Outside The Swamp, Week 8

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Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) advances the ball for extra yardage during the game against the Mississippi Rebels. (Spruce Derden–US PRESSWIRE)

I honestly cannot get enough of this college football season: each week, a huge favorite loses. And the next week, there’s another great slate of games. Of course, the biggest is once again the game in the Swamp pitting No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 2 Florida. However, there are other great games to watch this weekend. Here are a few.

6-LSU v. 18-Texas A&M (12:00pm, ESPN)

Texas A&M is looking to make its mark in just its first SEC season. Quarterback Johnny Manziel just keeps getting better with each week. Manziel, and the high-powered Aggie offense, is hoping to score the upset against LSU and put them in position to control their own destiny in the SEC West. In its four of five victories, A&M has scored at least 48 points. But the points will not come easy against a stout Tiger defense; however, the ability is there. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the game begins at 11 a.m., something that could even the odds out more than the 12th man.

LSU is coming off a stellar win against previously undefeated South Carolina. Last week was the first time that the Tigers looked like the improved offense that we’ve been promised since the offseason. One thing that LSU has to make sure is to not look ahead; after this week’s game, the Tigers have a bye, and then the big match-up against Alabama. This game is a defining moment in the SEC West season.

17-Texas Tech v. 23-TCU (3:30pm, ABC)

I’m looking forward to this game because it will be interesting to see the rebirth of a rivalry. These two teams haven’t played since the Southwest Conference disbanded after the 1995 season. I’m also excited to see which Texas Tech shows up for this game. Is it the one who was blown out by Oklahoma two weeks ago, or the one who completely dismantled West Virginia last week? I believe it all depends on the rhythm quarterback Seth Doege gets into.

TCU also must keep a close eye on the play of its quarterback. Original starter Casey Pachall decided to leave the team and enter rehab after his arrest for drinking and driving. His replacement is Trevone Boykin, who struggled against Iowa State on short notice, but after a full week of practice, led the Horned Frogs to a victory over Baylor. If Boykin can keep the turnovers down, there is a serious chance for a TCU win.

4-Kansas State v. 13-West Virginia (7:00pm, FOX)

Last week, I was so excited for this game. It was going to be two top-ten teams battling it out for supremacy in the Big 12. Well, after the blowout loss that West Virginia suffered last week, this game lost some of its luster. However, there is something that still excites me; it is the contrasting styles of the two teams.

While both teams utilize the spread, it’s the way they use it that differs. The Mountaineers like to sling the ball around the field with their excellent wide receivers. Kansas State, on the other hand, likes to use Collin Klein as a run-first quarterback. Klein is the type of gritty player you just love to watch. None of KSU’s games look real pretty, but the results are there. Coach Bill Snyder is hoping that the results continue to show up. If the Wildcats can put the same game plan into action that the Red Raiders did, then they have a very good chance to leave Morgantown undefeated.

Parlay of the Week

I posted another week of mediocrity with a posting of a .500 record. My overall record is 14-13-1 now. I was devastated with the Kansas State outcome, down by .5 points. The point was moot when WVU got absolutely trounced. I am hoping for another winner this week (especially since I lost in online blackjack).

1. Stanford (-3) at California
2. Louisville (-6) vs. South Florida
3. Texas Tech at TCU – Over (55)
4. Colorado (+40.5) at USC

Swampland >> The ‘Ol Ball Coach is back in The Swamp