In case you haven't noticed, this is a University of Texas blog. So any of you non-Horns Powerhouse readers probably find Scott's Saturday night blog on the Tech-A&M post refreshing.
And I'm here to contribute more, but in an even more universal sense.
You see, there is an epidemic in the sport of football. One that does not so much effect other sports. It's a disease that spreads from coach to coach early in their careers. And this, unlike bird flu, goes from coach to player.
It's the failure to stick with what works. A violation of the "dance with who brung ya" principle. And A&M's Coach Fran gave us the latest example.
Now, in other coaches, it manifests itself in the prevent defense. These coaches play defense agressively, blitz, create turnovers and build big leads. But instead of sticking with work works, they soon get cute and call off the dogs to protect the lead. They quit blitzing. They drop eight men into coverage. They take their foot off the other team's throat.
And you know what happens often. The other exploits this. Sure, they have trouble making the big play, but they can dink and dunk and get out of bounds to stop the clock with little resistance. Combine this with the fact that a coach with the lead also suddenly forgets he can pass the ball and the other team rattles off 10, 14, or 20 unanswered points and steals the game.
The aggressive style brought you to the dance. You stayed with it until you felt it was old news. Then, you were got in the bathroom with the passive-style. It all falls apart and you wind up the loser.
Well, Coach Fran did the opposite. He and his staff figured out at half time that dropping into a zone against pass-happy Tech gave them fits. This, along with Tech's lack of run defense, allowed them to hold Tech to 99 second half yards to rally back from 10 points down and have a three-point lead with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
What does Fran do? He goes away from that strategy.(Or at least allows his defensive coordinator to do so) First, he blitzes on 3rd-and-11 leaving Jarrett Hicks one-on-one for the first down and his first catch of the day. Then on Tech's last offensive play, he blitzes again. Tech QB Graham Harrell sees the corner press up on Robert Johnson and audibles his route from a slant to a streak. Touchdown baby! Aggies go el foldo. And I could really care less except this is one in a long line of coaches failing their players by playing it "safe."
And I suppose someone might say you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you change your play trying to protect a lead and lose, you'll be criticized. If you stay with what has worked, your players don't execute in the end and you get beat then you'll be lambasted. If I was a coach I'd look any detractors in the eye and proudly say we stuck with what had worked and we just got beat. But I suppose coaches like to play it safe so they can hide behind convention. I say there is one way to win:
In all seriousness, this was a well fought game by both sides. While we rag on Texas Tech for picking up the scraps of the Texas recruiting pool, Joseph Filani has proven that he would start at any Div-1 program. Hats off to the Pirates...er...Red Raiders, for stealing a win in hostile territory.
But, the more interesting story is the state of the Texas A&M football program.
I love Dennis Franchione. He is living a dream of most men in America: Get paid 2 million dollars a year to stand on a college football sideline and just watch. If the NCAA wasn't so strict on letting him have a fresh beer, he would have it made. With this latest blunder, he has improved his record to 1-9 versus division foes Tech, Oklahoma and Texas. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is his quote upon being hired at College Station: "I'm coming here for a lot of reasons. Tradition and history are certainly a part of that. It's been 21 years, I believe, since Texas A&M has had a losing season. That's exciting to me because it's my first time to take one over that has a foundation in place and is not coming off a losing season. That's a nice way to get started and I'm certainly ready for that."
You've done a Frantastic job thus far Dennis. You give the 12th man hope and then keep taking it away. For the hilarity that ensues, I salute you.
But, in all fairness, the coach does not bear all of the blame. The alleged savior of the Aggies, Stephen McGee, was 9 of 20 passing for 89 yards. To break this down further, 35 of these yards came on one play. I know that we were spoiled with Vince Young, but this doesn't look all that impressive. If you are going to be the future of Texas A&M, like Randy McCown, Mark Farris, Dustin Long, and Reggie McNeil, you have to put up better numbers. You cannot rely on Jovorski "The Hut" Lane or Courtney Lewis to be all of your offensive. You will get absolutely slaughtered against run defenses that surpass Tech's. I hear that there might be a few in the Big 12.
This is the time of the year when an intriguing, if not all that significant question, arises. Which team, if any, from a non-BCS conference will be our BCS buster? Who is this year's Utah?
The preseason favorite was TCU. And with wins over Texas Tech and Baylor giving them four straight over Big 12 opponents, they looked like a liable candidate. But last night saw this team go from Buster to Busted. A disappointing 31-17 loss to Brigham Young put their BCS hopes on a life line.
I have to say, even being a masters grad at Baylor, I figured TCU would win that game. I understand some of the hype surrounding Baylor. But I had a feeling with Shawn Bell still under center and a new offense being installed that they were overrated. Texas Tech, however, was favored by some to win the Big 12 South. It's what those people like to call their sexy pick. So TCU had earned some street cred.
So what happened Thursday night? Well, BYU is a scrappy, if not so much, elite opponent. And they have tested the Horned Frogs for a few years now.
For whatever reason, the Frogs just got mildly outplayed Thursday night and it was enough for BYU. Lost the time of possession battle. Had a pair of turnovers. That was it.
I'm sure it doesn't help that that their two senior running backs, Robert Merrill and Lonta Hobbs, are banged up: Merrill on the shelf and Hobbs seeing his first action of the year. Or that senior wide receiver Michael DePriest also just played his first game. Whatever the reason, the BCS is a longshot now for TCU.
And that begs the question: Who's next? There's really two candidates. Houston sits at 4-0 with a date with Miami(Fla.). Now the 'Canes are struggling in a Joe Namath sort of way. But I think, even if the Hurricanes have dwindled into Tropical Storm levels, they can beat Conference USA's best. And Houston has stayed unbeaten partially because they looked long and hard to find cream puffs for the cream puffs to beat. But they also beat Big 12'er Okie State so maybe Larry Coker should be afraid.
Then there's Boise State. This a team that makes you wish for a playoff inclusive of non-BCS teams even if you can predict the result. Besides, that blue turf deserves national network air time. They average 40 points a game and have defeated Pac-10's Oregon State but take on Hawaii at home this Saturday. If they get past 3-1 Utah, then it is relatively smooth sailing in the WAC the rest of the year.
And I'm throwing a third team into the mix: Rutgers. I know they are Big East. But how big is the East anymore. Sure they just snuck past South Florida on Friday but this team is ranked for the first time in 30 years which deserves major props and, in my mind, qualifies this team as a BCS Buster.
So will the above be Busters or Busted? We'll see come December.
"Coach, do you feel that the off the field incidents will become a distraction for your team?"
This is perhaps the most ignorant, repetitive and rhetorical question in sports today. If you say "yes", you shouldn't be in a coaching capacity of any sorts. If you say "no", the media will ignore your statement and claim that you aren't being truthful.
So, if you will not be satisfied with the answer, why ask the question?
My wife does the same thing. There is a brief moment of fear in thinking that you may have the audacity to answer incorrectly. But, when you realize that you are in a no-win situation, you just look for the "right thing to say". I.E. What will cause the least amount of collateral damage?
I am pumped for the Cowboys/Titans showdown this weekend. It will be the first time the Dallas market gets to view Vince Young in a professional capacity. (Allegedly) But the T.O. situation has overshadowed the "sure win" for the Cowboys. While my man-crush on anything VY is strong, I realize that the Titans aren't exactly bringing the pain this year. But, what if they keep it close, or worse, win? The dominant story won't be the play of their team, but the lack of focus from the Cowboys due to T.O.'s brush with certain death.
This is utterly ridiculous. Every NFL roster has 63 of the most finely tuned athletes in the world earning millions upon millions of dollars for their on the field ability and composure. For the media to assume that anything other than a crashing blitz can distract a professional quarterback from completing a pass is plain stupid. As a journalism graduate, I am shocked of the hypocrisy from that line of thinking. Here are people that are trained to deliver a robotic interpretation of the news without becoming emotionally invested in the subject content. Yet, they find that no one outside of the copy and teleprompter bubble could possibly hold the same standard of just doing your job. A reporter is simply a viewer's conduit to keeping up with the day's events. You don't speak into the camera about an 80 year-old grandmother killed in a house fire, emotionally lose your composure and rant about how the tragedy could have been prevented. That would be a different category of suicide...career suicide.
Imagine working for a high profile company and having the CEO's wife pass away. You certainly feel sympathy for the CEO and his family, but the need to function and be productive for your employer doesn't cease. Now, every time you leave the office, 30 reporters are shoving microphones in your face to talk about the passing of the CEO's wife. So, you have dealt with the emotional scar internally, but now you have a barrage of people picking at the scab hoping to see it bleed. Having been focused on your job, you weren't even thinking about the situation until they brought it up. The fact that they are is the TRUE distraction. All you wanted to do is get in your car after a long day at the office and relax. But, some news channel or writer is aiming to win a prestigious award at your expense.
And doesn't some unspoken hostility form towards the greiving person...however misguided? After all, it isn't your function to play unwilling PR duty when you have done nothing wrong.
If the Cowboys lose on Sunday, it won't be because they got beaten by a better team. It's because they did not properly execute their plays. Pinning the blame on a couple of swallowed pills is a lousy scapegoat.
I know JD. He's a good guy. Raging alcoholic...but if you catch him on a dry day, a cool dude nonetheless. But his pejorative tone re: the tabloidization of sports smacks of condescension.
Whenever people complain about media coverage of almost any issue, I am reminded of the greatness of George Carlin. His joke was about traffic, but is an analogy about relative morality/ethics. He said that whenever you are driving on the freeway, whoever is going faster than you is a "maniac" and whoever is going slower than you is "moron". JD's premise is that there is an amount of T.O. coverage that is "excessive". I disagree.
He seems to assume that the media intends for each one of us to consume every morsel of minutia that they put out. This is not the case. They know our viewing habits better than we do...that's why the football game has a "Fox Box" (so that you can walk into a room or be in a bar and immediately know the score, time remaining, etc.), why the anchors tease the story that is coming up after the commercials (so you'll have a reason to come back after channel surfing during commercials), and why talk show host "reset" after a break (to bring new listeners up to speed on the current conversation). They realize that we all consume our media differently, and the media outlets are now so specialized that they CAN (nay, in service to their target audience, SHOULD) dedicate 100% of their content to the story at hand.
You didn't complain that, right when you tuned in to ESPN, that there was a "Special Edition" of SportsCenter that had been strung together and the 1st thing you heard was: "If you are just joining us..." and within 2 minutes, you knew everything the anchor knew about the situation. But then, after watching this 2 minute loop of the same information for 30 minutes, you want to complain that "This is the 3rd time that they've said the same thing" (not realizing that it was actually about the 10th time). Well...they weren't talking to you!
Really, what would we have them do? "We interrupt this replay of the 2003 Middle Tennessee State v. Troy Old Timers Game to advise you that Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens is in a Dallas hospital. We think it was an attempted suicide. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program."
Huh? Did I just hear that?...
No, you'd clamor for more, or else go find another outlet who will elaborate and stay with it for just the right amount of time...(ie-that which precisely matches your attention-span).
Nah...I say to the media: You make it do what it do...
You can't "make us" better fans. You can only hold up a mirror to let us know what type of fans we are.
When we are full, we will push ourselves away from the table. If we are so gluttonous as a society that we harm ourselves with our frenzied feeding at the teet of the media, then I say we reap what we sow.
If you saw or heard anything of the coverage, starting with a blip on ESPN News late last night, continuing with WFAA's special report this morning and wrapping up with the 10 O'Clock news, it's enough to make you sick.
Is T.O. being rushed to the hospital newsworthy? Yes! But not at the level of continuous coverage as if the Columbia space shuttle broke apart or Buckwheat was assasinated outside the SNL studios. Tell us he was rushed to to ER. Tell us he treated by Dr. John Carter. Tell us whether or not he will play Sunday or if recovery will take awhile as he deals with some personal demons. But don't waste my day with speculation about whether he did or did not attempt suicide.
Let's face it. If he did, he needs some space to figure things out. He doesn't need news crews outside his house being defended by by shutdown corner Deion "Primetime" Sanders.
But this is what sports news coverage is becoming. A sports papparrazzi is slowly forming to tell us our favorite athletes' every move. What's he eat? Who's he dating? Who's getting his child support checks?
This first hit me a few weeks ago when I encountered the reports on espn.com and some other reputable outlets regarding the USC co-ed pregnant with Matt Leinhart's baby. Who cares? Can he throw a spiral in the face of an NFL rush? That's all I need to know.
Now, I did discover some good in all this. I can't say it exhibits non-tabloid sports coverage, but it shows us the human side of T.O. And this is important.
It's like the movie Crash that really challenges your hate by putting a human face on it. A guy gets a reputation and is constantly dissected. Constantly judged. Perhaps we'd ease up if we remember he's human. He's flesh and blood like the rest of us.
Perhaps remembering this would make us better people. Better fans.
With the on again, off again, antics/cry for help/media misreporting for T.O. other stories have been lost. No, I'm not talking about the sad passing of legend Byron Nelson (R.I.P.), I'm talking about the complete meltdown on a Michigan radio station.
Early police reports indicate that T.O. told them that he was trying to harm himself when he reportedly took too many pain pills.
Football should be the last thing on any thinking person's mind at this point in the story, but one would think that the Cowboy's due diligence prior to this high-profile signing would have indicated SOME sort of danger sign.
Definitely a story to watch. I hope the idiots in Philly learn more about the situation before the inevitable "I told you that guy was a nut" comments.
Well, an early bye week sucks for the fans. Does little good for the team who hasn't been in the trenches for long. And exposes the NFL bye week for what it is: a lousy excuse to expand the season by a week and pull in one more Sunday's worth of advertising dollars.
On the positive side, it helps your team's outlook come into clearer view. And this is clear: the NFC East appears wide open. Drew Bledsoe and company's week one ineptitude may have raised questions for the Star faithful. But the performance of their division rivals has helped alleviate our concerns.
Philly has shown signs signs of being back beating up on Houston and San Francisco. But those are NFL punching bags. They also folded in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Giants, who have shown they lack unity and falter against against the real contenders. Washington, in the meantime, needed a date with the lowly Texans to get their first win.
And we can rewind to last season to recall the playoffs and be reminded that New York and Washington weren't near the teams they seemed to be last December. This is really nothing new for these teams.
The Cowboys, though, lost to a team that appears to be one of the AFC's favorites and beat up on Danny Snyder's hogs. They have the desperate Titans in their sights before an Alpha Male match with Philly on October 8. This game should establish the favorite in the division.
And, despite my previous predictions, why can't this team win the division? It's a division of average teams. The Cowboys have questions on the offensive line and at quarterback. But they also have an up and coming defensive core that could propel them into the postseason. It's a recipe for overacheiving. To make the playoffs and have a shot at ending their 10-year playoff victory drought.
Sure, that would mean some things have to break their way, but that is what wide open divisional races are all about.
As the weather grows colder in the Dallas prairie, the ability to wear sequined jorts and net shirts has all but dwindled. Yes, this is the time of year that 1 out of every 1000 Dallasites anxiously anticipates: the start of the Dallas Stars' Stanley Cup campaign.
Say goodbye to perennial disappointment Bill Guerin and hello to man-child Eric Lindross. Put out a fresh sheet of ice for Mike Modano as he skates on to his 40th consecutive season. Welcome back the Canadian hairstyling of color commentator Daryl "Quaker Oats" Reaugh and his sidekick, "Little B*tch". But, in a city of what have you done for me lately, the Dallas Stars may be all we've got.
Take a look at the alternatives.
The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since Troy Aikman started peddling Fords, bricks and chicken wings. The Mavericks squandered the golden opportunity of an injury depleted conference only to have their downtown Dallas parade route rained upon. And the Rangers celebrated their 200th ticket sale this last weekend which more than likely gave Tom Hicks a profit from of all the money he's saving on pitching. Yet, these are the big three of the Dallas sports world.
The Dallas Stars are at least consistent. This is a team that has had 1 season out of the past 9 where they did not qualify for the playoffs by the slimmest of margins. In this time frame, they have won a Stanley Cup, faced elimination in the finals and have instituted a big time sport in a region where ice was usually found at the local McDonalds. With all the wrasslin', mullets and fashion faux pas, it is hard to comprehend why hockey isn't a bigger deal in the south. Perhaps they should give the zamboni a Hemi and the driver a point total?
This will be a critical year for the Stars. The lockout of 2 seasons ago has turned even the most faithful sour. The institution of a shoot-out has made the hockey purists cringe. The Stars need to go out and remind their fans why they pay $30 to touch the American Airlines Center's rafters. So, here's to a successful season opener Dallas Stars: The most successful team that no one cares about.
Well, the Cowboys have a bye week. Scott is off pretending to be single and attractive. Me? I'm joining Mr. Patlan, our newest blogger, in taking up the cause of one of Horns' alumni and fans favorite scapegoats: Chris Simms.
Have you heard his story since he left Austin? Not so much the Susie everyone seemed to claim he was. First, NFL scouts were in love with the guy but what they believed was UT's failure to develop the guy (Greg Davis?) made them wary to draft him too high.
But fortune broke his way last season when Brian Griese, another son of NFL QB royalty, went down with an injury. Suddenly, we saw Mr. Simms leading his team on a late season push that placed them in the playoffs. Guts galore, Baby!
And this year, you could see hard times coming. You heard the talk of a struggling offensive line in Tampa Bay. If you cheer for the Dallas Cowboys, you noticed when the Bucs signed Tuna castoff Torrin Tucker. You remember thinking if he's not good enough for Dallas' line, then how bad are the Bucs.
And Simms has been horrible this year. Aaron Brooks-like in the box score. But so has Cadillac Williams, further documenting the O-Line woes. If you look at the games closely you know he's been running for his life. This week, as he starting to turn things around, that almost became too true.
The kid takes a pounding all game, struggling in the first half. Late in the half, however, he leads a touchdown drive to get the Bucs back in the game. Battles through the second half, slowly pecking away at Carolina's lead. Takes one of many hard hits throughout the game in the third quarter and gets up cramping. Has to leave the game.
Coaches and trainers think he has a rib contusion and maybe dehydration. He takes a bit of treatment but returns in the fourth quarter and leads his team on the go ahead drive in the final minutes. The Panthers would pierce the defense for one final field goal and a victory, but Simms had shown his toughness, in a greater way than anyone knew at the time.
Seems he didn't have a rib contusion and dehydration. It was internal bleeding resulting from a ruptured spleen. Had to be rushed to the hospital following the game for an emergency spleenectomy. Who knows when he will play again? But this know. This kid some of you like to ridicule is tough as nails.
I know the counselor said we shouldn't contact each other during our "cooling off" period, but I couldn't wait anymore. The day you signed T.O., I swore I'd never talk to you again. But that was just the wounded little boy in me talking. Still, I never wanted to be the first one to make contact.
In my fantasies, it was always you who would come crawling back to me. I guess my pride needed that. But now I see that my pride's cost me a lot of things. I'm tired of pretending I don't miss you. I don't care about looking bad anymore. I don't care who makes the first move as long as one of us does. Maybe it's time we let our hearts speak as loudly as our hurt. And this is what my heart says...
"There's no team like you, Dallas Cowboys." I look for you in the eyes and breasts of every woman I see, but they're not you. They're not even close. Two weeks ago, I met this girl at Fox & Hound and brought her home with me. I don't say this to hurt you, but just to illustrate the depth of my desperation. She was young, maybe 19, with one of those perfect bodies that only youth and maybe a childhood spent ice skating can give you. Every man's dream, right? But as I spent hours upon hours on the couch with this hottie, I thought, look at the stuff we've made important in our lives. It's all so superficial. What does a perfect body mean?
Does it make her better in bed? Well, in this case, yes. But you see what I'm getting at. Does it make her a better person? Does she have a better heart than my moderately attractive Dallas Cowboys? I doubt it. And I'd never really thought of that before. I don't know, maybe I'm just growing up a little.
But, it didn't feel the same because you weren't there to watch. Do you know what I mean? Nothing feels the same without you. I'm just going crazy without you. And everything I do just reminds me of you.
Do you remember Carol, that single mom we met in Deep Ellum last year? Well, she dropped by last week with a pan of lasagna. She said she figured I wasn't eating right without a woman around. I didn't know what she meant till later, but that's not the real story. Anyway, we had a few glasses of wine and the next thing you know we're in our old bed. And this tart's a total monster in the sack. She has all the moves, you know like a real woman does when she's not hung up about her weight or her career and whether the kids can hear us. But, it wasn't you.
Saturday, your sister dropped by with my copy of the restraining order. I mean, Vicky's just a kid and all, but she's got a pretty good head on her shoulders and she's been a real friend to me during this painful time.
She's given me lots of good counsel about you and about women in general. She's pulling for us to get back together. She really is. So we're drinking in a hot bath and talking about happier times. Here's this teenage girl with the same DNA as you and all I can do is think of how much she looked like you when you were 18. And that just about makes me cry. And then it turns out Vicky's really into the whole "pass interference" thing and that gets me to thinking about how many times I pressured you about trying it and how that probably fueled some of the bitterness between us.
But do you see how even then, when I'm making sweet love with your baby sister, all I can do is think of you? It's true. In your heart you know it. Don't you think we could start over? Just wipe out all the grievances and start fresh? I think we can.
If you feel the same please, please, please let me know, otherwise, can you let me know where the remote control is?
It's always a fun pastime for us Longhorns to find something to bash after a win. Greg Davis is always a popular target. And I am a noted Greg Davis Critic (after a game, with a couple of pops in me, there is a more descriptive name: "Charter Member of the firegregdavis.com fan club"). That, my friend, is the perfect confluence of conditions for a post ripping him for "only" scoring 37 points against "some team from Iowa".
Well, not today my friends.
First, this is not your father's ISU. They have one of the best QB/Receiver combinations in the conference in Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe. You might not remember their names, but aggy sure does. Blythe had 4 touchdown catches and 200+ yds against A&M in their 42-14 win last year. That shouldn't mean anything to the offensive production, but the point is that this wasn't a normal conference tomato can that we could expect to roll up 50 pts and "tolerate" a lucky touchdown.
Second, this is not your older brother's Longhorn offense. VY is gone...and with him, gone are the days of your random 2nd and 6 Zone Read play going 40+ yds on a QB keeper. That's not a rip on Greg Davis or Colt McCoy...its just a fact. Newsflash Longhorn fans: We now have a mere mortal at quarterback. A freshman mortal at that.
Third, the typical charges against Greg Davis don't apply at this point. For reasons detailed in other posts, the Ohio State game can't really be chalked up to Davis. And other than that one, there have been no big games for him to choke on yet. In the games that we have played, he's kept it relatively conservative...run to set up the pass...give McCoy some easy throws to cut his teeth on...ride your O-Line to gain some game- and season-momentum.
HOWEVER...do NOT let this be read to seek the official release of Greg Davis from probabation just yet. I need more proof before the ankle-monitor of public opinion is removed.
Stats can and do lie. GD apologists, don't get in my face with avg-points-per-game, winning percentage, avg yardage totals, etc. With our typical schedule, "averaging" the stats from games against double-directional colleges skews the numbers against from games when we "pick on somebody our own size", such as games against ranked opponents (top 10) and bowl games.
Against all ranked opponents, GD is 21-15 at Texas, with a scoring average of 27 ppg. Not bad, you say? Well, that includes the likes of #24 Tech, #19 Okie St., #24 Colorado...you know...good teams who may be having a cup of coffee in the Polls, but not national powers by any stretch. When you include only top 10 teams, the average drops to 21. Clearly lower, but still respectable. Now, let's see how much Superman had to do with it. Taking out 2004 and 2005 to account for Vince Young's production, the ppg drops to 18.6. Oooh...that's not bad, but also not exactly a bullet-point for a supposed offensive genius.
But its all about wins and losses, right? OK, let's go back to the big picture: Greg Davis' record against top10 teams, since 1998, without Vince Young: 3-10. Look it up.
So, again...I'm not jumping on the "Greg Davis for President" bandwagon just yet...nor am I jumping back on the "Greg Davis Sucks" bandwagon. I'm saying that, although he's not the offensive genius that some people try to make him out to be, he did a good job handling his quarterbacks in the past few years, and seems to be doing the same this year. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt from Longhorn fans.
So, another win against Iowa State is in the books. It was close through the 2nd quarter, but "Hank the Tank" rumbled through the pylons and the Horns never looked back. On a more interesting note, this was the first sporting event I have attended where weather has delayed the game. The concourse was like walking down Bourbon Street without the benefit of random flashings. Knowing that I was going to have to drive home in the rain, I wimped out and started the trek after the 3rd quarter. I made it all the way to Waco before the game resumed. That's some fine driving right there...
Bringing your child to a Horn game presents a significant problem: The fight song. As a student, I had no problem with the "Give 'em hell, Give 'em hell. Make 'em eat sh*t!" As a father, I am always cautious to amend it to the traditional "Go Horns Go!" So, as I am anticipating my changes, I hear Jr. yell "Make 'em eat sh*t!" with authority and bravado. A 3 1/2 hour drive back to Dallas wasn't enough time to convince him that we shouldn't tell mommy that part.
We sat in Section 34 this game and Section 37 the game versus North Texas. Section 34, by far, is a superior section despite being in the same general area. I had half of Godzillatron blocking the sun's wrathful glow. Instead of 2nd degree burns with the ability to make an omelet on my neck, I escaped with red cheeks. Overall, I estimate that I saved $40 on water purchases. Plus, the people next to us had 3 small children, so I had plenty of room to stretch out on the bleachers. When they started sitting in the aisles and shooting me daggers with their eyes, I just rolled over and flashed a "Hook 'em".
I am starting a campaign against car flags. In the past, even I have succumbed to the temptation of waving a piece of cloth in taunting fashion to let other people know that their school sucks compared to mine. Now, it's just silly. They only fly the correct direction the first week, cost $20 if you want it to at least match your school's colors and make a beating thump on the roof if you travel above 20 MPH. The only exception is Texas/ou weekend where at 27 years of age, I still paint my windshields letting others know exactly how I feel about that school up north.
All-in-all, it was a fun day. I am still worried about Colt's abilities and even more concerned about the resurgence of Nebraska coupled with the look of Oklahoma. As a homer, I am convinced that we will win both of these convincingly. But, as a college football fan, well, there's some work to do.
Let's face it: even Colorado put up a fight against Georgia.
I have been receiving a lot of email with regards to the whereabouts of our "once a month if you're lucky" blogger Senor Patlan. I can assure you that Jason is alive and well...but perhaps still a little shaken up after his experience in Florida.
Folks, cockroaches are no laughing matter. Had it been a Texas cockroach, things could have gotten ugly real fast. On behalf of his legion of fans, we wish Jason a speedy return to his insightful posting.
Church Lady: Hello, I'm the Church Lady and this is Church Chat.
Well, it's been a few days since the Cowboys played the Redskins. What a delightful little game of football it was. Let's take a look at it shall we? Fathers cover their daughters in face paint and parade them around the stadium like little blue and silver harlots gyrating their naughty parts to the delight of TV cameras and jumbotrons. "Look at me mommy! I'm a little soft pretzel slut in a devil mask!" And my, my, my...what do we have here? Why it's the little jezebel of the Dallas Cowboys, William Parcells.
Bill Parcells: Thanks for having me on Church Lady. Bill would be fine.
CL: Well, we're just the little buttercup now aren't we? It's so nice of you to drag yourself away from your Sin-day...pardon me...Sunday playtime to chat with us.
BP: Uh, no problem. I just show up when I'm told to...
CL: Oh, that's right. Instead of choosing to worship our Lord, we are the proprietor of sweaty little men snapping each other on the buttocks with locker room towels just in time for Sunday brunch. We do a good job of putting the college athlete in front of the Bible College now don't we? Juuuust push the baby Jesus aside and go right to our Satan work. We just call ourselves a Catholic when it's conveeeeenient.
BP: Look lady, I don't make the schedules. How DARE you imply that I...
CL: Oh, we're quite the little intimidator aren't we? Newsflash: Not afraid. Let's just keep our mouth nice, tight and buttoned for just a second. Now Billy, your team put on quite the little show this week didn't they?
BP: Ahem. We still have some areas of concern, but overall I'm happy with the way we played...
CL: Well, isn't that special? It seems as if the sinning...sorry...signing...of Mr. T.O. has been quite the little peach for you. Looks like Mr. Jones succumbed to a little demonic temptation now hasn't he?
BP: I'm not sure...
CL: I remember that Jesus was tempted one time but I can't seem to recall who it was by. Let me think here for just one second. Now, who could that be? Could it be...SATAN?
If you watched two football games this weekend, you're consternation following the Dallas Cowboys loss to to the Jaguars in week one should be relieved. Those two games: Dallas' defeat of Washington and Jacksonville's defeat of defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh.
Take a look at the things we lambasted after week one: the offensive line, Drew Bledsoe, the lack of a pass rush, and the secondary.
The offensive line stepped up in a big way in week two, holding a dominant Washington defense to one sack and allowing the backs to go for 4.5 yards a carry. Drew Bledsoe rebounded nicely posting what should have been a near 300-yard performance if his receivers could hold onto a football. And the defense posted six sacks and held Mark Brunell to under 200 yards passing.
Meanwhile, Jacksonville exploited what should once again be one the league's better teams. They forced Roethlisberger into two interceptions, though both were late with Big Ben trying desperately to rally his team. They limited the Steelers to 1.9 yards per carry. And they posted good numbers in the passing game despite not scoring a touchdown.
So, now it appears the week one loss may have been as much Jacksonville's skill as it was Dallas' mistakes. This is a good Jaguar team that may be ready to become one of the elites.
But don't look too positively on the 27-10 outcome of the rival Redskins. First, they are an 0-2 team that lost their first game to a team that's undefeated after beating two 0-2 teams. Second, this was one hell of an ugly victory between the drops and the penalties. That lack of discipline will lose lose you a number of games.
Third, it's good to see the improvement, but this was not last year's Redskin's defense. They were minus Shawn Springs meaning they had to leave one more man in coverage resulting in one fewer pass rusher most plays. This was quite obviously a much simpler task for the offensive line that it was last season.
And Bledsoe had two balls that should have been picked off but give him credit for a nice rebound game. even if they're intercepted, he has respectable numbers. He's at least bought another start for the Tennesse game following the bye.
Finally, you like the pass rush numbers but you have to know the line can key on pass rushing with Clinton Portis out with his shoulder injury. And you have to salivate over the future with the youth in this front seven. And don't feed me that "Should have drafted Shawne Merriman over DeMarcus Ware" junk yet. The Cowboys said they chose Ware knowing Merriman was more NFL ready but they like Ware's upside. Give it the rest of this year and maybe even next. Then, we can talk.
But where do the real kudos lie? With the secondary and the coaching. Terrance Newman shut down Santana Moss. Rookie free safety Pat Watkins has yet to show up as a negative. In fact, I can't say I've seen anyone willing to challenge this rare safety yet. And Roy Williams has two interceptions already. Could it be he has finally learned how to cover and become a complete safety?
As far as coaching goes, the scheme and formations made it even harder to blitz and pressure Bledsoe. We are aware of the standard two tight end set, meaning you can send both on pass routes or keep both in to block. But did you notice the two back set where Julius Jones goes in motion to the slot and Marion Barber stays behind Bledsoe. That's a formation full of possibilities. And Parcells and the Little Tunas did a nice job of mixing in three receiver sets to keep the Skins trying to match up all night.
So this weekend was a relief. I still haven't seen enough to believe it's a playoff team. But Dallas won't be fighting for the number one overall pick. (But wouldn't Adrian Peterson look great with a star on his helmet? I know, he's a Sooner, but what do think of Roy Williams now?)
So you have seen Mr. Boswell's comments. You have responded. Now I come before you to bring some rationality to the table. You see, I too am a Horns fan, but try not to let that color my every opinion too terribly much. Though, as writers such as Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky express, everyone has and operates from a bias. Some just can't admit it.
Like I said, I'm a Horns fan. Huge actually. Scott, however, is obsessed. When he reads a newspaper story on the web about Vince Young, he highlights Vince's words in red. You know like:
"Blessed are the gangsta, for they will win the Rose Bowl."
And he has serious trouble typing because he can only use the pinky and pointer finger on each hand. Seems he has a form of arthritis common in our homestate that causes the two middle fingers of each hand to curl permanently into one's palms. It's Longhornus Crampus.
And then there's the tourrette's syndrome or autism that's causing him to randomly utter, "OU sucks...definitely, definitely sucks."
But let's be honest here. Sooner nation got bent over by Pac-10 officials last Saturday. And like any Longhorn fan, they think every year is their next championship season, whether John Blake and John Mackovic are on the sideline or Darrell Royal and Barry Switzer.
So this a travesty to no end. Especially in light of OU's recent past. Perhaps you remember the Sooners' loss to Texas Tech last season. You know, the one that ended with Taurean Henderson's historic touchdown scored on the one yard line. That was the difference between the Cotton Bowl and the Holiday Bowl. Okay. Okay. I'm choking back laughter thinking what a prize the Cotton Bowl is.
So you have a history. Recent history at that. And it doesn't help you no longer have Mike Leach recruiting your quarterbacks. (Think I'm crazy. Josh Heupel, Nate Hybl, and Jason "Infinite Eliginility" White were all his.)
So you have that history. And every elite program must be thinking BCS at this point. Especially a program in the Big 12 where almost every team has a new starting quarterback. Especially in a year where the race for the top two BCS rankings are more wide open than any season in recent memory. So these calls are reason for righteous indignation. They are not reason to sit around thinking well, if I don't allow a decent team score some points on me then the failure of instant replay wouldn't have mattered.
Because that idea that you should have made the plays to win the game: well, I ain't drinking that Jonestown Kool-Aid. The Mavs made the plays to win game 5 of the finals and had it stolen from them changing the entire complexion of the series. I'd take Mavs in Game 7 at home any day. Just the same, the Sooners made the plays to win the game but had them negated by poor, or perhaps corrupt, officiating.
Bob Stoops had to take up for his team and demand action. His players have to know he won't quit fighting for them. Otherwise, they may quit fighting for him. Besides, from this vantage point, it wasn't that the ball seemed to not go ten yards or may have first been touched by an OU player (the final call after replay review) or that the ball on the pass interference may have been tipped but neither review revealed conclusive evidence. If you have a television, and you know the replay officials have the same data the networks do, you saw the conclusive evidence. As for reviewing pass interference, you can't review is a player interfered, as that's a judgment call, but I want to say it's very likely you could review whether a ball was tipped neagting the interference. But that will take some research. Besides the officials screwed so much, who's to say they didn't jack that up as well.
It was such a blatant mistake you had conspiracy theorists uniting. After all, the Pac-10 is the only major conference I know of that does not allow the visiting non-conference opponent to bring the officials. Such a blatant screw up that the Pac-10 acted swiftly to suspend the officiating and replay crews and acknowledge their mistake.
So Stoops has good reason. However, he also needs to move on to next week. Otherwise he gives his team a distraction it doesn't need in their preparation for juggernaut Middle Tennessee State.
Now for OU's president. He should have taken his sedation medication before he spoke. To demand the officials be suspended for a year. Okay, maybe. But to demand the game be wiped from the record books was outright nuts. Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg was wise in his statement that such a decision would open a huge Pandora's box, perhaps engulfing last year's Rose Bowl. But, don't worry. Unlike Matt Leinhart, I know UT was the better team last year.
So there you are. A rational voice. Bask in my wisdom.
Editor's Note:As more and more of this surfaces, you may see links posted that were written after this entry was. While I find it important to keep my original text intact, I find it equally important to back my claims up with facts from other sources. Thanks.
Is anyone else tired of hearing about this?
If you are a college football fan, you know what I'm talking about. Oklahoma sat on a lead and gave up 2 late 4th quarter touchdowns to Oregon. The manner in which said TDs were scored is the butt of a controversy. Apparently the Pac-10 has a stipulation that a non-conference game against a Pac-10 team at home must have Pac-10 officials. So, when two controversial calls went in Oregon's favor, the Sooner nation had a melt down and the conspiracy theorists have come out of the woodworks.
OU leads by 13 with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Oregon is driving. Dennis Dixon, the Oregon QB, glides in to the end zone untouched. Extra point is made and OU is now up by 6. With a little more than a minute to play, Oregon decides to try an onside kick. According to the officials, they recover. On the replay, it appears as if Allen Patrick, an OU player, is at the back of the scrum with the ball in hand. (Video is under the 9/16/06 Oklahoma recap) However, the whistle is blown a full second before the ball is seen seeping through. From the ref's vantage point, the Oregon player had possession of the ball and hit the ground which caused the fumble. By definition, the play is now dead. The second part of the gripe is that the Oregon player touched the ball before it had traveled 10 yards which is an illegal maneuver. While I do tend to agree with the Sooners on this, it is so inconclusive that the video replay booth was not in a position to overturn the call. (The yellow line on a TV broadcast is not official) Oregon is granted possession on their 40 yard line.
Oregon, with less than a minute to play, starts driving down the field. On 3rd down, a pass is seemingly tipped at the line of scrimmage negating the blatant pass interference going on down the field. After another lengthy review, it is determined that there is no indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field. (Plus the fact that a pass interference call is not reviewable...I don't understand what the hold up was) Oregon is granted a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down. One play later, Dixon hits a wide open receiver in the end zone, the extra point is made, and Oklahoma is down by 1.
Oklahoma, after a 56 yard kickoff return, receives the ball with great field position. Instead of passing to gain some yardage, they give the ball to Adrian Peterson to apparently get a better spot for the field goal attempt. With no timeouts, the ball is spiked, the kicker comes on, the FG attempt is blocked, and the game is over. Oregon wins 34-33.
I despise OU as much as the next Horn, but I admit that they were probably robbed on this one. It was a blatant failure on the officiating crew and the replay booth to get the calls correct in the 10 minutes it took to review them. I'd much prefer to beat an undefeated Oklahoma team in Dallas and somewhat disheartened that we will not have the chance. However, the outcry has gone overboard. The president of Oklahoma has written a letter to the Big 12 commissioner asking for him to intervene and demand an apology from the Pac-10 conference. Not only is this presumptuous of who is to blame, it also implies that the game was somehow fixed. On a side note, I find it humorous that the Oklahoma president is just now concerning himself with the prospect of illegal payments, but I digress...
The fact of the matter is that no one will remember this in a few weeks. Oklahoma is not a national championship caliber team and this wasn't a conference game that affects their ability to contend for the Big 12 or BCS game. Colorado received a share of a national championship title as a result of a 5th down against Missouri back in 1990. THAT is a definition of a travesty. This is not. Run the table and you have a beef. The possibility to do this was slim with Rhett Bomar. It is even less likely with Paul Thompson.
So, man up Sooners and move on. Seeking vengeance against the officials will not change the outcome of the game. Neither will death threats. It also won't address the more pressing concern: Your defense. Getting shafted on a few calls did not automatically put points on the scoreboard for Oregon. Had this game taken place last year, you wouldn't have even had the benefit of a review since that was not even the Pac-10's policy.
The more I look at the national standings, the more my hopes for a repeat dwindle. This was a black weekend for the Big 12. Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, Baylor, Colorado and Nebraska...down the tubes. Texas A&M was a goal line stance away from joining them. Of these teams, only Colorado and Kansas are not on our schedule. For a conference that has sent a representative to the BCS title game 5 out of the past 8 years, we sure aren't showing that we are far above the Big East in conference strength.
Not that we are completely to blame mind you. 9 out of 12 teams are starting a QB with little to no experience this year. The 3 that returned weren't exactly playing for the conference elite.
But, this will be the downfall of Texas defending its title.
I posted a nice analysis of what the results of this weekend's games were and how they impacted the Longhorns. After looking more in-depth, I have concluded that I couldn't be more wrong.
Texas will still need help. The greatest mark on our resume is that we lost to the #1 team in the nation. A 17-point loss is big, but not technically blowout big. Of the remaining games, we will only have 3 in which our opponents are projected to be ranked: Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas Tech/Texas A&M. (Plus the North division champ) Even so, it would be hard pressed to have these teams ranked higher than #15 at the end of the year. This absolutely kills our strength of schedule.
In order for us to have any shot, in addition to running the table, the following must happen:
Ohio State- Must remain unbeaten. A 1-loss Ohio State pretty much puts our title hopes to rest since someone will creep into the #1 spot and our loss prevents us from jumping them. If they lose 2 games, we have a slim chance. I'm talking 2001 season slim. Any more than that and it is lights out unless Texas is the only 1-loss team out there.
At this point, all the below teams need at least 1 loss...
Auburn- Must lose 2 games or have the SEC fizzle out. The other scenario is for them to be blown out by an unranked SEC opponent. A 1-loss SEC team is much stronger in the polls than a 1-loss Big 12 team.
USC- Must have 2 losses or 1 blowout loss to an unranked Pac-10 opponent. Let's face it, the media doesn't want the USC fandom to die down and it will reflect in their voting. This year's Pac-10 also isn't the same conference we have ragged on in the past. The 4-0 record versus the Big 12 this weekend should be proof enough.
WVU- Must lose 1 game. Despite the Big 12's current state, a 1-loss Big East team will not overtake a 1-loss Big 12 team.
Michigan- If Ohio State runs the table, this will take care of itself. But, if Michigan is undefeated prior to the match up, we need Ohio State to beat them by more than 17 points.
Florida- See Auburn
We will also have to fend off challenges from LSU, Georgia and Louisville. Virginia Tech has been dealt a blow by Miami and FSU for schedule strength.
So Texas fans, I hate to be the messenger on this, but we will have to hang on to #10's run this season. Our main focus should be the continuation of a new streak against that team up north and not the rates of hotels in Phoenix.
I think my word order is off kilter from Washington's team song. But what do I care? This is the UT-OU of local NFL ball. And I've had to sit around all offseason thinking of that smug look on Daniel Snyder's face after the Skins swept the Dallas Cowboys.
And could the setting be any more fitting? Week two in a night game with John Madden and Al Michaels in the booth. I'm sure you recall last season's matchup at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys up 13-0 with about five minutes left. The defense seemingly bailing out the offense on a mediocre day. Until Mark Brunell hits Santana Moss on two unlikely bombs to steal the game that is. The defense had collapsed and, while we wouldn't know it for a few weeks, it was an ominous sign of how the season would end.
So vengeance is on the mind. We've been waiting for this matchup, more than the October 8 matchup in Philly. And the week 1 debacle doesn't make a guy feel good about's what to come. Besides, 0-2 is a difficult hole to climb out of to be a contender. Sure the Cowboys became the first team to start 0-2 and win the Super Bowl back in 1993, but that was with a certain group called the Triplets and one of the NFL's dominant defense ruling the field. So many reasons you have to win this game.
So is there hope the Boys will beat the Skins? I think so, despite the fact I still pick this team to be just out of the playoffs, and here's why:
The T.O. Factor Okay, so other Powerhouse writers have their nipples in a twist about the guy. But he showed last week why he is worth the risk: 5 catches, 80 yards, and 1 TD. And that was with limited training camp reps. Expect him to only to get better.
The Defense Okay, so they got beat up last week. We may find out that Jacksonville is more than just a good team as this season progresses, however. And it's a young group that still needs some time to gel. After all, it's most veteran member, Greg Ellis, just moved to a new position this year, so things may be tough early, like they were half the first month of last season.
The Injury Report Clinton Portis is doubtful and the Skins are missing two starters in the secondary. That means the clearly aged Mark Brunell won't get any help from the running game and Drew Bledsoe will be aided by open receivers.
And why they won't win this week:
Lack of Pass Rush Did you happen to notice they still struggled to pressure the passer last week? Did you notice DeMarcus Ware barely sniffed at Byron Leftwich's jersey all game? Brunell may be aged, but let him sit in the pocket all day and he'll find a receiver.
Offensive Line The pass blocking was improved last week. But, the run blocking sucked meaning this team can be made one-dimensional which never bodes well for any team.
Quarterback I know with a depleted Washington secondary and improved pass blocvking, Drew should be poised for a big game. But did you see Bledsoe against the Redskins last year? He was horrible. With the talent in the front seven, the Skins will continue to apply pressure, forcing Bledsoe into the kind of throws he made against Jacksonville last week with little pressure being applied.
There it is. I'm just not an optimist about this team like the national media is. I think Drew Bledsoe provides another mediocre outing leading to a 16-13 loss and serious speculation that Tony Romo takes the reigns after the bye week. But, as I said, there's hope I'll be proven wrong.
Between the excessive remote flipping, sprinting to the kitchen for a cold beer (sliding across the linoleum in socks of course) and the constant griping from my better half to "get off my ass and mow the lawn", I'm about spent. This college football enthusiast sacrificed his time, and possibility for sex tonight, simply to entertain the masses.
Overall, there were not many surprises to stir the pot...
Ohio State vs. Cincy- This obviously wasn't much of a game. However, I must admit that I was holding my breath slightly when the 4th quarter ended 7-3 in favor of the Bearcats. (Friggin' Cincy put up as many points as we did against Ohio State!) But, it ended up that Troy Smith and the boys were just taking a quarter off.
Impact on Texas- Good. We want Ohio State to remain strong to protect our strength of schedule whether we have a misstep during conference play or run the table. Plus, the only thing that could possibly top the hype of Texas vs. USC last year is having a rematch with Ohio State in the National Championship game. The last 3 teams that lost a #1 vs. #2 regular season match up went on to win a National Championship title...
ND vs. Michigan- I'll admit that I did not see this one coming. Not only did Michigan prove that they are severely underrated, but we will not have to endure the media love fest for "Touchdown Jesus" the entire season. Brady Quinn may very well have lost the Heisman this weekend while Mike Hart may have emerged as a serious contender. I had this one on the picture-in-picture TV feature but ended up later replacing it with the Tech/TCU game.
Impact on Texas- Some good, some bad. Michigan will unquestionably move up in the polls past Texas with this win. ND lost by such a high margin that they are virtually guaranteed to drop behind us. (But, perhaps I am giving the media too much credit) This loss makes a ND victory over USC later on in the season much more attractive. However, Michigan still has to play Ohio State. Since one or the other will drop, this is good news for Texas.
Auburn vs. LSU- Easily the best major game finish of the day. JaMarcus Russell made some critical errors with his judgment that ultimately cost his team the game. Auburn looked pretty darn good defensively. Besides, any team with Ryan Perri-loser on the sideline deserves a loss.
Impact on Texas- Good regardless of what the outcome was. When two teams ranked higher than yours play each other this early it is always a win-win situation. But, the best case scenario was for Auburn to win since they still have to play a tough schedule including Florida. Texas should be able to fend off LSU through conference play.
USC vs. Nebraska- Score was a lot closer than the game was. Neither team looked unbeatable. USC just had less mistakes. Booty played below his capability and Taylor looked like a deer in the headlights.
Impact on Texas- Mostly bad. On paper, Nebraska and ND had the best shot to knock down USC. Oregon has an outside shot and the rivalry game with UCLA may be bothersome but the rest of USC's schedule should present no problem. Then again, USC may have bigger issues than who is on their schedule.
WVU vs. Maryland- Not even worth the time to talk about.
Impact on Texas- Push. Someone will need to step up and beat WVU. That someone is not the 5th best team in the ACC. Louisville is the only realistic opponent to topple them.
Florida vs. Tennessee- Great game. Teams seemed evenly matched. Then again, Chris Leak always looks good the first few games.
Impact on Texas- Push, but more towards bad. If Tennessee had won, they wouldn't have jumped Texas in the polls because there are too many questions. (Great play against Cal but almost lost to Air Force) But, Florida isn't a team that has the talent to go undefeated. Not only do they have to duke it out with Auburn, they still have LSU and Georgia to slip past. The SEC will be a scrap between Top 15 teams which greatly benefits Texas.
Texas vs. Rice- Surprisingly, I didn't pay much attention to this game. I was mildly interested to see how Major Applewhite would game plan against his former team. But, the talent level isn't in the same ballpark to gauge. From the look of the TV pans, they couldn't even give tickets away to fill all the empty seats.
Impact on Texas- Very good. Yes, it was Rice. But, the defense was inspired and Colt McCoy looked great with his throws. This is exactly the kind of game Texas needed after such a demoralizing defeat last week. The fans needed it just as much. Beating up on a lesser team the week after a loss is the equivalent of downing a 1/5 of Jack Daniels after being fired from your job.
Oregon vs. Oklahoma- I was torn on who to root for in this one. On one hand, I want the Big 12, and our strength of schedule, to be strong. But, on the other hand...it's Oklahoma. Any time the Sooner nation has to question their loyalty is ok in my book. The fashion in which they lost makes it all the more sweeter. I can picture Texas/ou weekend now:
OU fan:Y'all suck! You got beaten by an overrated Big 10 team at home! The only reason we lost to Oregon is because the refs screwed us!
Texas Fan:True, the refs did their best to give the game to Oregon. But, did the refs prevent your defense from failing to tackle the QB on a keep? Did the refs cause you to bust a pass coverage for a wide open TD? Did the refs block your FG attempt? Did the refs give up over 500 yards to a subpar offense and make you fail to score a TD THREE times in the red zone? Despite not having a challenge available, the refs stopped the game to verify the call with the replay booth. The replay booth, the only people with the power to overturn the call on the field, decided that there was not enough conclusive evidence to do so. I'll tell you what the refs DID do: Gave you a TD for snapping the ball after the play clock had expired and a bogus ball spot that resulted in another 7 points.
By the way, how many more crystal footballs does Bob Stoops have over Mack Brown again? You seemed to have the answer LAST year. You must be seeing red...Big Red.
Yes, this was a good thing.
Tech vs. TCU- Quite possibly the most boring game of the day. Auburn vs. LSU at least had an environment and national title implications despite the low score. This felt like Cotton Bowl: The Sequel. Once again, Tech showed that it is a team with an inept defense and a plug-anyone-in-there QB system. The only bright spot is that Texas can confidently mark Tech off as a potential road block unless they scrap their style of play.
Iowa State vs. Iowa- ISU is back to their old tricks. Unless they are up by two TDs, they do not have a prayer of winning the game. Even though the loss will play into our strength of schedule, I was happy to see Iowa win for the player who just lost his father on Friday.
Louisville vs. Miami- Oh how the might have fallen. Miami players started the day jumping on Louisville's logo. They will end the day by having nightmares of Lousiville's offense. If Larry Coker wasn't on the hot seat before, his ass must be 200 degrees tonight. Unfortunately for Louisville, they have more injuries to contend with. Hopefully they can rebound before the showdown with WVU. Also root for Miami to drop a few more games so that this "big win" doesn't boost a potentially undefeated Louisville team at the end of the year.
Clemson vs. Florida State- Bowden Jr. gets the job done against his old man. While I did not view FSU as a threat, it provides more breathing room. On the other hand, this loss factors into why Michigan will probably jump Texas in the polls.
Texas A&M vs. Army- This isn't really a notable...but beating Army by 2 yards...in Texas? Please keep Francione in College Station for years to come. Thank you.
The Big 12 south is in trouble. Big trouble. When's the last time Texas, Oklahoma and Tech were all 2-1 in out of conference play? Now, granted, they've all had tougher schedules than OSU, Baylor and Texas A&M. But still...has hell frozen over?
The national media brings the hype. This weekend presents seven college football games with teams in the Top 25 going head-to-head. Separation Saturday it's dubbed. With this slate of sexy games, the ESPN College Gameday crew definitely won't need Ashley Judd on this Saturday.
But, Powerhousers, the nationals have failed you. Hell, the locals have as well. Because we know what you want. We know what you need. You need a breakdown of how each and every one of these games can benefit the Longhorns chances to climb back into the BCS race and make an improbable run at the elusive repeat. So here we go:
No. 24 Texas Tech @ No. 20 TCU I must admit TCU has an emerging place in my heart. This once Southern Baptist, then just Baptist (Sic 'Em Bears), is now part of the Disciples of Christ, giving me a certain affinity for Horned Frogs these days. After all, they are this year's pick to be the BCS buster Utah was a couple of years ago. Tech actually seems to be balancing out its spread offense and has a hot, young quarterback in Graham Harrell who should actually play more than one year in the system. It should be a nice offensive battle but has minimal impact on Texas. TCU will not challenge for a top-2 BCS spot, even if undefeated. And we all know, it's difficult for a 2-loss team to play for the National Championship so Texas just needs to take of business in Lubbock.
No. 15 Oklahoma @ No. 18 Oregon Oklahoma is sure glad Adrian Peterson is healthy and carries this team. They probably don't miss Rhett Bomar as much as they think, but not because Paul Thompson is better than expected. And Bob Stoops is pretty clever putting teams from the overrated Pac-10 on his schedule to make it look like he has a tough non-conference docket. And as much fun as it is to see OU lose, you want them to win this one. Why? First, because the Horns have to beat them in October to stay in the race. Second, because if USC proves to be down this year you know how weak the Pac-10 is. If Oregon got hot, the Ducks could fake their way into the Top-2.
No. 17 Miami @ No. 12 Louisville This game will have little, if any, impact. Miami lost to a Florida State team that almost lost to Troy State, so the rep isn't there this year. A 1-loss Big 12 champion should get billing over this year's at least 1-loss ACC champ. Louisville is like one of those overrated mid-major teams. Put them in a real top conference and they maybe join the ranks of Texas Tech. (Get Yer Guns Up!)
No. 7 Florida @ No. 13 Tennessee Next to Texas, I'm partial to the other UT. But here's hoping Mack Brown isn't the next Phil Fullmer to win a single title only to struggle for the next decade. Both these teams are from the nations' strongest conference so it's unlikely either team emerges unscathed. But it's hard to tell which Volunteer team is for real: the one that embarrassed sexy Pac-10 pick California or the one that was a two-point conversion away from losing to Air Force. Still, you hope for Florida to win because Tennessee is potentially a monster as the year progresses and Florida is almost sure to underacheive again.
(BTW- the SEC by far outweighs the other conferences and yet has only garnered 2 of the 16 BCS title game slots because great teams continually beat each other up. Can you say playoff?)
No. 19 Nebraska @ No. 4 USC With Nebraska, you once again face the "Texas Has to Beat Them Later Anyway" rule. Also, USC has a solid rep from winning a pseudo co-championship, followed by an outright B_S title, followed by losing in the BCS Championship Game to the greatest college football player ever. Notice, when Texas is in the picture, the "C" isn't silent.
(BTW- Reports are Reggie Bush and his family accepted up to $100k from agents while he played at USC which could retrospectively render Mr. Bush ineligible. This means justice may be served. Vince Young may get his Heisman after all. And Will Ferrell's hearing may have just gotten a lot better.)
No. 11 Michigan @ No. 2 Notre Dame These are two teams who have spent the last several years proving to be at least a little overrated. But with Charlie Weis at the helm and only one other currently ranked team left on the Irish's schedule, Horns fans want a Michigan upset.
No. 6 Auburn @ No. 3 LSU This is the big one, Elizabeth. Two SEC powerhouses facing off in week 3. Tommy Tuberville looking for payback two years after being denied a title gig. LSU with a recent trophy and looking to instill inspiration in all of Baton Rouge's New Orleans transplants. This is the one game where the loser may not matter because the winner has a legitimate shot to go undefeated the rest of the way and these teams will not meet again in the SEC Championship Game. But it is the SEC where every game must be earned and upsets are common. But I'll hope for an Auburn victory because playing Georgia twice will be a daunting task.
(BTW-Don't you smile just a little knowing Ryan Perrilloux is third string at LSU right now?)
Well, Powerhousers, this week's session is over. You can wake up Saturday fully confident you know who to cheer for this "Redemption" Saturday.
My apologies for all the Horns posts taking over this board. The Dallas sports teams must feel as neglected as my treadmill...still in the box.
I don't even bother to look up how the Rangers are doing anymore. Even local fanboi Randy Galloway gives them no mention with his precious air time. Interestingly enough, Tom Hicks is rewarding the fans with another ticket price increase. For the bargain of $150 you can take the kiddies to cheer on the Rangers to their next .500 season. Who wouldn't want that?
Where have all the Mavericks gone? Seriously, so much coverage in June and not a peep in September. I'm beginning to worry. Mark Cuban usually returns my calls. Well, at least his attorney did before the whole death threat thing was settled out of court. (I had to waste a whole vacation day on that alleged parade)
If I was Cuban, I would strongly consider making a run at this guy...
The Stars will be beginning their preseason later on this week. I enjoy going to the occasional Stars game, but even a sports nut such as myself has a hard time getting jacked up for preseason hockey. It's sort of like drinking a case of O'Douls: It doesn't taste that great to begin with and the lack of alcohol makes you contemplate what the point is. Aggie fans, you know what I'm talking about here.
FC Dallas is, or is not, doing their thing. I wish them luck on their next game or congratulate/console them on their season. That guy that plays for them is pretty good. I am a huge fan.
Some may think that this post is way overdue. I say that this is a cheap ploy to have our blog listed as "updated" since it has been 2 days since the last post. Plus, I wanted an excuse to embed a 'Family Guy' clip.
Earlier this season I stated on the record that I will not root for the Cowboys while #81 is a member of this franchise. I stand by this commitment. So, in a disgusting way, I am somewhat happy for the loss. But, the fact that #81 looked good does not sit well with me. The fact that he was the brightest spot of a miserable game is almost unbearable. I know that I am a blasphemer for abandoning the silver and blue, but he committed a cardinal sin in the church of Texas Stadium while playing for a rival. Jerry Jones, in a desperate attempt to bring Dallas back to the glory years, signed a deal with the devil.
It appears that I am in the small minority of people that bothered to read Dr. Faustus. According to Mr. Cliff Notes, it isn't going to end well.
#81 aside, there were few things to cheer about. The penalties were hurtful, the O-line continued to get exposed and once again they cannot seem to put the little ball through the big goal posts. Even the first round draft pick didn't bother to catch the flight for this one. In fact, I was walking into my office today and out of nowhere Drew Bledsoe threw me an interception. But, upon further review, the ball hit the ground and I was charged a timeout.
Although, I did chuckle a bit when #81 insinuated that this loss should be solely be pegged on Drew Bledsoe. Operation: NO T.O. has begun...
You can say the Jags beat up the Cowboys' supposedly big time defense. You can say the run blocking sucked. You can mention Suisham's low impact field goal miss. You can talk about the lack of a return game. Or the mound of yellow flags.
But one thing's for certain: the biggest factor in Dallas' 24-17 defeat at the hands of Jacksonville was the ineptitude of Drew Bledsoe. That's right. Even in the salary cap era, quarterback means everything.
So what's the next step? Do you overact and put him on the bench of favor of Tony Romo. Probably not yet, because it was the first game of the year. But you definitely give the grand ball tapper a very short leash.
Why a short leash? Because this goes back to last season. Halfway through last season, we had Drew Bledsoe pegged for the Pro Bowl and the Cowboys in the playoffs. Then, Bledsoe imploded and the Cowboys stumbled their way out of the playoffs.
At the time, we thought it had everything to do with the absence of overrated offensive tackle Flozell Adams and a lack of pass blocking. Yesterday's evidence may have blown that theory into oblivion. Bledsoe stood upright almost the entire game against a solid Jacksonville defensive line. The end result: 16 of 33 for 246 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs.
That means, over the last nine games, Bledsoe has completed 55.5% of his passes with ten TDs and 14 INTs and has surpassed the 250 yard mark just once. That, Powerhouse readers, is downright mediocre. That's anything but playoff claiber and certainly not Super Bowl caliber. Can you say Quincy Carter? Vinny Testaverde? Chad Hutchinson?
So we put Mr. Bledsoe on notice. The last thing he probably wants to do is have another horrendous day against an even better defense giving his coach two weeks to decide who to play at quarterback.
Everton is a good football club...there is no shame in Liverpool losing by 3 goals...
Just kidding...I understand the OTHER kind of football was played this weekend as well....
Although I picked Texas coming into the game, I was probably the least surprised person at my watching-party that the Longhorns lost. Freshman QB...different dynamic at the QB position...off-the-field legal hiccups...Improved QB on the other side of the ball (and he wasn't that bad last year)... A lot of things pointed to a Longhorn defeat this weekend. So why am I still so disappointed?
Because we looked...ORDINARY....on the big stage.
The better team definitely won...I think if the Horns had been able to pull off some Magic to make it close, Troy Smith would have put the team on his shoulders and matched us. But the sad thing is that we didn't make him do that.
Coaching (game preparation): A I have to say that the team seemed ready. They were saying the right things, strutting just enough (but not too much), and came out with some intensity (especially on defense). Plan to not make your baby-QB do too much, but don't let him feel coddled...run the ball...give him some easy passes, and work a couple of long-strikes into the mix.
Coaching (in-game): F Oh my god! We are running the ball strong, they score on a mistake by us, and we panic and go away from the run game. When you have 2 strong runners, there should be no fatigue factor (especially during a night game), so that's not it. We are left to assume that it was a coaching decision to try to go vertical. On defense, um...does someone want to cover #11? There were very few adjustments to account for Gonzalez, and the look of the Defending National Champion defense bouncing around before every snap like a bunch of 10 yr olds with too-big helmets was simply embarassing.
Players (LB): D- Was this a coaching error or execution? They weren't covering...they weren't pressuring...they seemed to be doing the pre-snap hokey-pokey, then dropping back to cover the ghost of Leroy Jordan.
Players (Secondary): F If I EVER wanted to be a fly on the wall during a film-watching session, it would be today. I'm sure by now, the whole room has whiplash as they turn in their chairs to wait for Brandon Foster's explanation of just exactly what the hell that was. Does anyone else wonder why all we thought that building our secondary from Arlington Bowie products would work, when Bowie has never done anything? Yeah, a couple of those guys can play, but all it takes is one to screw it all up.
Players (Receivers): D It's hard to determine how to explain the lack of production...could be credit due to the tOSU pressure, could be Colt's fault (see below), could be bad routes, good coverage, whatever... But they are graded way down (running backs too) for not bailing out their Freshman QB. Yeah, some of those throws were low or on their back hip...but you HAVE to catch those. Sweed, Pittman and Young for sure, but young guys like Finley too. We KNOW the QB is young and will make mistakes...when he does enough to get you the ball, YOU HAVE TO MAKE A PLAY, Brotha!
Colt McCoy: D This may sound harsh, but the BCS doesn't grade on a curve, so neither will I. This sucked. BUT....it didn't suck worse than I thought it would, and it (alone) wasn't enough to bury us on Saturday. In year 2 or 3 of the McCoy regime, those passes behind the reciever or on his shoelaces will be where they need to be. I'm not worried about that. The Zone Read wasn't quite working as well as last year for some reason...but even so, next year, Colt will be keeping more of those and making the defense respect more options. The coach's decision put him on the spot to make passes he was just not going to make this early in his career at Texas. SO, he did NOT perform, but it should have not been a surprise to anyone. On the bright side, he took their best shots and kept getting back up. Not only getting up, but acting like he didn't even notice (no whining to the ref, no waiting for his linemen to pick him up, no barking at the missed blocking assignment, etc). Ironic to say, but the boy did good to get a D, and not drop it to an F by panicking.
The best thing about this loss is that it all set up perfectly for us...we have all the excuses: "They were #1, we were supposed to lose", it's early in the season, a young offense, we lost our QB/Leader to the NFL....etc. We have plenty of time and tomato cans on the schedule that we can reestablish ourselves before the end of the season.
And THAT'S the good news - that we are disappointedly talking about "only" making it to one of the "other" BCS bowls.
Ah Dallas. How I missed the smell of smog in the morning.
Well kids, it had to end sometime. Unfortunately, Chris Simms isn't around to bear the brunt of the blame.
All smack talk aside, congratulations to a strong Ohio State team who showed the nation that the term "number one" isn't as subjective as originally anticipated. I'd like to say that it was a well fought victory but that would diminish the dominance in which you displayed. I just hope that some of your fans can learn that class can also be extended OFF the field as well. As of this morning, 35 - 40 fires and 11 arrests have been reported in the city of Columbus. As stated yesterday, most of the Buckeye faithful I met were decent enough people. I'm glad that the incidents were isolated in Ohio. There are limits to how much you can mess with Texas.
So what went wrong?
There are so many fingers to point. Why were we trying to establish a passing game when Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young were tearing through their defense? Why can't Colt McCoy make a 5 yard pass without hitting his receiver's shoestrings? Where was the leadership and sense or urgency that should have formed in the 8 months prior to kickoff? Our boys marched on that field forgetting the intangible that carried them to a national title: heart.
But, it isn't the end of the world. Not even close. This loss served as a nice wakeup call to those that thought we were still in-Vince-able. (Let's not forget that he who was to be called VY had a few hiccups on his resume as a freshman too)
Teams have been in this position before. The 1996 Nebraska team lost to Texas in the Big 12 Championship game and went on to win another title in 1997. The following season, they went 9-4. The 2001 Oklahoma team posted a 11-2 record but failed to compete for the conference honors. Both of these programs were right back in the title hunt within a few seasons. With all the talent Texas has, there is no reason to believe that we cannot do the same.
LSU is a great example of what can happen if you put the loss in the back of your mind. In 2003, the eventual national champion lost a mid-season game to Florida who finished the poll at #16. In theory, Texas is in a better position than LSU was. We lost to the #1 team in the country in our second game of the season. The dominoes start to fall once conference play begins. We aren't in the driver's seat, but the mission remains the same. At worst, we are in a BCS game with another Big 12 skin on our wall if we take care of business. That certainly isn't a bad place to be.
When looking to the future you have to consider that:
#4 USC will play #2 ND #3 Auburn will play #6 LSU #3 Auburn will play #7 Florida
This means that at least three teams currently ranked ahead of us will not be at the end of the season if we run the table. That puts us only 3 spots from the goal.
So, I implore you to Come Early, Cheer Loud and Stay Late as the Horns march through the season. There should be no tears. Hats off to Mack Brown and the boys for making this a memorable run. We may have lost this round, but I didn't hear no bell.
So get up you son-of-a-bitch, 'cus Mackey loves ya.
Well, Longhorn Fans, I'm going to sub in for Scott and Jason tonight to give a same day breakdown of tonight's reality check. As Mr. Boswell informed, he's on the road and has to be up early for a business function. I assume Mr. Patlan turned on an international soccer game after Ohio State went up 24-7.
At first I wanted to say the game could have been ugly early with Troy Smith missing a wide open receiver early keeping the game scoreless. But the reality is the Billy Pittman fumble at the two yard line line balanced out that play.
And to be honest, this game turned in about a two or three minute sequence bridging the halves. After the Longhorns may have been bailed out by an iffy roughing the passer call, Colt McCoy may a tremendous pass to Billy Pittman at the pylon to tie the game. But then things turned for the worst.
On the ensuing drive, Ohio State went right down the field in under two minutes and secured a halftime lead on a touchdown pass from Troy Smith to Ted Ginn, Jr., over Aaron Ross, who looked quite pedestrian tonight. Some may say the lack of pass defense in the first half was due to Tarell Brown's absence. That's an excuse that allows us to say Mack Brown's and the university's integrity kept the team from competing tonight. The reality is, yes Brandon Foster struggled mightily in coverage against Anthony Gonzalez and Ross faltered against Ginn. Put Brown on Ginn and Ross on Gonzalez and the game may have been very different. However, the safeties appeared to have their issues as well, which presents a problem for the remainder of the season.
It could be that Michael Huff's jock strap was too big to fill and there will be growing pains as the secondary adjusts. And we'll see if the injury to Marcus Griffin may have had an effect tonight.
Having rendered the lead to Ohio State going in at the half, Texas needed to start strong in the third quarter. McCoy did just the opposite. He threw an interception on Texas' first play reminding everyone Texas has a freshman quarterback and setting up a Buckeye field goal.
The good news is, minus the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter when the Horns appear to have accepted their fate, the defense limited Ohio State's offense a great deal in the second half. Although, let's not forget Smith overthrew a wide open Ginn for what would have been a key touchdown in the the third quarter. In addition, McCoy appeared to have made a couple of plays late that could have put the Horns in position for a comeback, but tight end Jermichael Finley dropped a pass and left tackle Tony Hills was tagged with holding on what would have been a first down run by McCoy. The kid has moxie. Now he needs experience.
And if it wasn't obvious enough, this team misses Vince Young. Not necessarily because of his big play ability, though. (Okay it couldn't hurt.) This team had the talent to win the game. (Slow down. I'm not pulling a Matt Leinhart here and saying they were the better team.) But they didn't have the swagger of last season. You see little things in a game where instead of making plays in key situations, players are dropping easy passes or being indecisve on defense. It was a different team when everyone played relaxed knowing they didn't have to be the playmaker on the team. It will be crucial for McCoy to adjust quickly and lead the team back to that swagger mode.
Finally, I'll close this analysis on a positive note, one directed at an unlikely recipient: Greg Davis. I have to say he had a great gameplan. It didn't exactly translate in execution, but he made wise decisions going into the game. Knowing he had a freshman quarterback, he leaned on his two-headed running attack. Selvin Young and Jamal Charles darted and dove through a suspect Ohio State run defense controlling trhe clock and keeping the game close. It helped keep the game off McCoy's shoulders for as long as possible and gave the Horns a real chance to win. I figure, we hammered Davis for his game plans when he failed with blue chip guys like Chris Simms and Young. We should give him credit for giving McCoy at least a chance to succeed.
So with a solid running attack and hopefully more good game plans (although how many years has it been) you have to feel good about Texas' chances in what is proving to be a wide open Big 12 conference which may allow the defending champs to sneak back into the BCS title picture.
I write this in somewhat of a haze from my quaint Motel 6 off the interstate. (Paying so much for a ticket really limits your ability to complain about the quantity of roaches) The trip down took a little longer than I anticipated. But, perhaps that's to be expected. After all, this is the first time a #1 ranked team has visited Austin in 56 years. Despite a mandatory work function at 10:00 AM on Sunday, I have convinced myself that attending the game and driving straight home will be a piece of cake. Hopefully, the trip home won't seem so long.
First impressions: Thus far, the Ohio State turn-out is somewhat impressive considering the distance between the two states. The orange outnumber the red 10 to 1. The whole city has a faint smell of seared animal flesh as spits and grills ignite in flame. The beers are already ice cold. We are more than 18 hours from game time and the party is already in full swing. This is what college football is all about.
Their fans: There are always a few in the crowd, but thus far the fans have been somewhat friendly. If you've ever been to Texas/ou weekend you know what I'm talking about: start off with the talk trash, claim how it is 40% hate/60% respect, and knock knuckles in a somewhat courteous manner. (I am past my college days of purposely bumping shoulders and throwing down. Plus going solo provides no one to bail me out of jail) I am somewhat surprised to see their nervous confidence level. But, perhaps I am trying to compensate for the fact that I am not totally convinced that Colt has the poise to get us through this one. I'm hoping that I will be proven wrong. Visions of Nebraska's run post Tommie Frazier dance in my head.
Their women: As a disclaimer, I am married. Therefore I do not look at other women. If I did, I would comment on how Texas' 3rd string women could scoreboard Ohio's starters.
Texas fans: For the most part, the actual game is a formality. It's a foregone conclusion that the Burnt Orange nation will wake up on Sunday as the #1 team in the nation. There are a few dissenters, but overall confidence is high. Walking down 6th street is a difficult task. Out of nowhere a crowd will form to chant "Texas Fight!" or "ou sucks!" If the team is half as fired up as their fans, this will be a good game. I have a few friends down in Austin that I am hanging out with but it always amazes me how much of a family the Texas faithful are. I don't think that I paid for food or a drink all day.
Now, I must get some sleep. College Gameday will be here bright and early. I will leave you with my prediction: 27-17 Texas.
If you're not fired up already, maybe this will do something for you.
Okay, okay. I know some of you need a break from the super-hype pumping out of Austin or else couldn't care less.
Well, before I go to bed to dream of Peter Gardere and Vince Young revisiting us in the person of Colt McCoy, let's get wit Da 'Boys. After all, you may recall the NFL regular season starts at 3:15 pm on Sunday. You probably heard rumors that it started Thursday night, but last I checked, America's team was still resting at home.
So what better time to evaluate a coaches recruiting or, as the pros call it, the draft? Where teams find the players that help them reach the top. (Somebody needs to tell Daniel Snyder) It's year four for the class of 2003. Time to start making a difference, if you ain't yet with the program.
This was to be the year The Tuna came in and reversed years of bad drafts. How'd he do? Netted Terrance Newman, Al Johnson, and Jason Witten on day one. Grabbed Bradie James, B. J. Tucker, Zureil Smith, and Justin Bates on day two. It was a draft ESPN's Len Pasquarelli graded a C- and Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z gave a B to B+.
At this point, we can give it a B. It looks great at first. According to people around the league, Newman was a major snub for the Pro Bowl last season. He was also step two, following Roy Williams, of correcting a pitiful secondary. Witten quickly became a Pro Bowl tight end, a guy Troy Aikman could have only dreamed of after Jay Novacek retired. And James developed into the team's defensive quarterback. These three players fill major roles as the Cowboys attempt to end a ten-year playoff victory drought.
The rest of this class holds this draft back. Johnson and Bates were exhibits 1 and 2 against Tuna and Jonesies' ability to evaluate offensive linemen. It's this failure that concerns the Cowboys in a season in which the national outlets expect big things from the team.
Tucker and Smith were Parcells' first late round reaches in search for return men. He's seems to have learned that lesson uncovering free agents Tyson Thompson and Jamaica Rector to field kicks to use his draft picks elsewhere.
The result: you have a draft with making an impact this Sunday. This team may not be ready to take the next step, but the foundation remains for a serious future.