Archive for the ‘2013’ Category

Catch Up Football

Love Don’t Pay the Rent

You see what happens when you procrastinate?  I had a postmortem Alamo Bowl column conjured up in my mind, but now what’s the point? It’s old news, so I’ll be very brief before I move on to the next subject.

All the hugs, participation trophies, clapping, win one for Mack, and the incessant replays of the Horns’ Rose Bowl victories on the Longhorn Network couldn’t propel Texas to a victory over a good football team—Oregon—in the Alamo Bowl.  There’s just no substitute for a coherent game plan and a division one quarterback. It’s a good time to move on.

Charlie Strong

Except for slightly more than three years while I was in elementary school in Houston, I grew up rooting for the Longhorns from 1,800 miles away in Vestal, New York. During Texas’ 30 game winning streak from 1968-70 and their two national championships, I was in my early teens. When I was in ninth grade, three close friends of mine, Bob Burwasser, Will Cheng, Bob Luciano, and I formed a very tongue—in —cheek club called the “Give ‘Em Hells.”  We bought black t-shirts and had a local sporting goods store customize them with our club nicknames in raised red letters on the back. My nickname was “Tex” for obvious reasons. Given the ethnic makeup of the club, my father suggested WASP, as an alternate nickname for me. The four of us had been friends since elementary school. We were jocks and three out of the four of us were in what we would now call “advanced placement” classes in high school. Yeah, I was the one who wasn’t. Anyway, we fancied ourselves to be smarter than everyone else, and we were interested in current events and politics as well as sports.

My friends were not Texas fans—or least they pretended not to be—and they enjoyed giving me a hard time by telling me that the Texas football team  was overrated and not as good as Ohio State, Notre Dame, or any other team they could think of.  All three of them called to taunt me during Texas’ loss to Notre Dame in the 1971 Cotton Bowl that ended Texas’ 30-game winning streak. What are friends for, right?

A valid criticism that my fellow “Give ‘em Hells” had about Texas—and the criticism was pointedly delivered—was  that their National Championship team in 1969 was all white.  I didn’t have a comeback for that one. I knew it was wrong that by 1969 Texas still didn’t have any black football players.  SMU had a black football star—Jerry Levias—in 1966, but UT was still all-white in 1969. In 1970 Texas had one black player. I loved the University of Texas.  I didn’t want to think that Darrell Royal was a racist, but it seemed to me that UT was behind the curve on this issue.   Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t doing anything extraordinary at that time to combat racism. But institutional racism still existed at UT—and UT wasn’t alone—in the late 60s and early 70s and I can’t deny that it bugged me a little.

Charlie Strong’s credentials are more than worthy of being the head football coach at the University of Texas.  So I don’t mean to minimize his qualifications by making this all about race. As pleased as I am today about this hire, I’ll be as critical as anybody if he doesn’t win big. But darned if UT didn’t move the needle in more ways than one by hiring Charlie Strong.  

Give ‘Em Hell Charlie.

HooK eM,


Over/Under Results

If you haven’t read Ball Four by Jim Bouton, you should, immediately if not sooner. It’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  Bouton devotes several pages to his Yankee teammate Mickey Mantle and tells a story about Mantle conducting a raffle in the clubhouse for a ham.  Mantle collected the entry fee from just about every Yankee. In the end, there was no ham and Mantle pocketed the entry fees. Mantle explained that the fact that there was no ham was all part of the “game of chance.”

So why am I telling this story?  Because I conducted a couple of Over/Under Contests and I haven’t compiled and reported the results. I promise to deliver the results before this weekend is out.


Read more

Over/Under Results

 Over/Under Results

When and If Texas Gets a New Coach

I had a bit of a problem tabulating the results for this one. Due to a quirk in my WordPress blog-contact form I lost the actual questions and my memory could only partially reconstruct them. I was able to remember what three of the six questions (including the tiebreaker) were.

Based on those questions, Mike Yoxall and Clayton Frink tied answering all three questions correctly. The tiebreaker was to pick the date that Mack Brown resigns or is fired. I counted 12/14 and 12/15 as correct answers because the decision was made and leaked on the 14th and officially announced on the 15th.


David Frink, Jerry Smith, and Greg Swan were tied for first at the end of regulation play. Jerry was eliminated because he picked Auburn over Florida State in the Natty. He was with 12 seconds away from his second win of the year. David and Greg picked both the winners, Texas A&M and Florida State, so we had to go the judges for the final result. David was awarded the victory based on his prediction of the score in the Natty, a 34-30 win for Florida State, which was just one point off from the final score. David’s accurate prediction prevented Greg from being the only three time winner for 2013.

Over/Under All Stars 2013

Greg Swan, Helen Frink, and Mark Adams with two wins each are the first team Over/Under All Stars for 2013.

Greg Swan and Mark Adams are the players of the year because in addition to their two wins they finished second twice after being edged out in tiebreakers.

Clayton Frink and Mike Yoxall landed spots on the second team by virtue of one victory each in actual games and their tie for first in the supplemental contest, “When and If Texas Gets a New Coach.”

Jerry Smith earned Honorable Mention honors for his one victory and two runners up finishes after being involved in tiebreakers in the first and last games of the season.

Here’s to a good off season for all of us! Cheers.

HooK eM,


Read more

Pre-Game Oregon

Neil Sedaka and Art Garfunkel

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Mack Brown says he resigned voluntarily and perhaps he did.  A more realistic story is that Bill Powers woke up in the pre-dawn hours on the Saturday morning after the football banquet with a horse head in his bed. Message received. A couple hours later Steve Patterson was dispatched to inform Mack Brown that he was resigning—voluntarily or not.  Neil sedaka

I know next to nothing about the politics of UT academia but I’ll bet that Bill Powers will be resigning voluntarily in 2014. Just a hunch.

Mack Brown’s performance in the press conference announcing his resignation was one of the best I’ve ever seen by a public figure.  It’s the only part of this story that has been handled well by UT and Brown. If it is ever confirmed that Brown is hard-ball negotiating for a bigger severance package his image will be greatly tarnished. It’s hard for me to believe that Brown isn’t receiving advice to not make his severance package an issue. Maybe he should get more than $500k per year until 2020 but that figure coupled with his $5.2M salary over the last four years will make him look greedy and call into question his sincerity about his mantra, “it’s about the kids.”


One of the best things Mack Brown did as head coach at Texas was his successful lobbying to get Texas an at large bid to the 2005 Rose Bowl. That effort showcased Brown’s greatest skill and talent. I was never happier about Brown being our coach than I was at that time.

My favorite memory from the Mack Brown era—aside from everybody’s favorite memory, the NC in 2005—was from his first year at Texas. At the UT New Year’s Eve party in Dallas the night before the 1999 Cotton Bowl game with Mississippi State, Earl Campbell personally served champagne to Helen, me, and our friends. More on that story in a future “Life and Times of Willie Earl”chapter.

A close second—again the NC is off the table for this discussion—was the 2008 Oklahoma game. I’ve been to 35 Texas-Oklahoma games and the 2008 game ranks with 1977 Oklahoma game as the two best football games I’ve ever witnessed in person. Jordan Shipley’s kick-off return touchdown in the second quarter that kept Texas in the game at 14-10 and Chris Ogbonnaya’s 62-yard run to the OU two yard line setting up the clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter were electrifying moments.

All I Know

I’m not a reporter and I don’t have sources but I am convinced by conversations with two very connected and reliable people that Nick Saban would have been Texas’ next head coach but the deal was scuttled by the timing of Mack Brown’s resignation. Those same two people also believe that it’s still possible that Saban could be hired. Other than that I know nothing about the search for Texas’ next head coach. And that’s all I know. art garfunkel


Texas will likely be able to run the ball very well against Oregon. The question is will they be able convert a series of six and seven yard runs into touchdown drives? Something they were unable to do against Baylor.

It will be interesting to see if the Texas defense makes Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota the front runner for the 2014 Heisman trophy by allowing him to run wild. Mariota makes BYU quarterback Taysom Hill look like half a gimp. In case you’ve forgotten, Hill ran for 259 yards against Texas.

Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota

Bottom line is Texas needs to score around 40 points to win in my opinion.

Here we go again

Pre-game analysis of the final game of the 2013 season and the final game of Mack Brown’s tenure at Texas wouldn’t be complete without speculation about potential playing time for the back-up quarterback. We’re reading and hearing that Tyrone Swoopes is getting a significant amount of practice time with first team offense in preparation for the Alamo Bowl. This leads to my final prediction of the year. Barring injury or an unprecedented meltdown by Case McCoy, Tyrone Swoopes will not get any meaningful playing time in the Alamo Bowl.

HooK eM & Cheers,



[contact-form-7 id=”296″ title=”Over Under Contest”]

Read more

This Was the Week That Was

Monday:  At the National Football Foundation annual awards dinner, Mack Brown, in comments to the press, declined to talk about his job status. He did say that in addition to the national epidemic of poor tackling, he had also identified a national epidemic of blow-out losses by well coached football teams citing Baylor’s loss to Oklahoma State and Duke’s loss to Florida State as recent examples.

Tuesday:  Orangebloods reporter Chip Brown breaks a story quoting high level UT administration sources that Mack Brown will step down as head coach.

UT athletic department officials vigorously denied the story. UT officials also vigorously denied that Deloss Dodds had retired and Steve Patterson is now the athletic director.

Mack Brown, who was on a recruiting trip in Miami, said he wouldn’t be there “killing himself” recruiting if he was stepping down.

Wednesday: Numerous sources reported that Nick Saban had purchased the Pease Mansion at 1600 Niles Road just minutes from the UT campus.

Pease mansionMack Brown’s lawyer and spokesman Joe Jamail announced that he was teaming with Alan Dershowitz to sue UT and mean Longhorn fans who have said bad things about Mack Brown.

Mack Brown, continuing on the recruiting trail, was in the home of Brad and Debra McCoy recruiting their daughter, Cate McCoy, sister of Colt and Case. Brown reportedly assured the McCoys that, if Cate came to UT, she would be no lower than number two on the depth chart at quarterback.

UT athletic department officials reiterated their vigorous denial that Mack Brown was stepping down, and they denied that Texas had lost to Baylor 30-10 last Saturday.

Kirk Herbstreit staked his career on the fact that Nick Saban would not leave Alabama for Texas, and if he did, he would kiss Brent Musburger on the mouth on national television every time Musburger called him “Herbie.”

Thursday: At a press conference in San Antonio promoting the Alamo Bowl, Mack Brown declined to talk about the rumors about his job security. He did say that Bill Powers was the best university president in the country, that the UT athletic program was the best in the country, that DeLoss Dodds was the best athletic director in the country and possibly the best of all time, that the UT ball boys were the best ball boys in the country, that the Alamo Bowl was the best bowl game in the country, and that the winner should be considered in the national championship conversation.

The UT Board of Regents met and they decided that Bill Powers would stay on as UT President.

In addressing the media after the meeting, Powers thanked Mack Brown for his comments about him at the Alamo Bowl press conference. He said the feeling was mutual and that he and Brown were moving into a swank downtown condo together. Mack Brown powers

The scheduled meeting between Brown, Powers, and athletic director Steve Patterson was rescheduled for Friday afternoon. The UT athletic department reiterated its vigorous denial that Deloss Dodds had retired.

Friday: In comments to the media, Bill Powers said that his meeting with Mack Brown and Steve Patterson had been productive. Mack Brown said that the topic of his job security was not discussed.

UT athletic department officials denied that a meeting took place and reiterated their denial that DeLoss Dodds had retired as athletic director.

Mack Brown and the team celebrated their accomplishments during the 2013 season at the annual UT Football Banquet. Every player received a trophy and the team received a Crystal Ball Trophy for finishing second in the Big 12. The team also was awarded a plaque as the Longhorn Team of the Decade.

I’ll keep you posted as further events unfold.

Over/Under Contest

[contact-form-7 id=”296″ title=”Over Under Contest”]


Read more

Baylor Post-Game

Case McCoy Sun Tzu

The Baylor game was lost eleven months ago when Mack Brown decided to stand pat with Case McCoy as his backup quarterback. How Brown found himself stuck with McCoy involves a dizzying series of half-baked decisions. The early season blow-out losses were preordained when—for all the wrong reasons—Brown decided to stick with Manny Diaz as his defensive coordinator. If Mack Brown is a CEO Coach, his CEOing wasn’t very good this year.


It’s interesting to compare Auburn’s last four years with Texas’.  In 2010, Auburn won the national championship with a transcendent quarterback and an average head coach.  In 2010, having lost a transcendent quarterback to graduation, Texas went 5-7.

In 2011, after losing their transcendent quarterback, Auburn went 8-5. One year after winning a national championship, fickle Auburn fans already were calling for a coaching change. Mack Brown was granted a mulligan on the 2010 season because he led Texas to a 71-9 record over the previous six seasons, with a national championship, a national championship runner-up, and two other BCS Bowl wins. In 2011, his first year of rebuilding, Texas went 8-5.

In 2012, Auburn went 3-9 overall and O-fer in the SEC. Two seasons after leading Auburn to a national championship, Gene Chizik was fired.  In 2012, after losing to Oklahoma 63-21, Mack Brown began an on-going ‘fixing’ of his rebuild. His fixing was good for a 9-4 record.

In 2013, with a new coach, and a new quarterback by way of junior college, Auburn won the SEC and has a berth in the national championship game.  If we classify college football programs as boats, I’d say Auburn was a very fancy, speedy ski boat that can turn quickly. In 2013 the cruise ship lollipop of a Texas program, with the same coach, the same well healed passengers, and same players as in 2012, steamed along on the same heading as the past two years to an 8-4 regular season record.

Do we all agree that Texas football needs a new captain who will at least attempt to turn this cruise ship of a program in a new direction?

The last laugh department or seeing red

How ‘bout that Bob Stoops and Oklahoma?  Despite losing to arch rival Texas and eventual Big 12 Champion Baylor, Stoops got Oklahoma another 10-win season and berth in a BCS Bowl. In their dramatic win over Oklahoma State yesterday Stoops played three—count ‘em—three quarterbacks. That’s an interesting contrast to what Mack Brown did yesterday.

Tell your statistics to shut up

That’s how I sum up what the likes of Red McCombs, Joe Jamail, and Bill Powers have been telling Texas football fans the last couple of years. The most concise statistic that I’ve read about Texas over the last four years is an analysis of their Big 12 record. It’s 18-17. Six of those wins came at the expense Kansas and Iowa State. I’ll let you do the arithmetic. Mack brown jamail


I can’t envision Mack Brown continuing as head coach in 2014. I like a phrase that was coined by a writer for another UT Football blog: Mack can have a parade or a pine box. It’s his choice. It will be very interesting to see what choice Brown and the UT powers that be make over the next week or so.

HooK eM,


Over/Under Results

At least the Baylor Over/Under Contest was closely contested and exciting. It came down to the tiebreaker and it was a photo finish with Helen Frink nosing out David Frink for her second win of the season. David and Helen answered eight questions correctly. After Helen’s first win of the season she informed me that indeed she had not learned everything she knew about football from me. Oops. Tom Yoxall, Wade Wallace and Jerry Smith tied for third with 7 correct. 


How ‘bout those Longhorn Basketeers who beat Temple in overtime on Saturday to move their record to 8-1?


Read more
Page 1 of 612345»...Last »