Friday, October 26, 2018

The Comeback

I’d like to “not call it a comeback” but it was.  Texas posted another ugly 23-17 win over Baylor this week.  While there were many external factors at play, the game was just another in a series of “too close for comfort” wins taking the Horns from an unranked, disregarded team to the number 6 team in the nation.  

I commented to my family as we left the stadium “I know it was a 6 point, but it felt like 1.”  Of course, when it comes down to one score, is there really a difference?

Frustrations and ugliness aside, Texas is 6-1.  Additionally, they’re 4-0 in the Big 12, ranked first in the Big 12 and bowl eligible – the last time the Horns were lined up with these stats at this point in the season was 2009 – Texas’ last National Championship bid year.

Of course, we can make statistics say anything we want, right? 
For instance, Texas’ score by quarter through the first seven games:

1st quarter:        44
2nd quarter:       84
3rd quarter:        63
4th quarter:        17
In their last three 4th quarters Texas has scored three points. THREE.

It can’t go without noting that backup quarterback Shane Buechele played almost the entire game, after Ehlinger left 10 snaps and 39 yards into Texas’ first possession.  What turned out to be an AC sprain sidelined the starter for the remainder of the game.

Buechele led the team to (a frightening) victory going 20/34, passing for 184 yards with one TD and one interception.  Colin Johnson was clearly Buechele’s favorite target of the day, with Colin catching 11 passes for 132 yards – including a 44 yard bomb for a TD late in the 2nd Quarter – prior to this game, he was averaging 5 catches for 86 yards.

So on one hand Buechele seems to be much more efficient passing/handing off than running, (he rushed for 11 yards on 5 carries), and in this instance it was enough.  On the other hand, Ehlinger has rushed for 230 yards through the first seven (well, six really) games, including 6 rushing TD’s, and I’m not sure how I feel about our QB being our 2nd leading rusher. 
On a third hand, I DO know how I feel about losing, and it’s not great.  So I guess I should take my yards however I can get them.

Lil’ Jordan Humphrey had his fewest yards of the season, catching 7 passes for 41 yards, making his season total 42 catches for 576 yards (averaging 6/82).  The statistic I love to highlight is that seven games into the season he’s caught 12% more passes for 26% more yards than his 2017 season total

I’d to think Texas fans (or myself) would never allow a player to go from the G.O.A.T. to the goat in a matter of games, but I can see us being that awful.  I was personally disappointed that Dicker the Kicker was put into a situation to miss a 51 yard field goal (having missed a 34 yarder the previous possession & gotten 40 & 35 yarders).  Over the year he’s 10/15 of FG’s and 100% on extra points (which should be the statistic on ever college football kicker in the history of time and the future of the world).  I think a mid-field FG is too much to ask, even of your Red River Hero.

Overall, it was great to put in a backup QB and still win the game, but it was absolutely NOT great that we didn’t score at all in the second half.   Our defense and clock management held Baylor to only one scoring drive in each the first three quarters and a no-score 4th quarter. 

I’m trying my best to be more optimistic than scared about our upcoming stretch of Big 12 play, but in a season where Texas Tech ran the ball over 150 yards in a single game, I feel like anything can happen.

Luckily my game day shirt is 6-0 this season.  And while I’m truly upset with myself for not wearing it while watching the Maryland game, that won’t happen again.  I’ll burn it when Hager gets to cut his hair.

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Rivalry: Addendum B

Well, that happened.  Despite a deplorable 5 minutes somewhere in the 4th quarter, Texas but a resounding thump down on the Texas/OU rivalry by besting the #7 ranked Sooners in the cotton bowl.

He looks so happy.
So, I got a little bit of flak for this exact quote on last week's pre-game quote: "I’m curious to see how explosive “the great” Kyler Murray looks when stack up against Todd Orlando’s defense."  This caused my mom and I to, at the game, pretty much make hand fireworks in the sky any time we felt Kyler wasn't "explosive" enough for the superlative.  

No doubt did Kyler throw some beautiful bombs, and that great 65+ yard run late in the 4th.  And while that was a clutch time to make a great play like that, leading up to the game the pundits said over and over again how the Texas D wouldn't be able to contain him.  What they failed to mention was that Oklahoma had yet to face off against a ranked opponent.  You may not think that's important.  I do.  That being said I stand by my statement.  As far as the QB's by the numbers for THIS game, nothing indicates one QB is better than the other. 

My Game Yaaaassss:
1. Dicker the Kicker had the chance to be the hero or the goat on Saturday, with the Texas offense setting up a 9 play, 52 yard drive for him to hit a 40 yard go ahead field goal with 9 seconds left on the clock.  I watched it through my fingers, having been used to a few years now of remarkably unreliable kicking.
2. Ehlinger has now gone five games without throwing an interception
3. Penalties we were 6-43 on penalties, though for some reason it felt like way less.  I swear to Thor if we continue to take delay of game penalties for not particular reason...

My Game Meh:
1. Punting.  My sister had a theory that Bujcevski really had some kind of secret gun-arm that we were saving for a fake against OU.  I'd like to say that actually happened.  It did not.  I don't want to see a 22 yard punt, even if the other three were 35, 43 & 45.   A 22 yard punt is up there for me with a missed PAT.  It shouldn't be a thing.

My Game Booooooo:
1.  I liked it much better LAST year when a 20 point lead was completely wiped out in about eight minutes.  The Texas defense going absolutely silent in the 4th quarter to allow 21 unanswered points and erase a two score lead was almost too much for my little heart to take.

So What Now?
Let's win every damn game, dammit.

As of the latest AP poll, Texas has made it's way into the top ten.  At first i thought this was premature, but then I thought about the quality of opponents we've played vs other teams in the Top 25....This is what I found out:

Rank Team Record  Record Vs Ranked
1 Alabama 6 - 0 1 - 0
2 Georgia 6 - 0  - 
3 Ohio State 6 - 0 2 - 0
4 Clemson 6 - 0  - 
5 Notre Dame 6 - 0 3 - 0
6 West Virginia 5 - 0 1 - 0
7 Washington 5 - 1 1 - 1
8 Penn State 4 - 1 0 - 1
9 Texas 5 - 1 3 - 0
10 UCF 5 - 0  - 
11 Oklahoma 5 - 1 0 - 1
12 Michigan 5 - 1 0 - 1
13 LSU 5 - 1 2 - 0
14 Florida 5 - 1 2 - 0
15 Wisconsin 4 - 1  - 
16 Miami 5 - 1 0 - 1
17 Oregon 4 - 1 1 - 0
18 Kentucky 5 - 1 2 - 0
19 Colorado 5 - 0  - 
20 NC State 5 - 0  - 
21 Auburn 4 - 2 1 - 1
22 Texas A&M 4 - 2 1 - 2
23 South Florida 5 - 0   - 
24 Mississippi State 4 - 2  1 - 0
25 Cincinnati 6 - 0  - 

Make of that what you will.

In Conclusion:
The Corny Dogs have been eaten and the Golden Hat has been donned.  Personally my Hook 'Em Horns arm (the right one) is sore and my voice hoarse.  Even two days after the fact.

We're definitely in a do or die situation.  I'm so happy about our 5 game winning streak (3 of those five over ranked teams) but I want to see what they do with it now.  Let's not waste it.  Let's win every damn game, dammit.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

The Rivalry: Addendum A

It’s that time of year.  When The Majestic looms in front of us.

What time specifically, you ask?  Let me check my clock.... 

Coming into the game, Texas is coming off four consecutive wins – this hasn’t happened since 2013…Mack Brown’s last season (who’s laughing now,  

Saturday will mark the first time since 2012 that both teams are coming in ranked – but that’s a statistic we all know hardly matters in a rivalry game like this. Texas has won two of the last five meetings and lost by five points in each of the other three.  In both of those games, the unranked Texas team beat a top ten Oklahoma.  Needless to say, games are close in a rivalry like this. 

Some more statistics that don’t really matter: 

Ranked 30th, Texas will be the best defense OU has faced this season. So far Oklahoma’s opponents have defensively ranked 31st (Iowa State), 46th (Army), 88th (Baylor), 99th (UCLA) & 110th (Florida Atlantic).  Oklahoma is listed 90th in overall defense. 

As for total offense…Texas doesn’t even crack the top half of teams, ranked 77th to OU’s 12th.   But again, Texas has played teams ranked defensively at 15th (TCU), 20th (Maryland), 51st (Tulsa), 69th (USC) & 84th (KSU), meaning the average defensive ranking of Texas opponents is 48th to OU’s 75th.

Penalties: OMG Texas is ranked 103rd in penalties.  They’ve had 39 Penalties for 342 yards in FIVE GAMES.  That’s a 7.8/68.4 average.  Holy hell we need to get that under control.  Oklahoma sits at 66th, 28/270 (5.6/54 Average). 

Oklahoma hasn’t faced a ranked opponent yet this season.  Texas has played and defeated two.  

Texas has had five turnovers this season, Oklahoma has had three.  Both teams have thrown two interceptions this season.  Texas hasn’t thrown an interception since the opener to Maryland, while
OU’s most recent came at the hands of Army two games back. 

Texas has intercepted the ball six times to Oklahoma’s four. 

Points Per Game Oklahoma sits at #8 with an average of 48.6.  Texas is 72nd (eek) with a 28.8 average.  Compare those as you will to the average defensive rankings of their opponents and it’s like this statistic evens out. 

Things I’m Curious About: 

1. I’m curious to see how explosive “the great” Kyler Murray looks when stack up against Todd Orlando’s defense.
2. Hurry Up Offense.  Can we please use it pretty please?
3. Weather:  For the 3rd game now, there’s a 60+ % chance of rain at game time.  We’ve yet to see that rain.  Yet I bring the poncho week after week. 

Somethings I’m Worried About:
1. Defending the long pass
2. Nervous mistakes
3. The cost of state fair beer having gone up
4. Punting.  Which Bujcevski will show up this week?  The good Bujcevski, or the bad Bujcevski?

I’m looking forward to a close game.  Most experts are predicting Oklahoma by a touchdown.  I think Texas will win by 10.  Because I’m an optimist, despite what years of reading this blog may indicate. 

Also, this made me laugh.

The Color Purple (TM)

If you know me, of if you’ve read a substantial amount of this blog you know that when it comes to Texas Football, the color purple fuels fires of hatred and fear. 

Hatred? TCU, of course. 
Fear? The Wizarding World of Bill Snyder.
Both teams, clad in purple, have substantially had our number since the early 2000’s.

First, let’s talk about frogs.
Leading into the TCU Game was, once again, hurricane force winds and can’t see in front of your face rain.  In a 2-1 vote, I was ousted and the game was viewed from a Hooters barstool.
As a co-worker reminded me prior to the game, though the overall history of the series between Texas and TCU is quite lopsided in the Horns’ favor, in recent years it’s been pretty bad.  TCU was on a four game winning streak, much to my unhappiness, and has been a much more focused – well, and I hate to say better team that Texas in the last seven years.
As we perched on barstools and listened to pre-game banter, both T2, Kacie and I let out condescending groans when Coach Patterson was asked whether he would rather beat Texas or Ohio State.  His response? Texas.  Well, of course you would, Coach.  Ohio State has already beaten you, so of course you would pick Texas.  I. Hate. Him.
To be clear, I’m not an idiot, I understand that there’s NO chance at a playoff without winning the conference.  To that end, a Texas win is critical.  When asked what he would want people to say about the Ohio State loss if TCU was to run the Big 12 and be in consideration for the playoff, he points refers to The Huskies’ season opener loss to Auburn: "They said that they shouldn't hold it against Washington because they played a really good football team."  Look, first off, I don’t know who “they” is.  The media?  The government?  The Huskies themselves? 
There’s a few disparities.  The Washington/Auburn game was a pretty close one, a 21-16 outcome.  Ohio State, on the other hand, beat TCU 40-28.  In fact TCU allowed Ohio State three touchdowns … in four minutes.  TCU also had three costly turnovers.

But this is not about the Ohio State game.  This is about the Texas game.  In true fashion of teams we really want to beat having bad losses the week before they play us, I feared that TCU was looking at this as some kind of opportunity for some kind of misplaced revenge.  I say misplaced revenge because 1) we haven’t beaten TCU in several years and 2) ask any TCU fan, and they’ll tell you how much better their team is than Texas.

But not on this day.  Texas came out strong on defense, holding TCU to 3 Field goals and only one Touchdown.  TCU once again outdid themselves on turnovers (count ‘em, 4), and had second consecutive dismal third quarter (and beyond) blowing a 16 – 10 lead and allowing the Horns 21 unanswered points – two of those touchdowns coming in a 17 second span.

Despite that fact that Texas had the ball a whopping 9 mintutes longer than TCU, when asked about some questionable play calling, including a punt on 4th & 4 on the 38, Patterson noted: “I know how to manage games. It wasn’t that play that got us beat. I can promise you that. And you had a backup quarterback in the game.”

Just had to mention the backup quarterback.  I feel ya, Gary.  I really do.  (As I play a violin on a lonely Rose Bowl Field on January 7, 2010 as my shattered dreams dance by.)

I got the same kind of response when I got to the office the Monday after.  A purple co-worker said the actual words "Well, TCU didn't play well."  Of course, how Gary Patterson of you to imply that the reason Texas won was because of a tragic TCU flaw.

So, here we are.  Going into week five 4-1, back in the rankings at #18 with two Top 25 wins under our belts.

And now we have to go to …. The Little Apple.  Manhattan Kansas. 

Ah, the memories.  It was in Manhattan in November 2006 that I met a group of tailgaters who would become my Orange Band of Brothers from September to January.  Meeting Scotty and the rest of the CATI/Schwillgate Tailgaters would impact my life forever.  (In mostly good ways.)  It was in Manhattan that Bob Shipley eerily turned to me and told me not to call his son “a ghost”.  Ok, that one’s fair.

Unfortunately, most of my memories of Manhattan include a loss.  The aforementioned 2006 game would hint at the future for Colt McCoy – a stinger that would plague his career for years to come.

Some Quick Stats About the History of the Matchup:
Last Texas Win: 2013
Last Texas Win in Manhattan: 2002
Largest Margin of Victory: Texas – 64-0
Longest Wins Streak: K-State – 2006-2012
Current All Time Record: K-State 10 / Texas 9

So, going into this game I was a little nervous.  As I’ve mentioned before, Bill Snyder is some kind of wizard or has some kind of Texas Voodoo doll.  He gets our number more often than I would like to admit.  But it was time to break the streak.

I was also not in my comfort zone for game watching.  I’ll admit I was distracted and maybe got a little overconfident when I saw the score was 19-0 at the half.

In my defense, I was in Northern Virginia to attend my 20 year high school reunion.  I may have stopped paying close attention so I could get all dolled up in order to impress people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in 20 years.  So while in the car enroute to the event when I checked the score and noted it was now 19-7 in the third, I got serious about paying attention.

As we navigated NOVA traffic I screamed both nice words and bad ones, and was able to happily turn off my drained battery phone when the game came to an end.  Because of my lackadaisical phone watching, I’m not exactly sure what happened to the offense in the second half - but again every win, even ugly ones matter on the road to the Big XII championship.

The outcome was closer than I would have liked, but when you’re fighting a wizard, you should just be happy you came out still human, and not a gnome or something.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Turning Point

Finally the day had arrived!  Texas vs USC – one of those infrequently rivalries yet one deeply seeded in hatred.  For Mack’s sake, we’ve even seen some suspicious verbiage in the USC press guide claiming that, because they were later found out to be cheaters, the season ending in the famed Texas/USC national championship never happened.  What asshats.  

Of course, with famous alumni like these, who needs … (what do I put here?  Enemies? Police Escorts?). 

I digress.  The Trojans can cling to whatever logic they want, but it won’t change the fact that everyone on the planet saw that game. Including Will Ferrell. 

Of course, last year’s OT thriller at the Coliseum was heartbreaking.
  Ehlinger last second fumble on the goal line still haunts me, but as I’ve mentioned (twice now) I’m really working hard to let that go. 

Still, regardless of what happened in the last snap of that game, this matchup was a whole new ballgame.

Fresh off a win (an ugly win, but a win nonetheless) against Tulsa, the drive to Austin was much easier, albeit just as rainy as the previous week.  A tiny little “we’re going to win” creeped into my brain.  On the drive down I predicted a close win. 
For Texas to salvage any of their season, this win was crucial.
  Heading into Big XII play at 2-1 is not an option.  After the USC game comes TCU, K-State & OU all in a row – momentum going into this gauntlet is crucial.

Walking into the stadium just felt different.  The last few years there has been a struggle to fill the stands, most disappointingly the student section.  But it appears that Chris Del Conte has been working hard to repair the damage done by Steve Patterson  Appeasing the students coupled with a team that is likely on the rise, the stadium had an electricity I hadn’t felt in years.  

Luckily, I’m not talking about a lightning strike to the bleachers – though heavy thunderstorms and rain were predicted for the entire game, our ponchos were once again spared.   The joke now is to just bring the poncho, otherwise surely it will rain.   It’s times like these I miss Scott Fisher.

At game time, it was just in the air.  Confidence, excitement.  I felt in my little burnt orange heart that we were going to win – though still expecting an ugly, close game. 

I am happy to report that I was wrong.   About that last part anyway.

The Longhorns were ALL OVER USC.   While we had a few hiccups (a luck out call on what should have been a safety, a touchdown-less first quarter) our defense was astounding and our offense had the best third quarter that I’ve seen them play in years.   

The Horns put up 34 unanswered points in front a record crowd.  The defense held USC to -5 rushing yards, we returned a blocked FG for a touchdown.  The only thing that could have made my heart happier was if Pete Carroll had been there to see it.

We’ve got the momentum.  Now we just need to keep playing every game like it’s the national championship.  We need to WIN EVERY DAMN GAME, DAMMIT.

(As the fates would have it, this win catapulted Texas into the 900 win club, making them one of the elite three (joining storied programs Ohio State & Michigan) to do so.)

Horns were raised, Eyes were sung.  I can’t even describe the great joy I felt in my heart.  After the game my sister and I went back to the hotel where we waited patiently for SportCenter to play the recap.  As expected, laced throughout the scant praise were the factors that caused USC to lose (ie "UT beat us tonight... but I still think we're the better team.").  In a week, I would encounter this exact phenomenon with a purple clad co-worker.

Unless USC gets popped for cheating again, I guess they’ll have to conceded that they have indeed been beaten by Texas.

Now starts Big XII play.   The future is in our hands.  Literally.

The Ugly Baby

Weeeelp.  That game was a bit more frightening than I would have liked.   Still: It’s an ugly baby but we’re going to bring it home and love it anyway. 

I'm not going to lie.  About 20 miles South of Dallas, we almost turned the car around. It had been torrentially raining for several days in Big D and all forecasts pointed to rain all the way down I-35 and through the entire game.  Seven hours of driving through the storm at the beginning of "Clue" was not appealing.  But we tucked in our rain ponchos and made a go at it.  The drive down was brutal, but not a drop made it into the stadium.  Scott Fisher would have let a big 'old "Hookeeeeeeeeeeeem Horns" out...had he been there.  

The 28-21 victory over The Golden Hurricane left a lot to be desired and didn’t spark a lot of confidence that we’ve gotten those early season jitters out of the way. Instead, it reminded me how fragile life is.  And how quickly a 21-0 lead can become a “thank-god-they-missed-three-field-goals” kind of victory.

In fact as we walked down the ramps after the game, a very sad Tulsa fan reminded us that they lost by 6 points and missed three field goals.  

Let’s face it.  Tulsa went 2-10 last year.  They haven’t won on the road since mid-season 2016.  This should have been a much more resounding victory than it ended up being.  

I really wanted to walk out of the game feeling like we really had a chance to beat USC and just haul out the rest of the season.  While I still have hope and feel like these things are possible, I am more cautiously optimistic than deliriously over-confident....which maybe, now that I think of it is a good thing. 

I’m happy to report that despite blowing a 21 point lead, Ehlinger looked like a quarterback we need.  No interceptions.  Several scrambles for first downs.  21 of 27 and two TD’s. 

Did I want a shut out?  Yes.  Will I take the win?  Yes.  

Did I mention I saw this shirt for sale in Bevo Alley and changed into it into the bathroom??  I will pretty much only have occasion to wear it twice in decade, but luckily it will be on hand when I do.

The Fighting Turtles

Well….that, folks, was not great. 

I’m trying to console myself with all of the things you say when you lose your season opener.
  •           We have a lot of room to improve.
  •           There’s a lot of football left to play.
  •           They just needed to get those first game nerves out of the way.

It was pretty brutal to watch.  It took Maryland 6 plays to get seven on the board.  That was bad.  Somehow a moment later Ehlinger connected with Duvernay for a 39 yard TD pass. Unfortunately a mere 25 seconds later, Maryland threw a deep 60+ yard bomb for a TD.

Less than five minutes into the second quarter, Maryland was up 24-7.  At that point, the Texas offense started to do something they have almost consistently been good at.  A fast paced, hurry up offense that went on to score two touchdowns going into the half.   I’ll point out that we failed a 2 point conversion going into the half, but in all fairness our D had forced a safety moments before, so I’ll let it slide.   This means going into the half it was 22 Texas to Maryland 24.

Then there was the longest third quarter in the history of time.  A storm/rain delay was able to squash any momentum the longhorns had built up (including the only score of the quarter, a Texas TD) and a 29-24 lead for Texas became a 29-34 loss.

In the fourth quarter, Texas went back to doing what Texas does.  Taking forever at the line to snap the ball. Running up the middle on 3rd and 8.  And I hate to even say it but with a minute left to go and the ball on the Maryland 33, Ehlinger in a desperate move threw an interception inside the 2 minute mark. In fact, the second this happened I stood up, raised my hands in the air and said "there it is."

Also concerning was the inability to defend against the deep pass.  We need to work on that.

I’m pretty sure my last post referenced my desire to not be upset that he’s done that at some really inopportune times.  I'm still working on it. 

All that said.  It always could have been worse.   At least we didn’t give up 51 points to them this year. 

The Tre Watson fumble near the end of the 4th was not great.  In fact the three turnovers in the last four minutes were not great.  10 penalties for 102 yards was really not great.

Despite two interceptions, I'm still sticking with Ehlinger as the guy.  I think it's important that even after that terrible two-interception last four minutes, we keep him at starter.  He'll never develop the confidence he needs if he is terrified that having a bad game is going to cost him the start. 

We have a lot to get together in the next week.  We open to Tulsa at home next week, and after that is a gauntlet of terror including TCU/K-State/USC/OU.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The New Season: Schrödinger's Team

It’s that time of year again, folks.   

Every year before the season starts, we are Schrödinger's Team:
§  Both Winners and Losers. 
§  Both National Champions and Last Ranked. 
§  Both Exhilarating and Excruciating.

Schrödinger's Team is not to be confused with Schrödinger's Cat, the Pet Cemetery Cat, Schrödinger's Scat (the former Texas men’s a capella group) or the 2005 Texas National Championship winning team.

Some of my thoughts about the upcoming season include:

Speaking of the 2005 Texas National Championship Team.  Ugh USC.  In true homage to the Schrödinger's theme, last year’s game against USC was the saddest/happiest I’ve even been simultaneously, as well as the proudest/most disappointed.   

Offensive Curiosity:
I mean, why not.  It’s a new season.  We’ve named a starter (for the first game anyway) and for once I agree with Coach Herman that Sam Ehlinger should take the lead.  I’m hoping that we don’t continue the pattern of the last few years of playing not to lose (which didn’t work for Coach Strong, either) and put a little faith in the team, especially at QB.

I’m trying in my mind to let go of a few game changing mistakes Ehlinger made at some KEY points in some KEY games last year (USC, OU) and remember that a win or a loss should never come down to one play or one college kid’s mistakes.  You know, trying to be less of a horrible person…

Our O-Line has a combined 101 career starts (eeek).  I don’t know what’s happening at center (or has been for the last few years).  Our returning RB’s haven’t shown too much consistency, and we lost four of our top six receivers from last season.  Regardless, with lots of recruits and transfers taking the field at skill positions, there’s a lot to look forward to learning. 

Defensive Stress:
I’m just going to say it plainly, we’ve lost Malik, Poona & DeShon (who, to add injury to insult fractured his forearm this week in the NFL pre-season after leaving us early).  These player losses stress. Me. Out.

For some reason, Texas is ranked 23rd in the AP & 21st in the Coaches Poll.  Maybe the coaches like that Herman “allegedly” gave it the old college try to get Urban Meyer fired (which, by the way, I old-school-x-files-want-to-believe he did, but don’t actually believe he did).

I think any ranking is a bit high for a team that’s barely (if even) been bowl eligible since Mack Brown “retired”.  I understand it’s easier to fall out of than crawl into the rankings and I should take what I get.  In my heart of hearts I’d rather crawl in this year…because you’ve gotta crawl before you strut.  In the words of 54b, if you just “Win Every Damn Game, Damnit”, then you’ll get up to where you need to be.  Coming in with a ranking means nothing, and I worry our players will think it means “something”.

Texas has a frightening stretch of schedule from USC to Oklahoma.  It scares me that these games are stacked at the beginning of the season, but maybe it’s good to just find out what we’re made of right away.  Who knows? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Win Probability
at Maryland
at Kansas State
vs. Oklahoma
at Oklahoma State
West Virginia
at Texas Tech
Iowa State
at Kansas

This probability chart came from SB Nation, so take it for what you will.   The real WTF (What the Football) moment in this chart is that Texas has only an 81% chance of beating Kansas.  Sqwaaaaaak????  I don’t mean to be rude, but for Rock Chalk’s sake, this series is a bit lopsided.  

Kansas has won three games in as many years, including one winless season.  It’s very sad for me to admit that one of my darkest moments in fandom was the Longhorns being one of those defeats, so I know I sound like a real jerk, but I feel like that % should be in AT LEAST the mid 90%’s.  Sorry, not sorry.

Though he became coach during the The Extreme Blogging Hiatus: Addendum B, it’s no secret that I am having a little trouble getting on board with Coach Herman.  I HOPE he proves me wrong, I WANT him to prove me wrong.   I find him a bit snarky, and a bit arrogant without credence.  Listen, my Dad was a fighter pilot, so I appreciate a cocky attitude as much as anyone, but Herman just hasn’t shown me the goods yet. 

Personally, and in my amateur opinion, I don’t believe he’s mature enough to lead a team of young men at this level.  In my observation, he wants the respect of a coach, but wants to act like a peer.   I think he’s got some growing up to do, I think he needs to work on his grudge holding & punishment doling, and I think he needs to put some distance between himself and the players. Mostly, I hope hope hope this is the year he makes it to the grown-ups table.

Let’s be real.  Michael Dickson is gone.  Remember last year when Texas played Missouri?   He punted the ball inside the Mizzou 10 four out of 11 times.  Let’s recap:
§  34 yards to the 4
§  58 yards to the 10
§  48 yards to the 2
§  33 yards to the 3
The remaining punts were all within the 20.  ZERO touchbacks.  He averaged 41.1 yards per punt. 

We’ve had many sad, dismal kicking seasons (I’m talking to you Fera) since our several seasons of kicking glory (the holy trinity of Lawrence, Mangum, Tucker).  I don’t know what is going to happen now that Dickson is gone.  As of press time (haha, it’s a blog, press time is when I "press" the publish button) we still haven’t named a starter.   And I swear on all that is holy if we miss more than 3% of EXTRA POINTS this season I will lose my mind.

Several Longhorns are starting out the season on award watch lists:
Potential Award
Rimington Trophy
Zach Shackelford
Chuck Bednarik Award
Breckyn Hager
Gary Johnson
Fred Biletnikoff Award
Collin Johnson
John Mackey Award
Andrew Beck
Butkus Award
Gary Johnson
Jim Thorpe Award
Kris Boyd
Bronko Nagurski Trophy
Kris Boyd
Outland Trophy
Patrick Vahe
Wuerffel Trophy
Collin Johnson
Walter Camp Award
Collin Johnson
Ted Hendricks Award
Breckyn Hager
Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award
Collin Johnson

In Conclusion:
Here we sit for four more days until we have a few answers.  In the meantime I have a little wish list:

§  I’d like a win.
§  I’d like to end the weekend still in the polls, but even an unconvincing win doesn’t guarantee that.  
§  I’d like to see a little heart. 
§  I’d like to see a little teamwork.
§  I’d like to see a little excitement on the field. 
§  I’d like to see the players respecting themselves and one another as they grow into young men. 
§  I’d like a national championship….

… is all that too much to ask?