Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Around the Big 12: Week 9

Last week, like most weeks we've had so far in conference play, was a pretty exciting one in the Big 12.  While we were somewhere in the middle of overtime, Kansas State started bludgeoning what's proving to be a severely overrated West Virginia team in what ended up being a 55-14 beatdown, Oklahoma was wrapping up a 52-7 demolition of lowly Kansas, and Texas and Baylor were about to start their 56-50 tackling-optional track meet down in Austin in which the Horns prevailed.  Like I said a few weeks ago though, beating Baylor shouldn't impress anyone, so I hardly think the heat is off Mack Brown down in Austin.  Honestly though, they're stuck with him and he's not going least not this year.  Oklahoma State got their revenge on Iowa State in the morning, taking down the Cyclones in convincing fashion, 31-10.  The in-conference slate isn't as riveting this week as last week's games appeared to be, but there's a big out of conference match up in Norman worth watching.

#23 Texas (5-2, 2-2) @ Kansas (1-6, 0-4) - Saturday, 11am, FSN

Texas moved up 2 spots in the polls after beating barely a Baylor team in Austin who has now lost 3 straight and has zero conference wins.  I repeat, Texas moved up 2 spots after a home win over Big 12 winless Baylor.  They get winless Kansas on the road this week, so maybe a double digit victory will surge them right up into the top 15, right?  I mean, clearly this team deserves it.  At least the folks in Austin know they're struggling and not very good.  I wish the pollsters would take notice as well.  The Dayne Crist era appears to be over in Kansas, as they've opted for redshirt freshman Michael Cummings instead, and why not?  He went an incredible 10-21 for 111 yards and 2 picks in relief last week against OU.  Man, those folks in Lawrence probably can't wait for hoops to start.  I bet there are more KU fans randomly camped outside of Phog Allen Fieldhouse than there are in the actual stadium Saturday morning.  Final Score:  UT 49 - KU 14.

#14 Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1) @ #3 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0) - Saturday, 2:30pm, FOX

Is it just me or does Kansas State look more and more impressive with each and every game they play? Bill Snyder must be one helluva coach to have done what he did previously at K State, leave, watch them fall off the map, and then almost immediately bring them right back to where he had them before he left.  Oh, and Collin Klein just owned Geno Smith in the Heisman frontrunner battle Saturday night.  It's definitely his to lose now, and I think it's late enough in the season to actually start handicapping the Heisman race.  As for Tech- what can you say?  Looks like the same Tech teams everyone got used to seeing under Mike Leach.  Lot's talent on offense, lot's of holes on defense.  Balanced football teams can score on Tech.  OU did and TCU did, and I fully expect K State (more balance than OU and TCU) to do the same.  K State also boasts the Big 12's best defense by a wide margin and they're at home.  Not to mention I really want Tech to get knocked down a few pegs so they remember that they're just Tech ASAP.  Final Score:  K State 84 - Tech 2.  

Baylor (3-3, 0-3) @ Iowa State (4-3, 1-3) - Saturday, 6pm, FSN

Every week I really like doing this post because every week so far I've gotten to write a big fat ZERO in the win column for Baylor as far as conference wins go.  Don't ever, ever, ever tell us that we're about to start playing "big boy" football, got it Baylor?  Big boys don't go O-fer in conference play.  What this comes down to is pretty simple in my opinion- Iowa State plays defense and can force some punts.  I think you can probably count the number of punts Baylor has forced on 1 hand this season.  I don't care that Iowa State's offense struggles.  Nothing struggles as bad as Baylor's defense in this conference.  The lack of Baylor defense leads them to 0-4 in conference play and well on their way to just having 1 conference win this year.  Final Score:  Iowa State 42 - Baylor 27.

#5 Notre Dame (7-0) @ #8 Oklahoma (5-1, 3-1) - Saturday, 7pm, ABC

Honestly, I think I might want to see Notre Dame lose more than anyone in the country.  The Notre Dame shenanigans exhaust me every single year, and in my opinion the college football world is a much better place when Lou Holtz doesn't have a forum to slobber, slur, and bicker with Mark May about how great Notre Dame is.  Can someone please just beat them by 50 already?  OU?  USC?  Someone please help me.  They've beaten Stanford on a total bullshit no TD call in OT and a handful of lousy Big 10 teams.  Now people are trying to legitimately hype up ND LB Manti Te'o as a Heisman candidate.  Seriously, when was the last time you heard a LB mentioned in the Heisman race, and do you think there'd be any chance of that happening if he didn't play for Notre Dame?  No.  There are better defensive players out there too, but since Notre Dame is undefeated and they've gotta pick a star player to be the face of it all, Te'o is at the forefront since their offense is pretty meh.  You want a defensive player in the Heisman race that bad?  How about you just put a bunch of Alabama defender's names in a hat and pick one, because what they're doing and have been doing for a few years now is far more impressive than half a season from Notre Dame.  You know how to put a stop to all this?  OU can just go out there and kick them in the throat.  Seriously.  Run it up and down the field.  Throw all over them.  This is basically just like going against a big, physical, but very slow Big 10 defense.  That has not worked out well in recent memory for those types of teams.  Give me the Sooners in this one.  PLEASE give me the Sooners in this one.  Final Score:  OU 31 - Notre Dame 13. 

The SOUR GRAPES For The Week -
Gumnut Gets Lucky
And Even More Arrogant Edition

The game against Gumnut was a true classic, a thriller that no one really lost, in which one team just scored more after 3 overtimes. Truly a classic for the ages. Something that will help both schools develop a newfound respect for each other.
Having read what Gumnut fans (Gumnutters?) have said about one of the all time Big 12 instant classic games one would think that TCU was down by 90 in the first quarter after the whole team got caught at Craig James's new brothel in Highland Park taking the "Burying Hookers 101" class. I may have to go back to referring to the school we played last week as tech - using the word Gumnut to refer to them is a little too insulting - to Gumnuts.
Texas Tech has got to have the single most arrogant, smack-mouthed, self important fan base in the nation. They live in their own little world where they have apparently already won the National Championship against Alabama by 102 points, as well as the Super Bowl and whatever Bowl it is that the NFL Europe teams used to win. Oh yeah, and the Grey Cup (that is the Canadian err, "Football" championship trophy, but Canadian "football" is a whole other topic for another day).
When SB Nation starts running major stories entitled Texas Tech fans make fun of Casey Pachall you have to start wondering just what is going on in Lubbock and if there is some sort of psychoactive drug to treat it. The posts that I found from Tech fans after Tech's 3 point outscoring of the Frogs were simply too mind numbing to believe. Just to give you a sample (I am not going to justify the inane silliness of tech fans by quoting more than a couple) "TCU showed just how weak and undeserving to be in the Big 12 they are in this game" Huh? 3 overtimes and catching up 10 points in 60 seconds? Starting the third and fourth strings? Right now TCU is the definition of depth - what other FBS team could lose the equivalent of the entire starting offense AND defense and still be 5-2? Ummm, no one comes to mind. TCU started 16 freshman this year. And yet we were "weak"? Riiiiiggghhht. Okey doky. That tech fan statement speaks (or rather babbles) for itself. Another one that I found simply flabbergasting was the Bleacherreport (my old stomping grounds) commenter that said that this game "was proof that Tech will be playing in Miami this January". I can only assume that he means they will be beachcombing after they follow last year's example and lose the rest of this season's games and play Permian High School in the Nosepicker's National Appreciation Bowl and Craig James Hooker Control Convention in Missoula, because I am just positive that he could not have been referring to the "national championship" (aka, the SEC playing with itself) game in January. Texas Gumnut University has clearly lost it even more completely than when we were in the Southwest Conference (a moment of silence please) with these, err, umm, people. I am thankful that we were not playing them in Lubbuck, as they would have destroyed their home field and torn down the brand new goalposts (installed after they tore the old ones down last week) again. What is it that possesses tech gumnuts to rush the field and destroy it anytime they beat anyone? Well, up until this season it just didn't happen all that often, I guess.
I have arrived back at what I knew when I was a little kid throwing snow balls in the Student Center horseshoe drive, a teenager driving to high school at Paschal High School and when I was attending graduate school overlooking University Drive. Texas Tech fans are clearly - still - out of their individual and collective fricking minds and have no relationship with reality what. so. ever. They think class is something you skip to drink beer, not attend and learn from, and possess for life, to help define your values, life and actions. It is nice to know that some things never change, and that tech still sucks rocks through a power vacuum and thinks that guys running around on a horse at night wearing a mask "raiding" is a good thing. There are some tech fans who are decent, nice, wonderful people. Then there are the others. Maybe one day the voices of the former will outscreech the voices of the latter - until then, tech fans will continue to make tech look like a gooberfest of gumnutters.

I also want to be the first person to get this on the record (and what better place to do so than here at SpitBlood). All of the Kirk Herbsreits and Coach Corsos of the world (although they did both pick TCU over Tech, believe it or not) seem to have not grasped the future significance of their current criticism that "TCU is too young" to compete effectively. I want to be the first to congratulate the Frogs on winning it all in 2014 or 2015. This "young" team that managed to stay ranked through the first half of the season playing not only more freshman than any other FBS team, but also playing the third and fourth slots on many of the positional depth charts will be good this year (I still think they beat the teasips and maybe - if any team does - K-State). They will be monsters in a year or two as they gel. This season has been, to put it mildly, bizarre. In a normal year, when the Frogs keep the starters and these "kids" have grown and matured a bit, watch out! TCU will simply be unstoppable. These freshman will be around for a while - that is a future to look forward to!

Next week - TCU 42, Oklahoma State Cowboys 21.

Further enlightenment: 
Gumnutters Insult Casey Pachall, Displaying Their Usual Class

Texas Complains About Being Entitled, Hilarity Ensues.

Plaque Brown, up to his old antics.

Remember, not so many years ago, when the much hyped and/or maligned Longhorn Network was going to make Texas, already the most powerful athletic program in the country, pretty much untouchable?  Remember, not so many years ago, when ESPN's $300 million investment in the Longhorn brand was going to all but guarantee that UT would haul in the best recruiting classes in America year after year and hand deliver the Longhorns National Title after National Title?  (Interesting aside:  Check the headlines from the and postings of the same story.  ESPN's reads:  Mack Brown discusses network.  SI's reads:  Texas Coach Brown complains about Longhorn Network.  Do I smell spin control?) Remember, not so long ago, when the Longhorn Network was deemed to be SUCH an advantage that it, at least momentarily, had the Big 12 teetering on the brink of extinction?  

Uh... not so much, anymore.

It's pretty amazing how the most entitled program in College Sports can attempt to generate sympathy from a decision that they made on their own to make themselves even more entitled, but that's how these folks act.  Mack Brown, the most well-paid coach in America, is complaining that a TV deal that gives his program the most visibility in the country and that has been touted as revolutionary, actually leaves his boys a little TOO exposed.  Believe it or not, this isn't the same tune Mack was singing in 2011 when the Network went live.  To wit (via THIS):

“We’re going to sign 20 to 25 players a year, more 20 than 25, and those players will probably be committed to us before June in their junior year. So I don’t think that part will have any effect on recruiting at all. I think the part that will affect recruiting is you’ve got a lot more opportunities for young people to be seen. So there’s no question that the opportunity to show who you are on national TV at every practice, at every ballgame, on a network, is — I mean, it’s a positive.
I'm no psychoanalytical type, but to me that reads that, at the time, Mack could not have been more pleased with the advent of the network and viewed it as, if not an outright advantage for UT, at least something that could be construed in a positive light.  So it's interesting to read yesterday that, after Texas' big show of implementing the network and teasing breaking up the Conference in order to investigate the Pac-12, Mack has changed his tune:
"I didn't ask for it," Brown said Monday..."It's in Waco. Baylor sees every practice," Brown said. "We're a little overexposed."..."I'm a soldier," Brown said. "They tell me to go work with the Longhorn Network, I'll go do it."
How much of that do you believe?  The UT brass is probably as arrogant as any in the country, but do you honestly think they didn't involve their $5 million annual investment in the process of starting a network that's 99% being created to highlight their flagship sport?  I'm going to go out on a tiny limb here and suggest bullshit.  So what do you think happened to make Mack change his tune?  Can't be Texas' struggles the past two seasons or the fact that fans are openly calling for his head, can it? Naaaah.  
Truthfully, Mack has a point - having that much attention on your program can be as much of a disadvantage as an advantage, especially with practices being televised.  But I think the REAL problem is that Mack and UT have always enabled an environment where the football team never has to grow up.  The majority of UT players were among the best at their respective positions coming out of high school, but rather than instill discipline and teach them that they have a long way to go before they are elite, Mack seems to let his players  coast and never take things to the next level.  Coordinators Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz were well respected football minds before they came to Austin, yet have never been able to replicate their previous success.  Unless Austin is some sort of vortex of football brain fail - POSSIBLE - it probably has more to do with the top down attitude than their own shortcomings.  If the players are told they are gods and treated as such by the boss, chances are they're going to to continue to act that way, and giving them their own TV Network PROBABLY wasn't a great idea.  We just had a pretty fine example of what happens when a mega-talent isn't properly motivated to better himself.  Now imagine that's your entire team, and that's UT.  Thank God for GP. 

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