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Morning Coffee Prepares To Make The Case

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Hold the conspiracy theories.  Over in the FanPosts, some of you are reacting to Doc Saturday's recent Texas-OU mailbag, in which he complains about the logic (or lack thereof) underpinning some of the pro-Texas rabble. One commenter goes so far as to suggest the Doc is actually pulling for Oklahoma in his own way

Texas fans need to collect themselves. Not only is there a positive case for Texas over Oklahoma, but Hinton himself to this point agrees with it; his Blog Poll ballot has the Longhorns on the top line. This takes me back a couple weeks to when I fisked a Penn State fan for tearing down the Big 12 instead of building up the Nittany Lions. It struck me as counterproductive and disingenuous to sidestep the hard work of making an objective case for PSU by taking the easier route of tearing down the opponent.

That is our task, too. Yelling "Bias!" or "45-35!" over and over won't change the fact that without some change in the human votes Texas will be--thanks to the computers--jumped by a victorious Oklahoma next week. In making our case to those human voters, we'd be wise to represent well the sound arguments for ranking Texas ahead of the Sooners. 

Blog Pollin'.  One other note on Hinton's Blog Poll ballot: I mentioned last night that I wasn't sure I didn't have a big problem on my hands ranking Alabama #1 and Utah #8. Though I put off working through it until next week, Matt took it on this week:

There is almost no practical difference here between Alabama's resumé and Utah's -- the strengths of schedule (according to Jeff Sagarin) and margins of victory are nearly identical, and the Utes' three/four best wins might be slightly better than Alabama's. So it's either raise Utah or drop the Tide; I chose the latter.

I may have to do the same. Bama fans needn't panic, though: As Matt also points out, wins over Auburn and Florida would give the Tide an undefeated season Utah can't match. Huzzah.


Rick Barnes' challenge.  Turning to the basketball team, I suppose it's worth remaining calm considering it's November, but there's no getting around it: Last night's loss to Notre Dame was a particularly bitter pill to swallow. AJ Abrams is rightly taking heat for his subpar showing, but the real felon last night was Rick Barnes, who allowed the abominable showing on offense in the second half. 

Rick Barnes is a fabulous head coach and program leader, but if you're the cynical type, last night's game is a huge red flag about the ceiling of this team. Of Barnes' many considerable strengths, running a smooth halfcourt offense without an elite point guard is not one of them. Though Texas has enough depth and frontcourt talent to be a very strong team, Barnes will need to show some development as an offensive coach for this team to have a higher ceiling than the Sweet 16. 

Making us proud.  Finally, a note of congratulations to Mack Brown and the conference-best 22 Longhorns named to the All-Big 12 Academic Team, including 17 on the First Team.