Friday, October 7, 2005

Weekend Preview - 10/7/2005

T-1 day to the Red River Shootout

(cue NFL Films music)
(cue John Facenda)

The second weekend in October

It is the weekend where legends are born.

The legends of the second weekend in October read like the history of college football itself: Layne, Nobis, Wilkinson, Royal, Campbell, Selmon, Gill, Watts, Switzer, Bosworth, Brown, Williams, Stoops, Heupel, and White.

The second weekend in October once hosted most anticipated non-conference matchup of the year. Now in the short history of the Big XII Conference, no weekend has impacted the final standings more.

Now as the weekend approaches once again, Longhorn fans and Sooner fans both travel on Interstate 35 to Dallas, to watch their gladiators battle again.

They come to the State Fair Grounds, where on the venerable field of the Cotton Bowl, Texas and Oklahoma will battle like the mythic titans once struggled with the Greek gods. In front of a stadium half crimson and cream, half burnt orange and white, a battle worthy of the epic poet Homer will take place.

All the while Big Tex stands guard, ready to greet both teams.


Starting their weekend off early

Troy 13, North Texas 10
The defensive problems continue for North Texas as they allowed 283 yards rushing to the Trojans. Then again, it could be the early Tuesday date threw everyone off because Troy's passing game wasn't sharp either.

Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Oklahoma at Texas
Red River Shootout - Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Saturday, 12:00 PM ABC (KVUE 24)

The last 5 years, Texas's national title aspirations have died in this game. If they don't win this game this year, with OU already out of the national picture and rebuilding, they may never beat them again.

Key Matchup
Texas defensive line vs Oklahoma offensive line.
Texas has about 6 stars playing 4 positions on that line. OU's line has been spotty. If Texas wins the battle up front, Adrian Peterson will end up with hurt pride to go with that hurt ankle and Rhett Bomar will be looking for his mouthpiece all day.

Key player for Oklahoma
Rhett Bomar
Texas has the tools to stop the run, so it's up to Bomar to step up to take some of the pressure off of Peterson.

Key player for Texas
Vince Young
OU will be prepared to stop Young's ground game, so he must beat OU through the air and challenge their patchwork secondary.

Tale of the Tape
Texas offense vs. Oklahoma defenseTexasI know Oklahoma has a tough run defense that contained Maurice Drew, but they haven't faced a QB-RB run combo like Vince Young and Jamaal Charles yet.
Oklahoma offense vs. Texas defenseTexasRhett Bomar has not faced a pass rush or secondary like Texas's yet. And Adrian Peterson, while probable, is slowed a bit.
Special TeamsOklahomaWith Texas struggling with kick coverage and David Pino struggling even on extra points, OU has the better special teams in this game.
CoachingOklahomaBob Stoops is still a better game coach than Mack Brown. Mack has traditionally been a shrinking violet in this game.
IntangiblesPushTexas knows this is their best shot yet to get over the OU hump, and they're going to play like it. OU would like nothing better than to ruin the Longhorns season again.

Big XII Games

Texas Tech at Nebraska
Saturday 3:00 PM TBS
This is a game that should scare the heck out of Red Raider fans. Nebraska's got a very good pass rush and Cody Hodges was knocked around last week, albeit in a win, against Kansas. The Red Raider defense stepped up, but they need to prove they can consistenly get pressure and force more turnovers.
If the Red Raiders want to prove they are a good team, they must win this one.

Kansas at Kansas State
Saturday 11:00 AM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
Neither Sunflower State school fared very well in their conference opener. The loser falls behind in the Big 12 North race and in all likelihood is out of it.

Texas A&M at Colorado
Saturday 6:00 PM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
Well, the Aggies aren't winning pretty, but they are winning. Now they travel to Boulder to play the Buffs at mile-high altitude.

Baylor at Iowa State
Saturday 1:00 PM
Both these teams lost in overtime last week, let's see who can bounce back the fastest. Iowa State needs this one, otherwise they will be behind the 8-ball in the North race with 2 early losses.

Missouri at Oklahoma State
Saturday 1:00 PM
Will Oklahoma State ever score against a Big 12 Team? Stay tuned.

Our Adopted Team

Tulane at Houston
Saturday 5:00 PM
Since this is going to be a conference matchup for a long time to come, and both cities have been recently affected by major hurricanes, perhaps they could make a "Gulf Hurricane Trophy" for the winner of the now-annual game.

Other Texas Teams

TCU at Wyoming
Saturday 2:00 PM
Both teams are 4-1 and undefeated in Mountain West play. The extreme high altitude of Laramie, Wyoming (almost a half mile above Denver in elevation) makes this a tough road game for the Horned Frogs, who haven't made this trip since both schools were in the WAC. If they win, however, they have an egde on the rest of the conference

Rice at East Carolina
Saturday, 5:00 PM
The only thing interesting about this game is that both coaches have ties to Arkansas. Skip Holtz' dad Lou once coached at Arkansas, as did current Rice coach Ken Hatfield.
Other than that, it's a Pirate blowout.

Saturday, 6:00 PM
If you happen to be going to this game, watch UAB's Darrell Hackney, because he will smash records in this game against a hapless SMU defense.

Bye Week

National Games of Note

Georgia at TennesseeSat. 2:30 PMCBSWinner of the game has an easier road to the SEC East, loser is scoreboard watching for the rest of the year
Cal at UCLASat. 6:30 PMTBSWinner gets to be the biggest threat to UCLA on the remaining schedule.
Ohio State at Penn StateSat. 6:45 PMESPNOK, Penn State's undefeated at 5-0, but this game will tell us if the Nittany Lions are truely back.
LSU at VanderbiltSat. 6:00 PMESPN2LSU fan needs to lay off Les Miles. The guy got the most out of Oklahoma State and he's eventually going to get the most out of this program too.
Arizona at USCSat. 2:30 PMnoneThey say Notre Dame has a bye this week, their opponents for next week virtually have a bye. I bet Mike Stoops wishes he was in Dallas laying another one on the 'Horns right now.
Oregon at Arizona StateSat. 9:30 PMnoneThe "We were leading USC at the half, but choked it away" Bowl. Winner gets the Golden Heimlich.
Virgina at Boston CollegeSat. 12:00 PMPPVWith BC's uncertain quarterback situation, Virginia should roll in this one
Marshall at Virgina TechSat. 11:00 PMESPN2This is not you're father's Marshall team. Also, they're playing at Lane Stadium.
Iowa at PurdueSat. 3:30 PMESPNThis looked like a better game when the schedule came out. Now neither Iowa nor Purdue are ranked.
North Carolina at LouisvilleSat. 3:30 PMPPVLet's see if the Cardinals can bounce back from that bad loss to South Florida


Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
12:00 PM CBS (KEYE 42)

There's no reason to watch this game. Heck, there's no reason any station outside of Houston or Nashville should be showing this game. Don't even place money on this game, it's too unpredictable.

Loser gets Matt Leinart.

Key Matchup
Fisher's "46" vs Houston's offensive line
OK, so it's not your typical Jeff Fisher aggressive defense, but they are still facing the worst offensive line in the league.

Key player for Houston
Andre Johnson
Since the pass blocking isn't working, he needs help out by come back to the football.

Key player for (opponent)
(road player)

Tale of the Tape
Texans offense vs. Titans defenseTennesseeInstead of a spread for Texans games, they should have an over/under on sacks on David Carr.
Titans offense vs. Texans defensePushResistable force vs. movable object.
Special TeamsPushThere's nothing special about either special teams unit
CoachingTennesseeJeff Fisher has at least coached well in more big games.
IntangiblesPushWho cares?

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
12:00 PM FOX/Sunday Ticket (check local listings)

Well, Green Bay almost won on Monday Night, now they face America's Favorite Hurricane Vagabonds, who are coming off their first "home" win.

Key Matchup
Brett Favre vs New Orleans Secondary
We all know when Brett gets desperate he throws the ball up for grabs. He's done it his whole career.

Key player for New Orleans
Joe Horn
Look for him and Donte Stallworth to go off on Green Bay's woeful secondary

Key player for Green Bay
Ahman Green
Green needs to get going. Period.

Tale of the Tape
Saints offense vs. Packers defenseNew OrleansPack can't stop much of anything these days.
Packers offense vs. Saints defenseNew OrleansFavre and recievers showed some signs of life, but it's not going to be enough against the New Orleans defense
Special TeamsPushThere are no winners here
CoachingPushI wouldn't trust either of these coaches with a game plan.
IntangiblesPushThat whole "frozen tundra" thing only counts when it's actually cold and the Pack have a good team.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
3:15 PM Fox (KTBC 7)

At the beginning of the season, the Cowboys looked like the biggest challengers to the Eagles' dominance. Now the Cowboys will be lucky to win this game.

Key Matchup
Terrence Newman/Anthony Henry vs Terrell Owens
As bad as Dallas's safeties are playing pass coverage these days, Newman and Henry might as well be single-covering Owens every play. Let's hope they took notes from DeAngelo Hall's Week 1 performance. Let's also hope Mike Zimmer puts one of these guys on him every play because if Aaron Glenn's on him, well, see Brunell-to-Moss from Week 2 for a preview.

Key player for Dallas
Rob Pettiti
I know, I know, it's the second time I've had him as a key player, but it's the first time the rookie has had to face the Eagles defense, and you can bet Jim Johnson's going to place his "Joker" on his side most of the plays.

Key player for Eagles
Donovan McNabb
He better be mobile, because the Cowboys will send the house if he isn't.

Tale of the Tape
Cowboys offense vs. Eagles defensePhiladelphiaI don't think Drew Bledsoe will be upright enough to make much of a difference. And Julius Jones will be stuffed all day.
Eagles offense vs. Cowboys defensePhiladelphiaSingle coverage favors the offense in the NFL, and since the safeties are really no help even when they're supposed to help, Terrell Owens will have a great day
Special TeamsPhiladelphiaLet's face it, this is basically David Akers vs. Jose Cortez.
CoachingPushWhile Andy Reid may not have Parcells' rings, he is very much his equal when it comes to in-game coaching.
IntangiblesPhiladelphiaLet's face it, all is right in Philly and it isn't in Dallas. Dallas can't close out opponents or put distance on their opponents.

Monday: Weekend Wrap-Up
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