Covid-19 concerns and a variety of injuries on the part of the Kansas Jayhawks led to the Texas Longhorns enjoying yet another bye week ahead of a key showdown with the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Burnt Orange Nation staff got together to discuss the pros and cons of Texas’ extra bye week, and shared some thoughts on the games we’ll be tuning into without the Horns in action.
Fresh off of a bye week, Texas will now enjoy yet another bye week. What are the benefits for Texas in having nearly three weeks away from the game field?
Daniel Seahorn — Getting everyone with bumps and bruises an extra week to heal up for Iowa State. Sam Ehlinger definitely hasn’t looked himself the past couple of games and he could definitely benefit from some extra time on the training table this week.
Gerald Goodridge — Texas will be as close to full-strength as you can be heading into game eight of the season. Getting a guy like Jordan Whittington back helps an offense that needs playmakers, while letting Keondre Coburn rest another week before facing the Iowa State ground game is huge. I also think Texas could use the extra week to install some things on both sides of the ball that haven’t seen the field yet.
Kyle Carpenter — I’m sure you’ve heard Coach Herman repeatedly mentioning the lack of a Spring to get “bankable reps” and install new schemes on both sides of the ball. If you’re following that logic, each day off is percentage approximation of the Lost Spring. Maybe that means as much as the time to heal injuries? Whatever is ailing the passing game (injury, reps, developing rhythm and chemistry), I hope two weeks off is a tonic.
Cody Daniel — The most obvious benefit is the extra time for guys like Sam Ehlinger, Keaontay Ingram, Keondre Coburn, and Jordan Whittington to heal up a bit. But ISU is the most challenging game remaining on Texas’ schedule, so the extra week to game plan specifically for the Cyclones is ideal.
On the other hand what are the cons of the extra week off?
Daniel — Getting out of the rhythm of your normal game week routine. The pandemic has thrown several wrenches into the schedule this year and it is a tough thing to have to navigate given that everyone is in uncharted territory with it.
Gerald — The potential downside to this is always a lack of polish or in-game rhythm. So much of sports is routine, so potentially getting out of that routine could be costly.
Kyle — The consistent whisper has been that “Sam is hurt,” and while I think there is absolutely some fire to that smoke, I also wonder about the mental component to it. It could be that at 80 or 90% he can physically throw a deep ball, but he has the QB equivalent of the Yips. You know what cures mental blockers? Beating up on the worst team in the country. A defense that is 118th in the all-important points per drive statistic that hasn’t been particularly prone to taking the ball away. For perspective, my hot take is that UTEP would easily handle Kansas.
Cody — Just getting out of rhythm. Texas owns a three-game winning streak and was set to face the conference cellar dweller with a chance for a statement win to iron out some lingering kinks. That won’t be nearly as easy against the Cyclones.
When Texas does return to the field for a key matchup vs. No. 17 Iowa State, are we more likely to see a team that’s rusty after 20 days since its last game, or a team that’s fresh and improved after some time to heal and address key issues?
Daniel Seahorn — I think it could be a bit of both honestly. I think you will see guys who are healthy and flying around, but at the same time I think you could see some guys who are having to shake off the rust a bit and they could very well take a quarter to get into the flow of the game.
Gerald Goodridge — This is likely the toughest game left on the schedule, so I am anticipating a bowl game-like performance from a Tom Herman-coached team. Especially since I think the gameplan against Oklahoma State was a dress rehearsal for Iowa State, they really just have to execute on that plan.
Kyle Carpenter — I think Gerald has nailed this one! Tom Herman with a few weeks to prep for an opponent drops the “r” and just becomes Tom He-Man— with the opponent becoming Skeletor (and his awful henchmen). Two weeks isn’t enough to do any more harm than good in this already wild season.
Cody Daniel — I think it’s pretty clear how big of a game Texas has ahead of them against Iowa State, and as Gerald noted, Tom Herman has generally had the Horns prepared for these. I’d expect one of Texas’ better performances of the season.
There are only two Big 12 games set for Saturday: Kansas State @ No. 17 Iowa State and No. 14 Oklahoma State @ No. 18 Oklahoma. What are your predictions for each?
Daniel Seahorn — I like Iowa State straight up over the Wildcats and while I think Oklahoma State covers in Bedlam, I think the Sooners will come out on top.
Gerald Goodridge — I’ve got Iowa State and OU. Neither result helps Texas, but it is what it is.
Kyle Carpenter — Kansas State’s offense is led by true freshmen Deuce Vaughn (good, but inconsistent) and Skylar Howard (bad, but consistently so). I think this one will actually be close, but Campbell will prevail over Kleiman in a battle of minds. There is saying that “anything can happen in Bedlam: OU can win by a lot, or they can win by a little.” I’m taking OU.
Cody Daniel — OU over OSU, 41-37. ISU over KSU, 31-20.
Without a Texas game to watch, what game are you most looking forward to catching this weekend?
Daniel Seahorn — Bedlam for sure. I love a good rivalry game, and that matchup is always good for some late game drama. or some late game
Gerald Goodridge — Outside of Bedlam, I am excited to find out of the Indiana Hoosiers are actually good or if the rest of the Big 10 is that bad. I have an idea, but confirmation is always nice.
Kyle Carpenter — Army vs. Georgia Southern is a rare triple option-off and will only take an hour-and-a-half! BYU might hang 90 on Northern Alabama to try to get into the playoff. Top-Ten-diana would be America’s team if they knock off the stupid Buckeyes, who are stupid.
Cody Daniel — I’m going to be glued to the big games — Ohio State-Indiana, Wisconsin-Northwestern, Oklahoma State-Oklahoma.