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Texas has lost two already, faces pesky Kansas State

Mack Brown

Mack Brown

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Updated: September 15, 2013 9:12PM



The national college football media converged on College Station, Texas, last week to witness an Alabama-Texas A&M instant classic. Many of them wound up delaying their trips home.

Texas (1-2) lost again Saturday night, at home to Ole Miss. That made Austin the place to be on Monday, when Longhorns coach Mack Brown will hold his weekly news conference from the hot seat.

Might as well call it the feeding frenzy it is.

Texas hosts 2-1 Kansas State this Saturday (7 p.m., Ch. 7) — a national TV game against a rival that has beaten the Longhorns in five consecutive meetings. What’s Brown telling his players?

“If we win the Big 12 championship, we’ll be excited,” he said. “That’s all we’ve got left.”

That sounds like a lot of pressure to be putting on them.

“They’re lucky they’ve got a conference, they’re lucky they can start over and they’re playing a really good team next week that we haven’t played well against.”

As pep talks go, not exactly Rockne-esque.

Weeknight warriors

There are two games before Saturday that’ll help paint the postseason picture in the last season under the current BCS system. The first, No. 3 Clemson at North Carolina State (Thursday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN), is sneaky-good. Raleigh has been unkind to the ACC’s top programs; Florida State or Clemson has lost there three years running. The Tigers and Wolfpack are 2-0 and coming off a bye.

With one loss already, Boise State (2-1) can forget about reaching one last BCS game. But when the Broncos visit Fresno State (Friday, 8 p.m., ESPN), we’ll still be looking at 2013’s best shot at a BCS-buster. If the Bulldogs (2-0) topple their longtime nemesis, they could coast through the Mountain West schedule unbeaten.

Holy moly

Listen up, Alabama and Auburn. You, too, Michigan and Ohio State. There is no rivalry in college football that has an ounce of passion — or bad blood — over Utah and BYU. If anyone doesn’t believe that, please tune into Utes at Cougars (9:15 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2). For crying out loud, they call this series the Holy War. Merely the best rivalry name ever.

No pressure, Sparty

If Week 3 was an opportunity for the Big Ten to strut its stuff, then Week 4 is a chance to save some face. It all falls on Michigan State in its game at Notre Dame (2:30 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 5).

Nebraska embarrassed itself against UCLA. Michigan barely survived Akron, making the Big Ten look really bad in the process. Many are complaining about Wisconsin being robbed by the refs at Arizona State, but shouldn’t Rose Bowl regulars like the Badgers be able to put away a traditional Pac-12 afterthought without any drama?

There’s only one league team with a game America cares about this week, and it’s the 3-0 Spartans. They can’t throw the ball to save their lives, but the Irish (2-1) can’t run it a lick. Should be hard-hitting and low-scoring, just the way Sparty likes it.

Hanging in there

Too bad Illinois couldn’t upset Washington and get to 3-0, but it doesn’t mean the season is about to turn south. The Illini will work out some more kinks during this first bye week of the season, move to 3-1 with a victory over Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 28 and go from there with reason to believe they can be competitive in a conference that continues to stagnate.

It might not add up to a lot of W’s, but you can bet the Illini aren’t feeling like doormats these days. A fire has been lit under Tim Beckman’s players, and that’s promising.

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SLGreenberg



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