – Notre Dame -14.5
- Notre Dame has to respond to a heartbreaking road loss at Clemson by stopping another option team. The Fighting Irish did it against Georgia Tech three weeks ago, and now they’ll take a shot at containing Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who is four touchdowns away from tying Montee Ball’s FBS career rushing touchdowns record. Last year, Reynolds didn’t run for a touchdown against the Irish, but Navy still pushed them in a 49-39 Notre Dame win.
- Navy 24.1 – Notre Dame 36.95—76.65%
- Wisconsin at Nebraska – 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2 – Nebraska -1
- So much for this being the Big Ten West game of the year. Wisconsin can’t run without Corey Clement. Nebraska can’t stop its run of agonizing losses. What Wisconsin can do, however, is play suffocating defense. Linebacker Joe Schobert leads the nation with nine sacks, and only Alabama has moved the ball on the Badgers at all. If their defense can frustrate the inconsistent Tommy Armstrong and force Nebraska to make mistakes, the Badgers might be able to do enough to win a key game on the road and stay near the top of the division race.
- Wisconsin 24.3 – Nebraska 24.8—57%
- Minnesota at Purdue – 3:30 p.m., ESPNU – Purdue +3
- Minnesota, expected by many to be a Big Ten West contender this season, has not been impressive. Its highlight thus far was holding TCU to 23 points in the opener. Since then, the Golden Gophers have beat Ohio, Kent State and Colorado State by three points each, and they’ve been blown out 27-0 by Northwestern.
- Minnesota 26.75 – Purdue 19.8—66.05%
- Miami at No. 12 Florida State – 8 p.m., ABC – FSU -9
- Miami has become known for getting up for the Florida State game, before losing and having its season spiral out of control. Al Golden has yet to beat the rival Seminoles, and his tenure in Coral Gables appears to be careening toward its end. The Hurricanes didn’t bother to wait for the FSU game to start losing; they looked disinterested in a 34-23 loss at Cincinnati last Thursday. Florida State hasn’t exactly been impressive this season either — it won 24-16 at Wake Forest last week.
- Miami 17.6 – FSU 35.7—86.95%
- No. 2 TCU at Kansas State – 7:30 p.m., Fox – KState +9.5
- Last week, Kansas State nearly beat Oklahoma State on the road despite playing most of the game with fifth-string quarterback Kody Cook, primarily a wide receiver, taking snaps because of injuries. Now, it appears that Joe Hubener is ready to return — he passed concussion tests — meaning the former walk-on should be starting at quarterback. (Cook is dealing with a shoulder injury now.) Based on all of the above, this is truly a Bill Snyder team.
- TCU 29.85 – KState 28.9—52.65%
- Arkansas at No. 8 Alabama – 7 p.m., ESPN – Alabama -17
- The best bet for beating Alabama is challenging the Crimson Tide on the perimeter with tempo. This is not what Arkansas does best. The Arkansas offensive line may be big and powerful, but it’s not enough to overwhelm the Crimson Tide. And given that Jake Coker played well against Georgia and Arkansas’ defense has taken a step back from last year, this should be an opportunity for Alabama to earn another decisive win before a huge trip to Texas A&M next week.
- Arkansas 15.1 – Alabama 39.8—93.2%
- No. 11 Florida at Missouri – 7:30 p.m., SEC Network – Missouri +6
- Nobody in Florida wants to ever speak of last year’s Missouri-Florida game ever again, but we’re going to have to quickly do so now. Missouri won 42-13, despite the fact that quarterback Maty Mauk went 6 of 18 for 20 yards and led the team with 38 rushing yards. Missouri won by 29 points despite the fact that it had 119 total yards. It did so because it returned a punt, kickoff, interception and fumble for touchdowns. There were many miserable losses for Florida in the Will Muschamp era, but this was one of the most miserable losses by anybody ever.
- FU 28.4 – Mizzou 15.8—78.95%
- No. 21 Oklahoma State at West Virginia – 7 p.m., ESPN2 – West Virginia -7
- Oklahoma State is off to a 5-0 start, and it visits a West Virginia team that has just lost to Oklahoma by 20 and lost its best player, safety Karl Joseph, to a season-ending knee injury. Maybe this is a good opportunity for a conference road win for the Cowboys. But then again, not all 5-0 records are made equally.
- OkSt 22.35 – WV 30.05—76.8%
- No. 4 Michigan State at Rutgers – 8 p.m., Big Ten Network – Rutgers +14.5
- We have reached the third and final game of the Kyle Flood suspension, and Rutgers may have star receiver Leonte Carroo back after he was reinstated this week. Maybe it will matter, because the Spartans have hardly been impressive this season, even with their win over Oregon (which has since been diminished a bit). Last week, Michigan State nearly choked away a home game against Purdue, winning just 24-21.
- MichiganSt 40.6 – Rutgers 15.85—92.45%
- Washington State at Oregon – 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks – Oregon -17
- With Vernon Adams still dealing with his broken finger, Oregon used both Jeff Lockie and Taylor Allie in last week’s win over Colorado. The Ducks were far from perfect, but they at least bounced back from the Utah debacle with a road win over the Buffaloes. They racked up 361 yards on the ground, with Royce Freeman and Taj Griffin both breaking 100 yards, and it’s likely that we’ll see a similar strategy at home against Washington State.
- Wazzu 21.75 – Oregon 41.35—87.45%
- No. 23 California at No. 5 Utah – 10 p.m., ESPN – Utah -7.5
- These two are the only undefeated teams left in the Pac-12. California has the nation’s top NFL draft quarterback prospect in Jared Goff. Utah owns wins over Michigan and Oregon and has gotten improved play out of quarterback Travis Wilson, on top of its stellar defense. The Utes are unbeaten despite the fact that their defense ranks 75th in yards per play and star tailback Devontae Booker is averaging just 4.2 yards per carry, so they still have some things to prove, no matter how impressive their demolition of Oregon was, especially on the road.
- Cal 20.2 – Utah 37.15—83.35%
- CU at Arizona State – 10 p.m., Pac-12 Networks – ASU -15
- After a tough September featuring a loss to Texas A&M and a blowout home loss to USC, Arizona State finally snapped out of its funk last week, upsetting UCLA on the road. Now, it returns home to face a sandwich game against the Buffaloes, before big games against Utah and Oregon. Arizona State is not above disappointing losses — last year, it lost at Oregon State a week after blowing out Notre Dame — but the Sun Devils should hopefully use the UCLA win as a springboard. This offense still lacks explosiveness, but Arizona State should be able to effectively utilize its running backs and short passing game to sustain drives against a beatable Colorado defense.
- CU 13.15 – ASU 39.7—93.2%