Thursday, December 30, 2010

Favre's Junk

We normally keep to things Sooner related here, and this is only tangentially so in the slightest possible way (Favre hands off to Sooner alum Peterson, and both have johnsons).

Anyway, yesterday the NFL fined Favre $50,000 for failing to cooperate. The release also indicates that "Goodell stated to Favre that if he had found a violation of the league's workplace conduct policies, he would have imposed a substantially higher level of discipline".

So, in a nutshell, Favre failed to cooperate and was fined $50k. If he would have cooperated and been found "guilty" of sending photos, he may have been fined more. So, in a nutshell, Favre saved money by not cooperating. Do you think Favre would have cooperated had he expected to be exonerated if all details were disclosed?

Seems ot me like the penalty should have been more severe for obstructing justice, but I guess the NFL doesn't want to call Favre a liar in the last week of what once has been a historical career.

We now return to monitoring my horrible prognostications of bowl games.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heupel and Norvell as Co-Coordinators

Many One of you have asked me for my take on the Heupel/Norvell co-promotion. Here are my ten thoughts...

  1. Love the fact that Heupel is going to be calling plays. I always thought he made great choices while on the field, and I understand he has a great feel for the game. He's also done a great job with the quarterbacks.
  2. I don't know much about Norvell. I figure he's one of hundreds of coaches who've sworn at officials during a game. He's one of the few to get a personal foul called on him for it.I know he has Iowa connections with Stoops. I know he served with two lightly regarded head coaches, Karl Dorrell and Bill Callahan. I think those two associations, for me, outweigh his time 25 yrs ago with Stoops and Hayden Fry.
  3. I'm not fan of the co-coordinator bit. 
  4. Here's what I understand is the role of the offensive coordinator a) establishing a game plan; b) overseeing offensive assistants; c) overseeing offensive players; d) designing new plays; e) installing an offensive philosophy; f) calling plays during the game.
  5. So, aside from the two co-cos, the Sooners have O-line coach James Patton and RB coach Cale Gundy. We have two people co-managing two people. That seems... awkward.
  6. Personally, I'm curious to see if Patton doesn't end up following Wilson to Indiana. He worked on the Northwestern staff with Wilson prior to their arrival in Oklahoma.
  7. Back to Norman. You've got an African-American co-co and a white co-co on the offensive side of the ball. Let's hope we don't regress into some sort of racial divide.
  8. I don't know how the division of labor works out. Josh is calling the plays, but they are collaborating on game plan. It's all good until conflict arises. Then Josh just calls the plays in accordance with the plan he agrees with. And Norvell seethes. I hope that doesn't happen.
  9. It's not the first time Stoops has done this. If memory serves me correctly, Mangino was run game coordinator in 1999 and Leach was passing game coordinator. Thiat lasted a year before Leach went to Texas Tech.
  10. Stoops has had this setup on the defensive side of the ball, when Mike Stoops and Brent Venables tag-teamed on the role.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Join our College Bowl Mania Group

The link to the LandThieves group is here. The group name for my gig is LandThieves_Orig. Be aware there is now a Landthieves group associated with the website

I will dominate.

Muschamp to Florida - Ten Things I think you think I think

Thoughts on the Demise of the Texas coaching staff
  1. Bob Stoops remains at Oklahoma. Some websites had again claimed Stoops was headed to Gainesville. I really wish Florida would achieve some stability at the Head Coach position. Every time this scenario comes up, I get nervous.
  2. Dec 11 will now be a holiday in Oklahoma. Coach Boom, we wish you the best in the SEC.
  3. Unless Bob Davie starts doing ESPN-SEC games, he'll have fewer opportunities to mispronounce Muschamp's name.
  4. I think Mack will be hard pressed to replace Muschamp with the same caliber of assistant. Coach Boom was clearly one of the best d-coordinators out there. Will he hire the next Duane Akina? Or the next Gene Chizik?
  5. One rumor persists that Texas will promote Major Applewhite to Offensive Coordinator. Next year, they will hire Chris Simms as Co-Offensive Coordinator.
  6. ESPN and the University of Texas announced that they will now launch the Longhorn Classic Network, and will only show replays of games from 1998-2009, and the Darrell Royal era.
  7. Seriously, if Applewhite follows Muschamp to Gainesville, which recent reports refute, the staff is in a high level of disarray. They've lost their assistant head coach, the defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator in one offseason.
  8. Jim Jeffcoat resigned from Houston last week. I have to believe that he will land in Austin to be d-line coach there. On the other hand, as the Steve Campbell's article mentions, UH wasn't exactly known for it's defensive prowess while JJ was coaching the Coug's d-line.
  9. Some published reports indicated Bama OC Jim McElwain will interview for the Texas job. Unless he's going to get the coach in waiting gig, that's totally a lateral move, into a peer from a program perspective, but a conference that has less prestige and less respectability. As a result, I'm skeptical. 
  10. Luther Campbell says on Twitter that Randy Shannon will be the next DC and Coach in waiting. He does not cite a source. Uncle Luke did not indicate whether he was bringing the bounty system to Austin. According to Wikipedia, Uncle Luke did marry a Dallas lawyer a couple of years back, so there are some Texas ties...
  11. I don't think the coach in waiting is a good thing. You can argue that you have ton have succession planning in an organization, but it generally is not published. A coach in waiting just gets people focused on the head coach's departure. When adversity presents itself to an organization, the distraction gets bigger. Fiefdoms split and reassemble, and more energy is expended on who's in charge next than the organizational priorities at hand.
  12. I really don't wish to watch Texas go down the tubes. Rivalries are best when both rivals are playing at a high level. think Navratilova-Everett, Oklahoma-Nebraska from the 80s, Miami-FL-Florida State in the 90s, Cowboys-Steelers from the 70s, Yankees-Red Sox of late. The excitement, and exposure, gets turned up a notch when there's more at stake than just bragging rights. No one's clamoring to watch reruns of those Mackovic-Blake match ups from the mid-to-late 90s.
Finally, I'd like to apologize for not breaking this top ten list out between Leaders and Legends.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Breaking Down the Offensive Coordinator Candidates

While the missus has her gall gladder removed, I thought I would distract myself by breaking down the likely candidates for replacing Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator.

Josh Heupel
Pros: a) has been a miracle worker with Paul Thompson, Sam Bradford and Landry Jones. Thompson went from WR to QB of Big 12 champion in four months. During Thompson's senior year (2006), panic across Sooner nation prevailed. The "QB for 2007 is not on campus yet" many pundits said. Bradford won a three way competition and set NCAA records for freshmen performance in 07. As for Landry Jones, watch the 2009 Bugeater contest and the 2010 Big 12 championship. Tell me if you think he's improved. b) According to Internet legend, Heupel audibled out of most of Mangino's play calling in the 2000 championship season anyway. c) Married to daughter of university president David Boren.
Cons: a) does not have intimate photos of Stoops and farm animals in Manhattan, Kansas or Iowa City, Iowa; b) never been an offensive coordinator.

Jay Norvell
Pros: a) played at Iowa when the Head Visor was a graduate assistant; b) served as grad assistant at Iowa while Stoops was volunteer coach; c) served as Offensive Coordinator at UCLA in 2007; d) found Stoops in a compromising position with corn husks while in Ames, Iowa
Cons: a) served as Offensive Coordinator at UCLA in 2007; b) first Sooner position coach to receive a penalty since Scott Hill's arrest for possession with intent to distribute; c) learned offensive philosophy at the foot of Bill Callahan; d) makes Shawn Watson look like an offensive guru

Mark Mangino
Pros: a) served as Offensive Coordinator at OU in 2000-02; b) flexible jaw structure, like a snake; c) immediately available; d) found Stoops naked in a horse barn in western Kansas on a recruiting trip.
Cons: a) Heupel audibled out of his play calling anyway; b) transformed Nate Hybl from backup to Quincy Carter into backup for Jason White; c) alleged to have eaten players in Lawrence, Kansas; d) set record low score in Dale Carnegie course.

Mike Leach
Pros a) responsible for bringing Heupel to Norman; b) innovative play caller is rarely challenged by xbox football authorities.
Cons a) litigious nature increases errors and omissions insurance for university; b) does not play well with the mouse eared network; c) demonstrates little to no concept of clock management skills when nursing a lead; d) carries his own sword

Greg Davis
Pros: a) innovator of the renowned offensive philosophy "Y'all block for Vince, then get out of the way" that catapulted Mack Brown from perennial bridesmaid to national champion; b) advised Mack Brown against teeth whitening procedure; c) innovative game planning allowed Colt McCoy to lead team in rushing for three consecutive years
Cons: a) mistook Chris Simms for effective college QB; b) development of Garrett Gilbert allowed the G spot to challenge the university record for most interceptions in a season, presently held by Todd Dodge

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - late Nebraska edition

  1. The Sooner D is the real story of this game. The Bugeaters had 8 possessions and 78 yards during the second half. Ten of the Husker points in the first half needed only 18 yards, courtesy of field position.
  2. The Bugeater faithful must be screaming for Shawn Watson's head this week. I'm not going to spend the time researching this, but it seemed like the N offense was much more effective when in the wildcorn formation with Rex Burkhead. The change back to Martinez in the spread in the next to last possession of the game, in my opinion, cost the Huskers a chance to tie the game.
  3. Landry Jones stats in the fourth quarter: 6 for 12 for 66 yards. No TDs, no picks.
  4. Who is this Cameron Kenney fellow? In these last two games, he's had 12 catches for 206 yards. His three catches in the fourth quarter were vital on the game winning drive.
  5. Landry's road woes? The last three games outside Owen Field at Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium: 86-142 for 1135 yards, 8 TDs and 5 INTs. Most importantly, 3 Ws.
  6. So where does Landry stand in the ranking of Stoops era QBs? 1) Bradford, without question; 2) Josh Heupel; 3) Jason White; 4) Landry Jones. He's definitely better than Hybl, Thompson and Bomar. He has two more years to overtake the folks in front of him. Will it happen? Who knows?
  7. Ronnell Lewis was an absolute beast last night. I'm glad to see him on the field, and he's showing he belongs there.
  8. One thing we can't forget about the Sooner D.It got much better with the healthy of Austin Box. Never mind that Fake Dan Beebe says his name sounds like a Travis County strip joint, that young man has made a difference in the Sooner D.
  9. All y'all wanting to fire Stoops and Wilson and Venables, the Sooners are 11-2 and Big 12 Champions. As much as I'd like to be playing for a national championship, you can't do it very year. It's been a pretty solid year. We lost 3 of the top 4 in the NFL draft, and 3/4 of our secondary.
  10. Finally, I'll miss the Bugeaters. On the bright side, I've got a new favorite team in the Big 10.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Late Thoughts on TCU to the Big East

First of all, let me say this is a no-brainer decision for TCU. The move to the Big East gets them to the big kids’ table of college football.

Second, Don Beebe should be fired. When the WTF Conference remained intact after the Bugeaters left for the Big 10 + 2 and Dan Hawkins Farewell Tour bolted for the Pac 10 + 2, there was some talk of inviting TCU, Air Force and/or Houston to round out the Big 12 again. Somewhere along the line, the Big 12 decided it was not in their member interests, presumably b/c with Texas and Texas A&M, you already control the DFW and Houston TV market much more so than with TCU and Houston. While the Denver market is big, CU football has rarely dominated the TV space there, unless it was the crime watch during the McCartney/ Neuheisel eras.

So, here’s the present state of the conference: 1) you have now if the flagship member of your conference struggling with a 5-7 record this year and offseason questions abound; 2) the South Division co-champion Oklahoma State Cowboys have 9,000 empty seats for an intrastate rivalry game for the South Division title in which they’re favored by 2 points; 3) you’ve just given eight other schools in the country every other year access to visit your state, weekly in season coverage by your local media of the conference, and television exposure at some level to the DFW area.

The Tulsa World did some fine work with the 2009 FBS rosters. 1,714 FBS recruits came from Texas. That’s 200 more than the next closest state, California. By being pissy, the Big 12 just invited Rutgers, Louisville, Pitt, West Virginia, Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida and Syracuse into the state to share the recruits. Let’s say each team nabs two recruits. It’s only sixteen, but which sixteen? Are they the top ones? Some of them will be. You’ve reduced your margin for error considerably by giving more ready access to this talent pool, and giving the talent pool visibility into those schools. Maybe the next Todd Reesing, spurned by Texas because they already had Colt McCoy and Vince Young, now goes to Syracuse. Texas made the right decision with pursuing McCoy obviously, but Reesing was one of the best QBs in Kansas history. The fact that you don’t know how the second best QB in Kansas history also means something, but that’s another column (it’s either Frank Seurer, Bobby Douglas or Nolan Cromwell). Maybe Drew Allen, spurned by Texas for Garrett Gilbert (looks good so far), is now in a Pitt jersey, suffering under the Wannstache as opposed to being a capable backup for the Sooners.

Back in the day before 85 scholarship limits, the Oklahomas of the world would stockpile players on their roster just to keep them from playing somewhere else. It was unfair to the player who’s languishing on the bench, but great for building a dynasty. See Jimmy Rogers…you never heard of him at OU, but he played five years of NFL ball. He was stuck behind Billy Sims, Kenny King, David Overstreet and Elvis Peacock, to name a few. Stockpiling TCU in the conference keeps others from those resources, and another quality football team in the mix doesn’t hurt.

Congratulations to TCU, and bring me the head of Don Beebe. Professionally speaking, of course.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think about the Boone State W

Wow, what a game. Here are some things I wondered then researched after the game.
  1. Landry had not thrown a TD pass in the 4th quarter since the Cincinnati game, a 5 yard strike to Trey Millar.
  2. Landry's 4th qtr stats for 2010, prior to Saturday: 34-58, with 329 yds, 1 TD and 3 INT.
  3. Landry's 4th qtr stats for Bedlam, 7-13, 203 yds, 2 TDs and 0 INTs.
  4. Prior to Saturday, the Sooners had scored 32 points in the 4th qtr through 11 games. Against the Pokes, they scored 23 in the final frame.
  5. The Sooners have allowed 8 teams to score 10 points or more in the 4th quarter. The other four were held scoreless.
  6. Saturday was the first time this year the Sooners scored double digits in the 4th qtr.
  7. Coming into Saturday's game, Cameron Kenney had 14 catches for 184 yards and 1 score this year. Against Okie State, he had 6 catches for 141 yards and 2 TDs. The 2 scores doubled his career total.
  8. Landry's QB rating in the 4th qtr was 235.78. His previous QB rating on the road in the 4th qtr was 92.54.
  9. Landry's 3,957 yards in 2010 is the second highest passing yard total in Sooner history, second only to Sam Bradford's Heisman Trophy campaign in 2008.
  10. Landry's 468 yards against Ok State ties Sam Bradford for the highest passing yard output in a game in Sooner history. Landry has 3 of the top 6 totals.
  11. Landry's has the 4th highest career passing yards total in sooner history, and has not completed his sophomore campaign.
  12. The Sooners ran 107 plays in this game, and controlled time of possession in this game. That's a little misleading, however, as a pick six and KO return for a score certainly gave the Sooners back the ball quickly a couple of times.
  13. The defense held the vaunted Cowboy offense to 379 yards and forced three turnovers. The Poke offense scored 27 points, 18 below their season average.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Landry Jones in the 4th Quarter

Much has been made the past couple of weeks about the Sooners woes in the 4th quarter and on the road.
Let's look at Landry's QB rating by quarter this year, and where it stands nationally.

Landry's QB rating ranking - meaning where does his QB rating rank nationally - by quarter

1st Qtr = 150.31, (35th)
2nd Qtr = 152.74, (35th)
3rd Qtr = 140.03 (47th)
4th Qtr = 101.61 (I'm not certain. The 100th best 4th quarter passer (minimum 14 attempts) in FBS is Ryan Nassib at Syracuse.
Ryan's rating is 116.78. Jordan Winn of Utah is 99th at 117.79.)

Let's just say Landry is way down there.

I was also curious to see if Landry's drop in production was extraordinary. Of the top 94 rated passers in FBS, Landry's ratings drop from his rating in Q1-Q3 to Q4 was 83rd. In a nutshell, Landry's a different QB in the fourth quarter. And not in a good way.

One could argue that Landry is young, and that he'll get better. This is someone that started ten games last year and played in twelve. He now has 20 games under his belt. I would love to think that it's going to improve. But it's just possible that it's not going to happen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Rest of the Way

I was wondering this morning what the top 10 teams strength of schedule was the rest of the way. Using the Sagarin predictor rating (not the politically correct BCS scoring), here are the strength of schedules of the top 10 teams in the BCS going into today's games. The parenthetical ranking is the ranking of the remaining strength of schedule:
  1. Auburn 78.35 (3)
  2. Oregon 84.92 (1)
  3. Boise State 73.62 (5)
  4. TCU 67.40 (10)
  5. Michigan State 71.66 (8)
  6. Missouri 73.11 (7)
  7. Alabama 73.32 (6)
  8. Utah 77.31 (4)
  9. Oklahoma 78.56 (2)
  10. Wisconsin 68.38 (9)
When I decided to research this, I thought it would show that Boise didn't play a tough schedule and that they had an easy road the rest of the way. Instead, what I found was their schedule is not unlike others.Some points to highlight:
  • Alabama's remaining SOS would be higher, but the game against Georgia State drags them down.
  • Auburn's remaining SOS would be higher, but the game against Chattanooga drags them down.
  • Auburn's cupcake game against the Mocs of Chattanooga still presents a stronger foe than Boise State conference for Utah State
  • Wisconsin has played their toughest games. Their toughest game remaining is at Michigan, who is  - according to Sagarin's predictor ratings - 4 points worse than Baylor. The Badgers remaining slate is: Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern.
  • In comparison, Boise State has two games expected to be tougher than Wisconsin's trip to Michigan: Hawaii and Nevada. Statistically speaking, Michigan and Idaho are similar foes.
  • TCU's remaining SOS is dragged down by Mountain West cellar dwellers UNLV and New Mexico. 1-AA Georgia State has a higher ranking than New Mexico.
  • In conclusion, I guess I think it's less likely that a Big 6 school leapfrog Boise down the stretch due to Boise's "weak schedule". However, the above doesn't factor in human perception (2/3 of the poll) or that Alabama's computer ranking would be boosted by winning out, including the SEC championship game. It does look possible that Oregon could lose, yet still stay up there due to their increasingly difficult schedule down the stretch. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think about the Texas loss to ISU

So yesterday was a lazy day for me, and I got to watch LOTS of college football. I wrote this while watching the end of the Texas -ISU game and part of the Bugeater-Pokes contest. Some might say that writing a post about a rival losing their game before wathcing your own team get drilled is Karma. Not a believer in the Karma thing, but I'd rather had Texas and OU win than both lose.

If I can pare down my thoughts on last night's loss to Missou to ten or twenty, we'll post those later.

  1. First of all, I'm completely blown away by this. The Cyclone looked inept last week against the Sooners. And for most of the Utah game. 
  2. The last time Texas lost two home games in a row they changed head coaches (1997). I don't see that happening.
  3. Iowa State has never beaten Texas.
  4. Coming into this game, the Cyclones were 99th in passing yards, 77th in rushing yards, 85th in points scored and 104th in points allowed.
  5. Today is not one of those flukey wins. Texas kept making critical mistakes in the red zone, and continues to struggle with turnovers. Iowa State protected the ball, ran it well, and completed just enough passes to get the job done. Defensively, they consistently got pressure on the G Spot. And when you get pressure on the G Spot, good things happen.
  6. Texas lacks leadership on both sides of the ball. I've said this before, but leadership and experience are huge. On the offensive side, no one has replaced the leadership of Colt McCoy or Jordan Shipley. On the defensive side, the Horns have not replaced the on the field leadership of Earl Thomas. Teams need someone, when adversity happens, to get in that huddle and say, "this stops here", and have the rest of the unit believe it. No one is doing that for the Horns.
  7. Continuing on that thought, Texas was blessed to have a QB the caliber of Colt McCoy follow Vince Young. That's two of the better QBs in college fb history. Teams often struggle when they lose their leaders. Watch Florida this year. Or the Sooners last year after Bradford went down. Or after Jason White completed this PhD in football in 2005. What Oregon is doing after losing their QB to laptop theft is huge.
  8. I really thought the G spot would be better than his in 2010. And, given time, he may still be. I don't think Greg Davis has figured out what to do with him, when you combine an inexperienced QB with a spotty line and inexperienced receivers.
  9. I don't know when the last time is a team has lost by 50 and then beat a ranked opponent on the road the following week. I'm guessing never.
  10. The other two teams to score less than 24 points against Iowa State? Northern Iowa and Northern Illinois. Texas, thy new name is Northern Mexico.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ten things I think you think I think - Missouri preview

  1. Much is being made this week about Gary Pinkel being winless against Oklahoma. Let's be fair. Pinkel's predecessor, Larry Smith, only beat the Sooners once. Smith benefited from coaching against John Blake. That's like taking candy from a baby. Further back, Bob Stull and Woody Widenhofer weren't able to beat OU either. The last coach to beat the Sooners twice as Missouri coach: Warren Powers.
  2. Before we get too enamored with Missouri and playing them at home, without this play, the Tigers lose to San Diego State, are 5-1 going into this game and it's being played at 1100 am on Fox Sports.
  3. The discussion about Missouri's defense is curious. Missouri has the second best scoring defense in FBS. Of the five FBS teams Missouri has played, three are in the bottom thirty of scoring offenses in FBS.
  4. When reading the above note, do not pay attention to the fact that Oklahoma gave up 24 points to the 90th best scoring offense in the land. Nothing to see here, move along.
  5. Another fun fact: Phil Steele likes to evaluate Points per Yard. Offensively, it speaks to your effectiveness in scoring points. Defensively, it speaks to how hard you make the other team work for points. Field position and turnovers contribute to skewing this stat. The team with the best defensive yards per point so far this year? Missouri, at 30.3 yards per point. Second, TCU with 23.5 yards per point.
  6. Missouri's stat here is helped significantly by the 379 yard, 9 point effort by Cash Machine U last week, and the 311 yards and no points performance against Colorado. So either Mizzou is hitting their stride defensively, or they're playing teams struggling offensively. Personally, I think it's both.
  7. In case you're wondering if Defensive Yards per point is some sort of quirky stat, here's your top ten, in order: Mizzou, TCU, Alabama, Iowa, Arizona, Mississippi State, Oregon, San Diego State, West Virginia and Oklahoma.
  8. I think I'm glad I don't have to channel flip between Game 7 of Rangers / Yankees and Sooners / Tigers tonight.
  9. In researching the Tigers this morning, I've become more concerned about this game than I was previously. Sagarin's predictor ranking system has the Tigers ahead of the Sooners, by about two points, and then you'd give the Tigers three for home field advantage. Missouri is a better unit defensively than I thought, I've always thought Gabbert was a good QB, and Pinkel is an excellent coach.
  10. What I have some level of faith in this year for the Sooners is they a) take care of the ball well; b) the seem to play to the level of competition, which is in the Sooners favor this week. If they keep it up, they can squeak by with another 7 point victory.

Friday, October 22, 2010

LandThieves CFB Poll Week 7

I've done my own computer rankings this year. They're a little late for this week, but here goes for the top 11:

  1. Oklahoma - no, I did not rig the computer to do this. The model takes opponents' winning percentage as a strength of schedule measure, and the Sooners have played one of the tougher schedules this year. And they've played poorly against most of that schedule.
  2. Missouri - this week will mark the first time in recorded history that 1 vs 2 in my poll have paired off. It makes me challenge the validity of my rankings. Conversely, Missouri has exceeded the average performance against it's opponents and has played a reasonably tough schedule.
  3. Auburn - no surprise here. They've played well this year against a tough schedule.
  4. Boise State - BSU's foes have a below 500 winning percentage. That's not going to get better. However, they beat their opponents by more than anyone else that plays them. This is a good team.
  5. Ohio State - they have one loss, to the 25th rated team in my model, (Wisconsin). Wisconsin wins ugly.
  6. Stanford - they should be ranked higher than this on quarterback tackling technique alone.
  7. Michigan State - best fake field goal this year.
  8. TCU - the opponents .500 winning percentage is hurting the Frogs. Upcoming games against Air Force and Utah should solidify this. Now they need to win the games.
  9. Oklahoma State - the offense is surprisingly effective this year. Their defense? middle of the pack.
  10. Oregon - I've watched a few of their games this year. They look awesome, so I think this is low. From a computer model perspective, their foes to date have been mediocre. Stanford is the only team with a winning record and New Mexico, Tennessee and Washington State have combined for three wins. As they go through the Pac 10, this will improve.
  11. LSU - the computer does not factor in luck.

2010 Mid Season Awards

The Sooners are halfway through an undefeated season, so it's time for some midseason awards.

Sooner Offensive Co-MVP: Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray. Broyles has been unstoppable, and DeMarco is getting boatloads of TDs.

Defensive MVP: I would have to go with Jonathan Nelson. his first half at Cincinnati practically saved the game for the Sooners. He also had a big game against the Horns.

Special Teams MVP: James Winchester. He's recovered two fumbled punts for the Sooners, both preserving narrow Sooner victories.

Well, he certainly had me calling God a few times award: Landry Jones, who is intending to enter the ministry after college.

The wannabe like you award: Baylor Bears, who seem to have finally embraced the depravity of man in their football team. Coincidentally, they are one win away from being bowl eligible.

Miss me yet award: Mark Mangino

Surprised to see you here. not. OSU and Missouri are undefeated. Knowing how error prone TAMU is now, who did you expect OSU to lose to? Troy? Washington State? Texas Tech in transition? And Missouri? Were they supposed to lose to San Diego State? or Illinois? Granted those teams are solid this year, but Mizzou should win those games. For both teams, it gets harder here on out.

Conference Coach of the mid-year: I have to go with Coach Hair Gel. His decision to bring on Dana Holgorson as OC is paying off. Of course, a healthy Kendall Hunter makes you a better coach also.

Conf Off MVP: Taylor Martinez. The speedy QB has rejuvenated the Huskers. Except for last week.

Conf Def MVP: I've got to go with Nebraska LB Lavonte Weeds, who averages over 11 tackles a game. Plus, his name sounds like a car. Chrysler Lavonte. You know you want one.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - Iowa State review

1. First of all, a tip of the cap to DeMarco Murray, who scored his 58th career TD last night, breaking a 40+ year old record held by Steve Owens. The top three TD scorers for OU are now Murray, Owens and Billy Sims. Start praying now that Murray doesn't end up on the Detroit Lions roster next year.

2. It's really a shame Murray has been so dinged up during his career. He's probably missed a season of games outright or severely hampered by ankle, knee and hamstring injuries. He started out as a back with the elusiveness of Roy Finch, and as injuries appear to have robbed him of some of his elusiveness and speed, he has become stronger, and he's a good blocker when he needs to be. Mel Kiper presently has him listed as the #2 RB that's a senior this year. I guess I'm getting old and crotchety, but when I see DeMarco Murray I see opportunity lost, and forget how good he's been.

3. Now, can we give Roy Finch and Mossis Madu more touches? Roy's debut was special. Would love to see him more, but the Head Visor's got to stick w one back and allow a flow to the game...something the Dallas Cowboys could learn.

4. Ronnell Lewis was announced as a starter as OLB, then didn't appear to play except for special teams. An injury of unknown severity kept him out of action the second half.

5. Landry Jones was spectacular Saturday night, completing 30 of 34 passes. Most importantly, he did not have the OMB Landry moment, where he does something amazingly stupid without warning. Granted, this was Iowa State, but still, he managed to have one or two in every game this year, so avoiding those is huge.

6. I thought the game was just boring Saturday night, in spite of history being made. We had the Murray TD milestone, Roy Finch's debut, a shutout and Drew Allen playing the entire 4th quarter, but it was just listless.Conversely, I was glad to see a blowout. I'd had enough close calls against inferior opponents this year.

7. Texas exceeded my expectations in Lincoln Saturday. The teams combined for 450 yards. No QB completed more than four passes. The Bugeater and Buckeye losses should boost the Sooners human poll rankings this week.

8. Mountain West thoughts: Air Force hurt it's rep Saturday night with a narrow loss at San Diego State. The Aztecs seem to have rebounded from the Chuck Long era. Chuck is now offensive coordinator at Kansas, so he's got that going for him. TCU has now allowed three points in it's last three contests. That's impressive even when the foes are Colorado State, Wyoming and graduation depleted BYU. TCU-Utah in a few weeks may be for a BCS championship game bid against Boise State.

9. Boise State's most formidable conference foe lost last night. Nevada fell to Hawaii. But maybe Hawaii is the second best team in the WAC?

10. Ryan Broyles was amazing Sat as well. Perhaps more amazing was the ISU decision to never come up and press the Sooner receivers.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Texas after an OU Loss

As a closet Husker fan and natural rival to the Horns, I have a morbid fascination with today's game between the two, so here it goes:

Read a post online from Doc Saturday's cfb site yesterday quoting Mack Brown on the changes they are making to the offense after the Sooner loss. (We can't run, look! Garrett can sling it around pretty good).

As a personal comment on Mack's revelation, if you spend time "establishing the run" when you can't really run, all you've done is establish that you need to pass. If the defense figures that out at the same time, or earlier, than you do, it spells trouble.

Anywho, back to the post. In my opinion, this spells trouble for the Bugeaters today. The Horns have shown an ability to rebound dramatically after miserable showing against the Sooners.

To demonstrate:
  • In 2000, Texas lost 14-63 to OU, and proceeded to run the table on the rest of the Big 12 (6-0), with their next loss being n the Holiday Bowl to Oregon.
  • In 2001, Texas looked offensively inept against the Sooner D, losing 3-14. They ran the table in the regular season again (6-0), and lost the Big 12 Championship game to Colorado.
  • In 2002, Texas lost 24-35 to OU, then won 4 in a row before falling to Tech in Lubbock.
  • In 2003, Texas lost 13-65, then won 6 in a row before losing the Holiday Bowl.
  • In 2004, Texas lost 0-12, then won their next 6 regular season games.
  • In 2007, Texas lost 21-28, then won 5 in a row before losing to Texas A&M.
So, in a nutshell, the Horns have gone 34-2 in conference play after losing to OU. Under Mack, they've never lost a game immediately after playing the Sooners. Conversely, only once have they had to follow a Sooner loss with a game against a ranked opponent (2002, when the beat 17th ranked KSU 17-14 in Manhattan.

Will an improved Horn offense be enough to overcome the Blackshirts in Lincoln. Hard to imagine. Defensively, however, I'm curious to see how Taylor Martinez fares against the speed and quickness of the Horns.

Prediction: Nebraska 17, Texas 14.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - Iowa State Preview

This week's thoughts captured during Game 5 of the ALDS, so not all thoughts are relevant to Iowa State - Oklahoma. For that matter, not all thoughts are relevant.

  1. I think Iowa State is better than their 68-27 loss to Mountain West power Utah indicated. Aside from a 18 minute stretch where the Utes outscored Baylor North 48-7, the Cyclones played them even.
  2. Who knew that Gene Chizik's flight from Ames to Auburn would make two football teams better?
  3. The Texas Rangers are playing defense, running the bases and pitching well. This is a franchise that once had Brian Downing play second base. Kevin Reimer would not recognize this team.
  4. There are two Sooner QBs that have thrown more interceptions in a season than Landry Jones total of 14 last year: Josh Heupel, who threw 16 and 15 in his two years, and Cale Gundy, who threw 15 as a junior. Both are assistant coaches for the Sooners.
  5. I think the AP and Harris voters who voted OU number one have not seen much college football this year. Sure, they're undefeated and all, and they've played one of the tougher schedules, but they've really struggled in all but one game, and don't appear to be able to put people away. At least not yet.
  6. Rangers Manager Ron Washington hasn't felt this good since that cocaine binge in Oakland last summer.
  7. When the Rangers drop the antlers to Molina, they are moose antlers.
  8. The Rangers next playoff win in Arlington will be there first since Genesis 1
  9. I am bummed we've got Sooner football at home the same weekend as Rangers baseball in Arlington. I'm still headed to Norman.
  10. DeMarco Murray has more TDs than any Sooner, other than Steve Owens. pretty remarkable considering how many games he's missed due to injuries, plus games he's been struggling due to nagging injuries.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - Bye week edition

  1. If you're wondering if Baylor is a big time football program, look no further. Celebrating a W over Kansas by smoking some weed and falling asleep in the drive through at Taco Bell is a sure sign of progress. If that's what you call it.
  2. I want to like Landry Jones. I want to be fair, and not hold him up to a standard of Sam Bradford or the like. I'm just having trouble doing that right now. Maybe I'll go watch some Rhett Bomar video. All better now.
  3. I think debating the whether TBS MLB playoff announcers are worse than Fox's BCS announcers is like debating the Sooner QB careers of Jake Sills and Brandon Daniels.
  4. I think Dallas has caught Rangers fever. Normally this time of the week the radio stations are talking about contingency plans if the Cowboys deep snapper gets hurt in the Sunday game. This week? Rangers playoffs.
  5. The weekend TV fare for the WTF Conference are slim pickings. What's your viewing pleasure? A rising Baylor squad vs the fading dust pirates? Iowa State vs Utah? Cash Machine U vs the Boss Hogs? Methzou vs the Dan Hawkins Farewell Tour? Okie State vs UL-Lafayette? It's a sneak peek at the Big 12 next year w/o the Huskers and the Sooners and Horns with a bye. The networks must be thrilled. I'm looking forward to the Bears-Red Raiders, but it's probably not going to be the highest rated game of the season.
  6. I think for once I'm more interested in a Big 10 game (Michigan vs Michigan State) to see how Denard Robinson fares against a more formidable defense. I think Robinson will get his yards, but he doesn't play defense.
  7. I never imagined that BYE would be a tougher foe than BYU.
  8. I think the Sooner D can hold Bugeater QB Taylor Martinez to below 300 yards rushing in the Big 12 championship game. I believe that because I don't think Bo Pelini would run the score up on his lifelong friend. Would he? We really didn't run the score up in that game. No. Really.
  9. I think Greg Davis vs the Pelini Brothers is like Robin Venture vs Nolan Ryan.
  10. I think the devil must have made a Job like deal with God to mess with North Texas coach Todd Dodge. The Mean Green have lost two QBs, and the coach's son converted back to QB to help Dad out. And broke his wrist. A player died in a car accident. They've lost two centers. Former OU WR Tyler Stradford escaped a pit bull to lose a battle with a lawn chair. A pipe punctured his chest and he's out three weeks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - Texas victory edition

  1. I was correct about Cameron Kenney dropping a ball today. In my wildest dreams I would not have expected it to be a punt.
  2. OMB (my teenage daughter has demanded his named by change to OMB Landry - OMB stands for Oh my Buddha) Landry did not show up until about 1:30 left in the game.
  3. If Landry Jones were Michigan State's QB, he would have killed Mark Dantonio by now. He can play so well, then do something bad without any warning whatsoever.
  4. DeMarco Murray had an unbelievable game today. He's not the back he was when he was a (mainly b/c the speed just does not appear to be there) freshman, but wow he's still athletic. His tightrope act down the left sideline for a score will go down as an all-time great run in Sooner lore.
  5. The Sooners 124 yards rushing were accumulated on 52 rush attempts. It would have been below average (instead of mediocre) without:  a) missed shotgun snap by Landry Jones; b) fake field goal attempt resulting in 13 yard loss; and c) and the amazing fumble near the end of the game.
  6. The Sooners ran 91 plays today to the Horns 64. That's an amazing disparity. The first half plays were 57 by the Sooners to 27 by the Longhorns.
  7. My father-in-law says games are not won, they're lost. I've no doubt Texas fans are headed back to jail wondering what would have been without penalties that negated a Sooner turnover in deep in OU territory and other penalties that sustained two otherwise faltering drives in the first quarter.
  8. I'm sure I would have thought the fake field goal a genius call had it worked, but it went horribly awry.
  9. I thought the Sooner D played really well today. They tackled well, and avoided some of the horrible blown assignments that had plagued the Sooners three of the first four games. The final box score showed a lot of yards allowed, but D was great on third down and completely throttled the Horns in the first half, allowing the team to build a lead.
  10. In each of the the last two games, the Sooners have not been able to sustain a clock killing drive and punted to the opposition, giving them a chance to win the game outright or tie. In each instance, the opposing punt returner managed to fumble the chance away. Whatever works.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - Texas preview

  1. Mossis Madu is running with more energy and authority than DeMarco Murray. The injuries Demarco has suffered have taken a toll on a great athlete and hard worker.
  2. OU's offense does not match up well with Texas's defense. The Sooners pass the ball because they can't run (89th in the country), and the Horns defend the pass really well (6th in the country)
  3. OU's defense does not match up well with Texas's offense. The Horns want to run the ball to hide an inexperienced QB and WRs. The Horns don't run that well (76th) , but the Sooners can't stop the run (93rd, just ahead of UCLA and North Texas).
  4. As much as Landry Jones' numbers looked good against Cincy, two maddeningly horrible throws across his body back into the middle of the field don't give me much confidence in him today. I don't foresee Good Landry making a consistent appearance today against the Will Muschamp defense.
  5. Receivers Coach Jay Norvell does not drop the f-bomb at an official today.
  6. There have been 13 times in this series that OU has entered the game looking to break a two-game losing streak to Texas. OU is 4-9 in those contests, with a 1-8 record in those games since 1929. The only win over that 80 year period was in 2007.
  7. I never get tired of watching Roy Williams' "Superman" play in 2001.
  8. Today will be a defensive battle.
  9. Cameron Kenney will drop a pass today.
  10. It's tough to imagine a Stanford-Oregon game overshadowing this game, but it's happening. I blame the Pelosi Congress.
  11. For a bonus, Sooner foes Air Force, Florida State and Utah State have all beaten BYU by double digit margins. BYU has been ravaged by injuries and inexperience this year. Karma sucks.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ten Things I think you think I think - week 3

  1. Colorado is glad they don't play Nevada this year.
  2. When WTF Landry is playing, the Sooners are an average football team at best. When he's channelling Sam Bradford, they're top 10.
  3. Jonathan Nelson played an outstanding game this week, when he left the game in the second half, the Falcons consistently had big gains.
  4. Watching an option offense well run is just a thing of beauty.
  5. That outcome did not surprise me...interior d line play seems to need improvement, and if you can't stop the fullback dive and trap on an option offense, it's going to be a long day,
  6. Texas seems intent on establishing the run game this year. I think sophomore g spot < 4 yr starter My Little Pony, but not by much. The real issue appears to be the ability of receivers to catch, and o-linemen not pass blocking well.
  7. I wish UMass played Notre Dame.I'd love to see how those teams match up. remember when - about a month ago - when pundits were saying that ND would-be favored in all their games this year?
  8. Baylor must win 4 of their next 5 to make a bowl game this year: at Rice, home against Kansas, Texas Tech in Dallas, at Colorado and home against K State. it's possible.
  9. Holy cow, BYU is down this year. So is the Big 12. The conference hosted Florida International, San Diego State and Air Force and had single digit victories over those foes. Add two miserable losses at Southern Miss and TCU, and the penalty and turnover fest in Lubbock and clearly the WTF conference did not have it's best foot forward this weekend.
  10. Bugeater QB Taylor Martinez is going to be First Team All Big 12.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Texas Aggie Update w Mrs Byrne

Each week, Cash Machine U Athletic Director updates the Aggie faithful with an email. This week's update is just pure gold.

As a customer service to my loyal reader(s), I've translated the responses to emails into a video using the website. Finally, I took the artistic liberties of adding the lovely Mrs. Byrne to the video to provide editorial comment.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Home of the Sooners

Everyone with a keyboard / touchscreen is chiming in on the "Home of the Sooners" issue. The Lost Ogle has a great piece, for example. Since I have a keyboard and a blog, here goes:

I think putting Sooners in place of brave is in poor taste. You can't legislate poor taste. it's like going to Wal-mart. You know you're going to see stuff like this, but it's not against the law. This is against the law at Wal-mart, and most other public places.

We already butcher the song in many ways. Let's keep in mind the following concepts:
  • the lyrics are set to a British drinking song
  • the original key for the music is rarely followed, which has become a mission of Garrison Keillor
  • the timing of the original song was 43 seconds, and most of the time a singer takes 2 minutes or more to sing it
  • a 2004 Harris poll indicated 39 percent of Americans didn't even know the words. Of course, the government started a program to educate us on the words. They didn't stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming into the country, so I'm skeptical this has improved in six  years.
All that being said, I don't sing Sooners in the middle of the Star Spangled banner. I don't care for it when others do. One of the things that makes our country great - and exasperating at the same time - is that we can express ourselves in different ways.

If you want to be a moron, you can be a moron. The are plenty of morons to join you in our own special way.

Texas QB Nicknames

A few years ago, when we were starting this blog, we came up with the nickname "My Little Pony" for Colt McCoy. Yesterday, while driving back from Austin, I had an idea for Garreett Gilbert.s nickname.

He will heretofore be known as G Spot.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bob Barry Chimes in on Home of the Sooners

Just got off the phone with Bob Barry. He had this to say about the "Home of the Sooners" controversy. Barry said, "I gave Francis Scott Key piano lessons. I never charged him a dime. Did he ever say thanks? No. Spoiled kid of a lawyer. What can you do? Anyway, aside from being ungrateful, Key was a nice enough fellow. I don't know how we would feel about changing the words. He adopted the words from a British drinking song, so it's already a derivative concept."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 Things I think you think I think - Week 3

  1. Florida State is an upper division team in the ACC this year.
  2. Those clowns saying Boise State deserves to be #1 for beating Va Tech should vote James Madison 1 and Boise State 2, since JMU had larger margin of victory and actually did it at Lane Stadium.
  3. I'm not sure which team had a bigger Jekyll and Hyde turnaround this week: Kansas? Oklahoma?
  4. I’m not bright enough to understand how Ronnell Lewis can’t get on the field every down.
  5. Could Georgia Tech beat Northern Iowa?
  6. Dejuan Miller is a physical specimen at WR. See Ronnell Lewis.
  7. Troy would have beaten OSU with Josh Jarboe on the team.
  8. Former Sooner Savior QB Keith Nichol is tied for the lead in TD Passes CAUGHT for the MSU Spartans this year. Remember when his switch to OU was going to save the program because pundits thought that Bradford kid wasn't going to be any good?
  9. The Sooners still need to be stronger up the middle defensively. That will be tested this weekend against Air Force. Overall, I'm concerned about this weekend. AFA appears to be a solid team this year, and if WTF Landry shows up this week, or the defense is looking ahead to Cincinnati, we could get upset. Air Force has never lost to OU in Norman.
  10. I anxiously await the Texas-Texas Tech game this Saturday. The Horns are 9-9 in Lubbock since 1974. Texas appears to be down this year, but it's tough to tell with the Rice/Wyoming combo they've played. Tech appears to be playing better than expected, but it's tough to tell with the SMU/New Mexico combo they've played.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nebraska Season Opening Wins

Last weekend I kep hearing about Nebraska winning their 25th consecutive season opening game. I first thought was "yeah, but who have they beaten?". Here's the list, and it's different than I thought.

1986 Florida State

1987 Utah State
1988 Texas A&M (neutral site)
1989 Northern Illinois
1990 Baylor
1991 Utah State
1992 Utah
1993 North Texas
1994 West Virginia (neutral site)
1995 Oklahoma State @ Stillwater
1996 Michigan State
1997 Akron
1998 Louisiana Tech
1999 Iowa @ Iowa City
2000 San Jose State
2001 TCU
2002 Arizona State
2003 Oklahoma State
2004 Western Illinois
2005 Maine
2006 Louisiana Tech
2007 Nevada
2008 Western Michigan
2009 Florida Atlantic
2010 Western Kentucky
The recent games have been decidedly easier, but back in the day they actually mixed in some formidable foes (last loss was to FSU in 1985). That's not unlike many other of the power teams.

Your Week 2 Viewiing Guide

If you're not spending your day travelling to Norman like yours truly, here's your viewing guide for Saturday, Sep 11:

1100 am: This one's a no brainer. South Carolina hosts Georgia, favored by 3. The Gamecocks may have an offense this year, and Georgia may have improved defense due to Willie Martinez now being DB coach for the Sooners. Prediction: Gamecocks by 2.

1100 am: TV timeouts only: Kansas seeks to avenge its 1948 Orange Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. Ga Tech is favored by 13.5. Flip over to see if Kansas is having any better luck against than they did against North Dakota State. Prediction: Ga Tech by 17

The 230 pm time slot has a couple of appealing games. Aside from the pending Sooner W over the Florida State Seminoles, you can choose from the following fare:
  • On Fox Sports, Colorado travels to California in a Pac 10 preview. I wouldn't watch this at gunpoint. Let's move on.
  • The U travels to Columbus as a 8.5 point underdog to take on the Buckeyes. LeBron James is suppsoed to be there. Ohio State looks to extend it's five game winning streak. I don't know what LBJ's decision is as to who to root for, but I expect the 'Canes to win outright.
  • Iowa hosts Iowa State as a 13.5 point favorite. Kirk Frerentz is 5-6 against the Cyclones. He's fittin' to be 6-6.
At 600 pm, it's a no brainer. Penn State travels to Alabama as a 12 point underdog. Nick Saban figured out this week that he was playing Penn State coached by Joe Paterno, not Huntsville Penitentiary State led by Cletus Hogg. Paterno is 4-8 against the Tide, with most of those in the Bryant-Perkins-Curry era from 1975-90. It doesn't matter if Mark Ingram plays or not, JoePa is sending a true freshman into Tuscaloosa, and will slide to 4-9 against Alabama.

Some people may want to flip over to watch Texas overwhelm Wyoming, but those folks aren't reading this blog. Texas easily covers the 28 point spread.

Ten things I think you think I think - week 1

  1. Remember, Boise State plays host to Utah State on December 3. Don't put the Broncos in the BCS Championship game yet.
  2. Drew Allen will play at some point against Florida State.
  3. According to his bio on the 'Noles website, Chris Ponder obtained a bachelor's degree from FSU in 2.5 years. He's a redshirt senior who showed up on campus a semester early. WTF has he been doing for the past three years in Tallahassee? UPDATE: web site was updated, Ponder now has an MBA and is working in graduate sports management program at FSU.
  4. Up until a few weeks ago, you could do undergraduate sports management at North Carolina, but the teacher abruptly resigned.
  5. I think shower discipline is something you learn at prison orientation, not college.
  6. Chris Wienke was going to represent FSU at the Sooners' 2000 team reunion last week, but he was insulted for being offered the senior citizen discount and Luby's and refused to show up at the event.
  7. I think Tom Wort will have fewer penalties this week.
  8. Bob Barry will see a number 7 jersey running the ball against Florida State and refer to DeMarco Murray as Kelly Phelps.
  9. The Sooner pass rush will be in full force against FSU.
  10. I think the Sooners win 27-24.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sooners Favored by 8 1/2 against FSU

Holy cow. I'm not a gambling man, but I wouldn't give eight points to Texas State after last week's performance,

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Utah State Analysis

I spent some time this summer contemplating if my theory that Phil Steele was suffering from dymentia for ranking the Sooners number one and Landry Jones a Heisman candidate was incorrect. I had contemplated a post detailing how I could be wrong...Maybe Josh could develop Landry into better decision making, and perhaps last year's trials and tribulations for the o-line led to some improved performance this year. I couldn't figure out how to address the turnover in the defensive secondary. My work schedule never allowed me to publish what was clearly now a flawed view.

Now, let's role play a few discussions being played out on message boards across the casino state, if message boards were a free flowing exchange of logical and rational ideas.

  • Statement: The Sooners will be alright next week. They had a very vanilla game plan against the Aggies, and that contributed to the performance. Rebuttal: Agreed, they Sooners did display a very plain game plan. Offensively, there were very few counters, and the pass plays had very little sophistication. There was no misdirection. There was also very little blocking. The Sooners were going up against defensive unit that did not have a single player in the top three WAC all conference units in Phil Steele's preseason mag. The o-line did not protect Landry well. They did not create a consistent push. This offense does not have a tight end threat for the second straight year. They don't appear to be able to block any better. If the face of this rush, Landry displayed the accuracy of Eric Moore, the happy feet of Nate Hybl and the elusiveness of Paul Thompson.
  • Statement: The defense will be okay. The Sooners only ran one blitz package at Utah State, and they will be more aggressive next week against the 'Noles. Rebuttal: I sure hope you're right. The CBs gave up several big pass plays. Not sure why, but there never seemed to be any deep help from the safeties. Several trap plays were effective against the interior line, which is concerning. To Utah State's credit, their QB was very mobile, and created some big plays with his feet.
  • Statement: Utah State is better than Stanford this year. Rebuttal: That's an interesting hot sports opinion. I would love to believe that Utah State is a quality foe, but they're probably the third or fourth best team in the state of Utah. I haven't seen Snow Valley JC this year to know if USU can overtake them, and the past and present both tell me Utah and the Fightin' Mormons are better.
  • Statement: DeMarco Murray can carry this team this year. Rebuttal: No, he can't. The line's not good enough. If Landry doesn't become functional as a QB, the opposition's just going to load up on the run and defy Landry to beat them. He won't succeed agaisnt the elite teams.
  • Statement: I think this is the worst I've even seen a Stoops coached Sooner team play at home. Rebuttal: Grasshopper, you have a short memory. It's not the worst, but it's in the bottom five. you've got the 2001 Oklahoma State game, 2005 opener against TCU, and later that same year against Tulsa that were probably worse performances. I can't think of the fourth at the moment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

College Pick em 2010

Join the Landthieves college pick 'em game. Here's the link .

If you've never finished in the top 5 of an online game, here's your chance!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 - The Year of the Defense

Earlier this year, we saw an article in the Dallas Morning News discussing how the Longhorn defense will be bigger and badder than even this year, in spite of the losses to the NFL of Earl Thomas and others. I don't disagree with the premise of that article. However, I submit to you that overall, the Big 12 will look better defensively this year, for three reasons: 1) offensive philosophies of Tommy Tuberville vs Mike Leach will reduce Texas Tech points and yards by 25% at least; 2) continued defensive maturation to battling spread offenses; and most importantly, 3) the degeneration of the field general in the Big 12. here's some tidbits of information for you:

  • Coming into the 2008 season, returning Big 12 quarterbacks had collectively 18 years of college starting experience. This year, it's eight.
  • For 8 of the Big 12 schools in 2008, their starting quarterback that year ended up being the career leader in passing yards for the school. The exceptions in that year were: Cash Machine U, Nebraska (Joe Ganz finished second); Baylor and Colorado, where Cody Hawkins is presently the third most prolific passer in terms of yards (let that sink in for a minute).
  • In 2010, how many of the starting QBs could end up with most yards in school history at the end of their careers? According to my review of career yards to date and class of the starting QB, there are three possibilities: a) Landry Jones; b) Jerrod Johnson; c) Robert Griffin; d) Garrett Gilbert, if he passes for 4,000+ yards/yr for the next three years.
  • The incoming starters for 2008 had collectively passes for 36,010 yards 272 TDs and 123 interceptions the previous year.
  • In 2010, those same figures are 19,506 yards, 138 TDs and 75 interceptions.
With the departures of Reesing, Bradford, Daniels, Harrell and McCoy over the last two years, the conference lost salty quarterbacks that stepped in as freshmen with almost immediate success. These quarterbacks allowed their coaches to be more aggressive offensively due to their low failure rates. Fast forward to 2010, you don't have near the pedigree of quarterbacks and they have less experience,and you're going to see more conservative play calling to minimize turnovers.

So, let's pronounce this the year of the defense now, and get it over with. In some ways, the Big 12 has wanted to be like the SEC, now here's our chance. Break out the jorts and the fried food people, it's time to party.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Longhorn Network Programming Suggestions

During the WTF Media Days, I was very busy. However, I was able to sit down with Mack Brown and DeLoss Dodd's and discuss some programming content for the often rumored Longhorn TV network. I haven't had a chance to post since, but here are some suggestions that they didn't care for that much:

  • Failure to Launch: WTF correspondents debate whether the title is a Matthew McCaughnahey film or the title of Greg Davis' playbook.
  • Dazed and Confused: 24/7 reality show featuring Vince Young and a playbook.
  • A Time to Kill: an inside look on the negotiations that led to the demise of the big 12 as we know it.
  • Boys on the Side: the story of Longhorn women's basketball team.
  • Fools Gold: the pro basketball prospects of PJ Tucker.
  • Austin's dumbest criminals, presented by The Smoking Gun. Follow the hijinks of the Longhorn football team through voluntary workouts.
  • Dude, where's my clothes? An epic documentary in search of Edwin Simmons' belongings.
  • Great Expectations: interviews with Longhorn gridiron stars who explain what it's like to to be a perpetual favorites to win the conference but only have three conference titles in 14 years.
  • Replay, sponsored by Gatorade. Reuniting the Chris Simms-Roy Williams connection to see if they can ever score a TD against the Sooner D.
  • NCIS: Austin. Abby joins the Longhorn network with her lab gear. She goes in search of untainted urine samples from Lance Armstrong and Roger Clemens.
  • Extreme Makeover. Cosmetic dentists try to remove the coffee stains from Mack Brown's teeth.
  • Draft redux. Joint programming with the NFL Network where experts debate which round Longhorn first round draft picks would be selected in hindsight.
Got other ideas? Let's see them in the comments.

And, we're back

Good to be back in blogosphere. We'll start today with an email from a loyal reader who suggested a new name for the Big XII X. We'll be referring to the conference by it's new name, the "We're Texas and Friends" conference. No doubt the media will shorten the moniker to it's acronym, WTF. Suggestions for logos are appreciated. Email 'em to me at landthieves dot gmail dot com. Thanks to Jamie for the suggestion and the laugh.

Friday, July 9, 2010

USC Apologizes to Oklahoma

While USC Athletic Director was busy apologizing to several universities earlier this week, he took some time out to address the 2005 Orange Bowl.

Dear Sooner fans, we’re sorry we kicked you’re ass in Miami a few years back. Our actions that evening were premature and severe. Had we known that a) your football team was going to turn the ball over four times in twelve minutes of action, b) that you would try to cover Steve Smith with Lance Mitchell in goal line situations; c) that our middle linebacker had your playbook memorized, and d) that Mark Bradley would field a bouncing punt in the shadow of his own goal, we would have eased up on your no show butts. We sincerely apologize for the severity of our actions, and now consider this matter closed.

Mike Garrett*

*actual statements may vary

Preview at College Football Zealots

Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of writing a Sooner preview for the gang at College Football Zealots. Check it out here. Kevin, thanks for letting me participate.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lebron to Play QB for Longhorns

By Austin/Cleveland insider Chris Mihm

Cleveland (LTP) - In an exclusive interview with someone claiming to be in the inner circle of LeBron James, Landthieves has learned that the sought after free agent will forego his lucrative basketball career to pursue a football career with the Texas Longhorns.

According to the unnamed source, "Lebron saw during the Big 12 shakedown how powerful the Longhorns were. Everyone wants to suck on the ample teats of the Texas Longhorns Football Program. Plus, they have a rich tradition of professional football players. People like Mike Williams, Roy Williams and Ricky Williams. He wants to do for the James surname what those gentleman have done for the Williams surname. This can do nothing but expand LeBron's global brand."

LeBron is looking to expand his reach into football, cycling and movies with this decision. According to multiple sources, representatives from LeBron's circle have already started discussions with Matthew McConaughey's movie production company where LeBron will play the lead role in a biopic of Austin resident Lance Armstrong. Movie insiders believe the film is titled, "One Ball is enough for Me". Filming is to start immediately.

LeBron - who will walk on and play quarterback for the Horns - would miss the voluntary workouts this summer, but many believe he will easily transition from the simple offensive sets of Mike Brown to the simple offensive sets of Greg Davis.

Mack Brown could not be reached for comment, as he was busy preparing for LeBron's arrival in Austin later this week. In other words, he was searching for the ipod that Vince Young gave him.

Monday, June 14, 2010


The Big 12 10 X lives! I found this photo of Dan Beebe violating a temporary restraining order and playing the Eyes of Texas outside William Power Jr.'s house all day Sunday. Fortunately, Billy P Jr couldn't hear him because he was watching the World Cup and those freaking vuvuzelas were drowning out Dan's boom box.

This whole thing is just...awkward. To me, it has the feel of some awkward relationship. Texas said they still loved us, but wanted to see other people. Nebraska and Colorado leaped into the arms of another suitor. Now Texas has seen the error or their ways, has pledged monogamy but still have a roving eye. Dan Beebe is just glad to have his hubby back.

Seriously, how many relationships really survive the "define the relationship" talk the Big XII - II had two weeks ago. We're back together. But I wonder for how long.

And a special shout out to my older daughter, who executed the artwork above.

Little Brother Syndrome

I've seen some items this week discussing whether OU is playing "little brother" to Texas in following them in their conference decision. First of all, OU is a national brand on the level of Nebraska or Texas already. They don't have to follow someone around to be relevant. We were quite relevant for 40 years while not being the same conference, and struggled to win six national championships without benefitting from joint conference affiliation.

Nonetheless, I do believe there are some benefits to joining conferences with Texas.

1) Tradition: OU has played Texas every year since 1929, and 104 times since 1900. To keep the series going, it's best if OU is in the same division of the same conference as Texas. That way we don't have to schedule a perennial top 10 program on a non conference game every year. You'd hate to lose a match with Utah State, or Idaho State, and exchange it for Texas.

2) Exposure: the exposure OU gets in Texas for it's annual series is invaluable. I'm sure some economist could quantify it, but it would be difficult to replace the media coverage in the Dallas Morning News, for example, if OU was not a division for of Texas. During the college football season, there's some note or comment every day. During OU-Texas week, there's a front page article every day. That exposure is a tremendous help in recruiting. As for the all important television, I've watched every game I've wanted to on TV in Dallas for the last several years, either via Fox, Versus or ABC/ESPN. Telling Texas parents they can watch their son play every week is a tremendous help in recruiting.

3) Money: At OU, you must accumulate a certain amount of Sooner points to purchase OU-Texas tickets. You accumulate points by many ways, but the most significant way is money. Being a season ticket holder for 20 years doesn't get me much, but 20 years of tickets plus about $200 gets me in the stadium. Many people donate just to make sure they qualify for OU-Texas tickets. Furthermore, and probably more significantly, some of the more prosperous season ticket holders with actual good seats along the sidelines sell their OU-Texas tickets to pay for their donation to the Sooner club and effectively fund their priority points.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

TCU, where the C stands for...

Payback. A story from the Dallas Morning News says TCU is pushing to keep Baylor out of the mountain west, as they're still pissed the Bears got the last ticket to the Big 12 fourteen years ago.

In the words of the great pacifist Rodney King, can't we all just get along?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Breaking down the conference realignment

It's been awhile since I've posted, but wanted to break down all the conference realignment stuff that's been happening.

As I've seen in many periodicals, I thought I'd break it down in a Q&A forum:

WTF? Great question. In a nutshell, it's all about TV money.

Oh Wise One, can you elaborate more? I'd be glad to. The Big Ten network, which many ridiculed (me included), has been a raging financial success. It's allowed millions of government employees and unemployed people in the rust belt to pass their time watching the good old days, when Michigan and Ohio State were good at football at the same time. Somehow that's translated into $20 million per Big 10 school, and they wanted to share it with other schools.

What's the difference between an unemployed person in the Rust Belt and a government employee? Can I get back to you on that? It's a complicated question that's outside the scope of this forum.

Why did the Big 10 they pick Nebraska? You know, the Big 10 values academics. According to the US News and world report rankings the best fit geographically and academically is Iowa State. No one gives a S*** about Iowa State. Since the Big 10 is so smart, they knew that too, and went with the Huskers. Nebraska is a nationally recognized football brand.

What about Notre Dame? Everyone knows the Big 10's been whispering sweet nothings in ND's ears for years. I figured you already knew that. If it's all about TV money, why would ND walk away from their TV contract that they have to share with no one?

Why is Texas A&M interested in the SEC vs the Pac 16? I think it boils down to two things: 1) Tradition. 2) Travel schedule. it's much shorter travel time and cost to travel to the oil slick region than it is the pacific northwest. 3) Football.

That was three moron. Sorry, Aggie Football is about tradition. Aggies born prior to 1980 are used to seeing strong defense and mediocre quarterback play. If that doesn't scream ESS-EEE-SEE I don't know what does. Plus, in Aggie history, they've played 17 games against Pac 10 foes. Four of those were bowl games. They've played 151 games against SEC schools, primarily LSU and Arkansas.

All this stuff is coming out about poor chemistry in the Big 12. Do you see that being an issue in the Pac 16? If I may quote my father, "Does a bear poop in the woods?" Let's see, you've got Colorado joining a conference that Texas is going to join. Colorado is really pissed at Texas for trying to get Baylor in the conference instead of them. The original Pac 8 kicks Arizona and Arizona State (latecomers to the conference, joining in 1978) to Pac 16 Eastern Division with the Big 12 South + Colorado. You've got all the makings for acrimony and politics right there.

What should TCU do? If the Mountain West has any sense, they will organize a reverse merger with the remnants of the Big 12, where there continues to be a Big 12 conference that consists of Air Force, Baylor, Brigham Young, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming. Add Boise State and drop UNLV or Wyoming, for example, and you have a decent 14 team conference.

What about Baylor? Realistically, Baylor has three options: 1) remain in the Big 12/Mountain West as per above; 2) Join Conference USA and renew those Rice and SMU rivalries; 3) wait and see what happens with the rest of the college football landscape. Baylor has solid basketball programs, and baseball and tennis. The Art Briles era has lifted Baylor football from mediocrity to cute and mildly competitive. There's not TV eyeball allure to Baylor football, and that leaves them in a bind. I don't know where it shakes out for them.

How do you feel about the Pac-16 prospects. I'm excited about it. Football wise, the Big 12 was for the most part all about the Big 12 South. That's now the Pac-16 Not as Far West as the other guys Division. 1) It gives OU football more exposure in California, which can only help recruiting; 2) I can see Oregon-Oklahoma being a fun rivalry, even thought it'll only be played twice every eight years; 3) When USC recovers from their sanctions in 2018, it'll be interesting to watch USC-Texas or USC-Oklahoma locking horns on a regular basis. 4) I want to see how the schedule plays out, and how they do division championships. Think about play your seven division rivals, plus two crossover games. Some year, Texas will get a game at Washington State and host UCLA (not the 1997 team), and OU travels to Oregon and hosts Stanford. The Sooners faithful will be howling about the unfairness of the schedule. Reverse the situation, and Longhorns are screaming about the imbalance of it all. It'll make for good, healthy internet dialogue amongst anonymous parties.

What do you think about the USC probation? From afar, USC appears to have taken the 1989 OU Compliance Guidebook and followed it to the letter: fail to cooperate, deny, then throw your hands up and say, "everyone does it, you're jealous of our success and are jsut out to get us." That being said, that's a harsh penalty for whatever they did. Admittedly, I've not read two paragraphs into a story on the USC investigation in five years, so I'm not an expert.

Will OU be awarded the national championship for that season now since USC has had to vacate  all the wins? Did you watch the freaking game? We don't deserve a Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl t shirt for that performance. However, I've no doubt that someone dispatched a plane to Uganda to recover all those Oklahoma, 2005 National Champions t shirts, as they just became a little bit more valuable in Woodward, Broken Bow, Miami and several points in between.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tiger Returns

Muich wringing of hands about "How is Tiger going to be able to shut all the distractions out and play golf?" People...1) the concentration of an elite athlete is phenomenal, and Tiger is a notch above most others elite athletes; 2) Tiger was doing a great job of balancing his elite golf game with a wrecked up personal life prior to Thanksgiving, the only difference now is that we're aware of his wrecked up personal life; 3) the lobbying group of the wife who's been cheated on is not nearly as powerful as the ASPCA...there's aren't going to be demonstrations by a PR machine, he's playing before a group of fans of corporate America. In the crowd, there's likley to be an unfortunately high number of travelling businessmen that would hop into bed with the waitress at the Augusta Perkins restaurant if she'd give the signal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big 12 losing members

Earlier today, the Wiz has a post on Colorado and Utah potentially joining the Pac 10. I love the section where it says that Colorado has the academic requirements to blend in well with the Pac 10. Yeah, and similar levels of marijuana usage as well.

A few weeks ago, when the Big 10 indicated they might wish to expand, Missouri promptly said, "Pick me! Pick me!". Apparently Missouri's thought process is that being in a second tier bowl in the Big 10 gets you to Orlando, Florida, while a second tier bowl in the Big 12 gets you freezing your arse off in Dallas in January, or worse yet, hanging out in Houston for a week.

Well, here's my Big 12 plan for remediation:

If Colorado and Utah go to the Pac 10. Pick up TCU and add to the Big 12 South. They'll jump at the opportunity, because the Mountain West is on life support without the Utah-BYU intraconference rivalry. Move Oklahoma State to the North, as the northernmost school in the Big 12. Some Boone State fans would say, "but what about the rivalry with Oklahoma?". People, I've been alive for 43 OU-OSU games. The record during that time is 36-6-1 in favor of the Sooners. Wouldn't you rather play Kansas more often instead? Plus, it would mean being beaten by 20 by the Horns twice every four years, instead of four times every four years.

If Missouri jumps to the Big 10. Which would have 12 teams then, but would be called the Big 10? And the Big 12 would have 11 teams? This sounds like a freaking Lost episode. Anyway, I'd react the same way, and snap up TCU. Sure, the Horns fans would want the Big 12 to pick up Rice instead, since Texas plays them every year anyway, but TCU makes more sense.

Billboard in Norman 1997

From the LandThieves archives of 1997...Locals in Norman are buzzing over may who funded this billboard along the Miracle Mile of Cars along I-35. We travelled to Norman to research the the locals reaction. Bobbie Sue Jones said, "We think one of them Gibbs apologists did it. Them people think Gary was a great coach and that John Blake is just wrecking this program. I think John's done some great things here, and they just don't realize the mess this team was in when John took over. Sure, it's been over a year since he took over, and we just got shut out by Northwestern, but it's not John's fault. Once his teaching methods and philosophy takes hold, we'll be just fine."
Others believe the sign was purchased by supporters of John Blake. Demetrius Jefferson, an OU sophomore, said, "I think someone like me purchased the sign. Someone that supports Coach Blake and realizes what a great job he's doing. Not everyone is smart enough to see that."
We did find a person that was very supportive of Gibbs tenure, who wished to remain anonymous. "Look, Coach Gibbs was a great man. With what he inherited from the previous regime, with all of those scholarship deficits, it just wasn't fair to expect the level of prosperity we'd enjoyed previously. Now that you've got someone else in there running the show, and what a deeper mess there is, you can now appreciate the leadership Coach Gibbs provided during a difficult time in our team's history."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top 10 OTL Segments You'll never See

As I followed ESPN's "coverage" of the Leach firing, I decided to create a list of Outside the Line Segments You'll never see...

  1. Craig James' parenting methods: revolutionary or revolting
  2. What ESPN's former jock personalities say about Erin Andrews when the mic's are off
  3. Trent Dilfer - the ultimate game manager
  4. John Clayton biopic: How espn transformed me from stuffed inside a locker to an ESPNInsider
  5. The Lou Holtz Effect: how do his teams keep getting probation after he leaves
  6. Media-ocrity: How we take failed QBs like Jesse Palmer, Tim Hasselback and Sean Salisbury and make them experts on the position when their playing time is over
  7. Holly Rowe: the hottest girl in Salt Lake City
  8. Matt Millen: how did he land a job in sports again?
  9. Todd McShay: ESPN NFL Draft Expert or Mel Kiper Jr's coffee runner?
  10. Tim Legler: how playing for one of the worst teams in NBA history allows me to tell you what it takes to be an NBA champion

If you have additions, put them in the comments.