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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Texas Football: The UTEP Game 

Week Three: No. 10 UT-Austin (1-0) vs. UT-El Paso (0-1)
Last Week: UT-Austin 52, Florida Atlantic 10; Buffalo 42, UT-El Paso 17
Last Meeting: Texas 22, College of Mines 6 (1933)
All-Time Series: Texas leads 2-0

I could say a lot about this game.

Actually, no I couldn't. As I'm currently sitting in a sports bar at the Raleigh, NC, airport (where college football mania is not nearly as prevalent as it is in Austin), I don't have time to come up with a witty theme.

It doesn't matter. This week's UT-Austin-UT-El Paso game (for some reason Miner fans like to refer to The University as UT-Austin [see: here], as if there were any confusion as to which university/program/team truly represents the state's name) is more of a glorified scrimmage than last week's contest with Florida Atlantic, save for the fact that : (a) this exhibition takes place on the road, and on national TV, and (b) Mike Price's alcohol issues only led to his own downfall, as opposed to derailing a team's entire season, as has been the charge with Howard Schnellenburger's Oklahoma tenure (which again, lasted one season).

Anyway, I had a few good bits to use for this week's theme, but then I read matt's column (see below) and realized that bastard already used all of it.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Texas wins. Mike Price gets drunk. I do, too.

Matt was apparently in my mind this week when developing The Week that Will Be

But in all honestly, he probably put it down on paper is a much less contrived manner.

And I still love this section:
Facebook Status Messages

Bill Byrne commented on Kyle Field’s Wall:

“I was really impressed with the cleanliness of stadium. We work extremely hard in the off-season to power wash and clean Kyle Field, but we still have bat and bird residue reappear no matter how close to game-time we clean. I wish we could find a way to discourage the presence of these creatures, but the bats are a protected mammal in Texas.” Add comment asking Bill what about the pieces of shit on the field!

Stephen McGee and Chris Simms are now friends!

Brandon Collins is wondering how the f*ck some people in the financial aid office receive a paycheck.

Frank Alexander has thrown a knife at you! Throw a knife at Frank Alexander in a Norman bar!

Mike Price is wondering why we scheduled the Buffalo Bills. Wat.

Tatum Bell is now a fan of Gucci Luggage!

Steve Spurrier and Todd Beecher are no longer friends.

Tommy Bowden joined the Looking For D-1 Job group.

The nation is hoping that Chris Wells misses a few weeks so Ohio State will drop a couple of games.

Hurricane Gustav is up in your stadiums, canceling your games.

Georgia and The Coaches Poll are no longer in a relationship.

Phil Fulmer is F MONOPOLY.

Will Muschamp joined the group We Don’t Need No Stinking Band-Aids.

They Said It...
"I think they should be tougher, honestly, one of the other biggest games, like when Texas Tech comes, it's even more packed than the other games, and the crowd is even worse."

-Rachel Serrano, UTEP fan, regarding the tailgate policies school officials have put in place (see: Tailgate Talk, below).
Rachel is also using Facebook to organize an effort that limits standing during game action, and also keeps all vocal support of the Miners to less than 75 decibels.
"I'm hoping for a good game. Hoping." -

-Luke Whitrock
, UTEP student, regarding the Miner's chances.
Luke shouldn't get his hopes up for a strong afternoon of tailgating, if laura gets her way.
"The crowd is going to be a major factor in this game. It will be a definite positive for us. It will be so loud that [Texas quarterback] Colt McCoy won't be able to check off at the line of scrimmage. They won't be able to hear him. He probably hasn't experienced this too many times. They've played before loud crowds, but not loud and wild crowds."
-UTEP coach Mike Price
I was in Lincoln on a cold morning in 2006 while Price was evidently sleeping off his mescal hangover (with or without a Juarez whore at his side). It was loud. It was wild. It was the epitome of major college football. I'm not sure what this sonofabitch knows anything about loud or wild, outside of the context of the local donkey show, but it didn't stop him from making himself look like an ass.

In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"

(Note: "Sir" Rod Walker played RB for the Horns from 1991-1994. He currently chairs a committee seeking to enshrine John Mackovic in the Longhorn Ring of Honor.)

Coming soon...

Stonie's Stone Wall

Coming soon...

(Note: Stonie Clark played DT for the Horns from 1992-1995. He once left a permanent dent in Sooner RB James Allen's torso with a flying body tackle.)

Betcha Didn't Know

El Paso is almost exactly half as far from Austin as is Las Vegas. So… the few Texas fans that don’t blow their celebratory (money) wad on hookers and mescal in Juarez should perhaps entertain the idea of heading west on Sunday instead of east. Southwest has plenty of non-stop flights from Sin City back to Austin on Monday. Pay your fare with your blackjack winnings.

The Things I think About

After reading The Week That Will Be, all I can think about is that damn Marty Robbins song.

A few other College Football-related Thoughts

  • Good: USC

  • Not-so-good: the ACC

  • More tiresome topic: Beanie Wells’ foot or Shawne Merriman’s knee?

  • From the “Am I the only one who finds it interesting?” department: Georgia has now dropped in the polls after two of their last three victories.

  • If the AP Poll consisted of only my girlfriend, Georgia would be ranked No. 1 every week. She loves bulldogs.

  • Remember that time Arkansas State beat Texas A&M?

  • College Station: Where men are men and the Baylor football team doesn’t feel inferior.

  • Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

    I'll admit that I know almost nothing about the Miners, short of what I saw in the 45 minutes of Glory Road (before I turned it off; I has already seen Remember the Titans, and I liked Denzel a lot more than Josh Lucas). But I do remember listening to a Longhorns postgame show, circa November 1994, and a caller, when trying to determine whether or not Texas should accept an invitation to the Alamo or Sun Bowl, inquired as to which destination had the better Mexican food.

    Two things today stand out to me about that:

    (1) I would guess that El Paso leans more toward interior Mexican, while I much prefer Tex-Mex.

    (2) Could any Texas fan today imagine debating which of these bowls was more desirable?

    Semi-Relevant quote from the movie Tombstone

    “Come on boys. We don't want any trouble in here. Not in any language.” That reminds me of a very non-PC joke…

    Non-PC Joke of the Week

    Q: What do you call a Mexican quarterback? A: El Paso.

    Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

    What else would you expect from a post titled: “Call me Crazy”?
    We are a long shot to win this game, I realize that. But if you don't have faith, what do you have? I don't think it will be the blowout that everyone is expecting.

    I believe! I have faith! That is why we play the game. Go to the game, be loud and proud of your school.
    Go to the game? Yes. Be loud? Please. Be Proud? Again, yes.

    But be rational. Not Crazy.

    Random movie clip that illustrates a massacre just slightly less extreme than what will take place in the Sub Bowl Saturday night

    Prediction: I visit Chuy's at some point this weekend for celebratory Tex-Mex



    Texas Football: The Florida Atlantic Game 

    Week One: No. 11 Texas (0-0) vs. Florida Atlantic (0-0)
    Last Season: Texas (10-3; Won Holiday Bowl); Arkansas State (8-5; Won New Orleans Bowl)
    Last Meeting: Never Met
    All-Time Series: Never Met

    Here we go; it's opening week, the Horns are in prime time, and they've got a non-conference showdown in store with a team from Florida that won its conference last year and finished victorious in a bowl game just a few blocks from Bourbon Street.

    It sounds like a barnburner... wait, what's that? Texas is playing Florida Atlantic?

    zzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzzz...

    In truth, that's what we all thought last year, right up until the time Arkansas State pulled within eight points late in the game.

    FAU is a better team than Arkansas State, and as contradictory as it sounds, that's both good and bad for Texas. The Owls return 20 starters from a squad that captured the Sun Belt title in 2007, including QB Rusty Smith and his 3,688 passing yards. He'll test a Texas secondary that's long on talent but short on experience, and that certainly represents a threat. But with a front seven capable of dominating the Owls at the line of scrimmage, Texas should overcome that relative weakness while gaining valuable game experience for the younger guys.

    Florida Atlantic is also coached by a semi-legendary figure that has manged to win quite a few games when he wasn't serving as the punchline for an alcohol-related wisecrack. Before his comments last week, in which he basically called Texas a bunch of pansies, Texas fans (the non "t-shirt" variety) would have best remembered Howard Schnellenberger as the puffy, red-faced, one-time coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, who holds the odd distinction of being the only OU coach never to either defeat, or lose to, the University of Texas. Despite the experience he'll have to leverage, Schnelly's boys won't carry quite the marquee reputation of the squad he led to a 24-24 tie in the Red River Shootout. And with a tie no longer possible, win or lose this weekend, he no doubt hopes to avoid the same post-Texas tailspin that ensued in 1995, when his Sooners limped to a 1-4 finish, thus ending his tenure in Norman.

    Owls' AD Craig Angelos may want to keep John Blake's number handy, though, just in case.

    This Week's Game in a Nutshell

    After last year I simply cannot see Texas coming out flat. Florida Atlantic has enough firepower to keep this interesting longer than some fans might like to see, but there are too many factors at play for the owls to pull off an upset:

  • Renovated DKR: The Horns will run out of the tunnel on Saturday to face the largest crowd to ever see a football game in the state of Texas. There's no way that happens before a loss... again (see: State, Ohio)

  • Boom MF'er: Coach Muschamp's aggressive defense will hopefully begin to erase the painful memories of the past two season. It'll help that he'll have Sergio Kindle and Rod Muckleroy at his disposal. The junior LBs weren't in the starting lineup a year ago (one due to a suspension, one due to sheer disbelief).

  • Vince Young: The man that delivered Texas fans all of their hopes and dreams returns to the Forty Acres for the first time in a year on Saturday to see his No. 10 retired. There's no way that happens before a loss... again (see: State, Kansas)

  • History: Unless FAU blocks three punts, the history books suggest Texas exits the field a winner.

  • Welcoming back an old friend... The Week that Will Be

    Matt (aka HornMafia) has carved out his own little corner of the Interwebs this year, so TWTWB will now reside at Friday Night Tailgates. This week's edition is now up, so go go get fired up for the Horns (and see what's up with some of college football's notbale personalities).
    Facebook Status Messages From Around College Football:

    Colt McCoy has joined The Village People group.

    Rich Rodriguez has left the West Virginia Alumni group.

    Mike Sherman has started a Water Balloon Fight. Throw a water balloon at Mike!

    Ricky Williams wrote on Major Applewhite’s Wall: “I’m glad you were never my coach.”

    Bob Stoops and Josh Jarboe are not in a relationship anymore.

    Jim Tressell is hoping his team gets to play Oklahoma in the BCS this year.

    Mitch Mustain is LA SUCKS.
    They Said It...
    We've spent a good part of the summer expanding the package that we kind of toyed with last year. I feel good that we'll have a nice package when we open. It's obvious that John's a playmaker, and we need to find ways to get him the ball.
    I really hate to think that Texas' offensive success this season depends so much on Greg Davis' package.
    "Once we step out on the field with Texas, the only ones who can help us is ourselves. Texas always has a very polished team that has great talent, but they aren’t tough, they aren’t a physically tough team. My defense will get to a point where they will be mean, nasty and ornery bastards and that’s what you need for Texas. Texas will move the ball with tit-for-tat, screens and options, but we’ll make them pay a price whenever they catch one of those dinky passes. We’ll put three hats on them and make them not want to get up, that’s the way to beat Texas."
    • Howard Schnellenburger
    Schnelly tried to backtrack afterward, but per this link his quote is accurate. Rudy Carpenter jawed a little bit about the Horns last December and the Texas Defense responded with a rampage of an effort that ended up earning Samwise Gamgee a nice royalty check come mid-fourth quarter.
    "I'm not proud of that moment, and I've stopped swearing since then. Well, I'm working on not swearing. Seriously. I'm not proud of it. How do you go home and explain that to your 6-year-old?"
    I suppose Coach 'Champ may not have plans to purchase this beauty.

    In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"
    Blue 16!!! easy...easy.....Check Red 198!! Red 198!!! Set! Hike!

    I hope that we don't hear too much of that.....audibles. I really hope we just play smash mouth football from the jump. Of course if there is an 'obvious' reason to change the play at the line of scrimmage then we should. but no experimenting. just play hard nose football. let them taste OUR Texas heat as the temp rises right before game time. We should wear their 'izzzes' down! (hi coach mackobitch)

    After we get them frustrated and fighting with each other on their sideline....once their coaches bicker with one another b/c they can't get a grasp on the different blitzes we'll be throwin' at'em......that's when Gabriel can blow his horn!

    That'll be a Ready Break!!!
    (Note: "Sir" Rod Walker played RB for the Horns from 1991-1994. He currently chairs a committee seeking to enshrine John Mackovic in the Longhorn Ring of Honor.)

    Stonie's Stone Wall
    "Yea! It's finally football season. Thank goodness for the Olympic games, or I might have lost my mind trying to find something to watch on TV. I'm excited about seeing what we've got this year. I visited practice and the guys looked kind of small to me out there, but hopefully that means we'll be able to fly to the ball on defense and outrun some folks when we have the ball. I'm dying to see the stadium filled up with the extra seats that Ricky and Vince had so much to do with building. I'm looking for a 38 - 10 victory for the Horns this week to get things started off in the right way. I love Burnt Orange! Hook 'em
    (Note: Stonie Clark played DT for the Horns from 1992-1995. He once left a permanent dent in Sooner RB James Allen's torso with a flying body tackle.)

    Betcha Didn't Know

    Thought I don't know it for a fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Texas' inclusion of both Florida Atlantic and Rice this season will make them the first team to play two teams named the Owls in a single season. Let's all be thankful that Bellmont wasn't looking to schedule an additional cupcake in Temple (University, not High School, which as some of you know, is my alma mater).

    Edit: Dan In Atlanta noted that I'm wrong about this: "Memphis played both Rice and Fla Atl last season, but the Fla Atl-Memphis game was a bowl, Hawaii played them back-to-back to start the 2004 season."

    The Things I think About

    Twenty years ago I attended my first game at then-Memorial Stadium. Texas played then-North Texas State University and needed a comeback and a favorable call late in the game to eke out a win. The stadium had astroturf, the playing field (long before it bore Joe Jamail's name) was encircled by a track, and even without upper decks on the east side or north end, thousands of tickets went unsold.

    I would have never scoffed in those days at "only" winning ten games.

    Things have certainly changed.

    A few other College Football-related Thoughts

    Nah, not this early.

    Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

    Not surprisingly I don't have one, though I have made my fair share of "Howard Schnellengerger is a drunk" wisecracks over the years.

    Semi-Relevant quote from the movie Tombstone
    You look up and you think, "God made all this and He remembered to make a little speck like me." It's kind of flattering, really.
    From Godzillatron on the south end to the new mammoth edifice beyond the north goalposts, Royal-Memorial Stadium has eveolved in recent years to one of the country's largest and most aesthetic college football facilities. The north endzone makes its debut on Saturday, and it should be quite a sight to behold.

    Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

    Owl fans (and a few non-Owl fans) seem to be united in their feeling that Coach Schnelly's comments were ill-conceived.
    Hmmmm, I don't know if he is aware of what he just did. You have just awaken a sleeping giant. Texas will be out for blood after being called soft. Texas has some big mofo's on their squad you can squash any player on FAU. I witnessed it last year at the UCF game. Those guys were huge.
    This guy apparently didn't witness Texas' outings against Kansas State and Texas A&M, where they had much more motivation to stomp a proverbial mudhole, yet failed to do so. The carryover from the Holiday Bowl, as well as the presence of "Coach Youtube," should help instill the fire that was absent in those two losses.

    Random Texas highlight that has absolutely nothing to do with Florida Atlantic, but did take place just up I-95

    Do people still crank that Soulja Boy?

    Prediction: Will Muschamp lets an F Bomb slip...



    Monday, August 25, 2008

    The 2008 Texas Longhorns Season Preview 

    2007 Record: 10-3 (Won Holiday Bowl)
    2008 Preseason Rank: 10 (USA Today/Coaches Poll); 11 (Associated Press)

    2007 In Review

    A few hours before Texas kicked off its 2007 season against Arkansas State, lowly Appalachian State waltzed into the Big House and upset the Michigan Wolverines. Sure, App State had won the Football Championship Subdivision (nee Division I-AA) the year before, but Michigan had played in the Rose Bowl the previous season, and had come within a hair of reaching the BCS Championship game. None of that mattered when the Mountaineers blocked a potential game-winning field goal to seal an improbable victory.

    So when Texas fans breathed a collective sigh of relief that evening, which came only after their Horns recovered an onside kick to squelch a late comeback bid, they could at least rest easy in the knowledge that an eight-point win against an opening weekend cupcake didn't make their team the laughingstock of major college football. Instead it served as a precursor to what ended up as perhaps the craziest season in college football's BCS era.

    In a manner reminiscent of 2001, it seemed that no team wanted to play for a national title (see: USC v. Stanford, LSU v. Arkansas, Oklahoma v. Texas Tech, Ohio State v. Illinois, Oregon v. Dennis Dixon's ACL, West Virginia v. Pitt, South Florida v. the second half of the season). And when the season mercifully ended - amidst a storm of controversy - a team with two losses won college football's ultimate prize against a team whose uninspired play gave credence to their detractors' claims that they didn't deserve the shot in the first place.

    Texas' chances for a national title ended on a rain-soaked field in late September; their conference title hopes disappeared a week later in the Cotton Bowl. And to add further insult, a Texas A&M squad with a lame duck coach out-everythinged the Horns for three quarters, until a late rally made an eight-point defeat as respectable as possible. In between, the Horns needed thrilling comebacks to down Oklahoma State and Nebraska, and Jamaal Charles' home run threat just slightly edged out the special teams "hands squad" as the Horns' biggest difference-maker.

    Despite all of the negatives, Texas managed to re-group and thump Arizona State, co-champions from the Pac-10, the way they weren't able to against titans like Central Florida. Pre-dawn practices and open competition for positions paved the way for the kind of mauling Texas fans expect, right or wrong, every time the Horns step on the field. And when Mack Brown's 10th season at the helm of the Burnt Orange empire concluded, his team had once again won 10 games, yet they also once again fell short of a conference title or BCS berth.

    2008 in a Nutshell

    Without delving into the tired "re-build v. re-load" discussion, it's safe to say that Texas begins 2008 a year or two away from national title contention. It's certainly possible that a running back emerges to replace Jamaal Charles, one or more of a young stable of wide receivers emerges as a gamebreaker, and the green secondary matures faster than the Westbrook-Thomas-Carter or Griffin-Huff groups that eventually earned well-deserved accolades, but history suggests that one of those happening is tough enough, much less all three.

    Then there's the schedule, which removes a cupcake (Iowa State) and two once-stout programs now floundering in mediocrity (Kansas State, who have won two straight against the Horns, and Nebraska) and replaces them with two potential powers (Kansas and Missouri) and one up-and-comer (Colorado, with former-almost-Longhorn Darrel Scott). Throw in Arkansas and a trip to Lubbock and Mack's 10-win mantra becomes a significant accomplishment, as opposed to the eye-roll-inducing byproduct of expanded schedules and watered-down non-conference slates that some Texas fans contend.

    With an offensive line that will return all but one starter, and young talent developing in a number of positions, Texas fans can legitimately look at 2008 as the season that builds toward a return to national prominence.

    What to Expect in 2008?

    For one thing, I promise to finish the season. I also promise to lay off of the political commentary, which should be easy considering I find our two presidential candidates as inspiring as a home game against Baylor, which as it turns out, occurs just a few days after we go to the polls. And in the true political sense, I promise that my promise will be honored just as much as any one that you'll hear from Barack "I promise to give the American people 'hope' and 'change' on everything but my VP selection" Obama, and John" I promise I'm different from George W. Bush on everything but the things I'm exactly the same as him on" McCain.

    Expect the same shtick as always, though maybe with a few new sections. I'll even try to make it somewhat interesting and/or funny.

    I promise.

    The Best Preseason Texas Video I Could Find on Youtube

    Hook'Em Horns!


    A New Season... A Fresh Start 

    We're T-minus five days from the kickoff to the 2008 season of Texas Longhorn football, and I couldn't be more giddy. It's very possible that some of that excitement will wane as the season grinds into mid-November, but we'll try to power through all of that this year and not go AWOL again after 10 games.

    I'm hoping to have the 2007 Season Preview posted as early as tonight (though it would be more reasonable to expect it on Tuesday), and the first weekly game preview by Thursday afternoon. In the meantime, feel free to check out four-plus years of rambling, starting with my Texas Football Pedigree (which hasn't been updated in two years).


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