Weakly Retort

PsychoAg joins us again for another edition of the Weakly Retort. A fan favorite since 2005, the Retort takes a light-hearted look at the college football landscape, with a specific emphasis on the Big 12.

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This is seriously driving me crazy because I am sick once again.  I don't know if it is giraffe flu, OU812 virus or just an old-fashioned cold, but my head is a fountain of crud (and I am not referring to this column), I feel like I have been hit by a truck (small truck, like a Chevy S-10) and I am coughing up more worthless gunk than an episode of Two and a Half Men.  So, given that I am apparently a human Petri dish, I am taking suggestions on how to boost my immune system.  And no, I am not going to take the Chase Daniel route, regardless of what Dr. Friedrich Bischinger says.  So, with that said, it's time to run the pick and roll and go around the Big XII.

20/20 Hindsight:

Nebraska  20  -  Baylor  10
The Cornhuskers scored all that the needed in the first half and then withstood the Baylor onslaught in the second half (if you consider 10 points to be an onslaught.)  They did this on the arm of freshman Cody Green who was brought in to replace junior Zac Lee after the Nebraska offense hasn't been able to do jack squat for two weeks.  And it still wasn't pretty as Green goes 12 of 21 for 128 yards and a pick, but it was enough to be the folks in green as the Bears just can't seem to get anything going now that their star quarterback is out of the season and they are using the third stringer, or as they call them in Waco, "the chaperone"  That doesn't really make sense, but I am leaving it in.

Missouri  36  -  Colorado  17
This one was over at halftime as the Tigers jumped out to a 33 – 3 lead and coasted to the finish giving up a pair of touchdowns to the Buffalos in the second half.  In the first half, the Missouri defense was all over Colorado like mosquitoes on a me, sacking the non-nepotistic quarterback Tyler Hansen four times and holding the buffs to a mere 55 yards of offense.  This had to leave a bad taste in the mouth of Dan Hawkins, kind of like one of those cheap fish oil Omega 3 capsules that doesn't have the coating on it, as the Colorado fans began to chant for his firing.  Then halftime came, and some stuff happened in the parking lot, and then by the second half, things were a lot more melllllloooowww.

A&M  35  -  Iowa State  10
Jerrod Johnson showed that he can continue to put up great numbers against teams that don't have "Kansas" as part of their name, going a remarkable 23 of 28 for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns by air, and adding another touchdown with his legs.  The Aggies balanced this with 267 yards on the ground, and converted a ridiculous 10 of 13 third downs, which led to the punter spending the entire game on the bench at a school known primarily for producing NFL-caliber punters.  Hooray.  The Aggies could have made this one look even worse, but decided to take four consecutive knees starting on the ISU 2 yard line.  The men in maroon also extended their "not on TV" record to 5 -0, while hoping to get off of their 0 – 3 "on TV" schnide next week.

Tech  42  -  Kansas  21
This one certainly didn't start off like a matchup of highly touted offenses, with both sides showing less ball control than Ruffin McNeil's boxers on Steven Sheffield, and each side punting five times in the first half.  This was highly unusual for Mike Leach who once went an entire season of NCAA 2009 on PS3 without ever punting.  Doege had some trouble holding on to the ball and getting his rhythm, which can largely be attributed to the left tackle position, which, regardless of who is playing there, seems to take the role of "Matador" literally as he deftly eludes the oncoming pass-rusher, which is the exact opposite of you want happening from the guy protecting the quarterback's blindside.  I did have one reader email me during the game asking if it was normal that he really wanted to see Ruffin McNeil and Mark Mangino mud wrestle.  Given that Mark Mangino is the reason that October was left blank in the "Coaches of the Big XII Swimsuit Calendar", I assured him that he should seek therapy.  But Tech showed why I was nervous during the A&M game the week before as they showed the ability to fire off 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to salt the game away.

  42  -  Kansas State  30
Like a newborn lovechild of Steve Buscemi and Sandra Bernhardt,
this one was really ugly really early and so I turned it off.  However, unlike the certain worst odds holder for being dubbed America's Top Model, this one got substantially better as it went along.  The Sooners jumped out to a 21 – 0 first quarter lead, on the way to a 28 – 9 lead at half time.  But the Wildcats made the game interesting in the third, scoring two touchdowns to pull within five.  The two teams traded scores early in the fourth quarter as the Sooners found the endzone (which was right where it always was) only to have KSU return the kickoff 98 yards to close the gap back to five. I think one of the saddest aspects of this game was that Kansas State had two PATs blocked.  Those are supposed to be automatic.

  41  -  Oklahoma State  14
Many (myself included) thought this could be a trap game for the frequently slow starting Longhorns and that they would be lucky to tiptoe into Stillwater and sneak away with a win.  But the burnt oranges made their presence known, and not just in a mint-on-the-pillow and pointy-arrow-on-the-toilet-paper kind of way, but a full on kick-in-the-door and party like Kid Rock on Skittles hotel-room-destroying kind of way.  It looks like you can forget all of the nasty things I have said about the Longhorns and Colt McCoy (except the thing about him looking like a Furby), because they are finally starting to look like a team that has it all together.

Last Halloween, the Horns were shocked in Lubbock by the Red Raiders, but this year they were able to keep their undefeated season intact, despite their coach dressing up as the before picture in a teeth whitening advertisement.

My 98 Cents Worth:  Sportsmanlike Conduct

Okay, lets spend a few minutes talking about sportsmanship, and no, I don't mean a boat full of Ted Nugents.  This has been in the sports news a lot lately, especially after the incident of the eye gouging by the Florida player.  When it comes to issues like this, I think it is straightforward, but it depends on who you talk to.  If you talk to old players, they see no problem with eye gouging, hair pulling, nut squeezing (different than the self-inflicted Aggie fan kind) and other bits of nastiness as "part of the game".  Personally, I think that since we no longer draw on cave walls, club our mates over the head or send faxes that we can act more civilized in our violent games as well.  I think that we have gone overboard with too many rules designed to protect players from good hits between the whistles, but I think most of us nowadays can agree that after the whistle, there is no place for playing dirty.  I realize the "Golden Rule" is difficult to apply here, because one could argue that "well, I don't want the opponent to tackle ME, so maybe I shouldn't tackle him" but I think we can all use a little common sense.

On another note, there is the running up the score side of sportsmanship, which I call "Nebraskism".  There are great differences in the views as to what is considered running up the score.  The past week, A&M Coach Mike Sherman opted to take a knee four times on the 2 yard line instead of scoring an additional touchdown.  It was even more odd because it wasn't enough to run the entire clock out and so Iowa State was forced to then take the ball and take a knee of their own.  I know Sherman was trying to do the right thing, but I find this situation to be far more embarrassing than if they would have just scored a touchdown.  Plus, I can't help but think that there were a lot of second string players and walk-ons that would have loved the opportunity to get their name in the box score.

So, what can we agree on?  First of all, I think you should be allowed to score as many points as you want in the first half without people complaining.  You simply never know what might happen in the second half.  I remember a game, I think in 1991, where A&M was leading Tulsa on the road at halftime 34 – 0.  But then things melted down, and the Aggies ended up losing 35 – 34, for their ONLY loss of the season.

But what about the second half?  I think that after you trade a drive or two in the second half, and you have a substantial lead, you should remove your starters from the game.  Nobody should be able to complain about backups scoring touchdowns.  These guys bust their butts in practice and most will never get to see meaningful playing time.  I don't see how letting them get a taste of the game, or even letting younger players get their feet wet could be considered a lack of class.  But this tends to apply to offense.  What about defense?  Is it classless to leave your defensive starters in if you have a chance at a shutout?  I don't see this as being nearly as bad, because you may want to keep that safety net of good defenders in there in case your second offense stalls and the other team begins to make a run.

I like the Mike Leach philosophy of "I'm trying to score and if they don't like it they can stop me", but to a degree.  I think coaches should use some judgment later in the game and begin to use the benches once the game is in hand.  I think it is far better than making the opponent take their own knee to end the game.

Coach Potato's Guide:

UCF  at  #2 Texas  11:00 am on FSN
Why not to watch:  A weak non-conference game in the middle of conference play.  And just because UCF almost beat Texas 2 years ago in Florida, don't expect the same thing to happen here.
Who will win:  Texas, 52 Snickers-eating Furbys to 14 almost-dirty anagrams.

  at  Kansas State  11:30 am on Versus
Why to watch:  You live in Kansas.
Why not to watch:  See "America, rest of"
Who will win:  I still think Kansas is the better team, but they are playing at Kansas State.  Even though it is now impossible due to rule changes, I am going to pick a tie.  28 Dorothys to 28 Scarecrows.

A&M  at  Colorado  12:30 pm on FCS
Why to Watch:  You are an A&M fan and you want a reprieve from the rambling non sequiter of Dave south.
Who will win:  I know A&M hasn't won yet on TV, but this is FCS so it doesn't REALLY count as a televised game. Plus Colorado is just bad.  Aggies win, 45 rabbit ears to 21 dude wait, what?

Baylor  at  Missouri  1:00 pm
Why not to watch:  It isn't on TV. How's that?
Who will win:  Missouri is a better team and playing at home.  As much as I would love for DiscoveryHD to show a fight between a bear and a tiger, I somehow see this as being more like Winnie the Pooh and Tigger quibbling over honey pots, only Tigger is loaded on PCP and rips Pooh's face off and wears it as a mask.  Missouri, 35 Christopher Robins to 10 Darbys.

#19 Oklahoma State  at  Iowa State  2:30 pm on ABC
Why to watch:  This game factors in to both the Big XII North and South races, kind of.
Why not to watch:  Dude, have you seen the weather outside?
Who will win:  Oklahoma State has struggled in Ames, but they have too much firepower this year.  Oklahoma State wins, 45 creepy-looking Dennis Hoppers to 28 confusing birds caught in tornadoes.

#24 Oklahoma  at  Nebraska  7:00 pm on ABC
Why to watch:  It is the Big XII prime time game, although I don't expect it to be a prime matchup.  The Cornhusker offense has seriously struggled, and a spoonful of the Sooner defense is not going to help the medicine go down.  This game is likely to further muddle the Big XII North race.
Who will win:  Oklahoma, 56 serves you rights for all of that crap you pulled running up the score in the 80s to 0 yeah you're probably rights.

In Conclusion:

That's about it for this week.  I've just taken my NyQuil, so it is only a matter of time before I slip away into a blissful never-neverland punctuated by eerie dreams involving giant elves and tests in classes I haven't been to all semester.  As Lewis Black once said, "NyQuil comes in two flavors:  GREEN and RED.  The only two things on earth that taste like GREEN and RED."

I want to thank the 197 fans on Facebook.  I didn't even realize 200 people actually read this, much less consider themselves "fans".  Thank you all so much.  Knowing that I can bring you a smile (or even just a smirk) every Friday is why I do this. I haven't decided what letter I am going to post this week, but check back this afternoon.

As always, I can be reached via email at psychoag98@yahoo.com .  If you have emailed me and I haven't responded, give me a few more days, as I am going to use this weekend to come through the ridiculously overzealous Yahoo spam filter.

And of course, you can always repost your favorite lines on the Raiderpower forums and start interesting discussions with your fellow readers.

And in late breaking news, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families in the Fort Hood shooting.  This is a horrible day for many across America and they could certainly use a few moments of our time lifting them up to the Almighty.


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