First, let me say that the Big XII Television contract is a joke. Not a joke like "How many Aggies does it take to change a light bulb?", but rather a joke like Jerry Springer on Dancing With the Stars. Two games. Two Big XII games were on TV this week, out of six. Even Southland Conference games were on. The Big Tenleven has almost all of its games televised every week. So does the SEC. NBC crams Notre Dame down our throat every week even harder than they do that failed show with John Lithgow and the dad from Arrested Development. Yet the conference that has had a participant in the national championship game 5 of the last 6 years has TWO games on TV? (For the record, it takes three Aggies to change a light bulb. One to change the bulb, one to call it a tradition, and one to lead the yell, ‘Change the Hell Outta Light Bulb'." I didn't make that up, but I thought it was funny.)
Part of the problem is that there is a rule that no two Big XII Games can be aired at the same time. This is insane. I understand that they don't want to compete with themselves for ratings, but with a limited number of available game slots, they have to do something. This week three of the six games are on TV, but a key matchup between Baylor and Texas A&M, a game that has gone to overtime that last two years, gets left out in the dark. I'll have to listen to the game on the Internets because the radio stations all go limp after dark and you can't make Dave South's voice out among the accordion music swelling on the adjacent Tejano station. Somebody make them bichiz power down every now and then. I don't care about your corazon, I want to hear some football in my car.
Texas 22 – Nebraska 20
Texas has got to be the luckiest team in the nation. I'm not saying they aren't good, but just once, I would like to see them punished for a mistake. Late in the game, when Nebraska absolutely had to have a score, they instead got two consecutive false-starts that put them in a 1st and 20 hole that pretty much sealed their fate. But then, a UT player committed a late hit and gave the Huskers a manageable 1st and 10 fifteen yards up the field, which they eventually converted into a score. I wrote down that this would be the bonehead play that would cost the Horns the game. Then I circled it. Then I lost the paper, which is why I can't remember the guy's name.
The orange go three-and-out, and all Nebraska has to do is run out the clock. They convert a third down with just over 2 minutes left that would have once again given them the game, but Terrence Nunn inexplicably coughs it up and Marcus Griffin scoops it in to give the Horns new life. Then, Texas fumbles the ball a few plays later, but of course, they end up getting it back. They drive down and a walk-on kicker that was just there for the ride becomes the unlikely hero, as he puts the game-winner through the uprights after the starter had his leg tighten up.
Nebraska has one last desperation heave to the endzone that falls incomplete. But wait! Don't order yet! Wait until you see what else you get! Nebraska gets one more shot, fifteen yards closer, because some knucklehead on the Longhorn defensive line roughs the quarterback ON A HAIL MARY. And of course, as fate would have it, the pass falls incomplete again, and Texas pulls out an undeserved win. Not undeserved because they didn't play well, but because football karma should have punished them for being idiots. When I drink too much, I get a hangover. When I speed to get home before the game starts, I get a ticket. When I shave my face with the same razor I use on my armpits, I cut myself. When is Texas going to be held accountable for its crimes? Is there no justice? I would call for the Red Raiders to make them pay this weekend, but they have the market cornered on dumb penalties, so karma is just going to sit in its weathered La-Z-Boy, close its eyes, and throw fumble darts.
Missouri 41 – Kansas State 21
Chase Daniel and the Tigers bounce back from their first loss by beating the Kansas State Wildcats for the first time in 14 years. That's about it. I used up all my football thoughts in the Texas game description. If I think of something else, then I will come back and put it in later. If you were able to read that last sentence, then I didn't.
Baylor 36 – Kansas 35
One of the greatest comebacks in recent Baylor history goes unseen by almost everybody. First of all, like most Big XII games these days, it wasn't on TV. Second, of the 36,000 that actually showed up, most of them bailed in the 4th quarter after a Shawn Bell interception with the Bears trailing 35-17. But Bell rallied back, throwing three touchdown passes in the final 10 minutes to lead the Baylors to their first homecoming win in nine years. After the game, a very "glass half full" Guy Morriss praised the Bears effort, and the direction of the program by saying that it is meaningful that nobody tore down the goalposts, because Baylor fans are now expecting the team to win. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that there weren't even enough people left in the stadium to bend them, much less tear them down.
Texas Tech 42 – Iowa State 27
The Red Raiders bounced back from their painful loss to Colorado by taking to the air against the Cyclones. Graham Harrell throws for 6 TD as the manic-depressive Tech fans are no doubt manic again. Tech jumped out early to a 14-0 lead that helped them to overcome some crucial turnovers and a whole lotta penalties as Iowa State continues to fall after being picked by some (me) to win the Big XII North. That shows you how much I know about football. Mike Leach talked about the success being due to newfound team chemistry. In the past few weeks, the Raiders have been struggling with trust and teamwork issues, but all of that was resolved this week as Dread Pirate Mike gathered the scalawags for a fierce game of 4-Square. Inside sources say that in preparation for the game against Texas, Leach is forgoing traditional practices and will have his team playing Freeze Tag, Red Rover, and making paper dolls. They might even dish out some banana splits! ARRRRRGGHHH!!
Texas A&M 34 – Oklahoma State 33
The Aggies win a nail-biter, as Stephen McGee leads the Aggies down the field in a two-minute drive to force overtime. The Oklahoma State fans had to feel pretty bad as they sat in their seats doing their odd handwaving thing they do after touchdowns when Aggie defensive lineman Red Bryant thought "That's a great idea" and waved the extra point try back in the kicker's face to give A&M the one-point victory.
Given that I went to A&M, and he went to Oklahoma State, I will use this moment to take another shot at my boss. This week, the most hilarious thing happened. He showed up on Monday with the most ridiculous looking glasses I have ever seen. They are about 3 inches thick with big plastic frames. I asked him if he was trying my self-mutilation method of team support by sitting too close to the TV, reading in the dark, or trying to count the sun. He looked at me with a blank stare that looked even funnier when his eyes were the size of BBs. It turns out he is getting LASIK and can't wear his contacts for two weeks, forcing him to go back to his 1980s glasses. But despite all of this, he completely deflated my A&M celebratory feel-good by saying, "Oh, the school I attended played the school you attended this weekend?" I know he has a TV. I know he gets the newspaper. Even a windshield-sporting sportophobe like him has to have heard SOMETHING about the greatest finish not on television this past weekend. He is doing it to spite me. He is stealing my joy.
Oklahoma 24 – Colorado 3
Even without a running back, the Oklahoma Sooners are able to make quick work of the Colorado Buffalaces who are without a football team. Replacement Allen Patrick was able to become the first 100-yard rusher against Colorado, who was the number 9 defense against the run, and the number 1 defense against the win. And that's all I have to say about that.
We Smoke Polls
We don't have the best offense. We don't have the best defense. We are just barely ranked in the top 25. But when it comes to internet polls, we are the undisputed poll-smokers. Nuttiest fans, check. Best Stadium, check. Best mascot, check. Best tradition, check. Best cheerleaders, check (even though we don't have them). If there is an internet poll out there, you can guarantee that the Aggie Nation will jump on it like a meth-head on a gym bag full of Sudafed.
People with nothing better to do, sit at home and register 25 different accounts just to squeeze in extra votes. Sometimes, it is vote, clear cookies, vote, clear cookies, vote, clear cookies, vote, toss cookies. Or some even write a script to vote every .08 seconds. No, it doesn't look suspicious when you win the vote 1,458,925 to 16. The question is, why? What do you gain by this? Sure, there is the occasional contest where the winning school gets $1000 for their scholarship fund, but those are few and far between. It is like winning the intramural innertube water polo championship. NOBODY BUT YOU CARES.
Can't these sites do something about it? Sure, they could hire a team of computer whizzes to find a way to prevent hacker interference, but guess what, THEY DON'T CARE EITHER. All they care about is that you visit their website. In fact, I'm going to start a website, load it up with ad banners and pop-ups, put a poll on there for "Best Squozen Nuts" and rake in the dough as Aggies across the nation ensure my hit counter spins faster than the dial on Mangino's bathroom scale.
Polls Smoke We
Speaking of polls, let's turn our attention to the polls that actually mean something. The problem I have with these polls is the way the voters handle them. They come out with their arbitrary pre-season rankings before any teams have even played a game. Then they slide teams up and down the ladder based on what happened during the weekend. If they win, then they need to move up. If they lose, then they need to move down. How much depends on the final score, the competition, where the voter lives, and if they watched the game. This makes me crazy. It drives me insane to see a team win against a higher ranked opponent, but they get no reward in the polls because the team above them beat a conference cellar-dweller.
I understand that nobody has the time or the desire to objectively look at all 119 teams, what they have accomplished so far during the season and determine the order of the 25 best. Even the computers protest, "Can't we play some more Freecell or something? You haven't updated your Quicken in a while…" That is why the stick and move philosophy is so popular. You stick the teams in a spot, and then move them around. My theory is that if you are going to do that, then some attention needs to be paid to what should have happened during the game. And although I don't bet on sports, I will say that the oddsmakers typically have it pretty close when they set the point spreads. If I were a voter, I would factor the point spreads in before I decided whether a team should move up or down. The point spreads already take every bit of information into account about how good a team is.
Let's say #7 Auburn beats unranked Mississippi by 7, and #8 Tennessee beats unranked South Carolina by 7. It looks like both teams are staying put, right? But wait, Auburn was favored by 17 and didn't cover, while Tennessee was only favored by 5. To me, this shows that Tennessee played better than they were supposed to and deserves to be moved up, and Auburn played worse than their position indicated, and they should fall a little bit. Obviously, there are a lot of other teams and factors in the mix, but if I were a voter, I would swap the two.
Based on my logic, if #25 Oregon took on #1 Ohio State, and the line were 21 points, yet they only lost by 5, many voters would say "Well, Oregon lost, they are going to drop out of the top 25." But wait, they just beat the spread against the #1 team by 16 points. In my opinion, I would look for an opportunity to move the Ducks up. (Actually, because of their uniforms, I would look for a way to move them down, but let's play hypothetical.) Conversely, if the #2 team beat their spread handily, I would have no problem giving them the #1 spot. You may have an issue with moving up a losing team, but if you think about it, based on their ranking, the #25 team SHOULD lose to #1. In fact, the consensus was that they should get beat by 3 touchdowns. The fact that they played the Buckeyes within 5 points shows me that maybe they are better than a #25 team.
In summary, I understand that there is still something to whether you win or lose, but if we aren't going to have a true playoff system, and are going to continue this farcical popularity contest, then I feel that moves within the poll should be based on expected versus actual outcome, and not so much on knee-jerk opinion and the need to climb when you win and fall when you lose.
Guy Morriss Quote Generator
After last year's overtime loss to Texas A&M, where he refused to even shake the hand of Coach Dennis Franchione, Baylor Coach Guy Morriss told the media that "losing this game was like showering with your sister". Immediately, the cartoon question marks appeared above everyone's heads. Yes, like the one floating above you right now. But who knows what old Guy will say if the Bears drop one at home to the Aggies this year? I have a few ideas, but feel free to create your own! Simply select one word from each group, and fill in the blanks.
___1___ this ___2___ is like ___3___ your ___4___
Hearing Dave South describe
Episode of LOST
Playing nude twister with
Getting kicked out of school for dancing with
Hearing 300 consecutive knock-knock jokes from
Head on a cabinet
Congressman Mark Foley
Oklahoma at Missouri 11:00 AM on ABC
Why to watch: Two top teams in the Big XII do battle in what should be an interesting game.
Why not to watch: You are Adrian Peterson's dad.
Nebraska at Oklahoma State 2:30 PM on ABC
Why to watch: Both teams look to battle back from tough, last-minute losses.
Why not to watch: You have a weak heart and can't handle the possibility of losing a second game in a row because of a scrawny kicker.
Texas at Texas Tech 6:00 PM on TBS
Why to watch: Easily the Big XII game of the week. Tech has the ability to pull this off in Lubbock, but it won't be easy.
Why not to watch: You turn the game on and Texas is already up 28-0 with Mack Brown clapping on the sideline until his chapped hands start to bleed.
Other games of disinterest
Colorado at Kansas 1:00 PM Sad vs. Sad.
Iowa State at Kansas State 2:35 PM Two teams that are well out of the conference race do battle to see if they can become bowl eligible.
Texas A&M at Baylor 6:05 PM The two second-place teams in the Big XII South battle it out on the radio in a game that will send one of them back to where they belong in the standings (Baylor).
Well, I hope you had some fun this week, and learned a little something. Maybe I even inspired you to lobby some change in the way things are done in college football. Or you are still giggling about Guy Morriss banging his Aunt Kevin. Either way, if you enjoyed yourself the last few minutes, then I'm happy. As usual, I wrote this in random order and didn't go back to edit anything, so you get what you get. Maybe some more fan laws next week.
If you have a topic you would like to see addressed, a comment, or even a question that has been bugging you, no matter how ridiculous, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I admit it. One of my favorite parts of the week is reading your feedback and seeing what you liked and didn't like. If you want to share something with the community, maybe a line that struck you as funny, a stat I screwed up, or maybe an idea of your own, you can do so here. Anyone can read them, but it requires registration to post. It isn't painful, and you might just meet some new people.
Until next week,