YEAGER: Random Thoughts - 9/30

Joe Yeager gives his random thoughts on this week's action.

Perpetually Protean Big 12: For the better part of two years I've thought that the one certainty in the conference realignment shakeup would be the Big 12's collapse and disappearance. That conclusion stemmed from the theory that no conference which hemorrhaged teams could survive very long. Such departures signified terminal structural weakness.

That theory now looks worthless for the simple reason that virtually every conference has either lost teams or is very vulnerable to losing them. The Pac 12 and Big 10 have sniped at the Big 12. The Pac 12 can skim whoever it wants from the Mountain West and WAC. The ACC and SEC can pillage the Big East, and the SEC can poach from the ACC. The Big 12, in turn, seems capable of preying upon the WAC, Mountain West, C-USA and Big East, if it so chooses, not to mention possibly luring independent BYU.

The only truly stable conferences are the Pac 12, which has everything from the Rockies westward locked down; the Big 10 whose traditional ties are a powerful centripetal force, and the SEC, which is college football's ultimate powerhouse conference.

The remaining conferences, Big 12 included, seemed doomed to an existence of constant shuffling for the foreseeable future. And while a couple of the lesser conferences may disappear entirely, it now looks as if the Big 12 actually has a future of one sort or another.

Glasgow's Challenge: The past does not determine the future, but it often suggests it. And for that reason, Tech defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow has more with which to cope than a young linebacker corps and a load of injuries. The reality is that if Glasgow builds a consistently good defense at Texas Tech, he will have bucked recent history. 

Statistical data for Tech's defensive performance over the last three decades are not readily available unless one is awarded a Fullbright for a major research project. But we do have access to points allowed data for that period, and what they suggest is that from the 1980s on, the Red Raiders have enjoyed only two periods of stingy defense.

During the first, from 1982 through 1986, Tech allowed an average of 21 points per game and never allowed more than 23 points per game in any season. During the second, from 1994 through 1998, the Red Raiders allowed an average of 20 points per contest and never allowed more 21 points per game in a season. By way of comparison, Tech's defenses under Mike Leach and Tommy Tuberville have routinely surrendered more than 30 points per game over the course of a season.

Doege's Destiny? Seth Doege is still a painfully inexperienced and untested quarterback, but based upon what I've seen so far he looks like the best professional prospect Tech has produced at the quarterback position since 1978, which was the year I began following Red Raider football in earnest.

Doege has so much going for him. His arm is as good as Billy Joe Tolliver's and Ron Reeves', and better than any other Tech quarterback during the period in question.

He scrambles as well as Robert Hall and has the best straight-line speed of any Tech QB in recent memory.

Doege moves around in the pocket like a seasoned veteran and demonstrates a "feel" for the game that is rare. He also possesses courage under fire, which is the first requirement of a great leader.

And although it may seem silly and inconsequential, Doege just looks the part of an NFL quarterback. Now the Red Raiders have had taller quarterbacks than Doege, but none of them had the physical proportions you see so often in an NFL signals caller. Doege is thick through the upper body and has the broad shoulders that are hallmarks of quarterbacks at the next level. And NFL scouts and GMs, wittingly or not, pay attention to those sorts of things.

At this point the only real knock on Doege is his height. He's only six-foot-one and they like them taller than that in the NFL. And regardless of how well Doege plays over the remainder of his college career and how well he performs in the combine, his lack of height will probably prevent him from going in the first round of the draft. That liability will not, however, prevent Doege from having a great NFL career. That is my altogether too early prediction for Doege's future.

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