b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Texas Football: The Colorado Game 

Week Five: No. 5 Texas (4-0) vs. Colorado (3-1)
Last Week: Texas 52, Arkansas 10; Florida State 39, Colorado 21
Last Meeting: #2 Texas 70, Colorado 3 (2005)
All-Time Series: Texas leads 9-7

During the nadir of Texas Football the inclusion of Colorado on the Longhorns' football schedule almost certainly meant one thing: an increase in the "L" column. The Southwest Conference was dying, Texas took a yearly backseat to Texas A&M in the standings, and try as they might, the outmatched Horns just couldn't keep up with the Big 8 Conference's powerful Buffs.

Colorado hosted the Longhorns in both 1989 and 1993, soundly trouncing them both times. In 1990 and 1994 they visited then-Memorial Stadium and eked out victories late in the game to spoil what would have otherwise been benchmark victories for the David McWilliams and John Mackovic eras, respectively. And once the Big 12 formed in 1996, Colorado extended its dominance with wins in both 1996 and 1997.

It seems like such a long time ago. Because it was.

Texas' last regular season loss to the Buffs - the aforementioned '97 contest - helped usher John Mackovic out of Austin, and it closed the book on one of the longest losing streaks against any regular Texas opponent in the past three decades (only Texas A&M has a more successful run, from 1984-89). Since that time the Horns have run off wins in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005 (twice). Their lone loss came in a postseason encounter (more on that later).

Why do I bring this up? I simply wish to illustrate the recent dominance Texas has exerted over its once-formidable foe. Again, why? Because it needs to continue. Texas has to win this game.

Win this game and the Horns go to Dallas for a Top 5 match-up with Oklahoma. Lose this game and they go to Dallas staring an 0-2 conference start in the face for a second consecutive season, and with another Top 5 waiting in Missouri, they could easily extend that mark to 0-3.

This weekend then becomes the fork in the road with a springboard toward a possible conference title march in one direction, and a disastrous mid-season tailspin in the other. So to reiterate...

Texas has to win this game.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

At the risk of overloading visits to Matt's blog, he had a solid write-up earlier this week about Texas' national rankings heading into Big 12 play (statistical rankings, not polls). As he notes, our run defense has been superb, and that's good news considering Colorado is the first team we're going to play that has shown an ability to grind out yards. On the flip side, Sophomore Cody Hawkins can also air it out, but keep this in mind: CU has now lost two starting offensive linemen. Texas' front seven chased Casey Dick all over the field last week, and Brian Orakpo is no doubt drooling at the thought of continuing his Lombardi Trophy campaign by adding to his sack total (it currently sits at six through four games).

A night game on the road is always a potential recipe for an upset, but Texas wins this game if they: (a) keep pressure on Hawkins, and (b) show a sense of composure that doesn't resemble the 1999 Stanford game.

Matt breaks down the Big 12 in The Week that Will Be

Read the whole thing. Especially the Facebook Status Messages.

Congrats, buddy!

They Said It...
"I can remember looking up in the third quarter thinking, 'Man, they might score a hundred. We got to stop these guys.' That was a very good football team and I take my hat off to them, but I have never felt more embarrassed. My family was there and that was a big-time game on a big stage"

Buffs WR Patrick Williams, referring to Texas' 70-3 annihilation of Colorado in the 2005 Big 12 Title Game
Consider that payback for the heartache sustained in 2001. Leaving Reliant Stadium that day, I had no doubt in my mind that Texas was going to win the Rose Bowl.

"I think that package has been successful"

Greg Davis
, referring to the "Q Package" prior to Rice.
Yep, I left that in from last week. Why? Because...
"The Q package right now hasn’t brought us anything much. We’ll continue to look at it. … It doesn’t look like it’s going to be as involved as we thought at the beginning of the year."

Mack Brown
The Q Package is much more appealing when dealing with 2007 Colt McCoy than it is when dealing with 2006 or 2008 Colt McCoy. When McCoy's TDs outnumber his INTs by a 14:1 ratio, and Greg Davis (I guess) shows enough imagination to designed runs for him that bring an added element to an offense lacking a marquee back, then gimmicky two-QB sets become less necessary. Chiles' athleticism continues to waste away on the bench, but that's not Colt's fault, and maybe these comments signal an eventual position change. By the way, Davis changed his tune in the last week. A week after it was successful, the Q Package "hasn’t been as productive as we’d thought." I know it's an election year, but flip-flopping was so 2004, Coach.

In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"

Listen guys and gals...all i'm gonna say is...THEY DON'T SELL ALCOHOL ANYMORE during the games there, so it probably won't be as much of a contact sport as it was in the past. By the way....it's hard as hell to catch your breath after just a couple of quick plays. Oxygen masks will make a resurgence during this game.

We should crush this group so we can have a certain 'SWAGGER' about ourselves goin' into the TX-ou game!!!!!!!!!!


(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

Will return next week...

(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

Colorado once denied Texas a trip to the BCS Championship Game. It apparently happened in 2001. I have no personal recollection of this unbelievable occurrence, but I read about it a few times this week while prepping for the column. I do remember watching from the end zone at DKR while Texas whipped the Buffs by 34 points, but a loss? Nope. I don't think it actually happened.

The Things I think About

There's this juvenile, asinine, inane, (insert adjective here) practice common to message boards, where people take a school's abbreviation and turn it into some perjorative that supposedly describes said university. I mention this because it's common for some of the old Big 8 fans to refer to Colorado as sCUm. "sCUm." Get it? Yeah, I think it's pretty lame, too. Maybe I should quit posting on message boards.

(For the record, CU fans do have a reputation as being among the conference's worst)>

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

Four years ago the Democratic Party had a tremendous, though futile, GOTV effort going in the greater Denver metro area. Kerry supporters seemed to be everywhere you looked, on every street corner (Bush won 50%-45% anyway). As a fan of the President, I took a little bit of pleasure in letting the people accosting me with their Kerry/Edwards propaganda know that I was already backing the winning horse. It wasn't as pleasurable as watching the Horns destroy the Buffs that weekend at Folsom Field, my second favorite road venue in the conference, but a few days later when my friends and I sat up until the wee hours to toast a successful re-election bid, it made for a pretty good story. Why do I use that memory for this week's column instead of the penultimate moment of elation in recent Texas history? Because I thought I'd plug my latest post on my latest blogging venture.

For the record I should probably admit that I celebrated a little too much prior to the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game and may or not have slept through the third quarter.

Semi-Relevant quote from the movie Tombstone
"Texas Jack: You ever seen somethin' like that before?
Turkey Creek Jack Johnson: Hell, I never even heard of something like that. "
That's what CU fans, players, coaches and administrators thought when they looked up at the scoreboard with about seven minutes to play in the third quarter of the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game.

Thank God for the game. It meant that the most lopsided annihilation I ever attended in person was no longer a 66-3 loss to UCLA.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

Did I mention that Colorado fans have a reputation of being among the conference's worst?

Check this out

For those wondering what "don't forget the batteries means," I'll relay another (non-personal) anecdote.

In 2000 some friends of mine made the trip to Boulder. As the Longhorn Band came marching by they stood to applaud and throw up their Horns. Then my buddy Wheeler noticed that some of the CU students about 10 rows from the field were throwing marshmallows at the band, only they weren't just marshmallows. They were loading them with AA or AAA batteries first. Long story short, Wheeler, as he was known to do, ended up in a scuffle with one of the battery chunkers, and after losing his hat and tearing his ACL, whilst throwing the battery chunker head first toward the bottom row, he found himself kicked out of a game Texas won 21-7.

Colorado fans - at least the battery chunkers - are indeed assholes.

If only my company didn't block YouTube...

I would have a highlight this week. F me for procrastinating and having to put the final touches on this from my place of employment (shhh, don't tell anyone).

Prediction: Colorado fans, in defeat, uphold their reputation as assholes.



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