First of all, I would like to apologize for the horrible formatting of last week's column, especially the preview section. I have no idea where all of the extra white space came from, but it looked like several of the papers I turned in during my High School years. You know the ones where they have to be a minimum number of pages, so you pull tricks like triple-spacing, increasing the margins, and typing out dates like "the eight day of the month of September, in the year of our Lord two-thousand and six" just to take up some more space.
Actually, I do have some idea where it came from. I don't blame my editor, because he just cuts and pastes what I send him. It can only be traced to the fact that I am not as smart as Microsoft Word, and thus it feels compelled to do things for me, even if I don't want it to. In fact, if I had to create an intellect hierarchy, it would look something like this:
Jesus-God > Inventor of TiVo > Norman Einstein > MS Word > Psychoag > Pudding > Coach Fran's Kick It or Go For Two Chart
Nonetheless, we'll see what happens this week, although I can't guarantee anything any more than the Colorado Athletic Director can guarantee a win over a Division I-AA team. Ouch. Alright, let's strap on our skates and get ready to roll-bounce.
There isn't a lot to say during these early season snoozers, so I will mainly stick to the marquee games, and games of interest. Plus, there are 12 games every week, and I'm not that creative.
Texas 56 – North Texas 7
The Longhorns look solid in a laugher against intra-state foe North Texas and keep their unbeaten streak alive for at least another week. Colt McCoy has a solid outing, easing the fears of Matthew McConaughey who thought the Mean Green was something he kept in his sock drawer. More on him later.
Oklahoma 24 – UAB 17
Whew. The post-Bomar era didn't quite start out the way Bob Stoops hoped after he claimed that that didn't really need Rhett anyway, and said he was "a guy who ended last year with 10 interceptions and 10 touchdowns. It's not like when (Heisman Trophy winner) Jason White left". Well, good thing you have Paul Thompson, the guy that couldn't beat out Bomar. Fortunately, Adrian Peterson was back to form and bailed the Sooners out. Things may be a little different once Big XII play starts, because if Thompson can't be more effective, then Peterson is going to be facing a rugby scrum of defenders crowding the line every time he tries to go through a hole.
TCU 17 – Baylor 7
A great game until TCU pulled away in the end. Still, it seemed really odd that after almost EVERY play in the second half that a Baylor player was leaving the field with cramps. If the NCAA is really serious about cutting down the length of games, then they will send a truck down to Waco with a barrel of pickle juice and a couple crates of Midol.
Montana State 19 – Colorado 10
Do you think this is what Colorado had in mind when they scheduled this early season tune-up? After getting embarrassed by the Longhorns in the Big XII Championship game last year 70-3, the turn-over-a-new-leaf minded Buffalos crap the bed at home losing to Division I-AA Montana State. Just to add insult to injury, the Mo State QB was quoted as saying "It would mean more if I could beat Chadron State next week." Ahh, yes. Mighty Chadron State. That stings a little.
Missouri 47 - Murray State 7
New QB Chase Daniel throws a school record 5 TD passes while thousands of Texas Tech fans shrug their shoulders.
Texas Tech 35 – SMU 3
The Red Raiders began this year's aerial assault with Quarterback Graham Harrell throwing for 342 yards and 5 Touchdowns, meaning Tech is one week into their goal of not scoring a single rushing touchdown this season. Rumor has it that Coach Mike Leach has been working on a modified version of the Quarterback Sneak for use inside the 1-yard line where Harrell actually throws it to himself off of a defender's helmet.
Kansas 49 - Northwestern State 18
Mark Mangino is fat. Not phat, fat.
Oklahoma State 52 - Missouri State 10
nonsense. Congrats to Oklahoma State. At least you beat your I-AA team.
Kansas State 24 – Illinois State 23
Oh boy. The Wildcats rack up 207 yards and fail to score an offensive touchdown, daringly beating a Division I-AA team because the Redbird coach decided to go for 2 and didn't make it. But hey, they are still 1 game better than the Buffalos.
Iowa State 45 – Toledo 43
Another Big XII North team struggles as the Cyclones finally edge out the Rockets in triple overtime. At least Toledo is a Division I-A team, although they are from the MAC.
Texas A&M 35 - The Citadel 3
The Aggie defense holds an opponent out of the endzone for the first time in 18 games. This moral victory brought to you by that kid with no arms that you always beat playing HORSE at the park.
Colt McCoy? Limas Sweed? Mack Brown? The Texas Longhorns cast list may read like the credits of an old Western movie, but unfortunately for the modern-day Austinites, you can't just roll into town with your six-shooter at your side and not expect the Marshall to take notice. While Colt, Limas, and Mack may be wearing the white hats, there are others in the Royal Gang that can't seem to keep themselves out of trouble. Most recently, Tarell Brown and Tyrell Gatewood were pulled over with former Longhorn Aaron Harris. Tarell was charged for having a 9 mm handgun in his lap, and all three were charged with possession of marijuana. I don't find this incredibly surprising, coming from a school that touts Ricky Williams and Matthew McConaughey as its stars. And hey, this is Austin.
It seems that Ricky Williams becoming a hero in Austin is one of the worst things that could have happened for the futures of some of these kids. Not because of his amazing accomplishments on the field, but because of the freak-show that has taken place since then. While I am certainly not naïve enough to claim that drug use doesn't take place on other campuses, in Austin Rasta Ricky is a legend. Players are growing their hair like him and apparently growing their gardens like him as well. I highly commend Mack Brown for taking disciplinary action in this case, especially sacrificing his best cover man right before his biggest game of the season. However, I can't help but think that the lax culture and look the other way until someone gets caught attitude that pervades the coaching ranks throughout the NCAA has something to do with this. A&M had a rash of arrests a few years ago, and many schools seem to be losing the concept of the student-athlete, and moving toward the parolee-athlete.
If Mack Brown (or any other coach) wanted to do the right thing, he would gather the team up and put his thing down (figuratively). I would say this: "There are over 85 of you in this room, and less than a dozen of you will make money in the NFL. The rest of you are being given a free college education while getting to live the dream of thousands of overweight guys with bad knees and season tickets. Even those of you going to the NFL have a better than average chance of ending up wearing a dress, growing a freak beard and getting suspended. You owe it to yourselves, and you owe it to your teammates to suck it up and act like an adult for 4 years." Now maybe this will be as effective as when they tried to get the football players to sign the drug-free contract in the movie Dazed and Confused, but something needs to be done.
NCAA Rule Changes
The NCAA decided that they needed to keep tampering with things in an attempt to suck up to the media types that pay the bills. For those that haven't heard the outcry from offense-happy coaches across the nation, the NCAA, in an attempt to shorten the lengths of the games, has made two rule changes this year.
The first is to start the clock when the kicker touches the ball, as opposed to when the return man catches it. Given that this will save about 6 seconds per kickoff, and there are maybe 20 kicks in an extremely high-scoring game, this stroke of genius looks to make the games a whole two minutes shorter. Bravisimo signores! All across America, people are planning what to do with their new found free time. Read to their kids! Write the great American novel! Get that funny looking mole checked out! Become amorous with your wife, the football widow! Wash rinse AND REPEAT!
In addition, they put in a rule to start the clock on a change of possession once the ball is spotted, instead of when the ball is first snapped, and this one actually does appear to be shortening the game, by about 15 minutes per game, and two possessions per team. I agree with Tech coach Mike Leach that the last thing football fans want is LESS football. This will definitely hurt he possession driven teams, and favor the grind it out teams, and I don't like the fact that the NCAA is making a rule that definitely favors certain teams, in an attempt to make stuffy bean counters happy.
The other problem I have with this is that they didn't make an exception to this rule in the last 5 minutes of the game. This will reduce some of the dramatic comebacks and last-minute finishes that make college football so great. Previously, when a trailing team came out on defense with little time left, they new they could get a stop, call a timeout, repeat on second and third down, and then force a punt while eating very little time off of the clock and giving them a chance to drive down and score. Now, they will either have to run 25 seconds off the clock or call a timeout before the other team has even run a play. Hopefully, the NCAA will listen to the hue and cry from fans and coaches, and this rule will make a lot of noise and then disappear quietly, not unlike 80s two-hit wonder Rick Astley.
I have a few ideas for rules that the NCAA should look into adding. One, anytime a player runs out of bounds to avoid contact short of a first down, the official should display a limp wrist, and then penalize the team 10 yards. Two, allow celebrations as long as they are done as a team. We don't need hot dogs like the NFL, but we also don't need to turn the players into Jedi Knights that are unable to show emotion. Even if we have to wait an extra minute while the offensive line performs the Riverdance. Three, ban lightsabers, just in case. I looked through the rule book and can't find where they are illegal. This is a dangerous, unclosed loophole.
And finally, while we are talking about rules the NCAA needs to look at, can we please get some consistent application to the professional athletes rule? Let me get this straight, an Olympic Skier can't come back and play college football because he took some endorsement money, but yet we have had several aged quarterbacks return that got million-dollar contracts to play baseball but ended up sucking. Now, there is even a case of a college football getting paid for a boxing match. The rule needs to be applied consistently. If you get paid to play any professional sport, you cannot play a college sport. Even if you are a wicked Jai Alai player, or work at a car dealership in Oklahoma.
Let's take a look at the TV games…
Ohio State at Texas 7:00 PM on ABC
Finally, a game worth watching. Hopefully, teams will start scheduling more marquee games such as these, but I don't count on it.
n Why to watch? It's number 1 vs. number 2, something that rarely happens during the regular season.
n Why not to watch? You are my boss and you didn't even know that football was televised.
Colorado vs. Colorado State 4:00 PM on CSTV
The sad Buffalos try to rebound against in-state rivals Colorado State, a team that has three players facing felony charges of fraud and identity theft. Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins hangs up from another prank phone call, rubs his chin and mutters, "That gives me an idea!"
n Why to watch? You actually get CSTV and know what it is. The wild-card factor of a rivalry game, especially early in the season.
n Why not to watch? You want to see what Chadron State is up to.
Washington at Oklahoma 2:30 PM on ABC
n Why to watch? You want to see Adrian Peterson before he gets hurt.
n Why not to watch?
Texas Tech at UTEP 8:00 PM maybe on CSTV
Tech takes on another West Texas team, but I can't tell if this game is on TV or not, and have heard both ways.
n Why to watch? It IS on TV.
n Why not to watch? It ISN'T on TV
Other games of disinterest:
Mississippi at Missouri 11:30 AM on FSN
Nicholls State at Nebraska 12:30 PM
UL Monroe at Kansas 6:00 PM
UL Lafayette at Texas A&M 6:00 PM
UNLV at Iowa State 6:00 PM
Northwestern State at Baylor 6:00 PM
Oklahoma State at Arkansas State 6:00 pm on ESPNU
Florida Atlantic at Kansas State 6:10 PM
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I was a little long winded this week, so the Fan Laws will be pushed off until next week. Feel free to email me some of you ideas for fan laws, and I will credit you when they are discussed. Random "shout out" this week to Bionic Techsan.
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Until next week,