West Virginia Pre-Game

Redemption Saturday

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they’ve got me quite cross
                                            – Ellie Goulding/Elton John

According to ESPN Texas has a 23.9% chance of beating West Virginia. Does that seem about right to you? Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, and I’ve come up with a game of Over/Under to analyze this metric. Feel free to play along at home.

Over/Under (This is not this week’s official Over/Under Contest)

  1. D’onta Foreman gets the start and or carries the ball 1.5 times on Texas’ first series
  2. Jay Norvell has Jerrod throwing the ball downfield on the first series the way he did in the comfort of home against pushover Kansas.
  3. Texas throws a wide receiver screen pass on their first series that gains more than 2.5 yards.
  4. Texas runs a play on their first series that involves Jerrod Heard in the running game. (A scramble on a called passing play doesn’t count)
  5. Texas has 200.5 total rushing yards for the game.
  6. Texas holds West Virginia’s Wendell Smallwood under 100.5 yards (yes = over)
  7. Texas holds West Virginia under 4.5 3rd and 4th down conversions (yes = over)
  8. Texas scores first (yes = over)

If four or more of the answers to the above turn out to be over, then Willie Earl’s metrics gives Texas a 53.6% chance of winning.

Confidential Informants

Willie Earl’s campus CIs haven’t been very productive over the last several weeks. I think it might have something to do with their recent trip to Colorado.

Anyway, they gave me a pretty decent scoop yesterday if it turns out to be true.  They tell me there will be a big shake-up in the starting lineup on the offensive line with, Jake Raulerson replacing Taylor Doyle at center, Kent Perkins will move from right tackle to left guard, replacing Cedric Flowers, and Tristan Nickelson will take Perkins place at right tackle.

This lineup was tried – rather unsuccessfully – in the Kansas game, but according to my CIs, the new lineup has been working as the starting unit this week in practice.  I applaud this shakeup, if it actually happens, despite the unsuccessful trial versus Kansas. As I wrote last week, Doyle and Flowers block absolutely nobody on about 50% of their snaps. They are primarily responsible for the extreme duress that Jerrod Heard has been under most of the season when dropping straight back in the pocket.

My gut tells me that Strong and Wickline will gag before game time and continue to roll with Flowers and Doyle since, according to Strong, they’re key team leaders.

Waning Interest

A couple of readers have confided in me this week that their interest in Texas football is at a new low. I’m guessing if you polled all of the Willie Earl readers you would find a working majority would say that their interest is at or near the lowest it’s ever been.

I think the Iowa State loss is to blame for the current level of interest in Texas football. I know that loss sapped much of the confidence that remained for me in Charlie Strong’s program.  And despite what many of my long-time friends and acquaintances may think, in my current incarnation, I’m quite an optimist. My wife says I find boyish joy in many of life’s simple pleasures, such as replays of Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on satellite radio. So I got that going for me…. which is nice.

I’m also concerned about the Texas coaches’ level of interest in the remainder of the season.  If most of the offensive staff expects to be gone at the end of the season, are they spending less time on game-planning and coaching and more time looking for a job? If so, Texas probably won’t win another game this season.


Is the 2015 season redeemable for Texas and Charlie Strong?  I say absolutely it is. Winning this weekend and on Thanksgiving night versus Texas Tech* would go a long way down the road to redemption. Throw in a win over Baylor and we’re talking big-time “boyish joy” for Willie Earl.

Lock of the Week

I’m all over Hampton -12 ½ over Savannah State. The Pirates are on a roll coming off their 33-0 beat-down of Florida A&M while State is coming off a tough overtime loss to Norfolk State.

But seriously folks, as much as I hate to even think it, I like Baylor at home -2 ½ over Oklahoma. I don’t “like like” Baylor but I just don’t think OU can get it done in these big games anymore.  I will be rooting against my Lock of the Week.  This may shock and amaze you, but for 40+ years I’ve been rooting for OU in almost all their games other than against the Longhorns.  It all started in 1971 when #2 ranked Oklahoma played #1 Nebraska in Norman on Thanksgiving. That was a helluva game won in the last minute by Nebraska 35-31 as Jeff Kinney powered over from the two.

HooK ‘eM,


*ESPN puts Texas’ chances at beating Texas Tech at 48% and 7.3% for beating Baylor.


8 Comments to “West Virginia Pre-Game”

  1. “A couple of readers have confided in me this week that their interest in Texas football is at a new low. I’m guessing if you polled all of the Willie Earl readers you would find a working majority would say that their interest is at or near the lowest it’s ever been….”

    Would these be people who were freshmen at Texas in, say, 2003? Because if so, I really couldn’t care less what they think.

  2. Real gut check time. Nothing to play for but a job and pride. If they no-show again I’m turning in my jock and going intergalactic on Strong…and I’m a big supporter. That crap win against Kansas was almost as ugly as the previous week’s loss.

  3. Do you remember the name of the OU receiver that caught 3 TD passes in that OU-Nebraska game? He happened to be my JV football coach at Anderson in 1977.

    Answer: Jon Harrison

  4. I haven’t lost interest, but my hopes are at an all-time low, lower even than 1976 when Earl was injured as the Horns lost every game in which he didn’t play (5, by the way).

    I prefer the 60s Satellite Survey of this week in [insert year] on 60s on 6. Every Saturday at 1 pm Central, repeated at about 3:30 pm Central and again on Wednesday evening. Check it out. DJ doing it has incredible history and insights into the songs, how they came to be, etc.

What Say You?