Battle in Lubbock highlights Big 12, Pac-10 story lines


Well, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong.

In week two, I predicted Florida State to pound an Oklahoma team that barely beat Utah State in week one. As it turned out, Oklahoma was the one giving the beating and, in case you were wondering, the Seminole Kool-Aid was delicious, thank you.

This week, there are significantly fewer high-profile games, but don’t confuse quantity with quality. There are some great matchups on hand and it’ll be interesting to see how some of these play out.

No. 6 Texas at Texas Tech (8:00 ET)

THE LINE: Texas -3.5

THE PLOT: The last time the Longhorns went to Lubbock, the Red Raiders threw their way to a thrilling 39-33 upset. This time around, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty on both sides as to how this game will play out. Tech is breaking in a new coaching staff and has yet to face a major test. Texas will be starting its third running back (Fozzy Whittaker) in as many weeks.

Mack Brown and staff insist they’ve been keeping the offensive play-calling vanilla. We have another phrase for it: identity issues. However, Tech’s secondary showed some weaknesses against SMU’s pass-happy run-and-shoot offense.

THE PICK: This one’s difficult. Texas has a better defense and is loaded with talent, but Lubbock at night can be a thorn in anyone’s side. Texas pulls this one out late.

THE SCORE: Texas 27, Texas Tech 24


No. 8 Nebraska at Washington (3:30 ET)

THE LINE: Nebraska -3

THE PLOT: Nebraska is ranked in the AP Top 10, but this game could honestly go either way. Jake Locker is great, but he will need his supporting cast to step up against a good Husker defense. Heading into 2010, Nebraska’s offense was a big question mark, but with the emergence of Taylor Martinez (Nebraska’s own ‘shoelace’), this offense has suddenly become more dynamic.

With that said, Washington is a tough road environment and I think Steve Sarkisian’s team comes pumped.

THE PICK:  It’s a tight, low-scoring and potentially sloppy game, but Washington pulls the upset.

THE SCORE: Washington 16, Nebraska 14


No. 9 Iowa at No. 24 Arizona (10:30 ET)

THE LINE: Iowa -1.5

THE PLOT: There are lofty expectations for both schools, but let’s be honest, neither of them have proved anything in the first two weeks. It seems like every year is “The year Arizona makes a push in the Pac-10 for the Rose Bowl.” But every six months later the Wildcats come one or two games shy of making it to The Granddaddy of Them All. For coach Mike Stoops, it’s time for his team to start proving it on the field. 

Iowa appears to be in contention to win a Big Ten title, but they’ll need a solid road victory to further push their campaign. They also need to win in such a way that doesn’t induce heart attacks on the elderly, a la the last minute of every game.

THE PICK: Iowa is too much as Arizona shows, yet again, they can’t win the big games when it counts.

THE SCORE: Iowa 28, Arizona 20

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press

As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.