Thursday, October 06, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

It’s been five years! Five years of walking off the field at the Cotton Bowl a loser. Five years of excuses as to why Mack Brown can’t beat Oklahoma. A lot has happened in those five years. Oklahoma has appeared in four Big 12 Championship games and three BCS Title games, winning one national championship and three conference championships. The Longhorns have been to one Conference Championship game losing to Colorado. My wife and I have had a child who is now in kindergarten since the last time Texas won.

This year is supposed to be different for Texas. This year they are supposed to have better talent and more experience. They are the better team, but I think the Longhorns have had more talent in two maybe three of the past five years (01, 02, and maybe 04). There are other factors in this game besides talent, attitude goes miles and coaching goes even further. Here are a few tips for our friends down south going into the 100th version of the Red River Rivalry.

• Play to win! Texas has played this game not to lose. They must play to win like they do every other game on their schedule.
• Don’t be overconfident. I have heard talk that this is the best Texas team in 40 years and it very well could be. However when you get that tag you better come to play because the person lined up across from you wants to beat you even worse now.
• Don’t act like you have been there before. Because you haven’t! Two senior classes have graduated from Texas never beating OU.
• Keep your heads up. If somehow the Sooners get up early you have to stop yourself from thinking, “For the love of Pete this happens to us every year.
• Finally, change your mentality. For the last five years the Longhorns have taken the field hoping they can win while the Sooners take the field knowing they will.

This should be an entertaining game with lots of drama and intangibles. So, here we go!

Big Game

This is definitely the spotlight game of the week. The Longhorns have perhaps the most impressive win this college football season at Ohio State and the Sooners have five years of winning on their side. The key match-up here will be the OU linebackers vs. Vince Young. OU will have to force Young to beat them with his arm and not his legs. Whoever runs the ball wins the game.

OU is in trouble if …
• Vince Young is running and passing. The Sooners have to make him one dimensional. Preferably force him to pass and take advantage of their match-ups.
• Texas does not turn the ball over. Young has thrown five interceptions this season and the Sooners have to force him to make poor choices and then capitalize on them.
• The Sooners don’t tackle. OU defenders have missed plenty of tackles this year and will pay dearly for it if it happens against Texas.
• Adrian Peterson is on the sideline. Peterson has to play and he has to play at full strength.

Texas is in trouble if …
• Peterson is running free like he did last year. He will be the main target of the Longhorn defense. If he gets lose it could spell disaster.
• Rhett Bomar has a career day. The OU passing game is improving and you know the Sooners always save something for Texas. Don’t forget Bomar can run as well.
• They can’t run the ball. It’s the number rushing offense against the number three rush defense.
• They get down early. The “Here we go again” mentality is bound to creep in.

I’ve searched desperately to try to find a reason to pick Oklahoma to win but the realist in me just won’t let me. Longhorn fans watching the game from home should remove all sharp objects just in case I’m wrong. I’m hoping I am!

Prediction: Texas 20/OU 13

Must Win
Missouri @ Oklahoma State
– The Tigers were the tune up game for the Longhorns before the Oklahoma game. They showed promise early but then faded fast. OSU had possibly one of the worst offensive performances in school history against Colorado. The loser of this game is on the fast track to the bottom of their division.

Prediction: Missouri 38/OSU 14

Possible Upset
Texas A&M @ Colorado
– I’m not sold that the Aggies are as bad as they played last week nor are the Buffalos are as good as they looked last week. This is the recipe for an upset.

Prediction: A&M 31/Colorado 20

Other Big 12 Games

Baylor @ Iowa State
– The Bears are playing better football but are in a bad spot here. It will be too easy to have a let down here after losing a game they should have won last week at Texas A&M.

Prediction: I.S.U. 27/Baylor 10

Kansas @ Kansas State – This Wildcats team could be worse than they were last year. They are very mistake prone and very inexperienced. The Jayhawks have a stingy defense and can be creative on offense.

Prediction: Kansas 38/Kansas State 27

Texas Tech @ Nebraska – This game got ugly last year but it should be different for them at home this year. Just when you are ready to criticize Nebraska for offensive performance they go off and win another game. I say they keep it closer than last year’s game but still fall short to the Red Raiders.

Prediction: Tech 42/Nebraska 38