Monday, October 10, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up: "Reverse the Curse" Edition

William Winston waves the Longhorn flag after beating Oklahoma 45-12 on Saturday (Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman)(Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman)

Well, just like the Red Sox of last baseball season, the Longhorns "cowboyed up" and "Reversed the Curse". Now all Texas has to do is win out.

But a BCS berth is not as automatic as people say it is.

First off, there's injuries and suspensions. While the Longhorns are deep at all but one position, if Texas faces a series of injuries and suspensions to the two-deep, it could hurt them because then you're either a heartbeat away from playing a walk-on or scout team player or you're playing them altogether.

Also, the Longhorns can ill-afford an injury to Vince Young. Matt Nordgren is a good drop-back passer, but he's not even close to the runner Vince is, which means that defenses can blitz easier knowing that Nordgren won't leave the pocket on a heavy blitz.

Second, with Ohio State's loss to Penn State the Longhorns' strength of schedule is in deep trouble, and while it's not a separate component of the BCS rankings anymore, many pollsters will take it into account and many of the computer rankings have an S.O.S. component. Auburn was left out of the championship game, in large part because they scheduled weak in the non-conference, and their division was in an off year. Both divisions of the Big XII are weak this year, but so long as there was a 1-loss Ohio State team contending for the Big 10 title, that would overcome any shortcomings of the conference schedule. Now, they don't have that anymore.

As of right now, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Penn State are all undefeated in better conferences than the Big 12. If Texas has a close game against one of their remaining opponents, even in a victory, it could mean someone leapfrogs Texas.

Third, the Longhorns have two remaining trap games on their schedule within their own state. Texas Tech is also currently undefeated, and though they barely escaped Lincoln with their lives, the Red Raiders always play Texas tough(Last time the game was in Austin, for instance, Texas Tech missed a field goal that could have won it.). Also, the traditional "Turkey Day +1" game against A&M will be tough as the game will be at Kyle Field and the Aggies, as bad as they've looked this season, would like nothing more than to ruin the Longhorns' national title shot.

Oh, and the Longhorns better not overlook that Colorado game next week either.

Meanwhile, in the Pro ranks, Dallas surprised everyone, myself included, and beat the heck out of the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that the 'Boys needed to beat if they were going to climb to the NFC's upper echelon.

Colleges

Big story of the weekend:
Texas finally over the Oklahoma hurdle with a 45-12 win


How sweet it is for Burnt Orange Nation.

They finally win the one game that has plagued them these last 5 years.

The biggest sign that this is a different Texas team? With 17 seconds left in the 2nd quarter and Texas at their own 36 yard line, Mack Brown, who's normally been too conservative in his playcalling in this game, called a long pass play rather than take a knee.

Vince Young threw it.

Billy Pittman caught it.

Texas went into the locker room up 24-6 (instead of 17-6), and the Sooners pretty much quit from that moment on.

Recaps:
All Things Longhorn
My Opinion on Sports
Gaylord Memorial Gathering
Rubbing it in, blogosphere style:
The Burnt Orange Bad(censored) at Personal Foul

Big 12 Games

Texas Tech 34, Nebraska 31

The finish to this game, Cody Hodges' 10-yard touchdown pass to Joel Filani with 12 seconds left, was one of the best in college football this season. Up until then, it was ugly for Red Raider fans as an early 21 point lead evaporated in the second half, and 2 scoring drives in the second half ended with field goals instead of touchdowns.

Recap #1: Shallowbottom Blog
Recap #2: Double T Ranch
Bitter Nebraska Fan Blogging: Struggling Joe

Colorado 41, Texas A&M 20

So much for A&M being a championship contender. Joel Klatt becomes the latest QB to put up 300-plus yards on A&M's defense (398 to be exact). The Carl Torbush firing watch continues.

Buffalo Recap: Buffs.TV
Aggie Recap: Texas A&M and Baseball

Baylor 23, Iowa State 13

Baylor bounces back from their narrow loss at A&M to give Iowa State a dose of reality in their own crib.

Recap: Cyclone Sports Journal
Post-game hand wringing: Cyclones Football blog on Des Moines Register

Missouri 38, Oklahoma State 31

For the first time this year, Oklahoma State actually shows up on offense. Unfortunately, their defense can't play worth anything.

Recap: Cowboy Brand

Kansas State 12, Kansas 3

Wow, that was an ugly game. Both teams combined for 277 yards passing. Not surprisingly, both these teams currently have QB controversies.

Our Adopted Team

Houston 35, Tulane 14

Art Briles, former Texas Tech assistant, knew he needed a Taurean Henderson-type dual threat running back to emerge if Houston's offense was going to be like Texas Tech. One may have emerged tonight in Ryan Gilbert, who got 130 yards and 2 TDs on the ground and got another 58 yards and a TD through the air.

Unfortunately, this means the Tulane Green Wave, our adopted Hurricane Katrina vagabond team to 2-2 on the year. On the bright side, Lester Ricard passed for both of the Wave's scores.

Recap: Frank McGrath

Around the State

TCU 28, Wyoming 14

High altitude? No problem for the Horned Frogs as they forced 7 turnovers from the Cowboys. Amazingly, the Frogs won the game in spite of backup QB Jeff Ballard, who in his first start was an embarassing 9 for 23 for 112 yards and 2 picks (oh, and a touchdown).

SMU 28, UAB 27

Don't let the final score fool you, Phil Bennett still can't coach. However, his team showed a lot of heart yesterday with a comeback win over Darrell Hackney and the UAB Blazers, a team that gave Tennessee a scare in it's opener.

East Carolina 41, Rice 28

Believe it or not, Rice was actually leading this game until the last play of the first half when ECU's Aundrae Allison threw a 40-yard bomb to James Pinkney. After that, it was pretty much all Pirates

Troy 13, North Texas 10 (Tuesday)

Well, now that everyone's pretty much figured out that North Texas has no defense and no passing game, the rest of the Sun Belt is teeing off on them.

Mike Price $20 Million, Sports Illustrated 0

UTEP was off this week, but that didn't stop their head coach from collecting an undisclosed settlement from his defamation lawsuit against SI.

More commentary: Every Day Should Be Saturday

Around the Nation
(The best blog recaps)

Georgia 27, Tennessee 14
Georgia Sports Blog
VOLuminous (Tennessee):
"Report Card"
"Help Wanted"
"By The Numbers"

Penn State 17, Ohio State 10
50-Yard Lion (Penn St.)
Nittany Blog (Penn St.)
Buckeyecommentary.com (Ohio St.)
Around the Oval (Ohio St.)

UCLA 20, Cal 10
Bruins Nation

Boston College 28, Virginia 17
Game Recaps:
Eagle in Atlanta (BC)
On the Brad Butler late hit:
Eagle in Atlanta #1
Eagle in Atlanta #2
Sexy Results (Virginia)

NC State 17, Georgia Tech
Section Six (NC State)
Golden Tornado (Georgia Tech)

Cheap Seats' Blogpoll Ballot

I didn't submit a ballot this week, because I wanted to re-evaluate the teams this week. I'm still doing that, so expect a full ballot tomorrow.

NFL

Sunday's Games

Dallas 33, Philadelphia 10

HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS! Who would have though that Terry Glenn would have better fantasy numbers than TO? Who would have thought the Cowboys could actually get 4 sacks on D-McNabb, while Drew Bledsoe was barely touched? Who would have thought Julius Jones could go down and a reserve running back could step up and get 75 yards?

This is a game I've been wanting to see from the Cowboys all season. They finally laid the wood to someone. More importantly, the "someone" they laid the wood to was the defending NFC champs and favorites to win the NFC East.

Game Ball: Drew Bledsoe
289 yards, 3 TDs, no picks, no sacks.

Recaps: The Cowboy Roundup

Green Bay 52, New Orleans 3

Wow, Did I say Green Bay had no chance in this game? I take that back.

By the way, Najeh Davenport's touchdowns in the game: 2.
Insert your own joke here.

Game Ball: Bret Favre
3 Touchdown passes? I'm sorry I ever said he was done as an NFL QB.

Tennessee 34, Houston 20

If Tennessee hired Norm Chow with the expectation that they would be getting Matt Leinart in the draft, they messed up by winning this game. Now Houston has the inside track for the USC quarterback.

Game Ball: Domanick Davis
Once again, he's the Texans most reliable option with 130 yards.

Monday Night Football vs. CSI:Miami

This Week's Monday Night Football Game (San Diego at Pittsburgh):
With the Patriots in serious trouble because of injuries, this matchup could go a long way towards determining AFC home field advantage.

This week's CSI:Miami ("48 Hours to Life"):
Yahoo TV Listing:
Evidence suggests that a confessed killer is actually innocent; Horatio works to collar the actual culprit before the man falls victim to the system
I think they already did a case like this on the orginal CSI.

The Verdict
Even if tonight's CSI:Miami was a good episode, the Pittsburgh-San Diego matchup is too good to miss.
Monday Night Football.

Baseball

Division Series:
Houston beats Atlanta 3 games to 1

Congratulations to the Houston Astros on winning their second straight Division Series. Now they face the Cardinals again for a trip to the World Series. Hopefully, it will go better than next year

More Commentary: The Dugout

Tomorrow: Astros, Stars, and Blogpoll
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