54b's 2006 Preseason Unspectacular

For those of you who bleed burnt orange--and can prove it because you recently sold a bucket of your own bodily fluids so you could afford to purchase every overpriced pre-season college football preview guide you could get your hot little callused hands on--have I got just what you're NOT looking for.

That's right, if really insightful quips like "Texas will defend their title if they can clone Vince Young" and "the Longhorns will repeat if they can put some points on their visible-from-space scoreboard" are the kind of painfully perceptive observations you're hoping to pay top dollar for, well then you've come to the WRONG place.

But for all of you Texas fans looking for Longhorn-related coverage that CAN'T be bought (nor sponsored, but thank you for asking Poker-In-The-Rear.com), I am happy to offer you, free of charge...

After the Texas Longhorns heart stopping win over the ESPN Trojans and subsequent coronation as National Champions, it seems people just can’t get enough of the Horns. When it comes to Texas football, somebody please tell me what hasn’t been written about (several times over) leading up to the 2006 season? UT's been covered from so many angles that I'm currently suing myself for plagiarism. College football-related content is in such demand, it’s all the the leering press can do to keep up with the virtual wild, wild west known as the blogosphere, whose "post first, ask questions later" credo usually means 100% immediacy and 2% accuracy. But what makes the internet less than reputable makes it all the more exciting. And given the latest off-the-field problems plaguing schools across the country (our beloved Texas included), it’s not like there’s been a shortage of controversies, stories and rumors to keep us captivated. Most Texas fans are more than familiar with what I’m talking about, but for those of you who spent the last eight months on Pluto lobbying to keep your planethood, I will bring you up to speed with my unprecedented and most certainly unverified...

10) Coach Mack Brown's dramatic weight-loss was not due to dieting but instead to a rare disease called “Titanitus,” a degenerative disorder whereby the VY-chromosome splits for Tennessee.

9) Redshirt Freshman QB Colt McCoy swam an entire lake, leaped tall boulders barefoot, saved some old dude's life, and made Jevan Snead disappear all in one very memorable Memorial Day weekend.

8) After much maligned Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis was honored with the Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach of 2005, he allegedly broke down and confessed to his family that “it was all Vince,” he never actually called any plays last season and spent every game in the press box playing Sudoku.

7) Defensive backs Michael Huff and Michael Griffin, the subjects of many feature articles, are teaming up to open a chain of I.H.O.P.P.s (International House of Pancakes and Pitt Bulls).

6) ESPN Deportes (1260 AM) has reportedly signed a contract with El Blanco Diablo, I mean Deloss Dodds, to carry Texas football games in Spanish and have hired famous soccer announcer Andres Canto to do the play-by-play. Field Gooooooooooooaaaaaaalllllll!!!!!

5) After appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, speed merchant Jamal Charles outran the jinx associated with the magazine (and he didn’t even need to “lease” a Lexus from Big Red Motor Sports to do it).

4) In June, the Texas athletic department put an orange-lit Longhorn sign that once sat atop the north end zone scoreboard on ebay. The winning bidder, “Beelzebub666,” is reportedly a satin worshiper from Scandinavia looking to pimp his Peugeot. If that wasn’t odd enough, the winning bid was still less than the going rate for Texas/Ohio State tickets located in the north end zone also being auctioned on ebay.

3) Several eyewitnesses have come forward and claimed to have seen Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and WR Jordan Shipley at UT’s two-a-days.

2) Conspiracy buffs are convinced that the Longhorn Foundation forced Vince Young and Cat Osterman to consent to In Vitro Fertilization in order to ensure the future of Texas sports dominance. When questioned by the press, Deloss smiled and said he’s never heard of “Baby ESPY.”

And my favorite off-season Texas rumor of all...

1) Ramonce Taylor was dismissed from the team after he called police to a Pecan Farm south of Belton where unfriendly partygoers had allegedly broken a window in Taylor’s car. Upon inspection, the police found close to 4 pounds of marijuana in a backpack in the back of RT’s car and arrested the talented tailback. The charges were later dropped when RT’s report card was presented as defense exhibit 1 and the DA was convinced Ramonce had never owned a backpack.

Oh, those crazy bloggers. What will they think up next...er, whoops. Um, that last one may not exactly be a rumor. In fact, if your travels take you to the Tyler, Texas area this fall, you just might recognize the balding, new starting running back for the tiny NAIA college located there. But don’t feel too bad for RT, I hear Tyler just opened a new Taco Bell and it’s open late. But that’s just a rumor. On to the...

As always, this commentary assumes that you already know the names, playing weights, favorite dead rap star and wind-aided 40 time for all 22 starters, the specialists and the water boy. So if you're looking for in-depth depth chart analyses, returning starter ratio theorems, position-by-position breakdowns or something to wipe your ass with when the two-ply runs out, go pick up a pre-season preview guide we spoke about earlier. Believe me, before the season starts, there isn't a whole lot I, or anyone else for that matter, can tell you that you don't already know. So if you're reading this commentary in search of answers, I'm afraid all I have to offer you is more questions. So grab a #2 pencil, phone a friend and let's begin the always unpopular...

1) Kick-off for the Longhorn’s season opener against North Texas has been set for a scorching 11 a.m. Start. Is there any chance UT’s newly built and world’s largest video scoreboard, a.k.a., “Godzillatron,” will block out the sun?

2) On September 9 when 30,000 Ohio State fans (who were less than hospitable to us in Columbus last year) descend upon Austin, will UT fans subscribe to the recently unveiled sportsmanship campaign known as "Texas Fans – Make Us Proud" or will we opt for the less cordial but infinitely more exciting "Eye For A Buckeye – Brutus Must Die” form of conflict resolution?

3) Will former diminutive Texas QB and new Rice Owl offensive coordinator Major Applewhite be wearing a headset three sizes too big as he patrols the sideline?

4) Is it considered rude to break wind when playing the Iowa State Cyclones?

5) After Texas dismantles Division-I AA Sam Houston State, which one of these is most likely to make the endangered species list?
A) The often misunderstood and misspelled “Bearkat”
B) NCAA Poster Bad Boy and recent QB transfer Rhett Bomar
C) Both will be extinct by the second quarter
D) None of the above. This game never happened. I repeat, never happened

6) Will Dallas area car dealers have a big red tag sale in honor of OU coming to town, and will the Texas front seven take Adrian Peterson on an extended test drive right into the turf?

7) Baylor has thrown caution to the wind and has implemented the spread offense this year. Will the Air-Bear offense lead to a bowl berth or just further embarrassment?

8) Texas travels to Lincoln for a possible Big XII Championship preview in late October. After the game, will the critics be Horny for more or label it as Cornographic?

9) If the Longhorns beat the Red Raiders (natural enemy of the goal post), can we just tear Lubbock down?

10) Instead of making the fans sit through another disastrous first half against Oklahoma State, can Mack Brown simply offer to spot the Cowboys 35 points and the wind to start the game?

11) K-State sans coaching legend Bill Snyder...Cats Gone Wild or Cats Gone Mild?

12) True or False: A&M Head Coach Dennis Franchione was lobbying hard for a 5th non-conference game against the School For The Blind?

Extra Credit: This one comes straight from Vince Young’s Wonderlic test:

What number comes after 41- ?
A) 42
B) 40
C) Pi
D) 38

I don’t know about you, but after witnessing the greatest game of my life, I probably would have picked “D” too. But hey, it was only "one" National Championship. If UT wants another, Mack says you gotta...

Honestly, Coach Brown’s team theme for 2006 probably wouldn’t motivate most players to move their bowels much less defend the title. And while I realize Mack was simply trying to get his players to focus on their individual responsibilities, I guess I was just hoping for something a little more inspiring like “Better Pack A Lunch” because we’re going to be kicking ass all season long. Vince is gone and I know Texas is going to miss his leadership just as much as his arms and legs. Regardless, I still like UT’s chances to go back to the BCS Championship. There isn’t another team out there who doesn't have deficiencies, UT’s got plenty of depth, and the schedule is manageable. Of course, that’s exactly what I said in 2001 before Chris Simms forgot to check the wind conditions in Dallas. But this is 2006 and in about 48 hours we’ll start to find out. So can the Horns repeat? Well, for that capricious prognostication, we're going to have to turn it over to the always unbiased, unabated, unabridged, unethical, uneducated, and always uncensored...

The Texas Angels, a group of predominantly female students whose primary duty is to assist the coaching staff with recruiting, recently went coed. So I thought who better to get prognosticating advice from than the first male Texas Angel, Thad Pumphrey...

54b: Hey Thad, nice to meet ya. How does it feel to be the first male Texas Angel?
Thad: Um, I’m not an Angel. We’re called Gabriels.

54b: How PC. Gabriels, huh? Have you blown any horns lately? (laughing)
Thad: No, contact with players is strictly prohibited.

54b: (Choking on my spit) That’s unfortunate on several levels. Have you always wanted to be a Texas Angel, I mean Gabriel?
Thad: No, at first, I really wanted to be in the Flag Corp, but the conductor man said I had to wear polyester and carry the OU flag, so I said, uh-uh,
Mr. Conductor man, that’s against my principles.

54b: Impressive. Was it those same principles that forced the athletic department to
allow boys to join the Texas Angels?
Thad: No, they actually invited me to join. They said they had a special recruit in mind for me
to host.

54b: Oh really, who was that?
Thad: Rhett Bomar.

54b: (Choking on my spit again) You were chosen to host Rhett Bomar on his recruiting visit
to Texas?
Thad: And his dad, too. They were really hungry, kept saying things like, “we’re going to need
a lot of lettuce if they want us to play here.”

54b: That figures. Guess we weren’t willing to give them the green, were we?
Thad: Well I tried to take them to Souper Salads, but they demanded we go to the Golden
Corral. Rhett really likes the corn niblets and drawing sports cars and dollar signs in
crayon on the placemats.

54b: Good times. So what about the Longhorns? You got a prediction?
Thad: I predict I’m going to make some lucky senior another really super scrapbook just like I
did last year.

54b: So 14-0 then, that’s brave.
Thad: Don’t you know it. So what does the “b” in your name stand for? Bad ass or somethin’?

54b: Barbarian.
Thad: Ooh.

VY is gone (And I-E-I will always love...). McCoy is here (Vince who?). Thank God football season’s near (Are we there yet?). If you’re serious about beating North Texas (Do What You Can Do to) meet me in the parking lot at 18th and San Jacinto Saturday morning (Buenos Dias, toqu’em taco). Whittemore and the Gang (Jac-Street Boys) will once again be reserving that awesome spot (Fear change) just a block north of Scholtz Beer Garten (“Five’s my limit on Schnitzingruben”). The tailgate will probably start jumping (Tex N’Effect) about three hours before kick-off (“You said early”). Just look for the white trailer (“Down by the river”) with keg taps (“You had me at hello”) and the 6-foot BBQ smoker (Meals on Wheels). There will most likely be some beer on tap (“Hooray for beer”), but it’s always a good idea (Drink responsibly) to bring along your own frosty beverages (Now that’s what I call responsible) so you don’t run out. As for food (You kill it, we grill it), there’s always something good cooking on the grill(“Save the neck for me, Clark”). And even though these guys (Hamburger Helpers) don’t ask for anything in return (Sexual favors accepted), please toss a few bucks their way to offset the price of parking (Come early, be loud, wear orange, and donate).

"I don’t have a good feeling about next season without Vince?"
"I do. Instead of winning every game by 40 points, we’ll win by 20. Just drink twice as much as you usually do and you’ll never know the difference."



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