Archive for the ‘2022’ Category

Alamo Bowl Over/Under Results

After a season of Over/Under barnburners, the Alamo Bowl edition did not go to overtime and it was very tough sledding for most of the players. The average score was 4.8. I would have to check my records to verify but I’m guessing that’s the lowest average of the season.

Dan Adams emerged from the bloodbath to win the final contest with 7 correct answers.  David Frink and Clayton Frink tied for second in the Alamo Bowl with six correct answers.

It’s Dan’s third Moneyball win of the season. In one of his Moneyball wins he lost the tiebreaker to Helen Frink for the outright win but collected the money because Helen was ineligible for Moneyball. David Frink, Clayton Frink, Dan Yoxall, and Helen Frink joined Dan with two outright wins for the season.

Dan Adams’ Alamo Bowl win propelled him to a first-place finish in the race for the most correct answers for the season with 87 correct. Mark Adams finished second with 83, David Frink third with 82, Greg Swan fourth with 80, and Clayton Frink fifth with 77.

Thanks to all the players who participated in 2022.  You can only imagine how much I enjoy formulating the weekly questions and reviewing and reporting the results. It’s truly a labor of love.

I can’t wait for next year.


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Interesting Alamo Bowl and other Willie Earl Nuggets

In the spirit of the Holiday Season, I’ve put my disappointment and dissatisfaction with Texas’ 8-4 season aside and have ginned up an interest if not excited anticipation of the Alamo Bowl matchup with Washington. Afterall, the Alamo Bowl is in the top tier of second tier bowls. It will be played in primetime the night a three-day weekend begins for people who aren’t taking the entire week off to begin with. Washington, though not the megabrand Texas is, is still a major college football brand, with a 10-2 record and are #12 in the final playoff rankings. Texas is #20.

Washington is the #1 passing team in the country averaging 376.7 yards per game and their quarterback Michael Penix is the nation’s second leading passer with 4,354 yards.  They have two receivers, Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze with over 1,000 yards receiving. For comparison, Texas quarterbacks threw for 2,736 yards for the season and Texas’ leading receiver, Xavier Worthy has 676 yards receiving.  And Washington is no slouch running the ball with 1,740 yards total rushing. They average 40.8 points per game. Texas averages 35.7 points per game. You get the point. Washington will be the most prolific offense Texas has faced this season. 

Texas has the best defense they’ve had going back as far as I can remember. They’ve been good against mediocre to slightly above average Big 12 offenses, TCU notwithstanding, but I’m skeptical that they are an above average defense. Will they be exposed against Washington? It will be interesting to find out.

Bijan and Roschon        

With Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson opting out of this game to prepare for the NFL draft what kind of gameplan will Steve Sarkisian prepare?  During the regular season, Robinson and Johnson combined averaged 29 rushes per game totaling 2134 yards which was 80% of Texas rushing yards.  Robinson and Johnson’s rushing and receiving yards combined accounted for 49.9% of Texas’ total yards. 

Sarkisian emphasizes that his Texas team is a run first offense and the statistics bear that out. 56% of their offensive plays this season were runs.  I’m wondering if the run/pass mix against Washington will be similar with Jonathan Brooks and perhaps Jaydon Blue getting the bulk of the carries?  Maybe Keilan Robinson will get an opportunity to show that he can run effectively between the tackles.  My fear is if Brooks and Blue aren’t effective early Sarkisian will have Quinn Ewers chucking the ball all over the lot ala the Oklahoma State game when Ewers went 19 for 49 passing.


There shouldn’t be any lack of motivation to win this game for Texas.  The regular season was just okay and the closest thing to a signature win was beating 14th ranked Kansas State on the road. Texas missed opportunities for big wins at home against #1 Alabama and #4 TCU. 

Beating #12 Washington would be Sarkisian’s biggest win at Texas and a 9-4 versus an 8-5 record would be important to the fan base that hasn’t had much to feel good about in a long time.  Texas could really use a win in this one.

Bowl Practice Hype

Chip Brown, a good reporter who has been on the Longhorn beat for more than a decade wrote a story about Texas’ Alamo Bowl practices which included praise for Quinn Ewers on how good he has looked connecting on bombs to Xavier Worthy and how he’s cleaned up his foot work.  Why does a good reporter write one of these stories?  Since I arrived in Austin in August of 1974 I have been reading and hearing about what a great summer or great bowl practices some player or players have had.  One story in particular I remember that appeared in the Statesman was on Tyrone Swoopes about how hard he had been working and what a great summer he had had in 2015. He’s going to surprise people this year! Well, he was benched after the first game of the season that Texas lost 38-3 to Notre Dame.  I think Ewers could turn out to be a very good quarterback but spare me the glowing reports about practice performances and habits.  Hey, you should’ve seen me at the driving range last week.

History Lesson

Did you youngsters out there know that Steve Sarkisian isn’t the only Texas head coach to have done time as the Washington coach?  Darrell Royal coached Washinton for one season in 1956 before coming to Austin in 1957.

Texas is 3-1 all time against Washington. Texas played a home and home series with Washington in 1974-’75 winning 35-21 in Ausitn and 28-10 in Seattle. Washington beat Texas 14-7 in the 1979 Sun Bowl. Texas beat Washington 47-43 in the 2001 Holiday Bowl rallying from 16-point 4th quarter deficit. Major Applewhite was 37 for 55 passing with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Playoff Pressure

You’re Steve Sarkisian in 2024. You’re coming off a 10-4 season in 2023 that included a Fiesta Bowl win and Big 12 Championship game loss to Oklahoma. Your team didn’t make the four-team playoff.  Are you thankful that in 2024 the playoff is expanding to 12 teams giving your team a greater opportunity to qualify?  Yes, I suppose. But doesn’t a 12-team playoff create a “Your team better qualify or else” situation? How many seasons of not qualifying for the 12-team playoff would Steve Sarkisian get before Chris Del Conte and company would have to move on?

Mike Leach

I always enjoyed Mike Leach and thought he was an overachieving coach.  I didn’t realize until he died the seemingly universal respect and affection there was for him by former players, coaches, administrators, and just about anyone who crossed paths with him.

In 2009 I thought when Kent Hance and the Texas Tech administration sided with the Craig James crime family in the made-up scandal involving James’s son Adam and fired Leach that they had made a huge blunder. They rushed to judgement and succumbed to media pressure.

Leach was 84-43 at Texas Tech.  They were 11-2 in 2008 and played in the Big 12 Championship game. Leach’s team won 9 games or more in five of his 10 seasons in Lubbock. Leach never had a losing season at Texas Tech.

In the 13 seasons since Tech fired Leach, they have had four different head coaches. The most games they’ve won in a season is eight and they have done that only three times. They’ve had seven losing seasons. Their overall record since they fired Leach is 78-82.

Over/Under 2022

Responding to popular demand the staff at Willie Earl’s Longhorn blog have tabulated the total number of correct answers by the top players in 2022 through the end of the regular season. Going into the Alamo Bowl Dan Adams, Greg Swan, and Mark Adams are tied for #1 with 80 correct answers. All three competed in every game including the Off Week contest.

David Frink is alone in fourth place with 76 correct. David might have been alone in first place if he had managed to get his TCU entry submitted. Oh well, we all struggle with technology from time to time. He still has a chance to win if he nails the Alamo Bowl and Mark, Greg, and Dan falter. Willie Earl’s advanced metrics say there is 1.9% chance that David could win. There’s a 14.4 % chance that he will finish in the top 3.

Here’s the standings of the top 10 players.

Greg Swan           80

Mark Adams        80

Dan Adams          80

David Frink          76

Clayton Frink       71

Mitch Frink          71

Helen Frink         67

Tyler Cotton        62

Andy Garrod       60

It will be exciting to watch Greg, Mark, Dan, and David coming down the stretch in the 2022 finale!

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Off Week Over/Under Results

Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, Dan Adams, Clayton Frink, Mark Adams, Greg Swan, and Zach Moorhead with 8 correct answers tied for first place in the Off Week Over/Under. Excellent performances when the average score for the 15 players was 6.2.

In the tiebreaker, none of the Four Horsemen plus one picked the right teams to make the conference championship game. Zach, Greg, Mark, and Dan tabbed TCU-Oklahoma State and Clayton went with TCU-Texas. The logjam was broken on their picks for Texas’ bowl destination.  Greg and Zach picked the Cheez It Bowl, Mark the Texas, and Dan the Sun Bowl. That Left Clayton standing alone as the winner with his Alamo Bowl pick. It was Clayton’s second win of the season and he takes home $40 for the effort.

Tyler Cotton and Leslie Bohmann tied for 6th place with 7 correct answers.

Kevin Hill was the only player to predict that TCU would meet Kansas State in the conference championship game.

Remember the Alamo Bowl and one last chance for glory on the gridiron and in Over/Under!

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Baylor Over/Under Results

For the first time since I don’t know when, overtime was not needed to decide the winner. And the winner is David Frink with 8 correct answers. That’s David’s second win of the season. David takes home $40 for the effort.

Helen Frink, Dan Yoxall, Tyler Cotton, and Clayton Frink tied for second with 7 correct. Just 4 of the 17 players predicted Texas would have more punts than Baylor. Other than that, there wasn’t anything about the distribution of answers that stood out. The average score was also a nondescript 5.2.

The results for the Off Week Over/under will be determined Sunday when Texas’ bowl invitation is received. Those results will be included with my regular season wrap up column. Ther will be an Over/Under contest for the Bowl game.

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What are the Chances

The team Texas thoroughly demolished last Saturday was not your father’s Kansas.  It was a respectable if not good Kansas team that had won six games and probably would have won one or two more if their starting quarterback Jalon Daniels hadn’t missed for four and a half games due to injury. The offense was scoring 36.9 points per game coming into the Texas game.  If Daniels hadn’t been injured in the first half against TCU they could have won that game.  Daniels started against Texas to no avail as Kansas was shut out during the first half while the Horns were scoring 31 points. Game over.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Texas’ defense was the weak link that would cost them a game or two coming down the stretch. It wasn’t my best observation as evidenced by the defense playing the game of the decade in losing to TCU and following it up by shutting down Kansas on the road.

On the offensive side for Texas, Steve Sarkisian seemed to have seen the errors of his ways. Quinn Ewers attempted only 21 passes while Texas ran the ball a stunning 57 times. Bijan Robinson had 247 yards on 25 rushes. The complimentary football Texas played was probably the way they should have been playing all season. Had they, Bijan Robinson would be heading to New York, and they probably would be playing in the Big 12 Championship game next week win, lose or draw Friday versus Baylor.


Texas is Baylor’s rivalry game and though they’re only 6-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play this will be a tough game for the Horns. Baylor is a physical team that averages 202 yards per game rushing while limiting opponents to 131 yards on the ground.

If Texas struggles to run the ball early, Sarkisian has to have adjustments ready to find a way to be successful on the ground. If you rely on Quinn Ewers throwing the ball 30 + times I think you’re going to lose this one in a repeat of the TCU loss. This could be and should be a game that come hell or high water Bijan Robinson carries it 30 times.

Texas has not won two games in a row since mid-October and they’re 2-2 in their last four. It’s been a long time since you could forecast a dominating feel good win against an inferior opponent at home on the last day of the season for Texas.  It would be good to re-establish that tradition on Friday and continue it in the near future against the Aggies.

Bijan and Ricky

Wouldn’t be nice if Bijan went out with a Ricky Williams like 250 yards or more rushing leading Texas to a win and giving us 24 hours to hope that Kansas can pull off the upset and beat Kansas State?  Rock Chalk!

Speaking of Ricky Williams, what are the chances that Bijan will stay at Texas for his senior season, another shot at a Heisman Trophy and a championship run for Texas?  Nil you might answer but stranger things have happened when you consider NIL (see what I did there) and the big bucks he’s pulling down now that would get even bigger if he stayed.  It could happen.

Texas A&M @ Texas (November 29, 1996)

Texas came into the game with a 7-4 record, 5-2 in the Big 12 and unranked. They had already clinched the South Division of The Big 12 in its inaugural season. But still, it had been a disappointing season prior to this game. Texas was ranked #8 to start the season and then lost a heartbreaker at home to Notre Dame on a last second field goal. Next they were blown out by Virginia 37-14 in Charlottesville and fell out of the rankings. They later blew an 11-point 4th quarter lead losing 30-27 to Oklahoma in overtime.

As close as I can remember, Texas was a 3 or 4 point favorite over the Aggies. The kickoff was a few minutes after 10am on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The Notre Dame game also started at 10am that season. The early kicks were an accommodation for television.  It was cold and rainy when the game started. My lasting memories of the game are of Mike Adams and Wane McGarity catching multiple touchdown passes from James Brown and how the sun came out and warmed things up as Texas routed A&M 51-15. Reviewing the box score from the game confirms that Adams caught touchdown passes of 14 and 36 yards and McGarity caught a 53-yards touchdown pass.  

Celebrating with Helen and a legion known as the Yoxalls in the parking lot of the LBJ Library after the game, my brother David and Sister-in-law Cheryl offered to pick up our 6- and 9-year-old kids who were with a sitter at our house and take them to spend the night.  Helen and I now free for the afternoon and evening went to Sullivan’s in downtown Austin for a victory dinner. We ordered steaks and Helen asked me if we should split a baked potato, which was our usual custom. I replied that on a day when we beat down the Aggies I think we should each have our own.

Hook “Em,


Song of the Week

If you’re taking nominations for the greatest song of all time, this is mine.  I’m sorry that whoever posted this video placed the “Gaucho” album cover in the beginning of it. “Deacon Blues” is on the “Aja” album.

I crawl like a viper
Through these suburban streets
Make love to these women languid and bittersweet
I rise when the sun goes down
Cover every game in town
A world of my own
I’ll make it my home sweet home

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