Friday, November 4, 2005

Weekend Preview - 11/4/2005

Quick Shout-out: Congratulations to Leander, Pflugerville, Connally, Round Rock, Westlake, Hays, Bastrop, McCallum, Lanier, LBJ, Lake Travis, Wimberley, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Lexington, and a few other Austin-area high schools I may have forgotten on making the UIL high school football playoffs.


Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Missouri at Colorado
2:30 PM ABC (KVUE 24)
Regional Coverage Map
Except for any market in Nebraska served by Sioux Falls, SD or any place in Iowa served by Cedar Rapids, Iowa. you're OK. If you happen to live in one of those places I just listed, you need to call your cable/satellite company and get it on PPV.

Yeah, I know, probably not most people's choice for "Game of the Week" but this is effectively the Big 12 North Championship. (Plus, we've never had a chance to really feature a Big 12 North game).

Despite the apparent difference in talent, this is not an automatic win for the Buffs. The last Big 12 North loss Colorado suffered? Last year's Missouri game.

Key Matchup
John Torp vs Marcus Woods
Both teams rely on clock management and possession. So this puts a big premium on field position. John Torp is the Big XII's best punter, but Missouri has the league's best punt return average as a team.

Key player for Colorado
Hugh Charles
The Big XII's second leading rusher for running backs needs to get going in this game to keep Brad Smith off the field.

Key player for Missouri
Brad Smith
... with a capital "Duh!" Come on, the guy is 336 yards away from passing Kliff Kingsbury as the Big 12's career leader in total offense by a QB, and he's Mizzou's leading rusher and passer. This is the guy that has to show up for Missouri. He's also the guy Colorado's going to have to stop

Tale of the Tape

Missouri offense vs. Colorado defenseMissouriColorado has mixed results in the "dual threat QB" category this year. They failed to stop Vince Young, but they stopped Reggie McNeal. Since Smith is closer to Young than McNeal...
Colorado offense vs. Missouri defenseColoradoMissouri's linebackers have had trouble stopping the run, which favors the Buffaloes.
Special TeamsColoradoIf Mason Crosby hasn't locked up the Lou Groza Award at this point, the people who vote for it need to have their head checked.

Gary Barnett is frequently underestimated by media people, opposing coaches, and Attorneys General of the State of Colorado. Gary Pinkel has probably coached his way out of a job, given Missouri's performance this season.
Oh, and Barnett is the better game coach.

IntangiblesPushNeither team has fared well under the bright spotlight of an ABC marquee game.

Big XII Games

Texas A&M at Texas Tech
6:00 PM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn
Texas Tech throws for 428.2 passing yards a game. Texas A&M gives up 307.2 passing YPG. Plus, Texas A&M has lost it's last 3 in Lubbock and 7 of the last 10 meetings. That said, Tech usually spoils A&M's season when A&M is the favorite in this game, so I'm sure there's nothing the Aggies would like more than to return the favor now that Tech is having it's best year in a while.

Texas at Baylor
11:30 AM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn
Let's face it, the Baylor Bears are having a better season than they usually do, but they've let a lot of games slip away, so whether it's close or not, the Bears are probably going to lose.

Nebraska at Kansas
Last week, Bill Callahan made a throat slash gesture and was fined. This week, Cory Ross and Zac Taylor can slash up the Kansas defense.

Kansas State at Iowa State
1:00 PM
Beat Iowa, lose to Nebraska. Beat OSU, Lose to Baylor. Beat A&M, lose to Missouri.
Would the Real Iowa State Cyclones, please stand up? I repeat, would the real Iowa State Cyclones please stand up?

We're gonna have a problem here...

Bye Week: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Our Adopted Team

Tulane at Navy
12:30 PM
Well, Chris Scelfo said his team would play anywhere. Navy's not a powerhouse, but it's still a tough place for visitors.

Other Texas Teams

Colorado State at TCU
6:00 PM PPV
TCU can clinch it's first ever Mountain West title (in the Horned Frogs' first Mountain West season) against the Rams.

Tulsa at UTEP
8:00 PM
This game, between 2 teams with 4-1 conference records, will give the winner the inside track to a Conference USA West title.

Houston at Central Florida
5:00 PM
Meanwhile, Houston will attempt to bring George O'Leary's Golden Knights back down to earth.

Rice at SMU
2:00 PM CSTV
OK, why is this matchup between the two worst teams in the Conference USA West the only C-USA TV game this week? Doesn't the conference have any TV flexibility whatsoever?


Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
noon, CBS (KEYE 42)

Congratulations, Texans, you beat the equally crappy Cleveland Browns. Enjoy the win because it's probably your last for the year.

The Texans step up to play the Jacksonville Jaguars, and will most likely return to their familiar losing ways

Key Matchup
Domanick Davis vs his bum knee
Seeing as how he's the only reliable offensive player for the Texans, they better hope he's more than "Questionable" for Sunday's game.

Key player for Houston
Milford Brown
Bad enough that the Texans line is the worst in terms of sacks allowed, but Zach Weigert is lost to injury and Brown has to step up. Heck, he could play his way to a starting job if he performs well.

Key player for Jacksonville
Fred Taylor
Assuming he stays healthy (a phrase you always have to use with Taylor), Taylor should have a big day against a defense that is allowing 227 yards in the past 3 games.

Tale of the Tape
Texans offense vs. Jacksonville defenseJacksonvilleIf there's an over/under on sacks on David Carr, take the over, whatever it is.
Jacksonville offense vs. Texans defenseJacksonvilleEven though Byron Leftwitch has trouble against the Texans, the Jaguars should run all over a weak Houston defense
Special TeamsJacksonvilleI don't know who Jacksonville's kicker or punter are, but they have to be better than Houston's
CoachingHoustonIn a game that matched equal talent, I would give Dom Capers an edge over Jack Del Rio in terms of game coaching. Unfortunately, Dom doesn't have talent.
IntangiblesJacksonvilleHouston's just happy they aren't the last winless team since the '76 Bucs.

Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
3:05 PM Fox (KTBC 7)

OK, if there are any Saints fans out there, I'd like to know one thing. How the heck can you possibly pull for this team when, throughout their history, they have constantly found new ways to lose a football game?

Key Matchup
Saints blockers vs Chicago front four
Currently, the Saints are tied for third in sacks allowed. Chicago gets a lot of heat on the quarterback. So if the Saints don't want to be totally embarrassed, they need to fix this.

Key player for New Orleans
Aaron Brooks
He must stay upright for New Orleans to win as he's the only offensive option.

Key player for Chicago
Kyle Orton
Can he improve on his best game as a pro and carve up a bad Saints defense?

Tale of the Tape
Saints offense vs. Bears defenseChicagoLike a lot of fantasy owners I know, the Saints are missing Deuce McAllister's production greatly.
Bears offense vs. Saints defensePushClearly a case of "resistable force" meeting "moveable object"
Special TeamsChicagoSince they won game 1 on a last second field goal, New Orleans' special teams have gone progressively downhill, even contributing to close losses.
CoachingPushUgh, Lovie Smith vs. Jim Haslett? I wouldn't want either in a game situation
IntangiblesChicagoThey say tragedy defines character. Clearly being shuffled around has gotten to the New Orleans Saints, as they keep finding new and interesting ways to lose.

Bye Week: Dallas Cowboys
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