b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Monday, October 27, 2008

Texas Football: The Texas Tech Game 

Week Nine: No. 1 Texas (8-0) vs. No. 8 Texas Tech (8-0)
Last Week: Texas 28, Oklahoma State 24; Texas Tech 63, Kansas 21
Last Meeting: (#14) Texas 59, Texas Tech 43
All-Time Series: Texas leads 43-14

Whew! I made it.

Last year I wrote half of my Texas Tech preview, got distracted, and never finished it. I neglected to write further previews for the remainder of the season.

It's now week nine, the Horns sit atop every single poll, and I'm still going.

I mean we're still going.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

Graham Harrell is going to pass for 400-plus yards. Texas Tech is going to score 30-plus points. But has Tech's defense really improved enough to ensure that Texas doesn't go well beyond in either category?

The Week That Will Be takes a closer look at the "rivalry" between Texas and Tech
The Red Raiders are a very talented team that is very dangerous, but let’s get real here. They are still Texas Tech, a wannabe program that has never faced the pressure that will face them on Saturday night.

Who do you trust more in a big game? Mack Brown, whose team is now 16-2 against ranked opponents going back to mid-October 2004, or Mike Leach, the drunken malcontent who is fascinated with pirates and picks his kickers from the Chick-fil-A Kick Around the Country contest?

Who would you want as your quarterback? Colt McCoy, who is making video game quarterbacks look ordinary, or Graham Harrell, who had to rally to beat Virginia in the Gator Bowl and threw 9 interceptions in his four losses last year and acts like a petulant punk?

What about your defensive coordinator? Will Muschamp, who has been a coordinator in the NFL and national championship games, as well as the toughest venues in the SEC? Or Ruffin McNeil, where Texas Tech is the big-time for him, and it is seen as a massive improvement that Tech is ranked 58th in the country in total defense?

Let’s face it. If history has taught us anything, in order for Texas Tech to win, Texas has to be an average team that makes mistakes while Texas Tech needs to be perfect. Which one do you see happening on Saturday?
Good stuff, as always. Read the rest here. Even if you don't read the rest, you don't want to miss the Halloween-themed version of the Random Hot Dallas Chick.

They Said It...
"We kind of let them off the hook. We were just a few plays short. We turned the ball over and didn't execute on third down. We were right there. We definitely want this one back."

Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
Oklahoma State earned a lot of respect on Saturday, every bit of it well deserved. I remarked after the game that I thought they should move up after the loss. But a statement like this is simply asinine. For every "almost" on the Oklahoma State side, Texas had an "almost" of their own. You can't have it back, Zac. Go take care of business against Texas Tech and Oklahoma, and rest assured that even if you're not in the mix for a conference title, you're a BCS contender.
"We all have an understanding this is something special. This isn't normal. We have a big opportunity ahead of us, and we're ready to make the most of it."

Texas Tech OT Rylan Reed
Not normal? You're telling me.
"If Stafford played in one of those junk offenses, he'd be putting up numbers just like McCoy. I think he's more the pro body type, he's more Matt Ryan. I think he's just a brilliant football player, I really do. He's gonna be an NFL franchise quarterback."

CBS analyst Gary Danielson, comparing Georgia QB Matt Stafford to Colt McCoy
Since when does Texas play in a junk offense? McCoy throws the ball 30 times per game; Stafford throws it 28 times per game. Texas has a higher per-game rushing average. Stafford may have the "pro body type" but his career as a college QB has been underwhelming to date. He's Chris Simms without the big-game meltdowns. And unless he stays for his senior season, Stafford will leave Georgia having not won a conference or national title. McCoy, at least for now, has both of those goals within his sights. This is college football, not the NFL, and Colt has outperformed Matt Stafford to date.
This thing is getting out of control as well. If you want to look like Oklahoma State and copy a fad that has run its course, go ahead, do the blackout thing with you and your sheeple friends.

Lubbock radio personality Ron Hyatt, on the proposed "Blackout" this weekend.

Agreed. More on the "Blackout" later in the column. I do, though, recommend reading Hyatt's post. It's funny seeing someone encourage Tech fans to "act like they've been there before," because: (1) they haven't, and (2) there's no program I've ever seen that less exemplifies that attitude than Texas Tech.
We have their attention this week. They were not happy about not finishing against Oklahoma State

Mack Brown
I must have said 20 times after last week's game that "there's no such thing as a bad win against a top ten team." But I don't set the standards for the guys in the locker room, and apparently the win was far from a good thing in their eyes. Remember when Brown used to say things like "playing OU is like playing your brother"? That Mack Brown no longer exists, and this program is the better for it.
Safe to say that Tech would have to at least get in the 40s, which will be awfully tough to do with Brian Orakpo, Sergio Kindle and Co. harassing Graham Harrell. But what the heck? I'll go out on a limb and predict a 48-45 Tech win.

Dallas Morning News sportswriter Tim McMahon, on how many points Tech needs to win this weekend.
Tech is a trendy pick this weekend. Oklahoma State was a trendy pick the week before that, and Mizzou the week before that. They're not bad picks, because each of these teams is damn good. But there's a prevailing thought out there that Texas' ride has to end sooner or later because they can't keep beating good teams like this. It's reminiscent of what people said about OU in 2000 or Ohio State in 2002. And it's asinine. The past three weeks are not going to come into play this weekend. texas Tech is going to have to be the better team, not just the team that caught Texas in a letdown. Anyone that believes differently simply hasn't followed this program closely enough since the Holiday Bowl.

In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"

Get ready for a healthy dose of "Texas fatigue."

The fatigue I'm talking about has nothing to do with Longhorn players, who by the reports I've gotten, have responded with energy and fire in practice this week.

The fatigue I'm talking about is starting to come from the national media. Don't be surprised to hear more and more voices doubting Texas.

Why? Not because they see something wrong in Colt McCoy's ability to finish games, or UT's pass defense at 111th nationally. But because Texas fit the mold of everyone's No. 1, and the national media are either bored or disinterested in telling the Longhorn story.

When there's no superstar like Vince Young or Reggie Bush, electrifying audiences or filling up SportsCenter, the national media often starts looking for the Wow Factor.

This Texas team doesn't have a Wow Factor unless you are into great chemistry, incredible leadership, a blue-collar work ethic, a laser-armed quarterback and a fiery, overachieving defensive coordinator.

The hell with the black and white print &.....X's and O's. Let's just play the damn game so we can light up OUR ORANGE TOWER!!!!!!!!

(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...

(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

Barking Carnival blogger Huckleberry has been tracking college football's "Heavyweight Champion" since the preseason. His system, in a nutshell, goes back to the sport's first game between Rutgers and Princeton - in which the Scarlett Knights "won" the championship - and tracks the title holder over the 139 ensuing years. This past weekend Texas claimed the "belt" for the fifth time.

The Things I Think About

I'm going to show my nerdy side here, but if you've read this column more than twice you already know it exists. Texas Tech, this season, is the Charlie Conway of Big 12 football.

Who is Charlie Conway? Well he started out as an awkward Minnesota youth that played pee wee hockey to pass the time. The Gordon Bombay "taught him to fly" and Conway scored the unlikely game-winning goal as his Ducks defeated the evil Hawks for the Minnesota state title. Later, he allowed a pick-up player to claim his roster spot when the Ducks (implausibly) represented the USA at the Junior Goodwill Games, presumably because Conway's leadership meant more than his middling talent level.

Then as the Ducks moved into high school - and jumped the proverbial shark - Conway, the awkward, marginal role player, suddenly becomes the star of the team. Out of nowhere. It just didn't make sense.

Tech has always been that marginal, middling program. Sure, they may score a big goal against an evil Texas or OU, but they're not the conference's star. Yet here we are nine weeks into the season and the Red Raiders are hosting College Gameday and a national prime time game between top ten teams. Texas needs to put them back in their place this weekend.

If you have no idea what all of this means then please go rent The Mighty Ducks.

For the Record

Mike Leach and Mack Brown faced each other for the first time in this series in 2000, a game Texas won, 29-17. Since then the lowest winning score has been 35 points (2006). The teams have both scored 40-plus points twice, and 30-plus points four times.

Also, Mike Leach has won just once.

Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

Without getting into how much I dislike Halloween, I'd like to note that this game routinely fell on Halloween weekend during the SWC years. Since the Big 12 formed it's happened just once, a Texas win two years ago. I began the evening at my buddy Justin's apartment and ended it at a random party where we were a decade older than the average attendee, most of whom were on God knows what, and a good ten minutes after we arrived, so did Austin's finest. In between we visited a gathering that included Flava Flav, Alice and Wonderland, Aileen Wuornos, and the Duke Lacrosse Team. That one was fun until they ran out of beer. It almost seems fitting that this year's game is actually played the day after Halloween, so Tech can take off its Top Ten mask and rejoin reality.

Semi-Relevant quote from the movie Tombstone
Sheriff John Behan: We're growing. Be as big as San Francisco in a few years, and just as sophisticated.
Doc Holliday (as a local shoots someone in the street): Very cosmopolitan.
I imagine the mayor of Lubbock and the Texas Tech school president meeting the Gameday crew as they arrive this week and making a similar claim, just as a Tech fratboy runs by, bonging a beer, and giving Lee Corso the finger.

Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

If the signs on Saturday morning are as bad as the ideas tossed around on this thread, ESPN may not re-visit Lubbock even if the Raiders pull off the upset.

The E-S-P-N and A-B-C anagram signs stopped being original before College Gameday took its first roadie. Even more un-original: the dreaded (insert color)-out... especially when it includes art that resembles a between-rounds mugshot from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out.

Let's Hope for an Encore Saturday Night...

Prediction: The points rain down like black and red tortillas, and the "Blackout" = Epic Fail.



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?