Post-Game Texas Tech/Pre-Game Baylor

Whichever Way the Wind Blows

Texas’ win over Texas Tech might have been their best performance since 2009. At no time during the game did I think Texas Tech had a chance to win. Texas completely dominated an average team the way that good teams are supposed to. As dominating as the performance was, Texas still managed to showcase their ineptitude on special teams by roughing the punter, leading to a field goal by Texas Tech at the end of the first half. That’s three points they probably can’t afford versus Baylor.

Speaking of that dominating performance, what a difference a win over a 7-4 unranked team coming off four straight losses makes. Just a week earlier, when Texas suffered its most lopsided home loss in the Mack Brown era, the writers, talking heads, and talk show callers were pretty much universal in their agreement that Brown was finished and the team was crummy and headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl—the  kind of bowl my wife calls a “lame-ass bowl.” Now, with a win over Texas Tech and Baylor’s second straight lackluster outing, people are penciling in a Texas victory over Baylor. Assuming a win over Baylor, Mack Brown has been nominated for Big 12 Coach of the Year by the usually level-headed Austin American-Statesman sportswriter Kirk Bohls.  Whoa!

Well, Brown’s not getting my vote. Even if Texas manages a victory over Baylor on Saturday, they would finish the regular season 9-3 with three blow-out losses, one to an unranked BYU and two at home.  Let’s be clear, 9-3 is far below the lofty pre-season expectations created by Mack Brown himself. I don’t think you’re the coach of the year because you screwed up the beginning of the season so badly that wins over the bottom six teams in the conference looks like a great turnaround. Unless Texas pulls off the win in Waco and Oklahoma State losses to Oklahoma, it will be the fourth straight year without a conference championship and BCS Bowl bid. In Mack’s own words, not our standard. Further, three full years after the “rebuild” began, the program’s trajectory is flat. The Horns will start 2014 with uncertainty at quarterback and the loss of four out of five of their best defenders, five out of five if Cedric Reed leaves early for the NFL. Mack Brown is stuck on two conference championships and four BCS bowl appearances in 16 years. Short of winning the National Championship, given the resources available, I don’t see how any UT football coach ever wins coach of the year.

Willie Earl’s Report Card

While we’re on the subject of 9-3, I thought it might be interesting to see how I’ve done in the predictions game this year.

1. Cutting against the grain of the preseason conventional wisdom, I predicted on August 30th that Texas would finish the regular season 9-3. I’m going to be close or right on the number.

2. I predicted on October 7th that—excluding mid majors—there would be only one undefeated team at the end of the regular season and that team would be Baylor. I’m a failed two-point conversion away from being right about one undefeated. If Michigan State beats Ohio State on Saturday, there will be only one undefeated team left. I was wrong about Baylor going undefeated.

3. I predicted on November 15th that Texas would beat Oklahoma State.  Clearly, this was flawed in thinking that Texas could beat a good team. I won’t make the same mistake again this year.

Nick Saban

I don’t think Saban blundered by trying a 57-yard field goal to beat Auburn on the last play of the game, even though the odds of success were long. Yes, I understand that the field goal unit lacks the personnel to cover a kick, but given that a 50-yard or even a 90-yard return does no damage, I think it was reasonable to assume that if the kick was returned, it wouldn’t be returned for a touchdown.

I do think Saban made a very poor decision not to attempt a 30-yard field goal to put Alabama up 10 late in the fourth quarter. Also, I don’t understand why on fourth and inches, coaches don’t more often call a play action pass to a tight end or fullback like Major Applewhite did late in overtime against West Virginia. Defenses rarely stop that type of play.

The Baylor Game

It was Case McCoy’s four interceptions in  2011 in Texas’ 48-24 loss to Baylor in Waco that prompted Mack Brown to anoint David Ash as Texas’ quarterback of the future. McCoy has a monumental opportunity to redeem himself Saturday in Texas’ biggest game since the BCS Championship Game versus Alabama nearly four years ago. Texas’ chances of winning most likely will hinge on McCoy’s performance, if you believe Baylor is going to score anywhere near their average of 55 points per game. Even if Texas holds Baylor to 40 points, their average total over their last four games, McCoy is going to have to do something other than hand the ball off for Texas to have a chance.

Parting thoughts

I expect Baylor to play well back home after two rough weeks on the road in Stillwater and Fort Worth.

In addition to McCoy versus the Baylor defense, the other critical match-up is Briles versus Brown. Who do you like in that one?

In my final prediction of the year I’m going with, Baylor 44-28, on the strength of a solid performance by Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty and the weakness of Texas at quarterback and special teams.

Still I say,

HooK eM,

W.E.

Texas Tech Over/Under Results

It’s fitting that in the week I commemorated the Longhorns 1974 Thanksgiving weekend triumph over the Aggies, that two of my 1974 Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge brothers finished first and second last week. Greg Swan, who sacrificed his new 1974 Ford Pinto for the good of Sig Ep, was the winner with nine correct answers and John Scott was a close second with eight. Hey bros, if Texas beats Baylor and Oklahoma State beats OU lets drive a car onto the Main Mall.

Willie Earl Extra

Most if not all of you know about the report by InsideTexas.com that Nick Saban and the powers that be at Texas have come to an agreement to make Saban the Texas head coach in 2014. If the report is true I think Mack Brown would be the perfect candidate for the Alabama opening.

W.E.

Baylor Over/Under Contest

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5 Comments to “Post-Game Texas Tech/Pre-Game Baylor”

  1. I heard from an LSU Cajun friend here that he was entertaining some Orangeblood bromide miners at the Dead Sea who passed on the Saban rumor, so it’s gone global. The Cajun has been trying to pass on Les Miles to us but said he would take Saban’s departure from the SEC as a consolation. If all this has validity, I will go against the grain and say the Horns get a wacky win in Wacko. They’ll “win one for the Lipper.”

  2. I enjoyed this update. I even shared it with a friend who has met Willie Earl several times. He remarked “The man hates to talk to people in real life but loves to write about football!”

    I would love to see Case McCoy ride off into the sunset with one more unexpectedly adept performance, but I’m not counting on it. I sent him an email inviting him to move in with me when he takes over as assistant manager at his brother’s dunkin donuts this spring, but so far have received no response.

    Hook’em!
    Bod Frank

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