Various and Sundry

Over the objection of one of my sternest critics, in tribute to Ben Barnes, it’s time for Willie Earl’s annual “Various and Sundry” column on a variety of subjects—some of them Longhorn Football related.

1.  Iowa State’s offense looks like a very tough matchup for the Texas defense. ISU is 8th in passing offense, 16th in total offense, and 19th in scoring offense. Texas is 124th in passing defense, 109th in total defense, and 89th in scoring defense. Iowa State’s offense passed the Willie Earl “eye test” last Saturday night when they put up 41 on Oklahoma. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I was particularly impressed by tight end Charlie Kolar and by running back Breece Hall.  I don’t remember the Horns facing a really good tight end this year and I wonder how Todd Orlando plans to defend Kolar?

3. Do you know what I’ve noticed? All the Kirk Herbstreit wannabes out there think it makes them sound cutting edge to say “RPO” every six seconds? I’ve always wanted to use the word hackneyed in a sentence. Now I can. Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike that “RPO” is now officially a hackneyed expression. Furthermore, RPO it’s not a cutting edge concept. It’s older than the “single wing” which is really old. 

4. Want to hear another hackneyed expression?  “Score the basketball.” It might be the stupidest sports phrase I’ve ever heard.

5. Texas is the only Big 12 team Matt Campbell hasn’t beaten as the coach of Iowa State. I don’t like the sound of that this week.

6. Iowa State is seven point favorite over Texas. It’s doesn’t seem right for Texas to be an underdog to a Big 12 team that doesn’t . . . well, you know.

7. Speaking of Oklahoma, from what I’ve seen of Baylor, I don’t think they will beat Oklahoma. On the other hand I think Jalen Hurts is the most overrated player in college football. Did you see the interception he threw last week in the fourth quarter that set up the Iowa State touchdown that nearly cost Oklahoma the game?  He may not be drafted until sixth or seventh round of the NFL draft and maybe not at all according to the experts who cover the draft.  Also, it seems that Oklahoma’s defense is reverting to its 2018 form. So who knows, maybe Baylor has a chance.

8. Okay, from what I’ve heard, the dream about going to a final exam for a college class you haven’t been to all semester is kind of “standard issue.”  I’ve had it hundreds of times. Last week I had the dream except I was in high school. Does this indicate a “Flowers for Algernon” type situation?

9. Here’s a bold prediction. While everybody talks about whether Alabama will get in the CFP with one loss, I predict they’ll lose to Auburn next week. End of discussion. It will be the first time since the playoff started that Alabama won’t be in it.

10. Here’s a news flash. It’s going to be cold in Ames, Iowa on November 16th. You think I’m being sarcastic?  Well my hometown newspaper thought it was worthy of sports section front page lead headline news earlier this week. Hey Statesman, I have a scoop for you. Starting around the middle of March next year, daily temperatures in large areas of the northern hemisphere will begin to gradually rise. In Austin the gradual increase could lead to temperatures nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit by sometime in June or July. Amazingly, when the Longhorns play their first home game of the 2020 season on September 5, it might be hot. Even if it’s a night game!

11. I fear an impending disaster. I don’t approve of the way Tom Herman—or “Mensa Boy”—as we refer to him around our house, has handled the end of the Kansas and Kansas State games this year. To refresh your memory, Texas was trailing Kansas 48-47 with :08 left in the game and had a first and 10 on the Kansas’ 21 yard line with no timeouts remaining. Instead of sending in the very reliable Cameron Dicker to kick a 38 yard field goal to win the game. Herman kept the offense on the field and Ehlinger completed a six yard pass to Devin Duvernay who stepped out of bounds with :05 left. Do we think that the six yards was worth the risk of a botched snap or an interception that would have resulted in Texas losing?  In an even more likely scenario, Texas gets flagged for a false start, holding, or an illegal formation. In that case the rules call for an automatic :10 runoff which ends the game before Dicker gets a chance at the kick. Oh well. All’s well that ends well I suppose.

At the end of the Kansas State, game it looked as though Herman had decided to run the clock down and kick a field goal on the last play of the game for the win. Instead, Ehlinger ran the ball over right end for a touchdown with :39 left seemingly giving Kansas State the opportunity for a final possession and a chance to tie the game.  Fortuitously for Texas, they were penalized for an illegal formation negating the touchdown and giving them the chance to run the clock down and kick the winning field goal on the last play of the game.

Herman said in his postgame press conference that they were lucky they were called for the penalty and that he was talked in to going for the touchdown by Ehlinger and the offensive linemen. It seems like “Mensa Boy” gets a little frazzled in those situations.

By the way, Kansas State’s coach Kris Klieman could have and should have declined the penalty so they could get the ball back.

12. As I mentioned earlier, Texas is a seven point underdog to Iowa State. It’s time for Texas to win a game they’re not supposed to win. Their season depends on it.

Willie Earl’s Kansas State @ Texas Game Model called the game a toss-up. Pretty good modeling if I do say so myself.

Willie Earl’s Texas @ Iowa State Game Model has Iowa State winning 39-33.

Hook ‘Em,


2 Comments to “Various and Sundry”

  1. WE:

    In reference to item 7 in your comments-

    Of course I didn’t see Hurts interception. It was past 10 pm and I was already asleep.

    I’m old and getting older at a geometric pace.

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