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Bohls, Golden: If Texas loses in Ames, should Steve Sarkisian make some staff changes?

American-Statesman columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden weigh in on 10 topics of interest from this week's college football slate of games:

1. Do you give Texas any shot at beating Iowa State?

Bohls: Sure. By most metrics, Texas remains a solid team, but far from really good, obviously. But the Longhorns had better get off to a fast start or they might get buried in Ames. Breaking Bijan Robinson free and containing Breece Hall, who has topped 100 yards in five of his last six games, are the keys. Says here a better and more motivated Iowa State wins 38-21.

Golden: Of course. This is the same team that has led three ranked teams by at least 10 points in the second half and the same team that was up 28-7 over Oklahoma. That said, I just don’t have faith in them anymore. To expect them to go into Ames and win seems a bit remote given how things have played out. I’ll take Iowa State 38-31.

Texas is 4-4 in Steve Sarkisian's first season as the Longhorns' head coach, including three straight losses to ranked teams Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor heading into Saturday's game at Iowa State.

Bohls: If Casey Thompson struggles, Hudson Card should get a look

Golden: Texas' troubles shouldn't all be placed at Casey Thompson's feet

2. If Texas loses, should Steve Sarkisian make staff changes?

Bohls: He should at least consider the idea if he’s not happy with the results from this first disastrous season, suddenly including off-the-field drama. You can’t start out 4-1 with a three-game win streak and be ranked in the top 15 in the nation only to collapse without considering everything and anything to get better. Pete Kwiatkowski sure hasn’t gotten it done as defensive coordinator. Maybe it’s a lack of talent on the roster. Or maybe Sarkisian should consider hiring Gary Patterson (won’t happen) or Will Muschamp (possible) to run the defense. Wide receivers coach Andre Coleman might not be safe either.

Golden: I’m not against shaking things up to light a fire in the locker room and coaching offices, but eight games seems a bit early to send in the Turk. With that said, Kwiatkowski obviously needs to step up his game, and special teams coordinator Jeff Banks has to clean up some things on and off the field.

Michigan State defensive tackle Jalen Hunt celebrates after a play during last week's win over Michigan. If the season ended today, the Spartans would make the College Football Playoff field.

3. Did the College Football Playoff selection committee get its first standings right?

Bohls: Not even close. Putting unbeaten Cincinnati at No. 6 and undefeated and surging Oklahoma at No. 8 is insulting. I do applaud them for putting Oregon ahead of much improved Ohio State by virtue of the Ducks’ head-to-head win. Alabama, at No. 2, gets far too much credit. Sure, it’s beaten three ranked teams, but Ole Miss is sliding and Florida might have hit rock bottom, and the Tide did lose to then-unranked, two-loss Texas A&M. The Bearcats and Sooners both deserve much higher ratings.

Golden: Are Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State and Oregon the four best teams in the country? I would say no. The Ducks beat Ohio State, but I think the Buckeyes are better right now. It’s a good start with the understanding that Alabama and Georgia will have to play each other in the SEC title game. 

4. Pick a Top 25 upset.

Bohls: May be a tough sell, but I’ll take Purdue to knock off No. 3 Michigan State. The Boilermakers’ defense has 10 takeaways in the past three games and allows just 17 points a game. Purdue is 55th against the run and faces a huge challenge there, but I’ll go with Jeff Brohm’s bunch to muddle the Big Ten race.

Golden: If feels like a chalky sort of week, but give me Boise State pulling off the upset at No. 23 Fresno State.

Bohls: Got questions about Texas football? We've got answers

5. Who are your top three Heisman candidates?

Bohls: Kenneth Walker III might be running away with the award if he keeps up his pace. He leads the nation with 1,194 yards rushing — one of only three backs to top 1,000 already — and has 14 touchdowns. But I’d put OU phenom Caleb Williams second because he has totally recharged the Sooners with 14 touchdown passes and only one pick and also has run for four more scores. Heck, he’s playing so well, Lincoln Riley might even let him do an interview before he flies to New York. I’d put Pitt’s overlooked quarterback, Kenny Pickett, at No. 3 because he has thrown 26 touchdowns against three picks and is completing a hair under 70% of his throws.

Golden: I’ll take Walker — who was terrific against Michigan — followed by Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Running back Kenneth Walker III has been a major reason for Michigan State's big season. He leads the country with 1,194 rushing yards and could end up in New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

6. Will Texas A&M's rebound season continue against Auburn?

Bohls: I’ll say yes. The Aggies seem to have found themselves and play much better at home. They topped 280 yards rushing in each of their last two games, and their defense allows 16 points a game. Bryan Harsin’s Tigers are rolling right now, but Jimbo Fisher has his team playing confident and will eke out a win.

Golden: It’s the most intriguing matchup of the weekend, and yes, I think the Aggies will do enough to hold off the Tigers. I love Isaiah Spiller running for 125 yards and a touchdown in an A&M win.

7. Will Oklahoma run the table?

Bohls: Of course. It’s Oklahoma. The Sooners are a different animal with Williams at the helm. Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State do represent a formidable challenge, but the Sooners still rule the Big 12 until it's proved otherwise.

Golden: Texas was the Big 12’s best shot to knock off the big dog. The Sooners play three ranked teams to close it out — at Baylor, Iowa State at home and at Oklahoma State — but there's this sense that they got away with something wonderful. They will run the table and beat Iowa State in the Big 12 title game before the CFP beatdown at the hands of Alabama or Georgia.

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson rushes for yardage against Texas in September. The Razorbacks have beaten two ranked teams this season and might be the best last-place team in any division.

8. Who's the best last-place team in any conference or division?

Bohls: Has to be Arkansas, which is the only last-place team in a division with a winning record (5-3) and two wins in four cracks at Top 25 teams. I believe Texas and Texas A&M would concur with this assessment.

Golden: Arkansas. The Razorbacks are 1-3 in their division but have been in just about every game on their schedule besides the 37-0 beatdown they suffered against No. 1 Georgia. Sam Pittman will restore a winning culture in Fayetteville.

9. If you were Dave Aranda, would you be interested in the LSU job?

Bohls: I would not. If he’s chasing money, absolutely show interest. But knowing that Ed Orgeron didn’t even last two full years after a perfect 15-0 season and a national title, Aranda has to know the pressure is incredible in Baton Rouge. There’s little pressure in Waco. One other caveat is there's more stability for the program in the SEC than in the diluted Big 12. I still think LSU will go elsewhere and make a huge splash.

Golden: I would be just interested enough to sign a nice extension at Baylor.

10. Would you like to serve on the CFP selection committee?

Bohls: I would. That’d be the biggest honor, to have a say in a College Football Playoff. I’m sure that would strike fear in the hearts of Longhorns fans who have forgotten that I elevated Texas above a disgruntled Aaron Rodgers’ Cal Bears in 2004 in the final Associated Press Top 25 voting that put the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl.

Golden: Sure, the day they decide to expand the playoff to eight teams. I would want no part of trying to figure out how to get the right four teams under the current format. It feels like one prolonged nightmare.