Culpepper's Commentary: Rice Game

It was the first Texas game I've missed in three years, but I had to go and you would have as well. The invitation was to fly to Montgomery, Alabama Friday and drive the next morning to watch Auburn -- pronounced "Aww-bun" over in Alabama -- play LSU.

Since I picked Ohio State and Auburn to play for the national championship, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to watch back-to-back the best college teams live and in person.

Here is what I feel as it relates to Texas: after seeing what I believe to be the two top teams in 2006, I can tell you that there simply aren't any teams on the scale of Vince Young's Texas or Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush's USC squads of 2005 out there. No way Ohio State's defense can match last year's Buckeye unit and Auburn's offense is not in the same class as the 2005 Longhorns or Trojans.

If Auburn or Ohio State played next week, I would have to go with the Buckeyes because of Troy Smith, the OSU quarterback.

And I think Texas versus Auburn or LSU would be a toss-up game at this point in the season.

Auburn-LSU was an old-fashioned SEC defensive game. All it lacked were three or four quick kicks and it would have been 1959 all over again.

Both teams had all the gadgets -- shifting tight ends and receivers, three wideouts, shotgun formation plays -- but the two defenses lit the offenses up from the defensive front to the secondary.

Here are some names to remember; they are some of the best defensive linemen I have seen in the last three years of watching top college teams play:

For LSU, Glenn Dorsey, a 6-2, 299 junior from Gonzales, Louisiana. I wish Frank Okam could watch this lineman's second effort. Dorsey won't stay blocked.

For Auburn, Josh Thompson, a 6-0, 295 junior from Statesboro, Georgia. A talker like Larry Dibbles and proves short defensive lineman still have a place to play. Derek Lokey has a twin.

Ryan Perrilloux spent the afternoon standing by the offensive coach at LSU hiding signals from the Auburn bench. In warmups, Perrilloux looked every bit as good throwing the ball as starter JaMarcus Russell and Colt McCoy is a better runner than Russell.

Auburn's only success on offense came by getting in the I formation and using play action passes.

The tailgaters stay at Auburn all night. It has to be the RV capital of the world on game day. But I missed saying "Hook'em". I missed seeing Bevo, and watching Brian Robison, Kasey Studdard and Lyle Sendlein play.

While I was in Alabama, the Big 12 was again getting humbled with Nebraska, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Colorado all going down this week after Texas fell to Ohio State last week. The only bright sport: Missouri, with ex-Southlake quarterback Chase Daniel at the controls, is getting better by the week.

Iowa State, which jumped on top of Iowa but couldn't hold on vs. the Hawkeyes, is a gutty team with playmakers at quarterback (Bret Meyer) and wide receiver (Todd Blythe), while Texas has two more games to get comfortable with Colt McCoy and the thundering Texas double-trouble running game of Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles. Then we will find out who this Texas team really is when the Longhorns and Sooners play in Dallas.

I'll be in Austin this weekend and it will be exciting as Texas wins 28-21.

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