Take it to the Bank: Pre-Thanksving Games

Guess I misread the situation in the KU-Texas game last weekend. Yes, I correctly took UT minus 13 points. But I anticipated that the bogus calls would come late in the game if the Jayhawks were in position to pull the upset.

But Nooooooooo. . . The Big 12 refs couldn’t wait longer than UT’s third play from scrimmage to step in and salvage a Longhorn drive that was otherwise 3 and out. The free first down led to seven points.

Not that it was necessary. KU would have been hard pressed to win this game even had Kerry Meier and Jake Sharp been at full strength. Still, another bogus pass interference call kept alive a third quarter drive and squelched the Jayhawks’ last hope of crawling back into the game. And KU was not good enough, as Tech had been two weeks earlier, to overcome a UT T.D. aided by the officials picking up a flag for a block in the back, and an imaginary offensive pass interference call (why does that ring a bell?) that kept UT in the game (within 6 points rather than 10) in the fourth quarter—allowing the Horns to take the lead before Tech’s Mario Chalmers moment.

Speaking of Tech, the Red Raiders headline the games of Week 13:

1. Texas Tech +7 at Oklahoma

Everything favors OU in this game: They have the revenge factor. A 23 game home winning streak, the longest in the country. They have lost but two home games in the Bob Stoops era. They are “at home” as well in big game situations. Another big game to the Sooners is like—well—another big game to the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech has never been in a game of this magnitude in its history. Yes, the same was true three weeks ago when the Red Raiders played UT in a battle of unbeatens, but (a) that game was at Home, and (b) this week’s game is further along the pressure path that leads to posterity. A win Saturday, and a berth on the Pretend National Championship Game is Tech’s to lose—or should I say give away. Wins over Baylor and Mizzou, both games in which Tech will be heavily favored, and Tech goes from having never played in a BCS Bowl game to playing Florida or Alabama for all the Pretend Marbles college football has to offer.

How can Tech not choke? How can they stay within one score of mighty Oklahoma?

They not only can, they will. They are the better team. If they have early success, they will roll the Sooners. If they fall behind early, they will continue playing, and once they start scoring, they will keep scoring against OU’s vulnerable defense. Think KU vs. Mizzou last year. Mizzou loosened up first, but when the Hawks started to score, they weren’t stopped, they simply ran out of time. Tech might not be able to pull it out on the Road. OU might lose by 14 or more or win by less than 7. Either way, the point spread winner is:


2. Iowa St +10 at k-state

How in the world is k-state going to beat anyone by 10?

On the other hand, how in the world is Iowa St going to stay within 10 of anyone?

Quite the conundrum.

The Prince formerly known as Coach goes out in style. Kind of.


3. Illinois -3 at Northwestern

Which raises the question: What is Northwestern Northwest of? Or was it named after San Antonio attorney North West?

What I do know is that neither team is bad. Neither team is good. Just the sort of opponent KU would be happy to see in the Insight Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

I’ll take the Home Dog.


4. B.C. +2 at Wake Forest

Illinois at Northwestern: ACC Version. Except for the Home team being favored.


5. Michigan +21 at Ohio St

Here’s the deal, Michigan. Take the 2 mil or so you owe West Virginia for stealing their coach and place it on the Buckeyes giving the points.

Voila. Problem solved.


6. Michigan St +14 at Penn St

Penn St is one play from being one game from playing on January 8. They will win this game. But, damn, 14 is a lot of points against a good team.


7. Iowa -5.5 at Minnesota

The Gophers are another tempting Home Dog. I’ll bite.


8. Tennessee +3 at Vanderbilt

The Volunteers are one of only two college football programs that have never lost eight games in one season. They are 3-7.

And then there was one.

Ohio St if you’re wondering.


9. Arkansas -1 Mississippi St

Don’t look now, but at 4-6, the Razorbacks still have a shot at going bowling. If they win out.


10. Ole Miss +4 at LSU

Don’t let LSU’s pathetic effort vs. Troy fool you.

The Bayou Bengals REALly are kind of pathetic.

In fact, if I think on this game too much, I might not take:


11. Syracuse +19.5 at Notre Dame

Vegas is dead on with this spread. Twenty points is too many for Notre Dame to give even a team as bad as Syracuse. Likewise, nineteen is too few.

Notre Dame covers on a last minute touchdown. Jesus!


12. Washington -7 at Washington St

Washington St has not come within seven points of a Division 1 team all season. Then again, Washington has not beaten anyone by 7. Or by 1.

Has there been a worse matchup since Idaho at Utah St?


13. Oregon St +2.5 at Arizona

The Beavers move one step closer to the Rose Bowl.


14. Boise St -6 at Nevada

Boise stakes its claim for a BCS berth.


15. BYU +7 at Utah

The Blood Bath in the Beehive State. The Utes relegate Boise St to a minor bowl with a win over Brigham Young. This is a straight toss-up, likely to be decided on the final possession. No matter who wins, a full seven point margin is unlikely.