The Weakly Retort

A Soft-Hitting Look at College Football

The Big XII did pretty well in week 2, going 10-1 and knocking off two Top 10 teams from the Big Tenleven. That brings the Big XII combined record to 19-3 through two weeks. Sure there are a lot of spares thrown in, but most teams are taking care of business. Let's put on our reading glasses and take a look back at last week.

20/20 Hindsight:

Oklahoma State 23 – Florida Atlantic 3

Let's just get this one out of the way. First of all, this one was played on a Thursday night, which is typically the night for Junior Varsity games and appeared to be about as well attended. Just over 16,000 people showed up to watch this gem that was played in 75,000 seat Dolphins Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins, who left their baseball field laying all over the place. The echo was so bad that it sounded like the broadcasters were in a racquetball court, and it is also very odd to see a guy stealing third base in a football game. Enough with the two-sport stadiums, already. I can't tell you much else about this fine game, because I got so bored that I switched over to a Joey re-run and bit through my tongue.

Oklahoma 31 – Tulsa 15

Adrian Peterson and a bunch of guys in red run over the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in a very sloppy game. While Peterson had 220 rushing yards and 3 TDs, the Sooners could only muster 42 yards in the air, and didn't even throw a pass in the second half. Either Stoops' visor is on too tight, or they have serious problems at the quarterback position. Of course, as one coworker pointed out, OU won two national championships averaging about 42 passing yards per game. Yeah, but I bet those teams didn't lose to TCU and struggle against Tulsa, buddy.

Speaking of Tulsa, what exactly is a Golden Hurricane? I did a Yahoo search, and the only stuff that came up was about the University of Tulsa. Nonetheless, it is a very odd choice of mascot, especially for a landlocked state. Perhaps that is why it is a GOLDEN hurricane. I don't know what that means either, I just typed it anyway.

Iowa State 23 – Iowa 3

Another case of the Big XII representin' over the Big Tenleven, scoring all 23 points off of turnovers. Most people probably wrote off the Cyclones as being another Big XII North throwaway team, but after knocking off a Top 10 team, I might have to rethink Baylor as my smart-aleck pick to win the North.

Texas Tech 56 – Florida International 3

A new quarterback in the same old plug and play high-scoring offense and Tech opens the season with a bang. On an even more amazing note, Tech allowed only 3 points on defense. Yes, it is Florida International, and time will tell, but there didn't seem to be any misfires as Tech throws for over 500 yards with no turnovers. And that's all I have to say about that, because Mike Leach refuses to talk to me. No big deal, so does my therapist. And my editor.

Texas 25 – Ohio State 22

Man, what a game. I was all set to come on and blast Coach Butterteeth and his sidekick Radio. I was going to ask why Mack ran so many halfback passes, especially when Vince throws with worse form than Bea Arthur doing military presses. (Yes, I used a form joke two weeks in a row. I've got many more, so deal with it.) Vince makes you respect the run so much that the defense leaves the receivers wide open, and so on very few plays did he have to throw to someone with a defender within 10 yards of them. But you know what? He got it done.

And I will eat crow every single week if the NCAA is going to give me a game like this one. Excitement. Big hits. Big plays. Big crowd. Close score. This game had everything a football fan wants except for a twist-off cap. The only bad thing about this game were the announcers. Brent Musburger is just awful. He picks out a player every game and then flaunts his new man-crush for 3 hours, usually involving the overuse of some trumped up nickname. He also calls everybody "folks", which should only be reserved for Airline Pilots. It only goes downhill when they throw back to the studio and the over-eyebrowed Aaron Taylor with his crawl-mouth, phony voice and scripted opinions.

Quick Hits

In other games, Kansas State squeaks past Marshall 21-19. Nebraska continues its offensive ineptitude in a misleading 31-3 over Wake Forest, with the defense scoring 3 touchdowns. For TDs on the season, that is Defense 4 – Offense 2. That doesn't bode well for the land of the rising corn once they enter conference play. Baylor beats up on Samford 48-14 to maintain their first place tie atop the conference. Stanford? No, Samford. Sanford? No, dadgummit, Samford. I hate this stupid speech-to-text program.

Also, Colorado blanks New Mexico State 39-0, and Kansas beats Appalachian State 36-8 who is definitely not Hot, Hot, Hot! See: Good thing they went for two! Missouri was the lone loser, falling 45-35 to New Mexico. Of the 14 completed New Mexico passes, 10 were to Hank Baskett who had 3 TD's and 209 receiving yards. I haven't seen so much blown coverage since Geraldo covered the Iraq War. Or the Hurricane Katrina. Or Al Capone's Vaults.

My 98 Cents: Time of Possession

Can we all just shut up about "time of possession"? Talk about worthless, that stat is even more meaningless than the quarterback passer rating. Who cares how much clock time a team has used?

Musburger does. He loves to come on and talk about time of possession and dominating the line of scrimmage and wearing down the defense, and how he likes to dress up in a schoolgirl outfit and host tea parties for Jack Arute and Ricky Williams, etc.

Let's say you have two teams. Say it, I'll wait. Good. Team A is a passing team, while Team B is a running team. Team A kicks the opening kickoff out of bounds around the 50 yard line. The two teams meet at midfield and Team B takes a knee, waits for the play clock to run down to 1, then takes a knee again. They do this for all 4 downs and then curiously hand the ball back to Team A.

Team A, in all of its infinite wisdom, snaps the ball and spikes it into the turf 4 times in a row, handing it back to Team B who then kneels the ball out 4 times again.

This continues until both coaches are fired and the network switches over to pairs figure skating where you wonder aloud if it is a sin to pray for someone to fall down.

But wait, let's look at the time of possession. Team A would have about 2 minutes, while Team B would have about 58 minutes. EVEN THOUGH THEY RAN THE SAME NUMBER OF PLAYS AND SPENT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME ON THE FIELD. Sorry for yelling, but I can't make this too clear.

Because the clock runs on running plays, and stops on incomplete passes, time of possession is a meaningless stat. A far more meaningful stat would be the number of PLAYS that have been run.

Or better yet, the PsychoAg Offense On Playingfield Index (POOPI). Yes, I need to rework my acronym, but the essence is this. You get one of those back and forth timers like they use in chess. No, I don't know where you buy them, just find a chess guy and take his. Honestly now, it shouldn't be that difficult. It's a chess guy.

Then, when Team A is on the field you smack one button, and when Team B is on the field you smack the other. You stop the clock completely during time outs and TV breaks, quarter changes, etc. You will see that the POOPI doesn't care if you run, pass, or throw oranges at a vagrant, it simply gives you an accurate picture of how long your offense was on the field.

Now, I'm beating this dead horse into glue, and I'm about as sick of talking about it as you are of reading about it, so we'll continue on now and take a look at the upcoming games of interest.

On Deck

Not a lot of big games this week. The most interesting is probably OU at UCLA to see if the Swooners can right the ship. A loss to UCLA could signal a very bad year for the boys in Norman. Texas A&M plays host to a "suddenly revitalized" SMU team which, after their victory over TCU, are all proudly wearing their "I beat a team that beat Oklahoma and all I got was this Iron Skillet" t-shirts.

Texas is at home against Rice in a game where they should rack up some crazy numbers, while Texas Tech continues the "Dregs of College Football Tour" against Sam Houston in a game where they should rack up some insane numbers. Oklahoma State battles Arkansas State in the battle of "States you can fly to from Love Field that aren't New Mexico or Louisiana."

Missouri plays Troy State, which sounds made up because there is no state named Troy. Baylor plays Army, Kansas plays Louisiana Tech, and Nebraska plays Pittsburgh in some games that aren't particularly interesting, and probably aren't on TV. Man, I can't wait for conference play.

Next week the subject of 98 Cents will be Football Superstitions, so send in your favorites, whether it be when you were a fan or a player.

The author can be reached at Try and put something like "RAIDERPOWER" in the subject line so it can be spotted if it is kicked to bulk mail.

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