Tag Archives: Bob Stoops

Week 5 Game Preview: Texas Longhorns v. oklahoma sooners

Well, it won’t be an undefeated season after all. It’s easy to admit now – along with many others – that UCLA seemed like a pushover. They were mid-level PAC-10 team (if that) with few expectations, and there was no way they were going to roll in to Mack Brown’s house and put a beat down on the #6 Longhorns. Boy were we wrong – 34-12 wasn’t even a summary of what went wrong.

There are a lot of things that need to be fixed. Go ahead and start up the “replace Greg Davis” talk for the 2010 season, because once again, this writer is on board. Texas looked absolutely anemic in Saturday’s contest against the Bruins. After holding the opposition to -6 yards in the first quarter, Texas gave up 264 rushing yards in the final three quarters. The Bruins only passed for 27 yards all game – yep, 27 yards. But, this game was decided not necessarily on the defense’s performance, but the offense and special teams being anything but. Turnovers changed the game. Perhaps the incomplete TD pass to James Kirkendoll changes the attitude on the sidelines and the game ends up differently for the ‘Horns. But, it didn’t happen and the outcome wasn’t affected. Texas got beat, pure and simple, and truth be told they should have gotten beaten a lot worse then they did. This was the wake-up call. Were they looking ahead? We’re going to find out this week.

It’s a weekend of intense hatred on either side of the Red River. In fact, EyesOfTX’s significant other made an astute football observation this week while watching “The Biggest Loser.” One of the contestants, picked from Oklahoma City during a nationwide search for contestants, had family members in the crowd cheering her on in a contest to get on the show. Those family members were wearing ou t-shirts. Rather bluntly, the words, “I hope she loses” simultaneously echoed off the walls of our living room. While she thought I had somehow gotten in to the crazy pills, we all know who the sane one was that evening. ou sucks – let’s get to it, and if you need a refresher on your pre-game checklist for Texas/ou weekend, check it out here.

Texas Longhorns v. oklahoma sooners
2:30 p.m. CT (ABC)

Prediction:
Texas 17, oklahoma 42

It’s a first. EyesOfTX is picking against the ‘Horns. Saturday’s contest seems an insurmountable hill to climb, and with only a few cylinders in the Longhorns clunker working leading in to week 5, the road to glory in Dallas will be a long one in 2010.

On the plus side, this is THE game of the year on Texas’ schedule. Every player comes to Texas to relish in the atmosphere of Texas/ou weekend. To walk out the tunnel on to the field at the Cotton Bowl, amongst the 50/50 split of Longhorn and sooner fans and make their mark on the rivalry. This is the game that matters. This is for bragging rights. This is to gain back some of the respect lost after last Saturday’s debacle. If you need help getting amped up for this game, you shouldn’t set foot on the field.

Nonetheless, oklahoma WR Jaz Reynolds gave the Longhorns some bulletin board material this week. For those who don’t know, a lone gunman strode through the UT campus earlier this week, firing shots at random before entering the PCL library and taking his own life. Luckily, no bystanders were injured. But, that didn’t stop Reynolds from using Twitter to speak his mind: “Hey everyone in Austin, tx…….kill yourself #evillaugh.” Shortly thereafter, he followed up with: “Everyone in austin, tx disregard that last tweet….y’all will mess around n do it lmao.”

Thus, the dominoes will fall as they may on Saturday, and sooners will still be classy in every way we know them to be. And, Reynolds will enjoy the game from the sidelines – head coach Bob Stoops did one thing right and suspended him indefinitely. Too bad, surely the ‘Horns would have loved to have their shot at him this weekend. Metaphorically, of course.

oklahoma’s Keys To The Game:
It’s as though Stoops’ offense hasn’t changed in years. Balance. Lots of points. Select playmakers. Quentin Griffin comes to mind. As does Adrian Peterson. And Sam Bradford. And the other Roy Williams. And a number of others. Today’s sooners heros are none other than RB Demarco Murray and WR Ryan Broyles. It will be a two-man show on Saturday, with QB Landry Jones behind the scenes pulling the curtains back. Balance.

oklahoma sooners RB Demarco Murray

Murray is finally hitting is stride as the RB every fan has been waiting for him to become. He’s Peterson-sized at 6’1” and 207 pounds, and has gained 436 yards and seven TDs in just four games. He’s fast, and great in between the tackles or hitting the edge and making the most of open space. He’ll do the leg work for the sooners on Saturday, but the question becomes where and how he makes his yards – on the ground or through the air. Broyles is a known quantity, and has shown up big for the sooners in previous Red River Rivalry games. Despite his size (5’11” 193 pounds), he has a way of freeing himself up in coverage and making big plays to the tune of 120 yards per game and four TDs. He’ll be Jones’ go-to wide out on Saturday, and expect Texas to plant CB Aaron Williams on his hip as the shut-down corner.

Jones is an accurate and strong-armed passer, but he’s relatively immobile and that should be something Texas keys on in their defensive scheme. He likes to get rid of the ball quickly, letting his aforementioned playmakers do the work, but if the Texas d-line can get pressure, he’s mistake prone. The sooners’ offensive line is also still struggling to gel, and although they put together gutty performances, they are just as susceptible to mistakes as the young Texas offensive line. They give up two sacks per game, and most of ou’s running game – stretch plays or running off-tackle – veer away from what is usually the strength of an offensive line’s blocking schemes.

oklahoma sooners LB Travis Lewis

The defensive line and linebackers will cause Texas problems, especially from the edge. ou returns two defensive ends – Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander – that could both make a case for national awards at season’s end. Beal is the real threat, but left one-on-one, Alexander will make plays as well. The defensive line will try to control the line of scrimmage and clear the dust so their star linebacker, Travis Lewis, can clean up everything in site and is also solid in coverage. With Texas’ anemic running game, expect to see Lewis blitzing more often to force Texas QB Garrett Gilbert to make poor decisions – something he hasn’t really done all year. With the middle of the field open, Texas should be able to exploit the short-yardage passing attack.

But, the defensive backfield poses the biggest threat for ou and opportunity for Texas. The corners are small, 5’9” and 5’11”, and shouldn’t be able to handle Texas’ height on the outside. Their safeties are plenty capable of running the sooners’ cover two scheme, and Gilbert will have to disguise his reads in a way that would make former Texas QB Chris Simms jealous to be successful.

Texas’ Keys To The Game:
First, show up to play. The ‘Horns looked lethargic last week, and they need the playmakers to step up at every position on Saturday. Every player at every position was tested this week in practice. Every player’s starting job was on the line. Every player’s ears should be ringing from a position coach in their head about blocking their gaps, running the right routes, holding on to the ball, and not making mental mistakes. Rumor has it, that as of Wednesday, the Texas coaching staff hadn’t figured out their offensive game plan for ou – something that is usually settled on Sunday afternoon in Austin. That’s a scary proposition that most Texas fans don’t want to hear.

Second, Texas need to expand the offensive playbook. Texas is awfully predictable right now, and while Gilbert is making safe reads to his check-downs, it’s happening too often. The bubble screen and hot routes aren’t successful in moving the chains with this group of wideouts. Yet, on the rare occasion we see Gilbert get out of the pocket or looking downfield, we have success – in big chunks. While Gilbert can get the ball to his playmakers on the outside, they’ve got to step up and make plays as well. Against a questionable sooners secondary, this will be their time to shine. Run sharp routes, catch the ball (it’s one of two jobs you have on the field!), and make some yards after the catch. The running game, with likely its fourth different starter in five games, shouldn’t be a factor this week – all they need to do is pass protect, and act as Gilbert’s relief valve when the sooners’ pass rush is overwhelming the offensive line.

Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis

As an EyesOfTX subscriber brought to my attention this week, it’s not necessarily the offensive players at fault for the production on the field – offensive coordinator Greg Davis has managed to diminish NFL-caliber talent on the offensive side of the ball for years. Think back to 2007, when the team wasn’t that good, and our offense consisted of next-level talent at every skill position: QB Colt McCoy, WRs Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley, TE Jermichael Finley, and RB Jamaal Charles. Yikes – if he couldn’t do anything with those guys, what’s in store for what looks like mediocre talent in 2010? That makes you wonder if and how Greg Davis is hampering the talent walking through the doors of Moncrief every year.

Third, Texas has to re-group on defense. This week and next (against Nebraska), the ‘Horns are going to continue to see a top-tier running attack. UCLA was nothing, and they gashed defensive coordinator Will Muschamp’s schemes for three quarters last weekend. The middle of the line was atrocious, and the linebackers were no where to be found – they might as well have been in Driftwood, Texas, eating Salt Lick BBQ. At least we’d applaud that effort. The secondary is going to have to step up and blanket Broyles this week, while also keeping a keen eye on Murray out of the backfield – all while making sure open field tackles. Let the defensive line do their jobs by putting pressure on Jones and leaving the clean-up to the safeties playing field generals.

Finally, enough with the mediocrity – hell, downright gnarly – special teams effort. Dropped punts, forgetting fundamentals, kick-offs misplayed. Last weekend was a lesson to high school coaches everywhere is what NOT to do on special teams. Get it fixed, and Texas has an advantage in the kicking game in Dallas.

This one could go one of two ways, ‘Horns fans. It could be a defensive battle, perhaps utilizing the kicking game to win it, or an outright embarrassment that doesn’t feature Texas on the 4-1 side of things. This is the game to turn it around. This is the game to show the world why Texas deserves to be in the top 25. This is the game that sets the precedent for the rest of the season.

It’s 3:45 a.m. and ou still sucks!

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Five Reasons Why…Texas or Alabama?

It’s time for the last college football game of the 2009 season – and, shed a tear, because it’s hard to believe sports fans are already staring the dreadfully long NBA basketball and Major League Baseball seasons straight in the eye…again. Do they really ever stop playing those sports, or do the networks just stop broadcasting the games for a little bit so we’re under the impression they’re in the “off season”?We can wish, right? Ugh…college football is about to be over, and our life force is about to be taken from each of us for the next eight months.

Luckily for most of the Eyes Of TX readers, your favorite football team likely has one more game, on Thursday night, and is playing for the biggest prize of all – the crystal ball and the national championship – in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Let’s not lie. It’s been about a month of anticipation and nerves leading up to Thursday’s game, and rather than face the inevitable, I’m going to cop out on the real game analysis for just a little bit longer. So, in the spirit of fun, let’s look at our top five reasons for either a Texas and Alabama win on Thursday – with a humorous (and yet true?) twist.

5 Reasons the Texas Longhorns Will Win
1. Eyes Of TX Attendance. Plain and simple, since a flight to Pasadena and a beautiful postcard-sized ticket the Rose Bowl have my name on it, Texas won’t want to let me down. After all, think of all the horrible things that could be posted here from January 8 until August 2010. Not that I would do that…but I would. Just like in 2005, Texas will want to prove every single media pundit wrong — then, it was ESPN’s self-proclaimed USC dynasty that went down in flames at the hands of the ‘Horns; now, it should be the house that Saban’s built in Tuscaloosa.

2. The right Longhorn gear. For better or worse, I’m very superstitious about game-watching gear…my own, and that of my close friends and girlfriend. Looking at our closet full of Longhorn merchandise, and realizing I have probably kept the University Co-op in business for the past 10+ years on my own, I typically commit to my season game-watching gear (shirt and hat, in particular) in August during two-a-days. Of course, that gear is liable to change based on the team’s play as assessed by me in real-time during a game. So far thus season, my luck has been good – I’ve got a lucky shirt and two lucky hats (I “tried out” another hat against an easier non-conference foe early in the season and it was approved). The gear for the National Championship, you ask? A white, with orange shoulders, short-sleeve Nike Texas coach’s shirt (with the football stitches below the buttons, and Texas stitched across the upper back), and my orange Texas visor. In hindsight, the choice is very Bob Stoops of me. Also in tow will be two different Longhorn (non-bowl game) t-shirts, a Nike orange/white Texas golf hat, and an orange Texas “stash” hat. Don’t get me started on the girlfriend’s wardrobe options – it is more expansive – but, it’s approved. For now.

3. If they don’t win, Will Muschamp might eat someone’s child. You heard me, keep your kids indoors and don’t let them out – not even for the ice cream truck. Give your kids a pager or cell phone so they can “check in” with you often, if need be, or use an invisible fence collar – whatever works to keep them safe from a potentially sulking Muschamp. If the ‘Horns lose, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is liable to go completely looney bin on the sidelines, perhaps snatching children and old people out of the stands and publicly ridiculing them or eating them for a late evening snack. If the ‘Horns lose, he will be absolutely crazy mad, and that should be enough incentive for the ‘Horns to be inspired on Thursday night. As for me, I’ll keep my fingers and toes away from the sidelines at all times.

4. The Rose Bowl is…home. Seriously, when the players come back to school in the fall semester and they put their name down for the “athletic dorm,” does it just read “Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA”? This is the third time in six years that the ‘Horns have played in the shadows of the California mountains, and something tells me the players like it there. Is it the weather? The women? The celebrities? No one knows for sure, but the Longhorns love the spotlight in Pasadena…and, I can’t complain one bit.

5. Someone from Texas didn’t win the Heisman Trophy. Yep, in 2005 there is no doubt that Texas’ Vince Young got denied in his bid for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the country’s best college football player. That year, the ‘Horns played USC in the national championship – a team with two Heisman Trophy winners in Matt Leinart and 2005’s winner Reggie Bush. Anyone remember the opening to the broadcast of the game that year? USC’s Will Ferrell and Texas’ Matthew McConaughey commentary – remember?

And, the final score? Net-net, Texas’ odds against Heisman Trophy winners in recent memory – pretty darn good. Sorry, Mark Ingram, but the house of cards will fall soon enough. On Thursday, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy proves he not only has the best name for a Texas QB in the history of the universe, but that he is the best player in college football this year as well.

6. Bonus Reason: Self-explanatory, thank you El Arroyo.

Posted on Deadspin, Austin's El Arroyo restaurant shows off their pre-game trash talk.

Seriously, those are all legitimate reasons for Texas to take home the crystal ball, and not one Texas fan should fault them. Now, moving on to our friends from the East, let’s take a look at Alabama’s keys to the game.

5 Reasons the Alabama Crimson Tide Will Win
1. Eyes Of TX’s Attendance. Yes, you read right – sound familiar? I’ve officially committed. The game tickets were bought. The plane tickets were booked. The rental car is washed and ready to go at LAX. The hotel was confirmed. The pre-game tailgate was arranged. While I desperately try to redeem myself for my 2005 bailout (where I procrastinated and then choose not to go to the Texas v. USC national championship), I’m committing to cheering the team on in Pasadena this year. The question becomes whether my team is committed to supporting (with a win) my financial investment in joining them in California.

2. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the devil in disguise (and we think he borrowed the costume from ou head coach Bob Stoops). It’s hard to capture on film, just like Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster, yet when his true devilish persona comes out, it’s hard to control. He has a way of getting his way, that Lucifer. C’mon, do you really think Alabama beat Tennessee by blocking two field goals on their own? No. They had some help from…well…below. His sweet Southern persona won’t get past me, I know what he’s all about. Speaking of Stoops, guess who “happened” to be in Tuscaloosa visiting with Saban last week? You guessed right (slight throw up in my mouth). If this were like the Salem witch trials, Saban would be hung for being in cohorts with the real enemy.

3. Redemption against Major Applewhite. Or Will Muschamp. Both Major Applewhite (UT running backs coach) and Will Muschamp (UT defensive coordinator) have coached under Saban at some point in their young coaching tenures. Both have now ended up at Texas, with Applewhite most recently leaving his offensive coordinator duties under Saban at Alabama to move to the Texas staff. Wouldn’t it be ironic for the Crimson Tide and their coach to exact revenge on those who chose to kick him and his program to the curb in favor of something better?

4. The SEC is the “better conference.” Year-in and year-out, college football pundits from ESPN, ABC, FOX and other related sports entities remind us that the Southeastern Conference comprises the best football teams – on the whole – than any other. This year, perhaps that was true. But, who really cares? In the grand scheme of things, the BCS has proven one thing during it’s existence – and, even then, only to a certain extent. Fans have seen that smaller conference schools, despite being from a “weaker conference,” can compete on the highest levels of competitive athletics. See also: Boise State, TCU and Cincinnati (although the Bearcats should be scolded for laying an egg in the Sugar Bowl this year). In a year when the SEC once again dominated headlines, perhaps Alabama makes its case that the SEC school was the right choice for the national championship game – and best team – in 2010.

5. 7-0-1. No, that’s not a reference to Tim Tebow’s “eye black” Bible verse or a Reggie Bush-like shout-out to his hometown via area code. Rather, it’s Texas’ win-loss record against the Crimson Tide. Alabama has never beaten Texas, although they tied once, in eight attempts – yet the two teams most recently met in 1982. For two of the most storied programs in the history of college football, this is a great statistic (in terms of powerhouse teams playing relatively frequently in their history) and yet it’s too bad the two teams haven’t played more often in recent years. We’ll assume Saban brings some historical perspective and passion to the equation in his pre-game speech and gets the Elephants ready to “roll” on Thursday night for their first victory against the ‘Horns.

Well, the bags are packed, and I’m ready to go. Sunshine and (hopefully) a Texas Longhorn victory await me in Pasadena. My real pre-game analysis to come…when I get the nerve to actually put pen to paper.

Hook ‘em!

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Game Preview: Texas Longhorns v. oklahoma sooners

Red_River_Rivalry_Logo

Saturday, October 17
11:00a Central
ABC

It’s here. The Red River Rivalry. It’s Texas/o-Who? weekend at the Texas State Fair Grounds in Dallas, and “Big Tex” will groan from his pedestal that this year’s contest will once again pit two highly-competitive Big 12 football teams on the gridiron. It’s sure to be another doozy in Dallas.

There is the potential to ramble on for weeks (and 364 bragging days after) about this game, but no matter what words fill this space, the blood and guts spilled at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday will be worth all the glory to the winner.

Although o-Who? has lost two non-conference games already this season, they remain in the hunt for the Big 12 South title if they can win on Saturday – what would amount to a key win in an otherwise somber beginning to the season. Texas, on the other hand, marks this as a “must-win” on the calendar, as the ‘Horns are chasing redemption for last year’s duping in both the Big 12 and the BCS championships. o-Who? quarterback Sam Bradford has returned from his shoulder injury, and Texas fans are still waiting to see the 2008 Colt McCoy show up at quarterback for the Longhorns. Despite those storylines, this game shapes up to be a defensive battle – two high-profile offenses against two stout defenses, as both teams rank in the top 10 nationally in defense, Texas at #4 and o-Who? at #9. While the running game remains lost for the ‘Horns, o-Who? brings two legit running backs to table – and, the team who rules the running game usually wins this game, despite the aerial assault by both squads.

Eyes Of TX will defer to the inundation of Red River Rivalry coverage in the media this week to help tell the story this week.

To be clear, Eyes Of TX has absolutely no love for the crimson and cream, “BCS Bob” Stoops, “boomer sooner,” pop guns, land thieves, Ruf/Neks, or schooners. It’s game day, and it’s safe to say: “It’s 2:21a PT, and o-Who? still sucks.”

Let’s make it four out of the last five, ‘Horns!

This Week
Eyes Of TX’s Prediction
Texas 20, o-Who? 14

Red River Rivalry
USA Today: Weekend Preview: Full menu of showdowns highlight schedule
ESPN: Texas v. Oklahoma – Six Keys To Winning
ESPN: Podcasts with Mack Brown and Bob Stoops
ESPN: McShay Film Breakdown – Texas v. Oklahoma
ESPN: OU-TX College Football Live Preview
ESPN: Midweek Exam
Fanhouse: Big 12 Notebook: As usual, Red River Rivalry is more than a game
ESPN: Video – Red River Rivalry Preview (with Keith Moreland/Longhorn Sports Network)
ESPN: McCoy, Bradford renew their rivalry on Saturday
ESPN: Running game should help decide Red River Rivalry
ESPN: I-35 Rivals Have Taken Different Paths
ESPN: Rivals begin week with distinct goals
SI.com: Game of the Week: Plenty of spice left in this year’s Red River Rivalry
SI.com: Saturday Morning Splurge
The Oklahoman: Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, Texas quarterback Colt McCoy to meet in showdown No. 3
The Oklahoman: Not so long ago, Texas coach Mack Brown needed a Red River victory; Now, it’s Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops
Austin American-Statesman: Cotton Bowl is the only correct choice for Texas-ou game
Austin American-Statesman: Heisman candidates focus on winning games, not the trophy
SI.com: College Football Rivalries
SI.com: Heisman Watch
ESPN: Best college town: Austin or Norman?

Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown

Texas Longhorns' head coach Mack Brown

Texas Longhorns (5-0)
ESPN: Horns Face First Test In Red River Rivalry
ESPN: The eyes of Texas are upon him
ESPN: Sophomore may get call against OU
ESPN: Report: RB Fozzy Whittaker to start for Texas
ESPN: Texas cautiously ‘optimistic’ on RBs progress
SI.com: Heading in to ou game, Texas’ goal is clear: Win ’em all
ESPN: Texas’ Shipley making up for lost time
ESPN: Title aspirations driving Texas’ McCoy
Austin American-Statesman: Longhorn Football Notes – 10/16/2009
Dallas Morning News: UT linebacker Muckelroy is quiet, but his play speaks loudly

o-Who? head coach Bob Stoops

o-Who? head coach Bob Stoops

o-Who? sooners (3-2)
ESPN: Sooners accounting for big losses at TE, WR
ESPN: Broyles, Carter to play v. Longhorns
ESPN: Bradford thrives on the big stage
The Oklahoman: Jake Trotter’s OU Blog

Pre-game Resources
2009 Texas Longhorns Roster
2009 oklahoma sooners Roster
University Co-op Gameday Newsletter / Pod casts

Hook ‘em!

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Land Thieves Turned Rental Agents?

JarrettLake

Jenks High School's Jarrett Lake

Not surprising to this writer, the best high school football coach in the state of oklahoma – Allan Trimble, of Jenks High School – self-suspended himself (along with disciplinary measures for two more school sports administrators) today for helping provide a living arrangements for HS transfer, Jarrett Lake, who was also a future Bob Stoops and oklahoma sooners football commit. Not only was Lake given special housing arrangements, he was actually ineligible to play last season (and played in 8 games anyway), and to-date this season, he hasn’t played a single game. Because of his play last year, Jenks High School will have to forfeit nine games from its 2008 football season. Despite all of these accusations and disclinary measures, it sounds as though oklahoma will honor Lake’s scholarship offer, despite his lack of play this season or the trouble this incident has caused. Of course they will. Really did we expect anything different from Stoops?

First, cheating for land. Then, cheating at a car dealership. Now, cheating at the apartment rental office. Obviously, Bob Stoops’ recruiting efforts at the college level are rolling down to the high school level. Perhaps “boomer sooner” stands for every sooner recruit blowing up their chances of ever being successful at the next level; save Adrian Peterson – who was from Texas and kinda of knew better.

It’s unbelievable what high school sports are coming to. Eyes Of TX remembers clearly the blatant accusations that my high school supposedly recruited top basketball and football players from other areas around the state or country. To this day, that seems unreasonable and far-fetched, more importantly it was never proven. But, who knows what goes on behind the scenes at many elite high school or college programs in today’s environment?

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Big 12 Football: Week 1 Predictions

College football is finally here. Eyes of TX is giddy with excitement. So many good games today, so many games that are lame-ducks, both of which can be found in the Big 12’s week one schedule. Some quick looks at today’s Big 12 Conference college football games.

Thursday, September 3
Iowa State 34 v. North Dakota State 17
Just as it should have been. Congratulations to Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads, he may have just won more games than former coach Gene Chizik in Ames.

Saturday, September 5
Baylor v. Wake Forest
It is to be seen if, after all of the off-season hype for quarterback Robert Griffin, Baylor can turn it around after 2008 season’s 4-8 campaign – they got more hype than other team in the Big 12 coming in to the year. If the Bears can keep up with the Demon Deacons early, expect the Bears to lock in a nice non-conference win.

Kansas v. Northern Colorado
Let Jayhawk quarterback Todd Reesing’s long-shot Heisman Trophy campaign begin. This should be a blowout, and the Fighting Magino’s offensive line should make sure Reesing don’t get a single grass stain on his jersey. KU wide receivers Dezmond Briscoe and Kerry Meier will have a girl fight on the sideline to see who can catch more passes on the day.

Kansas State v. Massachusetts Minutemen
In 1996, if you dismiss “official” NCAA records, Massachusetts had a good basketball team. You may remember, Marcus Camby played for them and they went to the Final Four. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder must have been in his 70s at the time, and now he’s back on the sidelines again in Manhattan. Expect the Wildcats to pull this one out, although it won’t be pretty. Kind of like Camby’s NBA career.

Missouri v. Illinois
Illinois has a quarterback named “Juice” and a coach that goes by “Zook.” There was once a Texas football coach that came from Illinois, and he didn’t leave a good impression on Eyes Of TX or any other UTexas alum. Missouri’s re-loading across the board, and with the exception of star linebacker Sean Witherspoon, they will be searching for their identity while the Illini are running away with the win.

Nebraska v. Florida Atlantic
This might be interesting for a quarter or two, but Nebraska should win handily. Owls quarterback Rusty Smith has a good arm and the talent to create some opportunities, but the Cornhuskers will overpower them down the stretch with coach Bo Pelini’s defense. For the sake of FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger’s moustache, let’s hope they score 10 points.

oklahoma v. Brigham Young
“BCS Bob” has made sure all his players were off work at the Norman, Okla., car dealership and have made the jaunt to Dallas for the game in Jerry Jones’ new Dallas Cowboys stadium – that’s a start. ou tight end Jermaine Gresham is out of this game with a knee injury. This could go BYU’s way if Stoops and crew aren’t careful; otherwise, expect oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford to look lost on the field (seriously, doesn’t he always look confused, mouth hanging open?) on his way to Heisman Trophy candidacy again.

Oklahoma State v. Georgia
The highest pre-season rank for OSU, and a Bulldogs quarterback making his second career start and that has been sick all week with the flu. With the ‘Pokes offensive balance, they should win (assuming their defense finally helps keep them in a game down the stretch), but SEC talent is nothing to shake a stick at. If coach Mike Gundy and crew can get past one of the SEC’s upper echelon, then they deserve their high pre-season ranking.

Texas A&M v. New Mexico
There are 12 football games on the Aggies schedule this year, assuming they don’t go to the post-season. If everything goes as planned, this will be one of coach Mike Sherman’s only wins this year. Bottom dwellers unite!

Texas Tech v. North Dakota
Is it exciting for the North Dakota players to go to Lubbock, Texas? Hopefully, it is the highlight of their season – the city, of course – because this game will be a debacle. Really, Eyes Of TX is just waiting to see how many yards Red Raider quarterback Taylor Potts shaves off his 4,000-yard season goal, as well as coach Mike Leach’s post-game press conference sound bites. Will he brag about his win to Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman? Likely.

Sunday, September 6
Colorado v. Colorado State
Does anyone outside Colorado care about this game? They both hate each other, and both coaches have something on the line. Colorado should win, with the talent they have on the sidelines, but then again they are the kings of under-achieving.

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Filed under Aggies, Bears, Big 12, Cornhuskers, Cowboys, Cyclones, Jayhawks, Longhorns, NCAA Football, Red Raiders, Sooners, Tigers, Wildcats

Big 12 Football Predictions: South Division

Since we’re talking Big 12 Conference predictions, let’s get serious and talk about the South division. In all honesty, its really unfair to have all these powerhouses in the same conference, nonetheless the same division.

Last year’s Big 12 South title was an absolute debacle, as Texas, oklahoma, and Texas Tech all ended the season with one conference loss – to each other. We all know how that story ended, to the chagrin of Longhorn fans everywhere, as oklahoma advanced to the Big 12 championship game on the division tie-breaker and then to the national championship game where “BCS Bob” blew it against the ESPN-deemed “ungodly” Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators.

One thing hasn’t changed – the Big 12 tie-breaker – as the coaches decided to maintain the current system for deciding the division champions. Unfortunately, that could hamper three South teams again this year. As scary as it is to write this, Eyes Of TX believes the same scenario could play out again this year, albeit with Texas, oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. For the namesake of this blog, and the sanity of Texas football fans everywhere, Eyes Of TX predicts the Texas Longhorns will win the Big 12 South division in 2009-2010 and will play Nebraska for the conference championship, and potentially a shot at the national title in Pasadena, Calif., at the Rose Bowl.


Baylor Bears
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 4-8 in 2008 season.
Quick Thoughts: There is something to be excited about in Waco, and its not the Dr. Pepper museum. Head coach Art Briles has brought back a sense of optimism to the Baylor football program, led by highlight-reel and Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year quarterback Robert Griffin. For the first time in many years, the Bears are not expected to be the bottom-dwellers in the South division.
Strengths: The potential of quarterback Griffin; with a year under center, the offense is poised to make some noise and compete with Griffin leading the charge, especially with eight starters returning.
Weaknesses: Baylor plays in the South division, and while they might give some teams fits this season, Griffin can’t do it on his own; the defense returns some starters and should improve, but the secondary could continue to get torched by pass-heavy Big 12 offenses.
Depth Chart: See the 2009 Baylor Bears roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/10 @ oklahoma; 10/24 Oklahoma State; 10/31 Nebraska; 11/14 Texas
Standout Player(s): Quarterback Robert Griffin, with another off-season under his belt, he’s poised for a big sophomore campaign.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: Linebacker Joe Pawelek.
Bowl Projection: Texas Bowl.


oklahoma sooners
2009 Pre-season Rank: #3 (USA Today); 12-2 in 2008 season.
Quick Overview: Another loss in the BCS in 2008, and another top 5 projection the following season. The sooners remain stacked at the skill positions, and with a Heisman Trophy winner still leading the offense, and a defensive front seven as stout as ever, expect the sooners to be at the top of the Big 12 South race, and in contention for the national championship, all season long.
Strengths: It starts with quarterback Sam Bradford, the returning 2008 Heisman Trophy winner; depth at running back, with both DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown returning and healthy; tight end Jermaine Gresham will continue to be an impact and stretch the field (assuming he returns and stays healthy); linebacker Ryan Reynolds; defensive line…they are always outstanding, until January.
Weaknesses: An unknown offensive line, as they lost four starters from last year’s team – although left tackle Trent Williams returns, head coach Bob Stoops has moved a former tight end over to play center; wide receiver depth…who’s running routes other than Ryan Broyles; new safeties in the pass-happy Big 12.
Depth Chart: See the 2009 oklahoma sooners roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 9/5 BYU (in Dallas); 10/17 Texas (neutral site); 10/24 @ Kansas; 11/7 @ Nebraska; 11/21 @ Texas Tech; 11/28 Oklahoma State
Standout Player: If he can keep his jersey clean this year with a new offensive line, quarterback Sam Bradford.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: The offensive line, due to its success or massive failure; future NFL’ers in defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and DeMarcus Granger.
Bowl Projection: Fiesta Bowl (via BCS berth).


Oklahoma State Cowboys
2009 Pre-season Rank: #11 (USA Today); 9-4 in 2008.
Quick Overview: Believe it or not, head coach Mike Gundy has made Stillwater, Okla., relevant again for the first time since he was handing off the ball to star running back Barry Sanders. The ‘Pokes are loaded with talent on offense, they just need the defense to step-up and help them win some of the big games, notably versus Texas or oklahoma, to be relevant in the BCS discussion.
Strengths: The offense – quarterback Zac Robinson, running back Kendall Hunter, and wide receiver Dez Bryant all return with potent skills at each position.
Weaknesses: New defensive coordinator, Bill Young – could be good, or could provide the team with a major learning curve this year; loss of three starting cornerbacks on an already porous secondary; loss of star linebacker Orie Lemon to injury and dynamite tight end Brandon Pettigrew to graduation.
Depth Chart: See the 2009 Oklahoma State Cowboys roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 9/5 Georgia; 10/31 Texas; 11/28 @ oklahoma
Standout Player: If last year’s Holiday Bowl loss is any indication, Okie State is nothing without wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: Running back Kendall Hunter will define his career in Stillwater.
Bowl Projection: Cotton Bowl.


Texas Longhorns
2009 Pre-season Rank: #2 (USA Today); 12-1 in 2008.
Quick Overview: The longest 10+ wins season streak is on the line again, and there is no reason the ‘Horns can’t compete for the Big 12 or national championship this year, assuming a few key pieces comes together early in the season. Second-year defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will have the more experienced secondary, in addition to a re-tooled front seven, amped to make a statement this year. And, the offense will be lead by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Colt McCoy in his final collegiate campaign.
Strengths: Quarterback McCoy will bring his NCAA-record season completion percentage back to a potent passing game; wide receiver Jordan Shipley will lead the re-loaded receiving core; defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle will be making his case for a 1st round NFL selection; experienced secondary with depth.
Weaknesses: Depth at defensive tackle; a consistent (or existent) running game beyond quarterback McCoy; playing both oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Depth Chart: See the 2009 Texas Longhorns roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/17 oklahoma (neutral site); 10/31 @ Oklahoma State; 11/21 Kansas
Standout Player: 2008 and pre-season 2009 Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Colt McCoy.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: True freshman defensive end Alex Okafor; freshman track standout and running back/wide receiver/kick returner Marquise Goodwin.
Bowl Projection: Big 12 North division champions; Rose Bowl (national championship).


Texas A&M Aggies
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 4-8 in 2008.
Quick Overview: Things aren’t pretty in College Station, but then again, have they ever? Since the “Wrecking Crew” departed in the mid-1990s, the Aggies have been searching for an identity that has been lost under former coach Dennis Franchione and current coach Mike Sherman. The Aggies look poised to have their second straight season as the worst team in the Big 12’s South division. Eyes Of TX believes A&M can turn it around in coming years, but Sherman needs a couple more years of recruiting under his belt, including recruiting success over other top Texas (and Oklahoma) football program contenders.
Strengths: Head coach Mike Sherman’s ongoing war-of-words feud with Texas Tech’s head coach Mike Leach. Unlike the football team, at least that will continue to be entertaining.
Weaknesses: Everything. The defense struggled to put pressure on opposing offenses last year, and that doesn’t look to be any better – including the secondary; while quarterback Jarrod Johnson has potential, the coaching staff doesn’t seem sold on him; lack of a solid running game.
Depth Chart: See the 2009 Texas A&M Aggies roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 10/10 Oklahoma State; 11/14 @ oklahoma; 11/28 Texas
Standout Player: Since there has to be one, how about wide receiver Jeff Fuller, who looked strong in the spring game.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: Incoming freshman running back and high profile recruit, Christine Michael – he’ll likely see immediate playing time this fall.
Bowl Projection: None.


Texas Tech Red Raiders
2009 Pre-season Rank: Not ranked; 11-2 in 2008.
Quick Overview: Some things never change, and head coach Mike Leach producing an unknown 4,000-yard passer is one of them. The offense, even with a new starting quarterback, Taylor Potts, should continue to shine. A key loss will be standout wide receiver Michael Crabtree who departed for the NFL…kind of. One difference of this Tech team in recent years has been the ability to actually play defense – expect they’ll continue to incrementally improve. The Red Raiders should play spoiler to a team or two in the Big 12 South this season.
Strengths: The offense. Pure and simple, they can score and will do so practically at will; Leach’s ability to give the world the most prolific (and hilarious) sound bites.
Weaknesses: The offensive line lost three starters, and they’ll need time to gel, although the wide splits Tech is known for will cover up some of their weaknesses early in the season (they gave up 9 sacks in the spring game, after allowing only one per game last year); the experience and learning curve of quarterback Taylor Potts; new starters and depth at both safety and defensive end.
Depth Chart: See the 2009 Texas Tech Red Raiders roster here.
Biggest Schedule Threat: 9/19 @ Texas; 10/17 @ Nebraska; 10/31 Kansas; 11/14 @ Oklahoma State; 11/21 oklahoma
Standout Player: With some game-time experience, quarterback Taylor Potts.
Who You’ll Know at Season’s End: The numerous wide receivers that will be running rampant over Big 12 secondaries.
Bowl Projection: Alamo Bowl.

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