10.04.2003

Texas 24, Kansas State 20

CHRIS, KIRK, LEE & 54b

Gameday came to Austin last Saturday and, thanks to a friend of mine who works on the Home Depot account, yours truly was given an all-access, behind the barricades pass for the taping of the show. Our group got to hang out back stage, munch on the crew's food and tour the TV truck where the director of the show works his magic. I brought a tape of my sack in the 1996 New Mexico State game just in case they needed some extra footage, but they just smiled and asked the security guard to make sure I found my way back outside. And for some reason, they weren't particularly interested in hearing about my rare, prognostication talent either, but Corso did don the Bevo head and even Herbstreet picked the Horns to win, so I can't help but feel like I was a positive influence - even if Fowler said "Nice to meet you Cody" as we were all taking a picture after the show...(click on attached Gameday.jpg)...not exactly the best day of my life, but it was a good start to the day and a good sign of things to come as Texas pulled out a...

BIG WIN

Do me a favor, the next time someone complains that Mack Brown can't win a big game, ask them to pull out a piece of paper, write it down and go wipe their ass with it. Make no mistake, that was a big game. True, Texas probably should have won a lot more decisively with a 17-3 halftime lead, but they dug deep and found a way to win despite several setbacks. Like many of you, I about lost it when Vasher fumbled that punt return. And just when the season seemed over, the defense comes out and get the ball right back. Then the freshman phenom playing on a bad ankle and lot of heart let the Horns on an 88 yard drive like he had done it all of his life. And what was even better, the much maligned defense, who played awesome all day, came back in and shut it down the rest of the way. It wasn't pretty, but with Vincent Young at the helm, anything seems possible, even a win over you know who...

TX/OU PREVIEW

Sad to say, but not a day goes by anymore that I don't think about TX/OU in some form or fashion. No matter what I'm doing or where I am, it follows me...at work, at social events and even while traveling to destinations not even remotely close to Austin or Norman. For instance, I was in Chicago attending a Cubs game at Wrigley Field a while back. There I was, in the middle of baseball heaven enjoying an Old Style and cheering for Sammy in] the bleachers, when out of no where, Satan himself (Bob Stoops) showed up to sing "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch. No matter what I do, I just can't escape the rivalry. And for the last three years, it has been a constant source of torment. A barrage of inflammatory email and Sooner propaganda has followed each heartbreaking loss. No Texas fan has been spared the humiliation, and no Sooner fan has passed up the chance to gloat. But hey, it's a rivalry and that's the way it should be. If losing didn't hurt so bad, winning wouldn't feel so good. OU returns to Dallas this weekend ranked number one. And no doubt they have a good football team and deserve the adoration, but regardless of what the pundits and self-proclaimed experts say, I think Texas has a legitimate shot to win the Red River Shootout this year. Call it cautious optimistism or just a pipe dream, but here are...

10 REASONS WHY TEXAS CAN BEAT OU

1. Rankings and records don't really mean much in this rivalry. Many times the more highly ranked of the two teams has left Dallas on the losing end.

2. If OU has one weakness, it's arrogance. It has proven very costly in losses to OSU the last couple of years and this year Stoops is already talking about this being his best team ever.

3. Texas is battled tested with two really tough games against top 10 competition. OU did have to travel to Tuscaloosa, but then again, so did Northern Illinois, and both came out winners. For the past 3 years, Texas has come to Dallas without a quality game under its belt. This year, it's the other way around.

4. In the last two years, no position has effected the outcome of the game more than linebacker. This year, OU enters the game without two of their best. UT can exploit the two-deep zone by sending their receivers deep and drawing OU's defensive line up field. Screens and draws as well as passes to tight-ends in the flat should be very effect against a depleted Sooner line-backing corps.

5. Texas no longer features a strict drop back passer. In the last two years, the Sooners weren't worried about Simms running and could pin their ears back and go all out in certain passing situations. With V-Y, they're going to have to respect his running ability, buying more time for him to throw the ball.

6. The Sooner running game isn't what it used to be. OU will have to rely on Jason White's passing ability, which makes him and his bad knees susceptible to taking a lot of hits. White can definitely throw the ball with accuracy, but the Longhorns won't be worried about him scrambling like they were with Ell Robison.

7. The Texas running game is getting better. It's not great, but unlike the past two years, Texas has proven that they can get a yard on the ground when they have to. Again, the OU linebackers won't be as effective this year, and look for Texas to have some success running outside.

8. The Sooner secondary is really talented, but extremely aggressive. In the past, they've shown a tendency to bite on the pump fake and let receivers get by them. Texas has great receivers and obviously isn't afraid to throw it deep no matter what's going on in the game.

9. Because Baylor beat Colorado, because the Cubs and Red Sox are still playing in October, because that ain't a lollipop in Kobe's pocket...in sports, anything can happen. With the right talent, a lot of confidence and a little luck, the seemingly impossible becomes, "I knew we could win all along."

10. Because Texas is due and because they have to. The National Championship isn't the only thing on the line this weekend. For all intents and purposes, another Texas loss will take the Horns out of the running for the Big XII Championship and any kind of a BCS berth, too. Another trip to the Holiday Bowl, Cotton or worse will probably be the beginning of the end of the Mack Brown era at Texas. Mack has turned this program around, but he can't assemble all this talent and come up empty forever, eventually it will catch up with him. This is easily the most important game of his career. If he is to turn the corner at Texas, this is the game. The Longhorns must win.

Truth be told, for every 10 reasons I can find for why Texas will win, I'm sure others can find 100 for why OU will win. Hey, the Sooners are a very good football team and it's going to take nothing short of a Herculean effort on the part of the Longhorns to pull it out. But it all starts with believing.

TAILGATE UPDATE (State Fair Addition)

If you don't have tickets (OU sucks for you) to the TX/OU game yet (last minute shopper) and you're in the market for some (buy low, scalp high), you might want to consider taking out a second mortgage (hey, what's one less kidney?). Despite Texas' loss to Arkansas (Porky's Revenge) the tickets are still being sold for outrageous prices (Bling squared). However, for those of you (the few, the loud, the sardines) who are braving the ultra-cramped Cotton Bowl (Simms' House of Horrors), here are a few tips (observations really):

1) GET TO THE FAIRGROUNDS EARLY. Save the Bloody Mary brunches (cantaloupe not included) at the in-laws' house ("you a pot smoker Fokker") for Sunday. As kick-off approaches, traffic (damn Schooners) around the fair comes to a standstill and it's at least a 20 minute walk (wind aided) from the closest parking area (Long term, DFW).

2) PARKING. The Cotton Bowl is not exactly located in the nicest of neighborhoods ("pardon me homes"). And even though the man standing in his front yard with the cardboard sign that reads "Parking $20" claims to be a respectable business man (too legit to quit), I don't recommend you leave your only mode of transportation out in the hood (it's not all good) in his front yard (your car won't be the only thing on "grass"). Find a paved parking lot (Vote Tar and go far) or take a cab. I suggest the parking lot outside the Smirnoff Music Theater (Preferred by 9 out of 10 Mulletheads).

3) NO WALLETS, NO PURSES. Get a money clip (or a paper clip) for your driver's license, date's ID (she said she was 18), cash, credit card and tickets. Then put it all in your front pocket (wow, you were happy to see me).

4) COUPON TICKETS. Upon entering the fair, find a coupon booth (next to the midget rodeo) immediately and however many tickets you think you should buy, double that (super size it). Coupons are the state fair's elaborate little scheme (bait & switch) to try and hide the fact that you just spent $12 (is that tax deductible?) on a corndog (maybe just one Mr. Adkins?) and a beer .

5) GO TO THE GAME EARLY. Find the gate number on your ticket (your age minus beers consumed) and enter that gate (are you the key master?).

The corridors of the Cotton Bowl are extremely narrow (Moooooo!) and when they fill up, they're worse than a junior high hallway after the lunch bell rings (hall rage).

6) FORGET THE FLASK. I know, I know, it's a right of passage (good talk, Russ). But there are security guards (hey, tough guy) at all the gates with magnetic wands (use the force) and frisky hands (using the whole fist there doc?), it's not worth blowing all that cash (luscious greenbacks) on tickets just to watch the game with the boys downtown (at the jailgate). If spirits (oh Captain, my Morgan) are a must, then replace the cleaning solution (so hard to find good help) in your contact lens bottle with the liquor. (Credit Shane "old dry eyes" Attaway with this innovation.)

7) FORGET BIG TEX. Designate a meeting spot (Lost and Found) for your group before you get drunk and disoriented (Scout master Bob's missing and my butt hurts). And I repeat, BIG TEX (he's tall for his age) is NOT a good place to meet. There are many other viable landmarks (how 'bout Uranus) to choose from.

Add suntan lotion (it puts the lotion on or gets the hose) and adhere to these seven simple edicts (rules are for tools) and ,as they say, the rest is up to you (you can do it).

QUOTEWORTHY

Signs of interest interspersed amongst the fans surrounding the ESPN Gameday set:

"Hey Mom, send money! (FOR BEER)"

"Hey Corso, the Tin Man had more heart than you"

"F Trev Alberts"

"Feed the Horse #4"

"At K-State, the girls look like boys and the boys run like girls."

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