I will get to this week's games in a minute, here is MizzouRah's state of the program. I had serious flashbacks on Saturday to the year 2000. Larry Smith's 1-1 Tigers were in the process of bouncing back from a awful loss to Clemson and were playing very tough against a Michigan State team down 13-10. With about 1:55 to go and two timeouts the Tigers elected to punt on 4th and 3. The Faurot Field crowd erupted in boos, I sat there in disbelief. MSU got the ball and TJ Duckett ran for the first dwon on third down. For all intents and purposes that was the end of the Larry Smith era at MU.
(BTW I hope Coach Smith's health is improving)
Saturday the Tigers were in the midst of playing some awful football when Brad Smith got hurt. Chase Daniel came in and provided a spark and was moving the Tigers who were down 24-14 when they got stuck in a 4th and 6 from their own 41 with under 7 minutes to go and three timeouts. When our punter trotted on the field the crowd erupted in boos, this time I joined in. The D was exhausted and this seemed like we were giving up. Coach Pinkel said a fake punt had been called but he called TO and set up a play that Daniel and Chase Coffman executed perfectly. Had we punted there, it might not have been the end of the Pinkel era but it would have been a tough blow to say the least.
While Chase Daniel was fantastic and should see some PT it would be asinine to start him at any point this season. He is now in a low pressure situation and Brad Smith is still awfully good. There is no logical reason to change starters but we do need to be ready to mix things up if necessary.
On to this week's games.
Nebraska (+3) at MIZZOU (1130 FSN) - There are a lot of things I don't like about this matchup but let's be honest, both teams have had impressive and rather poor performances this year. Both teams were somewhat fortunate to beat Iowa State. Last year Nebraska had a great defensive gameplan but I really thought the MU O line was completely out of sync from the botched plane trip. This year that obviously won't occur being at home. I would prefer a 6 PM game.
Last year Nebraska was very conservative and MU finally made some terrible errors on special teams. I'd reccomend a similair approach but I think Nebraska will air it out a bit more. That could be good for an opportunistic MU defense. How much success MU has running the ball will be the key to the game. Nebraska leads the nation in rush D but hasn't played a rushing offense this good. Both teams are now playing with some confidence but honestly MU looked terrible for most of the game last week. It's tough to pick the home team this week.
But it's MizzouRah's birthday Saturday, so you've gotta believe. Also this will be the toughest road environment the Huskers have to face all year.
I'll pick the Huskers but they lose 28-27
KU (+14.5) at Colorado - KU has such a good defense one would think they can keep any game under 15. This philosophy helped me in the Texas Tech game but I see a rift forming at KU. That D has been so good and the O has been so bad this reminds me of some bad KC Chief teams I have suffered with in recent years. I'll take the Buffs to cover late.
Pick CU 27-7
Texas A&M (-3) at KSU - Lots of talk that KSU was victimized by some holding calls in Lubbock. That's a tough excuse when you lose by 39.
The 'Cats looked good for a half in Lubbock though and I think they are playing hard. I can't figure out A&M at all this year particularly on the road BUT I think they are a fair amount more talented than KSU right now. No way I'd put money on this.
A&M is the pick 31-21
Oklahoma State (+15) at Iowa State - Boy is ISU a hard luck team, I was actually pretty impresed with their running game Saturday. They were able to bounce back last year from a tough start but they play "big 10" football. That means they are VERY conservative and aren't blowing anyone out. So I'll take these points.
Pick Okie State they lose 28-17
Baylor (+14.5) at OU - Same deal here. OU just can't put up a lot of points right now. While I can't see them losing this game that's a lot of points with this offense.
Pick Baylor they lose 24-16
Texas Tech (+16) at Texas - Could this be an upset? I guess so, but i think Texas has such a good secondary this one will get ugly. If you haven't noticed betting on Texas has been quite profitable this year. I think that will continue.
Pick Texas 55-28
Other games of interest...
I like Wyoming +3 to bounce back and win at Colorado State
Michigan State -11.5 blows out Northwestern.
Georgia -18.5 runs it up on Arkansas it what has become a bad year for the Hogs.
I'll pick an early game and take Troy State -9 to cover over an FIU team that could not beat UNT and cost me some toothpicks!
Good luck to your (non Husker!) team!