Colorado Over/Under Results

There was a nice “Holiday Season” turnout for the Colorado Over/Under with 15 players entering.  Jeff Otto scored a most impressive nine correct answers and wins the final contest of the season. I kind of think this is Jeff’s second win all time.

In a fine performance that in many weeks would have earned first place honors, Mark Stephan finished second with eight correct  

Reed Ramlow took third by himself with seven correct.

David Bergstrom, Steve Holstead, Greg Swan, Mike Frank, and Andy Garrod finished in tie for fourth with six correct.  

The question “More total yards from scrimmage, Bijan Robinson or Jake Smith” turned out to be a gimme as every player picked Robinson.  What was I thinking when I came up with that question?  I don’t think the question, “6.5 points scored by Texas in the first quarter” was a gimme but every player astutely got it right. Only four players went “over” for total points scored in the game.

The average score was 5.67.

All things being equal, Willie Earl’s Over/Under will be back Friday September 3, 2021. Looking forward to it.

W.E.

Alamo Bowl Questions

1. Which Team wants to win more?

2. If Texas loses will it increase the chances that Herman will be fired before the 2021 season?

3. Do we really believe that Sam Ehlinger is considering returning to the Horns in 2021?

That plus a real brain drainer Over/Under is the best I can do during this busy Holiday Season.

Cheers and,

HooK Em”

W.E.

Colorado Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Florida -2 1/2 vs Oklahoma in Jerry World
  • Clemson -7 1/2 vs Ohio State

Championship Week Over/Under Results

In a lightly subscribed Championship Week Over/Under Contest, Helen Frink, with eight correct answers, came away with her third win of the year. Can you say domination?

Reed Ramlow and Clayton Frink tied for second with seven correct.

The average score was 6.17, the highest of the year. All but one player got the first three answers correct.

I trust you all are as excited about the Alamo Bowl as I am and the turnout for the Over/Under Contest will be near a record high. 

But seriously folks, what else is there to do next Tuesday night? You skiers can’t ski at night and you hunters can’t hunt at night. Can you?

Cheers,

W.E.

Do Better

I don’t know if I would go all the way to mysterious, but the 10-year run of mediocrity by the Texas football program has been at the least puzzling. This run has been presided over by three head coaches, three athletic directors, three university presidents (the third time has not been the charm) and countless coordinators and assistant coaches. This run of mediocrity has been impervious to a never-ending capital-intensive campaign to upgrade the football facilities—four car garage and we’re still building on—and the heavy meddling of some of the University’s largest and most influential donors.

Maybe the common thread running through the regimes of three different presidents and athletic directors is ineptitude in overseeing UT Football.  The botched effort to hire Urban Meyer by Chris Del Conte and Jay Hartzell is the latest example.   

Del Conte and Hartzell failed to keep their efforts under wraps while Tom Herman and his team still had three games to go and were competing for a conference championship. I suspect the above-mentioned donors were the unnamed sources cited by the blogs including Inside Texas and Orange Bloods in their so-called reporting on the courting of Meyer.  

After the efforts to hire Meyer failed the blog sites kept stirring the pot claiming UT was now pursuing other candidates. Then Del Conte released the amazingly ambiguous statement that in part read, “I want to reiterate that Tom Herman is still our coach.”  Was the statement purposely ambiguous and released for the sake of recruiting and the early nation signing day that was just a few days away? Did Hartzell and the board of regents approve the statement before its release? Was Del Conte’s statement a reaction to Herman’s reported interest in the South Carolina vacancy? Del Conte later confirmed in a phone call with the American-Statesman that his statement means Herman will be the coach in 2021. Meaning January 2021, September 2021?  This situation is a mess and needs cleaning up.

The way that Hartzell and Del Conte have handled the failed attempt to hire Meyer and its aftermath gives me no faith in their ability to competently oversee Herman and the football program or an ongoing or future search and hiring of new head coach. For Texas Football to be better, Hartzell and Del Conte need to do better.

Tom Herman

I’ve been reading about what a sorry state Texas recruiting was for the 2021 class. After the early signing period Texas’ class is rated 17th by 247 Sports and ESPN.  Though it’s not the top 10 rated class that Herman has had the previous three years, 17th doesn’t seem like a disaster. If there is finally clarity on the coaching front before the signing day in February, the ranking will probably improve. Under the circumstances, Herman and his staff have done a good job in recruiting a 2021 class so far.

Recruiting hasn’t been Texas’ and Herman’s problem. Player development and game management are.

Herman has failed to develop the top 10 ranked recruiting classes into top 10 teams. He has failed to tailor his game planning—particularly on offense—to the talent and strengths of his players.

His game management has been fundamentally wrong on so many occasions during his tenure at Texas whether it’s when to go for it on 4th down rather than punting or attempting a field goal, managing timeouts and the clock or when to go for two after a touchdown.   His substitution patterns seem to be random with no regard to the game situation. Why against Iowa State, on the last drive of the game, did he have backup receivers in the game and not Brennan Eagles, Jake Smith, and Jordan Whittington? Get a clue, Tom. Also, on that last drive, couldn’t he make sure Sam Ehlinger understood that he absolutely could not take a sack?  Ehlinger should have known better but Herman should have made sure.

Herman needs to do better in many areas.

Inside Texas, Orangebloods etc.

These sites and probably others have lost credibility with me. I subscribe to Inside Texas almost exclusively for the writing and analysis of Paul Wadlington aka Scipio Tex. He doesn’t trade in rumors and unnamed sources as the other contributors do.  If they want to authoritatively report in column after column about the process of something as monumental and complicated as the firing and hiring of the UT head football coach citing unnamed sources they should expect to be embarrassed. They aren’t because they don’t have enough self-awareness to be embarrassed. Instead, they had a digital tantrum after Del Conte released his statement claiming the hiring and firing of the head coach wasn’t his decision to make. Del Conte may not have absolute authority but to claim he doesn’t have any is just silly and stupid. If you say something like that, I have little interest in any opinions you have on the subject. Grow up. Do better.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Championship Weekend Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Northwestern +20 1/2 vs @ Ohio State
  • Kansas City -3 1/2 @ New Orleans

Urban Meyer and Fred Akers

In my discussion last week on Urban Meyer, I invoked a quote from the movie Wall Street, “The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.”  I can’t leave the Urban Meyer-Texas saga without invoking another quote from Wall Street. Bud Fox’s father talking to him about Gordon Gekko said, I don’t go to bed with no whore, and I don’t wake up with no whore. That’s how I live with myself. I don’t know how you do it.”  Chris Del Conte and Jay Hartzell just got diddled by the best.

Fred Akers

If the coach who follows Nick Saban at Alabama does as well as Fred Akers did in succeeding Darrell Royal, he’ll have done a whale of a job.

In 1983, during one of my very favorite Texas Football seasons, there were weekly lunches on Wednesdays for boosters with Coach Akers at Casita Jorges on sixth street. Akers spoke to the boosters about the upcoming game and reported as much “inside” information as he could afford to. Before he spoke, he sat down to a plate of enchiladas at a table he chose at random with a few lucky attendees.  The Wednesday before the Oklahoma game, Coach Akers chose the table where my brother David and I were sitting. I sat directly across from Akers. At one point during lunch, he said he was anxious to get back to the Oklahoma game film he had been studying. I admit to being a little starstruck.  “We beat Oklahoma that year 28-16. When I told Helen about this a couple of days ago, she remarked, “It was a more innocent time.” In some ways it was.

For the record, Texas finished the 1983   regular season 11-0 and ranked #2. I refuse to talk about what happened next.

If I had to pick my all-time favorite Texas Football Season, it would be 1977, Fred Akers’ first year as the Texas Head Coach.

I was a senior at UT during the 1977 football season.  My Texas Football confidants and I had been in favor of hiring of Akers over Darrell Royal’s defensive coordinator Mike Campbell because he was young and represented a new generation and new thinking and would transform Earl Campbell from a wishbone fullback into an I formation tailback. We just knew Earl would be one of the best, if not the best, running backs in the country if he was a tailback.  We really did.

Akers and Campbell led Texas—a 13-point underdog—to its first win over Oklahoma—ranked #2 in the country—in seven years in the most exciting 13-6 game you’ll ever see. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s my favorite Texas-Oklahoma game EVER. After the game, a wild celebration broke out on the Drag. My brother told me that it was so wild and crazy, and loud that he and the friend, standing on the corner of 24th street and the Drag, couldn’t hear each other talk over the pandemonium.  I almost wish I had been there. I, of course, having attended the game, was in Dallas celebrating with a date and my fraternity brothers at party in a downtown Dallas hotel ballroom.

The week after the Oklahoma game, Johnny Ham Jones—Earl Campbell’s running mate—scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter as Texas beat #8 ranked Arkansas 13-9 in Fayetteville. There was another drag celebration as large and jubilant as the one the week before and I witnessed some of it from a window about 10 stories up in the Castilian dormitory as I was picking up my date for a Rusty Weir concert that night.

And . . . the week after the Arkansas game, Texas—now #2 in the country—beat an average SMU team in the Cotton Bowl on the same day that the #1 team, Michigan, lost.  Because everyone knew Texas would now be ranked #1 another massive Drag celebration broke out every bit as crazy as the ones after the Oklahoma and Arkansas game. Late on that warm, overcast, fall afternoon, sipping longnecks on the second-floor balcony of the Sig Ep house five blocks west of the Drag, John Scott and I heard a voice in the distance from a loudspeaker proclaim, “We ARE number 1.”

The Drag celebration was a thing now and some residents of the neighborhood just west of the Drag complained about the noise and partying—which including instances of public urination—that was spilling onto their streets.

One week after Texas routed Texas Tech at home, Larry Campbell and I ran from the stadium across campus to get back to our fraternity house before the craziness broke out. When we got to the Drag, in anticipation of the now weekly celebration, it was manned by Austin’s finest. The police weren’t there to break up the celebration but just to keep it somewhat civilized.  As Larry and I crossed San Antonio street, we noticed that several porta potties had been strategically set up to accommodate the partiers.

Texas went on to a perfect 11-0 regular season and on the night of December first, Earl Campbell won the Heisman Trophy. During that night’s Drag Celebration, as revelers, some in convertibles with the tops down, paraded slowly up and down the Drag, it began to snow.  

I still get teary eyed just thinking about it.

Nice job coach Akers.

Get on with it

The Kansas game has been cancelled and it won’t be rescheduled. The regular season is over. No later than this coming Monday, Chris Del Conte must fire Tom Herman or emphatically and unequivocally announce that Herman will be the coach of the Longhorns in 2021. I’m not sure the later is still a viable option.

I hear Bob Stoops is available. Just kidding, Mark Stephan.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Kansas State Over/Under Results

Oh ye Over/Underers of little faith. Only two of 13 players predicted Texas would win by 20 points or more and those two players finished first and tied for second in the Kansas State Over/Under. 

Despite every player correctly answering no, Urban Meyer would not be hired by 12/7 at 5pm, the average score was a low, low 4.15.  If Meyer changes his mind today, it won’t affect this week’s results.

After her unexcused absence from the Iowa State Over/Under, Helen Frink returned and chalked up her second win of the season scoring eight correct answers. Helen’s win was keyed by her predicting that Texas would win by 20 + points. Mark Adams and Andy Garrod tied for second with seven correct answers. Mark was the only player besides Helen who predicted Texas would win by 20+.

Wes Peoples finished alone in fourth place with six correct.

A season low 13 players participated this week.  I wonder if the regular players who sat out this week lost interest after the Iowa State loss or sat out in protest of my opinion about the potential hiring of Urban Meyer?  I’m guessing the former.

W.E.

Texas and Urban Meyer

I seem to be the lone wolf in Longhorn Land expressing the notion that hiring Urban Meyer with all his ethical baggage is desperate and distasteful. I’m surprised that UT President Jay Hartzell can look at Meyer’s background and agree that he’s the one. Clearly, he’s worried about fundraising if Texas doesn’t make a monster hire.  As the wizened stockbroker in Wall Street told Bud Fox, “The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.” For those not familiar with Meyer’s background, there’s plenty of information to be had by performing a simple Google search. For the Cliff Notes, his Wikipedia page is handy.

If Meyer takes the job, Texas fans should be aware that though he won National Championships at Florida and Ohio State, his tenure at those schools was only six and seven years, respectively. I suspect his tenure at Texas would be even shorter (if he has health issues at 56, how’s he going to feel at 60) and I think that’s problematic. When he left Ohio State, he did leave in his wake great players and in Ryan Day, an excellent head coach.  Not so much the case when he left Florida.

Stuff I’ve read.
I’d link to these stories but they’re behind pay walls.

From Adam Rittenberg at ESPN+

When I talk with coaches who face Texas, coaches who have worked at Texas and those familiar with the program, the same terms are used: Entitlement. Country Club, “it’s the softest group of kids you’ve ever been around. There’s no work ethic.”

We’ve been hearing this since the Mack Brown era.  Why is it like that at UT when it isn’t at other programs with plenty of dough like Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame and Georgia to name a few? Maybe those schools don’t have player’s individual lockers that cost $1,500.😊

More from Rittenberg

Texas is one of the nation’s best coaching jobs. But the Meyer factor could discourage other candidates, mindful they wouldn’t receive the same reception. If Meyer says no, would anyone else please the Longhorns’ base ore even get a fair chance to elevate the program?

If Messrs. Hartzell and Del Conte don’t land Meyers, they’ve created a real mess for themselves.

Interesting statistic from Inside Texas

Since 2017, Texas has only two 20 points victories in Big 12 play. Oklahoma has 13.

Great teams don’t routinely win close games because great teams don’t routinely PLAY close games, they blow teams out. Watching Texas in the Tom Herman era has meant watching the Longhorns struggle to generate wins on a weekly basis. Rather than reveling in Texas’ status as the most resource-rich program in the league, as the flagship program of the nation’s most football-crazed state, fans and alumni of the University have had to squirm for four quarters every Saturday as their team desperately fends off Texas Tech and Kansas and succumbs to Iowa State and Baylor.

Iowa State

Texas got off to a good start going up 10-0 midway through the first quarter (though it should have been 14-0).  But when Iowa State quickly closed the gap to 10-7, didn’t you just get the feeling that Texas was going to find a way to lose this pivotal game? I did.

Ehlinger Disappoints

I predicted that Sam Ehlinger would play one his best games against Iowa State but on the penultimate play of the game, he took a sack when he should have been looking for a short quick completion. The sack cost Texas a reasonable chance at a game-tying field goal. Essentially, Texas lost the game when he was sacked. Just a devastating mistake by Ehlinger.

Kansas State

This is about as interesting a game as one could be with virtually nothing at stake. No conference championship or bowl berth is on the line. Evidently Herman can’t save his job or even stave off getting fired with a win. But it will be interesting to see if the Texas players play hard and whether there’s evidence that the Texas coaches spent more time this week preparing a game plan or looking for their next job.

And I suppose it will be interesting to hear Urban Meyer comment on the game at halftime. Hey, what if Meyer is mysteriously absent from the broadcast?  Woo wee!

HooK ‘Em.

W.E.

Kansas State Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    West Virginia + 8.5 @ Iowa State
  • Texas A&M -4 1/2 @ Auburn

Iowa St. Over/Under Results

When the first entry I graded this week had nine correct answers, I figured the scoring average would be high. Turns out it was just the opposite. The average score of the 18 contestants this week was 4.78, one of the lowest of the year.

Without further ado, Wade Wallace was the player with nine correct answers and easily wins this week. Zac Frank and Andy Garrod tied for second with seven correct. Michael W. Frank, Dan Adams, Mark Adams, and Greg Swan tied for fourth with six correct.

Wade and Zac Frank were among the only three players who correctly guessed that the turnover battle would yield a tie.

Not taking one for the team

Inside Texas is reporting this morning that Sam Cosmi—a redshirt junior—is opting out of the rest of the season. Will Cosmi be the first of many?

W.E.

Diatribes and Urban Meyer

During Tom Herman’s weekly press conference last week, he was asked about speculation that Urban Meyer would take his job in 2021 if not sooner. In summary his response was that reports in the press and blogs about his shaky job status were based on unnamed sources and was driven by people with an agenda.  Sounds about right to me.

I saw Herman answer that question on LHN and his response seemed strong but reasonable. But the media reported that Herman had launched into a five-minute diatribe in defending himself. Diatribe? By definition can a diatribe be only five minutes long? Anyway, I thought I must have missed Herman’s answer to a follow up question on the same subject, so I skimmed through the press conference again. I hadn’t missed anything. His answer wasn’t a diatribe.  And how did the reporter and the press expect Herman to answer?  Did they think he would say, “Yeah, I’m going to be fired if I don’t win the Big 12 and I’m very worried about my job security?”

Seems to me that asking that question was a waste of time. In fact, I find about 90% of the questions Herman gets asked in his press conferences are a waste of time and it annoys the heck out of me when a reporter can’t articulate his or her question in less than a 150 words.

Urban Meyer

Let me state this succinctly.  Do we Texas fans really want that creep heading our football program?  Are we that desperate?  I’m not.  I do hope that the next coach–unlike Tom Herman and Charlie Strong—has a resume that includes consistent winning as the head coach at a power five conference program.

Such as:

  1. Dabo Swinney – At least a 100-1 shot I know but you have to ask, don’t you?
  2. Brian Kelley – Kelley is in his 11th year at Notre Dame where his record is 100 – 37. That includes a BCS Championship appearance and CFP appearance. Notre Dame’s record in the four years prior to his hiring was 26-24. Before Kelley was hired, a consensus was developing that Notre Dame would never be an elite program again because of geography (Have you ever been to South Bend?) and academic standards. Kelley has proven that consensus wrong. Maybe Kelley would like the idea of living and recruiting in Texas and earning more than $1.66 million a year.
  3. Kirby Smart – Smart is in his fifth year at Georgia where his record is 49-14 including an appearance the CFP Championship Game in 2017. The last three years he’s won 13, 11, and 12 games. Maybe Smart would like to compete in the Big 12 rather than the SEC.
  4. Mack Brown – He fulfills my criteria of consistently winning at a power five program. Okay, just kidding. 😊

Iowa State

It just so happens that this is a huge game. Texas must win to remain in Big 12 Playoff contention and a loss would put Tom Herman’s tenure at Texas on its deathbed.  Iowa State needs to win to stay in control of their Big 12 Playoff hopes and prove they’re not a pretend contender as they’ve turned out to be so often during the Matt Campbell era.

Iowa State leads the Big 12 in rushing averaging 205 yards per game and Breece Hall is the conference’s leading rusher averaging 147.5 yards per game at 6.3 yards per rush.

They’re third in the conference in total defense holding opponents to 333.8 yards a game and fourth in scoring defense allowing 23.4 points per game.

Bottom line, statistically Iowa State is better than Texas. The latest line has Texas favored by 1 ½ points. Betting wise, given that the home team is spotted three points, Vegas thinks Iowa State is a better team than Texas.

Seems to me the difference in this game will be the choke factor for three of the most important participants.

  1. Will Brock Purdy choke? He’s overrated as far as I’m concerned. I expect a rested Sam Ehlinger to play great in his last game at home for Texas.
  2. Will Tom Herman get scared and play too conservatively on offense in big moments as he so often does in big games? Will he commit any major gaffes in clock management?
  3. Matt Campbell will not lose his job if Iowa State loses this game, but Iowa State has not a won a conference championship of any kind in more than 100 years, so the pressure is on.  If his team loses in an embarrassing fashion, Michigan may lose interest in him.

This should be an exciting game with plenty of drama. Too bad there will only be about 17,000 fans in attendance. Has anybody noticed that without Sam Ehlinger’s heroics versus Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, Texas would have lost those games and would have lost to Oklahoma by a wide margin? My gut tells me that Sam Ehlinger puts on the performance of a lifetime and Texas wins a nail bitter.


HooK Em,

W.E.

Oklahoma State Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Notre Dame -4.5 @ North Carolina
  • Auburn +24.5 @ Alabama

West Virginia Over/Under Results

Clayton Frink broke through this week and posts his first win of the season with seven correct answers. Second place was a clean sweep for the Sig Eps with: Jeff Otto, Andy Garrod, and Greg Swan tying with six correct answers.

The average score was a low, low 4.6.  That’s a W for Willie Earl.

Naming Texas’ leading tackler may have been a bit too difficult. Al Spell it Like it Sounds and Wes Peoples were the only players to answer correctly in naming Juwan Mitchell.  Only five of 18 players, including winner Clayton Frink, predicted there would be no lead changes in the fourth quarter.

16 of 18 players correctly predicted that Texas would rush for more yards than West Virginia.

The turnout was good with 18 players turning out.

W.E.

The Reports of Herman’s Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

Sports talk show host Colin Cowherd has a mantra about passionate sports fans wanting to be right more than they want to get it right. If I had a mantra about passionate sports fans, it would be in a similar vein to Cowherd’s: they want to be the first to predict more than they want to accurately predict. 

Since Texas’ loss to Oklahoma I have observed passionate Texas fans being guilty of both above foibles when predicting or flat out stating as a fact that Tom Herman will be fired after this season if not before. They want Herman to be fired and if they say it emphatically enough times, they think they can make it come true.

In the cold hard light of the win over Baylor and the stirring come-from-behind win over Oklahoma State, the prognosis for Herman keeping his job in 2021 looks pretty good. And, I don’t think Texas has to win its remaining four games for Herman to be retained.  If Texas wins three out of four and finishes 7-3 for the regular season Herman will remain, in my opinion. That would give him a 34-18 record. Not great but I think it would be a bad look to fire a coach who just went 7-3 and has won 65% of his games over four years. If Herman doesn’t win the Big 12 in 2021 or doesn’t have a Mack Brown like 10-2 regular season record without a championship, then he’ll be fired and his buyout will be more reasonable than it would be at the end of this season.

Texas’ Keys to Victory over West Virginia

  1. Texas has averaged 92.7 yards in penalties over the last three games. They had 142 yards in penalties against Oklahoma State. Texas can’t continue to be penalized at this rate and expect to win its remaining four games or even three out of four.
  2. Texas overcame penalties and an average offensive output to beat Oklahoma State because they forced four turnovers. They need to win the turnover battle over a West Virginia team that is fourth nationally in total defense and 19th in scoring defense.
  3. It was clear during the Oklahoma St. game from his play and his facial expressions that Sam Ehlinger was in pain. Between Texas’ porous offensive line and Herman’s penchant for using quarterbacks heavily in the running game, Ehlinger is beat up. Texas needs to protect Ehlinger the passer much better and Herman needs to rely more on his running backs and less on Ehlinger to run the ball.
  4. West Virginia average 32 minutes in time for possession. Texas can’t fall behind by double digits in this game and expect to win.

Final Observations on the West Virginia Game

Texas gave up 400 passing yards and 530 yards total to Oklahoma State. Texas overcame those ugly statistics with a heroic performance from Joseph Ossai and strong performance from Ta’quon Graham. It’s reasonable to expect those two to play well against West Virginia but not to win the game again this week.  I’ll go out on a limb and predict that if West Virginia total more than 500 yards of total offense they’ll win.
Texas was held to 287 yards and 3.8 yards per play and Ehlinger was sacked five times against Oklahoma State. I’ll go out on another limb and say if Texas gains less than 350 yards total offense this week they’ll lose.

Texas got a touchdown on D’Shawn Jamison’s 100-yard kickoff return. Without consulting the Google machine, I believe that’s two kickoff return touchdowns and one punt return touchdown for his career at Texas. So, a Jamison long return or return touchdown isn’t a fluke but it’s unlikely to happen two games in a row.

This is a Big 12 elimination game. The loser will be out of title contention. Will Texas come down off the high of the Oklahoma State victory and play a more consistent game offensively and defensively against West Virginia or play poorly for the third time this year in a game that starts at 11am?

HooK ‘Em.

W.E.

West Virginia Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Clemson -5.5 @ Notre Dame
  • Oklahoma St. -12.5 @ Kansas St.

Oklahoma State Over/Under Results

Congratulations to the field of 17. Your average score at 6.4, is the highest of the year and puts this one in the loss column for Willie Earl.  The field was spotted a point when no one took the bait and guessed that the Horns would have a kick blocked.  Only player in the field was correct in going under on the largest lead of the game at 11.5.

The only player who got the largest lead question right was Al Locascio and his nine correct answers tied for first place with Mike Frank. Mike wins this week by edging Al in the tiebreaker by going one for two on the pick ‘ems. Al got both wrong by picking Penn St. and Dallas to beat the spread against Ohio St. and Philadelphia. Congratulations to Mike and Al.

Al, I wish you simplify the spelling of your last name, so I didn’t have to copy and paste it from your entry every time you make the news.

Mark Stephan took third place all by himself with eight correct. D.R. Flower, Clayton Frink, Greg Swan, and Tyler Cotton tied for fourth with seven correct.

I think I’ve mentioned this in years gone by but looking over the names of the entrants each week is like a “This is Your Life” television episode for me.

W.E.

As Time Goes By

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by                                  
                        From “As Time Goes By”
                                                                  -Dooley Wilson

If a kiss is just a kiss and a sigh is just a sigh, is a song just a song?   When a group of UT athletes demanded that the University ban “The Eyes of Texas,” I asked a friend what he thought of that. He answered, “It’s just a song.”  His answer became a mantra for people who were willing to jettison the school Alma mater.  Ironically, no one told the UT athletes that “It’s just a song.” Instead the University formed a committee to examine the history of the song.  That’s what I call “Higher Learning.”

Get Your Story Straight

During Tom Herman’s weekly Monday press conference, he was asked what he thought about Baylor coach Dave Aranda’s weird decision to punt from Texas’ 30-yard line. Herman said that he wasn’t aware of that happening. Huh? And that he had been so immersed in watching Oklahoma State film over the past 48 hours that the Baylor game now seemed like four weeks ago.  Then Statesman reporter Kirk Bohls asked Herman if he had noticed any weaknesses in Oklahoma State to exploit.  Herman replied that because of all his media obligations he had only spent about three hours watching Oklahoma State film. Around our household we might need to change Herman’s nickname from “Mensa Boy” to “Mr. Self-awareness.”

Evaluating the Baylor Game Performance  

I played in a golf tournament last weekend, so I didn’t watch the Baylor game, but I recorded it and despite my media obligations, I’ve had a chance to watch it.

A few observations:

  1. Ehlinger is taking too many hits in my opinion. If he keeps running as much as he’s been forced to so far this season either on called quarterback runs or scrambling, at the least he’s going wear down. At the worst he’s going to miss a game or more because of an injury as he did in 2018. Why not call Bijan Robinson’s number a little more, Ehlinger’s a little less?
  2. Keaontay Ingram, Bijan Robinson, and Roschon Johnson combined for 113 yards on 29 carries. The long run was 12 yards. This is workmen like not dynamic. Unless there’s dramatic improvement this week in run blocking, Texas running backs aren’t going to be major contributors against Oklahoma State who is 19th in the country in total defense unless it’s as pass receivers.
  3. Back to the “Get Your Story Straight” from above. I noticed that before Baylor punted from the Texas 30, they tried to incur a delay of game penalty to give their punter more room to pin Texas inside the 10-yard line. Texas was too smart for that and declined the penalty. So, Tom Herman declines that penalty but doesn’t remember Baylor punting from the Texas 30-yard line?  Why lie or prevaricate about this Tom?
  4. Texas’ pass protection is subpar. This will be a problem against Oklahoma State.
  5. Texas averaged about 18,000 in attendance for the TCU and Baylor games. According to the 25% capacity limit this year, Texas could have up 25,000 in attendance for a game.  So, are we to extrapolate that with this team, in a normal year, Texas would be averaging about 72,000 fans per game?  I know I’m just filling column space here but if you take a look up the road to College Station, the Aggies have reported 24,000 + attending their home games. From what I saw on television, I think they had about 50,000 at the Florida game. I’m just wondering if there’s an enthusiasm deficit this year for the Longhorns. Maybe it’s just that Texas fans are more careful about the pandemic than A&M fans.
  6. The defense looked good overall. The talent level appeared good across the board. Is that a reflection on Baylor or an improvement in Texas’ defense?  We’ll see tomorrow.
  7. Defensive end Alfred Collins needs to play more. Looks like to me he could be a star.

Oklahoma State

Texas is a three-point underdog. If I was a gambler, Oklahoma State would be a very tempting bet. I have an easier time imagining an embarrassing loss for Texas than a potentially job-saving win for Herman.

The writers on “Inside Texas” talk about the advantage on the “headsets” that most Texas opponents seem to have. Based on past performances, Oklahoma State has a decided edge on the headsets in this game.

I know it’s not going to happen, but I’d like to see Texas in the throwback white unis they donned against Baylor again this week.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

West Virginia Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Clemson -5.5 @ Notre Dame
  • Oklahoma St. -12.5 @ Kansas St.

Baylor Over/Under Results

Mark Homer Stephan broke through for his first win of the season this week—maybe his first win ever—with seven correct answers.

For the second week in a row there was a large logjam for second place involving players with six correct answers. Last week seven players tied for second. This week there were six that included Greg Swan, Mitch Lewis, Wes Peoples, Clayton Frink, Wade Wallace, and Helen Frink.

Game Notes

  1. It was another large field with 18 players.
  2. Only five players picked Baylor to score first which they did.
  3. Only one player picked Baylor quarterbacks to have less than 1.5 touchdown passes. Robert Brewer, excuse me, Charlie Brewer threw two.
  4. The average score was 5.1

Recently I was asked if I ever play Over/Under. I’m sure that’s been a burning question for many of you.  I did once maybe seven or eight years ago but my game is devising questions that limit the scoring average to around five.  I consider it a loss if the scores average six correct answers or more. I consider it a win if the winner has seven or fewer correct answers or if the scoring average is below five.

Pardon me while I pat myself on the back for winning this week.

See you Friday.

W.E.

Willie Earl Back On the Couch

Patient 191855

This was the patient’s first session since 11/16/18 when the Longhorn Football team was racking him with worry.

Session transcript from 10/22/20

Therapist: It’s been while. So, how ‘ve you been?

Patient: I’m okay, I guess. Do you know that Barry Manilow song, “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again?

Therapist: I’m not sure I’m familiar with that one.

Patient:  Well, the opening lyrics are,

Doctor, my woman is comin’ back home late today
Could you maybe give me something?
‘Cause the feelin’ is gone
And I must get it back right away

Therapist notation: The patient is a terrible singer.

Therapist: Are you and Helen having troubles?

Patient: It’s a little more serious than that. Remember when I was here a couple of years ago because the Longhorn Football team was driving me crazy?

Therapist: I do. Are they giving you trouble again?

Patient: It’s complicated. They’ve lost two in a row and their record is 2-2 which is really disappointing but they’re lucky not to be 1-3.

Therapist: So, you’re disappointed in team and you’re worried about their future?

Patient: No, that’s my problem! Remember the song.

Doctor, my woman is comin’ back home late today
Could you maybe give me something?
‘Cause the feelin’ is gone
And I must get it back right away

Therapist: These lyrics say something to you about the Longhorns?

Patient: Yes! “my woman” is the team and I don’t seem to care that they stink!

Therapist: Interesting. Do you often see your life through song lyrics?

Patient: Doesn’t everybody?

Therapist: To tell you the truth, in the 30 years that I’ve been in practice, you’re the first patient who wasn’t in a hospital who’s ever sung during a session.

Patient: So, you think I’m crazy?

Therapist: (Long pause) No, I, I don’t.  So, you’re not bothered by the team’s mediocre performance but that you don’t care that they’re mediocre?

Patient: Exactly! (singing)
I’ve been Up, down, tryin’ to get the feelin’ again
All around tryin’ to get the feelin’ again
The one that made me shiver
Made my knees start to quiver

I guess I really liked living and dying with the Longhorns and now that I don’t, I feel empty inside.

Therapist: Why, do you think you don’t care anymore.

Patient: I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m a fair-weather fan but they haven’t been any good in 10 years. The last championship they won was in 2009. Since then, they’re 73-58. In the 10 years prior to that they were 110-19.

Therapist: I had no idea the contrast was so stark. Let’s explore your feelings a little more. What’s gone wrong over the last 10 years?

Patient: Coaching. It started with Mack Brown. He was the architect of the 10-year 110-19 record from 2000-2009.

Therapist: Architect?

Patient: He was the head coach. His team won the National Championship in 2005. He followed that up with four more solid years that included another berth in the National Championship game and a Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State. Those years were glorious.

Therapist: I see. So, what happened after that?

Patient: I guess Mack Brown got tired. He coached less and less and played golf more and more and the team went downhill fast. He tried to “fix” it by hiring new assistants but then he delegated too much of the coaching to them and the whole operation became disjointed. After the 2013 season, the school president and athletic director asked him to resign. You might say he was fired.

Therapist: Fascinating. Sounds like a UT Business school case study. What happened next?

Patient: They hired Charlie Strong to replace Mack Brown. Strong had three good years as the head coach at Louisville and was considered an up and coming star in the college coaching ranks. Overlooked was the fact that he had only been a head coach for four years, all at Louisville. Coaching at Louisville bears little resemblance to being a head coach at Texas where you’re expected to compete for a national championship in short order.  To use your business school analogy, it was kind of like going from convenience store manager to Walmart Super Store manager in one step.

Therapist: Very interesting. Go on.

Patient:  In three years at Texas, Strong’s record was 16-21 and he was fired after the 2016 season. When it became apparent that Strong would be let go after the 2016 season, there was a consensus among the UT administration, big-money donors, and fans that Tom Herman, the coach at Houston, was a must-have as the next head coach. 

So, UT got in a bidding war with LSU for Herman’s services and won—paying  Herman a salary that made him the third or fourth highest paid college coach in the country.

At the time I wondered why everyone was so hot for Herman when his resume was remarkably similar to Charlie Strong’s.  Houston is in the same conference as Louisville. Not quite the bigtime. Not only that, he had only two years of head coaching experience.

Therapist: Sounds like UT made an impulsive decision to hire Mr. Herman.

Patient: Exactly! And after Texas lost the very first game of Herman’s tenure to Maryland—a game Texas was heavily favored to win—Herman revealed his not so pleasing arrogant and condescending personality.  Now, in his fourth year at Texas there seems to be another growing consensus that Herman will be fired at the end of this season.

Therapist: I can certainly see why you’re frustrated about Texas Football.

Patient:  But that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! I’m not frustrated. I guess I’m weary and beyond caring as a diehard, orange blooded fan.  I have to say, watching the program’s travails is entertaining in cynical kind of way in the same way the Dallas Cowboys are entertaining.

Texas paid a premium to hire this arrogant you-know-what and then gave him a raise after a 10-4 season that Mack Brown would have called, “not our standard.”  And as you peruse today’s morning sports section, you’ll find Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Kansas State in the top 25 and Texas isn’t. Not only that, SMU is # 16 and wait for it . . . the Aggies are #9! 

If they’re not already, Texas should be a laughingstock of a major college football program.

Therapist: In what you describe I can see the futility of UT’s efforts in the arena of bigtime college football.

Patient: (Singing again)

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no

None the less.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Baylor Over/Under

  • He's averaging 40.5 per game in 2020
  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Oklahoma -6.5 @ TCU
  • Nebraska +25.5 @ Ohio St.

Oklahoma Post Game Thoughts

Hard not to be emotionally involved in that one.  I wish we’d won.

During the game, I told Helen that Texas was a stupid football team.  How are they stupid? I don’t have the energy to count the ways.

Briefly

  1. I could argue that the two blocked kicks against Texas were the difference in the game. Texas has allowed two punts and one field goal to be blocked through four games. I don’t have the data, but it seems to me that teams that have punts and kicks blocked almost always lose.
  2. If I was Tom Herman, I would have seriously considered going for two points after the touchdown that tied the game at the end of regulation.  I have a witness. It’s possible that since Texas didn’t have any timeouts left, Herman didn’t think he had time to get a play called. Of course, that’s a terrible reason not to go for it since every game plan should include the play you’re going to call for a two point conversion.  I don’t think Herman is a quick-twitch thinker. To be fair, Herman would have been roundly criticized—not by me—if he had gone for two and failed.
  3. Of all the criticisms of Tom Herman I’ve read in the last 48 hours, the one that made the strongest impression on me was this.  Herman has his second-best offensive tackle playing center. Derek Kerstetter is good pass protector as a right tackle. He’s not a good center. In year four of his tenure, Herman doesn’t have a starting-caliber true center.
  4. On a sugar high after the Sugar Bowl, Chris Del Conte gave Herman a five-year contract extension. When will we ever learn?

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Oklahoma Over/Under Results

Unlike the game in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, the Oklahoma Over/Under contest did not need overtime to determine a winner. Mark Adams wins with seven correct answers. It’s Mark’s first win of the year. Mark is a veteran player who has multiple wins over the years.

Kelly Malek, Andy Garrod, Dan Adams, Reed Ramlow, D.R. Flower, Mark Stephan and David Frink tied for second with six correct answers. That’s a seven-way tie for second for those of you scoring at home.

Game Notes

  1. The turnout was the largest of the year with 19 contestants.
  2. The scoring average was 4.9.
  3. Jake Smith aggravated a hamstring in pregame warmups and did not play costing 14 of the 19 players a shot at a correct answer.
  4. 15 of 19 players were wrong in predicting that Texas would exceed 30:15 in time of possession.

W.E.

Oklahoma Pre-Game

Texas Football in Crisis?

I read in one of Kirk Bohls’ column this week that the Texas fan base is “seething” after the loss to TCU. Besides the TCU loss, he wrote that the fans are “furious” about Tom Herman’s 27-16 record at Texas and his endorsement of his players’ snub of “The Eyes of Texas.” I guess he has evidence to back up these claims but doesn’t cite any in his column. 

I can share that I heard from three diehard Texas fans after the TCU game that they were no longer emotionally invested in the program because of years of mediocrity. I can relate but I can’t claim that those three are a representative sample of the entire fan base.

If it is accurate that a significant segment fan base is angry or disinterested, I would say that after one loss the anger is premature.  Further I would suggest that those fans who are angry had outsized expectations—again—of how good the Longhorns were going to be this season.

This is team coming off a barely above average 8-5 2019 season. The program was in such a state that Herman replaced both coordinators and some key position coaches. As I mentioned in the first column of the year, replacing that many coaches is not an earmark of a program on the rise.

If history has taught us anything, it is that four- and five-star recruits don’t directly correlate with elite college football players and that two or three consecutive top 10 recruiting classes don’t directly correlate with a top 10 team. 

Three games into his fourth season as coach, Tom Herman is doing no better than Mack Brown during his last four years at Texas and Charlie Strong’s brief three-year tenure at developing elite talent into championship teams. Three different coaches with different styles and personalities failing in a similar fashion. It makes you wonder, what gives?

It was reported and opined that in his last three or four years at Texas, Mack Brown took the “CEO” head coaching style too far and was delegating too much of his duties to coordinators and staff.  I heard second hand from a former player who was close to the program that Brown was playing golf with big-money-donors on Fridays before home games. That’s what I call delegation.

I don’t think it’s controversial to suggest that Charlie Strong at Texas was in over his head. The “Peter Principle” on display.

Hiring Tom Herman theoretically addressed the failings of his predecessors. He was a hands-on, fanatically detail oriented coach/executive.  And . . .  he was in Mensa!  I like to call him “Mensa Boy.” At 27-16, it’s too early to judge that Herman is not the answer for Texas, but it’s trending in that direction.

Even though Oklahoma is unranked coming off two consecutive losses and start a redshirt-freshman at quarterback, while Texas has Ehlinger, the Horns are a 2-point underdog. This suggests that the reputation of annually being overrated has caught to Texas.

While actual, real-life turning points are rare, this year’s Oklahoma game could be one for Tom Herman and the Texas program.  A game plan featuring sideways passes like last year’s and missed tackles in the double digits won’t get it done even against what looks to be Oklahoma’s worst team in more than 20 years. You don’t have to be in Mensa to figure that out.

Details

I attended the Texas-TCU game. It was little bit like going to a preseason scrimmage back in the 70s. Besides the friend I went with, no one was sitting within six feet of me. The fans behind me were two rows back and were the closest to me. There was no one within 20 feet of me to my right or left beyond my friend. Annoyingly, the jumbotron volume was literally ear-splitting. I suppose the people in charge are trying to compensate for the absence of about 85,000 fans. Bad plan, in my opinion.

The most lasting impression I took from of going to a Texas game in this most unusual year was what happened immediately after the game ended. We all knew that a large majority of the Texas players would not sing or acknowledge “The Eyes of Texas.” What had slipped my mind regarding the Longhorn post-game tradition was the players’ acknowledgement of the fans during the playing and singing of “The Eyes.” I don’t know what happened after the UTEP or Texas Tech game but it was a sad coda to the TCU loss that all but five or six players hastily left the field without acknowledging the fans after the game.

The detail-oriented Herman and Chris Del Conte should have anticipated this scene and come up with a plan, one way or another, for the players to acknowledge the fans after games.

A little levity
Scipio Tex’s used this diagram in his TCU Post-mortem to illustrate Texas’ defense on Max Duggan’s fourth quarter touchdown run.

BEAT The Hell OUT OF OU!

W.E.

Hook ‘Em,

Oklahoma Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Texas Tech + 12.5 @ Iowa State
  • Virginia Tech + 4.5 @ North Carolina

TCU Over/Under Results

This week’s contest came down to photo-finish between Tom Yoxall and Wade Wallace who tied in regulation with seven correct answers.  They both went 1-1 in the pic ‘ems losing on Oklahoma and winning on Georgia. Both players predicted Alabama would blowout A&M. Tom’s margin was 34, Wade’s was 22. The actual margin was 28 so they were both six points off and still tied forcing the contest to go all the way to total points scored in the Alabama-A&M game. The actual point total was 76 on a score of 52-24. Wade’s prediction of 45-13 and 58 total points scored was nosed out by Tom’s 51-17 and 68 total points making Tom the winner. You follow?

Congratulations, Tom.

Wes Peoples, David Bergstrom, and Rick Mosher tied for third with six correct answers.

Over/Under Notes

  1. Seems like about once a year the staff formulates a flawed question and we got it out of the way early this year with #10: Which team scores the most points in the fourth quarter? If the teams scored the same number of points—always a distinct possibility—the question becomes invalid. Well, that’s what happened with both teams scoring 10 in the fourth.  Therefore, we threw out the question.
  2. Question #7 was: 6.5-point lead for Texas going into the 4th quarter.  16 of 18 players predicted over which was incorrect as Texas trailed at that point in the game.  Were the Longhorn fans’ expectations for the Horns too high?  Yes. As usual.
  3. With 18 players entering the TCU Over/Under, we scored the highest turnout thus far for the season and it was tied for the fourth highest turnout in history. 

Which contest had the highest turnout in history you ask? That would be the Texas-Oklahoma game in 2008 with 24 entrants.
Ah, those were the good old days.

W.E.

TCU Pre Game

Jump Around

In honor of the House of Pain let’s Jump Around.

Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin

Fox Sports’ college football analyst Joel Klatt said this week on the Colin Cowherd Show that Oklahoma is getting antsy because they haven’t won a National Championship since 2000. That drought is their longest since the 18-year dry spell from 1956 to 1974.  The Longhorns current drought is only 14 years and counting, so there.

Speaking of championship dry spells, the Longhorns haven’t won the Big 12 since 2009. Oklahoma has won seven since 2009 including the last five and have qualified for CFP playoff four out the last five years. Texas has yet to qualify.  Ouch.

Klatt and Cowherd were plugging the Texas-TCU game which Fox is carrying and Klatt is calling. Cowherd asked Klatt if this was a must win game for the Horns and Tom Herman. Klatt said yes because Texas should be the best college football team in the state. The Horns lost to TCU and Baylor a year ago. Herman is 6-4 versus TCU, Baylor, and Texas Tech since he became the coach in 2017.

Klatt also said Sam Ehlinger is likely a second-round draft pick in 2021 and could sneak into the first round if he has a Joe Burrow type year.

 “I got the skills, come get your fill”

With all due respect to Devin Duvernay, I think Joshua Moore has a chance to be the best Longhorn receiver since Roy Williams. Going out on a limb, I think he could end up being the best Longhorn receiver ever. Moor has size, speed, and excellent ball skills. We’ll see.

Tom Herman and the coaching staff deserve credit for successfully bringing Moore back into the fold after his 2019 arrest for gun possession. Obviously, Moore also deserves credit for turning his situation around.

“Get up, stand up (c’mon!) see’mon throw your hands up”

The TCU game time is 11am. Texas is 5-5 in 11am starts in the Tom Herman era.

“I’m coming to get ya, I’m coming to get ya”

Not so much for the Longhorn pass rush. Alan Bowman threw 52 passes last week and nary a sack for the Horns.

“I’m the cream of the crop, I rise to the top”

I hope Bijan Robinson’s career at Texas turns out better than the Horns’ last two five-star running back recruits. Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray weren’t exactly busts but their careers at Texas didn’t reflect their five-star status. During August I kept reading how Robinson was an irresistible force in preseason workouts. Though Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson are solid veteran performers, I was hoping Johnson would emerge as the lead back. Through two games he has 12 carries for 50 yards with a long run of 12 yards.

For comparison, in their first two games, Earl Campbell gained 139 yards on 23 carries and Ricky Williams ran 24 times for 165 yards. While researching this, a smile came to my face when I found that in Campbell’s first two games his teammate, wishbone halfback Graylon Wyatt, was the Texas’ leading rusher with 210 yards.

“I won’t ever slack up, punk you better back up”

I read this week that Texas Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash was insanely detail oriented. C’mon man, stop writing and reporting that this coach or that coach is detail oriented. I can’t think of a bigger sports cliché.

“I came to get down, I came to get down”

Getting down with my game prediction, in what I see as a theme for the 2020 season, the Horns will trail late in this game before coming back for another heart-stopping victory. Call it 35-31.

“So get out your seat and jump around!”                    

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

TCU Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Oklahoma - 10.5 @ Iowa State
  • Auburn +6.5 @ Georgia

Texas Tech Observations

  1. A blocked punt, a nearly blocked punt, a D’Shawn Jamison fumbled punt, an onside kick not recovered. So far, I’m not impressed with the much ballyhooed offseason hire of Special Teams  Jay Boulware.

  2. Tackling was once again an issue and one blogger wrote that it’s something that can be fixed quickly. Could be the dumbest thing written about UT Football so far in 2020 given that tackling has been an issue going on for—oh, I don’t know—a decade.
  3. Surprise, the catch-all excuse for college football coaches in 2020 is no spring practice.
  4. I admit that I wrote the game off when Texas Tech went up 56-41. Resigned to a loss and somewhat disgusted, I left the television for about three minutes doing grill prep for a Saturday night cookout. When I got back, Ehlinger was throwing a TD pass to Eagles to pull within eight points.
  5. I know the conventional wisdom in college football is to play defense first when you win the coin toss before overtime so you know when you get the ball if just a field goal wins the game. But I think Texas Tech coach Matt Wells made a big tactical error by letting Texas take the ball first in overtime when his defense was gassed and the Horns had all the momentum.  
  6. At times during the first half, I thought Texas varied the offense for the sake of varying the offense when they might have built an insurmountable lead if they had continued to do what was working. Overconfident maybe?
  7. I wrote last week: Alan Bowman is another in a seemingly endless supply of good passing Red Raider quarterbacks and I’m confident he will put up 300 plus yards passing versus what I believe are the overhyped individual talents in the Longhorn secondary. Told ya.
  8. Saturday evening, I wasn’t all that satisfied with the win but then I looked at Oklahoma and LSU. 2-0 is 2-0.

That’s all I got for now.

HooK ‘Em,

W.E.

Texas Tech Over/Under Results

Texas Tech Over/Under Results

Andy Garrod and Helen Frink emerged from a large field of 17 players this week and tied for first place with eight correct answers.  Two strong performances in a week when the average score was a very average 5.7.

Andy and Helen both went 1-1 in the pick ‘ems. They both were wrong with TCU which was getting 2.5 points and lost by three. They both were right in picking Vanderbilt which was getting 29.5 and kept it close losing 17-12.

So, it came down to their predictions of the final score in our game. Neither one was very close but who foresaw anything close 63-56?  Andy Garrod wins at the gun by virtue of being closer in the point differential of Texas’ win with his 42-17 versus Helen’s 48-13.

Congrats to Andy and Helen.

David Bergstrom took third place by himself with seven correct answers.

Points of Interest

  1. Only two players guessed SaRodorick Thompson would go over 105.5 yards rushing. He ended up with 104 yards.
  2. Only five players guessed right on what Texas rusher would have the most carries. Roschon Johnson and Same Ehlinger were both correct answers with 16 carries. David Bergstrom was the only player who picked Ehlinger. Andy and Helen picked Johnson.

W.E.

Texas Tech Pre-Game

Setting the Lubbock Record Straight

Since 2000, Texas is 8-2 versus Texas Tech in Lubbock. Texas’ last Lubbock loss was in 2008, a game I refuse to revisit or discuss.   Despite this success in Lubbock, and because of 2008 and a bad 3-5 stretch from 1974 through 1988, some Longhorn Football fans of my generation have an irrational fear of playing Texas Tech in Lubbock. Since I am a totally rational individual—especially when it comes to Texas Football—I have no such fear of Lubbock. I actually have very fond memories of Lubbock. But that’s another story for another time.

What does concern me about this year’s trip to Lubbock

1. Aside from some garbage time yards in the second half, the Texas offensive line’s inability to open holes for the running game against lowly UTEP.

2. The Texas defense’s inability to put consistent pressure on the UTEP quarterback. 

If Texas doesn’t improve on these two fronts, they may end up in a scoring fest of a shootout in Lubbock.

If the game does become high-scoring shootout, I’m confident in Texas’ offense to hold up its end of the bargain with or without an effective running game. An effective running game would be a bonus as it could shorten the game and earn the defense a valuable respite from chasing Tech receivers all over the field.

Texas Tech 35, Houston Baptist 33

Do we all agree that the Horns should not be overconfident because of Tech’s close call with FCS opponent Houston Baptist?  After all, Tech did lead 21-3 midway through the second quarter and they did amassed a kind of balanced 430 yards passing and 194 yards rushing.  

Alan Bowman is another in a seemingly endless supply of good passing Red Raider quarterbacks and I’m confident he will put up 300 plus yards passing versus what I believe are the overhyped individual talents in the Longhorn secondary.  Whether that translates into a close game depends on which team wins the turnover battle and the timing of the turnovers.

I’m calling it a close game into the fourth quarter with Texas finally pulling away for 48-34 win.

The Human Ace Bandage Award

A couple years back, I got quite a chuckle when my favorite sports commentator, Tony Kornheiser, called Sam Darnold the human ace bandage. I think the descriptor is so useful that I’ve decided to create an award for a Longhorn who is struggling because of injuries to get on the field.

Helen, Tony and Willie Earl

So, without judgement or derision, the first ever Longhorn Human Ace Bandage Award goes to Jordan Whittington. Whittington missed all but the first quarter of the opening game of the 2019 season when he reaggravated a sports hernia injury.  In the season opener this year against UTEP, Whittington suffered a torn meniscus and will be out three to four weeks.

Here’s to hoping he gets well soon and stays well.

Program Stability

After losing three out of four games late last season, Tom Herman seems to have righted the ship with wins against Texas Tech and Utah to finish last season followed up by another top 10 recruiting class in 2020.

Herman did overhaul his coaching staff after last season which is not usually the earmark of a stable program, but the waters seem calm and I can’t recall hearing any suggestions recently that Herman is on the hotseat. 

I do think Herman’s seat will get quite warm if he loses to Oklahoma and three other conference foes in 2020 like he did last year, and I don’t think another Alamo or Texas Bowl win would help him much.

Okay, call me Captain Obvious but early in this weird season I’m straining for brilliant insights.

RIP Gayle Sayers

Even though Gayle Sayers didn’t play for one of my teams, he was one of my boyhood heroes. When you first saw Sayers play you were seeing something you’d never seen before. When I heard the news of his death this week, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my father during a trip too Rehoboth Beach in the summer of 1968 comparing Sayers to Red Grange.

Bittersweet.

HooK “Em,
W.E.

Texas Tech Over/Under

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Iowa St - 2.5 @ TCU
  • Vanderbilt +29.5 @ Texas A&M

UTEP Over/Under Results

Most players showed their rust in the first week of the Over/Under competition for 2020.  In a large field, the average score was 4.9.

Rising above the carnage, Mike Frank posted 7 correct answers to win the UTEP Over/Under. Mark Adams, Dan Yoxall, Rick Mosher, and Mark Stephan tied for second with 6 correct answers.

On to Texas Tech.

W.E.

The Ins and Outs of Longhorn Football 2020

First of all, Season’s Greetings to all from Willie Earl. Now on with the show.

Lots of changes going on over there in Longhorn Football land so I thought it might be useful to provide you with a guide to who and what is in and out as we get started on what we hope will be a 12-game season for the Longhorns when it’s all said and done.

In

Campbell-Williams Field.

I’ve always thought it was dumb to name a field inside of a stadium and naming the field for a guy because he gave a zillion dollars to UT was crass (even for UT) to boot.

Renaming the field after the Longhorns’ two Heisman Trophy winners was one of the best things to happen around here in 2020. It really is sublime.  Kudos to Dahr, Randall, and Rob Jamail, Joe Jamail’s three sons for requesting the change. If that’s what really happened.

Out

34% of UT’s season ticket holders have opted out of the 2020 season. I couldn’t find out how many season ticket holders there are, but I’m guessing the number is around 60,000. That would mean about 39,000 are still in. Only around 25,000 per game will be allowed in the stadium. Seemingly, that would mean some season ticket holders won’t be able to use their tickets game-to-game.  My guess is the attendance for the UTEP game will be closer to 15,000.

After attending more than 90 % of UT home games from 1974 – 2016 I have attending about two games a year since. If 2020 was Ordinary Time, UTEP would not be one of the two games I’d go to. Just for fun and to be able to say I was there, Helen and I might go Saturday night. “Call me irresponsible.”

In

Texas has two new coordinators. Chris Ash on defense and Mike Yurcich on offense.  I think it’s unusual for there to be such optimism surrounding a team when both its coordinators were fired at the end of the previous season.  I don’t expect the offense to look any different. Hopefully Chris Ash has closely studied the game film from the Alamo Bowl. Rinse and repeat.

Out

151 receptions for 1945 yards with the departure of Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson.

In

Joshua Moore returns after a yearlong suspension for a misdemeanors weapon charge. According to the arrest affidavit, Police monitoring downtown Austin on July 5, 2019 at the police department’s Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) noticed a man “remove a firearm from his waistband, walk in between two vehicles, appearing to chamber a round by pulling the slide of the gun to the rear, and then place the firearm back into his waistband.” When the police arrested Moore, they found a Glock 19 — 9mm pistol in his waistband with a 30-round magazine and a live round loaded into the chamber.

Hopefully, it’s onward and upward for Moore. He’s a talented deep-threat receiver with good size whose potential contribution could go a long way toward replacing the loss of Duvernay and Johnson.

Out

Brennan Eagles as a starting wide receiver. Eagles—for now—has been supplanted by graduate-transfer Tarik Black from Michigan. Bet he’s glad to be a Longhorn in 2020.

In

Receiver Jordan Whittington a 2019 Five-Star recruit is back after missing all but the first half of the Louisiana Tech in 2019. Five-Star recruits currently on the roster are Whittington, safety Caden Sterns, and freshman running back Bijan Robinson.

You might find this list of all time Texas five-star recruits interesting.

https://247sports.com/college/texas/Sport/Football/AllTimeRecruits/

Out

The Showband of the Southwest is out of Longhorn games for the foreseeable future.

In

“The Eyes of Texas” I guess they’ll play it over the PA system.

Out

Speaking of “The Eyes of Texas,” Caden Sterns, is opting out. There will probably be more Longhorns who will join him.

In

I’m all in on the strong possibility that by the end of the season San Ehlinger will join Vince Young and Colt McCoy on the list of 21st Century all-time great Longhorn Quarterbacks.  He does need to curb his tendency on occasion to abandon the pocket too early and run. I predict that he will have a better NFL career than McCoy and Young though that’s not a very high bar to clear.

Out

I’m out—for now—on the offensive line. Herman is pleased with depth that he has but outside of left tackle Sam Cosmi, that depth is comprised of journeyman Derek Kerstetter, who has been moved from right tackle to center this season, and a collection of unproven or undistinguished talents.

For this team to win a championship the offensive line has got to be better than it was in 2019.

In or Out?

Are you in on the expectation that in his fourth year it’s time for Tom Herman to deliver either a Big 12 Championship or a top five final ranking or both? Or is this a freebee season on expectations for Herman and all head coaches because of Covid 19?

HooK Em,

W.E.

  • Tiebreaker: required

    Pick the winners against the line

    Dallas + 3.5 @ LA Rams
  • Tampa Bay + 3.5 @ New Orleans