You Sunk Our Battleship
What a weekend.
Friday night was spent at an all night vet after the family dog started having breathing problems. Long story short, we had to do the "humane" thing after it was determined that she had lung cancer. She was 14 years old and a hell of a dog. Needless to say, I haven't been in the best of moods.
Looking back, I realize that all good things must come to an end. (Cue foreshadowing music)
Depressed, but still football minded, I saw a barrage of opportunity knock on our doorstep as 2 one-loss teams tumbled and another needed a blocked FG to still tread water. I watched the Huskers defeat a&m which has its advantages no matter what the outcome. (But, I can't say that I wasn't thrilled to see a&m drop another close one)
Then, Texas started playing. I say the word "playing" in the loosest sense.
McCoy drives, gets the TD and gets injured. Enter in blue chipper Jevan Snead. At the end of the 1st quarter, I promised myself that I would never doubt Mack Brown's QB assessment again. To his credit, Snead has not done more than mop up duty the entire season. Our defense certainly didn't do him any favors. This loss was a team effort and we were lucky to have it close. If not for a botched fake punt and a block...it could have been a lot worse. Poor execution on our part.
Hats off to K-State for the win. After Colt went to the locker room, so did the fire in our team. I'm proud that we battled to the end, but I'm not going to enjoy moral victories. I'll leave that to another Texas school. In the back of my mind I knew this was possible. Oklahoma suffered a loss to K-State in 2003...and they were undefeated. I don't think that our team looked past the men in purple. (Although I cannot say the same thing for our fans) I think that injuries and fatigue finally caught up with this year's squad. After all, 11 games without a bye week is tough for ANYONE.
But, there is still a silver lining. Yes, it's disappointing that we won't be defending our title. But, 3 years ago we were in the same position with one less loss and that season ended up pretty well for us. The sky isn't exactly falling in Austin. We still have a chance to have a 12-2 season with a Big 12 title on the wall and a BCS bowl win. That's still a banner year for life after Vince. Hopefully, these two weeks before the Lonestar Showdown will give our boys time to heal and regain the fire that brought them 21 straight conference wins. We may not have the end result that we hoped, but there is still a lot to play for.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye.
Late night edit: The initial shock has died down and I can't help but think of Colt's injury. On the sidelines, he had no cast/sling, ice or medical staff attending to his every need. Obviously, we are still unclear as to the extent, but it doesn't seem to be too serious. (Mack has since confirmed this in his post-game conference) That got me thinking to what Mack's reason for leaving him out was.
On one hand, the kid could truly be too sore to play. I've had a "stinger" before and it feels like someone whacked your funny bone internally. The effects could potentially render your problem area "soft" for a few hours, days or weeks. If it was his throwing arm that got the brunt, he may not have been able to be effective. Jell-o provides no fluid motion.
On the other hand, it may be a coaching move that I somewhat understand. After Snead's first series, Colt was up throwing the ball on the sidelines without the slightest wince. But, he ended up going to the locker room for further evaluation. Getting to #3 in the BCS rankings does nothing for us. We'd end up in the same place whether we were #3 or #20 and won our conference. Obviously there are a lot of factors that worked in our favor with the one-loss teams going down. But, the threat was not eliminated and nothing was a given.
With that in mind...why risk the season?
A shot at the title would have been nice, but there are smaller goals that are obtainable. We still have a huge game against Aggy which could lead to a showdown with Nebraska which could lead to a date in Glendale. If Colt's was injured, why risk ending his season when losing this game doesn't dash our Big 12 title hopes? Plus, you get some real game experience for Snead in case he is needed further down the line. While Snead wasn't perfect, he at least led the team when we were down by 21. And the coaching staff now has a marker as to what he can do in case a gameplan needs to be altered.
My conspiracy theory: Mack didn't want to risk the season by letting Colt get further injured because a loss doesn't count us out to win the conference. Mack knows that a win certainly helped our National title chances but did not guarantee it...so he took the lesser of two evils. If we beat K-State, and Colt sustained a more serious injury, the win essentially does nothing for us. We also could have ended up with a lost game, quarterback and season. To go to the Big 12 title game, we STILL needed to beat Aggy and to win it we STILL need to beat Nebraska. We have a much better chance of this with Colt taking the snaps. So the risk involved is calculated. I'm sure it wasn't the result he was hoping for, and I have no doubt he was playing to win with Snead, but I can understand the logic.
My non-homer angel tells me that we have been making mistakes all season and it finally caught up with us. This is a great team, but the chances of us repeating where realistically small...even if we made it into the title game. (Just throw the ball on our defense and watch the points pile on) In the end, Snead staying in was what was best for the team. But, I can't help but feel like Indiana Jones having the Holy Grail just beyond his finger tips.
"Indiana, let it go."