Greater minds than mine have already begun to break down the Longhorns’ performance this weekend, so I will skip right over that and get to some other observations from Week 1 of the 2013 campaign.
The Disappearance of Noisy State
For the first time in what seems like ever, there is absolutely zero hype surrounding perennial BCS-buster Boise State this year. The Broncos started off their 2013 campaign with a quiet loss at Washington, where they helped the Huskies open their fine new digs by coming out and falling flat on their asses. Bravo, Broncos.
After watching Jadaveon Clowney huff-and-puff up and down the field
Saturday Friday Thursday night evening afternoon, I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before some enterprising SEC student graduate assistant Sabanite slave crunches the numbers and discovers that more injuries occur during games featuring fast-paced offenses than during SEC B1G other games. Although beating Oregon - perhaps the gold standard of hurry-up offenses - in the BCS championship game a few years back kinda sorta makes all of Nick Saban's complaining about it a hilarious moot point, he's still complaining about it. This article does a pretty good job of debunking Nick's arguments, though.
Ole Miss - Scary Dudes
I have done what I consider to be an admirable job of staying away from the pre-season previews, in-depth analysis, and general sunshine-pumping surrounding the Texas football team this year. After several years of intense pre-season analytical scrutiny that frankly just didn't pan out for me, I decided this year to back away and just show up for the first game and let it wash over me.
That having been said, I HAVE heard from a bunch of different places that BYU and Ole Miss will provide stout (or at least respectable) early-season non-conference tests and that Texas should be at the very least taking them seriously, if not downright being afraid to play them. After watching Ole Miss at Vanderbilt Thursday night, I felt compelled to have a little look-see into Ole Miss's past performance and what I found quite frankly irritates the crap out of me.
First, Ole Miss needed a
kickoff return 75-yard run touchdown run at the end of the game to win. Against Vanderbilt.
Second, this is not a freak occurance. Vanderbilt has beaten Ole Miss five out of their last six meetings before Thursday's game.
Third, Ole Miss has four SEC wins since Hugh Freeze took over. Four. Including this one. Against Vanderbilt. (The others were Auburn, Arkansas, and Mississippi State last year - teams that went a combined 15-22 [6-18 SEC] last season.)
All of which brings me to my point: We need to find a new bar to measure ourselves by (like, say, Alabama or even Oklahoma). Ole Miss is clearly an also-ran and we are Texas. Before the last three seasons, this is a team we would've confidently predicted crushing under our Lucchese-clad heels. There wouldn't have been any of this hand-wringing nonsense wherein we assign undue levels of competence and/or threat. I know it's not going to happen, but I would love for Mack Brown to come out with a Franchione-esqe "pre-season games" comment when talking about these cupcakes.
Mack Brown - STFU
Speaking of Mack Brown, he had this to say before Saturday's game: "I think I'm most excited because I think we're good, and I'm ready for you all to reap the benefits and for our fans who have hung in there...I have worked my tail off for three years to make sure we'd get back to this point."
WTFever. Look, I really like what MB has done for Texas football. I'm not old enough to remember when DKR roamed the sidelines, and I just barely remember Fred Akers. But I DO remember David McWilliams and John Mackovic, and frankly after those two Mack has been a knight in shining armor. The program is clean, the staff is classy, and, for most of his tenure, we've been pretty damn good. Would I like more conference championships? Sure. Would I like for Mack to occasionally put his proverbial boot on an opponent's throat? Yes. Would I like fewer embarrassing losses to ou? Absolutely. But - and this is the kicker - would I trade all of those things for one Tressel-esque publicity nightmare? No way.
All of that having been said, I cannot listen to Mack Brown speak. All I see when his lips move are bad kung-fu movies with overdubbed voices. Here's how my super-evolved brain interprets Mack's quote above when I watch him say it live:
"I think I'm most excited because we have to be better than we've been and that's good for me and for the kids and maybe people will shut up about it now and let me go back to what I was doing before 5-7. For three years I've done the minimum I can do to get us back to 10-win seasons which is our standard, and y'all are lucky to have me here to right the ship."
Basically, my take on this is that Mack thinks he's done us a favor by shepherding the program back to what he thinks is going to be a pretty good season this year, and we should all be thankful. If we're not thankful, then we're not friends of the program, and you know how he feels about people who are not friends of the program.
LHN on TWC
I recently got AT&T U-verse service, and I have to tell you, I love the Longhorn Network. My son and I spent two hours last week watching the women’s volleyball team scrimmage. Each other. Two hours. Props to ESPN for sticking it out and getting the channel added to 2 million-plus Texas households late last week. TWC still sucks.
North Dakota State > K-State
This is why you don’t schedule non-FBS teams. No good can come of it. Oregon State says "hi".
Kevin Sumlin: Conspiracy Theorist
So I’m watching ESPN Saturday morning, waiting for the moment I can hop in the car and head to Austin for the game. At 10:18 a.m. - an hour and 42 minutes before the aggies and Rice kicked off - a sideline reporter asked Sumlin who his starting quarterback would be. Sumlin refused to answer, saying something like "I’ve talked to the team about, the team knows who’s starting, I know who’s starting, but let’s just leave it at that."
What a dufus. Does he think Rice has somebody watching ESPNU 90 minutes before kickoff on the hopes he'll reveal the starter so they can adjust their game plan? Moron. (I have more opinions on Sumlin, but I’ll leave them for another time. Suffice to say I think his "look-at-me" quarterback is a direct reflection of himself.)
DKR: Three Random Thoughts from Saturday Night
1. Why did the ‘Horns go for it on 4th down in the first half? The defense had been playing pretty well, and putting JGray in to run the Wild Horn is akin to holding up a sign on the sideline that says "the running back is going to keep it on the dive." Stupid play call IMO.
2. Once again, the DKR Godzillatron operator showed a complete lack of situational awareness as regards the use of the flashing "Make Noise" graphic. I was too busy futzing with my 8-year-old daughter to take accurate notes, but as I recall, the first appearance was after a turnover and two long gains by NMSU that resulted in a quick first down on our side of the field.
3. I wish to god I had been fast enough with the camera to catch this, but I wasn’t. You’re just going to have to trust me. At one point in the game, the Godzillatron flashed a full-screen graphic about the defense - in fact it might have just said "De-fense!" in an attempt to get the crowd off their butts. In each corner of the screen - I swear I am not making this up - was a "Jell-O" logo. As in, "Texas Defense - Sponsored by Jell-O." W. T. F?
And that’s all I have to say about that. Let me know what happened this weekend that made you say, "Huh?"