Texas has its own business to take care of, but let's kick off Friday with some discussion of what we saw transpire in the first of the rest of this season's Defining Games. First, some game thoughts, then a brief review of what it means for Texas.
West Virginia - Louisville Game Thoughts
*It's time we recognize how difficult it is to dominate a game defensively these days. We see it, in some fashion, in the SEC, but that's also a product of some inept offense. When good offenses take the field, it's just tough to slow things down on defense.
Texas fans should know this well by now. The 2005 national champions were a fantastic defensive team, but it took everything we had to limit USC to 38 points. And they threw the kitchen sink at Texas to limit us to 41.
The point I want to make is that it's become increasingly difficult to totally shut down an advanced college offense with collegiate defenders. Too many little mistakes turn into gigantic plays. And we definitely saw that tonight. Not only were both defenses nowhere near controlling the game; they were practically hopeless. If West Virginia hadn't turned the ball over like they did, we would have enjoyed a 48-46 thriller. Neither defense had any prayer of stopping the opposing offense.
*The next, related, point is that I was very underwhelmed by both team's defenses. And while my notion that it's increasingly difficult to dominate a game defensively may be true, both Louisville's and West Virginia's defenses were uninspiring. And it's important that we not misunderstand the consequence of the above point. It's not that defense doesn't matter; it's that great collegiate defenses can't dominate great collegiate offenses in the way we often think they can.
For the night, I came away impressed with both teams' offenses, and neither team's defense.
*Super huge kudos go to Louisville for staying aggressive in the second half. There were multiple opportunities for the Cardinals to retreat to a shell and "milk the clock" too early. To Bobby Petrino's credit, he kept attacking, and it paid great dividends. This ought to be a lesson for others, of course. Texas nearly got burned by playing things a little too conservatively with a lead in Lincoln, Nebraska. Part of that was the weather, but I think part of it was also a missed opportunity to go for the kill when it was there.
Anyway, Petrino's Cardinals deserve credit for staying aggressive, even with a lead. That's what good football teams do.
*Speaking of the Louisville offense, it sure was a good night for Brohm to reassert his competency. Again, I credit the Cardinals' coaching staff for getting this team ready to aggressively attack a decidedly mediocre Mountaineer defense from start to finish.
What It Means For Texas
I won't go too far into this analysis, as Texas' most important mission is to beat the living snot out of the rest of their opponents. Still, we all care about how this loss affects Texas' title defense chances, and this was the result we wanted.
West Virginia officially drops out of the BCS Title Game hunt (and can't re-enter the discussion). Louisville moves up, but, really, since one team had to win, Texas fans should be glad it was the Cardinals. They'll now have to beat Rutgers on the road, as well as a solid Pittsburgh team. Louisville's plenty capable of winning out, but they're also in a better position to lose than, say, West Virginia. Tonight's result was, at the end of the day, a good thing for Texas. If nothing else, they'll increase their standing in the human polls (which carries a lot of weight),
I'll leave it at that for now, but jump in the discussion in the comments section below. Share your own thoughts on the big game in Louisville. Share your anxieties about Texas' standing in the various rankings. Are you glad Louisville won? Disappinted? Neutral?
Consider this your chance to jump in.