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45.4 Hours And Counting

Game day is upon us... finally. We've sat here together, watching the countdown clock tick, tick, tick away the seconds, minutes, hours, and days. And the end is finally in sight.

The Burnt Orange Nation tailgate has been rehearsed, we've got it all mapped out for you, and we've taken a preemptive look at North Texas. And when 54b starts posting again, you know Game Time is nigh.

So what can we expect on Saturday? Well, we're certainly going to see plenty of Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young, but don't think that Texas won't come out gunning in the air, too. This is a test run for Mr. McCoy, and I'll be damned if we're not going to give him plenty of practice for the big game in week two.

That's just one of the reasons why I won't be surprised when Texas covers the spread on Saturday. Bruce Feldman picked the Horns to win 48-14. I appreciate his comment that Mack Brown isn't one to run up the score, but what, precisely, makes him think that North Texas will find the end zone? Hell, what makes him think that North Texas will cross the 50 yard line?

Amazingly, the Longhorn defense is being slightly underrated across the country. It's a little bit confusing for close observers, but I suppose that many might overrate the impact the departures of Michael Huff, Cedric Griffin, and Rodrique Wright will have on this unit. The fact is that those holes are more than filled; this defense, operating for the second year under Gene "I don't lose games" Chizik, has the right to believe it can improve upon last year's outstanding performance. The run defense in particular, ought to be stingier.

Even after the starters are long gone, one wonders how much, if any, success North Texas can have. Most of the second line defenders would be starting at 80+ universities. The depth and talent is simply astounding; on Saturday, at least, it will be overwhelming.

Offensively, for all the questions that have surrounded this program and replacing Vince Young, the consensus opinion among the coaches is that Colt McCoy is further along in his development than any quarterback has been at this point in their careers during the Mack Brown era. Without anything close to the physical gifts that blessed Vince Young, McCoy is still a talented and extremely smart passer, by all accounts. This observer, for one, believes that the quarterback "problem" at Texas is overstated by most, if not all.

The Longhorns have every chance to repeat as national champions, and while a big part of that depends on Colt McCoy being a solid signal caller, the biggest part of it will be on the defensive side of the football. For all that's being asked of McCoy, the biggest test for Texas against Ohio State will be ensuring that their offense not get going.

As you prepare yourself for this exciting opening weekend, thank your lucky stars that you are a fan of the University of Texas Longhorns, enjoy the moment, and be prepared for a fun, exciting season. Tomorrow we'll finish preparations with all your game day information, including TV and radio broadcast times, tailgate info, and all the rest.

Football Saturdays in Austin are back.

Hook 'em Horns!