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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Texas Football: The Iowa State Game 

Week Seven: No. 23 Texas (4-2) vs. Iowa State (1-5)
Last Week: Oklahoma 28, Texas 21; Texas Tech 42, Iowa State 17
Last Meeting: Texas 37, Iowa State 14 (2006)
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 6-0

You know what I don't get about about Texas fans? Had you asked any of the 80K or so fans exiting Royal-Memorial Stadium after the KSU debacle, few if any of them would have told you they thought Texas had much of a chance to beat Oklahoma. But a week later, after the Horns came up a few plays short of doing just that, the more hyperbolic/reactionary contingent (aka the vast majority) want to scream to anyone who will listen how Texas football has hit rock bottom, or how the Horns will be lucky to play their way into a bowl game not sponsored by Mattress Mac.

Come on, you can't have it both ways.

I know, I know...

"We're Texas."

"Texas doesn't rebuild, they re-load."

"Greg Davis sucks."

Sure, I act like as arrogant and haughty as the next Texas fan, but sometimes you have to face the facts and realize that there are programs equal to yours. Kansas State does not fall into that category, and as the Wildcats proved in a home loss to Kansas last week, Texas had no business losing that game (much less by 20 points). But in hanging until the end with an OU team that even Vegas expected to win comfortably, Texas showed the desire that had been lacking since Lubbock last year.

Does "hanging in there" make it okay that they lost? No, it does not. But maybe it does mean that the Texas we saw in the Cotton Bowl is the real Texas, and that the Texas that half-assed its way to meager wins against the likes of Arkansas State and South Florida is gone for good.

This weekend offers a good opportunity to show that. Stomp a bad Iowa State team on the road like you're supposed to, Horns.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

How bad is Iowa State? They've lost to Toledo, Kent State and Northern Iowa. Texas could start 11 Scott Derrys on defense and Jamaal Charles could spray his gloves with Pam instead of stick'em, and Texas should still win.

According to NCAA 2008...

I'm sick of this section.

Matt hands out the midseason hardware in TWTWB

Shocking early season loss to an unranked opponent. Loss to Oklahoma. Big win over Iowa State, six straight wins to close out the season. That’s what the 2003 Texas team did. After a demoralizing loss to Arkansas at home early in the season, they then got drilled by Oklahoma in Dallas and looked to be a lost duck, sitting at #20 in the polls. But they got it together in Ames, as Cedric Benson ran for 149 yards, Vince Young and Chance Mock combined for 287 yards passing, and Roy Williams even added a 56 yard pass. Iowa State didn’t even score until it was 27-0, and the Longhorns ended up winning that day 40-19.

The Horns followed that game up with a blowout win over Baylor in Waco, beat #12 Nebraska at home (VY had 163 yards rushing in that game), pounded #21 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, needed a Chance Mock miracle pass to beat Texas Tech at home, and then beat the crap out of Texas A&M in College Station.

We won’t mention what happened in San Diego…

The point of all of this is that yes, we are down right now, 4 straight conference losses, blah blah blah. But if the Horns can have more games like last week and fewer Kansas State games (I hate the fact that we have to wonder which team will show up, by the way), there are still attainable goals. Another 10 win season would extend the nation’s longest streak. We owe Texas A&M for what they did last year. A bowl winning streak is still there.

The t-shirt fans might be off the bandwagon, but we’re Texas fans, and we’ll be here long after Mack Brown and staff is gone. Let’s hope we can look upon mid-season 2007 as a source of pride, a time that the team bucked up, finished the season out strong and rode that momentum into 2008.

Who wants to go to New Orleans right now anyways???

Well unfortunately, it appears that we are at roughly the mid-point of the season. [Play Price is Right failed sound here] But rejoice college football fans, because if it is the mid-point of the season, that means that it is time for the third annual HornMafia Mid-Point of the Season Awards.

The Chaps Girl Award (MVP) – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Who the hell else are you going to give it to? John David Booty Booty Booty? Colt Brennan? Jordy Nelson? Ouch. No, we know Tech’s numbers are a result of the system, and yes, he needs to do it against top competition, but Crabtree has 70 catches, 1,074 yards and 17 touchdowns. Through 6 games. We haven’t seen this much scoring since that porn star did 500 dudes in one night. Crabtree is on pace for 151 catches, 2,327 yards and 36 touchdowns.

The Herschel Walker Award (Freshman of the Year) – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Who else? By the way, this week Texas A&M defensive back (allegedly) Danny Gorer said that “(Crabtree) is going to have to bring his A game when he faces Danny Gorer. This reminds me when Hitler said “The United States is going to have to bring it’s A game to beat Adolf Hitler.” Or when Ivan Drago said, “Rocky is going to have to bring it’s A game to beat Ivan Drago.” Or when Javorskie Lane said, “Miami is going to have to bring it’s A game to beat Javorskie Lane.”

The Eric Taylor Award (Coach of the Year) – Jeff Tedford, California

I don’t say Les Miles because I know he’s going to do something in the second half of the season to screw this up, and I don’t want to embarrass myself like that. Jim Tressel at Ohio State is also a nominee, but I have a thing against sweater vests. Boston College and South Florida? Beat somebody besides a watered-down Auburn (I know, they beat Florida) and an overrated West Virginia team and try to not be in a game with Florida Atlantic in the 4th quarter. No, California has beaten a pretty solid Tennessee team and handled an Oregon team that nobody else has this year in their own house. If they can beat Southern Cal at home on November 10th, they might finally get their BCS bowl.

The Jeff Blake Award (Worst Coach of the Year) – Charlie Weis, Notre Dame

Weis won the Coach of the Year award two years ago in this spot, but wow. It took UCLA starting a walk-on quarterback for Notre Dame to notch their first win of the year in October, a game where they only had 140 yards of offense. Perhaps Weis should start videotaping his opponents and trying to pick up some signs, since it is obvious he can’t coach a team to victory. Weis’s biggest “victory” in his tenure at Notre Dame is a “near-loss” against USC. Moral victories didn’t used to fly at Notre Dame. Not that Weis can fly anyhow without buying two seats.

[Drew: This should be "The Rich Kotite Award"]

The Northwestern Award (Surprise of the Year) – South Florida, Kansas (tie)

I made my thoughts on South Florida known above, but you have to give them props for being 5-0 and #5 in the Coaches Poll. We’ll see how good they are in the second half of the season, as they’re not going to sneak up on anyone like they did Auburn. As for Kansas, Jayhawk fans are usually looking forward to March Madness at this time of the year (and probably still are), but they are 5-0 with the meat of the Big 12 schedule ahead of them. Let’s hope Mark Mangino doesn’t eat it.

The Michigan Award (Disappointment of the Year) – Louisville

Don’t ask me how I can name an award after somebody and then not give it to them, but at least Michigan seems to have righted the ship and has a chance at the Big 10 title. Louisville, on the other hand, looked to have an inside track to the national championship game with the only team they lost to in 2006, Rutgers, at home. But an early trip-up against Kentucky led to a shocking loss against Syracuse and a just silly loss to Utah at home. Now the Cardinals are just struggling to get bowl eligible with their toughest games (@ Cincinnati, @ West Virginia, @ South Florida and Rutgers) still ahead of them. Brian Brohm might want to pull a Billy Donovan and get a do-over.

The Quincy Carter Award (Hyped freshman turns into crap) – Bobby Reid, QB, Oklahoma State

The guy threw for 2,200 yards last year, with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, also ran for another 500 yards. Oklahoma State looked poised to have one of the nation’s most feared offenses in 2007 with Reid, Adarius Bowman and D’Juan Woods (who was injured before the first snap). But Reid struggled against Georgia, was pulled against Florida Atlantic, and then sparked a huge controversy that left Mike Gundy the star of Coors Light parodies on the Internet. But he does have a personal assistant to feed him food, so he’s got that going for him.

The Let’s Make it Look Like 2002 Award – Texas A&M

The Aggies managed to make Miami look like the Miami of old when they went into the OB for a Thursday night match-up that they lost 34-17 in a game that wasn’t that close. Miami followed that up with a lackluster win over Duke and then lost to dreadful North Carolina. If only it was 2002, then Dennis Franchione could turn down the chance to do the VIP Connection e-mail which will end up getting him fired.

The Witness Protection Award – The 2007 Heisman Favorites

From John David Booty to Colt Brennan to Steve Slaton and Patrick White, nobody seems to want the damn thing. Darren McFadden might end up winning the thing and Arkansas will probably struggle to a .500 record.

The Drunken Tailgater Award – UTWiz (Jeremy)

For the third straight year, UTWiz has now won this award. In 2005 it was for his classic performance in guarding the keg during the Colorado game, in 2006 it was for falling in the creek during the Ohio State game, but in 2007 Jeremy took it up a notch and tried to get the crowd amped while watching the game at the tailgate, was reportedly only talking in Ticket drops, ruined a nice pair of Ray-Bans, was doing barefoot laps in the rained-filled parking lot and finally grabbed an old man’s ass in the parking garage.

The Tim Donaghy Award – USC losing to Stanford

USC loses to Stanford, which had lost by 38 points to Arizona State, by 24 to Oregon and by 28 to UCLA…alert Vegas.

The Play of the Year Award – LSU’s fake field goal against South Carolina

Pretty. Or as they say in the South, “puuuuurty”.

The He’s So Old We Can’t Really Say Anything Award – Joe Paterno

Paterno makes it a record 20th straight year winning this award, most recently for his road rage incident this month. Paterno reportedly dressed down a couple and then drove away before the police arrived. Police were said to be looking for a black Model-T with license plate “3”.

The Why Don’t I Just Throw Money Out The Window Award – Tommy Blake, TCU

Blake, who many said would be a first round draft pick in next April’s NFL Draft, has now been put on medical leave by the Horned Frogs, reportedly after an “altercation” with coach Gary Patterson. It is not known at press time if Tommy Blake’s mentor at TCU is Barrett Robbins.

Biggest Game of the Second Half – USC @ California November 10th

Without a conference championship game, this is it. Cal can finally win the Pac 10 title (if they don’t trip up before then), while USC might be able to work their way back into the national title hunt with an impressive win. Cal might need style points if they have to jump Ohio State for the BCS championship.
They Said It...

"I don't remember his name, but I remember that tall, white linebacker with the long hair. He hit me really hard on the first play of the game." "

- Iowa State WR Todd Blythe , recalling last year's Texas-ISU game
Folks, I said Iowa State is bad. Need more proof?

"Before the press conference, I went by every locker and told everybody that if we play like that we've got a chance to win out. I told them that again Sunday after watching the tape."

- Greg Davis
You'll get no argument from me. And while I'm at it, that was a well-called game, Mr. Davis. I still think we can stand to get more imaginative on offense, but Davis' gameplan was good enough to beat Oklahoma. And unless Mack Brown's org chart is as incoherent as a John Jenkins play diagram, Davis can't be faulted for continuing to sit Rod Muckleroy, Jared Norton and Sergio Kindle on the sidelines in favor of those other guys.

"I'm hurting my team."

- Jamaal Charles on his fumbles the last few weeks.
Yes, Jamaal, you are. But then again you've helped your team plenty of times in two-plus seasons of carrying the ball. I like the idea of getting Vondrell McGee more involved in the offense, but Jamaal Charles brings far too much talent and quickness to this team to be banished to the gulags. Hold on to the rock and keep finding your way to the endzone.

The Things I Think About

Does everywhere now have wi-fi? On the way to Dallas I stopped at Schlotzky's in Waco for lunch. They have wi-fi. On the way home I stopped at Hooter's in Waco, also for lunch, and they have wi-fi. It makes sense for a sports bar, or the equivalent, to provide wireless, lest they lose potential customers that can't watch the NFL without following their fantasy teams (I'm one of these people, by the way...). But why does Schlotzky's need it? And if everyone is going to provide wi-fi, then can't they also increase the number of outlets?

The Things I Think About II

If only Jamaal Charles held on to the ball the way Phil Pozderac used to hold on to opposing jerseys, we'd be in the driver's seat for the Big 12 South title. No, it's not a thought unique to me, but why, so many years later, do I still automatically associate the word "hold" with the spareness of Pozderac?

Betcha Didn't Know

Iowa State is the only Big 12 team to have never defeated Texas. Don't worry, unless Pete Carroll replaced Gene Chizik this week, I could not have possibly jinxed the Horns.

In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"... and Friends

"Sir Rod" Walker says:

Coming soon...

Stonie Clark says:

Coming soon...

Tailgate Talk

I don't know about a tailgate, but I'll be enjoying the Horns in HD from the comfort of my home for the first time this season.

A few other College Football-related Thoughts

  • LSU fans are obnoxious. I cannot wait until that team gets beat.

  • I remember the days when "Upset Saturday" was meaningful, meaning it didn't happen every single Saturday.

  • Javorskie Lane "guaranteed" a win against Texas Tech this week. Until I read that I hadn't realized that 14 years have passed since the Aggies last won in Lubbock. It's not going to happen this year, either, as the Dennis Frachione era will (sadly) begin a farewell tour with a a Red Raider beatdown.

  • Speaking of A&M's biggest rival, the Mike Vick-themed Revielle t-shirts made me feel bad for laughing. 12th Man magazine didn't miss the mark when they labeled the Red Raiders "classless clowns," but that doesn't mean that the Aggies don't bring this stuff upon themselves.

  • Missouri-Oklahoma... Oklahoma plays both offense and defense, so the Tigers won't have it quite as easy as they did last week against Nebraska. But Mizzou has a chance to make a statement against an OU team that could be a little deflated after a harder-than-expected victory against Texas.

  • OU Still Sucks...

  • Fifteen Years Ago this Week

    (note: 2007 marks the 15-year anniversary of the Temple Wildcats' 1992 5A Div. II Texas State Championship, which came during my sophomore year of high school. I'll re-cap that season throughout the fall.)

    Wildcat QB Adrian Woodson made exactly one mistake in his senior season. Deep in Temple terriroty, Woodson looked over the Killeen defense, called for an audible and ran a perfectly executed option pitch. The problem? His running back wasn't anywhere near the pitch. Killeen recovered the ball in the Temple endzone for the touchdown that ultimately doomed the cats to their only loss of the season. Temple had one last opportunity, but a late TD came back on a holding call. Fifteen years later I still have never seen anything that resembled holding on the play, but the bitterness subsided years ago. After all, Temple still claimed the state title, and a year later the cats bounced Killeen from the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. 42-0. Suck it, Killeen.

    Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

    Ricky Williams rushed for a school record 350 yards against Iowa State en route to the 1998 Heisman Trophy and the NCAA career rushing record. Many hours (and beers) after the game, Matt and I stumbled upon the replay, and I quickly popped in a tape so that I record a historic event. Nine years later I have yet to watch that tape.

    Semi-Relevant Song Lyric from, well, the same guys I quote almost every week

    "People lined up to see the Titanic sinking; Instead we rose from the ashes like a phoenix"

    - Kanye West f/ Jay-Z Diamonds from Sierra (remix)
    I listened to this song Friday morning on the way to an abbreviated day of work, and seriously, it made me think Texas could beat Oklahoma. Even though they didn't, I couldn't help thinking about the lyic as I traversed the fairgrounds after the loss. Thousand filed into the Cotton Bowl expecting to see the bell toll for the Texas Longhorns' 2007 season. Instead they saw a team play with the kind of determination that had been absent for some time. Maybe a phoenix rising is a dramatic way of looking at it, but Texas isn't dead after all.

    Bonus Semi-Relevant Song Lyric from a band that's probably never been quoted in a football column

    "If I pretended I was blind, and struck it from my mind, would it still be there?"

    - Pop-punkers Face to Face, Blind
    I heard that on the way home today and thought about Mack Brown trying to convince himself that he's making the right decision in playing "the other guys" at linebacker.

    Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

    Cyclonefan4life asks: How freaking dumb are IOWA fans?

    I thought they were dumb at the Alamo Bowl. Matt told me a story about some pissed-off Iowa fan after the game, who felt it cathartic to rail on how poorly Texas played. The Texas fans within earshot spontaneously launched into a unison of: "Six and Sev-en, clap clap clap-clap-clap."

    The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

    Jamaal Charles doesn't fumble.

    Random Texas-Iowa State highlight from a different sport that would be a lot cooler if it had sound

    Prediction: I doze off at some point during a Texas blowout



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