Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stolen Thoughts 12-31-09

A couple of thoughts for the New Years Weekend:

Urban Meyer's heart problems may stem from riding in the car with his players. Current team members have 250+ traffic citations.

The Wiz has a great pictorial essay of the challenges of Notre Dame recruiting.

Allegedly Adam Leach made a video in a closet he was confined to in practice. Why did he show up for practice with his cellphone? Is there a texting drill that I'm not aware of?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Pirate is Dead

Long live the Great Pirate. Leach is gone. I have three different areas to discuss on this.

1) public airing of grievances
2) espn coverage
3) the real story, in my opinion

Public airing of grievances: We're now in an age where differences are aired without discretion, without filter. Get your story out to the internet, where everyone can speculate. i love the fact that we can all have a voice, it's what freedom of speech is about. Conversely, not everything should be dealt with in public. People, use some discretion. That's you, Craig James. the new world order of dealing with conflict indirectly and publicly is concerning on many levels.

ESPN Coverage: The WWL coverage of this was abysmal. They were quick to have the scoop on Leach's suspension. Word quickly got out that it was a result of the treatment of Adam James, son of ESPN personality Craig James. Gee, I wonder how they figured that out so quickly? The next day, Craig is talking on camera and issuing a statement to the Associated Press. What a crock. Deal with it in private, people. Your kid appears to have been playing the part of a spoiled punk, and nailing the role. ESPN became the a part of the story, and their coverage did not address the emails supporting Coach Leach until after Leach was fired.

Real story, as far as i know. Here's what we know: a) the TT folks were clearly not happy with the negotiations last year with Coach Leach; b) Leach seemed to unofficially seek jobs every year; c) Adam James wouldn't be playing d-1 football if it weren't for Leach; d) Leach was clearly using humiliation and embarrassment as a tactic to get different behavior from James from what he's displayed previously; e) Leach won more games than anyone at Texas Tech ever and had the best winning percentage of anyone since the Red Raiders departed the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association; f) lawyers are going to make some money on this one.

I don't think Leach was trying to pressure James into getting back on the field. My perception from afar is that he was embarrassing James while protecting him from sunlight. He was not in danger. Had James demonstrated good practice habits over the years a la Danny Amendola, Wes Welker, Eric Morris, do you think this would have been handled in this way? Me either.

The losers in this equation: Texas Tech, Mike Leach and the Big 12. The league just got a little less interesting.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

To both of my readers, Merry Christmas. If you're interested in doing a little good with your wallet and on Christmas, here are some options:

Jack's Closet: Jack is a 12 year old boy with leukemia and is raising money for snuggies to give kids in cancer treatment.

Sooner assistant coach Josh Heupel has a foundation to impact children in need.

Compassion International is one of my favorite charities. You can sponsor a child for a few bucks a month and make an impact all over the world.

I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

LandThieves Bowl Mania

Join the LandThieves College Bowl Mania contest on Winner gets the .... satisfaction of besting 2-4 other people you don't know in a lame contest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Observations from the Coaching Carousel

Brian Kelly leaving the Bearcats for the Fighting Irish leaves Cincy coachless for now. By Sep 25, 2010, when the Sooners play the Bearcats in Cincinnati, the two-time defending Big East Champions will have a new coach. It may be Kevin Sumlin, or someone else, but there's a chance that the disruption is going to benefit the Sooners' chances in beating a BCS non-conference team on the road.

Mark Stoops, younger brother of the Head Visor, is leaving the employ of his brother Mike at the University of Arizona to become DC or Florida State under new HC Jimbo Fisher. This has two consequences; a) it puts Stoops as DC against his brother on Sep 11, 2010 when the Noles travel to Norman; b) it gets one Stoops brother out of the Texas recruiting pipeline. There's no need to raid Texas when there is so much bounty in-state.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stoops seeks TRO against Notre Dame

Rumor has it this guy's parked outside Stoops house, playing this song.
The Chicago Sun Times is stalker-like in their reporting of Stoops to Notre Dame. Today they "reported" the coach could be named "as early as Sunday" and that Stoops remains the lead candidate.
The paper indicates Stoops has not told the school "No" and therefore is still a candidate.
Stoops issued a statement today. I'm not sure he said no, but it was at least "get the ###### away from me".
So, we're headed down one of two paths here:
1) Stoops is a soothsayer along the lines of Nick Saban or Dennis Franchione. It's possible.
2) Stoops is staying put.
Here's the official LandThieves theory: When Florida fired the Zooker a few years ago and the Florida job was in play, Stoops went strangely silent. I don't recall him issuing denials, I recall him disappearing and not returning calls or texts from media types until he made a decision. As a result, I think it's unlike Stoops to come out publicly and deny something if he's really contemplating the opportunity. In his statement he said, "There haven't been any plans for a meeting or negotiations with Notre Dame and there will not be. Any reporting to that fact is completely erroneous. I will not be the next coach at Notre Dame." I have no reason not to believe him.
Furthermore, I think the Sun Times are being played with misinformation. My theory is that Brian Kelly is going to be the next coach. Kelly has said he'd listen if Notre Dame calls. Conversely, if Nebraska beats Texas, there's a decent chance the Bearcats leap the Horned Frogs and play the SEC Champ for the BCS title. Brian Kelly is not going to leave Cincy for another job if he gets the chance to play for a national title. As a result, I believe the new coach could be named as soon as sunday, particularly if Cincy is playing in the Orange or Fiesta Bowl.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shamangino Gone

The Stoops coaching tree just got clipped a little. Mangino agrees to resign from KU. Let's take a look at Mangino's record at KU, and where it ranks all-time.

  • Mangino finished his tenure at KU with a 50-48 won-loss record, for a 51% winning percentage.
  • The last KU coach to win 50 games at Kansas: Bert Kennedy, who went 53-9-4, from 1904-1910.
  • Last KU coach to leave the school with a career winning percentage over .500: Jules Sikes, who left in 1953 after compiling a 35-25 record. His next destination was East Texas State.

Kansas has NOT been a premier job. It's been a stopping off point for some coaches, a grave yard for others; if they win in Lawrence, they get snapped up somewhere else. For example:

  • George Sauer went to Navy after two years ended 1947, when we went 15-3-3 at Kansas
  • Pepper Rodgers parlayed a 4 year, 20-22 record into a job at UCLA.
  • Mike Gottfreid played a 15-18-1 record from 1983-85 into a job at Pitt.
  • Glen Mason leveraged a 47-54-1 record from 1988-96 into a job at Minnesota.

I certainly don't condone this if it's true. Mangino certainly appears to have shown some interesting leadership techniques in leading the Jayhawks, and many of those are successful long-term. The last Mangino-less winning season in Kansas was 1995, when Glen Mason went 10-2.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big 12 End of Year Awards

Well, the Big 12 awards are out today, and it's time for my own as well.

Offensive Player of the Year: Colt McCoy/Jordan Shipley, Texas
Defensive Player of the Year: Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh
Special Teams Player of the Year: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Coach of the Year: Bill Snyder, Kansas State. The Coaches pick of Mack Brown is ludicrous. They were picked to finish first in the conference, and many expected them to be undefeated. He met high expectations. Who had K-State as second in the Big 12 North? Anyone?
Ty Willingham Addition by Subtraction Award: tie, Gene Chizik/Ron Prince
Bad Idea Jeans Award: Sergio Kindle, for
texting and driving
The Outcomes Based Education Award : Big 12 writers, whose
math did not add up in their preseason polls.
Leon's There's no we in team either Award: Texas, which had the best D in the conference, and one player on the first team All Big 12 squad.

The ObamaCare Injury of the Year: tie: Robert Griffin, Baylor; Jermaine Gresham, OU; Sam Bradford, OU. Shouldn't season-ending injuries be rationed so that all teams have equal access to a wrecked season?
Muhammad Ali Rope a Dope: Nebraska Cornhusker vs Oklahoma Sooners. Never seen a college team defy the opposition to move the ball and try to score like the Huskers did that night. Trent Dilfer would have been proud.
Pinocchio award: Dez Bryant, for lying to NCAA investigators.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Longhorns need Chaffeurs

I think now we can safely say that AlcoholEdu is not working for the Texas football team. According to this handy website, 72% of UT students consumed alcohol in the past 30 days; 69% had at least one sexual partner in the past year, and 19% regularly skip breakfast. I have no idea why the last stat is in there? I think those 19% don't need food in their stomachs to absorb alcohol? Do they skip breakfast because they're trying to get back to their place and get their textbooks for today's classes? And at least 2% of the Longhorn football players are stupid enough to drink and drive.

The Texas Longhorn football team is going through yet another bout of driving under the influence charges. Today, it's Marcus Davis, a couple of weeks ago, it was D.J. Munroe. Looks like we're back to 2007, when there was seemingly a weekly arrest of Longhorn footballers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sooners Blank Boone State

Some thoughts from today's game:
  • The Pokes had 15 possessions in the game. They were 0-14 on third down, and they had 4 drives that obtained a first down.
  • In those four drives, the Cowboys had six first downs; 3 of those were via penalty. The Pokes did not have a first down in the second half.
  • Zac Robinson was clearly not himself. Gundy was in a difficult situation. Do you start a dinged up Robinson, or a healthy Brandon Weeden, who played one game against a Division 1-A foe so far? If you consider the 2009 Colorado Buffaloes a D1-A team.
  • The O-line played very well today, particularly in the second half. The Pokes were a top 10 defense against the run, and this was one of the few games where we've been able to run the ball with any authority.
  • The Cowboy punter, Quinn Sharp, has some serious wheels. Once he used the angle to cut Ryan Broyles off to prevent a score, and on Broyles 88 yard punt return, Sharp nearly ran him down from behind.
  • Tress Way was phenomenal punting the ball today. He averaged 59 yards per kick, and the Cowboys were able to return two of the kicks for a total 6 yards.
  • I was having John Blake era flashbacks with the offense in the first half. We were just out of synch...we would be in good field position, and I just expected something bad to happen. Fortunately, they got out of the funk.
  • DeMarco Murray is a special back. I hope he comes back next year.

I'm tired. Boomer!

Thoughts on Rival QBs

Two great QBs in the Big 12 played their last regular season game this weekend, Colt McCoy and Zac Robinson. I would be remiss if I didn't say a few words about each:

Colt is a Texas QB that's tough not to love. I would have never thought from seeing this kid his freshman year he would be the winningest QB in NCAA history. Even though he's 3-1 against my Sooners, I've enjoyed seeing him grow as a leader on and off the field for the Longhorns. Colt's a great QB, fine ambassador for his university and a great witness for his Savior.

Zac Robinson, OSU's QB, has been fun to watch as well. Another kid that didn't look like much, but goes out there and gets the job done. Zac threw it well and ran it well, and was a heck of a competitor. His injury against Tech two weeks ago limited him in his last game today, and even as an opposing fan, I'm sad to see him go out on such a sour note, when he was clearly dinged up. Zac will finish his career as the leading passer and leader in total offense at Oklahoma State. He's always been fun to watch, and his elusiveness as a scrambler was fun to watch - when it was against someone else.

To each of you, I tip my cap, and wish you well in your future endeavors.

O or Zero

A personal blogging highlight of last week was being blasted on for analyzing the Pokes BCS chances. Fortunately, so quickly after the game, we have a hat that commemorates the BCS chances of Boone State.
I'm not sure if the zero on this hat is for the a) chances Oklahoma State now gets BCS bid; b) number of wins by Coach Hair Gel against OU; c) number of points scored today; d) number of third downs converted today, or e) all of the above.
There's another thread on this evening called, "the gap is closing" to which I say, "Be sure and balance out your register and clock out before you leave."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reagan was an Aggie Fan

Several weeks ago, I showed my loyal reader(s) several famous people flashing hook em horns signs. I found some bonus material that at least one former President was not a Texas, fan, but an Aggie. Ronald rest in peace. And Gig 'Em.
I know if Reagan were still around the Aggies would have a much stronger defense program.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sooners Nine Point Favorites

Saw in my local paper, which provides betting lines, that the Sooners are a 9 point favorite. Checked it online b/c figured it was a typo. Nope. Here are some factoids for you:

  • Sooners are 1-5 against teams with winning records. The victory: 65-10 against 6-5 Texas A&M.
  • The Sooners are 0-3 against ranked opponents.
  • Oklahoma State is 4th in the country in rushing defense. They allow fewer yards per carry than Nebraska.
  • Oklahoma State is the 96th rated passing defense in terms of yard per game. This is mainly b/c their foes abandon the run early. They are 19th in yards per attempt and 30th in passer rating.
  • The Sooners will start their 9th different offensive line grouping in 12 games.

This is mitigated by...

  • Landry Jones stats at home: 93 of 145 for 1308 yards and 18 TDs. He is the 4th best passer in the country at home. As a side note, he's the 96th rated passer on the road.
  • Stoops' squads are 65-2 in Norman.
  • Coach Hair Gel is 4-0 - I mean 0-4 - vs OU,
  • I've never put anything beyond lunch money on a game in my life.

Will Boone State really get a BCS bid

Much speculation going on about Oklahoma State going to a BCS game this year. I am interested to see how this plays out. First of all, the BCS selection isn't about field performance, it's about performance in the bleachers, so to speak. Can you fill the seats? Can you make the seat guarantees? The only way Okie State does this is through their owner/GM, Boone Pickens. Let's take a look at OSU attendance this year, in a stadium that is listed with a capacity of 60,218

Georgia - 53,012
Houston - 50,875
Rice - 51,083
Grambling State - 56,901
Missouri - 55,752
Texas - 58,516
Texas Tech - 52,811
Colorado - 50,080

Ponder for a moment that the second best attended game this year was Grambling State, the only 1-AA team on the schedule.

The Pokes also returned tickets to Oklahoma this year for the Bedlam game. The Sooners are in the middle of their most depressing season of the Stoops reign, the Hair Gels are having an historic season, and
they can't even sell the visitor ticket allotment for their most hated rival? But they're going to go to a BCS game? This smells like Boone either buying his way into the game, or the Big 12 lobbying hard for that second $17 million bowl payout. Or, perhaps it makes sense.

With the extra BCS game added, the "equal access" provided by adding a fifth BCS game really has provided additional access to the automatic qualifiers. There are 10 BCS bowl slots, and six automatic qualifiers. A conference cannot have more than 2 BCS participants in a season. Ergo, if you give one slot to TCU or Boise State, you've got nine slots to dole out. You'll have three automatic qualifying conferences with two slots and three with only one.
  • Iowa as a second Big 10 school is a no-brainer. They filled their 70,585 seat stadium to capacity 6 of 7 home games this year, and are highly ranked.
  • The SEC runnerup is a no-brainer. Bama and Florida travel well, the trip will be to the Sugar Bowl, and it's a top 5 team.
  • The third slot is then up for grabs between a) Boise State; b) a second Big 12 team; c) a second ACC team (Georgia Tech or Clemson); d) second Big East team (Cincinnati or Pitt); e) second Pac 10 team (loser between Oregon-Oregon State. If Oregon wins, Oregon State is not getting a second Pac 10 bid as an 8-4 team, and I think it's unlikely USC jumps in as a 9-3 team.

If Oregon loses to Oregon State, the Beavers go to the Rose Bowl and the BCS suits would then have to contemplate 10-2 Oregon vs 10-2 Oklahoma State.

IF OSU beats OU this weekend to finish 10-2 and 2nd in the Big 12 South, and Oregon beats Oregon State, there's really just a couple of scenarios that make sense: a) if Texas beats Cash Machine U and Nebraska, they will play in the BCSNCG and Oklahoma State will play Texas Christian in the Fiesta Bowl; b) Texas loses the Big 12 championship game, Nebraska goes to the Fiesta Bowl and Texas goes as an at-large team; If c) happens, where Texas loses to A&M bit wins the Big 12 the following week, I have no idea what happens.

Boise State playing TCU in the Fiesta Bowl doesn't make any sense. The David vs David story line doesn't play well. They played in the Poinsettia Bowl last year. Cincinnati backing into a BCS bid as a Big East second representative doesn't make sense.

As a result, I have to resign myself to the fact that if OSU beats Oklahoma this weekend, the Pokes are going to the Fiesta Bowl and we are going to the freaking Sun Bowl.

The Sooners have to keep the nation's longest home winning streak alive. It's for the kids.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mangino under Fire

Shamangino is coming under lots of heat this weak for allegedly all kinds of stuff. Let's break it down. He's yelled at people and humiliated them in front of teammates. Oh, I see. Let's go to the video.

We're surprised by this? First of all, he's doing nothing that many high school coaches and college coaches around the world do. Let's look at Bob Stoops encouraging Dominique Franks during the Miami game (it's at about the 1:10 mark)

Clearly Bob is asking Dominique if he's feeling okay and how his family is doing.

The reality is players get yelled out all the time. I have no doubt that if you put a mic 24/7 on any 50 division 1 college coaches that 40 of them are yelling at their coaches and using peer pressure and humiliation to challenge their players and extract more out of them.

Do I think yelling at people overall is a good management tool? It doesn't work well where I work. Do I yell at people sometimes anyway? I have from time to time.

Has Mangino been a prick to others in the administration? Sure sounds like it. That's not uncommon either. Many people in sports and other industries are nice in public and a nightmare in private, particularly to people lower in the org chart. For example, I worked at a golf club where Barry Switzer was a member. As a bag attendant, he was very difficult to deal with, and complained all the time. When the cameras were on, he could charm your socks off. Do I think belittling a lower level employee disqualifies him from being a head football coach? No. Does it make him seem like a prick? Yes. If being a saint is a requirement for being a head coach, we're going to have to reduce the number of football teams.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nike Slogans that Didn't make the Cut

With the new NIke uniforms, we also get slogans cleverly created by Nike. First of all, the "stake our claim" bit with the Sooners is lame. We got to thinking what slogans didn't make the cut?

Florida: We miss Dan Mullen.
Virginia Tech: haud offensus? Haud forsit! (translation: Latin for No offense? No problem!)
TCU: Stop tailgating and get in the stadium.
Ohio State: Winless vs the SEC since 1989.
Florida State: Coach needs his bran. Now!
Texas: I'm not as think as you drunk I am.
LSU: Jarrett Lee sous le vent c'est notre quarterback a nouveau? (translation: French for Jarrett Lee is our quarterback again?)
Miami: Larry Coker won a champsionship? Seriously.
Oklahoma: Please accept this loaner car as a token or our appreciation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Staking our Claim to the Wrong Place

As part of the nike jersey whoring, Nike and OU have partnered to sell you this handy shirt. Order here. Here's my beef with the shirt. It shows the Sooners "staking our claim" to Texas with a flag over the city of Lubbock.
I mean no disrespect to the Dust Pirates, but when the Sooners talk about Texas colleges and beating them in football, it's a) Univ of Texas; b) Texas A&M; c) Texas Tech. To a Sooner, Tech is that cousin that's kinda quirky and lovable. That date is not circled on the schedule. Texas is. If Nebraska's on the schedule, that's circled. OSU is circled. Texas A&M is circled (great band). Texas Tech is not.
However, I'm sure the issue here is that Texas Tech Football is affiliated with UnderArmour, not Texas. The Nike marketing folks weren't going to insult the Horns by allowing that flag to be staked closer to Austin, TX.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weis Fired, Stoops Hired?

Reading today that Weis may be canned from Notre Dame and that Stoops is a leading candidate, is interested, etc. Several thoughts come to mind.
  1. First of all, No! I have no desire to see anyone else coaching the Sooners right now. I received an email on this today while I was playing golf. I shared the rumor with the other gents in the group. The Texas grad in the group said, "I'll personally donate to Notre Dame to get Bob Stoops out of the Big 12. I can probably find some other Longhorn fans that will do the same." I think that says alot.
  2. Second, I doubt this. Agents contribute to speculation by facilitating or not denying when question arise. Why would an agent categorically deny something like this? Playing along can get their client an extension, a stay bonus, a raise, or all of the above. Recruiting a college coach is done through recruiting firms and the coaches agents. My perception is that an actual interview between head coach candidate and hiring person(s) is fairly late in the process. Furthermore, Stoops counseled Urban Meyer a few years ago about how staying in Florida allowed him to recruit in-state almost exclusively, while he'd be travelling all over the country recruiting for Notre Dame. Stoops has three children, though I believe they are approaching teen years (when you become stupid as a parent).
  3. Third, this could be true. Some have criticized Stoops this year for having a down year, like you're supposed to lose four o-linemen and two receivers, have your QB and best offensive threat lose the season to injury and not miss a beat. These folks are not rational. I'm sure there are some idiots in Southern California that are ready for Pete Carroll to step down after a three loss season also. The Head Visor may have had enough, and ready for a different fan base to badger his when he fails to meet over-inflated expectations.

Obviously, we'll be monitoring the situation closely.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Case for Keenum

Since the Sooners have more wounded than a M*A*S*H* episode, we're now going to cover Case Keenum, LandThieves choice for Player of the Year.

Many people would dismiss Keenum because he plays in Conference USA, so he "doesn't play the schedule" that some of his peers play. Actually, courtesy of the Cougars playing 3 BCS automatic qualifiers in non-conference competition.

Case Keenum vs Miss State in Starkville: 39-52-434, 4 TDs, 2 Ints; 3-13 rushing, 0 TDs
Tim Tebow vs Miss State in Starkville: 12-22-127, 0 TDs, 2 Ints; 22-88 rushing, 1 TDs

Case Keenum vs Oklahoma State in Stillwater: 32-46-366, 3 TDs, 1 Int; 5-16 rushing, 1 TD
Colt McCoy vs Oklahoma State in Austin: 16-21-171, 1 TD, 0 Int; 11-34 rushing, 0 TDs

Case Keenum vs Texas Tech in Houston: 38-58-435, 1 TD, 1 Int; 8-27 rushing, 1 TD
Colt McCoy vs Texas Tech in Austin: 24-34-205, 1 TD, 2 Ints; 8-5 rushing, 0 TDs

Tebow has passed for 1531 yards this year and run for 578, for a combined total of 2109. Keenum has accomplished that yardage total in five games on four separate occasions. There is only one five game stretch to date that Keenum has not met that mark in passing yards alone. In their game against common foes, Keenum outgained Tebow by 219 yards and accounted for three more TDs.

McCoy has passed for 2447 yards, 17 TDs and 9 picks to date. Keenum has thrown for 3815 yards, 28 TDs and 5 picks. In their two games against common opponents, McCoy was 40-55-376 yards with 2 TDs and 2 picks. Keenum was 70-104-801 yards with 4TDs, 2 picks and 2 rushing TDs. Sure, Keenum threw nearly twice the number of passes, but his yards per attempt was almost 8, while McCoy's ypa was less than 7.

The Gloves

Here is a pic of the Nike Pro Combat gloves. Seems like the somewhere it should say, "Insert Ball Here". (HT: Friends of the Program"

New Nike Uniforms for OU

Info's been trickling out this week, but nothing official from Nike yet. However, the fine folks at Friends of the Program have uncovered the new Nike Uniforms. I took the liberty of grabbing the photos off the site. Here's the Sooner uni.

My first reaction is that Nike stole the creative design of the Penn State Nittany Lions and changed the blue to crimson, and added a stripe on the shoulder. Wow. Big thumbs down.

Now, let's take a look at the Va Tech unis. As you can see, these are wildly different. First of all, they have no stripe on the sleeve. Second, there are more stripes on the helmet. Finally, there numbers have some trim elements that the Sooners don't have.
Sadly for Virginia Tech, this is an improvement over the normal ugly--- uniforms they normally wear.
What I don't understand is why the uniforms have to be so alike? Is it because OU is playing like an ACC school this year?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Fraudulent Unbeatens - Cincinnati

      Today we're going to look at Cincinnati, one of the unbeatens that I believe is fraudulent. First look at their schedule to date.
    • Rutgers - 6-2 against the 126 ranked schedule. It's really tough to identify Rutgers signature win. Is it Howard? Florida International? Maryland at 2-7? Texas Southern? Army at 3-6? Or Connecticutt at 4-5?
    • Southwest Missouri - 1-aa team. 1-7 this year, with a win against Quincy. I thought he was dead.
    • Oregon State - the best W on the Bearcats schedule to date. The Beavers are 5-3, and have played one of the tougher schedules in the country.
    • Fresno State - a 5-3 team with losses against Boise, Cincy and Wisconsin. Hard to identify their premier it Hawaii? San Jose State? New Mexico State? Utah State? UC Davis?
    • Miami (OH) - the ChickenHawks are 1-9 this year.
    • South Florida - 6-2 following the Bill Snyder school of non-conference scheduling. They played Wofford, Western Kentucky and Charleston Southern to start the year. They have beaten West Virginia.
    • Louisville - 3-5, with signature wins against Indiana State, Southern Miss and Arkansas State.
    • Syracuse - the 'Cuse is so bad their starting QB hadn't played FB in four years. That's like using your tight end for a guard. They are 3-5, with wins against Northwestern (who's apparently good enough to knock with Iowa from the unbeaten ranks), Maine and Akron.
    • Connecticut - the Huskies are probably the top four win team in the country. They've had a DB killed at a school function, and their five losses have been by a combined 15 points. UConn even had the guts to play two automatic qualifying non conference games this year.

    So, after this review, Is it news that they are undefeated? Or is it that they one their one big non-conference game, then have mowed through a mediocre conference?

    On the other hand, their second string QB rocks. Zach Callaros has completed 76% of his passes, averages 12 yard per pass, has a 10-1 TD-Int ratio and runs for 6+ yards per carry. If he played for Florida, he would be a Heisman candidate. Of course, the Florida O-coordinator appears to be the Dean Smith of football.

    We'll find out about this team in the next three weeks, as their schedule has ended up being pretty backloaded, with West Virginia, Illinois, and Pitt in these last three games.

    Prediction: 11-1

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Pick the Heisman Candidate

    Pick out the Heisman Trophy candidate from these two players

    Passing Yards-Tds-Rush Yards-TDs

    Game 1: A) 51-0-(6)-0; B) 188-1-1-1
    Game 2: A) 286-3-4-0: B) 234-4-71-1
    Game 3: A) 336-6-0-0: B) 115-0-76-1
    Game 4: A) 188-1-(17)-0; B) 103-1-123-2
    Game 5: A) 0-0-0-0; B) 134-1-38-0
    Game 6: A) 250-1-(4)-0; B) 255-1-69-16
    Game 7: A) 252-2-11-0; B) 127-0-88-1
    Game 8: A) 294-4-(3)-0; B) 164-2-85-2
    Game 9: A) 245-0-(17)-0; B) 208-1-27-1

    Season Totals: A) 1902-17-(32)-0; B) 1531-11-578-9

    Player A is Landry Jones, Player B is Tim Tebow. The difference between the two? 7 interceptions, 3 losses as a starter and a lot of hype. I'm a big Tebow fan, but the discussion involving him as a Heisman finalist this year is baffling. The leadership is there, but the stats just aren't. If you're voting for the Heisman and reading this blog (let's be honest, they're probably mutually exclusive lists) pick someone else. Choose McCoy. Or Shipley. Or Case Keenum. Or Mark Ingram. Or even, heaven forbid, Jimmy Clausen.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009


    Here are the drives for the Sooners against the Huskers:
    1. 16 yard drive to the Husker 29. 46 yard field goal missed.
    2. 2 yard drive to the Husker 28. 45 yard field goal missed.
    3. -10 yard drive starting at midfield. Punt.
    4. 2 yard drive to the Sooners 4. Punt.
    5. 0 yards prior to interception on drive starting at Sooner 8.
    6. 45 yard drive to the Husker 35. Turnover on downs.
    7. 4 yard drive to the Sooner 24. Punt.
    8. 59 yard drive to the Husker 28. Field goal made.

    At the end of the first half, the Sooners have made it to midfield or into Husker territory 5 times, and have three points.

    1. 5 yard drive to the Sooner 28. Punt.
    2. 28 yard drive to the Husker 44. Interception.
    3. 11 yard drive to the Sooner 25. Punt.
    4. 26 yard drive to the Husker 24. Missed field goal.
    5. 32 yard drive to the Husker 39. Interception.
    6. 43 yard drive to the Husker 24. Turnover on downs.
    7. 41 yard drive to the Husker 33. Interception.
    8. 0 yard drive to the Sooner 48. Interception.

    In the second half, the Sooners had five possessions in Husker territory, and came away with zero points.

    Pellini had an offensive game plan that was straight out of the Pat Jones playbook. Run the ball and hope you don't fumble. The Husker scoring drives were 1 and 33 yards. And they won handily.

    This was the worst offensive performance since the season opener against TCU in 2005. Or the 2005 Texas game.

    The Bugeater-LandThieves rivalry

    There's been some talk these past couple of weeks about Big 12 realignment, as well as about a schedule format that would facilitate restoring old rivalries, like Oklahoma-Nebraska. First of all, I love the Oklahoma-Nebraska rivalry. The Husker fans are great. They are the classiest fans you'll ever meet, and the Oklahoma-Texas rivalry will never match the Huskers-Sooners in mutual respect of the fan bases.

    However, the Big 12 North-South scheduling format didn't kill the luster of the OU-NU shootouts. Gary Gibbs hampered by probation and a disgrunted fan base, accidentally maimed the rivalry while cleaning a gun and Schnellenberger, Blake and Bill Callahan shot it in the back while it was trying to run for help. Let's look at some facts.

    While Switzer was battling Osborne from 1973-1988, Nebraska was ranked, on average, 4.75 in the country coming into the game. OU was unranked twice coming into the game, but the other 17 games were ranked an average of 5.26. The win loss records of the two teams, outside of games with one another, during this time was 145-24-4 for Oklahoma and 153-24-2 for Nebraska. In that entire 16 season period, at least one of the teams was in the top 10, and 11 times both teams were in the top 10. Only two times was a team not ranked entering the contest.

    Since 1989, there have been 15 games between the two. Only five times have both teams been ranked coming into the game since, and only twice have both teams been ranked in the top 10.

    You can reset the Big 12 scheduling format all you want, but the reality is there are generally three things that make rivalrys great: 1) geography; 2) playing for something; 3) recurring matchups.

    1) Oklahoma-Nebraska does not have geography on it's side. The state of Kansas lays between them, so it's not like it's a border war.

    2) As for playing for something. The schools are playing for some piece of crap oak bucket, an axe or egg bowl or a hat. In the 70s and 80s, they were playing for the right to go to the Orange Bowl and play for the national championship. That's what made this rivalry great. Courtesy of some bad coaching hires, the rivalry diminished.

    3) as for recurring matchups, playing every year does make a great rivalry, but it adds additional flavor. Let's face it. Mississippi State plays LSU in the SEC West every year since 1944, but outside of Louisiana and Mississippi, no one cares. There's no history to it, there's probably never been an SEC or SEC West title on the line (too lazy to look it up).

    I'd love to see the Husker-Sooner rivalry regain it's former luster, but the reality is that will happen from both schools return to excellence at the same time, not when they play each other annually When one is ranked 20th, and the other is not even receiving votes, it's not a great rivalry, it's a rivalry with great history.

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Stat of the Week

    If the season were to end today, Landry Jones 17 passing TDs would rank as the 9th highest total in Sooner history. And the 8th highest total this decade.

    Fat Little Girlfriends

    You can say a lot of things about them, but you also have to include devotion and loyalty.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    The Train Wreck that is the Big 12 North

    Big 12 North (MAC Southwest) standings through Oct 24:

    Willie and Friends 3-1
    Iowa State 2-2
    Phog U 1-2
    Bugeaters 1-2
    Dan Hawkins Farewell Tour 1-2
    Missouri 0-3

    MAC Southwest future games:
    Oklahoma beats Kansas State
    Missouri beats Colorado
    Nebraska beats Baylor
    Tech beats Kansas
    Texas A&M beats Iowa State
    Texas A&M beats Colorado
    Oklahoma State beats Iowa State
    Kansas State beats Kansas
    Missouri beats Baylor
    Oklahoma beats Nebraska
    Iowa State beats Colorado
    Kansas beats Nebraska
    Kansas State beats Missouri
    Missouri beats Iowa State
    Oklahoma State beats Colorado
    Nebraska beats Kansas State
    Texas beats Kansas
    Nebraska beats Colorado
    Kansas beats Missouri

    If I'm correct on this (I'm 12-8 straight up from my beginning of the year predictions, so I'm probably not), this means K-State wins the MAC Southwest title with a 5-3 conference record and a 7-5 overall record. Records throughout the Big 12 north would be:

    KSU 5-3 / 7-5
    Neb 4-4 / 7-5
    ISU 3-5 / 6-6
    KU 3-5 / 7-5
    Mizzou 3-5 / 7-5
    CU - 1-7 / 2-10

    Just a couple of weird bounces of the ball and you could have :
    1) KSU go 4-4, win the North Division, lose the Big 12 championship game and be 6-7, and not eligible for a bowl;
    2) Colorado could go 4-1 in remaining conference play and also be in the same situation
    3) KSU, Nebraska and KU could all be in a 3 way tie atop the North with 4-4 conference records. Take the above predictions, and alter three games: have KSU a) lose to KU; b) lose to Mizzou and c) beat Nebraska and you're there. I have not idea what the tiebreaker scenario is then.
    4) Missouri has 4 Big 12 north games and a clash against Baylor left. They could run the table and win the Big 12 North after starting out 0-3.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    OSU vs Texas

    Many folks out there are telling us that Oklahoma State really has a chance against Texas this week. After all, the game is being played in Stillwater! And it was really close last year! Let's take a step back and look at some things we call "facts" here at LandThieves:

    a) Mack Brown is undefeated against Oklahoma State
    b) During Brown's tenure at Texas, the Horns have outscored the Pokes 216-125 in 6 games in Austin.
    c) During that same period, over 5 games, it's 219-117 in Stillwater. So according to my calculations, Texas wins by 15 points in Austin, but when the Pokes have home field advantage it's only 21 points?
    d) Boone State has the 36 ranked scoring defense in the country. Texas has the 9th ranked scoring defense.
    e) Texas has the #1 ranked scoring offense in the country. Oklahoma State has the 6th ranked scoring offense.
    f) based upon won-loss record of current foes, the Pokes have played the 64th toughest schedule in the country. On the same criteria, the Horns have played the 40th toughest schedule.
    g) according to Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings, Texas has played the 52nd toughest schedule, and Oklahoma State's schedule is 100th toughest.

    So, in a nutshell, in this series during the past 11 years, 1) the home field advantage has meant nothing for the Pokes; 2) Texas is a better team statistically; 3) Texas has superior performance in spite of playing a tougher schedule to date.

    All this analysis could go out the window considering the game is played by 20 year olds that occasionally get distracted with wine, women and schoolwork.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Why Sam should stay in school

    Sam's getting surgery now and is expected to declare for the draft if all goes well. Last week, everyone was writing the "Sam should go pro" column. It’s easy to do. Here’s the alternative.

    • Of the 10 offensive linemen listed on the Sooner depth chart, 8 return next year. Let’s presume that’s a good thing. Honestly, a unit that works together under our offensive coaches can’t help but get better.
    • Two receivers graduate at the end of this year, Hands of Stone Tonnell and All conference fullback/guard/center/tight end Brody Eldridge. These two offensive weapons have combined for 15 catches for and 2 TD through seven games. Everyone else returns.
    • This similar topic was discussed ad nauseum when Matt Leinart stuck around. And when Peyton Manning stuck around. It worked well for one, hasn’t seemed to for the other.
    • Legacy - Sam needs to determine what his goals are. Is his goal to make it to the NFL? Or is to make it IN the NFL. There is tons of data out there that says that the longer you stay in school as an NFL quarterback, the better chance you have at success. Leave school early, and he could be like other underclassmen: Jamarcus Russell, Vince Young, Alex Smith, Rex Grossman, Quincy Carter, Michael Vick, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Tommy Maddox, Jeff George. He could beat the odds and be Ben Roethlisberger or Drew Bledsoe. Jury's still out on Aaron Rodgers. This isn't the Sooner in me talking. Other people say this, too.
    • Rick Gosselin breaks it down in terms of number of pass attempts. Disregard the thesis of the column that Brady Quinn is a safe pick.
    • Sam has thrown 893 passes in 2+ years, so he's relatively inexperienced compared to many college passers entering the NFL>.
    • Money. It’s going to be there regardless, whether it’s via insurance or NFL signing bonus. How many millions is enough?
    • There are two schools of thought; 1) why take unnecessary toll on your body for the scholly money only; 2) why start working for a living any sooner than you have to.

    For a quarterback, there are several indicators that seem to contribute to success long term in the NFL: 1) play four years of college; 2) get lots of pass attempts at the collegiate level; 3) warm the bench for a couple of years while you mature and get used to the pace of the game. Sam can't control who he's drafted by - unless he wants to go all Eli Manning / John Elway on someone - but he can control how many reps he gets in college.

    Sam, take it from a veteran. You've got the rest of your life to work. Enjoy college a little bit longer.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Sloppy Football

    The AP story refers to the Texas-OU game as "sloppy" and Mack B referred to it as a defensive struggle like the SEC.

    Let's compare a couple of marquee games:

    Plays / Turnovers/ Pen Yds:

    Game A: 131 / 6 / 173
    Game B: 151 / 8 / 228
    Game C: 131 / 4 / 108
    Game D: 111 / 2 / 109

    Game A is the classic Alabama / South Carolina game, B is the Horns / Sooners, and C is Razorbacks / Gators. Game D is the Florida / LSU game from Oct 10.

    I won't dispute that the grade of SEC ball overall is superior to the Big 12 this year, I don't even think that's up for debate. What I do want to draw attention to is the number of plays in a game. the OU-Texas game had 15% higher number of plays. There were more opportunities for penalties and turnovers. Texas-OU had 40 more snaps in their game than Florida - LSU from the prior week.

    I would propose that the pace of play in the OU-TX game led to a higher rate of penalties and turnovers, and that respect of the foes defense and control freakish nature of the coaches led to a slower pace in the SEC games referenced.

    Was the game a little sloppy, you bet. I would say it kept me on the edge of my seat, but that's not true. I was standing the entire time.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Candidates to replace Stoops

    Since many of you are clamoring for Stoops hide after the 3-3 start to the year, I thought we would take a few minutes to examine the potential replacements.

    Oklahoma ties

    • Josh Heupel - he hasn't even been a unit coordinator, but he was like a coach on the field for two years. The last time we hired a position coach with on coordinating experience, it didn't turn out so well.
    • Kevin Sumlin - 2-0 against Big 12 schools this year, but winless against UTEP.
    • Mike Stoops - Sooner program hasn't been the same since he left. Surely the losing record over 5 years is an aberration, and he'd be a juggernaut at OU right after we canned his brother.
    • Mark Mangino - this is a no-brainer. Mangino is the first coach to win 40 games at Lawrence and have a winning record since Bert Kennedy hit that milestone. In 1909. Never mind that many believe that Heupel changed all Mangino's plays in the 2000 march to the championship.
    • Mike Shanahan - Coached for one year at OU in the 70s. Been living off of Switzer's rep ever since. Immediately available. I bet he'd turn down the Dallas Cowboy job for a chance to coach in Norman again. hasn't coached at the collegiate level since 1983.
    • Mike Leach - instrumental in recruiting Josh Heupel, which was key in turning around the program. Some say he's taken Tech to new heights, other say he's just scheduled easier non conference foes.

    Regional Ties

    • Art Briles - never beaten Texas. Can't keep his quarterback healthy either, which can be a contributor to success, from what I understand.
    • Todd Graham - knows Texas high school football, since he coached there earlier this decade. 1-0 against Bronco Mendenhall, but 0-2 in Conference USA championship games.
    • Major Applewhite - Texas did alright hiring one of our former QBs back in the day. Very inexperienced.

    Many of you are tired of losing to Texas. Here's a list of coaches that are undefeated against Texas (not all-inclusive).

    • Bob Toledo - 2-0 against Texas, outscoring them 115-34. Also undefeated against Texas A&M. Unfortunately, he's also winless against the following schools: Alabama-Birmingham, Army, East Carolina.
    • Mike Belotti - 1-0 against Texas, but now retired.
    • Ron Prince - 1-0 against Mack Brown. Available as soon as the Virgina staff gets fired at the end of the season.

    Others want a big splash from a national name, let's look at the options:

    • Ty Willingham - known for turning around programs. If you want to go that direction.
    • Nick Saban - Never been at one post for longer than 5 years. After 3 years, he's due for a change. Conversely, he's 0-1 against Texas, and 0-2 against Nebraska, being outscored 105-24 by the Bugeaters.
    • Brian Kelly - is 27-6 at Cincinnati. On the downside, he's doing this in the Big East. His record while at Central Michigan and Cincy against BCS auto qualifiers: 2-9, with the both wins coming against Oregon State.
    • Pete Carroll / Urban Meyer - I'm sure these gentlemen are tired of staying in state and recruiting top notch talent without ever getting on a plane. I bet both are tired of being so close to the water, they probably wish to be closer to the fruited plains.
    • Charlie Strong - Very successful d-coordinator of Florida. I'm sure the Oklahoma Sooner faithful will embrace his interracial marriage. Push my skepticism of Sooner football fans open-mindedness aside, I think he's one of the more viable candidates for a head coaching job.
    • Chris Petersen - let's take a look at his predecessors. Dirk Koetter was 26-10 at Boise State and 40-34 at Arizona State. Dan Hawkins was 53-11 at Boise and 15-28 since. Petersen is 41-4 at Boise. Was he really the reason his two predecessors were successful, or is it just that he's in the WAC? How much do you want to pay to find out?

    Let's face it. You can't name a single coach that you can guarantee 1) would come to Norman; 2) would have better results than Coach Stoops; 3) will run a clean program. How do you know you're going to get an upgrade. Texas was convinced they could do better than Fred Akers 73% winning percentage. Twelve years and two coaches later, they got what they wanted. LSU ran off Mike Archer for winning 60% of his games and 14 years later got their man in Nick Saban. Stoops has won 80.5% of his games. Not many are going to improve on that.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    More Postgame thoughts

    Texas won a hard fought game. I tip my foam Sooner Schooner hat to them.

    At the beginning of this year, I thought the Horns would win this game, as a result of a more experienced offensive line. I picked them to win in my Big 12 preview. Those picks were made prior to 1) realizing just how far the dropoff would be from last year's o-line to this years; 2) Jermaine Gresham getting hurt; 3) Sam Bradford getting hurt. If you would have told me at 800 am Sat morning that a) Bradford would get hurt in the first quarter; b) the Sooners would have five turnovers; c) have negative rushing yards, I probably wouldn't have even got in the car to go down to the Cotton Bowl.

    Now, I'm going to digress into a couple of shoulda-woulda-couldas.
    1. In the first quarter, Landry Jones throws a beautiful long pass to Cameron Kinney. Kinney jumps up over Curtis Brown, extends his arms - and the ball goes through his hands and hits him in the helmet. Incomplete pass, and Jimmy Stevens misses a 45 yard field goal into the wind. If he catches that pass, it's first and goal inside the give, and three plays later Jimmy could have make a much shorter field goal.
    2. The Sooners DOMINATED the first quarter. And led 6-0 at the end of it. I thought the game was lost in the first quarter, when the Sooners had such an edge, but the edge didn't translate to points.
    3. The hurry up offense needs to stop. The time of possession in this game was 34:32 Texas to 25:28 Sooners. In the first quarter, the Sooners had the ball 9:48 seconds to the Horns 5:12 seconds. The remaining 45 minutes of game time, the time of possession was 29:20 for Texas, and 15:40 seconds for the Sooners. As long as we can't: a) run the ball (3.9 ypc through, 66th in NCAA just ahead of Kent State, but behind Ohio), and b) convert 3rd downs (32 for 88 is 84th in Division 1-A), we need to not routinely snap the ball with 19 seconds left on the play clock.
    4. The Baylor Bears have a run package where they take one of their defensive lineman and put him in at fullback. The Sooners need to do the same iwth Gerald McCoy on short yardage downs.
    5. On Broyles TD catch and run, Brandon Caleb makes two crucial blocks that help Broyles make it all the way to the end zone.
    6. The Sooner defense changed at half-time. They seemed to play mroe straight-up in the second half. At least from a lineup perspective. They seemed to not be moving around as much, and didn't seem to blitz as often. That probably was in part due to: a) half time adjustments and an effort to give Texas a different look; b) Longhorns snapping the ball more quickly and not allowing as much pre-snap movement; c) different looks given by the Horns.
    7. The Sooner D did a great job of containing Shipley yesterday.
    8. I realized in watching the game on the DVR that Brody Eldgridge played left guard yesterday. It's just another evidence of how bad the o-line is that our all-conference fullback and backup tightend has now played two different positions on the interior line thus far.
    9. The Sooners were 0-5 on 3rd down conversions in the second half.
    10. Keenan Clayton drops two different almost certain pick sixes during the second quarter.

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Rope a Dope Works in 2nd quarter

    I mentioned to a friend accompanying me to the game that the rope-a-dope was not a successful football strategy. However, in the second quarter, it did work.

    Here are the Sooner possessions in the 2nd quarter:

    1:16 TOP, 4 plays, 24 yards; fumble at the Texas 24
    1:10 TOP, 4 plays, 10 yards; punt
    1:25 TOP, 5 plays, 17 yards; punt
    fumble on kickoff return
    1:53 TOP, 3 plays, -13 yards; punt

    That's 5 minutes and change of game time, 16 play, 38 yards and 2 turnovers.

    Amazingly, the Sooners gave up only 3 points in this sequence, in spite of the Horns having five possessions, with an average starting point of their own 49.

    On each of the five possession, the Horns crossed into Sooner territory, with the following results: one FG, one fumble, and a sack at the end of the half. Three of the possessions ended with the Horns being driven back to the 50 of on their own side of the field.

    Folks, that's defense.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Sam Bradford is Second, no matter what

    It's been a crazy week at LandThieves HQ. Work is quite hectic and it's impairing my ability to obsess about the Red River Rivalry. To keep it all in perspective, here's a bit from Sam, who's hopefully the hero tomorrow.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    No1 Hook Em, Barry Switzer

    For you youngsters out there, Mack was an offensive coordinator for Oklahoma in 1984. Coached some kid named Aikman for a year. Right before this picture, Brown says, "If you don't flash the Horns, I'm putting that picture I have of you and Marcus Dupree on facebook."

    No 2 Hook Em, Madonna

    Madonna had a wild night with Fred Akers and Edwin Simmons in 1984 during her first tour, and had been a Longhorn fan ever since.

    No 3 Hook Em Bill Clinton

    I'm expecting a call from Hillary's publicist, wanting to know how I ranked Bill six spots ahead of her.

    No 4 Hook Em Paul Gleason

    Goofy scene from 80s movie, The Breakfast Club. If you mess with the bull, you get the Horns. Who knew John Hughes was a Longhorn fan?

    No 5 Hook Em, Barack Obama

    The first time I saw this photo, I thought it looked so awkward it must be a photoshop. Further research found it on the Austin American Statesman website, courtesy of O's trip to Austin for the debates last year. He's clearly flashing, "I'm not George Bush, and I want the Nobel Peace Prize."

    No 6 Hook Em, Michelle Obama

    It's subtle, but look at the left hand.

    No 7 Hook Em, Yasser Arafat

    New 4th meaning to this hand signal, "I'd like to apply for the Nobel Peace Prize, please."

    No 8 Hook Em, Ahmadminejad

    Mahmoud Ahminejad, photographed in Tom Hicks' suite at the 2005 National Championship game.

    Hook Em No 9, Hillary Clinton

    9. As indicated earlier, this signal could mean a) Hook Em Horns; b) I'm a devil worshiper; c) I love you. In this instance, Hillary is professing her love for the devil if she could carry Texas.

    No 10 Hook Em Rick Perry

    Traitorious Aggie Rick Perry sells out out alma mater for votes.

    No 11 Hook Em, Pat Robertson

    11. I believe Pat was praying for Vince Young to learn how to read a defense.

    Top 12 Celebrities - or somesuch - Flashing Hook Em

    Today we're starting a Top 12 countdown of various political and entertainment figures flashing the hook 'em sign. Some may actually be using sign language to signal a loved one, or indicating Satanic worship. Could be all three. Let's have some fun and not overanalyze, shall we?

    12. Marion Berry, former DC mayor, would have fit in well with 2007 Longhorn team.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    The Middle of the Field

    As I thought about yesterday's loss to Miami, I realized that the Sooner coaching staff is treating Landry Jones like Nate Hybl or Paul Thompson. For those uninitiated, Nate Hybl and Paul Thompson were rarely allowed to throw the ball in the middle of the field. I don't have any stats to back this up, it just seemed like the passing attack with them as either side to side, or if down the field, it was fades. All stuff that was pretty low risk.

    After having this thought, I watched the game again. Jones was 1-3 while throwing between the hashmarks on Saturday night. On the other 2/3 of the field, he was 17-27.

    On the other side of the ball, the Sooners weak spot - for years it seems - has been defending the middle of the field. We are so determined to stop the run that we're susceptible to play action passes, where you get the ball over the second level of defenders. Conversely, Miami, which really loaded up the box in the second half, was not tested in this area. Are they that strong up the middle? I don't know.

    After all this weeping and gnashing of teeth, the Sooners have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, and they're four points away from being undefeated.

    Injuries and their impact on the offense

    With Broyles out with a fractured shoulder blade, the Sooners are left without another playmaker. To understand this, consider the following stat:

    In 2008, the Sooners passed for 4,891 yards, with 4,208 of those yards going to receivers and tight ends. With the eligibility completion (Iglesias, Johson, Chaney) and injuries (Gresham, Broyles), the Sooners have lost 4,005, or 95%, of those yards. Add in four o-lineman gone, and the starting QB on the shelf, and that's a lot ot make up for.

    That being said, the offense scored 20 points. But it should have been enough to get us a W, if the D makes a couple of stops.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Tale of the Tape - Aggies vs Hogs

    Work and family schedules precluded me giving this proper coverage earlier this week, but I wanted to do a little preview of a game involving two of the most dysfunctional and loyal fan bases in college football, Arkansas and Texas A&M.

    How'd they get the name? Arkansas: After an undefeated season in 1909, Coach Hugo Bezdek referred to his team as a "wild band of Razorbacks" and the name caught on. Hog fans have NOT caught on to the fact that they've only had one undefeated season since 1909, in 1964 when Barry Switzer was an assistant and Boss Hog Jerry Jones was a player on the team. Cash Machine U: It's Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University. While some believe that the Aggies moniker is Greek for "abuser of sheep", that is just a rumor. It's a tribute to the school's agricultural roots. Gearheads just doesn't roll off the tongue, so they went with Aggies. Edge: Aggies.
    Returning Starters: Texas A&M 10 on offense / 6 on defense; Arkansas 8 on offense / 10 on defense. Edge: Arkansas
    NFL Passing Yards by Alums: Arkansas 41,090; A&M 9,157. I'm excluding former Razorback Tarvaris Jackson from this tally, as he transferred to Alabama State and improved the quarterback play at both schools. Edge: Arkansas, courtesy of Buffalo Bill great Joe Ferguson.
    NFL Draft History: Arkansas 243; Texas A&M: 258. Edge: Arkansas
    Best NFL Player: Arkansas: Pat Summerall; Texas A&M: Yale Lary. Edge: Arkansas. I went with Summerall over NFL HOFs Lance Allworth and Dan Hampton because Summerall wins the Best Voice and Best Recovering Alchololic portion of the contest as well. Both schools have fairly storied college fb programs, but not many elite NFLers come out of the pack. If you disagree, see Mcelroy, Leeland. Edge: Arkansas
    Hot/Cold: Arkansas: Cold. The Hogs have allowed 77 points in two games against 1-A opponents. Texas A&M: Overheated. Courtesy of the mediocre defenses played by the Aggies, Cash Machine U is hot, but cool faster than a plate of scrambled eggs. Edge: Aggies.
    Random Stat: The defensive ranking of A&M foes year-to-date: 107, 117, 116. Arkansas is a veritable defensive juggernaut at 91. Edge: Aggies
    Random Stat 2: Texas A&I has more NFL Hall of Famers than Texas A&M. Gene Upshaw and Darrell Green starred for Texas A&I back in the day. Edge: Arkansas
    How we see it: this game has fluctuated between a pick'em and Arkansas as a 1 point favorite. Arkansas is 1-2, but has played teams you've heard of in Alabama and Georgia. For some reason, I think Arkansas is going to win this, though I'll be pulling for the Aggies. The battle of the Aggies and Hogs in the seats will be an interesting part of the game as well. Prediction: Arkansas