Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two-minute drill

For old times' sake, how about some quick thoughts on this weekend in football? Sound good? Well, either way, I'm gonna do it. (Yes, I know I've been mighty football-centric the past couple of days. I'll be switching things up starting tomorrow. Promise).

1st Down - Texas Tech lost in such an embarrassing way last night that I bet Mike Leach moved a little closer to leaving Lubbock. Within a few minutes Saturday night, it became apparent that the talent discrepancy between the Red Raiders and the Sooners was tremendous. And, purportedly, this was the best team in Tech history.

It's just the way of the college game. OU will always have its choice of blue-chippers and Tech will always pin its hopes on turning second-tier recruits into stars. Not much will change in that regard, no matter how long Leach stays in West Texas. But maybe things would be easier for Leach in Knoxville, Seattle or Clemson. (I might note, Leach would be a terrible fit in the SEC. Ask Dennis Franchione about the differences in the level of scrutiny. Hell, Billy Gillespie too).

2nd Down - Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice suggests an alternative tiebreaker to determine the Big 12 South champ: the team with the largest margin of victory over Texas A&M. OU beat the Aggies by 38 and Tech won by 18. If the Horns can eke out a 39-point victory over their in-state rival, they can win a spot in the league title game. Actually, this doesn't sound like such a bad idea. And as Justice notes, "not only does it settle the Big 12 South, but it makes Texas A&M football relevant again." Eh, true.

3rd Down - As I write this, Adam Viniatieri hit a 51-yard field goal as time expired to lift Indy to a 23-20 win over San Diego. The Chargers are, pretty much, out of the playoff race and Norv Turner is, pretty much, on the way out of town. At a certain point, a team's title-contending days come to an end. Looks like for San Diego, it's this year. Much like my Warren Moon-led Houston Oilers in the early 90s, the Chargers will always be remembered as a team that could never get over the hump.

4th Down - I've mentioned this on, like, two other blogs but Philadelphia fans are notorious for stupidly nudging their sports stars out of town. Looks like Donovan McNabb is next up. I just can't understand why the Eagles are so ready to kick off the Kevin Kolb era, even considering the financial implications of swallowing nearly $20 million for McNabb over the next two years. I saw Kolb play in high school and college; trust me, the Eagles should be in no rush to anoint him as the guy.

Extra points - No one really thought the Titans were going undefeated, so it wasn't a big deal to see the Jets knock them from the ranks of the unbeaten Sunday. That said, I'm not so sure Tennessee can be a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Kerry Collins under center. Yes, I'm an unabashed Vince Young fan but I'm being serious here. I still stick by my preseason choice of Indianapolis for AFC champs. ... Why couldn't Grambling head coach Rod Broadway move up to coach at a larger Division I school? The guy worked under Steve Spurrier and has restored order to a Grambling program that was in serious need of it. Let him have a chance. Has a coach at a HBCU ever gone on to coach at a PWI? Floyd Keith, please get on this. ... Who knew Matt Cassel would likely be a more coveted pro qb than the guy that kept him on the bench at USC? ... Glad to see Bill Snyder is likely returning to coach at Kansas State. Means my school, TCU, gets to keep its coach - and K-State alum - Gary Patterson.


Zen said...

I don't think it was the talent disparity that got Tech whipped, I'm willing to argue that it was the simplicity of their schemes.

Their simple schemes help the players play fast, but they're also predictable. Especially if you're playing against a coaching staff that helped groom your play caller.

blackink said...

Yeah, we might have to argue that point, Zen. I agree that Leach runs a pretty simple offense.

But the simplicity of their offense didn't hurt the Red Raiders against OU last year or in '05. And it's rarely hindered them against other elite teams this season like Texas, Mizzou and Okie State. Tech still rolls up numbers.

I really think it comes down to talent in this one, particularly along the line of scrimmage. OU just mashed them up front. And, to me, that's the problem Tech will have with every other elite program out there - Alabama, Florida, USC, etc. They very rarely match-up well when the game becomes a slugfest. And that's where you tend to notice the difference in elite programs.

For instance, Hawaii looked great last year until it actually faced a team blessed with NFL talent on its offensive and defensive lines. And it's why TCU wore down against UT the year before. You can only play on the perimeter so much - at some point, you have to hit someone in the mouth.

I thought you'd agree, being a former linebacker and all.