8.28.2001

54b's 2001 Preseason Unspectacular

“Come Early, Be Loud, Promulgate!!!”

Never before has a college football team done so little to deserve so much hype. Exactly what did Chris Simms and the Longhorns do last year to convince just about every sports writer, Vegas odds maker and Miss Cleo, the $4.95 a minute fortuneteller, to drink the orange Kool Aid and proclaim Texas as this year's National Champion to be? Was it the time the Horns proved their 2000 preseason billing by being taken behind the wood shed in Palo Alto by a bunch of eco-challengers? Perhaps it was Mack's unprecedented "one strike and you're out" system of rotating quarterbacks that lead to the 63-14 mercy killing at the hands of the Sooners? Or was it the pass catching clinic they put on against the Ducks at the Holiday Bowl? That was more depressing than a rolling black out in Condit country... anyway, regardless of the fact that the Horns beat no one of any real significance last year and Chris Simms hasn't proven to be anything but the answer to the bonus question on Phil Simms' paternity test, the Burnt Orange Band Wagon is on the move and gaining momentum. All aboard, next stop Pasadena!

POP QUIZ

As with any team heading into a new season, there are many questions to be answered. How early and often they answer these questions, usually determines their fate. For the sake of wasting time, I've come up with a few in-FAQs of my own. So sharpen your #2, phone a friend and let's begin:

20) On September 1st, will Horns fans get a phat beat or just a lot of bad heat?

19) Will cover boy Chris Simms be the next James Street, or the next Marty Cherry?

18) Mack Brown, Orange Jesus or Orange Julius? Discuss.

17) Can Texas Fight without Applewhite?

16) Will Joe Jamial field at Darrel K. Royal Memorial Stadium get another name?

15) Do you know of a nice, quiet hotel that serves breakfast in College Station?

14) Will Cedric Benson be the next Little Earl, Little Ricky or Chandra Levy?

13) "Hey Longhornth Fanths," is there a straight sportscaster in Austin? (see Jumbotron)

12) After October 6th, will OU take the week off from school, or the semester?

11) Will Roy Williams turn out to be the "chosen one" or chosen #1?

10) D.D. Lewis, will he play more like Ray (LB for the Ravens) or Emanuel (Webster)?

9) If there's no Casey Hampton, no Shaun Rogers and no Leonard Davis, then where's the beef?

8) Will the Horns put the "special" back in Special Teams?

7) The Longhorn O-line: looking more like a herd of ornery steers or the buffet at Golden Corral?

6) Quentin Jammer: stuck on wide receivers or good on burnt toast?

5) Will Mack Brown have to apologize and who would accept it if he did?

4) Will OU suck or will the Horns blow?

3) Is Dusty Magnum the answer to our kicking prayers, or the star of Boogie Nights II?

2) Will Jerry Jones be hoping that we enjoyed our 3rd Big XII Championship very much?

1) And finally, will we be going to the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl or the toilet bowl?

A SCHEDULE FROM THE GODS

Am I just spouting 54blasphemy? Hell no. Take it from an ex-Alter boy (non scholarship of course), if there ever was a favorable schedule, this is the one. Why, you ask? Because the Horns have the one or two top rated teams(OU and Big XII North representative) needed on the schedule that if they are victorious over, will give them legitimate claim to a ticket to Pasadena. On the other side, there are no stumbling block games with the possible exception of having to go to Kyle Field again face the grapes of wrath. So what do you say we take a look? Here's a season preview complete with comments.

NMSU: There's a "new" Mexico? Doohh!

NC: It'll be hot enough as it is, better hold the Peppers

UofH: Not even if it floods

TECH: Over-confident after big win against rival North Texas

OU: Best shoot out since '84

OSU: Stillwater, still sucks

CU: Buffalo, the other dead meat

MIZZOU: Wrong Tiger

BAYLOR: Bye-week

KU: Soon to be KO

A&M: RC old boy, you're fired!

INTANGIBLES

I thought about going position by position giving strengths and weaknesses, but that would actually involve work on my part. If you want X's and O's, go by the newsstand and pick up a copy of Athlons (as if you needed another one of those hocus-pocus prediction pubs adorning your crapper). So rather than waste your time with returning starter ratio theorems, quarterback controversies and absolute delusions of grandeur about which freshmen will contribute, I've put together a unique look at what I consider the keys to the season:

QUICK OUT THE GATE - For some reason, Texas couldn't score with a $2 whore during the first quarter of just about every game last year. Whether it was the QB swap meet or number of freshman starters, it wasn't until the second quarter of most games that the Longhorns would begin to figure things out. Against bad teams, this usually doesn't matter, against the good ones, it will usually cost you the game. They can't afford to take a quarter off. Scoring in the first quarter is also indicative of a solid game plan and a team playing as a cohesive unit. It will be crucial against the likes of the high-scoring Sooners.

THE KICKING GAME - It'll be the crying game if Mack doesn't figure this one out. And I'm not just talking about those group of "Back Street Boys" we've got vying for the place kicking job. Mack has never put a priority on punting and once again, the Horns enter the season with an unseasoned punter (JC transfer). People don't realize just how important field position is over the coarse of a game. If the opponent constantly begins every drive 20 yards closer to the promised land, they won't have to work as hard for scores and show as much of their offensive game plan. It all adds up, especially if Texas is forced to punt out of it's own endzone late in a game.

CONFIDENCE - If this team doesn't believe they can beat OU, they won't. 63-14 is going to weigh heavily on these players' minds. On top of that is the overwhelming pressure that has been put on the Horns to win, by themselves and by the media. If they lose even once, the national championship is gone, and most likely, so is the Big XII Championship. It's all or nothing and it's not easy to play under those circumstances, especially for a team without a whole lot of senior leadership. Younger players are far more likely to get rattled by difficult situations and usually have a hard time clawing their way back after getting down early in a game. Let's just hope we win the coin toss at the Cotton Bowl....

UNPREDICTABLE PREDICTION

If this isn't the year, then I don't know when is. We may never see a schedule like this one again. The road to Pasadena goes straight through Big D. Once on October 6th (Oklahoma) and again on December 1st (Big XII Championship), provided we make it. There isn't another game on the schedule of any real significance. Everything points to the game against OU. If victorious, the win will have a snow ball effect on the rest of the season. If Texas loses, the season will be over in the minds of many a player and fan alike. It's all about OU. Oklahoma on the other hand, has to play a good Kansas State team the week before they play Texas and has to go to Lincoln, never an easy proposition. As for other Rose Bowl hopefuls, I can see the winner of the Civil War (Oregon or Oregon State) and either Florida or Miami making it. All have favorable schedules, although the Canes have to play at Florida St and Virginia Tech, and the Beavers have to go to Eugene. Well I said 9-2 last year and unfortunately, I was right. And despite the lack of a solid kicking game, a proven quarterback, and overall senior leadership, I gotta believe this is the year. So what's the prediction:

"COME EARLY, BE LOUD and STAY LATE because as far as winning the

National Championship goes, IT'S FATE"

Longhorns 35, Ducks 31 - Roy holds on to the ball this time.

TAILGATE UPDATE

Same place as last year, San Jacinto (remember the Alamo) and 18th Street (are those hookers?). Just look for the RV (shitter's full) and the 6 foot smoker (you mean Ted?). We'll be there about 10:00am (wake-up call) starting up the smoker (fire in the hole) with some fajita's and a brisket (mmmm, mouth watering brisket). Just bring your appetite (suppressants) and a beer (for everyone). Tell me, what more could you want (3-way). Everything from last year will be there (Bitterly?) including some washer boards (WT-Games) and probably a port-o-potty for the ladies (I just have to wee-wee). So come on down and see Nad ("I believe the expression is shaved") and the gang next Saturday (what time is it? Gametime!).

QUOTE Of THE WEEK

"Every morning when I wake up, I thank God I'm alive and I thank God I'm not an Aggie." - anonymous survivor

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