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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Current Events: An Airing of Grievances 

Am I the only one that gets annoyed at the non-Christian backlash over Christmas?

Walking through the mall you're much more likely to hear "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" as you are "O Holy Night." And as I'm sure is the case for many of you, my company won't even let us call next week's Christmas party a Christmas party, for fear of offending someone.

Townhall.com's Janet LaRue writes about several organizations' partnership to "keep Christ in Christmas" in her latest column. It's nothing new; you'll no doubt read many similar columns between now and Dec. 25. But she does make several points that caught my eye (though she doesn't cite specific sources).

The purpose of the joint Christmas project is to clear up misconceptions about
seasonal religious expression on public property:

• The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that public schools must ban the singing of religious Christmas carols or prohibit the distribution of candy canes or Christmas cards.
• School officials do not violate the Constitution by closing on religious holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.
• School officials are not legally obligated to recognize all other religious holidays simply because they officially recognize Thanksgiving or Christmas.
• School officials may use "Christmas Vacation" to refer to the December holiday break without offending the Constitution.
• Government-sponsored Christmas displays are not banned as some people believe. When faced with the question of whether a Christmas display is constitutional, a court simply asks, "Is the government celebrating the holiday or promoting religion?

I almost want to set up a Nativity scene in my office.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Texas Football: Do We Really Have to go to a Bowl? 

The DMN says it's either the Alamo Bowl or Gator Bowl for the Horns.

If West Virginia loses to Rutgers on Saturday, Texas (9-3) is Gator Bowl-bound, the sources said. If West Virginia beats Rutgers, the Gator probably will take the Mountaineers.

Most Texas fans don't even know that the Gator Bowl now has a tie-in with the Big 12 (they're required to take a Big 12 team twice every four years), so it would come as a shock to thousands if the Horns ended up in Jacksonville. And that doesn't even count the thousands of former t-shirt fans that have already dumped their burnt orange and cleared the shelves at every local Academy Sports & Outdoors of all available maroon, in anticipation of the Aggies' trip to San Diego to get their asses kicked by Cal.

Anyway, with the Cotton and Holiday Bowls seemingly out of the picture, let's look at the pros and cons of Texas' potential postseason destinations (keeping in mind that the Dallas Morning News does make mistakes, from time to time)..

Alamo Bowl

Opponent: Iowa (6-6)
Last Trip: Never Been
All-Time Record vs. Iowa: 0-1
Last Meeting: L 55-14 in 1984 Freedom Bowl

Pros: Cheap tickets; Good Tex-Mex; The Alamodome sells beer; An opponent so inferior that complete lack of motivation on the part of Texas players may not be enough to completely kill any chance of victory; Bad taste left from '84 blowout loss might encourage a throng of geezers (or dorks like myself) to attend, in hopes that guys who weren't alive back then might want to exact revenge; Possibility of a football-basketball doubleheader between state's most successful college football program and state's most successful NBA franchise.

Cons: Everything about The Alamodome that doesn't involve it selling beer; driving in San Antonio; A 6-6 opponent; The potential for losing to a 6-6 opponent; Seeing Manu Ginobli's face everywhere; Having to witness Big Ten football live agast a team not named Ohio State or Michigan; Going from "The Grandaddy of the All" to "The Abuelo of them All"; Having to play in the Alamo Bowl.

Gator Bowl

Opponent: Clemson (8-4)
Last Trip: 1974 (L 27-3 v. Auburn)
All-Time Record vs. Clemson: 0-0
Last Meeting: Never Played

Pros: Texas has won two consecutive out-of-state bowl games, and three of its last four; The Horns have yet to lose to a first-time opponent this century (Michigan '04, Ohio State '05, Sam Houston State '06); Florida is supposedly nice this time of year; Opens a potential recruiting pipeline into SEC territory (should also be an easy trip for Texas' prized '07 recruit, and Florida native, John Brantley); Not having to play in the Alamo Bowl.

Cons: Clemson is better than Iowa; Who wants to spend New Year's Eve in Jacksonville?; No Tex-Mex; Clemson's purple uniforms = blech;

The Reality?

West Virginia is going to dominate Rutgers, unless they pull a Texas and decide not to show up for two consecutive games (South Florida upended the Mountaineers last weekend). So it's more than likely off to San Antonio.

Enchliadas, Margaritas, and boring, meaningless football. Oh well, the tickets will be cheap... and plentiful.


Monday, November 27, 2006

MLB: Move Over, Cecil Fielder... 

It's never been a better time to be a major league free agent.

Continuing the string of absurd contract offers (Juan Pierre at $9M per? Gary Matthews, Jr, for $11M per?), the Astros signed rotund slugger Carlos Lee to a six-year, $100M deal on Friday (that's $417K per pound, by the way).

It's easy to get bogged down in thinking about how much Lee might improve an anemic Astros offense, or how his mammoth contract might affect future roster improvements. But my friend Jeremy asks the question we're all really wondering:
Given that it's Carlos Lee, did anyone else picture Lee quantifying his new contract like the Wendy's commercial? "That's 50,000,000 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and 50,000,000 Frosty's. Mmmmm . . ."
Kinda makes me hungry.


NFL: Peter King is a Romosexual 

From this week's MMQB:

4. Dallas (7-4). You tell me one team below here that you think would beat Tony Romo on a neutral field. Can't find one, can you? I spent five minutes trying to justify putting Dallas ahead of Indy or Baltimore, to be honest with you, and very nearly did it.
Romo has been a pleasant surpise for Cowboys fans in 2006, but I wonder how quickly people will hop off of the bandwagon when he eventually has a bad game.

I must admit now that I, too, am a Romosexual. I'm not planning my Super Bowl party just yet (Marion Barber and Julius Jones, and the Dallas secondary will have as much to say about the Cowboys' playoff fortunes as Romo will), but it has been refreshing to see Romo make heady plays in pressure situations, as opposed to watching Drew Bledsoe throw the ball out of bounds, orfall limply to the gound like a sniper victim any time a defensive lineman got him in his sights.

ETA: King also named Romo the co-offensive player of the week, along with Vince Young, who led the Titans from a 21-0 hole to win 24-21. Said King: "I never thought I would say this, but in his rookie year, for one game, Vince Young had a quarterback rating over 100." Funny that Young had his breakout NFL game just two days after his old college team showed just how much they missed his presence.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Texas Football: Reflections on 2006 

There are disappointing losses, depressing losses, and deflating losses. Ohio State was the first kind, Kansas State the second, and Texas A&M the third.

Losing to the Buckeyes was far from enjoyable, but they had a better team than Texas. They've since proven that with an undefeated season and berth in the BCS Championship game.

Kansas State, though a far inferior team, took advantage of turnovers and sloppy play, and ultimately derailed the national title game rematch aspirations of a team obviously looking too far ahead of themselves. That the Wildcats lost to Kansas the following week reinforced the fluke nature of their victory against Texas, but it didn't change the outcome.

The worst part about losing to Texas A&M wasn't the loss itself, nor was it the lost opportunity of defending the 2005 Big 12 title. What I found most deflating was that Texas had the chance to put a depressing loss behind them, and move on to salvage a very good season. Instead they played with such little intensity that I could hardly bring myself to feel much of anything afterward. As several of my friends and I commented, "Why should we care if the team obviously didn't?"

So as a Texas fan, that's where I am right now: not mad, or disappointed, or depressed. Just deflated.
I don't like to second guess coaches. The worst Division 1 football coach has forgotten more football then I will ever know. But I do wonder why the Texas coaching staff stuck with Colt McCoy on Friday. He had no zip on his passes, and his erratic play suggested that he was far from 100% healthy. Colt is a winner, and he'll live in Longhorn lore for years to come, but did he give us the best opportunity to win on Friday?
Was the Texas pass defense really as bad as it seemed this year? Injures in the secondary and lineacking corps played a role, but the Horns still had far too much talent to rank in the bottom quarter of pass defenses. The luster has begun to tarnish with Gene Chizik and Duane Akina, and now they have to rebuild the entire unit. Texas has an abundance of talented young DBs (Robert Joseph, Chykie Brown, Deon Beasley, etc.), but will they be able to step in and play at the level needed to keep this from being a weakness in 2007?
I'm not gong to play the "Would VY have made a difference?" game, but it was clear that in his void no one stepped up to take control when things went south.
Texas had no business losing to Kansas State or Texas A&M. Period. But they also proved that they were not among the elite teams in the country. In the end their record was about what it should have been (maybe 10-2), but that doesn't make losses to inferior teams easier to swallow.
My comment during the Spring Game that "Jamaal Charles will leave the 40 Acres no worse than the third-best RB to ever play here" seems laughable in retrospect. Neither Charles nor Selvin Young ever showed any explosiveness in 2006. For Jamaal's sake I hope he bounces back in 2007, because the Horns have a stable of potential stars at the position, and if Vondrell McGee can make it happen when Jamaal can't then so be it.
Some might say that the 2006 Horns took a step backward. But that's not necessarily true. The wins in Lincoln and Lubbock were exhilirating, if nothing else. Aaron Ross and Justin Blalock put together All-American seasons. And OU still sucks. Was 9-3 a great season? No. Not on the heels of a national title. But it was far from a poor season.
That said I have little confidence that this team will win a bowl game. The situation bears too strong a resemblance to 1999, which not coincidentally was the last time Texas lost consecutive games. Bowl games are glorified exhibitions, and when a team has nothing to play for they usually don't win. Show me what this team has to play for and maybe I'll think differently.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Texas Football: The Texas A&M Game 

Week Twelve: No. 11 Texas (9-2) vs. Texas A&M (8-3)
Last Game: Kansas State 45, Texas 42; Nebraska 28, Texas A&M 27
Last Meeting: 2005 -- Texas 40, Texas A&M 29
All-Time Series: Texas leads 73-34-5

The last time Texas A&M defeated Texas on the football field:

Bill Clinton inhabited the White House.

Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq.

The World Trade Center stood, and a majority of Americans had never heard the name Osama bin Laden.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire ruled the American airwaves.

Some people actually feared Y2K.

Colt McCoy was in 8th grade.

Hullabaloo! The way this series has gone the past six seasons it seems conceivable that Colt Jr. might be in the 8th grade before Texas A&M defeats the Longhorns once again.

Some might say that Texas' recent ownership of A&M is the benefit of a momentum swing similar to what Oklahoma employed in its five-year reign of dominance against the Horns from 2000-04. But is that an accurate analogy? The Texas-Oklahoma series often sees one team or the other string together wins in consecutive seasons. The "Lone Star Showdown," on the other hand, has been decidely one-sided in favor of the Horns, save for the Aggies' four-out-of-six year run from 1975-80, and the ten A&M wins in the eleven seasons from 1984-94, which just happened to coincide with the modern-day nadir of Texas football.

Of Texas A&M's two victories in the past eleven years, one came against a 4-7 Texas team playing out the string in the last few feeble moments of the John Mackovic era. The other came when the stars aligned in a game that none of us thought ultimately mattered, given the tragic circumstances of the occasion, until Ja'mar Toombs' celebratory throat-slash gesture made us remember that no matter what the Aggies hate us.

During these eleven years Texas has: made Top 10 finishes routine, won two conference titles (with a potential third on the horizon), seen one star win a Heisman and another finish second, and captured the school's fourth national title. Texas A&M has fired its most successful coach, seen the lion's share of top talent enroll in Austin instead of College Station, and annually found themselves in the Big 12 South's cellar, relegated to rival status with Baylor. Even during UT's darkest days of the 80s and 90s A&M didn't enjoy such a chasm of separation.

With all of this said does anyone really expect Texas A&M to walk into Royal-Memorial Stadium and win?

While I'm thankful for Matt's TWTWB, he's still writing it and I'm leaving town Tuesday night (hence I'm posting this on Monday)

So... Maybe I'll post it later this week. Keep checking back (and not just because I'm trying to drive up my traffic).

The Forrest Gump "That's All I've Got to Say About That" Section

Texas played poorly against Kansas State. The O-Line looked bad; the receivers dropped balls; the linebackers didn't help much with coverage; and the secondary looked lost. In fact you could as far as to say that Billy Pittman and the four starting defensive linemen acounted for the only positives of the night.

All things considered Texas' latest foray into Manhattan represented a Murphy's Law maelstrom. But you knew when Louisville lost that strange things were afoot. Then Auburn lost, Florida escaped, and Cal went down. And just when I thought I was about ten minutes away from finally getting over the 2001 Big 12 title game, the weird confluence of providence met coincidence, and my burnt orange blinders were all that prevented me from seeing what should have been painfully obvious: we were screwed.

Give K-State credit for playing hard (and then going soft in a subsequest loss to Kansas). Give Texas credit for playing themselves out of the national title hunt (a week before Michigan's moral victory would have made our loss moot anyway). Five sacks allowed, four penalties for 40 yards, 3 touchdowns allowed in three minutes during the third quarter, two fumbles in that span, and one punt blocked.

Or was it a partridge in a pear tree? Eiher way it was Merry freakin' Christmas in Manhattan.

In retrospect the one non-Texas game of the evening that bore the most intrigue for Longhorn fans was Boise State's come-from-behind win over San Jose State. Now Texas will almost certainly play the Broncos (?) should they get past A&M and Nebraska.

Happy freakin' New Year in Glendale.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Stephen McGee did his damndest to ruin Texas' Rose Bowl bid last season at Kyle Field. "At Kyle Field" is the key part of that statement. Here's how the Ags have fared in Austin since the last time they won here:

1996: L 51-15
1998: L 26-24
2000: L 43-17
2002: L 50-20
2004: L 26-13

They're not exactly losing squeakers in most of their games at DKR. But anyway, McGee did play a hell of a game, before Michael Huff and Michael Griffin tag-teamed to scramble his brains with about seven concussion-level hits. Now McGee and the Aggies average 203 yards per game through the air, which very well may translate to 300 yards the way Texas' secondary has fared, but A&M has always won games on the ground. That doesn't bode well for them when they take the field against the nation's second-ranked run defense.

Should A&M come out and do to Texas' defense what Ohio State did to Michigan's top-ranked run defense then the Aggies have very good reason to feel optimistic. But McGee is no Troy Smith; Javorskie Lane is no Antonio Pittman; and no one in that receiving corps is even remotely close to Ted Ginn Jr or Anthony Gonzalez. Texas, therefore, isn't going to have to respect A&M's pass offense to the point that it adversely affects their ability to stop the run.

And did I mention that Colt McCoy is playing this week? So unless everyone in burnt orange decides to play as bad as they did two weeks ago then prepare for consecutive win number seven.

If that's enough here are some more (admittedly irrelevant) stats

Texas A&M hasn't beaten a ranked Texas team in Austin since 1984. Nobody playing in this week's game could even walk when it happened. Most had not yet even "swum the channel."

Texas has not lost consecutive regular season games since September of 1998. Texas A&M has lot its last two games.

Texas A&M needs one more victory to reach nine wins for the season. It would mark their first nine-win season since 1998. Texas has won nine games in nine consecutive seasons (counting this season).

Dennis Franchione has never beaten Mack Brown. Mack Brown has never lost to Texas A&M at home.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

If you've forgotten, this section of the column celebrates its namesake's sixth anniversary this week. See my UNT preview for the backstory.

I don't think I'm going to include this section in 2006 (the whole column will probably get a facelift), because the joke has run its course and I'm never even close on the "premonitions." But for old time's sake...

Michael Griffin picks off McGee's first pass and returns it for a touchdown.

Oh, snap. Now it's going to happen, and y'all are going to have to endure more lame predictions each week.

A look back at my last Texas A&M preview

I'll admit, this is juvenile and not very well-written. But I don't care. It was written two years ago, after all, and I like to think I've matured as a writer (somewhat).

There's an old joke that asks, "how many Texas A&M Aggies does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 50 -- One to insert the bulb and 49 to call it a tradition." In College Station, Texas, they certainly fancy themselves purveyors of tradition. Let's take a look at some of them:

The Corps: This glorified ROTC group exemplifies all that is wrong with Texas A&M. Whether it's showing their bravado by brandishing swords against opposing cheerleaders, or defending their field against opposing fans by inciting a riot, the Corp of Cadets frequently finds ways to embarrass their school. Don't forget the goofy little uniforms and buzzcuts. They're really sweet.

Revielle: As the highest-ranking officer in the Corps, all cadets are required to salute Revielle, and legend has it that if she barks during class then the class is immediately dismissed. She's a menacing figure on the Aggie sidelines, for sure, though I have to ask: if a ten-year old Timmy could handle Lassie without a problem, why does it take 20 cadets to guard Revielle?

Kyle Field: Hey, did you know that Kyle Field is a memorial to WWII veterans and no one is allowed to walk on the field? Hey, do the Aggies know that half the stadiums in America are memorials to veterans and their monument to poor architecture is in no way special?

Aggie Muster: Now this is actually a great tradition (all the lights on campus are turned out and a roll sheet is read of all former Aggies that have passed away over a given time period), so I won't rag on it.

Yell Leaders: Only men can be cheerleaders at Texas A&M. They dress up in ice cream uniforms and say things like "hullabaloo" and "whoop." There's no word on how many former yell leaders are now in therapy, or manning sno-cone stands across the Lone Star State. Yes, Ags, I know that current Gov. Rick Perry is a former Yell Leader, but future Gov. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a former UT cheerleader. Besides, erry has made a habit of flashing the "Hooke'Em Horns" sign at public gatherings. Good luck getting Kay to "whoop" any time soon.

Yell Practice: In case these college-educated students have forgetten how to yell, the Aggies hold a practice before each game. It's quite comical. If you've never attended, then read about it here.

Fightin' Texas Aggie Band: The Corps of Cadets consists of soldier wannabes, while the band consists of Corps wannabes. If you've never seen the Aggie band (or a junior high band perform a John Phillips Sousa medley) then you don't know what you're missing. As Trey McLean says in his weekly Texas Tailgate Talk, "Make sure you stick around and see the most heavily armed college band in the country turn to the right with predictable regularity and dazzling accuracy at halftime."

t.u.: In a clever juvenile manner, Aggies like to refer to daddy as "t.u." It's apparently funny to change the letters around in UT. I get that, because I love to refer to the Aggies as "m&a" and then snicker like a 12-year old girl.

TexAgs: The next time Bill Simmons updates his "unintentional comedy scale," I hope he's visited the forums here first, particularly the "rivalries" board. You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and penis envy.

The Aggie War Hymn: Hullabaloo Caneck Train Wreck. This boring 4/4 ditty takes twelve mintes to play, spouts off nonsensical words, reeks of obsession with the University of Texas, elicits nauseating mass swaying among Aggie fans and bears an uncanny resemblance to the theme from Yogi Bear (right-click to save), who is obviously smarter than your average Aggie.

Standing Up all Game: Strike another blow for creativity. Aggies stand the entire game, except when the opposing band takes the field. Imagine that. If someone learns of another school where students stand all game then let me know. Of course I'll need proof if I'm going to believe something so outlandish.

12th Man: The whole legend about E. King Gill and how he came out of the stands to help his team is an endearing story. In recent times, I'll bet any of a number of Aggie students could have come out of the stands and given a better effort than the Aggies in uniform.

"Spirit of Aggieland": Aggies never leave early, or so they say. But the past few years, a lot of them never showed up in the first place. And I saw plenty of empty seats in the fourth quarter of last year's 46-15 Texas win.

I could go on and on, as the Aggies only have a few hundred more traditions. But I hardly need to continue making fun of them when they do such a great job of making themselves look ignorant. However, there is one last tradition that, though the Aggies fail to embrace it, has become synonymous with Texas A&M University...

The Aggie Joke: My current favorite... Did you hear that they're relieved in College Station these days? Scientists recently announced that Mad Cow Disease isn't sexually transmitted.

Yeah, I told you it was pretty bad. And did I reall think that joke was funny? Sometimes I think I should delete the first two-plus years of this blog.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

There are a bunch of them:

1) Ricky Williams "Ran to the Hall of Fame," and he ended up 20 feet in front me in the southeast corner of DKR.

2) The second-closest I've ever come to getting into a fight at a football game involved some jackass Aggie fan in that same 1998 game. He waited until A&M took a late lead before sticking his finger in my face and telling me "that's for you." Now granted I was being boisterous, but far from obnoxious, and I never directed one comment directly toward him. So after a few tense moments (which ended with Kris Stockton's game-winning FG sneaking inside the upright) I turned to ask him what he thought. He was gone. Pansy.

3) Oh, I could say many, many things about Thanksgiving night trips to the State Capitol's south steps to heckle "Midnight Yell," but this is a family blog... or somesuch. I will note that two years ago was particularly enjoying. "BAY-LOR'S BI-ITCH!" "WE'RE NOT RIVALS!" God bless the State Troopers that spend Thanksgiving night providing a human buffer between drunk football fans that like to act a lot tougher than they are.

4) Maybe my favorite exchange with a fellow fan at DKR:

him: Come on Horns. Drive that ball right down their throats and put this game away.
me: Man, I like the way you think.
him (nodding toward my vodka/lemonade): And I like the way you drink.
Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"So if you could just write me a check for ten percent of a million dollars... five grand..."

Should the Horns embarrass A&M -- and let's face it; it's an outcome that's as likely as it is not -- I get the feeling that some of those maroon-clad boosters might start opening their checkbooks to send Fran on his merry way.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

I refuse to visit TexAgs.Com this week. I just can't do it. But I can guaran-damn-tee you that everything you'll read there is deluded. Find me a rational thought on that cyber-cesspool and I'll give you beer Friday morning.

Know any good Aggie jokes?

This guy apparently does.

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

'Lectric Leland gets Laid Out!

Prediction: Texas 45, Texas A&M 24



Tuesday, November 14, 2006

College Football: Ohio State-Michgan 

(note: My thoughts about the Texas debacle should appear later this week).

With all of the hype surrounding this weekend's Ohio State-Michigan clash, I have yet to see a national talking head state what we all think as succinctly as Pete Fiutak did in CFN's weekly "5 Thoughts" column:

Bring the national championship trophy to Columbus this weekend and just give it to the winner of the Michigan – Ohio State game. Enough is enough this year. Has Florida looked even remotely like a national title caliber team? USC lost to an Oregon State team that just got thumped by UCLA. Does Arkansas really belong in the national title considering it got obliterated 50-14 at home by the Trojans? Sure, that was a lifetime ago, but the loss has to still count for something. Notre Dame needed everything in its bag to beat Michigan State and UCLA and, in case you forgot, got its doors blown off by Michigan. Rutgers? I know, cute story, but come on. Texas, Cal, Auburn … thanks for playing. And no, there shouldn’t be a rematch no matter what happens next weekend. What happens in Columbus, stays in Columbus.
I said four months ago that I didn't think any team would emerge unscathed from the 06 regular season, save for maybe OSU should they beat Texas, which they did. Leave it to perenially under-achieving Michigan to prove me wrong.

Anyway... these two teams are not just the only real undefeated teams in the country (and can we please tap the brakes on Rutgers talk until they finish undefeated?), they're the only two teams that consistently look impressive. Deserving teams don't lose to scrubs on the road, or to good teams by double-digits at home, or survive scares thanks to fortuitous blocked kicks.

Can a Florida, or a USC, or a Notre Dame, or even a Texas, Wisconsin, or LSU hang with either of these two teams on a neutral field? Sure they can. That doesn't necessarily make them a great BCS title contender. Sadly, one of those squads will probably do more than just "hang" on Jan 8. That would provide a pretty fitting end to a strange year of college football.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Texas Football: Thinking the Unthinkable? 

At the tailgate immediately following Texas' 24-7 loss to Ohio State, I told anyone who would listen: "We're still national champs until someone else walks off the field in Glendale, Ariz., with that crystal football."

But never did I begin to allow myself to think that Texas could back their way into the national title game, even if they ran the table.


Hell, if Rutgers can beat Louisville then anything is possible.

Florida? USC? Notre Dame? California? The loser of Michigan-Ohio State? I'm not saying that Texas is necessarily beter or more deserving than any of those teams, but here's what Texas does have going for them: (1) They're defending national champions (2) Their sole loss came to the best team in the country this season (3) They're about twice the team now as the one that Ohio State beat in September.

Two hours ago I wrote this week's Texas-KSU preview. At that time I wasn't worried about the Wildcats.


Hell, if Rutgers can beat Louisville then anything is possible.

This weekend just got a whole lot more interesting.


Texas Football: The Kansas State Game 

Week Eleven: No. 3 Texas (9-1) vs. Kansas State (6-4)
Last Week: Texas 36, Oklahoma State 10; Kansas State 31, Iowa State 10
Last Meeting: 2003 -- Texas 24, Kansas State 20
All-Time Series: Texas leads 5-3

"[The University of Texas] 'represents in most people’s minds incredible wealth and arrogance.'"

- Kansas State president Jon Wefald, prior to Texas-Kansas State game, 1999

"You'll never take away our wealth and arrogance!"

- Random Texas fan in Sec. 110 during the waning moments of Kansas State's 35-17 win against Texas, 1999
Those were the days, huh? It almost strains belief that just seven years ago the Kansas State Wildcats had just completed a two-game sweep of the Texas Longhorns, and had outscored their wealthy, arrogant not-really-rivals 84-24 in that span. In fact even with Texas' back-to-back wins over the Cats in 2002 and 2003, KSU has amassed a 53-point differential in the two teams' Big XII clashes.

Let' see if Colt McCoy can erase that deficit Saturday night.

By the way, we're still wealthy and arrogant. Kansas State, on the other hand, has reverted to their history of mediocrity and obscurity. Sadly enough that puts them right in the mix for the Big XII North title. Okay, not really. But they could sneak their way into the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl with a season-ending victory against rival Kansas. Purple Power!

Matt's TWTWB argues (effectively I must add) why even though Louisville beats Rutgers tonight they don't belong anywhere near Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 8.

The American people spoke on Tuesday night, as it was a resounding “YES!” when we all found out the news. The news being, of course, that Britney Spears had finally gotten rid of that spare Kevin Federline. Did anyone really like that guy? His debut album was in the thousands on the Amazon.com best seller’s list, his shows were getting cancelled left and right due to non-interest and basically most people thought of him as a free loading, white trash idiot.

And Britney suffered because of it. He drug her down into the depths, until we had videos popping up on YouTube of her burping, wearing trucker hats in public, smacking gum in interviews, going sans shoes in public restrooms, turning as white as Lindsay Lohan caked in flour and getting a gut protruding over her jean cut-off shorts.

It was astounding.

Years before, you would ask any red-blooded male in America who didn’t wear eye liner or have a limp wrist about Britney Spears and his eyes would get as big as Kirstie Alley’s ass (I saw the Oprah appearance…..uh, not that great, buddy) and he would start drooling.

Lately she was met with the worst reaction a pop starlet who isn’t even 25 yet could possibly receive:


But that all changed on Tuesday.

Guys started getting hopeful again. Hot pictures leaked of her on the Internet, with actual shoes on her bare feet and her trucker hat replaced by an actual female hairstyle (although a bad one). The gum was gone and she seemed to have gotten her belching under control.

We have our Britney back. Maybe.

Why do I give this diatribe on a pop princess who is more famous for the tabloids than her music these days? Because Louisville/Boise State, you are Kevin Federline.

Get away from our Britney.

Now now, I know you’ll get mad at me and if any of you put down your basketball magazine for 10 seconds you might even be tempted to fire off a nasty e-mail, but I don’t care. Somebody has to tell you before you embarrass yourself.

First off, big time college football is played on Saturday afternoons. Texas/OU is played on the State Fair grounds, with a crisp October day as the setting and corny dogs the food of choice. It’s played in a stadium abound with tradition and the night before and the night of is full of debauchery by both teams’ fans in the streets of Dallas.

It’s not played on Thursday nights in “Papa John Stadium”. That’s embarrassing. What were you thinking? If the game is not played in 3 hours or under do fans get their money back? Do we get some of that kickass garlic sauce in the Cardinals win?

Other networks on Saturday afternoons run M*A*S*H re-runs because they know it’s useless to go against big-time college football. The Big East on Thursday night? Hell, let’s run Grey’s Anatomy and CSI, two of the biggest shows on television!

And don’t say it’s for television. Actual networks fight over our games. We’re not on the Worldwide Leader in Sports in between figure skating and the World Series of Poker.

Second, we play actual teams. Yeah, we’ll sprinkle in a Rice and North Texas on you, but that’s only because we have to go to Lincoln, Nebraska in October and Lubbock, Texas the week after that. I know it doesn’t compare to the road trip to Middle Tennessee State (by the way, we would NEVER lower ourselves to go there) and then Syracuse, featuring their 112th rated offense and 109th ranked defense. And man, we know how tough UConn is at home…in basketball. But you have Notre Dame, right? Oh wait, that’s basketball, too.

You see, REAL conferences have the same teams in every sport. It helps our alcohol-filled brains.

And Boise State?

Okay, you know what? Boise State seems like they know their place. They don’t bitch about lack of respect like some other mid-majors have done *cough* *cough* TCU. They know they have a tricked-up home field and a tricked-up offense that wouldn’t work against defenses in a real conference with real athletes. They know that their leading rusher is a white guy and that just doesn’t happen in real NCAA football.

So you’re excused, Boise. We just don’t want to see you in Phoenix. No offense.

So I propose this. Let’s do it like high school football and divide college football into districts. You could have the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac-10 in your big-boy district that actually plays for the national championship. Then the next one will have the Big East, WAC, Conference USA, etc.

They can have their own national championship. Play it on Thursday night in a portion of the country that nobody in their right mind ever visits. We could have a rotation between El Paso, Vicksburg, Jacksonville and Syracuse.

Get some second rate sponsors and put it on a major network like Versus or ESPNU. Yeah, ESPNU will work. Get some bad uniforms and some big screens set up to show basketball and we’ll be set.

Just get out of here, Federline. And leave Britney alone
This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Two years ago Texas sleepwalked into Lawrence, Kansas. They tip-toed out of town with a controversial win against the Jayhawks (the controversy centered around whether Mark Mangino's near-coronary stemmed from a late offensive PI call against his team, or the all-you-can-eat Golden Corral buffet).

Expect no such loss of focus on Saturday under the bright lights in the not-so-big city of Manhattan.

K-State has played well at home, and they have three running backs that average at least 4.5 YPC. But check out QB Josh Freeman's stat line: 3 TDs, 9 INTs. The two noises you hear are: (1) Aaron Ross licking his chops (2) Thorpe Award voters penciling Ross' name at the top of their ballots.

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

Ross intercepts not one, but two passes. The second he returns for a TD.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

The quote from a Texas fan that I used earlier was probably my favorite memory from a KSU game, though I have a lot of bad memories from that game: watching us kick it to David Allen instead of the fans in Sec 1 (and watching him promptly return it for six), watching Major Applewhite lob a duck directly to Jeff Ochs (and watching him promptly return it for six), enduring our dumbass surrounding fans complain that we were standing up and blocking their view.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"By the way, do you think that you could give me that $20,000 in cash? My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax bracket."

The Dude was neither wealthy nor arrogant.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

Ha! I'm not the only one who remembers "the quote."

Best reply: "We were f'ing spoiled."

Let's see... they had a run of success that lasted from 1995 to 2003, in which they won one conference title and pissed away another. They went to a few decent bowl games, yet failed to notch a real high-profile national victory.

And we're arrogant?

Oh to be poor and humble, like our Kansas brethren. The Outlaw Josey Wales had a great quote about Kansans, if you recall: "Yeah, well, I always heard there were three kinds of suns in Kansas -- sunshine, sunflowers, and sons-of-bitches." That beats the hell out of the tired "steers and queers" line you hear yankees spew all of the time.

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

Bobby Slay was the Chuck Cecil of the Big XII, but damn that mofo could lay the wood. A big F You to YouTube, by the way, for not having a single decent Texas-KSU highlight.

Prediction: Texas 38, Kansas State 14



Thursday, November 02, 2006

Texas Football: The Oklahoma State Game 

Week Ten: No. 4 Texas (8-1) vs. Oklahoma State (5-3)
Last Week: Texas 35, Texas Tech 31; Oklahoma State 41, Nebraska 29
Last Meeting: 2005 -- Texas 47, Oklahoma State 28
All-Time Series: Texas leads 18-2

Whew... I'll be the first to admit Texas was lucky to escape Stilwater with a win last season. No, I'm kidding. We were much better and once we remembered we were a Top 10 team we kicked their ass. Ok State is a weird team. They seem to play either Texas or OU close every season, but oddly enough OU is the only one they've actually beaten (twice!). Take that for what it's worth.

Matt's TWTWB revisits a yearly theme, which I think you'll like (if you like football).

Well it’s that time of the year again, where teams fight for bowl position, bitch at each other and fans start to make travel arrangements to far locales. Well if it’s that time, it means it’s time for What HornMafia Thinks This Season’s Bowl Matchups Will Look Like.

The Nobody Wants You Here Bowl-- This bowl matches up Boise State and the winner of West Virginia/Louisville, because no matter who plays these teams in a BCS bowl, there is bound to be some disappointment. So just send them to a city that gets no respect, like Milwaukee, and let them battle it out for the right to bitch.

The Bourbon in a Starbucks Cup Bowl—This bowl matches Mike Leach against Big XII refs. Leach felt that Texas got a lot of favorable calls in its October 28th match-up and even sent a tape to the league office. I trust he also sent a copy of the cheap shot that Tech receiver Danny Amendola put on Michael Griffin after a punt return, the numerous favorable spots Tech received in the ballgame and of course the video of Taurean Henderson not scoring against Oklahoma last season.

The Posturepedic Bowl—This bowl matches up Joe Paterno and retirement. JoePa nixed a planned night game with Wisconsin this week because “we [have] to come home and play [Temple] next week.” Yes, JoePa, I realize that an extra 4 hours of preparation is needed for Temple, now that they’ve ended that 20 game losing streak and are en fuego. Give it up, and take Bobby Bowden with you.

The Um, That Job Isn’t That Great Anyhow Bowl—This bowl features North Carolina and it’s job vacancy. An internet report this week said that Butch Davis is waiting to see what happens with the Alabama job before he commits to any open jobs. It went on to say, “Davis had better not wait too long, the North Carolina job won’t be open forever.” Umm…Remember that look that Beavis and Butthead used to give the teacher when they had no idea what she was talking about? Yeah, enter that here.

The Stupid Computers Bowl—Look, I’m not as pissed off at the BCS process as I have been in the past, probably because it worked for Texas last year, but this bowl matches up the lame-ass computers that have three loss Washington State ahead of Texas in it versus the computer from Lost that blew up and led the death of Mr. Eko. F both of you up your stupid floppy disk drives.

The Lame Duck Coach Bowl—North Carolina v. Michigan State. What exactly is the purpose of having a coach finish out the year? Because if I’m that coach I’m yelling my plays across the field, opening up my practices to anybody and everybody with a video camera, giving pre-game speeches that tell guys they suck, pissing in the middle of the locker room at the end of my last home game and then giving the finger to the camera as the clock is running down. But maybe that’s just me. Better decide on that North Carolina job, Davis!

The Nepotism Bowl—Florida State’s Jeff Bowden v. Junior Justice from Smokey and the Bandit. Both are incredibly inept but at least Junior held the Sheriff’s hat on his head. Jeff can’t even field an offense that’s ranked higher than 90th in rushing with the best athletes in the world at his disposal. Terry had an undefeated season at Auburn, Tommy will likely be in a New Year’s Day bowl this year…poor Jeff might have to sit at the kid’s table at Thanksgiving. And then find a way to score on Florida two days later. Good luck with that. Maybe you could hold daddy’s sunglasses on.

The Stupid Aggie Traditions Bowl—The Nut Squeeze v. the Let’s Lock Arms and Legs and Saw Them Off. Jesus. And you wonder why Aggie athletic director Bill Byrne doesn’t even want his games on pay per view. Who wants to be embarrassed on national television and for years to come on blooper shows? Just keep those cameras out of there, Bill, because those of us on the outside can’t even understand it anyways, right?

The Roundabout Bowl— So USC throttles Arkansas, who beats Auburn, who beats Washington State, who beats Oregon State, who beats USC. Both Washington State and Oregon State couldn’t beat California, which lost to Tennessee, which lost to Florida, which lost to Auburn, which lost to Arkansas, which lost to USC, which lost to Oregon State, which lost to Boise State, who nobody has beat and is our worst nightmare. Kevin Bacon fits in there somewhere.

The Death Threat Bowl—Texas A&M fans v. Al Qaeda. First the Aggies threaten the Hellraiser who rented out the south steps of the capitol building the night before the Texas game when Aggies traditionally have held their “midnight yell” practice, now they are issuing death threats to the SI.com writer who had the guts to poke fun at a picture depticing the Ags in aforementioned “Saw Varsity’s Horns Off’ pose. Next thing you know we’ll have videotapes released on the Internet of Aggies kidnapping Kirk Herbstreit and dressing up in milkman uniforms and fake, long beards, threatening to squeeze his nuts if you don’t say something nice about those goofy bastards.

Finally, some Big XII Bowls…

The Holiday Bowl— Oklahoma v. USC. Bob Stoops takes over The Mack Brown suite at the San Diego Hilton as the Sooners try to avenge their Orange Bowl loss at the hands of the Trojans in 2005. Stoops borrows videotape from his brother Mike, who only lost to the Trojans 20-3 earlier in the season and comes up with the perfect gameplan. Unfortunately he then realizes he’s playing with Pac-10 officials and packs up his stuff and goes home. USC wins 2-0 on a forfeit.

The Cotton Bowl—Nebraska v. Arkansas. Trying to recruit a star defensive player in Arkansas, Houston Nutt fires his defensive coordinator and hires the star player’s high school coach. Bill Callahan still can’t move the ball on a high school coach but is trailing by 4 on the final drive when he runs the Statue of Liberty, fumblerooski, a flea-flicker, halfback pass and finally a fake punt from the 10 yard line to score and win the game.

The BCS National Championship Game—Texas v. Ohio State. Hey, it’s my column, and I was right about the Michigan Rose Bowl and I was right about who we would/needed to play in last year’s Rose Bowl, so hear me out. West Virginia beats Louisville. Rutgers beats West Virginia. Arkansas beats Florida in the SEC Championship Game, but declines the invitation to the Sugar Bowl and goes to the Cotton Bowl so I can use my Arkansas Houston Nutt joke in the previous bowl. Or they go the Sugar Bowl. Whatever floats your boat. Ohio State throttles Michigan since Michigan can’t score. That, my friends, leaves us with Colt McCoy [brent musberger]with those baby blue eyes[/brent musberger] against Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.

We like to play Heisman Trophy winners in championship games.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Oklahoma State has forced Texas to make three comebacks in three years. It ain't happening again (so says the law of averages). By the way... Colt McCoy needs three TD passes to break the school's single-season reord. Anyone ready to bet against him?

The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

Colt breaks the single-season record of 26 TD passes with a 50+ yard strike to Limas Sweed.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

Last year in Stillwater I really had to take a... nope, nevermind. My one near fight at DKR came in the 2004 game. Sure, we fell behind 35-7, but I never thought we'd lose. The douche behind me did. It led to words between he and I, and he and my brother. I told him I was going to kick his ass, and he backed off. The cops then showed, and I backed off. Then Texas came back and all was normal. God bless the Horns, and understanding APD officers.

Semi-Relevant Quote from the Big Lebowski

"You can imagine where it goes from here..."

Yes, I can. Louisville loses to Pitt. Michigan loses to Ohio State. Florida loses to someone in the SEC (or Florida State). Everyone else that Texas needs to lose loses. Texas plays Ohio State... again. Maybe. Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

Not a game-related thread, but some of the Okies wonder about restaurants in Austin. The best post in the thread lists the following options:

Shady Grove
Hula Hut
Z Tejas
Iron Cactus
Great choices, all (except Moonshine, which I thought was pretty "blah.")

For the record... get the: Chicken Fried Chicken with hatch green chiles and cheese instead of gravy, at Shady Grove; Chicka Chicka Boom-Boom enchiladas, at Chuy's; chile rellenos or Shiner Bock fajitas, at Hula Hut; cajun stuffed pork tenderloin, at Z Tejas; or lots of drinks, at Iron Cactus. Chuy's, Shady Grove, and Hula Hut are all the same restaurant, btw... and it doesn't make any of them less desirable.

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

Damn, I miss RT.

Prediction: Texas 45, Oklahoma State 24



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