Formerly embattled Texas coach Charlie Strong has his Longhorns on a mini-roll right now as UT visits a pretty bad Iowa State team in Big 12 action on Saturday night. Texas is -6.5 on Bookmaker's college football odds with a total of 53 points.
Rhoads' Moves Likely Too Late To Save Him
Iowa State (2-5, 1-3) is going to miss out on a bowl game again, but the Cyclones may have affected the national championship race in last week's 45-27 loss at No. 2 Baylor. That's because Bears star QB Seth Russell suffered an injury in the game and will miss the rest of the season. It was ISU's third straight conference loss and it has allowed at least 45 points in each of those.
It's highly likely that Iowa State will soon join Southern Cal, South Carolina, Maryland and Miami (Fla.) with a head coaching opening as Paul Rhoads probably isn't back next year. Rhoads tried to shake things up after the Baylor loss. He fired offensive coordinator Mark Mangino, the former Kansas head coach. Rhoads simply said that the two "couldn't get on the same page on a few important items." Passing game coordinator takes over the play-calling. Interestingly, Mangino's son Tommy remains on staff as the receivers coach.
Rhoads also announced that Joel Lanning would replaced Sam Richardson as the team's starting quarterback. Lanning, a 6-foot-2, 232-pound redshirt sophomore, has been a local fan favorite in Ames ever since his high school playing days when he guided Ankeny to a 2012 state title. He redshirted in 2013 and played one game on special teams last year. He has gotten a fair amount of playing time off the bench this season, completing 19-for-29 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns. He has rushed 24 times for 69 yards and one score. Richardson, a senior captain, has completed 127-for-210 for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. His 45 career TD passes are second in school history.
The Cyclones are 3-3-1 against the spread on college football odds this season and 1-5-1 'over/under.'
UT 3 Wins For Bowl Eligibility
I think the Horns' Strong would have been in some trouble if his team missed a bowl game this year but now UT (3-4, 2-2) has a pretty good chance of getting to one. It should win this game, should beat visiting Kansas on Nov. 7 and has winnable games at West Virginia on Nov. 24 and vs. Texas Tech on Nov. 26. Winning at Baylor to close the regular season is unlikely.
Texas shocked No. 10 Oklahoma 24-17 in Dallas on Oct. 10 and then took its bye week. Instead of a possible letdown game, UT beat visiting Kansas State 23-9 this past Saturday on a very rainy day. The Horns rushed for 274 yards. Johnathan Gray had a season-high 103 rushing yards and No. 2 quarterback Tyrone Swoopes came off the bench in running situations and scored three touchdowns and added 50 yards on seven carries. Starting QB Jerrod Heard was 10-for-15 for 99 yards and rushed 15 times for 61 yards. The win improved Texas to 9-1 all-time under Strong when scoring first.
UT defensive tackle Paul Boyette gave ISU some bulletin-board material this week, saying: "We know Iowa State is not a very good team." He's not wrong. There were also some distractions around Strong this week with rumors he might be interested in the open Miami (Fla.) job, but Strong laughed those off. No way he leaves Texas for that gig.
Texas beat visiting Iowa State 48-45 last season, the most points that UT scored all year. Nick Rose hit a 21-yard field goal with three seconds left. ISU had tied it on an E.J. Bibbs 11-yard touchdown pass from Richardson with only 28 seconds left. Texas quarterback Swoopes, then the starter, threw two long passes to Jaxon Shipley and John Harris to set up Rose's winning kick. Swoopes threw for 321 yards, a touchdown and a pick while rushing 14 times for 95 yard and a touchdown. Richardson put it in the air 55 times and completed 36 for three touchdowns and two interceptions. The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense and five turnovers. Texas is 11-1 all-time vs. ISU. The Longhorns' lone loss to the Cyclones came in 2010 when Iowa State won 28-21.
College Football Picks: Give the points and go 'under' at Bookmaker. Texas is 4-1 ATS in its past five after a win. ISU is just 3-8-1 ATS in its past 12 overall. The 'under' is 5-0 in UT's past five road games. The 'under' is 8-0 in ISU's past eight following a loss.