Each week, the Kiss of Death delves into the most polarizing issues facing Texas fans, just to make sure their nerves are frayed more than those strings on a husk of corn (what are those things, anyway?).
Then, the KOD gives you 10 things you need to know about the Horns next opponent (I mean you don’t NEED to know it, but it’s guaranteed tailgate trivia for this weekend).
Then, the KOD gives you 3 takes on the Big 12 and some musings on college football before giving you the (go-the-other-way) picks of the weekend. These are the picks the KOD would bet until he was penniless (and anyone who bets on them will undoubtedly end up that way).
And then some random thoughts on stuff like the NFL (Really? We’re losing our minds over Mark Sanchez?) or what movie I’m embarrassed to say I gave of my precious spare time to watch (“Teeth” – almost as bizarre as “Killer Joe”).
Let’s get started …
BECAUSE I CAN’T TALK ENOUGH ABOUT Tyrone Swoopes: On UT’s first possession of the West Virginia game, the 6-5, 240-pound sophomore tantalized and teased like Jennifer Aniston under a water bucket in We’re The Millers (OK, maybe not).
He was 4-of-4 passing, including a third-and-15 conversion strike to Jaxon Shipley (it helped that WVU dropped 8 on the play) and a perfectly lobbed TD pass to deserving, underappreciated-blocking-machine TE Geoff Swaim.
It was only the second time this season the Longhorns scored a TD on their first drive!
Then, the Swoopes from We’re The Millers morphed into something unwatchable, like that Big 12 commercial with the coaches when Kliff Kingsbury morphed into former KU coach Charlie Weis.
Swoopes completed fewer passes in the entire second half (3-of-15 passing for 36 yards) than he did on UT’s first possession. Flatlines have more life than the Texas offense did in the second half of that ballgame.
If not for a Texas defense putting on a show that could have headlined ACL, the offense would not have put up any points in the second half. But the defense forced a four-and-out by WVU at the Texas 15 with 3:06 left, setting up a 15-yard TD run by Johnathan Gray on the next play.
After the game, there was much fanfare about Gray’s 10 carries for 101 yards (10.1 ypc) and 3 TDs. But Gray had just 5 carries for 16 yards (3.2 ypc) in the second half. Malcolm Brown finished with 20 carries for 90 yards (4.5) but just 10 carries for 27 yards in the second half (2.7 ypc).
Most Texas fans, already with prescriptions for a condition known around the 40 Acres as overpromising and underdelivering, don’t know what to make of Swoopes.
Heck, sometimes his own coach doesn’t, either.
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘What’s going on in there? You know. Give me a little something,’” Charlie Strong said of his quarterback.
With two regular season games left and needing one more win to reach a bowl game, Texas coaches are telling Swoopes not to lose confidence in himself because they won’t lose confidence in him.
Not exactly the level of conversation UT faithful were probably hoping for.
“Obviously, I haven’t played too well in the last few games,” Swoopes said. “But coming into crunch time, I think everyone will perform up to their abilities. And these next two games, I’ll get it worked out.”
Asked for specifics, Swoopes said, “It’s mostly in the pocket, not setting my feet before I throw. Sometimes, I’ll see the rush coming and not set my feet. I’ll work on that in practice this week and try to get better.”
When asked what the coaches are telling him, Swoopes said, “Coaches just tell me to remain confident and not to give up on myself, because they won’t give up on me.”
West Virginia gambled with zero coverage blitzes in the second half. And it paid off. Swoopes was back to making the same mistakes again – feeling the rush (even when it was being picked up by the O-line), looking like he had fire ants in his cleats, failing to step up in the pocket, then throwing off-balance and off-target.
His only interception of the game, once again came in the opponent’s red zone (at the West Virginia 11).
That marks the 8th time this season Swoopes has been involved with a fumble or interception inside UT’s 20 or inside the opponent’s 20 or had a turnover lead directly to points for the other team:
1) … BYU … Intercepted at BYU 15 in the 4Q (leads to BYU TD drive in 41-7 rout of Texas)
2) … at Kansas … Botched snap/fumble at KU 3-yard-line recovered by KU in the 1Q
3) … Baylor … Fumbled snap at the BU 1-yard-line recovered by BU in the 2Q
4) … OU … Botched snap/fumble at the OU 3 (recovered by Texas to salvage a FG) and … 5) a pick-six in the 2Q
6) … Iowa State … Interception at the ISU 1-yard-line in the 1Q
7) … at Texas Tech … Fumble at UT’s goal line attempting to throw a pass, recovered by Tech for a TD
8) … WVU … Interception at the WVU 11 (leads to WVU 80-yd TD drive)
And now Swoopes has a “tweaked” ankle that had him walking around campus in a boot and causing alarmed tweets to go out from everyone who saw him.
Strong didn’t seem too concerned.
“It’s an ankle tweak. But he’ll be fine,” Strong said. “He’s walking around in a boot. A lot of those guys do it, I don’t know why, sometimes it’s just for looks. But no, he’ll be OK.”
Added the soft-spoken Swoopes, “I tweaked it, but it’s not too serious. I’ll be out there Saturday (at Oklahoma State).”
Swoopes was asked if he’s having fun, and he said, “Yeah. I’m having lots of fun.”
Roller coasters are supposed to be fun. But something tells me when Strong compared Swoopes to a roller coaster he wasn’t thinking of Six Flags.
“I tell him, ‘Just trust your ability. You have the ability, just trust it and just execute the game plan and just make the throws. Just stand in there,’” Strong said.
“Some of those throws the other night, there was no pressure coming. And he threw the ball like he had somebody in his face. ‘Just stand there, and you're big enough to take a hit. There's nothing going to happen to you even if somebody does come for you.’
“But you look at the one interception he throws, the one thrown down here on the goal line. Shipley is behind the guy, if he just throws it up over his head, it's a touchdown.
“And then you look at the one that he overthrows, and just take the time and make the throw. ‘You have the ability, just trust your ability and play within yourself.’”
On Saturday night, Swoopes will have to overcome one of the best set of edge rushers in the Big 12 in Oklahoma State DEs Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean as well as a forecast calling for wet, freezing temperatures.
The stakes for Swoopes have never been higher – one more win for his team to become bowl eligible – in what is likely to be the most difficult conditions of the season.
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE
#1 … Oklahoma State may have the fastest man in college football in JUCO transfer RB Tyreek Hill, who has been clocked at 10.19 in the 100.
Hill has 2 KR for touchdowns and leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yards. (He had 278 all-purpose yards in a 37-31 loss to then-No. 1 Florida State.)
#2 … The Cowboys lost more lettermen than any team in FBS (32) from last year and tied for the most freshmen and sophomores on the opening day depth chart in 2014 with Tulane (32).
#3 … Before making his debut as QB for Oklahoma State in a Sept. 6 win over Missouri State in relief of injured starter J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman had not played in a game since 2009 – a span of five years.
After playing in 2009 at Jones HS just outside of Oklahoma City, Garman’s family moved to Texas, where he enrolled at Southlake Carroll. But he was unable to play in 2010 because of transfer rules. He signed with Arizona in 2011, then transferred to Oklahoma State in the summer of 2012 and sat out that season under transfer rules.
He was eligible to play in 2013, but Garman didn’t see the field behind Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh.
#4 … Sophomore DE Emmanuel Ogbah of Houston George Bush HS is No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 6 nationally in tackles for loss (14.5) and No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 7 nationally in sacks (9).
#5 … CB Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State’s top defensive back, held West Virginia WR Kevin White to 3 catches for 27 yards. White entered the game averaging 9.9 catches and 145.7 receiving yards per game.
#6 … Oklahoma State is second in the Big 12 in net punting thanks to P Kip Smith, who has a 40.3 net punt average and a long of 71 yards. Smith has 13 punts of 50 yards or longer and 16 punts have been downed inside the 20.
#7 … Oklahoma State has 69 players on its roster from the state of Texas. No school outside of Texas has more players from the Lone Star State.
#8 … High-profile Texans to play for Mike Gundy at OSU:
WR Dez Bryant of Lufkin (Cowboys)
OT Russell Okung of Houston (Seahawks)
TE Brandon Pettigrew of Tyler (Lions)
CB Justin Gilbert of Huntsville (Browns)
CB Perrish Cox of Waco (49ers)
RB Kendall Hunter of Tyler (49ers)
S Markelle Martin of Wichita Falls (Titans)
#9 … Oklahoma State’s 151.3 yards per game rushing average is the lowest at OSU in the last 8 years. Those previous 7 years included Joe Wickline as offensive line coach.
Wickline is now the offensive coordinator at Texas (and is being sued by OSU for $593,000 for failing to buy his way out of his contract with the Cowboys).
#10 … OSU is dead last in the Big 12 in pass defense, giving up 282.7 yards per game through the air.
The Cowboys have also given up the most sacks of any team in the Big 12 (25).
THREE THINGS ABOUT THE BIG 12
#1 … Baylor has the head-to-head tiebreaker with TCU.
So Tuesday’s College Football Playoff committee rankings will be saying a lot if the Bears continue to lag behind the Horned Frogs.
In each of the first two sets of the committee’s rankings, Baylor trailed TCU significantly.
TCU was No. 7 and Baylor No. 13 in the first set (TCU had just beaten OU and poleaxed Tech; Baylor had beaten TCU but just lost at WVU).
Last week, TCU was No. 6 and Baylor No. 12, following TCU’s 31-30 escape from Morgantown and BU’s waxing of Kansas.
Now, the committee had to consider TCU’s 41-20 home victory over No. 7 K-State and Baylor scoring 45 unanswered points in a 48-14 pounding of Oklahoma – OU’s worst home loss under Bob Stoops.
It’s been clear TCU was being placed ahead of Baylor despite the Horned Frogs’ head-to-head loss in Waco because of BU’s softer than silicone non-conference schedule (SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo).
TCU, by the way, played Samford, Minnesota and SMU, and was rewarded for playing the Power 5 Gophers, who are now 7-2.
But once Baylor went to OU and made Stoops’ Sooners tap out, didn’t the Bears prove their win over TCU was no fluke? Or will Baylor have to do more to prove that?
When does the committee start considering the head-to-head meeting?
Baylor has games left vs Oklahoma State, Texas Tech (in Arlington) and K-State. TCU plays at Kansas this week, then at Texas on Thanksgiving before ending the season at home vs Iowa State on Dec. 6.
Texas fans know the position Baylor is in after trailing Oklahoma in the BCS rankings in 2008 despite a 10-point win (45-35) over the Sooners head-to-head.
Lots of football left to play, but that’s one of the more intriguing storylines going forward.
#2 … I’ve said all year if Lake Travis’ Braker Mayfield was eligible, he’d be the starting QB at OU right now.
OU has three losses: to TCU, Kansas State and Baylor.
In each of those games, Trevor Knight threw a pick-six (against TCU and Kansas State) or near pick-six - Baylor LB Bryce Hager returned the pick to OU’s 1 - triggering Baylor’s comeback from a 14-3 deficit before going on to win 48-14.
In one possession losses against TCU (37-33) and K-State (31-30), those pick-sixes were lethal (and the one against TCU actually proved to be the final, game-winning points scored by the Horned Frogs in the 4Q).
Like Texas, OU has a quarterback making critical mistakes at critical times, and it’s been too much to overcome.
#3 … What’s more surprising?
Kansas fans tearing down the goal posts after beating Iowa State for the Jayhawks’ second Big 12 win in the past four years?
Or that there were enough KU fans at the game to tear down the goal posts?
MY TOP FOUR TEAMS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
3) Florida State
(Bama can prove it belongs next week by taking down Miss State.)
FIVE I’D INVITE TO NEW YORK RIGHT NOW
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
His team's dream season hits crossroad this week in Tuscaloosa
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The guy is answering challenges by doing it all for the Ducks
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU
KOD'S WEEKLY GO THE OTHER WAY(S):
Mississippi State at Alabama (-7.5) … Does the HailState dream go to
Tuscaloosa to die? Or to take off?
KOD: Mississippi State 24, Alabama 21
Nebraska at Wisconsin (-6.5) … This Year’s Running Back Bowl: Huskers’ Ameer Abdullah (1,250, 6.7 ypc, 17 TDs) vs the Badgers’ Melvin Gordon (1,501, 7.6, 19 TDs)
KOD: Wisconsin 27, Nebraska 21
Oklahoma (NL) at Texas Tech … Not sure Tech could win this one even if Trevor Knight keeps throwing to the wrong team.
KOD: OU 31, Tech 13
Auburn at Georgia (-2.5) … Auburn lost to Texas A&M in Bad News Bears fashion and now has to go between the hedges and face Todd Gurley.
KOD: Georgia 27, Auburn 24
South Carolina at Florida (-6.5) … Muschamp threw a player off his team who said he’d quit if he didn’t start. He’s either regaining his locker room or going down his way.
KOD: Florida 17, S Carolina 13
KOD: Miami 34, FSU 31
Missouri at Texas A&M (-5.5) … The Aggies could really help the Muschamp Comeback Tour here. But will they come back to earth in time?
KOD: Missouri 28, A&M 27
KOD: Arizona State 34, Oregon State 31
ONE LAST THING: Really? Mark Sanchez? The NFL is losing its mind over Mark Sanchez on a night when it looked like Cam Newton was point-shaving.
Please. Long live Nick Foles.
Also, take the kids to go see Big Hero 6. Great family flick.
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