Last weekend was Miami’s fall break and I was fortunate to travel to Austin and visit the University of Texas for the weekend. Like I did last year for my trip to Florida State, I’ve put together a categorized recap. Each category is ranked from one to five stars, with five being the best rating possible.
There’s nothing else you can say about Austin—it’s simply the coolest city in the country. That’s not saying it’s necessarily the best city in America because that’s a very subjective thing to be. But Austin is incredible. The Tex Mex and barbecue are to die for and the bars on 6th Street where all of the UT students go out on Thursdays and weekends are some of the best college bars in the nation (with college-friendly pricing too). The weather is fantastic outside of some hot summer months and it doesn’t have the oppressive humidity that comes with warm weather like Miami does. Simply put, there is no better college city in the nation. While it’s not exactly your prototypical college town, you’d be hard pressed to find a better location for a university than Austin. 5 stars
The architecutre is very nice and the facilities are unbelivable. There’s certainly a lot of money in Texas and it’s plain to see from the plethora of glimmering academic buildings. One downside is that there are so many students at UT that the vast majority of freshmen live in dorms that aren’t actually on the campus. However, with classic collegiate architecture, top-line facilities and UT’s iconic clock tower, this campus certainly won’t leave anyone unsatisfied. 4 stars
There’s something about these Southern schools and the people that attend them that is so incredibly charming. Maybe I’ve grown too accustomed to the Miami student body, but everyone was just so incredibly nice. Wherever you went on campus, you could expect friendly smiles and conversation. (While I heard plenty of “y’all”s, I was disappointed to learn that no one actually says, “Howdy.”) The one caveat to some of you—although certainly not for me—was that this student body does land pretty far to the right on the political spectrum. Fans of Obama (which is pretty much a swear word in Texas) need not apply, although Austin is considerably more liberal than the rest of the state. Overall, I had a fantastically pleasant experience with everyone I met and feel very thankful to have spent even a weekend with these folks. 5 stars
Darrell K Royal is huge and gorgeous, but it’s a down year for the Longhorns and they played Iowa State last weekend. As you might expect, this put a damper on things crowd-wise. There were a fair amount of empty seats and while the place did rock for big plays, the atmosphere was fairly pedestrian. It definitely gets extra points for the iconic burnt orange crowd and Top 5 fight song in college football, “Texas Fight”. I would say three stars, but I’ll bump it up to four considering the context of this game. In better years and against a more relevant opponent, DKR would definitely be a great place to take in a game. 4 stars
Good luck finding a better college experience than the University of Texas. From outstanding academics, to the awesome urban environment of Austin, to great sports and sports atmosphere (I didn’t even mention that the Longhorns are ranked in the preseason Top 10 for hoops this year), this place has it all. This school definitely garners the “When can I transfer” invocation. 5 stars
Getting back into the swing of things, in games we picked last week:
- Kansas State (+8) went to Norman and won the game outright.
- Alabama (-11.5) OH MY GOD ALL THE BLOOD MAKE IT STOP.
- TCU (-9) OH MY GOD ALMOST AS MUCH BLOOD MAKE IT STOP.
- Nebraska (-7) actually trailed Northwestern at the half but dominated late.
- Notre Dame (+11.5) lost in one of the most hilarious ways I’ve ever seen. As much as I hate FSU, I had a good chuckle.
Here are this week’s standings. After a brutal week for me, the #wiretowire dream is dead. Bob’s comeback hopes, on the other hand, are very much alive.
And the splits:
|We All Agree
Here’s the peanut gallery. Like I mentioned last week, I cut those with fewer than 20 picks and ranked by winning percentage. Next week you’ll need 25 total picks to remain in the table.
This week, Northwestern has a bye and Miami plays tonight so we’re going to do four national games for the second straight week. Groundbreaking stuff. There were only two games between nationally ranked opponents, so I threw in a bonus Big Ten rivalry game and a bonus ACC Coastal game, because who doesn’t need a little more ACC Coastal batshit craziness in their lives? As usual, all lines come from Pinnacle and game times are eastern.
Minnesota (-6.5) at Illinois, Noon, ESPNU
More lame duck at this point: Tim Beckman or Obama?
Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh (-3), 3:30, ESPNU
For those of you who are uninitiated, welcome to ACC Coastal madness. Please consume in small quantities for your well-being. If you watch the ACC Coastal for a time period lasting longer than four hours, consult your doctor immediately.
Michigan at #8 Michigan State (-17), 3:30, ABC
More lame duck at this point: Brady Hoke or Obama?
#3 Ole Miss (-3.5) at #24 LSU, 7:15, ESPN
Not to spoil my pick, but I involuntarily audibly said, “Wait, what?!?!?!” to myself alone in the library and got a lot of looks for it when I saw that Ole Miss was just a 3.5-point favorite. Also, LSU is back in the Top 25? I’m having PTSD flashbacks to Fresno State being ranked for all of last season.
#20 USC at #19 Utah (PK), 10, FS1
Utah is ranked 19th?!?!? On to the picks.
Bob: I have a brutal academic week, so please excuse my abbreviated analysis. I’ll keep it short and sweet. Yeah, Minnesota barely beat Purdue last week, but Illinois lost handily to Purdue. Minnesota has been a solid team all year, and I am surprised to see this line so low against a struggling Fighting Illini squad that faces a tough quarterback situation. Minnesota -6.5
Matt: THE BLOOD (I think they can probably keep it within two touchdowns, but nah.) Minnesota -6.5
Harry: Aaron Bailey, with the charred, tattered remains of his burned redshirt flapping against his body in the stiff Champaign breeze, will lead the the down-but-not-out Fighting Illini to…a 10-point loss. Minnesota -6.5
Bob: Georgia Tech somehow has the #1 rated F/+ offense but just the 98th-best defense. Advanced stats generally like these two teams about equally, and the ACC Coastal has been a mess this year. I’m just going to go with recent history and take the Yellow Jackets and their top offense. Georgia Tech +3
Matt: I have similar reasoning to Bob here. Both teams are pretty equally average. I’m thinking Pitt can run the ball all over Georgia Tech and pull out a win here. Pittsburgh -3
Harry: A competent defense combined with an offense that’s playing Georgia Tech and home field leads me to go with the Panthers, but it’s the ACC Coastal so who the hell knows. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Virginia swooped in and won this game. Pittsburgh -3
Bob: I still really like Michigan State, and though I believe in Michigan’s talent more than most people do, this line is too low. I’m not really sure how Michigan plans on scoring. A remotely close game would be surprising. Michigan State -17
Matt: The most enticing part of this game is whether or not Michigan will be able to exceed ten points. Michigan State -17
Harry: Matt says the enticing part of the game is whether Michigan will exceed ten points. I wonder if they’re even going to be able to score more than one time off some fluke MSU turnover or something. Michigan State -17
Bob: Ole Miss has consistently been far better than LSU this season. Although it is tough to play in Death Valley, especially at night, I like the better team to win here and cover the low spread, just as the Rebels did in College Station a couple weeks ago. Ole Miss -3.5
Matt: Finally, I believe in Ole Miss. I’m sold. They’re going to win this game by three scores. Ole Miss -3.5
Harry: Again, this line is unbelievable. I’m completely terrified that Vegas knows something I don’t, but I’m going to go with logic. Ole Miss -3.5
Bob: Both these teams have actually been very good. If we look at results over the course of the year, I’ll comfortably take the hot Cody Kessler over the lauded Utah pass rush. USC
Matt: Utah because they’re at home! Utah
Harry: I have no idea, so I’m just going to pick USC so Arnim doesn’t eat me. USC