It's that time of the week again, so let's dive into how we see this game playing out. Don't forget, if Texas scores more than 40 points, take your BON member card to Taco Bell for a free Encherito after the game.
And if you believe that we have member cards and Taco Bell post-grame promotions, please also email me your social security number and bank account info. Danke.
To the game:
When Andrew and I talked about how this game would likely play out, we agreed that if Texas could get to 30 points, they'd win. I'm as big a fan of the Cyclone offense as the next guy, but this is a pretty stout Texas defense. Ohio State had some fun with the Longhorn secondary, but that was without the key man - Tarrell Brown. I expect Brown to enjoy the challenge of his assignments on Saturday, and perform well.
The real key for the defense, though, will be on the line, where the Horns absolutely must get pressure on Meyer. If he's left with time to work, the Cyclones have the receivers to make you pay. The one matchup Texas fans should be watching very closely early on is the one in the trenches. If Miller and Okam are raising hell, the Cyclones are done. If they're being neutralized, well, who knows? Maybe Iowa State sustains some drives and puts up a few touchdowns, making it a game.
Roy "The Bowling Ball" Miller is a key to Saturday's game.
When Texas has the football, Iowa State has to be nervous about stopping the run. I realize that they like to keep everything in front of them and prevent the big play, but how long can you let the Texas running backs scamper for 5-7 yards before you change course?
That was a trick question, actually, because it depends on whether Greg Davis continues to pound the ball at said defense. Frankly, I don't think there's much reason to tinker with the passing game until we're sick of running on them. We haven't encountered anyone who can slow down the Selvin-Jamaal attack, and I'm inclined to believe Iowa State will struggle to contain the two, as well. Given that, I want to see Greg Davis pound the ball on the ground until they've got eight in the box. Then you can let Colt have some fun downfield.
The alternative strategy - and the one I'm a little more nervous about - is a run-pass balance attack that attempts too many chicken-shit pass plays underneath to "take what Iowa State's giving us." You may recall how well that worked when Ohio State employed the same scheme. Colt did well enough throwing underneath, but he was never allowed to succeed, and the plan, as a whole, went away from our strengths.
We can only hope that we've learned from that disaster, but you never know. And really, it would take a pretty lousy gameplan for Texas -not- to win this game. And I say this as someone who thinks pretty highly of Iowa State. If not for their schedule, they'd probably be my North Division champs.
In the end, Andrew and I decided that, in all likelihood, Texas wouldn't cover the spread, though we feel comfortable predicting a solid Texas victory. The Horns defeats Iowa State 30-17.
--PB and AW--