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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Texas Football: The Glorified Scrimmage 

Week Three: No. 7 Texas (3-1) v. Sam Houston State(1-1)
Last Week: Texas 37, Iowa State 14; SMU 45, Sam Houston 14
Last Meeting: Never Played
All-Time Series: Never Played

I'm not actually writing up a preview for this game. I'm embarrassed that Texas is playing a 1-AA team. Couldn't we have at least scheduled Montana State or SMU (who coincidentally drilled Sam Houston last week)? Nope.

Entertaining words from TWTWB that won't pump you up for this crappy game, but should entertain you more than the game does, especially if you can't attend the tailgate (and if you know any of our inside jokes).

What we learned last week: Michael Koenen, the Atlanta Falcons kicker who made 2 of 8 field goals in his first two games, must have been an Alabama graduate…Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is taking the Bill Parcells protégé business a little too much to heart, you don’t have to be like Tom Coughlin and the Giants and fall behind by 30 in every first half…New Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli might be compared to Peyton Manning if you use the Peyton Manning that throws interceptions for touchdowns in the wrong, wrong part of the game…Who would have thought that the Ell Roberson years would have been the good ol’ days at Kansas State?...Oklahoma can win games when they’re not giving up 500 yards of offense…7 sacks and 2.6 ypg given up and all Texas fans can talk about the days following are Greg Davis and the quarterback. It’s nice to know some things don’t change…


All we’ve heard all week (besides for the TO controversy of the week, of course) is about the Madden Curse. This curse, as it goes, causes doom to whoever is on the cover that year. Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb all have fallen victim to the Madden Curse, it goes (is the Madden Curse also racist? News at 11).

Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander is the latest cover boy for the Madden series, coming off an MVP season for the Super Bowl runner-up Seahawks. Alexander, off to a slow start this season, was diagnosed with a broken bone in his foot and listed as out indefinitely. ‘The Madden Curse reared its head again!’ was the cry on ESPN…until it came out that Alexander might even play this week for the 3-0 Seahawks.

If only we could all be so “cursed.”

But let’s take a look at some of the lesser known curses, taken straight from www.notreallywikipedia.org...

The Farmer’s Quarterly Curse- Farmer’s Quarterly has featured Texas A&M on the cover of their magazine’s annual football issues every year since 1999. Texas A&M is 45-38 during that time. Of course, it could be the rise of Texas & Oklahoma, but if you know the Aggies, nothing is ever their fault. Expect a TexAgs thread within a week proclaiming karma that Alexander was hurt when Seattle “stole” the 12th Man from the Aggies.

The HornMafia Curse- I’ve talked about the HornMafia fantasy football curse many times, dating back to when Aaron Brooks went from All-Pro to trash once I picked him up and when All-World running back Marshall Faulk hurt his knee and sent my first round pick down for the year. Well it’s spreading like herpes through Paris Hilton’s dating circle, because now teammates of my guys are getting injured. I drafted Jake Delhomme in two leagues this year figuring that having the quarterback for a team many were picking to go to the Super Bowl could never be a bad thing. Well that was until Steve Smith tore his hamstring in training camp, and then hurt his other one for good measure and the Panthers started out 0-2 and Delhomme’s numbers were pure crap. I’m sorry Steve Smith owners. Cookie?

The Steve Javie Curse- The Mavericks fall prey to this curse, which states that they can’t win a NBA Finals game in which Javie is an official. Yes, I’m still bitter.

The Great Lake State Curse- This curse states that Notre Dame must give up 30+ points to a team from Michigan. Could also describe the distance from their secondary to the opponent’s receivers.

The Chris Henry Curse- This curse says that anytime Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals throws up out the window of a car, the driver is going to jail. Poor Odell Thurman, he must not have known. Interesting note: Reggie McNeal was on the cover of Farmers Quarterly in September of 2002. It was McNeal’s car that Chris Henry threw up out of the window. Odell REALLY didn’t see it coming.

The Spike Lee Coach of the Year Curse- On Monday Night Football this week, Spike Lee said that Isiah Thomas would be Coach of the Year. Previous picks of Spike’s included Jim Cleamons, Magic Johnson, Quinn Buckner, Christopher Reeve, the CBA and Crystal Pepsi.

The Cast of Lost DUI Curse- 3 members of the cast in two years get DUIs in Hawaii. Either A.) the mass transit system over there really sucks; B.) they are stealing my idea of the Indianapolis Drunk Driving 500, C.) those damn fruity drinks are REALLY powerful or D.) they are big Cincinnati Bengals fans.

The Miller Man Law Curse- The curse reads that once you appear on these commercials your career is doomed, but I think judging by the talent assembled, they were screwed before they got here.

The Ryder Cup Curse- Apparently this one is true, because once you get named to the US Ryder Cup team, you immediately piss down your leg, can’t tell the difference between a 7 iron and a flat iron, and immediately act like the US soccer team and bow down to anything European.

The University of Phoenix Stadium Curse- Try to get cute with the name, you are screwed. Or at least you should be.

The Joe Paterno Has the Shits Curse- Penn State is 0-1 in Paterno’s 103 year career.

The ESPN Suckass Announcers Curse- See Paul McGuire replacing Ron Franklin. Horrible. Just horrible.

The Running Backs Playing Against Texas in 2006 Not Winning the Heisman Curse- Sorry Adrian. And you’re welcome, Troy.
This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Texas wins. Big.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

1/4 of the stadium is empty, and 3/4 of the 3/4 present will lose interest before the first stop in play.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

I once watched my alma mater, Temple High School, win a playoff game at Sam Houston's home stadium. I don't remember the score, but I know it was more exciting than what I'm going to see on Saturday.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"You're entering a world of pain."

Seems about right to me.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

The only board I could find was registration only, and I've spend as much time with this as I care to spend.

Random Texas-Iowa State highlight that has little to do with this game, but was sweet nonetheless

Obviously no videos exist between these two teams, so I tried finding substitutes involving executions or the electric chair, as Sam Houston State is located in the "Execution Capital of America," Huntsville, Texas. No dice. Instead enjoy this look at the firefighters of Huntsville. I'm not going to bag on firefighters (even from small towns), but the production value here is pretty badass.

Prediction: Texas 62, Sam Houston State 0

Prediction if the starters play only one quarter: Texas 59, Sam Houston State 0



Thursday, September 21, 2006

Current Events: Global Warming Not Because of Humans??? 

This, according to Colorado State professor Bill Gray, who contends that "human-induced global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media and scientists who are trying to get federal grants."

“I think we’re coming out of the little ice age, and warming is due to changes to ocean circulation patterns due to salinity variations,” Gray said. “I’m sure that’s it.”


At the breakfast, Gray said Earth was warmer in some medieval periods than it is today. Current weather models are good at predicting weather as far as 10 days in advance, but predicting up to 100 years into the future is “a great act of faith, and I don’t believe any of it,” he said.

But even if humans cause global warming, there’s not much people can do, Gray said. China and India will continue to pump out greenhouse gases, and alternative energy sources are expensive.
“Why do it if it’s not going to make a difference anyway?” he said. “Whether I’m right or wrong, we can’t do anything about it anyway.”
Interesting. I think Al Gore and the majority of scientists would probably disagree.

I agree with his assertion that there's little we can do, at least in the short term. But does that mean we don't even try? Maybe An Inconvenient Truth resonated a little too much with me, but I cannot bring myself to believe that human behavior has had no impact on global warming, or that changes in behavior could not eventually effect a positive change.

In the past few months I've turned the corner regarding global warming. I think the full truth is still out there, and maybe nature does have as much to do with it as mankind, but I refuse to call it a myth any longer. There's simply too much data to the contrary.

Until we we know for sure (if ever?), though, would it really hurt to try and find ways to conserve resources? There are little things we call do that, in the long run, that can help make a difference. Or, if you have a few extra billion dollars lying around, you can do the big things, like Virgin HMFIC Richard Branson.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Texas Football: The Iowa State Game 

Week Three: No. 7 Texas (2-1) v. Iowa State (2-1)
Last Week: Texas 52, Rice 7; Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
Last Meeting: 2003 -- Texas W 40-19
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 5-0

While Texas cruised against Rice, the rest of the Horns' conference rivals experienced anything but a leisurely weekend. To recap:

- Texas A&M became the biggest overwhelming favorite to barely escape San Antonio on the victorious end since 1836, when they survived an ambush from Army. And Dennis Franchione doesn't have the luxury of executing his detractors in the wake of less-than-glorious win, as did Santa Anna.
- Oklahoma forgot to pack KY on their trip to Eugene, Ore. It may have helped with the anal violation, but I'm not sure it would have prevented the Ducks from rolling up 500-plus yards in offense.
- Nebraska's Bill Callahan showed yet again that all NFL-turned-NCAA coaches are not created equal when his Huskers played not to lose against Pete Carroll's USC Trojans, yet never once flirted with victory.
- Texas Tech, well, didn't find the end zone against TCU. Perhaps Mike Leach took his offense out to Sundance Square on Friday night?

Right now the conference looks like Texas and the 11 dwarfs, though Mizzou's 3-0 record (along with the impressive play from new QB Chase Daniel) leaves hope that a school from among the upper six might not only find their way into the Top 25, but also stay there for more than a week or two. And if the Sooners can manage to put last week behind them (there have been more egregious officiating instances in college football history), then they could maybe make a run, too.

Entertaining words from TWTWB that won't necessarily pump you up for this week's game, but should entertain you, especially if you know some of our inside jokes

What we learned last week: Chris Leak 2006 > chocolate cheesecake > the Brad Nessler/Dick Vermeil/Ron Jaworski announcing crew > Colt McCoy 2006 > Chris Leak 2005…Notre Dame’s defense is slightly worse than the defense in Little Giants…JaMarcus Russell can throw the ball a long ways, but can he lead a team to victory in hostile territory?...Apparently having a senior quarterback is the secret at Texas Tech…Dick Bavetta’s new job = Pac 10 replay official…Major Applewhite still can’t win with Mack Brown on the field.


This week we dive into the old mailbag. Remember, these are not actual letters from actual readers. The only email I get talks of great stock finds, erectile dysfunction remedies, Jeremy reciting Ticket drops and fantasy football transactions…

Q: I bet the house when you picked Texas to beat Ohio State. Where’s my money?

Deloss D.
Austin, TX

Sorry Deloss. I had no idea that our defense was going to go Roman Polanksi on the offense and stay far, far away. You should have called the hotline and got the hot pick of that week, that a leader of a country nobody gives a shit about and that we could take out in a weekend will call George W. Bush the devil.

Q: I will kill you. And then I will kill your wife. And then I will kill your kids. And your dog. And your mailman.

Norman, OK

Forward to > gordonriese@gmail.com

Q: Can you please tell all women out there that The Last Kiss was just a movie and that there is nothing to worry about?

Matt C.

What are you talking about, Matt? Don’t you know that guys cheat on their pregnant girlfriend all the time, right about the same time that their girlfriend’s mom leaves her dad and his best buddy leaves his wife and newborn child? Most guys don’t worry about where their life is going, they only worry about: A.) Who does their favorite NFL team play this weekend? B.) What kind of beer do I need this weekend and how many? C.) Does this shirt stink? D.) If so, how much effort would it take to change to another one or wash this one?

Q: What are the rules if you lose to a girl in fantasy football?

Ken K.
Austin, TX

Sell your team to someone with a pair.

Q: As a Longhorn, how do I get up for games every week? We won the national title last year, but it looks like we might be shut out of that possibility this year. What do we do?

Duane A.
Austin, TX

Get out of the way for a fan who has a pair. Look, American Pie was great, but American Pie 2 was still pretty damn good. You can’t win the national title every year and you’ll never going to see a player like Vince Young again. Shannon Elizabeth isn’t going to get naked again, but there will be plenty of nudity to go around. Grab a beer, quit feeling sorry for yourself and go see some boobs.

Q: What do you think of the MTV show Two-a-Days?

Peter B.
Austin, TX

Other than the insane need to cut every one of those kid’s hair, I like it. You’ve got your jock who you know for him this will be the greatest year of his life followed by a year or two at Wal-Mart followed by a lengthy stint at a quick lube place (Alex), your jock who you know will end up punching his step-father in the face and returning home from college by the age of 41 (Max), you’ve got the cheerleader who will look upon this in 10 years and say “what the fuck? That was that Alex that just changed the oil in my BMW?” (Kristin), the guy that will be in the NFL sleeping with two white girls every night (Repete), you’ve got the quarterback who will still be Uncle Rico-ing everyone and telling them how he won the state championship and would have won in college if he wasn’t so terrible (Ross), and you’ve got the head coach who will likely die of a heart attack on the field (Coach Propst). What’s not to like?

Q: Who is the college version of Art Shell, the guy that doesn’t appear to be doing anything and stands there expressionless the entire game?

Bill Simmons
Los Angeles, CA

Mark Magino of Kansas. That’s only because the camera can’t fit his fatass in the entire frame and you have no idea what his expression is.

Q: Is there a sports equivalent to that guy on the conference call that won’t shut up and let you return to your desk, the guy that talks throughout the entire movie, the friend that has to try to one-up every story you tell and the guy that whines about his wife every week at the Thursday night poker game?

G. Riese
Eugene, OR

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Texas has never lost to Iowa State and that's not likely to change on Saturday. But something tells me that the 24-point spread might be a little high. The Cyclones pushed Iowa to the limit last week, and sure it was a rivalry game, but they played in Iowa City, and Iowa State kept it to within one possession until the waning minutes. If you don't think that's impressive then I should mention that the Buckeye fans I visited with two weeks ago were adament in their belief that Ohio State's road trip to Kinnick Stadium represents their toughest remaining regular season test.

Bret Meyer only threw for 152 yards against the Hawkeyes (granted his WR's didn't help him out on multiple occasions), so if the Horns can hold him to a similar total then Texas fans will have two things to cheer about: (1) Texas will win the game handily, and (2) Any concerns about the secondary after Troy Smith's performance should be at least somewhat alleviated. And Meyer is going to have to challenge the Texas DBs, because despite what their 171 rushing yards against Iowa might tell you, the Cyclones are not going to run the ball against Texas.

I think Texas depends on Colt McCoy more this week than in the Rice game. Selvin and Jamaal will get their yards, but OU looms in two weeks, and this is the last chance to work out any kinks in the passing game (Sam Houston State next week is a glorified scrimmage). It's time for McCoy to start looking further downfield than the flats, which means Jermichael Finley needs to continue the progress he showed last week. But if all else fails, you can't go wrong with the zone read to Young or Charles. Iowa State will probably hang around for a while, as they did with Iowa, but Texas will pull away in the second half.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

Longhorn fans get to see what they've been waiting for since February, when freshman LB Sergio Kindle blasts through the ISU line and buries Meyer six feet below Joe Jamail Field.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

Texas' 2002 game with Iowa State was played in a cold, steady drizzle. I bought a burnt orange poncho on the way to the stadium, and even though it looked sharp I still got soaked -- just not as soaked as Cyclone QB Seneca Wallace, who was supposed to cause the Texas defense fits, but instead sent most of his day scrambling for his life and picking himself off the ground. The Horns prevailed, 21-10. I still have the poncho sitting in a drawer. It hasn't been used since.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?"

This obviously applies as much to the Oregon-Oklahoma game as anything Texas-related, but it still fits the Horns. Texas set a school record with 19 penalties against Rice. One of them negated what would have been Aaron Ross' fourth career punt return for a TD (and second of the game). Something tells me that should the Horns show such little regard for the rules this week, mack Brown may have enter a world of pain on Sunday.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

From ISUFan22 on CycloneNation.Com.

Here is my recipe for ISU defeating Texas...

1. Penalties. In the Rice game alone, Texas committed 19 penalties for 148 yards (27 for 215 on the year, ISU has 14 for 108 ) . Few teams can overcome that, but we are talking about Texas vs. Rice here.

2. Stop the run. So far the 1-2 punch of Charles and Young has yielded 495 yards for the Longhorns. That’s some serious yardage. ISU has done very well vs. the run so far. This will be their biggest test of the season, bigger than Peterson.

3. Shut down Sweed. So far Sweed has 9 receptions for 164 yards and 3 TD’s. Next best past catcher is Young with 9 for 64. Take Sweed away from McCoy.

4. Disrupt McCoy. Looking at #3, that tells me one of two things – or both. A. McCoy either goes big to Sweed or checks down to a back or B. The Longhorns don’t have many pass catching options. I think it’s a little more of the latter, so we aught to be able to cover Sweed tight with safety help, lock a linebacker on Young and get after the QB.

5. Pass first, run second. The Texas defense is nasty, just plain nasty – the toughest we’ll face. They only allowed Ohio State 79 yards on the ground yet they did yield 269 yards in the air and 2 TD’s. I think Ohio State has a better running game that our Cyclones, so we should expect very little from Hicks on the ground. Go to the air early and often.

6. Protect the football. So far the Texas defense has only yielded 3 turnovers and they played the likes of North Texas and Rice. They had 0 takeaways vs. OSU, a fumble recovery vs. Rice and a fumble & INT vs North Texas. ISU, don’t be the team that gets the Longhorn defense going on turnovers. Only one INT for Texas? See #5.

7. More offense in the 2nd half, more first downs. Oddly enough, we’re 2nd in the Big 12 for 3rd down conversion percentage at 50% (Texas is at 41.4%) yet we’re 6th in first downs per game at 19.7 (Texas at 23). I think this relates to our 2nd half woes, so the offense needs to start and finish strong.

8. Make the pressure kick. I can only imagine that should we be in a position to win this game, Shaggy will need to make a pressure kick at some point in the game. Get that monkey off your back Shaggy!
I guess not everyone on the Internet is an idiot. That's a pretty spot-on post. I'm not sure that Iowa State would win even if they hit on all eight, but the guy makes some valid observations.

The Facts

Is this not probably the worst part of this weekly preview? I'm thinking of doing away with this section.

Random Texas-Iowa State highlight that has little to do with this game, but was sweet nonetheless

I really hope Saturday's game isn't as close as this NCAA '07 production, but pickings are slim when it comes to finding highlights between these two teams, and the Fitty Cent soundtrack is a nice touch.

Prediction: Texas 30, Iowa State 7



Thursday, September 14, 2006

Texas Football: The Rice Game 

Week Three: No. 8 Texas (1-1) v. Rice (0-2)
Last Week: Ohio State 24, Texas 7; UCLA 26, Rice 16
Last Meeting: 2005 -- Texas 51, Rice 10
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 66-21-1

Well, last week was a downer. But as someone once said, "you can't win'em all." I want to kick that guy in the nuts.

Ohio State was the better team, but Texas didn't exactly play like the defending National Champs. Still, there are plenty of games to be played, and with a big weekend of college football action looming, the Horns might even jump up a few spots in the rankings.

Speaking of, exactly why did Texas deserve to drop to No. 8? Yeah, they lost by 17, but look at everything but the final score and they at least held their own with the top-ranked team in the country. And since when is losing to the best team in the country such a terrible thing? It's by no means a good thing, of course, but there's a reason OSU is ranked above everyone else.

I don't think it matters, and I'm not losing sleep over it, but it's just something I'm throwing out there.

This week sees Texas travel to Reliant Stadium to face their old SWC nemesis, Rice. The Owls are actually the only former SWC school not in the Big XII to give Texas a game since the old conference disbanded. It took five TDs from Ricky Williams to squeak the Horns past Rice, 35-28, in 1997. Yeah, that's the season we don't want to admit ever happened, save for the fact it led Mack Brown to Austin.

Motivating words from TWTWB that will pump you up for this week's game

This is such a lackluster game that Matt is still working on TWTWB as I write this. Of course his business trip to Muncie, IN, or wherever the hell it was, contributed, too. But I think I hear him in the other room, interviewing the great Roxy Roxborough.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Texas is going to be pissed. And Rice still sucks, even though they may have made a positive coaching move in the offseason (if nothing else new head coach Todd Graham -- who shares a surname with Rice baseball coach Wayne Graham, the only Owl coach to win a national title in any sport -- has the name thing going for him).

Of course that won't mean squat when Rice takes the field Saturday night (neither will the fact that Rice has former Texas QB Major Applewhite calling the plays). The Owls, who honestly have played well in both of their 2006 losses, will face the wrath of a team that's looking to put their first loss in 22 games behind them. And unless Texas more resembles a paper tiger than a sleeping lion, that doesn't bode well for Rice.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

Watch newly reinstated CB Tarrell Brown intercept a pass and take it all the way back for a TD. Then watch 65,000 Texas fans groan, and think what might have been.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

I have two:

1. My first Texas-Rice game came in 1993. Even the Texas radio guys expected a tight game (one or two of them thought the Owls might pull the upset). The Texas came out and mauled them, 55-38. It was actually a boring game. The true highlight of the night came during halftime, when the MOB (Marching Owl Band) featured a kick-ass halftime show parodying the Beavis and Butt-head phenomenom, with their "Bevo and Burr-head" perfromance. I'll gve it up to Rice -- for a school that hasn't beatedn Texas A&M in, well, maybe my entire lifetime, they have a knack for making fun of the Aggies.

2. In 1994 Texas found a way to lose to Rice, 19-17, on national television. But it wasn't until a few months ago, when a former player from that team came to work for me, that I really understood how such a travesty could occur. You may remember that John Mackovic suspended several players for that game -- most notably WRs Mike Adams and Lovell Pinkney. So when the Horns conducted their pre-trip walkthrough the remaining players were significantly un-motivated for the Owls. This led to Mackovic telling them, "anyone who doesn't want to go to Houston just get off of the bus right now." The majority of the team got up to file off, leading Mackovic, a noted non-swearer, to yell, "Get your ISSES back on the bus." Mackovic's flat team embarressed their ISSES that night on ESPN2 in a monsoon. Thanks, John.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"And dude, the preferred nomenclature is Asian-American."

I mention this one only because back in the days before PC, Texas A&M used to chant, "what comes out of a Chinaman's ass? RICE!" I thought it somewhat apropriate.

The Facts

- Major Applewhite would have to suit up for this one in order for Rice to even keep it close.
- He's not, and this game is not going to be close.
- There are plenty of good games on this Saturday, so I'm not going to fault you if you just check the Texas-Rice score on occasion.
- Reliant Stadium is a beautiful place, if you like football stadiums that more resemble shopping malls than football stadiums.

Random Texas-Rice highlight that has little to do with this game, but was sweet nonetheless

Prediction: Texas 52, Rice 12



Sunday, September 10, 2006

Texas Football: It Had to Happen Eventually... 

Eight thoughts about the Texas-Ohio State game

1. Ohio State has a great team. Teddy Ginn looks like a great WR instead of just a great athlete playing WR, and Troy Smith is one of best QBs in college football. And that defense is a lot better then what I, or anyone else that cited an inexperienced defense, gave them credit for.

2. Colt McCoy will be fine. We had a pretty vanilla gameplan, but I don't think that's why we lost. McCoy, relatively speaking, played well enough to win. Dropped passes and the holding penalty that nullified his heady third quarter scramble hurt us much more than offensive scheming. And as I mentioned the OSU defense was stout.

3. Tarrell Brown's absence hurt. But Drew Kelson's absence hurt, too. I can't help thinking that the speed and coverage savvy that he showed against Reggie Bush in the Rose Bowl would have helped against Ginn and Gonzalez. Ginn absolutely burned Aaron Ross on the TD catch in the waning seconds of the first half.

4. The Texas run defense played very well (2.7 YPC for OSU). The pass defense wasn't as sharp, but then again they weren't at full strength. I don't want to seem like I'm making excuses, but Gene Chizik's defenses had won something like 26 consecutive games, so the fact that Buckeye WRs consistently had a ten to fifteen yard cushion tells me that it was probably the personnel (conceding the short pass to guard against the bomb) more so than our ability to effectively scheme against Ohio State's offense, and that was particularly true in the second half. Whichever it is, there's no denying that the Bucks have an incredibly talented offense.

5. Positives I'm taking from this game:
- Selvin Young looked good. He seems to have completely returned to the form he showed as a freshman.
- I'll put our defensive front seven up against anyone in the country. Antonio Pittman is a good running back, and he had no room to run at all. And the Horns managed to sack Smith three times, despite rarely blitzing (all three sacks came from DEs).
- The offensive line held up against a constant barrage from the Buckeyes, who blitzed relentlessly, allowing just one sack. And they led the way for a ground game that averaged 5.5 YPC.
- If nothing else the big-game experience can only help McCoy's development. That's important, as the Horns still have Oklahoma in Dallas, as well as road trips to Lincoln and Lubbock.
- Hopes for a national title repeat probably disappeared last night, but you never know. Yet the Horns still look like a team that can, and probably should, win the Big XII. Based on the first two weeks the conference looks a lot better than it did last season, but Texas stood toe-to-toe with the best team in the country for 57 of 60 minutes, and they're not going to face another opponent of that caliber until January (hopefully).

6. Things that worry me moving forward:
- Brown's status. Texas has a stable of talented DBs, but like offensive line and QB, defensive back is not a position that many inexperienced players usually step into and immediately dominate. The Horns can get survive most of the Big XII schedule while Brandon Foster and Ryan Palmer get on-the-job training (or waiting for true freshmen Chykie Brown and/or Deon Beasley to emerge), until they roll into Lubbock to face Mike Leach's quintet of WR's in his 7-on-7 offense.
- Has Greg Davis reverted to the Greg Davis of old? I'm not going to hop on the resurrected anti-GD bandwagon just yet, because I understand that a redshirt freshman making his second collegiate start is not going to have the same command of your offense as that guy named Young, but I reserve the right to change my mind if we're dinking and dumping the ball down the field two months from now.

7. The vast majority of Ohio State fans I encountered were great. From the tailgating scene beforehand to the walk to the stadium to the game to the walk back afterward, it was just a great day for football. A Buckeye fan described it as a "mutual admiration society" on one of the OSU boards I visited today, and I think that's fitting. They have a great program, and after witnessing yesterday's game I have a new outlook on Buckeye football. I know about the hooror stories from the game in Columbus, but the 15K or so of Bucknuts that made it to Austin represented their team and school well. I saw a lot of pasion, a lot of pride, and I truly hope that Ohio State fans had a similar opinion of the Orangebloods that they met.

8. Texas-Ohio State was everything that is good about college football, and every real fan of the game deserves to be a part of what I got to experience on Saturday. In all of the years I've tailgated before Texas games I've never seen an atmosphere as lively and adrenaline-filled as what I witnessed from about noon until the final seconds ticked off of the clock. There are big games, but No. 1 versus No. 2 in the middle of September between two of college football's most storied programs doesn't come along very often. Football players go to big-time programs to play in those types of games. Fans shell out full paychecks to attend those types of games. And networks spend millions for the rights to broadcast those types of games. Sure, there's a downside in that you might lose, but in my opinion it's well worth the risk. Three weeks from Texas hosts Sam Houston State. There is absolutely no comparing the Sam Houston State to Ohio State. I'd honestly rather play the latter and lose than play the former and win.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Texas Football: The Ohio State Game 

Week Two: No. 2 Texas (1-0) v. No. 1 Ohio State (1-0)
Last Week: Texas 56, North Texas 7; Ohio State 35, Northern Illinois 12
Last Meeting: 2004 -- Texas 25, Ohio State 22
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 1-0

It's Here.

Number One versus Number Two.

The Game of the Year.

(At least until ESPN crowns Notre Dame-USC with that title later this Fall).

Hell Yes!

Last year Texas eked out a thrilling win against the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe. Each team gave it their best, evenly battling for almost 60 minutes. Then Texas, as they would do later in the season against USC, found a way to turn the tide late in the game. Vince Young led the Horns down the field and threw a perfect TD strike to Limas Sweed. The Texas defense held and tarnished the Buckeyes' perfect record under the lights in the Horseshoe.

That was last year.

When Texas and Ohio State met in 2005 they played to see who would have the inside track to meet USC in Pasadena. But the college landscape in 2006 is vastly different. As many as a dozen teams appear capable of running the table, including the two that will meet at DKR-Memorial Stadium Saturday night. In fact, you could say that these are the only two teams that truly control their own destiny in the quest to end up in the BCS Championship game.

How big is this game?

Tempers are already flarng. The stress is unbelievable, and everyone involved feels the weight of uncertainty looming. And I'm just talking about the tailgating situation. (Brief aside: people started lining up Wednesday morning, and I think I've aged about ten years fretting over whether or not we'll secure even half of our normal spots from the fraternity kids that are squatting our entire lot).

The big story this week has been the arrest and subseuent suspension of Texas DB's Tarrell Brown (whose two claims to fame thus far in his career include (1) being the victm of the controversial offensive PI call that steamed Kansas coach Mark Mangino in 2004, and (2) breaking his arm colliding with a teammate on Dwayne Jarret's not-quite-nail-in-the-coffin TD in last season's Rose Bowl) and Tyrrell Gatewood (who has no claim to fame). It's almost been refreshing to hear their late-night exploits will be the reason we're going to lose, rather than the parrot-like squawking regarding our inexperience at QB. Frankly, I don't think either of the above doom us to an automatic loss, but what do I really know?

Well, I know this: these are two damn good football teams.

Motivating words from TWTWB that should pump up any Texas fan who isn't already teeming with excitement about this week

(and if you aren't then seriously, check your pulse, or start watching non-World Cup soccer).

San Antonio de Valero Mission

It was a lonely mission sitting on the grassy plains of South Texas, once used for the education of Native Americans by the Spanish empire. It’s name is said to come from the Spanish word Alamo (cottonwood) after the grove of nearby trees outside the stone walls. In Arabic, alamut has a simple meaning.

The Fortress.

The Alamo was held by Spanish forces until December of 1835 when it was surrendered to Texas forces. General William B. Travis entered the building on February 23, 1835 and led 187 men in the battle of their lives against the oppression of the Spanish army. Though their fight was valiant, it was an uphill battle.

On March 6, 1836, it fell.

170 years, 6 months, 3 days later….

Ohio State comes to town.

I’m not going to pretend that a football game is anywhere near as important as a battle for your freedom and your life, but what are we as writers if we can’t be a little hyperbolic every now and then?

We fought in Austin, Columbus, Dallas, Columbia, Stillwater, Waco, College Station, Houston and Pasadena for what every Longhorn fan will tell you was rightfully ours last season.

The national championship trophy.

And now, in our sports world = the battlefield world of metaphors, Saturday the Longhorns will hunker down for the battle of their life against the #1 team in the country. The I will be dotted on the DKR Memorial Stadium field for the first and perhaps last time. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressell will be roaming the sidelines in his trademark sweater vest, but if you look hard enough you can probably catch a glimpse of Woody Hayes over there in his trademark black tie. Close your eyes and you can probably hear Archie Griffin and Howard “Hopalong” Cassady hitting the shoulder pads of their teammates getting themselves fired up for the game.

I’ve always wondered what it would have been like to be standing watch on the Alamo walls late at night. You’re sitting there with the little bit of food you have, talking to someone from Tennessee or Georgia or Kentucky or any other state you’ve never visited. You’ve got your buckshot gun and knife and the sound you hear is deafening.


You know they’re out there. But you don’t see it until the sun comes up one cold February morning.

The enemy. Thousands of them.

Time to get ready. Because they’re coming.

They’re coming from skull session, where the “Best Damn Band in the Land” will play The Buckeye Battle Cry, form in rows of 12 to the drum cadence and mass on the stadium ramp, where they’ll proceed to set the tempo to 180 beats a minute. The percussion section leader will yell, “DRUMS ON THE SIDE”, and the band will march on the field, chanting “O-H-I-O, OHIO, O-H-I-O, OHIO”…they’ll dot the I on our field.

They’re coming.

They’re coming from Glenville, Ohio, where Troy Smith ruled the gridiron on Friday nights. They’re coming from Cleveland, Ohio, where Teddy Ginn first dreamed of playing in games like this. They’re coming from Akron, Ohio, where Antonio Pittman ran through defenses like a hot knife through butter.

They want what you’ve got. What you’ve worked your ass off for.

Enjoy it, Texas fans. This has never happened before. It will never happen again.

I said it last week, I’ll probably say it until it’s no longer of use.

Come and take it.

But good luck doing it on Texas soil.
William B. Travis would be proud. Well, he may be more of a Gamecocks fan. Still...

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Both teams will match strength against strength, and weakness against weakness, this weekend. The Buckeyes showed the kind of offensive explosiveness you might expect last week. But except for one lull of a series, Texas didn't allow the Mean Green room to breathe, much less move the ball. Even without Tarrell Brown the Texas defense is incredibly fast and physical, and Ohio State won't be able to move th chains with ease. As far as Teddy Ginn is concerned, they guy is a phenomenal athlete, but he still hasn't poven himself to be a great WR, and in last year's game he was a non-factor.

On the other side of the ball, Ohio State showed that the stout defense from a year ago isn't quite what it was when NIU's Garrett Wolfe did his best Barry Sanders impression. Texas' running game, meanwhile, never managed to dominate North Texas the way it probably expected to dominate. Both units are no doubt better than what they showed a week ago, but who will ultimately win the battle of the trenches? Whichever team does will probably win the game.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

Ohio State fans are not going to believe what they're seeing when they first lay eyes on Godzillatron. As for the game... I have a feeling that a big play is going to decide this one. Let's say that Aaron Ross takes a punt back for a TD to give the Horns a lead.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

Last year my friends and I watched the game at Wizard's in Dallas. When Ohio State erased a 10-point deficit with their second touchdown a jorts-clad Buckeye fan with a goatee walked by and made a remark to our table. I stood up and told him, in no certain terms, to get lost. Later he came to apologize, but I wasn't having any of it. But by the time we won he was amicable and even complimentary of our team, plus he offered a jagerbomb as a peace offering. Now that I accepted. The guy also lost a bet with a friend and had to take a pie in the face as a result. He asked that I do the honors. I told him to come by our tailgate next season for the sequel.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"Yeah, well, that's just your opinion, man."

This one needs no clarification. Most people outside of Austin expect Ohio State to win. Look for ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit to drool all over himself as he praises his alma mater and pronounces their superioirty to Texas Saturday morning on College Gameday. Lucky for us the Horns abide.

The Facts

- Ted Ginn is fast. Limas Sweed is fast.
- Colt McCoy is inexperienced. 80% of Ohio State's defense is inexperienced.
- Jim Tressel has a natonal title. Mack Brown has a national title.
- Last week's showings will have little to no effect on what happens Saturday.
- The whole country will be watching this game.
- Texas is undefeated all-time versus Ohio State.
- I successfully predicted Texas to win this game last year.

Just in Case You Forgot

Prediction: Texas 17, Ohio State 16



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