You’re likely going to be one of two people tomorrow, Cyclone Nation.
On one hand, you could be the kind of person who knows when certain death is imminent. The Baylor Bears are in town for an encore, and they intend to replicate all 71 points they scored against Iowa State a year ago, this time on our turf. It’s not going to go well, guys, plain and simple.
So, you could be the kind of person who wishes to be fully and completely immersed in college football for all eight hours and 20 minutes before they kick off in Ames – anything to take your mind off the impending doom. Alas, as always, this upcoming slate of games I’ve outlined would be for you.
On the other hand, you could also be the kind of person who knows when certain death is imminent, however, you begin drinking at sunrise and blackout before Kansas and Texas get under way at 3:10. These people are few and far between (I’m probably wrong about this), but they do exist, and I get it.
If you classify yourself here, the following games are still worth filing away in the ol’ memory bank – or whatever’s left of it tomorrow afternoon.
Godspeed and good luck, Cyclones. In the meantime, some Week 5 gems to tune in for…
Big 12 Game of the Week
Kansas vs. Texas | Saturday, 3:10 p.m. | FS1
The 41.5 over/under here is depressing and terrible but probably correct. Your retinas are not going to enjoy being fixed on these two offenses for over three hours, but this game is your best Big 12 option before ISU-Baylor gets underway.
There are over a hundred teams nationally better at throwing the football than both Kansas and Texas, so expect most of the yardage to come on the ground. Truthfully, Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown have failed miserably to meet expectations in the Longhorns backfield so far this season, but Duke ran roughshod over these Jayhawks two weeks ago to the tune of 331 yards. If there were ever an opportunity for Gray and Brown to get right, it’s in Lawrence.
KU also has a couple backfield studs in Corey Avery and De’Andre Mann, averaging 4.6 and 6.1 yards per carry, respectfully. They should be a chore for Texas to handle because, let’s face it, the BYU game happened – we know the Horns’ front seven are vulnerable.
This should be 60 minutes of ground and pound, and dual-threat Tyrone Swoopes should be the difference for Texas in that regard.
Texas: 27 | Kansas: 17
A Good One
(22) Ohio State vs. Cincinnati | Saturday, 5:00 p.m. | BTN
Cincinnati hasn’t really given anyone much reason to believe they can hang with Ohio State for an entire contest, but the numbers might tell a different story. Take performances against Toledo and Miami (OH) with a giant cube of salt, but Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel has been phenomenal in Tommy Tuberville’s offense. At 354 yards per game and a 10-2 TD-to-INT ratio, Kiel is annihilating opposing secondaries (he threw for six TDs in his debut).
Ohio State is on a mission since being shocked at home by Virginia Tech, and they came back with a vengeance last week, hanging 66 on Kent State in a shutout. J.T. Barrett has supplanted Braxton Miller about how Buckeye fans could’ve expected, and his talents were on full display a week ago (again, Kent State, grain of salt).
But the Bearcats aren’t doing a lot to stop opponents through the air thus far (which is just two games, by the way), so Barrett and sophomore WR Michael Thomas should be able to get what they want. That being said – and it may be more of a reflection of the weaker competition – Cincy has tallied 13 sacks through those two games. The Buckeyes’ offensive front will need to be alert.
Ohio State: 35 | Cincinnati: 27
A Better One
(18) USC vs. Oregon State | Saturday, 9:30 p.m. | ESPN
USC and Oregon State have alternated wins and losses since 2004, but the Beavers haven’t won in L.A. in 54 years (further, they’ve never won consecutive games in the rivalry). Sticking with the alternating wins, history says OSU’s year to do it; and if there were ever a time to pounce, it would be after the Trojans’ 37-31 embarrassment at Boston College last week.
Cody Kessler is still incredibly sharp, however, and Justin Wilcox’s defense held its own against fairly worthy opponents in Fresno State and Stanford prior to their visit to Boston (where they gave up 37). Offensively for Oregon State, Sean Mannion isn’t missing a single beat this season without Brandin Cooks, and that’s saying something considering Cooks may have been one of the most ridiculous offensive players we see come through the Pac-12 for quite awhile.
The momentum favors the Beavers, but I’m a sucker for the whole “we haven’t lost to these guys here since John F. Kennedy was President” thing.
USC: 31 | Oregon State: 24
The Best One
(13) South Carolina vs. Missouri | Saturday, 6:00 p.m. | ESPN
You never really know what you’re getting with South Carolina this season. Will it be the team that gave up 52 to Texas A&M in its season opener, or the one that knocked off No. 6 Georgia? The team that let East Carolina hang around for three quarters or the one that hung 48 on Vanderbilt on its first road trip?
One thing bodes well for the Ol’ Ball Coach, though, and that’s the fact that his Gamecocks have a 3-1 record to show for that front-loaded schedule. Mizzou also enters 3-1 but fell to Indiana on their home turf last week. Matty Mauk should have a field day with South Carolina’s defense, but that’s not saying much. At 36 ppg allowed through four contests, they come in at 109th nationally in that category and that will win you zero games in the SEC, especially against high-caliber offenses.
Fortunately for Spurrier & Co., Missouri doesn’t really have one of those. Feast your eyes on Mauk’s favorite target Bud Sasser, however; Sasser grabbed 12 balls for 153 yards in last week’s loss, giving him 24 on the season to go along with four TDs.
South Carolina: 34 | Missouri: 28
A Few Upsets I Like
Washington (+8) vs. (16) Stanford | Saturday, 3:15 p.m. | FOX
Washington: 29 | Stanford: 27
Kentucky (-17) vs. Vanderbilt | Saturday, 11:00 a.m. | SECN
Vanderbilt: 27 | Kentucky: 22
San Jose State (+5) vs. Nevada | Saturday, 9:30 p.m. | CBSSN
San Jose State: 30 | Nevada: 26