You listen to me mr kickass, mr rubber burner,
you wipe that hot shot grin off your face or I’ll shoot it off ya.
I’ll begin this with a disclaimer – I really, really dislike the University of Texas. I dislike the smug fans. I dislike the smug coach. I dislike the, “Hey, now that I live in Austin, I’m going to be all political!” attitude of the student body. I dislike it all. However, this posting isn’t necessarily about my opinions on UT; I’m going to use the actual numbers of the situation to back up my points. Honestly, I don’t know how this is going to shake out – it could turn out that my entire anti-UT/pro-TCU argument gets completely shot to hell. I Genuinely do not know. But, with all of the UT/TCU discussion that has been going on this season, and a million differing opinions to back up either side, I really just wanted to see for myself.
Perhaps I should state a thesis here? Sure, why not – After a relatively thorough comparison of strength of schedule and overall statistics, I feel that, if we are looking solely at who has the overall body of work, TCU will be equally if not more so deserving of a shot at the national title than UT this season. This isn’t by any means a historical comparison between the two schools – for instance, had we not crapped the bed in 2005 against SMU, I wouldn’t have ever thought to pose this argument seeing as how Texas manned up and played quality out of conference competition (Ohio State), absolutely dominated most of the teams they faced, and had one of the most exciting and clutch players to ever play Division One Football in Vince Young. I also realize that, as a whole, Texas owns TCU as far as head to head competition. All I want to look at here is, all things being equal such as money and fanbase, if both teams go undefeated, who would be more deserving of a shot at the national title. Like I said, this could end up completely blowing up in my face, and if it does, so be it, but I just really wanted to look at it from my own perspective.
The biggest argument that UT fans throw out when defending Texas’ ranking is that their schedule is SO MUCH harder than ours which is true 9 years out of 10, but, with the Big 12 North being a cannibalistic orgy or failure this year, and a various array of season crippling injuries collapsing the South, the Horns are stuck with Okie Lite and Tetch being the feathers in their cap – 2 teams who lost to Houston, who lost to UTEP and UCF, who lost to Texas by a combined score of like 400-4. If that helps you sleep at night, though.
However, before I go too much further, let’s at least look and see if I’m right. I’m going to use the Sagarin team rankings here simply because they’re respected and because he ranks every single team. Now, I have no idea what his numbers mean, but here is how he shows it: TCU schedule rank – 70.21; Texas Schedule rank – 70.11 which is good for 48th and 50th in the country, respectively. So, in other words, our schedules are basically comparable at this point in time, although TCUs is slightly more impressive, which is likely due to Clemson’s sudden resurgence.
That is the thing with strength of schedule and why it is such a tough argument though – you can’t control what happens. Texas had no idea that Sam Bradford’s arms were made of uncooked spaghetti, or that Todd Reesing would spend all of his time banging enough Brenda Warner’s to keep the stock boy supply at the nation’s Albertson’s cranking along well into the next century, or that the Big 12 North would be the worst division in college football with the leading candidates being a Nebraska team that sometimes forgets to summon its offense from the locker room pregame, fighting with a Kansas State team who is being coached by the ghost of Bill Snyder, or that aggy… well, alright, so they were probably prepared for aggy. On the reverse side of that, we knew that BYU and Utah would be potent teams, but we had no idea that Colroado State would start strong then drop 7 consecutive, or that UNLV would fail to live up to expectations yet again or that New Mexico Coach Mike Locksley would spend more time beating up women and his coaching staff than he does on game planning.
However, where we’ve made our bread and butter is with what has happened with our non-conference, namely the above mentioned Clemson revival, but also actually having the win over SMU build us up rather than the usual pull us down. Sure, Texas is rarely going to schedule a huge out of conference matchup due to the perceived strength of their conference schedule, but I’m just trying to show that by completely ducking any sort of competition this year out of conference, combined with an unusual down year for the Big 12 as a whole, that TCU should certainly be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to an overall body of work. Considering SMU could potentially win CUSA, and Clemson the ACC, expect that body of work to look even better come the end of the season.
Going into the strength of schedule argument, I expected the schedules to be comparable at best, so it was nice to see that ours actually garners a little bit more respect when you crunch the numbers. This will make my next comparison a little bit easier to digest: Who has the better overall numbers? Yes, I realize all of the flaws you get when looking at numbers on a piece of paper and try to craft an argument based on them, but seeing as how we have played a relatively comparable quality of competition, I feel justified in drawing the conclusions. So, quickly, here is a rundown of how we stack up against UT in all of the major offensive and defensive statistical categories.
Offense – (UT/TCU)
Points Per Game – 41.6 <2nd>/39.2<4th>
Yards per Game – 429<25th>/467.6<4th>
Passing Yards per Game – 285<24th>/221.2<72nd>
Rushing Yards per Game – 153.8<55th>/252.1<5th>
Defense – UT/TCU)
Points Per Game – 12.6<7th>/12.9<8th>
Yards per Game – 233.3<1st>/244.9<4th>
Passing Yards per Game – 181.9<22nd>/157.7<6th>
Rushing Yards per Game – 51.4<1st>/87.2<4th>
So, there you have it – even with Captain Heisman Colt McCoy on their team, the UT offense stacks up pretty comparatively against TCUs, although we obviously gain our numbers in completely opposite categories. Overall, UT’s defense is statistically better than ours, but is mostly helped out by an extremely strong run defense whereas ours has a little more balance. I think the thing that sticks out most to me is that UT isn't higher in offensive passing yards considering Mr. Tuscola is still supposed to be the Heisman frontrunner if he can keep his team heading in the right direction. I would absolutely love a shot at him. I'd love a shot at this entire team, which I suppose is why I'm writing this in the first place.
Look, I’m not trying to prove anything one way or the other here – I have no clue who would win a head to head matchup because there are far too many factors that would go into it. Where would the game be played? Is everyone healthy? Did any of the Longhorns get into Cedric's private stock or take a boat ride before the game You know, that kind of stuff. Now, do I fear UT and their 103,000 screaming T shirts as much as I did before we went down to Clemson and gutted out a game in front of their 80,000? Absolutely not. I mean, yes, I understand that would be a factor, but it almost seems like our team thrives off of a hostile away crowd just as much as they do a friendly home crowd, although anyone with a brain knows that Saturday was a level of Horned Frog football that may not be seen for many years.
The biggest thing here is, unlike the other BCS games, the National Championship is "supposed" to be based on the two best teams with the best overall body of work playing each other for an arbitrary national title. I just think everyone takes for granted that “OOOH Texas! The Fans! The history! The glory!” would crush anyone who is not on their level support-wise, whether it be financially, fan support, merchandising, etc. and I’m just trying to demonstrate that , even though we can’t sell out every single game we play, the product on the field and the body of work stack up every bit. Do I honestly think, even with a UT/Bama/Florida loss before championship weekend, that we'd get a shot at the big one? No, because even if that happens, if Cincy keeps winning, I think we get screwed. I just think, in a perfect world, the voters would all sit around a table and have to make the toughest decision they've made since Auburn earlier this decade in determining which undefeated team to keep out. If they somehow picked our way, the media backlash would be the most intense thing you've ever seen and Fort Worth would probably have to barricade I-35 with riot police to the south, but I have no doubt we can compete with any of the other undefeated teams in the country.
Pansy, your ill conceived rebuttal.