Oklahoma Sooners Football: College Football TV Schedule & Gambling Picks – Week 12

After a few really good weeks, this weekend’s slate of games is a bit underwhelming. Alabama and Auburn are playing FCS cupcakes and the Oklahoma Sooners are playing Kansas. Womp womp.

There are, however, some potential upsets that could do a lot to shake up the College Football Playoff rankings. There are also some decent Big 12 games on the schedule, including interesting matchups in Morgantown and Lubbock.

Texas at West Virginia (-3.0) – Connor Williams returns from injury for Texas this week, which will be a huge boost for an offensive line that has been badly depleted all season. Texas’ running game has been atrocious because of those offensive line struggles, but the addition of a preseason All-American could turn that around this week. They’ll also be facing a West Virginia defense that has has allowed 191.1 yards per game on the ground in addition to allowing 4.7 yards per carry on the season. Having said all of this, West Virginia is at home and this line is just too low. Gambling pick: West Virginia covers. Over 53

TCU (-7.0) at Texas Tech – Okay, so TCU could potentially be without Kenny Hill this week. I think most OU fans would prefer to see the Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Championship as opposed to Okie State, so let’s hope he’s good to go. If he sits, highly-touted freshman Shawn Robinson will lead the way. Robinson is a very athletic QB who could give this offense a bit of a different look, so there’s a chance that TCU may not miss a beat this week against a mediocre Texas Tech defense. On the other side, the Frogs may also be without linebacker and leading tackler Travin Howard, linebacker Montrel Wilson and safety Nico Small. Gambling pick: I’m betting that at least some of the guys mentioned (including Hill) end up playing, so I think TCU covers. Over 57

Michigan at Wisconsin (-7.5) – Everything would just be so much simpler if Wisconsin would just lose a game. The problem is that Michigan, although 8-2, is not actually very good. As much as this one means for the College Football Playoff picture, I still don’t think I’ll pass on watching this. I’ll end up taking a nap if I watch more than five minutes. Gambling pick: Wisconsin covers. Under 39

Virginia at Miami (-19.5) – This one has all the makings of a letdown for the Miami Hurricanes. After all the energy that was on display at “The Rock” last weekend, they have to play a noon game against the Virginia Cavaliers. That team won’t get anyone pumped up, but they’re probably good enough to get a W if Miami doesn’t bring their best. Gambling pick: Miami wins, but I think Virginia beats the spread unless they turn it over a bunch (which is quite possible against Miami). Under 50.5

Kansas State at Oklahoma State (-20) – There’s now way that Kansas State can keep up with Oklahoma State on the scoreboard, but that’s a pretty big line. However, Skylar Thompson, who struggled against West Virginia last week, will likely be the guy for the Wildcats this weekend. He isn’t the runner that Alex Delton is, so I don’t envision them being able to do a whole lot offensively. Gambling pick: Oklahoma State covers and hands K-State its sixth loss. Under 65

Oklahoma (-37) at Kansas – To be perfectly honest, that line probably isn’t high enough. A second-half reprieve from facing Baker Mayfield just means that the Jayhawks will have to deal with Kyler Murray. This won’t turn out well for them. Gambling pick: Oklahoma covers and maybe sets some records. Over 70.5

UAB at Florida (-10.5) – America’s second-favorite team goes into The Swamp to face a Florida team that has an interim coach and no offense whatsoever. The conditions are in place for a hilarious upset, but will it actually happen? Gambling pick: No, it won’t happen, but I think UAB beats the spread. Under 48

Thursday TV Schedule

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Buffalo at Ball State 7:00 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
Tulsa at South Florida 7:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN.com

Friday TV Schedule

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky 8:00 PM CBSSN CBSSports.com
UNLV at New Mexico 9:30 PM ESPN2 WatchESPN.com

Saturday TV Schedule

Jimbo Fisher refuses to comment regarding coaching rumors

With multiple high-profile jobs beginning to come open across the country, it was only a matter of time before Jimbo Fisher was going to be forced to comment on the interest other programs have reportedly shown in the Florida State head coach.

Reports broke last week that Texas A&M has an interest in Fisher should the Aggies fire Kevin Sumlin after this season, which they reportedly are. This week, reports have emerged that Tennessee, which just fired Butch Jones, is also interested in Fisher. Auburn, which may be replacing head coach Gus Malzahn, would also very likely be interested in Fisher.

On Thursday, Fisher was asked about the possibility of these other jobs ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Delaware State.

On the matter, Fisher said, “I’m never going to speak about personnel. I’m never going to speak about jobs.”

When prompted again, his answer remained exactly the same.

Fisher’s non-answer is nothing new. He has been quick to dismiss the discussion of other jobs in the past.

Still, with a new coach-friendly buyout in hand, Fisher’s refusal to outright deny interest may not be instilling confidence in fans and the administration in Tallahassee.

Shawn Watson to return in 2018 as Pitt offensive coordinator

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson has been the target of many Pitt football fans this season. After the Panthers enjoyed an explosive offense in 2016 under Matt Canada, Pitt’s offense has been a work in progress this season under Watson.

But while Pitt fans might not have thought Watson has done a good job, head coach Pat Narduzzi feels differently. And according to him, Watson will be back next season.

From the Post-Gazette:

“He’s done a really good job, in my opinion. … And Shawn’s not going anywhere, so I don’t have to worry about losing him,” Narduzzi said. “In the offseason, in December, that’s something I know I don’t have to go find an offensive coordinator because he’s a loyal guy, and we’ve talked, so I think that’s gonna make it better for the future.”

I’ve basically had three main thoughts on Watson this year. In no particular order, here they are.

Personnel Matters

I know a lot of folks aren’t happy with Watson but the reality is that he’s working with a completely different offense than Canada had last season. Canada had an NFL quarterback, NFL running back, and two NFL linemen at his disposal. Pitt’s offense could eventually send some guys to the NFL but aside from Brian O’Neill on the offensive line, I don’t know how many more there are. Pitt’s offense is completely retooled this year.

It always comes down to the players. Look at a guy like Jim Chaney, for example. Chaney left here and bombed in Georgia last season. Fans were calling for his head, too, and it looked like he didn’t know what he was doing. They kept him and this year, the Bulldogs have had five 40-point games. In a four-game stretch, they hung an average of more than 45 points on Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. Looks kind of silly now to want him gone, right?

Coaches don’t simply forget how to coach. Some guys, of course, aren’t good coaches. but coaches that have had some success don’t just usually stop being a good coach. I’ve always been convinced that 90% of it is all in the players you have and my guess is that if you give Watson Pitt’s roster last year (or even a healthy Max Browne), more points would be scored. Give any coach a backup quarterback to work with and trouble follows quite a bit.

Continuity Doesn’t Always Matter

One of the things Narduzzi mentioned in that article was that continuity would be a good thing for the team. While I agree that it’s helpful, I think it’s less important in Pitt’s case. Pitt could have a third different starting quarterback to begin the season for the third year in a row next season and I’m not sure the continuity is as important when you’re replacing the primary part in the offense that often.

I do think it always helps when you can have the continuity so I’m not downplaying its value entirely. But unless a coordinator and quarterback are working together for a few years, it’s hard to know how much it matters if those positions are constantly changing as they have been. I think there could be value in it if Ben DiNucci remains the starter at quarterback next season but we all know that’s a big ‘if’ right now. At this point, I definitely wouldn’t be holding onto Watson primarily for the sake of continuity because it’s less valuable if the quarterback continues to change.

Playcalling

The playcalling under Watson has been, at times, baffling. It’s not always that way but there have certainly been times when I simply didn’t get the play call – especially if it didn’t work, obviously.

Here’s the thing, though. Tell me the last time a coordinator hasn’t been questioned. Pitt fans all herald Matt Canada as some kind of genius but take a look back at past game threads and you can see that playcalling is almost always questioned. Even against Penn State where Pitt put 42 points on the board, there were still some calls that had fans upset.

It’s the nature of the beast. No matter who the coordinator is, there are always going to be complaints about some play calls.

Overall, I’m mixed on this. I generally only think you should replace a coach if you’re ending up with a better one so I’d need to know who would be available. But do I place all of the blame for the offense on Canada? Nah. And it looks like Narduzzi isn’t, either.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill’s Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Hokies Lose Terrell Edmunds for the Remainder of the Season

247 Sports is reporting just a notch more than most things, but Terrell Edmunds has been battling a shoulder issue most of the season. He underwent shoulder surgery today, and that means he’s out until the 2018 campaign. I would doubt that he is going to be doing much except rehab by Spring practice, too.

That makes two Free Safeties that have been put out of action for the season. Lots of folks would argue that Terrell wasn’t really a Free Safety, he’s not fast enough to keep the speed receivers from getting behind him. That became evident in the Georgia Tech game. Edmunds is a better and more natural Rover/Strong Safety though he’d be a good Nickel Back in a pinch.

The Edmunds family are the absolute best, and we wish Terrell a speedy and complete recovery so that he’s healthy and ready to tear it up with Tremaine, next season.

ACC Championship game: Miami Hurricanes vs Clemson Tigers Game time, TV announced

On Tuesday afternoon, the ACC and University of Miami announced kickoff time and television coverage for this year’s ACC Championship game.

Here’s the full release on this announcement from the ACC’s official website

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – The Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN have announced that the 2017 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game between second-ranked Miami (Coastal Division) and No. 4 Clemson (Atlantic Division) will kick off on ABC in prime time at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This marks the ninth consecutive year that the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game has been held in prime time, and the fifth consecutive year the game has been televised by ABC in its coveted 8 p.m. time slot. The winner of the conference championship game has gone on to play in the National Championship Game or compete in the College Football Playoff each of the previous four seasons.

The game which will be played on December 2nd will mark the first appearance in the Conference’s Championship game for the Miami Hurricanes. They will face the Clemson Tigers, 3-time defending ACC Coastal Division champions and 2-time defending ACC Conference champions.

Before this game, however, Miami faces Virginia on Senior day (November 18) and Pittsburgh on Black Friday (November 24) to conclude the regular season. The Hurricanes, undefeated at 9-0, look to continue their nation-long 14 game win streak ahead of this clash of titans against the Clemson Tigers.

More on the ACC Championship game as it nears.

Ole Miss opens as 3-point favorites at home over Texas A&M

Ole Miss and Texas A&M will do their annual thing this Saturday at 6 p.m. CT in Oxford, and according to sports books monitored by Oddsshark, the Rebs are favored slightly at -3. The over/under currently sits at 69.5 total points, and most bettors think this game will achieve the over and that A&M will not only cover but win it outright. Those numbers are all sure to move this way or that as the week progresses.

Ole Miss currently ranks No. 51 overall in Bill C.’s advanced stats profiles enumeration, while the Aggies sit not far behind at No. 57. These teams are closely matched on paper, sure, but they practice fairly different styles of play on either side of the ball, with starkly different levels of success therein.

Now, about that over/under. Bill C. is predicting a score of 34.0-30.2, advantage Ole Miss. That seems keeping in line with Vegas and bettors’ feelings. However, Ole Miss’ defense is currently surrendering nearly 45 points per game, excluding garbage time, and there’s where bettors see the over prevailing on Saturday. A&M is scoring at a rate of 40.1 points per game — good for No. 40 in the S&P+ — while the Rebs are handing in 42.4 per outing.

Where the real difference will undoubtedly be felt is when the Rebs have the ball. The Aggies are allowing 34.4 points per game, 11 fewer than Ole Miss. That’s the wrinkle and difference maker in trying to predict the outcome here, because one essentially must ask the question: Can the Rebel offense maintain its eight-point production advantage over the Aggies’ defensive output? STAY AWAY.

How to watch:

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, Miss.
When: 6 p.m. CT
TV: ESPN2
Online streaming: WatchESPN

So, let’s take as given that this betting line is essentially a push. Ole Miss gains a three-point advantage because that’s the traditional upward betting thrust that home teams receive in college football. These posts aren’t betting guides — they are in this circumstance — so much as explainers of “Why the hell is Ole Miss favored against an SEC West opponent?” and the like.

Things will undoubtedly get interesting in a hell of a hurry on Saturday night.

Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly- “There’s No High Science Here”

Brian Kelly got in front of the media for the third time since the loss to the Miami-Florida Hurricanes, and had to answer more questions about that game than this upcoming Saturday’s game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy Midshipmen.

As much talk as there has been about Notre Dame’s running game coming out of the 41-8 loss to the Canes, it’s Notre Dame’s run defense that springs the most interesting question for me.

It was pointed out that over the past two weeks against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Hurricanes, the Irish allowed 237 and 239 yards rushing – and now they take on the best rushing attack in the country in Navy. How can the Irish improve?

Just we have to have a better attention to detail. Our fits have got to be better. We’ve got to get off blocks. We’ve got to get back to that mentality of dominating those one-on-one matchups. You’ve got to win some matchups. We had guys in position to make plays. We’ve got to simply make the plays.

Look, they ran — their first half running attack was one that we felt really comfortable that we should be more effective with. We’ve simply got to be better in our preparation and coach our guys better, go back and make sure that we’re teaching him the fundamentals so we can make the plays necessary.

So there’s no high science here. There’s nothing that can’t be prepared during practice for us to get back to playing the kind of run defense we need to play, simply stated.

High science. Last Saturday I felt like I was high and doing an odd science experiment with my emotions. *sigh*

The rest of the press conference is in the video below.

Virginia Tech football: 5 takeaways in Hokies’ loss at Georgia Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies suffered their second straight loss on Saturday with a 28-22 defeat at the hands of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Tech, already eliminated from Coastal Division contention after last week’s loss to Miami, was hoping to finish the season strong. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech and the triple option had other ideas.

Now that we’ve had a couple of days to digest this ugly loss, here are five takeaways from Virginia Tech’s loss at Georgia Tech.


Jackson regressing

Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson has started slowly in most of Tech’s games this season. Saturday was no different. It doesn’t help Jackson that most of his receiving options are also young players, too. On Saturday, Jackson didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers, including Cam Phillips.

However, Jackson has struggled at times recently. Whether it’s accuracy or not trusting his protection, Jackson’s play has gotten worse. In his press conference after the game, head coach Justin Fuente hinted at Jackson’s shortcomings without saying as much. Fuente knows what Jackson is. And he’s solid. But what’s his ceiling? Moving forward, Jackson will have his hands full holding off both Herndon Hooker and Quincy Patterson.

Let’s not write Jackson off yet, but recent offensive shortcomings have certainly created cause for concern.


About the offense

The offensive struggles are certainly not all Jackson’s fault. Not even close. This team, outside of Wyatt Teller, struggles to hold their blocks. With left tackle Yosuah Nijman out, their shortcomings are even more glaring. The Hokies can’t consistently run the football which makes Jackson’s job even harder.

As far as the running backs go, there’s no consistency. Travon McMillian is up and down. Why not give more opportunities to Jalen Holston? He carried the ball 10 times on Saturday. Give him a game full of action. It’s time to see which players are ready for larger roles next season. Holston looks like the most complete back on the roster.

As a whole, Tech’s offense finished the game with just 258 total yards. Keep in mind, Georgia Tech’s defense won’t remind anyone of Clemson or Miami’s units. Still, the Hokies could get nothing going.

A lack of playmakers on offense is a major problem. Fuente knows the limitations of this group and on Saturday tried to coach around them and be even more aggressive.


Phillips invisible

After a red-hot start to the season, Phillips has hit a funk. Sure, he’s battled an injury and is always the focus of opposing defenses. Still, the Hokies need more from Phillips. He had just two catches for eight yards and had a critical—and ugly—drop.

If the Hokies are going to win their final games and extend their winning streak over Virginia, the offense must go through Phillips and he must produce, too.


Stop with the Fuente needs to go talk

Sadly, if you hopped on social media Saturday or visited any Tech message boards, you’d see numerous “fans” calling for Fuente’s head. How ludicrous is that? The second-year coach now has a record of 17-7, with two straight losses. Fans are mad about play-calling, and I get that.

But, as mentioned earlier, Fuente realizes what he has on offense. And he knows what this group is capable of, or more importantly, what they aren’t capable of.

Fans want the backup quarterback. Fans always think the backup quarterback is better. If AJ Bush played and made mistakes, fans would be begging for Jackson. And vice versa. That happens to any fanbase.

And Fuente took a lot of uncharacteristic chances on Saturday. Why not? If they work, Tech wins, if not, the Hokies aren’t winning the ACC anyway. So why not be aggressive and go for it all?

Some Virginia Tech fans have delusions that this program is Alabama. It’s not. Do you realize how many programs would love to have Fuente? So, can we officially stop spouting this nonsense?


Defense beaten for big plays

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finished the game with 401 total yards. However, the Jackets had three plays that totaled 209 yards, two of which were scores, while the other set up a score. Outside of three plays, the Hokies gave up just 192 total yards. GT had 65 total offensive plays, 62 of those plays went for just 192 yards, while three went for 209 yards. Again, let that sink in. It wasn’t a horrible defensive performance, but it’s the same things that continue to beat this team. The Hokies struggle to stop the big plays.

Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall completed just two of eight passes for 140 yards. Both of his completions went for touchdowns. How does that happen?

Outside of one 69-yard run, VT’s defense held Georgia Tech’s running game to less than four yards per attempt. If you told me that before the game I would’ve said the Hokies win this one going away. However, it all goes back to the big plays.

As good as this defense is, a big play is seemingly always around the corner.

Oklahoma Sooners Football Recruiting: 2020 four-star ATH Drew Sanders commits to OU

The Oklahoma Sooners received their second commitment of the 2020 class on Monday evening, as four-star Colleyville (Texas) Heritage athlete Drew Sanders announced his intention to play college football at the University of Oklahoma.

What position will Sanders play at the next level? Well, that’s not exactly set in stone. If you’re going by Oklahoma’s graphic (seen above), it appears that they see him as a tight end at this point. However, the 6’5”, 210-pound playmaker is also listed as an outside linebacker or even a dual-threat QB by some services. What is obviously apparent is that he has an enormous ceiling as a football player, and his current offer list is evidence of how highly schools already think of him. As only a sophomore in high school, he already has offers from Baylor, Georgia, Oregon and TCU.

Sanders is ranked as the No. 7 overall player in the state of Texas for 2020, and he joins four-star running back Jase McClellan (No. 1 2020 recruit in Texas) as one of two members of Oklahoma’s class. With so many elite 2019 and 2020 prospects already committed, it’s obvious that Riley is taking a very proactive approach to recruiting, and I think that’s certainly an encouraging sign for the future of the program. It’s very early in the process for those guys, but this is at least a great barometer of how things have been going out there on the trail.

Mississippi State’s Performance Against Alabama Proved a Championship is Near

The postgame show continued.

Neil Price, in his first year as the radio “Voice of the Bulldogs”, reminded listeners that coach Dan Mullen would appear on the program in a matter of moments. Although he had been calling Bulldog football for just two months, Price witnessed one of the most heartbreaking games in Mississippi State history.

A game against the best team in the United States. A game against a team that State had not beaten in a decade. A game that State won for three quarters. A game in which State had a touchdown lead in the final stanza. A game that State lost in the final 30 seconds.

A 31-24 loss to Alabama.

Mullen showed up to be interviewed. He has been in plenty of these situations before, having to be asked questions about a loss that grabs hold of your heart, rips it out of you, and throws it into a garbage can.

He sounded defeated. Dejected. Desolate. It was the saddest he had ever sounded in his nine years as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

However, in his depressing tones and quips about drinking “a product made in Lynchburg, Tennessee”, there was a sense of optimism.

He elaborated on the game. He talked about the program. He reminisced to when he arrived in Starkville in December of 2008, inhering a losing program. He mentioned his desire to win a championship at Mississippi State and his dedication to winning a second one, right after winning the first. He admitted we haven’t gotten there yet, but that we were close, and he was convinced that we’ll get there.

Neil Price thanked Mullen for his time. Mullen responded with an emphatic “Hail State”.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Winning a championship at Mississippi State has always been extremely unlikely. Only twice has it happened, winning the SEC in 1941 and the SEC West in 1998. Other than those instances, State hasn’t come close or have finished within a hair.

In present day, it has been especially difficult with the presence of one of college football’s greatest dynasties, Nick Saban’s Alabama. From 2008-2016, State had averaged 7.7 points per game against the Tide, had scored in double digits only twice, and scored multiple touchdowns once, in 2014. It seemed impossible to conquer that mountain.

That is no longer the case.

Mississippi State entered Davis Wade Stadium this past Saturday with a true belief that they can take down Alabama. They battled in a heavyweight championship boxing match, throwing punches and answering every swing the Tide sent flying. State scored three offensive touchdowns for the first time since the inception of this millennium. They controlled the line of scrimmage and moved the ball at will; an occurrence that had not been witnessed in years. The Bulldog defense was able to wreak havoc on the mighty Crimson Tide. Even Nick Saban, college football’s version of the Terminator who is seemingly infuriated by any sluggish performance his team fields, was “proud as hell” of his guys.

We had them beat.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State lost on Saturday. You can blame it on bad play calling, the officials, or whatever you want. It was heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, demoralizing.

However, for the first time in a decade, the Bulldogs matched toe-to-toe with Alabama. It is the one hurdle State has to overcome in order top finally bring a championship back to Starkville.

Dan Mullen has repeatedly and painstakingly promised a championship to Mississippi State fans. It seemed impossible.

However, Saturday proved that it isn’t.