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Morning Coffee

Did anyone else think it odd that Mack Brown didn't hold his regular Monday press conference following Texas' embarrassing defeat in Manhattan Saturday night? 54b and I sure noticed, and weren't impressed. In its stead we get a Tuesday press conference that followed the team's first practice since the defeat. It's an interesting press conference, and one I'll be getting into in greater detail later today. Among the topics that caught my interest: the youth at quarterback in the Big 12; that Texas hasn't lost back-to-back games since 1999(!); and the astounding number of coaches' challenges that have been denied.

I don't like to rain on journalists for every column they write - as many do - but the Statesman's Cedric Golden wrote a real dud following the Kansas State loss. The headline: "BCS Title Train Is Now Passing The Longhorns By." Ya think, Ced? To quibble further, Golden writes that, "What was snobbishly dismissed as a non-sexy Fiesta Bowl matchup with Boise State last week is, well, not that bad an option all of a sudden." I, for one, beg to differ. What remains attractive is the Fiesta Bowl berth. Playing Boise State, though, was never about them being "beneath" us. It was, and is, about Texas having nothing to gain by playing the Broncos. And plenty to lose.

There are many, many reasons why I avoid participating in Longhorn messageboards. Hell, why do you think this site got started? If nothing else, we promote intelligent dialogue about Texas sports. But every now and then I'll wade through the chaos to see if there's much of anything worth reading. Whoops. Get a load of this rant about Gene Chizik (if you dare) that concludes with, and I'm not kidding here:

"To finally end this long diatribe, I'll say the most important thing. Chizik is getting paid a quarter of a million dollars to call football plays and coach defense. On top of that, he has some of the most ridiculous defensive talent. That's double the money my mother makes to treat patients with infectious diseases. That may sound overdramatic but I certainly didn't intend it to sound that way."

No, dropping the underpaid doctor card wasn't done for dramatic effect, I swear.

Good God, people. Get. A. Grip. Why don't we just usher out Chizik, Greg Davis, and Mack Brown in one fell swoop? We could cherry pick our favorite coaches from across the country and then start the gripe-fest all over again when Texas doesn't go 65-0 over a five-year stretch. I mean, really, shouldn't Texas win every single game with the athletes it brings to town?

Maybe not, but I'll tell you one thing: my uncle's making $42,000 a year to teach one-armed lepers in Angola. Not to be dramatic, but we can do better...

Dr. Savetheworld can't coach defense, but he's a better bang for the buck than Gene Chizik.

I simply don't have time this week to properly tend to my MaxwellPundit Award ballot, so with apologies to the most excellent host of the award, Rakes of Mallow, I'll have to offer this abbreviated submission: 1, 2) Smith/Woodley (OSU/Michigan), 3) Darren McFadden (Arkansas), 4) Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), 5) DeSean Jackson (California).

Commentary: Troy Smith's got as much to prove individually this Saturday as his team does collectively. He's been pretty much annointed Best Player (by mainstream writers and bloggers alike), but he's also the captain of one hell of a deep and talented offense. If he is who people think he is, he'll get his chance to prove it this Saturday: Michigan's run defense is going to put a hell of a lot of pressure on Smith to be an ace. If he's not the Best Player many think he is, Ohio State stands a better than even chance of losing.  Conversely, Michigan will face the most balanced offensive attack that it's seen to date. If they are who we think -they- are, they'll keep Smith and Pittman in check. What a game.

Elsewhere: McFadden versus McCoy for the 2007 Heisman? Might just be. Calvin Johnson's probably the most fearsome offensive collegiate football player out there, but he's the captain of a lousy offense. So, yeah. He'll still make a ton of money. I'm over it.

That's all for this late night/early morning submission. More on the Mack Brown press conference, and the topics within, later today.