Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Houston in Big 12

With Houston going 2-0 vs the Big 12 this year, here's the last time each Big 12 team defeated two teams from the Big 12 South:

  • Colorado - 2007 (includes upset of Oklahoma while a 20+ point underdog)
  • Iowa State - 2005
  • Kansas - 2007 (went 12-1, and did not face Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech). Only time they've accomplished in Big 12 history.
  • Kansas State - 2007 (upset Texas)
  • Missouri - 2007
  • Nebraska - 2003
  • Baylor - not since Big 12 formed in 1996
  • Oklahoma - 2008
  • Boone State - 2008
  • Texas - 2008
  • Texas A&M - 2007
  • Texas Tech - 2008

The suprising part to me was that each Big 12 North team - outside of Nebraska - had done this farily recently. I did not expect that. I guess I have a short memory.

BCS Busters

Much yelling going on about Boise State or Houston as a BCS buster this year. Some people mention the Horned Lizards, but not many. Here's why:

Current Win Loss records of future opponents
  • Boise State (8 games remaining): 7-15. Of the 7 remaining 1-A combatants for Boise State, they have collectively won 7 games. This includes Tulsa, which is 2-1 (1-aa wins/losses are excluded). Intrastate foe Idaho (hey, that rhymes!) is 3-1 (beating juggernauts NM State, San Diego State and Northern Illinois), and is probably their second toughest remaining game. Aside from those two, BSU opponents are 1-AA UC-Davis, and 5 other teams thave have combined for two wins against 1-A teams. this is not to say that Boise is not good, but they will NOT be tested extensively the remainder of the way.
  • Houston (9 games remaining): 8-19. The Cougars also have Tulsa remaining, as well as Mississippi State, a team that is 1-2 against 1-A foes, but almost beat LSU this past week. After 4 weeks, Conference USA appears pretty weak, with the exception of Houston and perhaps Tulsa, which lost by 51 to Oklahoma.
  • TCU (9 games remaining): 13-16. The Horned Lizards host 3-1 Utah and travel to 3-1 BYU, so they definitely have their plate full.

Monday, September 28, 2009

How Texas Tech Blew the Game

One of my more faithful readers asked me for a breakdown of how Texas Tech blew the Houston game. Well, let’s look at the stats, without team names.

Stat / team A / team B
Yards per pass / 6.8 / 7.5
Yards passing / 321 / 435
Pass completion % / 64 / 66
Yards per rush / 5.1 / 4.0
Yards rushing / 163 / 144
Time of possession / 27 / 33
Turnovers / 2 / 1
3rd down efficiency % / 50 / 55
4th down efficiency % / 0 / 100

Which team do you think wins the game? Of course, Team B wins the game. Team B, the Cougars, out-passed the Dust Pirates, were marginally beat in rushing, won the turnover battle, controlled the clock and converted more 3rd and 4th down opportunities. Also, remember that on the final play of the 3rd quarter, Potts throws a horrible interception, which is negated by an illegal hands to the face call on a Cougar lineman. Personally, I thought the call was bogus.

We can throw stones at the Great Pirate for going for it on 4th down when he could have kicked a FG to go up 31-23 with 11 minutes to go. However, Leach has always been a gambler. I went back and looked at 2008 and 2009 season to date for the Red Raiders. Leach goes for it on 4th down at least once almost every game, with the exception of last year’s Texas game and the Nebraska game. The last time Leach attempted a 4th down in a game and had no conversions in that game was the 2008 opener against Eastern Washington. I think Leach knows if he converts on that 4th and goal, he puts the game away. Plus with the PF call to negate the interception earlier in the drive, he was gambling with house money anyway.

In hindsight, it's easy to say that he should've kicked the field goal. However, the Red Raiders were running the ball effectively. The question, in my mind, is why go with the quarterback sneak there, not so much that he went for it, but how he went for it.

Big 12 Goes 9-1, Yippee

The Big 12 went 9-1 this week, as the conference proudly states.

As a conference, we went:

3-1 against Conference USA
3-0 against 1-AA teams
1-0 against the WAC
1-0 against Independents
1-0 against the Sunbelt Conference


Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Unranked, Undefeateds

An Aggie fan was complaining to me at lunch today that the Aggies were getting no love, even though they are undefeated. Let's look at all the undefeated teams that are not ranked in the Coaches top 25:

(Team / Record / Sagarin Schedule Ranking / Best Win)

  • South Florida / 4-0 / 131 / Florida State
  • Auburn / 4-0 / 107 / West Virginia
  • Wisconsin / 4-0 / 86 / Tie between Fresno State, Michigan State, Northern Illinois
  • UCLA / 3-0 / 62 / Tennessee
  • Texas A&M / 4-0 / 177 / Utah State

I'm not saying the Aggies schedule has been easy, but this is the Texas A&M schedule poster this year.

All the teams aside from Cash Machine U that have been shunned have played and defeated a team from a BCS automatic qualifying conference. The next two weeks against 1-2 Arkansas (best 1-2 team in the land) and Oklahoma State will tell us much more about year 2 of The Shermanator.

Breaking Down the Polls

  • Florida lost one of their first place votes in the Coaches Poll. I checked. UTEP Coach Mike Price must have a vote, nor does Lane Kiffin. I'm not certain what Florida did wrong in their 41-7 win on the road at Kentucky. Was the Horns victory against UTEP that impressive?
  • LSU's 4 point rout of Missisippi State propelled them three spots up to #4. The MSU Bulldogs are now an impressive 2-2 this year, only losing by 25 to Auburn and blowing out Vanderbilt by 12 and dominating Jackson State. LSU was 8-5 last year, and boasts victories over Washington (8 pts), Vandy (14 pts), La-Lafayette (28 pts) and MSU (4 pts). LSU will really hit their stride after games against Tulane and Louisiana Tech later this year.
  • Southern Cal's home victory over the hapless Washington State Cougars earned them the opportunity to vault over the Sooners for the 7th spot in the polls. I'm interested to see how the polls play out next two weeks...the Sooners travel to #21 Miami, and the Trojans travel to #19 California. If both win, and the Sooners beat the Baylor Bears at home during the Trojans' bye week, will OU leapfrog the Trojans? Seriously, what part of a 21 point victory to a team that has only beaten Ty Willighman coached Washington, Portland State and Southern Methodist in their last 16 games is impressive?
  • Cal dropped from 6th to 19th after eking out a 39 point loss to previously unranked Oregon.
  • Oregon went from unranked to being ranked 25th. They are six spots lower than the team they just beat by 39 points. Oregon's only loss is to 5th ranked Boise State. Oregon hosts Washington State next week, so look for them to jump into the top 10 next week after a victory.
  • Virginia Tech's pasting of Miami FL helped them vault from 12th to 6th. I have no issue with this. After the Hokies lost to the higher ranked Crimson Tide the first week, they fell from 7th to 15th. That was pretty harsh for losing to a team ranked higher.

This will all shake out in the coming weeks - or at least most of it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bradford Visits Dr Andrews

Holy Cow! Reports coming out yesterday indicated that Sam Bradford is going to visit renowned sports doctor James Andrews in Alabama.

Here's a knee jerk reaction on two sides to this issue from someone (me) who is so far removed from the situation I can't even get lower deck tickets to the OU-Texas game.

1) Sam's shoulder has made no improvement and his whole entire season is in jeopardy. I have no basis for this conclusion, other than the fact that when some people see a glass as half full and others see it as half empty, I think I saw a leak.
2) Sam's shoulder is feeling better, and this is a business trip. Sam's dad not only played college football, he's now in the insurance business. I'm sure Papa Bradford was very diligent on reading his son's sports insurance policy. As mentioned in the article I linked to, it's a complicated business. The policies cover catastrophic, never-play-again injuries, but rarely cover money lost in the transition from "I was a first round lock and now I'm a 7th round throwaway pick for the Eagles." This entire visit could be a precaution. I would imagine that if Sam takes the field for the Sooners again, he's demonstrating that the injury is not career ending, and therefore eliminating this injury from coverage. If that's the case, and literally MILLIONS of dollars are at stake, you would be a fool to show your toughness and just get out there. You would do to the leading doctor for shoulder joints in the business, and get his thoughts before taking a snap in a regular season game again.

I wish for Sam's sake that this trip is a result of #2, and not #1.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LandThieves Interviews Todd Graham

After the Hurricane's loss to the Sooners, we sat down with Tulsa Coach Todd Graham to break down the loss:

JH: Coach, true freshman Shavodrick Beaver played a little bit this evening. Can you tell us more about him:
TG: Joe, as you know, football players love to be around Beaver. They just can't get enough.

JH: Coach Graham, Michigan was recruiting Shavodrick, how did you get your hands on Beaver?
TG:Well, it was quite a shocker. Michigan was really interested, then they pulled out at the last minute. I think we got him on the rebound. We were just in the right place at the right time.

JH: Shavodrick is a true freshmen. A lot of 18 year olds have trouble grasping the offenses at the college level. How do you see that playing out?
TG: Well, I think you'll see a lot of Beaver in the spread formation. It will give us a good look at him as well. I lot of the guys think when we spread wide with Beaver in there it increases our chances to score.

JH: Your offensive line is a little inexperienced, and Beaver is small. How are you going to protect him?
TG: Well, we've got to have strength up the middle, Joe. The opposition really likes to penetrate when Beaver is in, and we just can't allow it. We want to protect Beaver. You can't let the opposition get a lot of licks on him.

Well, we're almost out of puns. If I may quote Leslie Nielsen, "That's a nice Beaver you've got there."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jesse Can't Swim

I recall Jesse Jackson saying one time that if the media saw him walking on water, the next day's headline would say, "Jesse can't Swim". Well, after watching Landry Jones pass for 6 TDs in a game yesterday, a Sooner record, all I have to say is "We can't run the ball."

Three different quarterbacks have passed for 5 TDs in a game: Bradford, Heupel, and White.

Let's look at those games:
  1. 2008 Nebraska - the Sooners exploded on Nebraska, winning 62-28. 3 rushing TDs and a defensive score were added to the 5 Bradford passes
  2. 2008 Texas - Sooners have zero rushing TDs and lose 45-35.
  3. 2008 Washington - Sooners roll 55-14. Sooners added three rushing TDs to Bradford's 5 passes.
  4. 2008 Cincinnati - Sooners add 2 rushing TDs and a FG to the 5 Bradford scores to win 52-13
  5. 2007 Cash Machine U - Sooners won 42-13. Bradford threw for 5, and Murray rushed for 1.
  6. 2007 North Texas - wait, never mind. Just an error in the OU record book. This was Miami. Sooners won 51-13. Bradford threw for 5 TDs, Halzle threw for 1, and the D scored once. No rushing TDs.
  7. 2004 Cash Machine U - Sooners win 42-35, with 5 passing Tds and 1 rushing TD
  8. 2003 Cash Machine U - Sooners roll 77-0, with 5 passing, 5 rushing, 1 defensive TD
  9. 2003 Iowa State - Sooners amass 53 points, with 5 passing TDs, 1 rushing Td, 1 KR TD
  10. 1999 Louisville - Sooners score 42 points, with 5 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD
  11. 1999 Indiana State - Sooners score 49 points, with 5 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs

So, in a nutshell, in three of the 12 games now the Sooners have not had any rushing TDs to complement their passing attack. Frankly, that's more than I thought.

Sooners Develop H1N1 vaccine

Did you hear that the football team has partnered with OU Medical School to develop a vaccine for H1N1? They inject you with the sweat of Adron Tennell. Once you've got a little bit of him in you, you can't catch anything.

Thanks, be sure and tip your wait staff. I'll be here all week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Golden Hurricane Preview

Line: Sooners by 15 1/2
How'd they get the name: According to a gent on Yahoo! Answers, it's when you urinate into the wind and it comes back at you. Fortunately for all of us, that's not correct.
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 8 on defense
NFL Passing Yards by Alums: 54,052, led by Gus Frerotte
Best NFL Player: WR Steve Largent, inducted into the HOF in 1995. Shout out goes to Drew Pearson, an undrafted QB that made out alright as a WR for the Cowboys for a few years also.
Draft History: 168 players drafted by the NFL
Hot/Cold: The Golden Hurricane has won three of their last four bowl appearances, with their last loss in a bowl game coming to Utah. Just like Alabama.
The Skinny: Tulsa is not the mid-major cupcake you might think. Since the start of 2003 (end of the Keith Burns reign of terror at Tulsa), the Golden Hurricane is 52-29, with more wins in that time frame than the following schools, among others: Tennessee, Michigan, Oregon, Alabama and Brigham Young University. Todd Graham, an up and coming mercenary in the ranks of college football, is a native of Mesquite, TX and the coach was attributed with turning around Allen, TX High School football. Graham was also on Rich Rodriguez's staff at West Virgina, which explains his unique negotiating tactics (see comment 2) when transitioning from Rice to Tulsa.
Random stat: The Golden Hurricane has produced three NFL Hall of Famers, more than OU or OSU. Only 20 colleges can claim more HOFers.
How we see it: Mike Bryan, son of former Sooner and recently deceased Rick Bryan, will get big applause at the game. Bryan is the MLB in the Hurriance 3-3-5 scheme. Tulsa's QB is G.J. Kinne, a Texas transfer who gave up on replacing Colt McCoy. It's worked out well for Jevan Snead. The Sooners should win this one, but I think it will be closer than I want it to be. In all honesty, this game makes me nervous. Tulsa is a good football team, and the Sooners W against Idaho State told me nothing. Tulsa will come into this game confident, and with a chip on their shoulders. OU has oodles more recruiting stars, and the superior talent should prevail over the course of 60 minutes. Pick: Sooners to win, but not to cover the 15.5 points.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Around the Big 12 - week 2

Apologies for being late here, but...

  • The Dan Hawkins Farewell Tour gets blasted by Rockets. Toledo QB Aaron Opelt avered 20 yards per completion and over 13 yards per rush. Opelt's previous game high in rushing over his career was 76 yards against Bowling Green as a freshman. The Buffaloes just looked S-L-O-W agasint Toledo, who is 3-10 over their last 13 games.
  • Texas scored a TD late in the first half to take the lead into the locker room at half-time. The Horns went on to score 35 unanswered points to win 41-10. Colt McCoy threw a TD pass with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter to put the Horns up 41-10. Colt's throwing passes with a 24 point lead in the 4th quarter, but Texas DOES NOT run up the score against opponents like OU does.
  • The Boone State Fox announcers noted that Oklahoma State has won 16 non-conference games in a row at home. Those foes, in order: SMU, Wyoming, Missouri State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulsa, SMU, Montanta State, Arkansas State, Missouri State, Florida Atlantic, Florida Atlantic, Sam Houston State, Houston, Missouri State, Troy, Georgia. The Houston Cougars (who are w-a-y more promiscous than the BYU Coguars) failed to be intimidated by this fact and beat the Pokes 45-35. Houston jumped out to a 24-7 lead, let OSU back in the game and surrendered the lead, then outscored the Pokes 21-7 in the fourth quarter. This was a thrilling game with several weird plays...the Cougs scored late in the first half and then bounced a squib kick off a Poke player, recovered the ball and drove for a score to finalize scoring 14 points in the last 1:37, and take the 24-7 halftime lead; on a 4th and goal, trailing 31-35, Case Keenum throws a pass into the end zone which is tipped by a Boone State defender and caught by Bryce Beall for the go-ahead score; Okie State fumbles on the next drive, but the Cougars can't seal the deal; and punt. Okie State then throws a pick-six off of a ball that sails through the hands of All-American Dez Bryant. While there were some odd plays, this was not a fluke victory...the Cougars gained 80 yards more than the Pokes, committed fewer penalties and won the turnover battle. Boone was quoted earlier this year as saying that if the Pokes made the BCS, he would probably "pee in my pants". Fortunately for his cleaners, the Pokes took care of this by crapping the bed today against the Cougars. First Houston W over a Top 10 team since 1984, when the Cougars beat Texas.
  • Missouri scored 21 consecutive points to overcome Bowling Green State. Bowling Green is not a state. Urban Meyer is not there anymore. Missour somehow moved up in the rankings after nearly getting beat by the Falcons.
  • Willie and Friends lost to Louisiana-Lafayette. They allowed ULL to drive the field at the end of the game to win. The Big 12 lost to a Sun Belt team.
  • Cash Machine U did not play this weekend, but by way of Tulsa's 44-10 defeat of New Mexcio on the road, that the Aggies are as good as Tulsa. With Tulsa playing OU next weekend, we'll have a decent measuring stick of how good Tulsa, OKlahoma and Texas A&M are.
  • Nebraska dominated Arkansas State this weekend to avenge K State's road loss.
  • The Dust Pirates dominated Rice in their tuneup for next week's game against the Longhorns. Taylor Potts threw for seven scores.
  • Oklahoma defeated Idaho State. Like that surprised you. Idaho state had negative yards at half. The Sooners played John Nimmo at QB for part of the second half, as opposed to second-stringer Drew Allen. I think this is stupid. We're saving Drew's redshirt, but if Landry goes down against Tulsa, then our QB options are 1) Nimmo, who doesn't even register on depth charts; or 2) Allen a true freshman who's never taken a college snap. He could be like Tate Forcier. Or he could be Eric Moore, who was all-wold in practice, and not so much in games. For you younger fans, Jonathan Crompton of Tennessee is a Caucasian version of Eric Moore.
  • Iowa State looked awful against Iowa, losing 35-3 to seal the Cyclones ranking as the worst team in Iowa.
  • Kansas beat UTEP 24-7. The Miners had 7 first downs the ENTIRE GAME. This was a big victory for the Jayhhawks, as it was on the road, and it proved the Big 12 could beat a Conference USA team.
  • In other news, TCU dominated Virginia on Saturday. The Wahoos went the first 26 minutes of the second half without a first down, and started throwing hail mary passes with about 4 minutes left. Virginia had 3 different possessions to get their 5 first downs. Ron Prince landed back in Charlottesville, where he was before he turned Kansas State around. Ron's going to be back in the job market at the end of this year, methinks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stolen Thoughts 9-12-09

  • We don't normally cover Conference USA basketball here, but Steve Campbell, who's married to a Sooner alum, has a nice piece on Phi Slama Jama member Michael Young, and the recruitment of his son, who has verbally committed to Providence.
  • Colorado was pasted by TOLEDO last night. Dare I say they were blasted by the Rockets? Anyway, the Ralphie Report has a good synopsis of the status of the Dan Hawkins Farewell Tour.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Texas HS QBs

I watched several college games last weekend, and here's what I noticed. The Ball State QB is from Texas. The Florida State QB is from Texas. The Bama QB is from Texas. So, the LandThieves Research Department identifed the home state of the starting QB for each of the 120 FBS QBs from the first week. Texas has 23 QBs starting in 9 different conferences in 1-A, and California is second with 20. Here's the map, and you can see all the details:

View Texas FBS QBs in a larger map

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weekend viewing Guide - Week 2

Dan Hawkins Farewell Tour at Toledo - The Buffaloes travel to Ohio to play the Rockets. Last week the Rockets surrendered 8.1 yards per carry and 535 total yards to Pur-ue, but gained 493 against the Boilermakers. Colorado hopes to get 535 yards this season. Colorado is favored by 4, which means a) more bettors follow Colorado; or b) gamblers believe last Sunday was an anomaly. Considering Colorado is playing on a short week, I'll take the Rockets here.

1100 am Saturday:
Iowa at Iowa State - The Hawkeyes the Cyclones for the Corncob Cup in Ames. With Iowa already beating Northern Iowa, the winner will win the championship of Iowa, and proceed to go somewhere between 3-8 and 7-4. Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes

230 pm Saturday - this is a tough time slot to pick from. Throw in the season opener of the 10U CYSA season at 3, and there's a lot going on in this time slot.

Horned Lizards at William and Mary's b**** - TCU travels to Charlottesville to take on the Wahoos. Will Mountain West pride overwhelm the wounded feelers of the Wahoos, who lost to William and Mary last week? Inquiring minds want to know. I'm expecting a Frogs victory here.

Houston at Boone State - the Pokes are vying for a Houston city championship the next two weeks by hosting the Cougars and the Owls. Boone State is rated in the top 5 for the fifth time in history. They finished the season in 1945 ranked fifth, had two weeks in 1984 in the top 5 (fell out after losing to OU), and had one week in the top 5 in 1985, then promptly lost to Nebraska. The Houston is a bit more powerful and diverse than what Georgia offered up last week. Then again, the D is probably a bit more porous. Prediction: Boone State

FishEaters at FC Dickrod - Notre Dame-Michigan is somewhere between train wreck and clash of the titans this year. Both won handily against mid-majors last week. Can the Irish have their first three game winning streak since they mowed through Duke, Stanford, San Diego State and Michigan at spanning the 07-08 seasons? Will Michigan have it's first two game winning streak of the Dickrod era? I'm going with the Wolverines.

6pm, Big 10 network:
Illinois State at Illinois - the Battle of Illinois happens this week. The Redbirds are coming off a tough loss to Tony Romo U, their first to Eastern Illinois in Normal since 1997. The illini are smarting from what has become an annual butt-whooping by the Missouri Tigers to start the season. Which team will climb to 1-1, and which will fall to 0-2? All I know is the Redbirds haven't been the same since Sooner great Justin Fuentes bailed on Normal and headed for Ft worth. Prediction: Illinois

7pm ABC:
Ohio State vs USC-West - The Trojans are 12-9-1 against Ohio State. The last time the Buckeyes beat the Men of Troy? 1974. Pete Carroll is 6-0 against Big 10 schools. Prediction: Buckeyes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Idaho State Preview

I know tens of you are waiting for my analysis of the Idaho State Bengals. Well, tough. Not gonna do it. I'm not wasting my time on this, as the Sooners playing ISU is not going to tell us anything. Seriously, what are you going to learn about the Sooners this week? If Landry Jones looks good, he's playing a 1-11 FCS team for goodness sake. If he sucks, well, he's getting the kinks out after not playing for two years. I'm going to presume our o-line will block these guys this week.

Anyway, here's a brief snapshot of the Bengals. Apparently theyu come out of this tunnel that's supposed to invoke fear in the opponent. It looks to me like someone got one the prop's from Aladdin on Ice, painted stripes on the snake and called it a tiger. Whatever.
This concludes our Sooner-Bengal Preview. Enjoy the game.

Sorting through Injury Week

Gresham's out for the year, and Bradford is out 2-4 weeks. Here's what I think I think on these subjects:

  1. I hope Gresham had an insurance policy like Bradford.
  2. If Bradford returns for the Tulsa game, someone needs their head examined. Sam, make sure you're healed. Don't be a hero. Fortunately, dad understands the insurance business.
  3. After I move past those two significant injuries, the Big 12 looks even harder now than it did prior to Labor Day weekend.
  4. Oklahoma State exceeded expectations with a 14 point W over the highly ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
  5. Baylor beat Wake Forest on the road, fanning the flames of increased expectations in Waco.
  6. Texas A&M did not look incompetent against New Mexico. The 13 or so true freshmen that played tells you two things a) the cupboard was pretty bare in College Station when Sherman arrived; b) Sherman has a solid 2009 recruiting season. Additionally, it's not unlikely for high school kids to see that want to be a part of an emerging program.
  7. In a nutshell, from a public opinion perspective, the Sooners got worse with injuries and an anemic o-line performance, and three of their Big 12 South rivals appear better than expected. If you're not careful, you could be at 8-4 in a hurry.
  8. Anybody that claims they learned something from Tech's victory over North Dakota, or the Horns victory over Louisiana-Monroe, is way smarter than me. Or delusional.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekend Wrapup - Week 1

It's a little late, but here's your weekend wrapup.
  • The Mountain West went 2-1 against the Big 12 this week. Let's give a big shout out to Cash Machine U for thumping Wyoming and averting the sweep.
  • In Cash Machine U's game against Wyoming, Jerrod Johnson looked significanly better than he had in the 08 campaign, going 31-41 for 349 yards and no picks.
  • The Big 12 went 2-0 against teams from North Dakota, and 2-0 against Sun Belt teams.
  • Missouri beat Illinois. Is Illinois not as good as we thought? Or did Mizzou not fall as far as we'd anticipated? It's tough to tell, but Blaine Gabbard sure looked good in his first game, as Mizzou beat the Illini for the fifth straight time.
  • Baylor won a non-conference road game against a BCS opponent for the first time since a 1995 win at North Carolina, which was coached by Mack Brown at the time. Briles' Baylor Bears used some nice trickeration on the game sealing TD a beautifully executed lateral-pass from Griffin to Ernest Smith to Lanear Simpson. Baylor averaged 5 yards per carry against the Demon Deacons.
  • Dez Bryant showed he's unstoppable with three catches, two for TD,s as Boone State beat Georgia on Saturday. One of the most bizarre new rules was on display, which says, "A receiver who is in the act of catching the ball, or if the pass receiver has already relaxed and shows no indication that he can still catch the pass cannot be targeted." In the Cowboys game, a Georgia defender hit a "defenseless" receiver, who had his hands on the ball when contact was made. I understand a desire to get rid of the unnecessary violence of the game, but he was aout to act the ball. I guess the Georgia DB should have offered an escort into the end zone instead. This hit was not a personal foul. Maybe they should have called a foul on Zac Robinson for lobbing a pass deep downfield into the middle of a zone defense. The biggest concern for me is that Okie State might be REALLY good this year. We'll know more as the season unfolds, as Georgia is not an offensive juggernaut this year. The game against Houston this Saturday will tell us more about the Cowboys D.
  • Statistically, Coach Snyder's Cats dominated the Minutemen of Masschusetts on Saturday. However, a blocked punt returned for a score made the game an uncomfortable 21-17 victory for Willie and Friends.
  • The Dan Hawkins farewall tour began on Sunday, with the Buffaloes losing to Colorado State 23-17. The anemic Buffalo offense amassed 251 yards against their intrastate rival, and Hawkins is 2-2 in his four games against the Rams. The scheduling geniuses in Boulder have followed up a Sunday game with a road game at Toledo. Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins have left Boise State for major programs and have come up short now. Will Petersen ever make the jump? Was he the reason Koetter and Hawkins were successful in the first place?

If your team did not get covered in this, have them schedule someone not in 1-AA and not in the Sunbelt Conference.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cowboys Stadium Review Summary

In summary, the Stadium has a lot of really good qualities, and it's bright and shiny and new and all of that. However, all of the "collest structure I've even visited" talk escapes me. Here's an analysis from the cheap seats.
  • The angle of the upper deck seats is uncomfortably steep.
  • The people in front of you block your view of part of the field while sitting.
  • The concessions are too diverse. Want an Angus steak burger or a Texas Bar B Q sandwich? You can walk right up and get one. Want more traditional food like a pretzel and nachos for your daughters? Sorry, those aren't available at most concessions, and the food prep fell behind the crowds. As a result, wait lines for those foods were insufferably long. I waited ten minutes at halftime for these items before giving up and going back to my seat. (This was after walking to four different concessions searching for same). During the time I waited, they may have servied three or four customers in my line. My wife spent 15 minutes in the middle of game time in the third quarter in line for these products.
  • From our vantage point, the acoustics left something to be desired.
  • Down, distance and time remaining are on scoreboard ribbons around the stadium. They are very difficult to find. You've got a video board that has more sqyare feet than the average Southlake mansion, go ahead and jam the score, down, distance and time remaining in the quarter up there somewhere.

Is it possible my stadium experience may have been improved by a Sooner victory? Sure. Winning is a great deodorant.

Points I did like about the stadium

  • The video quality on the screen is UNBELIEVABLE. Very solid. Conversely, with a screen so massive, you tend to migrate to watchign the screen instead of trying to watch the game going on below. If that's the case, I just spent $376 in tickets and parking for my family to drink $5/bottle of water for the largest video screen around.
  • The seats were pretty comfortable.
  • Restrooms are plentiful.
  • Getting in and out of the stadium traffic wise was much easier than I anticipated.

Now, if you'll excuse me, get off my lawn.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 7

The picture quality of the video screen is phenomenal.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 6

This was what I saw when I looked straight ahead. Note that I can see the items on top of the video screen. the video screen is 90 feet above the playing field, and the screen is 70 feet high. A friend sent a text to me mid game asking, "Are you in Arlington?". I responded, "No, I'm above it."
Keep in mind that punts are unlikely to hit the 90 foot bottom of the video screen. I was 70 feet above it. It reminded me of going to Mount Haleakala on Maui and looking down on the clouds.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 5

Benefit #2: You could see the band formations really well. I think watching the Texas Aggie band perform from those seats would be kinda cool. But I need my oxygen tank to get there.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 4

This was the view from my seat. This picture was taken without any zoom on the field. "You can see the whole field" is probably a polite way to describe it. When the stadium filled up, with the angle of the seats and all, the person in front of you - who was sitting down - obstructed the view from the sideline to the numbers on the near side.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 3

This sign greeted after we climbed SEVERAL ramps to the upper deck. A hint of things to come.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 2

There was lots of OU tailgating going on. Here, the infidels from the Mountain West conference invade for some reason.

Cowboys Stadium Review Pic 1

the gent on the right not only has on an obnoxious shirt, the Sooner logo is embroidered on his jorts and he has OU socks on.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Drive Summaries

OU has 13 possessions last night. On 9 of the 13 possessions, OU was flagged for a penalty. On the four flag free possessions, the Sooners had a three and out once, turned the ball over via fumbles twice, and fumbled a snap on third and one to lead to another punt.

You're not going to win games like that.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

That Was Ugly

First of all, let's tyip our cap to the BYU Cougars. They made the plays when they needed to make them and one the game. Now, let's take a look at the Sooners.


Several things had me shaking my head in this game.

1) Penalties - the Sooners had 12 penalties for 93 yards. They had 50 yards in the first quarter alone. Frankly, from being at the game I thought we had to be in the 120 area. I don't think they keep stats on these things, but the yards negated by these penalties was significant was well. I can remember multiple aoccasions where the penalty negated a positive play. The difference between second and 1 and first and 25 is immense. Cory Brandon had a particularly awful night, with several false start penalties...including one that ended up being a 52 yard kick instead of a 47 yard kick.
2) Failure to stick with the running game. On the surface, the Sooners had 31 carries for 118, which is not impressive. However, Demarco Murray averaged almost 6 yards per carry, and Chris Brown averaged 4 yards per carry. These gents were able to move the ball, but the penalties put the Sooners in long down and distance situations that made sticking to the running game implausible. With a new, untested QB in, the Sooners started their first two possessoins of the second half with penalties...one 15 yard chop block, and another 10 yard holding possession. Starting with those down and distance situations makes it difficult to run the ball a lot and shorten the game for your untested QB.
3) Stopping the run - the Sooners did stop the run, but the Sooners almost always stop the run. They are obsessed with it, even when it become apparently the opposition can't run effectively. The play action and drop it over the LB is all too easy when playing the Sooners.
4) Defending the middle of the field in pass coverage - watching the second half gave me flashbacks to last year's OU-Texas game. BYU would run it wide, or throw a screen or two, but when they needed it, you could count on a pass between the hashmarks to a receiver who was open. The gentlemanly Fightin Mormons were kind enough to fall down after the catch in many instances, seemingly content with the first down reception, and assuming someone was nearby to tackle them when many times there was not. Ryan Reynolds reconstructed knees have not resulted in him being an improved pass defender. however, when the LBs are committed to stopping the run even when the D-line is handlng it just fine, it's not enough.
5) Dropped balls - Adron Tonnell dropped the first two passes thrown his way. Both would have extended drives, both hit him in the hands, and both passes hit the ground.
6) Receivers - on the final drive, there were two instances where receivers were sitting down in zones VERY near one another. Enough so that when Jones threw a pass, it was catchable by both receivers (though neither did). It didn't seem to me like it should be drawn up that way.
7) Fumbles - The Sooners had three crucial fumbles, losing two of them. The first was Murray's fumble at the BYU 7 that the Cougars recovered as the Sooners were looking to capitalize on Ryan Reynolds interception of a Max Hall pass. The second was a fumble by Ryan Broyles at the Cougar 36, which was recovered by BYU. Finally, the third was a mishandled snap by Landry Jones on a 3rd and 1 at midfield. The 5 yard loss led to a punt immediately thereafter.
8) 3rd Down Efficiency - the Cougars were 8-17 on 3rd down, the Sooners were 2 for 11. The Cougars ability to extend drives contributed mightily to the time of possession advantage of the Cougars, who held the ball for 0ver 37 minutes. The Sooners had mishandled snaps on third down, and dropped passes on third down. The Cougars had completed passes to the TE or slot receivers.

I don't believe you can pinpoint any one piece of this equation to blame, but if you consider the Cougard had nearly 200 more passing yards than the sooners, converted almost half of their third downs and controlled the clock for 37 minutes. If you throw in the loss of the startintg QB, it's kind of a surprise that we had a kick at the end of the game that would have won it if it were made.

BYU Rally Cry

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weekend Viewing Guide - Week 1

It's a light slate of games later this weekend. One of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend is the Oregon-Boise State game, which is going on as I type this.

Your 230 Central time slot has some appealing games...

  • Baylor at Wake Forest (-2.5): Don't you think it's odd there's a betting line on a game between Baptist schools? Reverend Rob leads the Bears into Winston Salem to avenge last year's loss to WFU, which was the first time the Bears fell to the Deacons. The Bears should improve on last year's showing, which included Kirby Freeman's 4-13 with two picks debut, and ended with three additional turnovers. The Deacons lost Riley Skinner, an excellent college QB. I expect the Bears to take care of the ball better and beat the Deacons upright.
  • Georgia at Boone State (-4.5): This line has fallen over the past two days, as people thought about this and said, "self, can Boone State really beat an SEC team by a touchdown? I'll take my chances with Joe Cox and the Dawg defense." Plus, the Pokes made a couple of field trips to Payne County Courthouse with Perrish Cox and the Pokes TE, who left school after earning a TRO.
  • Missouri at Illinois (-6.5) - The talented Illini squad should overwhelm the inexperienced Tigers. Saturday will mark the debut of Blaine Gabbert as the Tiger QB. Gabbert as described as bigger with a stronger arm, which only reminds me of Hayden Fry commenting on Chuck Long's successor at Iowa, "He must have a stronger arm, he keeps overthrowing the receivers." I'm going to pick the Illini to cover in this one.
  • Nevada at Notre Dame (-14.5); Saturday marks the first time ever a team from the WAC has travelled to Notre Dame Stadium. The Wolfpack aren't completely unfortunate looking, having gone 7-6 last year, with their last four losses being decided by a TD or less. Conversely, their last two victories over BCS qualifiers have been Northwestern and Washington, who haven't been juggernauts lately. Come Labor Day, we can all analyze how many spots ND jumps for beating a team handily that they should beat handily.

The next game of interest, if you're not dropping $40 to watch UT-ULL, is at 7 on ABC.

  • Alabama (-6) vs Virginia Tech: If I weren't going to be at the Sooner game, I'd be watching this one. Last year, Saban's squad destroyed a Clemson team that was discovered to be overrated. I'm still trying to figure out how Virginia Tech became a top 10 team over the summer, so I'm going to go with the Tide to cover the six point spread.

Sunday afternoon, when you should be spending time with your family...

  • Ole Miss at Memphis (-17): I had absolutely no interest in covering this game, but anytime a school comes up with a t-shirt that says Bust a Nutt, it deserves mention here. The school has now pulled the t-shirt, which is just sad. let's face it, your Memphis. No one's referring to the school as the Harvard of the Mississippi River anyway. Back to the game...Jevan Snead and the Rebels will get on top of the Tigers early, and Memphis will wilt under the pressure. Later, Coach Tommy West will say to the Tigers, "it's okay, it happens to everyone sometime along the way."

And finally, a way to end your Labor Day weekend...

  • Florida St (-6.5) hosts Miami - in the middle part of this decade, this was a premier matchup and a slobberknocker of a game between two great defensive units. The game has lost a little bit of it's luster with some depressed times for the Canes and Noles, but still warrants some mention. Randy Shannon just hopes his one scholarship QB doesn't get hurt. I'm expecting the Seminoles to win this one, but not cover the spread.

Sooners-Fightin Mormons Preview

Line: Sooners by 22
How’d they get the name: The Brigham Young University Cougars were named after a group of 40 something Mormon women desperately seeking college males. The BYU students enjoyed the raunchy, forbidden times so much they named their athletic teams after the ladies.
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 8 on defense
NFL Passing Yards by Alums:80,928, which outpaces the Sooners by over 77,000 yards.
Best NFL Player: Steve Young, with Jim McMahon a close second.
Draft History: Cougars have had 136 players drafted by the NFL
Hot / Cold: The Cougars are coming off a rousing trip to Palo Alto for the National Cougar Convention.
The skinny: The Fighting Mormons are led by Max Hall, a top 10 QB. Unfortunately for Max, he only has one starting offensive lineman returning. A couple of them are returning from Mormon missions. If the mission was to Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach, perhaps they’ll have a chance. The defense returns 8 starters off of last year’s squad, and is led by MLB Matt Bauman.

Random stat from the teams: The Sooners are 0-1 against BYU. There are only 23 programs that have beaten the Sooners more than once.

How LandThieves sees it: The Sooners should win this game, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cougars cover the 22 point spread. This is a great first game test, and I’m fired up about seeing it in Jerry World. In the end, I think the veteran d-line of the Sooners should dominate the inexperienced 24 year old, caffeine deprived Cougar offensive line. This will give the Sooners a change to avenge two horrific losses by the Sooners 1) the butt kicking the 1984 Washington Huskies gave the Sooners, who were despondent over the Cougars 12-0 season over a bunch of hacks in the WAC; 2) the six pack the Cougars opened up on the Sooners in the 1994 Copper Bowl, the last game of the Gary Gibbs era.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We've been published

Cian O'day, editor of the wonderfully named site Norman Einsteins, was charitable enough to ask me to do a preview of the Sooners season, along with several well respected blogs. Check out the musings of many at The Norman Einsteins.

Many thanks to Cian for including me, and not titling the piece 13 writers and a hack.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

College Pick 'em

Join the LandThieves college football picking contest here. You're practically guaranteed to finish in the top 5.