So Oklahoma won the Red River Shootout 55-17 at the Cotton Bowl. The end of the game featured a completely full OU half of the stadium and a mostly-empty Texas half of the stadium once OU was obviously up for good, which was sometime in the second quarter.
I don’t know what Texas fan expected out of this year, exactly, but leaving early from this game is probably not a good sign for the team. There’s no way the fans thought UT had a shot in this game, right? Texas might have been 4-0, but no one watching objectively could possibly have thought they were any kind of a threat to Oklahoma. And that number 11 ranking was ridiculous. I think the voters were just used to putting Texas up there.
Texas quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy were predictably bad against OU’s veteran defense. The Sooners had the sense to avoid over-thinking and just focus on stopping the run (UT’s only threat) and blitzing the hell out of the frosh quarterbacks on passing downs. Ash’s pick six before halftime was the coup de grace for the OU defense, and it probably encapsulates pretty much every problem UT fans have with the Longhorns program right now.
I think the surprise that Texas sucks is still palpable for most people. Everyone got so used to Mack Brown having a team that was somewhere between “legitimate threat to any team they played” and “juggernaut” that no one figured he’d ever have to rebuild in Austin. After all, he’s also one of, if not THE, best recruiters in the nation and he’s had years and years to build up pipelines from all over the state to UT.
Even at the national title game against Alabama two years ago, I think everyone was a little surprised UT didn’t have some one better than Garrett Gilbert waiting in the wings. Colt McCoy was better as a freshman than his brother and David Ash too. What gives?
The short answer is Texas forgot how to run the ball. Remember when they had Ricky Williams and hardly ever threw? Yeah, sure that was the late 90’s, but it was a trend that continued all the way through Cedric Benson’s tenure in 2004. Benson was getting 30 carries a game his last year in the program.
Then Vince Young got there and everything changed. Sure, Texas had Jamaal Charles during the Young/Colt McCoy years, but he was no longer the focus of the offense. Once Vince Young got there and Colt McCoy proved to be a worthy successor, Texas stopped running the ball. Suddenly, they were a zone-read spread team that liked to throw more and more later in McCoy’s career.
I think it started with Young because he became the running game. The offensive coordinator could just call a pass play and then let Young scramble out of it if it didn’t work. No need for a running back there. With McCoy, he was such an accurate passer that by his senior year, there was no need to run the ball even when Texas was ahead. They just nickel and dimed teams to death week in and week out.
That over-dependence on the quarterback position, in hindsight, completely screwed them. Mack Brown never recruited another stud back after Jamaal Charles left and UT hasn’t been the same since. Now you’ve got 2011 Texas that can’t run the ball and can’t throw it either. Beware the spread, people.
Clemson beat Boston College on Saturday, but nearly lost quarterback/savior Tajh Boyd in the process. Boyd had to leave the game in the third quarter and, though examinations would later show no broken bones, is questionable for next Saturday against Maryland.
The good news for Clemson, of course, is that Maryland sucks, so they might be able to win even with Boyd injured. On the other hand, Clemson is having the kind of season WITH Boyd that their fans are seeing a BCS berth slip right through their fingers.
Naturally, Indiana doesn’t play Minnesota this year
Purdue smoked Minnesota 45-17 Saturday, continuing the descent of the Golden Gopher program towards depths previously fathomed only by Indiana and Purdue in the Big Ten. And this is exactly the confidence I didn’t want Purdue to have heading into their showdown with Indiana the last week of the regular season. IU is so dead.
Hopefully, Booter is still alive and isn’t stalking Neuheisel Apocalypse Now-style
UCLA switched quarterbacks AGAIN due to injury, this time switching Richard Brehaut for Kevin Prince. Prince then led them to a comeback win over Washington State at home in the Rose Bowl. Hopefully our friend and legal adviser, Booter, saw the end of the game instead of committing seppuku, which would have been appropriate after a loss to Wazzu.
Washington State has to actually be pretty happy with their progress. They were unquestionably the worst team in the country in the late 2000’s after Mike Price left, playing with the least talent anywhere in the FBS. Now they’re not good, but present a small challenge to good teams and a fairly big one to mediocre ones like UCLA. Maybe they’re out of the “you have to commit honorable suicide if your team loses to WSU” stage.
Yellow Jackets’ march toward destiny continues
After a mediocre 21-16 win over Maryland at home on Saturday, it’s probably a good sign that Georgia Tech wasn’t satisfied with its effort. They should have scored 50 on Maryland, who apparently decided during the week that practicing the forward pass wasn’t really worth the time. Tech had been running their offense to perfection for most of the year but only managed one touchdown in the second half of this game despite being able to move the ball.
One day, Paul Johnson is going to manage to recruit at quarterback who can throw AND run. And on every Saturday for the four years after that, Georgia Tech will be completely, utterly unstoppable. Until then, it’s Tevin Washington. Sorry guys.
K-State keeps on rolling
No, this wasn’t a proxy for the Big XII taking revenge on Mizzou for being dicks. Missouri wasn’t ever good enough for it to matter. The Wildcats, however, are a classic Bill Snyder team: run the ball, play defense, and don’t have one player anyone can name without help from the internet. It’s actually kind of nice. A couple more wins like this and K-State might become the subversive choice to win the Big XII. Or at least play Oklahoma in the conference title game…oh, right.
Houston’s still undefeated, in case you were wondering
Case Keenum’s boys beat East Carolina 56-3, continuing their undefeated season and march toward being rejected by the BCS. Also, Keenum passed Graham Harrell for second all-time on the passing yardage list. Not bad, kid.
Yeah, this will work in the SEC
Texas A&M got into yet another shootout, this time with Texas Tech, and nearly blew another lead before pulling out the 45-40 win. The Aggies are in for a very rude awakening in the SEC West. LSU and Alabama aren’t like Oklahoma and Texas. Big XII teams are happy to end up in a shootout they’ll most likely win. It’s the way of the conference. LSU and ‘Bama will win 17-6, only letting the Aggies, who thought they had a good offense, cross the 50 twice.
I like that TCU is going to take A&M’s place, too. You know OU and UT didn’t want a squad that actually emphasizes defense in the conference. They like their private schools like Baylor.
Wait, they’re seriously tied for first?
Mark Richt has won 100 games as Georgia’s head coach and I can name maybe two of them. They like a slower, more relaxed pace down there in the South, and I guess that means not stressing out too much about many, many years of mediocrity behind them and ahead of them if Richt stays. Looks like the SEC East is awful again, son. Better go get the shotgun.
Week Six Record: 14-2 W/L, 10-6 AS
2011 Season Record: 61-21 W/L, 43-36-3 AS