Archive for the ‘2021’ Category

Sarkisian versus Patterson

By now, TCU’s domination of the Longhorns since joining the Big 12 is well-trod ground. TCU has won seven of nine. More illuminating though is that TCU coach Gary Patterson is 1-1 versus Mack Brown, 3-0 versus Charley Strong, and 3-1 against Tom Herman.

According to 247 Sports, TCU’s recruiting class rankings nationally were No. 25 in 2018, No. 31 in 2019, No. 23 in 2020, and No. 53 in 2021. Texas’s rankings were No. 3, No. 3, No. 8, and No. 15. Obviously, this rivalry over recent years should be more even than it is.

TCU’s current dominance over Texas can be summed up by a famous Bum Phillips quote about Bear Bryant. “Bryant can take his’n and beat your’n, and then he can turn around and take your’n and beat his’n.” In the current vernacular, Gary Patterson and his staff has been “pantsing” Texas’s head coaches and their staffs.

Steve Sarkisian doesn’t have to account for Gary Patterson’s “pantsing” of former Texas coaches, but this game will be a difficult test for Sark. He failed miserably the test in Fayetteville and is looking for his first road victory as the Texas head coach in Ft. Worth. His road record is not good as I pointed out after the Arkansas game. Sarkisian’s record on the road as a head coach is 10-22. If you take out his first two years after taking over an 0-12 Washington team his road record is 7-14.

The TCU game is an opportunity for Sarkisian to pass a big road test and set up the Longhorns for good season. If Texas loses there’ll be a big road monkey on Sark’s back.


Hey, any chance that Casey Thompson is better than Sam Ehlinger?  Thompson is on kind of a roll leading Texas to 24 scores in the 27 drives he’s led. He makes quicker decisions than Ehlinger did and so far, he’s been a more accurate passer. Okay, it’s way too early to be talking about this and maybe Ehlinger would have been way better with Sark as his coach and offensive coordinator.

Gracious in defeat?

Gary Patterson whined earlier this week that SMU had pre-planned the attempt to plant their flag on TCU’s field after the game. So what if they did?  Does that mean they were confident of beating you on your home field Gary?

Patterson further claimed that an SMU player hit TCU assistant Jerry Kill with a helmet and gave him a concussion during the scuffle that ensued during the attempt to plant the flag. He revised his story to Kill being knocked down during the fracas though video confirms that Kill was knocked down by TCU players. Then Patterson revised his story again saying Kill was knocked down, but he doesn’t know by which team’s players but if there wasn’t the flag-planting Kill wouldn’t have been injured.

You go Gary!

Did You know?

TCU is 19-21 against over the past five years against Big 12 teams other than Texas. They’re 4-1 versus Texas over the last five years. I guess Texas has been saving Gary Patterson’s job.

Bijan vs Zach Evans

Speaking of recruiting, Bijan Robinson was the No. 1 running back prospect in the nation in 2020 according to 247 Sports.  Zach Evans was one spot behind him. Robinson and Evans were the No. 15 and 16 recruits respectively overall.

Through three games this season Evans has 330 rushing yards averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Uh oh.  Robinson, through four games, has 436 yards rushing and averages 6.2 yards per carry.

Robinson versus Evans is an interesting game within the game. It’s not Vince Young versus Reggie Bush but it’s not bad.

The Game

Sarkisian is going to have to do a better job than he did in Fayetteville adjusting on the fly his offensive tactics to beat TCU. My man Paul Wadlington in his TCU preview suggested that Gary Patterson could try to take Xavier Worthy out of the game and blitz frequently. Seems like Sarkisian would have an answer for Worthy being blanketed but I worry about the blitzing.

Defensively Texas needs to eliminate the running threat from TCU quarterback Max Duggan. Concede that Zach Evans will get his yards but don’t get fooled by play-action and get burned by the deep ball like they did against Arkansas.

As in every game, turnovers, if they occur, will be difficult for either team to overcome.

Texas is favored by 4.5.

I’m really looking forward to this one.

Texas vs TCU 1982

Earlier this week I was talking to a longtime friend of mine who is planning on going to the game on Saturday. He’s not exactly sanguine about the Longhorns W-L record in road games that he attends. I think he said every time he goes to the Texas-TCU game in Ft. Worth the Longhorns lose and some of his friends are taking up a collection to pay him not to go to Ft. Worth Saturday.

The conversation reminded me that Texas is 2-0 versus TCU in games that I’ve attended in Ft. Worth. I went in 2013 and 1982.

It certainly isn’t monumental in Texas Football history, but I have fond memories of my trip to Ft. Worth in 1982. I really liked our 1982 team though going into the TCU game the Longhorns’ record was an average by 1982 standards 5-2. Texas had lost a close game to Oklahoma that they had a chance to win late in the 4th quarter and suffered a heartbreaking 30-17 loss in Austin that was much closer than the score indicates.

In 1982 I was 27, living in Austin in a one-bedroom apartment on Barton Hills drive which was a three-minute walk from Barton Springs. I spent about half my weekends that year in Dallas hanging out with my friend and boss Mike Frank, my friend David Bergstrom and my girlfriend who was working as an accountant at Sanger-Harris, her first job after graduating from UT that spring.  In addition to having a great social life in Dallas, I owned a 1982 Mazda RX-7 that I really, really enjoyed driving so the otherwise boring drive up I35 was actually pretty fun for me. I recall one trip in particular when after passing through West, Texas, I set the cruise on 100. The speed limit in those days was 55 by the way. It was somewhere around Waxahachie when I spotted a cop car in my rearview mirror that I estimated was about ¼ of a mile behind me. This literally almost scared the piss out of me since I was traveling with some illegal substances. Of course, I slowed down to 55 and then pulled over in a rest stop where I watched the cop car continue driving north, uninterested, or unaware of the white RX-7 that had been doing 100 since West. Phew. Remind me of this the next time I accuse a 20 something of being stupid.

Anyway, after spending Friday night in Dallas, David Bergstrom our girlfriends, and I drove over to Ft. Worth for the game. I had a stress-free relationship with the girl I was dating because the relationship was low stakes since I knew it wasn’t long-term. I had someone else in mind for that.  Without reviewing the Texas Football archives my memory of the game is that it wasn’t the easy win for the Longhorns that I was anticipating but eventually the Horns put TCU away relatively comfortably. After reviewing the box score of the game, I see that TCU had the halftime lead 21-17 and that Texas pulled away in the 4th quarter winning 38-21. My memory that it was beautiful autumn football weather that day is confirmed by the box score that reports that it was sunny and 50 at the 2 pm kickoff.

During the game, we followed the SMU-Texas Tech game being played in Lubbock by watching the periodic posting of the score on the Amon Carter Stadium scoreboard. The Pony Express was in first place in the Southwest Conference, highly ranked, and a big favorite over Tech. The game was surprisingly close which got my hopes up for a Tech win which would put Texas back into the race with SMU to win the conference.

During the walk to our car after the game, we heard from someone who was listening to the SMU-Tech game on a transistor radio that Tech had tied the game with only seconds remaining. I was gleeful. A few minutes later, just as we arrived at our car, we got another report that SMU’s Bobby Leach had returned a kickoff for a touchdown at the gun to give SMU the win. Crap! How the hell did that happen?  David’s girlfriend laughed at my outrage and disappointment.

Oh well.

Hook ‘Em,


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Texas Tech Over/Under Results

It was a bit of an unusual Over/Under game this week. There was an invalid question, three questions that every player got right, and a perfect score.

Tahahj Brooks didn’t play so W.E. threw out that question creating a nine-question game. Every player predicted that both teams wouldn’t score on their first possession, that there would be fewer than five total interceptions, and that Texas would lead with six minutes left in the game.

With every player getting three of the nine questions right, the game was ripe for a perfect score, and that’s what happened. Pitching a perfect Over/Under, Andy Garrod is the winner this week. It’s Andy’s first win of the year and perhaps his first win ever. I’m sure Andy can confirm this.

Helen Frink and Kelly Malek came up one shy of perfection and tied for second with eight correct answers. Tyler Cotton, Mark Adams, and Mike Frank tied for third with seven correct.


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Facts, Figures, Thoughts, and a Gut Prediction


  1. Last year, trailing 56-41 with three minutes remaining the fourth quarter, Texas and Sam Ehlinger mounted a furious rally that included a successful onside kick to tie the game in regulation. Texas won in overtime 63-56.
  2. This is Casey Thompson’s first start versus a non-Rice opponent. It will be the biggest challenge of his career. Texas Tech has just enough film to prepare a defensive gameplan for Thompson.
  3. Tech’s defense has allowed an 54.7 yards per game rushing through three games this season. They give up an average of 1.8 yards per rush.
  4. Tech is 3-0 this season beating Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and Florida International. The cumulative record of these defeated foes is 5-5.
  5. Stephen F. Austin came up short on a 4th and goal with less than a minute before losing to Tech 28-22
  6. Tech is averaging 441 yards and 40 points per game. 270 yards per game passing and 170 rushing.
  7. Tech’s leading rusher, Tahj Brooks, is averaging 94.7 yards a game at an 8.1 yard per carry clip.
  8. Tech’s leading receiver, Erik Ezukanma, average yards per reception is 21.9.
  9. Tech’s quarterback Tyler Shough, is averaging 9.9 yards per reception. In case you don’t follow this metric, 9.9 per attempt is quite good.
  10. As of Friday morning, Texas is an 8.5-9.0 favorite. Figuring that the odds makers automatically spot the home team three points, they think Texas is about a touchdown better than Texas Tech.

Big Game for Sark

Texas’s next three games are Texas Tech, at TCU, and Oklahoma. In ascending order, each one will be the biggest of Steve Sarkisian’s career at Texas. If Texas doesn’t win at least two of these three matchups, it’s hard to conjure up Texas finishing the regular season with any better than an 8-4 record. I don’t know about you but 8-4 doesn’t excite me much.

Casey Thompson’s 16 for 18

Thompson has led Texas to 16 scores on the 18 drives he’s piloted dating back to the Alamo Bowl last year. So, I’m getting a little annoyed with Steve Sarkisian still going out of his way to state that Hudson Card will be playing (I’m paraphrasing) a significant role for the remainder of the season. Maybe he’s playing the long game in recruiting but can’t he just use the old cliché, Hudson needs to prepare each week like he’s going to play because you never know . . .?

Gut Prediction

Given the deficiencies of the Horns’ offensive and defensive lines, I don’t see Texas having an easy time with any of their remaining opponents. Save Kansas, I expect every game is going to be close. I expect the defense to disappoint most weeks, especially this one. I expect the offense will be the strength of the team and will keep Texas in all the remaining games.

If you’re looking forward to my gut prediction for this game, you may be disappointed. No, I’m not picking Tech to win. I’m not picking a winner in this one.  I do predict a game that will be decided late by less than six points. If Texas holds Tech to under 35 points, I think we have to be satisfied with the defense.

I will predict the final score will be something like 38-35 and it could go either way.

Willie Earl’s Song of the Week

“In My Life” – The Beatles

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

For my money, this is the greatest love song of my generation.

I wept like Jack Paar when I rediscovered this opening of the “The Beatles Anthology” documentary from 1995.

Hook “Em,


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Rice Over/Under Results

Clayton Frink broke through this week for his first win of the season. Clayton scored seven correct answers.

Helen Frink, David Frink, Mitchell Frink, Greg Swan, Reed Ramlow, and Dan Yoxall tied for second with six correct answers.

All 18 players got right, “Will Texas go three-and-out on their first possession?”  All 18 players got wrong “Will Rice’s first score be a TD, FG, or safety? You can answer, Rice won’t score.”
David Frink was the only player to predict that Ovie Ogoufu would get Texas’ first sack.

The average score was 4.9. The low score was three.

Willie Earl apologizes to Bijan Robinson for calling him Bijan Johnson in question #4


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Dazed and Confused

I’m still in daze over the Longhorns meltdown in Fayetteville but after a few days of reading and reviewing key plays online, I’m not so confused.  Steve Sarkisian looked dazed and confused on the sideline during the second half in Fayetteville. His team was as ill prepared as any Texas team I can remember. This includes Tom Herman’s Maryland meltdowns, about 75% of the Charlie Strong era, and Mack Browns 63-14 and 65-13 losses to Oklahoma in 2000 and 2003.

Sarkisian lost the Arkansas game for the Horns before it started with a bad game plan offensively and defensively compounded by not being able to adjust when the tide started turning against them. Distilling what I’ve read this week, the fatal flaws of the Arkansas gameplan include a blocking scheme that Kyle Flood and Sarkisian prefer to run. Unfortunately, the personnel on the offensive line collectively doesn’t have the skill or talent to execute the scheme Flood and Sarkisian want to run. It turns out last year’s blocking schemes were more suitable to the talent currently available than Flood’s and Sarkisian’s.

During his Monday press conference this week, Sarkisian said (I’m paraphrasing) there were a few plays that had they gone differently, the entire game would have taken on a completely different tone. He didn’t itemize the plays, but I will.

  1. The Arkansas punt returner fumbled the punt inside their five-yard line and Texas’s Kitan Crawford recovered but with his toe on the line.
  2. Early in the second quarter on a third and 15 from the Arkansas 34, Card slightly overthrew a wide-open Jordan Whittington in the end zone.
  3. Trailing 16-0 late in the second quarter from the Texas 29, Jordan Whittington drops a relatively easy catch on the Arkansas 28.
  4. Darned if I can find the where and when but Card missed an open Xavier Worthy for a touchdown.
  5. Midway through the second quarter, Cameron Dicker muffs a snap and had his punt blocked and Arkansas recovers on the Texas 6-yard line.  

Yes, if these plays had gone the other way the game would have taken on a different tone, but Texas would still have been dominated on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball which still would have led to a decisive Arkansas victory. Texas’s quarterback and pass receivers need to make plays that they didn’t make in the Arkansas game. Even if they do, Texas fortunes still depend on the play of the offensive and defensive lines.

Sark’s Bad Numbers

To date, Sarkisian’s record on the road as a head coach is 10-22. If you take out his first two years after taking over an 0-12 Washington team his road record is 7-14.

He’s 12-20 versus ranked teams. And did I see a graphic on the screen during the Arkansas telecast that said Sarkisian was 0-18 when trailing at the start of the second half?  I hope that’s not what I saw.

Quarterback Shuffle

Naming Casey Thompson the starter for the Rice seems like the only thing Sarkisian can do now. Going back to the Alamo Bowl and through two games this year, Thompson looks like a decent quarterback. Unless he plays poorly this week, it’s time to end the quarterback shuffle and consign Hudson Card to mop-up duty. After the Arkansas game, I’m wondering if there will be any mop-up duty this year. Nothing against Card long-term, but I think it’s been well documented that a quarterback shuffle isn’t what’s best for the team.

I know some of my fellow baby boomers remember the Roger Staubach-Craig Morton shuffle. How silly was that?


Think what you will about Rice Football, but know this, they were tied with Arkansas through three quarters in Fayetteville.
Somewhere out there Mark Adams is saying, “Those pesky Rice Owls!”

Willie Earl’s Song of the Week

“Life During Wartime” – Talking Heads

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain’t got time for that now

Oh my god. This is “Greatness.”

Hook ‘Em,

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