Chasing Tom Herman Football

FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2018, file photo, Texas head coach Tom Herman works the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas, in Lawrence, Kan. Herman and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron like the colors they’ll be wearing Saturday night when No. 6 Tigers meet No. 9 Texas in one of the top non-conference matchups of the 2019 season. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Texas and Texas A&M don't play anymore. The best their fans can do is compare resumes since the split, gloating about their team's successes and basking in the failures of their rival.

There has been more basking than gloating.

This weekend, the Aggies and Longhorns play in college football's biggest games. No. 12 Texas A&M visits No. 1 Clemson and No. 9 Texas hosts No. 6 Louisiana State. It's a prime opportunity for fans of the estranged rivals (who are so over each other!) to assess which program is winning the breakup.

Since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference, leaving the Big 12 and Longhorns behind, they are 60-31, peaking in Year 1 with Heisman winner Johnny Manziel leading A&M to an 11-2 season that included a victory at Alabama, a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma and a final ranking of No. 5.

The Aggies have not broken nine wins since, but optimism is high in coach Jimbo Fisher's second season.

That's an OK run, but compared to Texas, it has been high times in College Station.

The Longhorns are 50-40, with three losing seasons since Texas A&M left. Last year's 10-4 breakthrough season under coach Tom Herman was the high point, including a Sugar Bowl victory against Georgia and a final ranking of No. 9.

Advantage, Aggies. Both programs seem to be trending in the right direction, but Saturday's games will be measuring sticks – in part against each other.

The picks:

FRIDAY

Marshall (plus 10½) at No. 24 Boise State: Excluding a couple losses to independent Brigham Young, the Broncos have not lost a regular-season nonconference game to a team outside a Power Five conference since 1999 ... BOISE STATE 35-21, BEST BET.

SATURDAY

No. 12 Texas A&M (plus 17) at No. 1 Clemson: When they played last year in College Station, QB Trevor Lawrence did not start for Clemson and WR Justyn Ross hardly played ... CLEMSON 42-21.

New Mexico State (plus 54½) at No. 2 Alabama: Fifty-four and a half!?! ... ALABAMA 56-7.

Cincinnati (plus 16) at No. 5 Ohio State: Bearcats coach Luke Fickell, a longtime Buckeye as player and coach, returns to Columbus ... OHIO STATE 31-14.

No. 6 Louisiana State (minus 5½) at No. 9 Texas: Longhorns coach Tom Herman's teams are 13-2-1 against the spread as an underdog since 2015; more importantly, Herman's teams have won 10 games (five with Texas and five with Houston) as an underdog ... LOUISIANA STATE 24-17.

Army (plus 23) at No. 7 Michigan: Cadets and Wolverines have not played since 1962, the last of nine meetings from 1945-62; Army won the first five and Michigan the last four ... MICHIGAN 38-14.

Tulane (plus 18) at No. 10 Auburn: The Green Wave is not quite a walkover for the Tigers after an emotional victory ... AUBURN 41-17.

Northern Illinois (plus 21½) at No. 13 Utah: The Huskies averaged 2.6 yards on 35 rushes last week against Illinois State. Good luck moving the Utes ... UTAH 31-6.

California (plus 14) at No. 14 Washington: The Bears upset the Huskies in a defensive struggle last year ... WASHINGTON 27-10.

Buffalo (plus 29½) at No. 15 Penn State: The Nittany Lions probably won't go for 79 against the Bulls ... PENN STATE 48-17.

Nevada (plus 23½) at No. 16 Oregon: The Wolf Pack will be greeted by an angry flock of Ducks ... OREGON 45-20.

Central Michigan (plus 35) at No. 17 Wisconsin: Could be another stat stuffer for Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor ... WISCONSIN 45-7.

No. 18 Central Florida (minus 10) at Florida Atlantic: The Knights have scored at least 30 points in 27 straight games ... CENTRAL FLORIDA 38-24.

Western Michigan (plus 16½) at No. 19 Michigan State: The Spartans will need to muster a little more offense against a WMU team that can move the ball ... MICHIGAN STATE 34-20.

Rutgers (plus 19) at No. 20 Iowa: With Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter at QB, Scarlet Knights have potential for a competent offense ... IOWA 42-17.

No. 21 Syracuse (plus 2) at Maryland: This has looked like it could be a tricky spot for the Orange and odds makers obviously agree ... SYRACUSE 28-27.

No. 23 Stanford (plus 1) at Southern California: Possible battle of backup quarterbacks in the annual early Pac-12 tone-setter for Cardinal and Trojans ... SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 23-20.

No. 25 Nebraska (minus 3½) at Colorado: Tommie Frazier and Kordell Stewart aren't walking through that tunnel, but the former Big 8 and Big 12 rivals played a thriller last year in Lincoln. Maybe they can repeat it in Boulder ... COLORADO 31-28.

TWITTER REQUESTS

Brigham Young (plus 3½) at Tennessee — @BrandonOCook: No way the Volunteers play that poorly again ... TENNESSEE 24-16.

Miami (minus 4½) at North Carolina — @JeffMiles9: Turnover chain vs. Dancing Mack ... MIAMI 28-20.

Minnesota (minus 3) at Fresno State — @JEMicklos: The Gophers handed the Bulldogs one of only two losses last season ... MINNESOTA 24-23.

Arkansas (plus 6½) at Mississippi — @ARKgolfguy3: It's early, but this could decide last in the SEC West ... ARKANSAS 21-17, UPSET SPECIAL.

North Texas (plus 3½) at Southern Methodist — @markwnorris: Points. Lots of points ... SOUTHERN METHODIST 42-35.

Season: 21-4 straight; 10-14 against the spread.

Upset specials: 0-1 (straight up).

Best bets: 0-1 (against the spread).

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