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Monday, August 29, 2005

Texas Football: 2005 Game-by-Game Predictions 

Sept. 3- Louisiana-Lafayette. An olfactory hodgepodge of bourbon and crawfish fills the air around DKR. Either a Louisiana team is visiting Austin or Texas fans are just trying to get rid of all the excess Cajun kits they bought a few years ago before a 65-13 loss to OU made the Sugar Bowl a pipe dream. ULaLa is known more for its funny nickname than it’s football prowess, but that doesn’t stop them from jumping out to an 3-0 lead on the opening drive. Infamous Longhorn BBS legend "TSD" tries to organize a petition drive in Sec. 4 at the 13:43 mark of the first quarter to replace offensive coordinator Greg Davis, who was obviously responsible for the ULaLa field goal, but that’s quelled when someone throws a coke on him. Texas responds in a big way when Vince Young goes 73 yards on a zone read keeper to give Texas the only points they’ll end up needing. Gene Chizik’s new defense forces six turnovers, including two interceptions from Michael Huff that end up in the end zone. Vince Young, Selvin Young and Ramonce Taylor all eclipse 100 yards before giving way to new fan favorite Henry Melton, who on top of adding 46 yards of his own in the final quarter, sets an NCAA freshman record for most heads sucked in a single game. That’s crawfish heads, by the way; the other variety’s record resides up the road in College Station. Texas 46, Louisiana-Lafayette 6.

Sept. 10- at Ohio State. Whoa Nelly, the Horns make their first trip in ages to the hotbed of Big Te(leve)n football. These teams have a lot in common: winning traditions, marquee gamebreakers, stout defenses, and the ability to score at will against Oklahoma State. Forget the Eyes of Texas; the eyes of the entire nation are focused on 2005’s premier non-conference clash. Ohio State goes on top early when Teddy Ginn finds a seam and slips by Ced Griffin. Texas answers with a 13-play drive that finds VY hitting David Thomas on a corner route to tie it at 7-7. The two squads trade field goals in the second and third quarters before Aaron Harris swings the momentum Texas’ way when he strips Troy Smith of the football in Buckeye territory. A third-down pass hits Limas Sweed in the fingertips, but he’s unable to hold on. Matters worsen when Richmond McGee’s field goal sails wide left. A suspect pass interference on third down moves Ohio State across the 50, and who else but Ginn squirms free on an end around to set up the 39-yard go-ahead field goal. VY has a little more than a minute to drive Texas 66 yards for the win, and opens with two completions to Thomas to get Texas into Buckeye territory. Taylor takes a zone read handoff down to the 34, and it looks like the Horns will settle for three points and overtime in the Horseshoe. But with twelve seconds left VY fakes the QB draw, drops back, and fires a missle toward a streaking… Limas Sweed? The sophomore that dropped the ball earlier lays out and hauls in the game-winner. Is Texas overrated? One hundred and three thousand Ohioans wouldn’t say so. Texas 20, Ohio State 16.

Sept. 17- Rice. We tailgate all day, the Horns take the field, the MOB performs at halftime, Fox Sports Net gives a crappy broadcast, and no one gets hurt. All in all it’s a successful third game, even if it is boring as hell. Texas 40, Rice 10.

Oct. 1- at Missouri. Remember when Brad Smith was a Heisman candidate? “When last we met,” Vince Young says, “I was but the learner. Now I am the master.” Smith replies: “Only a master of evil, Darth.” Actually, the Tigers have no answer for the VY Heisman Express. They also have no answer for Rod Wright, who blows up the Mizzou O-line like he’s a Tomahawk missile headed toward Baghdad. The All-American sets a career-high with four tackles for losses. Missouri adds two late touchdowns against the Texas second-string, but the Horns coast in an easier-than-it-looked win. Texas 34, Missouri 20.

Oct. 8- Oklahoma (Dallas). Seriously, who thought to schedule this at noon? NOON? Good God-a-mighty Joe Friday that’s early. The hangover’s just starting to wear off when Texas does something they haven’t done in forever (in a regular season game, anyway): return a kickoff for a touchdown. There’ll be no shutout this year, as Taylor shows that he can take it to the house against more than just the Texas reserves. OU answers quickly, however, with a long Adrian Peterson TD run. Texas fans groan – those Ruff/Nek pop guns don’t help their hangovers. Less than a minute later VY fakes the zone read and dumps a pass to Thomas, who outraces his LB coverage for yet another first – Texas’ first passing TD against OU since the 20th century. Either Texas has come to play today or else my buddy Eric's re-arrangement of our seating order has paid off. Chizik’s defensive scheme tightens up and with LBs Harris and Drew Kelson flying to the outside Bob Stoops tries running AD up the middle. Franklin Okam assures Texas fans that DTU will continue to live once Wright heads to the NFL, stuffing Peterson on consecutive red-zone dives to preserve a 17-10 halftime lead. When Huff returns his third interception for a TD midway through the third the Texas half of the stadium is rocking! There are so many “hells,” “damns,” and “craps” coming from the OU sideline you’d think Barry Switzer was still coaching. The scoreboard would dictate otherwise, at least on this day. VY adds the icing late in the game with a 35-yard TD strike to heralded RS freshman Jordan Shipley, and for the first time in years Texas fans leave the Cotton Bowl with Texas-sized grins on their faces. Texas 31, Oklahoma 17.

Oct. 15- Colorado. Tito’s and lemonade celebrates its first birthday as the official stadium drink of the LM, and just for old time’s sake Matt and I lead our section in a rousing chorus of “No means no, go Horns go.” Today it’s the Texas defense that’s saying “no.” At the half Gary Barnett’s club has mustered just 54 yards of offense, and has yet to cross midfield. The Tito’s and Lemonade might be a year older, but the Texas-Colorado performance is still the same. Despite an off-day throwing the ball, VY manages to find the end zone twice, and Taylor and Selvin Young pick up the slack with a TD run each. Katie Hnida, watching from home, laughs heartily when CU’s only trip into Texas territory results in a shanked 27-yard field goal. Texas 34, Colorado 0.

Oct. 22- Texas Tech. Two years ago the Red Raiders put a scare into the home crowd when they almost upset the Horns in Austin. That was back when Huff and Griffin were sophomores, not premier DBs looking for an NFL paycheck. Huff sews up a finalist spot in the Thorpe Award balloting with INT’s number six and seven of the season, and touchdown number four. Griffin checks in with numbers three and four, and Tarrell Brown gets his first of the year. With forced fumbles from Harris and Wright the Horns capitalize on seven Raider turnovers to build a 49-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately Texas’ second straight shut-out is foiled when with the starters long gone, mystery walk-on DB Ron Navajo allows (insert spare fifth-year senior’s name) to complete a bomb for a touchdown. Navajo is later revealed to be 13th-year senior Ron Weaver aka Ron McElvey in an exclusive breaking story on Orangebloods.com. Texas 49, Texas Tech 7.

Oct. 29- at Oklahoma State. (note: Inside Joke alert!) The LonghornFanZone.Com Bus is now two years late at Home Depot, and the employees are starting to tire of Texas Jeff and son's "Victor Naborski"-esque refugee lifestyle, as they wait for Longhorn Bob Wheeler's arrival. When the Myers Rum-induced deliria wears off and he realizes that it's OSU week, Jeff decides that he obviously just misunderstood. The bus trip was for 2005. Of course. It all makes sense now, and Jeff joyfully goes to sleep Thursday night, on his roll-away cot, dreaming of Longhorn Bob. The only joy for Cowboys fans this season is that Les Miles, who jumped ship for greener pastures in Baton Rouge, is struggling at 4-3 in the SEC. Texas fans parade around Stillwater as if they own the place. After Selvin Young’s first 200-yard rushing game, the Horns prove they at least own Boone Pickens Stadium. Congratulations to the Texas Longhorns, your 2005 Oklahoma State Champions. Texas 37, Oklahoma State 12.

Nov. 5- at Baylor. I’m not wasting my time with a game recap here. Texas 55, Baylor 3.

Nov. 12- Kansas. After a severe bout of angina pectoris, fueled by fretting over BCS conspiracy theories and too much cannelloni at Buca di Bepo, Kansas coach Mark Mangino leaves Seton Hospital just in time to watch Ramonce Taylor return his second opening kickoff of the season for six points. From there it really gets ugly. To prove his 4th and 19 last year wasn’t a fluke, Vince Young takes two delay of game penalties and converts a 20-yard QB draw, before tossing a 52-yard TD pass to Sweed. And Tarrell Brown doesn’t even allow KU receivers to push off. He steps in front of the first two passes thrown his way and shows that Huff isn’t the only Longhorn DB with skills. By the time Henry Melton comes in to clean up Mangino is feeling chest pains again. Time to go on a diet, fatass. Texas 45, Kansas 10.

Nov. 25- at Texas A&M. After surprising Oklahoma on the road, the Aggies are actually in position to win their first division title since 1998. If only Reggie McNeal really were as good as VY, it might happen. But he isn’t. The Dennis Franchione-to-Penn State rumors have the Ags distracted, and McNeal plays his worst game of the year. In trying to avoid Michael Huff McNeal tosses interceptions to every single Longhorn named Griffin – Cedric, Michael, Marcus and even back-up offensive lineman Dallas. In fact FOX threatens ABC with a lawsuit when animators run a clip of Peter Grifffin, from the hit TV show The Family Guy picking off a McNeal pass en route to the end zone. VY clinches a spot at the Downtown Athletic Club with a 14-19, 239-yard passing performance, which complements his 124 yards on the ground. Texas 27, Texas A&M 10.

Dec. 3- Iowa State (Big XII Championship, Houston). Iowa State? Hell, they couldn’t be any more pathetic than Colorado or Kansas State or whatever patsy comes from the North. I don’t care who Texas plays. It’ll be anti-climactic. Texas 38, North Scrub 13.

Jan. 4- Rose Bowl Game. Pinch me that morning and see if I’m dreaming


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