Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Week That Will Be (10.18.08)

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 5-1 SU
For the Year: 25-16-1 (.610) ($740) ATS 35-7 (.833) SU

What we learned last week: We learned that if you followed my Georgia/Tennessee pick, you have no house, but if you’re a Longhorn fan you probably don’t care about that right now. How Georgia was ever ranked #1 is beyond me…They’re still looking for the truck that ran over LSU the other night. Giving up 265 yards rushing to a team that is still only averaging 193 after Saturday doesn’t bode well for LSU, and nobody in the SEC is going to feel sorry for them…That truck also made its way up to Madison, Wisconsin, where the Badgers got run over by Penn State, who is looking to send Joe Paterno to the grave on a good note…We learned that Texas Tech is very lucky to still be undefeated, as Graham Harrell throws for a very pedestrian 284 yards against Nebraska. Perhaps Tech spent all week practicing for the formidable Aggies…We learned that perhaps Missouri has trouble with the spotlight, as they once again falter in a prime-time national game. Chase Daniel is good, but he can be rattled, which makes him the second best quarterback in this conference right now, right behind….Colt McCoy. Now say it like Brent Musberger “Colt McCoy.” Fun, eh? Texas fans are having a lot of fun right now, as the Longhorns not only have a nice hold over their chief rival, but they’re also ranked #1 in the regular season for the first time since 1984. Over/Under on the number of shots of Matthew McConaughey on the sidelines Saturday night? 4.5.


My hand slammed down on the snooze button, stopping the worst noise I had heard all weekend outside of Boomer Sooner. I turned over and nestled into the cloud-like mattress, enjoying the comfort of black-out curtains and quite possibly the softest pillow known to man.

As I got over the annoyance of the alarm clock barging through my much needed sleep, a smile came upon my face as I looked around the room and realized it wasn’t a dream. We had just beaten the #1 team in the country, and oh yeah that team was the hated Oklahoma Sooners.

I threw my legs over the side of the bed and wandered over to the window, opening the curtains and seeing the dejected Sooners filing out of the hotel, making the long 188 mile drive back to Oklahoma with the realization that their dominance over the Longhorns and the national scene was officially over.

After a quick shower and checking out of the hotel, the fiancée and I headed out for brunch at the famous Dallas restaurant Mia’s, receiving “We’re #1” text messages along the way.

Nestled into a rather un-descript area of Dallas that you won’t find on any travel brochures, Mia’s is most famously known as the place where Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson were snapped eating dinner before Jerry Jones shocked the NFL world by buying the Dallas Cowboys and replacing long-time legendary coach Tom Landry with Johnson, who had a collegiate dynasty of his own at the University of Miami.

Something tells me Jerry took Chan Gailey to Taco Cabana.

Anyhow, as I strode through the restaurant, which won’t win any architectural awards but it doesn’t matter when you have brisket tacos like this, we were seated at a table right along Lemmon Avenue. As we were served Diet Cokes in cans and I looked around for Ivan Maisel scrambling to take my picture at Mia’s, I saw it.

An autographed picture of Pat Morita. Mr. Miyagi for those of you less versed in 1980’s classic cinema.

Trying to get your fiancée to take a picture of a picture in a crowded restaurant doesn’t always go over so well, for future reference.

We went through the rest of the day, watching the wretched performance the Cowboys through up against the Arizona Cardinals, and then made the long trek home to Austin.

Somewhere between Hillsboro and Waco, we saw it.

An antique car. Yellow. Wax on, wax off.

Like the drunk chick at the party that forgets the social norms and stares at you through glassy eyes with what she thinks is a “come hither” look but really just looks like she stubbed her toe, the intentions couldn’t be any more clear, could they?

These Longhorns, and specifically Colt McCoy = Daniel LaRusso.

Colt McCoy and the Longhorns enjoyed a stellar beginning to the 2006 season, when it appeared that they were a cinch to repeat as Big 12 champions and go to another BCS bowl game. But then one night in Manhattan, Kansas they ran into Johnny Lawrence, and they were shown no mercy by the Wildcats that night or the Aggies the game after that.

Johnny made the Longhorns life hell in 2007, as Kansas State once again tripped up the Horns, as did Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Then Mr. Miyagi came to their rescue.

As I touched on last week, Will Muschamp and Major Applewhite were brought in to reverse the tide, to stop the senseless losses to the Wildcats and Aggies of the world, and make the Longhorns a tougher team, both physically and mentally.

The Longhorns went to work. And not work in Spring and Summer. And not after a nice breakfast. Their waxing on and waxing off was nearly 100 percent participation in off-season workouts that began at the ungodly hour of 6 AM. Their painting a fence was several recruits (among them phenom safety Blake Gideon) registering early in the Spring semester so that they could hit the ground running. Their sanding the floor was seniors on the team taking on a leadership role, as many of them were old enough to have sniffed a national championship run in 2005, but young enough that now they wanted hardware that they could truly call their own.

Through the training in the Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso not only learns karate from his teacher, but also learns life lessons, such as balance and the importance of not only physical strength, but the strength of the mind as well.

Colt McCoy went to work. Knowing that the Longhorns would enter this season without an established running back, and disappointed in his performance in 2007, McCoy not only bulked up in the weight room, but he also spent as much time as he could in the film room, strengthening his mind, knowing that you can’t win in the Big 12 on talent alone.

Not unlike Daniel LaRusso in the All Valley Karate Tournament, the Longhorns went through the beginning of the 2008 season easily, but everywhere they turned, they heard the criticism.

“When are they going to play someone with a pulse?” “UTEP isn’t exactly Missouri.” “What is going to happen when they play Oklahoma?”

The Cotton Bowl was at the middle of the karate mat, where the Longhorns would earn respect and credibility if they won…if anyone actually gave them a chance to win. College Gameday’s Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit acted incredulous that anyone but the Sooners could win this ballgame. Every writer in the Dallas Morning News picked Oklahoma to come out on top, and most of them picked the Sooners to cover the 6.5 point spread as well.

The Sooners jumped out to a 7-0 lead in a drive that took just over three minutes, and while the Longhorns jumped right out there and cut the lead to 7-3, it appeared that Oklahoma was going to roll the Horns when a pass intended for OU tight end Jermaine Gresham ricocheted off his hands into the waiting arms of his teammate Ryan Broyles, and just like that the Sooners led 14-3.

The Sooners had the Longhorns on the ropes. The same stadium that saw the Longhorns lose 5 in a row earlier in the decade seemed like it was going to be the site of yet another Longhorn season going down the drain. Bob Stoops owned Mack Brown, and the Sooners were about to sweep the leg.

And then, it happened.

Oklahoma kicked off, and Longhorn WR Jordan Shipley received the ball at the left hashmark. He ran straight ahead. Chris Ogbonnaya and Eddie Jones opened a huge hole, and the only thing Shipley saw was green grass and crimson and cream fans in the stands. Touchdown, Texas.

The Texas Longhorns are gonna fight!

The Longhorns were the team with the surprise gameplan. The Longhorns were the most physical team. And the Longhorns were the more mentally tough team.

By the time Chris Ogbonnaya delivered the crane kick near the end of the ballgame, there was a seismic shift not only in this rivalry, but also in the national college football mindset.

There would be no body bags on this day.

But there will also be no end credits. Sure, Mack Brown and the rest of the coaching staff will beam much like Mr. Miyagi, but there are more battles to be won, and a hell of a lot of football left.

But know this. The Texas Longhorns are the #1 team in the nation in the regular season for the first time since 1984. The Horns always have a bit of a target on their back, but now they are the top dog, the one that stood up to Cobra Kai and came out victorious, and the road doesn’t get any easier from here.

But this team is different. They are not as talented as the 2005 squad, but they made up for lack of talent with mental toughness and good old fashioned chemistry. And one other thing.

Balance. Balance on the football field. Balance in the weight room. Balance in the film room. Balance in the mind.

Now go fight for the honor of #1.

Facebook Status Messages

Mike Knall has sent you a piece of flair! An 2009 Academy Award! Send a piece of flair back to Mike!

Colt McCoy has joined the group Chief Big Nuts.

Tommy Bowden has cancelled the event Family Reunion at Clemson/FSU.

The Auburn Alumni Group is wearing a big brown bag on their heads.

Tony Franklin is very happy.

Pac Man Jones is making it rain in the future unemployment line.

Roy Williams has joined the group First Plane out of Detroit.

Texas A&M is glad their games aren’t on television.

Rich Rodriguez is looking forward to the end of the season.

Mike Stoops has joined the group Defensive Coordinators but Not Head Coaches.

Sam Bradford just realized we lost this weekend.

Chase Daniel is a class act for wearing #25.

On to the games...


Well this was going to be an upset special, but the line keeps falling from an already miniscule 2 points. So why is a Top 10 team in the country now a pick ‘em against TCU?


A.) It’s a Thursday night game. Outside of Wake Forest/Clemson last week, I believe the underdog has won every game on Thursday night football this year.

B.) BYU has yet to play a team with a defense. UNI is FCS. Washington is 118th in total defense. UCLA is 75th. Wyoming is 38th (but 95th in scoring defense). Utah State is 105th. New Mexico is 69th. TCU is 1st.

C.) Because 69% of the money is on BYU at Prime upset territory.

D.) TCU held BYU to 27 points in Provo last year.

The only question is whether or not TCU can come up with enough offense. Their passing game has been beyond horrible, but they do have a better than average rushing attack.

Another Top 10 falls.

TCU 31 BYU 28

Mississippi @ Alabama -13:

This one has been a close series of late, as Alabama has won the last three in the series by 3 points each time. Both teams are coming off bye weeks, so they should both be well rested for this match-up.

Ol Miss has the defensive line to give Alabama fits, only giving up 112 yards per game on the ground, and Jevan Snead has been more than adequate for the Rebels.

Alabama had a lackluster performance against an underrated Kentucky team, but that will probably be enough motivation to come out roaring in this one…but I’m not sure they have enough offense to get a blowout.

Alabama 34 Mississippi 24
ATS – Mississippi
SU – Alabama

Ohio State -3.5 @ Michigan State:

Michigan State hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 1999, but this year reasons to be their best chance in a while with Javon Ringer 2nd in the nation in rushing.

Ohio State is winning games in their typical, plodding style, but there is talk that some on the team are upset that Terrelle Pryor is getting all of the snaps at quarterback.

It’s about time for Michigan State to make their annual fall to the middle of the Big 10 pack. Ringer is good, but Senior QB Brian Hoyer looks like the worst QB in this match-up.

Ohio State 23 Michigan State 14
ATS – Ohio State
SU – Ohio State

Texas Tech -21 @ Texas A&M:

The Red Raiders let us down in 2006, needing a Graham Harrell bomb with under a minute to go to beat the Aggies, but Tech has won 10 of 13 in this series (which makes the Aggies’ “We’re not rivals” mantra even more amusing).

Lost in the horrible Aggie team of this year is the play of Jerrod Johnson, who is completing 60 percent of his passes and has a very respectable TD/INT ratio of 11 to 4. The Aggies are also playing pretty good pass defense, only giving up 162 yards through the air on the season.

I’d really like to see a blowout here, but the Aggies have played this game well at Kyle Field, losing by 4 in 2006, winning by 7 in 2004 and losing by 1 in 2002. They’ll be fired up to play Tech, who outside of a few quarters against KSU hasn’t looked that impressive against teams not known for their NCAA basketball tournament runs.

Texas Tech 41 Texas A&M 28
ATS – Texas A&M
SU – Texas Tech

Kansas @ Oklahoma -19.5:

Oklahoma hasn’t lost in Norman since John Blake was there it feels like. Kansas hasn’t been nearly as impressive as they were last season. Okay, so we’re pretty damn sure that Oklahoma is going to win, but by how much?

The Jayhawks have been struggling to run the ball all year, and it isn’t going to start in Norman. The Sooners only give up 107 yards per game on the ground, and that stat is inflated from the Texas game last week. The Jayhawks do have a decent defense, but did let Iowa State throw for 268 on them, let Sam Houston throw for 340, and let South Florida throw for 338.

Sam Bradford is about 10 times better than those guys combined.

Oklahoma 48 Kansas 24
ATS – Oklahoma
SU – Oklahoma

Missouri @ Texas -6:

Another week, another epic match-up for the Longhorns.

Oklahoma State gave the blueprint to beating Missouri last week, getting enough pressure on Chase Daniel without giving up too many of your front seven. If the Longhorns are able to get a rush without blitzing (like they were able to do with enough success against Oklahoma), then the Tigers will be in trouble.

And at the risk of sounding like Norm Hitzges here….stop the middle screen. Stop the middle screen. Stop the middle screen. Stop the middle screen. Stop the middle screen. Stop the middle screen.

Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin were DROOLING after watching the OU film where Manuel Johnson repeatedly ran the middle screen for effectiveness (of course it helps when you have linemen 5 yards downfield, but whatever). I really think you have to look into keeping Jared Norton or Rashad Bobino in the middle of the field just to take that play away.

On offense, get ready for Colt McCoy to have a HUGE game. Juice Williams, who will never be confused with a passing quarterback, threw for 451 yards and 5 touchdowns on Missouri’s pass defense, which ranks 113th in the nation. SE Missouri State threw for 250 and 1 TD. Nevada threw for 180 and 1 TD. Buffalo threw for 237 and 2 TD. Nebraska threw for 293 and 2 TD. Oklahoma State threw for 215 and 2 TD.

Mack Brown said in his Monday press conference that Missouri’s defense blitzes an astounding 50% of the time. If Colt McCoy gets time in those blitzes (and he will), school records might be set.

And then there are the intangibles.

Missouri will be pissed off. They’ll play a lot better than last week. But how good are they? They certainly aren’t as good as OU, so if Texas keeps up the intensity and the focus, Missouri shouldn’t be a problem.

In football, right after a turnover, one of the favorite tactics of an offensive coordinator is to catch the defense in a down mode and throw the ball deep on the very next play. Throw the ball deep. Not literally (although that could certainly help), but come out and be aggressive. Hit Missouri in the mouth just like you hit Oklahoma in the mouth. I guarantee you they aren’t as tough.

And THIS is the game where those North End Zone renovations pay off. Be loud, Texas fans. It’s not often you get to see your team as #1 against a ranked conference opponent in a national broadcast game. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Look for McCoy to solidify his Heisman run, and for Missouri’s porous defense to catch them in a second straight game.

Texas 41 Missouri 31
ATS – Texas
SU – Texas

Random Hot Dallas Chick

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for we’re number one foam fingers.

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