Okie State beat Texas and now Charlie Strong is contacting realtors. Tennessee out Hail Maryed Georgia. Michigan outslugged Wisconsin in an old fashioned B10 brawl. And Alabama had its way with the Cats.
Would I have traded them all for a Louisville Cardinal victory in Death Valley?
Four out of five for the weekend raises me to 17-8 on the year. Nice comeback, if I do say so myself, after starting 2-3, opening weekend remaining as my only negative bundle of picks for the season.
The season’s getting serious. A number of interesting matchups.
This week’s picks.
Tennessee @ Texas A&M. Last week I commiserated with the Badgers, who were dealt an evil hand by the Big Ten schedule makers. Michigan State. Michigan. Ohio State. Iowa. Nebraska. In succession. This weekend off is nice, but hardly solace. Meanwhile the schedule making counterparts in the SEC have dealt the Vols a similar hand. Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Alabama without a rest week. So far so good for Butch Jones’s 5-0 Rocky Toppers, a team that has turned last second heroics into a fine art. App State in OT. A second half anschluss to upend Florida. And last week’s coup de grace, an at the horn Hail Mary to beat a last seconds Hail Mary between the hedges. The Texas Aggies meanwhile are one of the year’s surprising successes, after a couple mediocre 8-5 seasons and team turmoil. Ws over UCLA and Arkansas add a bit of gloss to the 5-0 record. A&M also plays Bama next, but get a week off beforehand after this week’s Kyle Field battle. The Vols appear to have been born under a good sign this season. Can they keep it up on the road in their first regular season game with the Aggies? If they play 60 minutes. I don’t think they will. The Kevin Sumlin rejuvenation continues.
Maryland @ Penn State. The Terrapins are one of those contingents that remain generally an afterthought during pigskin season. 7-6, 7-6 and 3-9 the last three campaigns. But new coach DJ Durkin seems to have breathed a little life into the program in College Park. 4-0, though against a somewhat less than compelling schedule. 50-7 over Purdue does not legitimacy assure. So this visit to Not So Happy Valley will be a better gauge. Not that the James Franklin Era can be confused with JoPa’s. On the field or in the locker room showers. 17-14. At a time when fan bases and school administrators are giving a shorter and shorter leash to their coaches, Franklin’s feeling a noose being place around his neck. This is a big one for both schools. Coming off a nice W over previously undefeated Minnesota, I think the home team takes it. Durkin’s still got a lot of work to do. And, frankly, so too Franklin, if he gets the chance.
Texas vs. Oklahoma. Charlie Strong is toast. To quote, Hawk Harrelson, “He gone.” Like any number of other former Louisville coaches, he failed to see the big picture, that coaching the Cards is as good a gig as all but a couple of other places in the land. Including Austin where expectations are unrealistically high. What Texas failed to realize when they hired Strong is that he’s good at getting players. And he can coach ’em up . . . a bit. But he’s not much of a strategist or game planner or in game adjuster. Texas’s loss is, to be blunt, U of L’s gain. Bummer Sooner has had a most disappointing 2-2 start, though they showed they were game last week, winning at TCU. A surprise W in the Red River Rivalry last year saved Strong’s job, despite his second losing season in a row. It shall not happen again. Texas loses. Strong is sayonara.
Washington @ Oregon. Meet the Washington Huskies, who have supplanted U of L as the Flavor of the Month. Thrashing Stanford with everyone watching on Friday night has UDub on everyone’s lips. (Takes the spotlight’s glare off the Cardinals: A good thing.) This week we find out if they’re ready for prime time. The Ducks, who, despite glossy records, have not been as good since Chip Kelly left, but still have Washington’s number. It’s been years since the latter has prevailed. It took innovative Chris Petersen awhile to kickstart matters in Seattle. But, when they get a hum going, he and his team are not to be underestimated. Methinks UDub is for real, which they’ll prove again this week.
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky. The Commodores and the Wildcats are both playing to their norm. Which is the paradigm of mediocrity. They each sit 2-3. They each have hopes of grabbing enough Ws for bowl eligibility. Neither, frankly, appears up to the task. But the winner of this one Saturday in Commonwealth will at least have some hope. The loser shall be SOL. It’s hard to break this one down, so middling are the squads. Which is how these also rans always come into this game. Despite that relative parity, Vandy’s won four of the last five. The tables turn on Saturday, Cats get second SEC W of the year.
— Seedy K