What a heck of a week. On the plus side, I put out some scrub video that ends up getting almost 100,000 hits on youtube. On the minus side, I am now sitting here typing with 3 staples in my head. No, some overzealous Aggie didn't attack me with a Swingline, but I do blame Coach Fran for this one. I was watching the Cowboys destroying the Bears in 5.1 HD (which is how God watches it) and during a commercial break, I realized that I needed to grab something out of the garage.
However, as I made my way back across the garage, not quite running, but in a bit of a hurry so as not to miss any of the game (nevermind the fact that I have a DVR) and as I squeezed between the bumper of the car and the garage door, I completely gashed my head open on the J-shaped arm that connects the door to the opener.
I went inside to where my wife was watching the Season Finale of Heroes (last season, don't worry about it) and crumbled on the floor. At first she thought I was joking (imagine that), but once she saw the blood streaming down my face, she knew something was wrong. After a clean towel and an ice pack, I was back on the couch and watching the game. For a few minutes. My wife came into the room with her shoes on and her car keys telling me we were headed to the emergency room. I missed the whole 4th quarter as I sat in the ER while some doc popped 3 staple in my scalp with no anesthetic.
Oh yeah, how is this Coach Fran's fault? If he wouldn't have let them schedule the A&M – Miami game on Thursday, then I would have had something to do on Saturday, and never would have cleaned the garage. Therefore, that stupid Pontiac would still have been out on the driveway.
Colorado 42 – Miami (OH) 0
Holy cow! Why couldn't we have played this Miami? We probably would have only lost by 10 and Jorvorskie would have gotten 5 carries. Instead, the Buffalaces got to rack up a meaningless victory as they pounded the poor Redhawks.
Oklahoma 62 – Tulsa 21
First of all, even more ridiculous than playing on Thursday is playing on Friday. That is soooo high school. But the Sooners start slow in this one, and by start slow, I mean they didn't take the lead until 52 seconds left in the first quarter on route to demolishing the Golden Hurricanes.
Miami (OH CRAP) 34 – Texas A&M 17
Not only did Fran schedule the wrong Miami, he scheduled the wrong Hurricanes and played on the wrong day of the week. What the heck is this goon thinking? Hasn't he learned? Everytime A&M goes on the road to play a good team on a Thursday, they get embarrassed. This game was so bad the announcers were laughing at us. They spent more time talking about the pregnant wife of the offensive coordinator than they did the game. That is when you know you are getting "pWned". (Which means "owned" for those of you that are older than 19).
Nebraska 41 – Ball State 40
Man, there was some sweating going on in Lincoln. Nebraska was a dropped pass or a wide field goal away from losing to a school named after a state that doesn't exist. The "nation's greatest fans" reined down boos upon their team, proving once again, it isn't whether you win or lose, it's whether you look like crap.
Missouri 38 – Illinois State 17
The high-speed, high-powered Missouri offense rolls again over Illinois State, a powerhouse from the Gateway conference, whatever that is. The fact that Ill State plays in a grouping with Drake, Murray State (not a state) and East Illinois tells you how much attention I am paying to this game.
Oklahoma State 49 – Texas Tech 45
Man, oh, man, what a game. It is a shame somebody had to lose this game. It is also a shame that Michael Crabtree had to drop the game-winning pass after the stellar day he had for the first 59 minutes. This guy is sick. And a freshman. Barring any kind of tragic farming accident, this guy is going to set all kinds of obscene receiving records. However, that all means nothing to the Red Raider faithful if you can't even field a scout-team quality defense. After the game, Mike Leach went on a tirade, and having had enough, the Angry Pirate forced Defensive Coordinator Lyle Setencich to walk the plank, even if the press release called it a resignation. This may not show results in the next week or two, but Tech fans can tell you that this was the right move.
Baylor 34 – Buffalo 21
The Bears tune up for Big XII play by besting the very oddly named "Buffalo Bulls". The 1-3 Buffalo Bulls. The Mid-American Conference Buffalo Bulls. Not exactly much of a tune up, is it? Still, it is better than going out to Miami and having a bunch of Katrina-insensitive-ites calling themselves the Hurricanes take you to the woodshed on national TV.
Texas 58 – Rice 14
The Longhorns prove nothing by beating up on hapless Rice, but they do get a chance to at least build some confidence heading into conference play. Somewhere, Mack Brown did a whole lot of clapping. Fortunately, nobody got arrested during the game, at least not on the field. That's okay. Give it a week.
Kansas 55 – Florida International 3
Let you doctor know if you experience priapism, an erection lasting more than 4 hours. And let your athletic director know if you experience ennui, a condition experienced from watching non-conference Kansas football for more than 4 hours.
Toledo 36 – Iowa State 35
Man, it sucks to be Iowa State. 1-3 and playing 4 of their next 5 games against ranked teams. Don't be surprised to see them sitting at 1-8, crying in the shower, blasting the musical score from The Sound of Music. I don't know why, I'm just saying, don't be surprised. Do be surprised if they sell all of their equipment and blow the money on crazy Hawaiian shirts to wear to class on Fridays. I mean, that would be zany!
Now, It's Time For Predictions
After having seen what these teams can do, I am finally ready to make my predictions for how I see things shaking out. This will be nowhere close to what I would have predicted at the beginning of the season.
1. Missouri – The only Big XII North team that hasn't crapped the bed
2. Nebraska – Some struggles, but they still are better than some of this slop.
3. Kansas State – The best of the ho-hum three.
4. Colorado – Why not, right?
5. Kansas – They have been winning big, but I don't think that means anything when you look at their competition. Welcome to Big XII play, boys…
6. Iowa State – This team is abysmal, and their schedule won't help them.
1. Oklahoma – Hands down the favorite to win the Big I / Little XI
2. Texas – The have struggled, but still found ways to win
3. Texas Tech – Their defense sucks, but I think they still finish at least even with A&M and win the head to head
4. Texas A&M – This is not what the biggest stadium and biggest wallet should be getting you.
5. Oklahoma State – This team is bad, but after grabbing the win against Tech, I think they can finish ahead of Baylor.
6. Baylor – Baylor, we belong here. Down here. See us waving? Watch us beat A&M and screw this whole thing up.
The Hot Seat
(This is a column that is running in The Sports Page Weekly this week. It is a free newspaper in Dallas that I have started writing for. It is a bit more serious than most of my stuff, but I thought I would include it as a plug. I am going to get them to trade a plug for Raiderpower. I also have columns this week about Mark Cuban in Dancing with the Stars, and who Cowboys fans should be cheering for in all of this week's NFL games. From now on, there won't be any overlap between the two writing ventures, other than the co-plugularation by the various editors. You can pick up The Sports Page Weekly at various newsstands, or go to http://www.sportspagedallas.com I don't know if they update the site on Fridays or Saturdays.)
For a conference where all of the preseason hype was centered on the quarterbacks, the Big XII focus has suddenly turned to the coaches. Dennis Franchione, no doubt the most maligned coach, drew unfriendly fire from almost everyone in Aggieland for his team's poor performance on national television in their lopsided loss to Miami. Not only was the coaching gutless and inept, but "Coach Fran" reduced his team to a punchline for the broadcast crew in a game he referred to as an "exhibition" during his postgame interview. Whether it was the game planning that called the name of his stud running back only twice in the entire game, or the decision to consistently punt or kick field goals when down by over 20, or even the sloppy and lethargic look of his players, the once vaunted savior of Aggie Football is now the most hated man in town.
But down the road, things don't seem rosy, either. Although not drawing fire from the faithful, at least not openly, Mack Brown has gotten some palms sweaty down in Austin. The Longhorns have struggled against teams that they should have beaten handily, and with the sudden resurgence of the Oklahoma Sooners, it is only a matter of time before the national championship trophy starts to lose a little shine and people start to trade in their burnt orange t-shirts for crimson and cream.
Speaking of former Longhorns, poor Gene Chizik hasn't had much luck at Iowa State. Despite beating his new intrastate rival, the Iowa Hawkeyes, he is learning the hard way that it isn't quite so easy to win without the recruiting juggernaut behind you. Fortunately for him, he will be given at least a couple of years to turn things around, but he is certainly starting out behind the 8-ball.
But with some coaches, the issue is not so much about performance on the field as it is their character. While many no doubt agreed with the point he was making about showboating on the field, I doubt Kansas coach Mark Mangino wanted his profanity-laced sideline tirade to end up on Youtube, and consequently on the monitor of potential recruits' parents. On the other hand, what parent wouldn't be proud to have their son play for Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State after seeing the way he defended his players against the cruel talons of the media. Sure the tirade was a little jolting, but Gundy kept his mouth clean and his message clear. "You don't mess with my players, you mess with me." Which is the way it should be.
But the most shocking development had to occur out in Lubbock, as defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich decided to step down after his squad's defensive meltdown against Oklahoma State. I know that Tech fans hated Lyle with a passion, and are no doubt glad to see him go, but I can't help but think that he was not in an environment to succeed. Mike Leach values offense above all other things, except maybe pirates. He coaches the game with nothing but scoring on his mind, spends most of his practice working on offense, and no doubt most of his recruiting trips to the homes of guys that can pass or catch. I would definitely not want to be the next defensive coordinator for the Red Raiders, because although there is nowhere to go but up, I can't help but think that you will never be playing with a full deck.
As for the rest of the coaches, the best advice is to keep a low profile, win the games you should and don't shower with your sister.
Baylor at Texas A&M 11:30 AM on Versus
Why to watch: The A+ broadcast crew on the Versus network. Uh, yeah.
Why not to watch: Franchione and Morriss. You haven't seen two fools this inept doing battle since those old Spy vs. Spy features in Mad Magazine.
Oklahoma at Colorado 12:30 PM on FSN
Why to watch: To see if Oklahoma can continue their offensive onslaught against the Big XII.
Why not to watch: You get creeped out watching Sam Bradford stare down his primary receiver while still watching his check-down guy.
Kansas State at Texas 2:30 PM on ABC
Why to Watch: These two teams have typically produced pretty good games.
Why not to watch: You have 3 staples in your head.
Iowa State at (25) Nebraska 1:05 PM – If Nebraska struggles here, look for severe unrest to occur.
Northwestern State at Texas Tech 6:00 PM – The pirates will be back in full force, so guard your booty. See what I did there?
Sam Houston State at Oklahoma State 6:05 PM - Yawn.
Well, that's all I've got, folks. If you want to send me an email, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to put WEAKLY RETORT in the subject line so I can find it if it gets stuck in the SPAM filter. I really appreciate your feedback and if you ask a question (about anything at this point) I will answer it in next week's column.
Random Shout Out: This week's shoutout goes to all of you that commented, favorited and rated my "Leave Coach Fran Alone" youtube venture. I have another one planned for if (when) Tech beats A&M.
If you want to comment and share opinions with the community, you can click here to go to the Raiderpower.com forum.
The Weakly Retort