The toughest part about blowouts, Mack Brown once said, was the balancing act of not trying to humiliate your opponent while giving backups a chance to run the offense. There's also the challenge of maintaining a player's heightened level of focus and intensity when your overmatched foe is still operating at full-throttle because that's when injuries are more likely to occur. This week, many Orangebloods won't need a public address announcement telling them to evacuate the stadium at the end of the third quarter. By then, the mass exodus will be in full swing. There shouldn't be much happening on the field, at that point, to maintain interest.
And if you think Co-Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik was mad that his subs gave up a late touchdown to Rice, it's unimaginable how he might react if the Horns give up a score to Sam Houston State.
It shouldn't happen. Texas 59, Sam Houston State 0.
Ross Lucksinger, InsideTexas.com Editor -- Texas will not try to run up the score on the Bearkats, but it's going to happen anyway. The difference in the level of talent between the two programs is far too great for Sam Houston State to score any points, much less challenge the Longhorns. I do not say this out of disrespect for the Division I-AA program, I'm just simply pointing out that this game should not be happening. But for the added 12th game, Texas should have a actual bye rather than a figurative one and rest up in preparation for Oklahoma while Sam Houston State should be preparing for their Southland Conference slate, not coming to Austin to participate in a game that will only serve to demoralize a team that is clearly on the upswing, as the Bearkats are one win away from equaling last year's season total. If nothing else, though, it will be an opportunity to see some of the young players that will make a difference for Texas in the future. Texas 62, Sam Houston State 0.
Michael Pearle, Co-Publisher -- I've been trying this week to get a little perspective on this game, to see who Sam Houston State is, to find out if there might be even the shred of a possibility that the Bearkats could pull the type of upset that Montana State sprung on Colorado this season. The answer? Well, it could happen, but only if the entire Texas roster downed a couple of salads worth of bad spinach at pre-game and couldn't take the field.
After reading up on SHSU this week, the first thing that jumped out at me is what happened the last time the team played a Big 12 opponent. Last season, the 'Kats traveled to Lubbock to play Texas Tech at Jones Stadium. Final score: Raiders 80, Bearkats 21. Cody Hodges threw for 365 yards and four TDs in the first half. Tech wound up with 770 yards of offense, their second best total ever. This season, Sam Houston fell to SMU 45-14 after giving up a couple of early turnovers and a blocked punt. SMU racked up 443 yards of offense en route. I think those games give you at least some idea of whether the Bearkats might be able to play up to Texas' level for a couple of quarters and make a game of it. I don't see it happening.
Given the importance of the OU game next on the schedule and the banged-up nature of several key Texas players, the tune-up with Sam Houston is probably good for the Texas football team. It will give the starters a chance to get in a workout and keep the flow going, but mostly rest up for the big one next week. It also will give Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead an opportunity to get more game experience running the offense, reading defenses, etc.
From a fan's perspective, however, I view the game as pretty much a waste of time. Sure I love to see Texas play football. Each Saturday in the fall is a special treat, and my entire schedule revolves around when and where they are playing. But this game is different. Watching the Horns completely dominate Rice a couple of weeks ago, I kept thinking, why are they playing this game? It's such a mismatch -- what is the point? Though I enjoyed watching the team perform, I really found the game pretty boring, especially after the excitement of the Ohio State game the week before. This game will be even worse in terms of any kind of actual competition.
In the future, when Texas plays a 12th game, the program needs to find a good D-I opponent, one that will challenge it on the field, and one that the fans, now paying huge amounts of money for tickets, will get excited about watching. Saturday's game is almost an insult to ticket buyers. Sam Houston the statesman is a Texas legend. Sam Houston the football team is not. Texas 65, Sam Houston State 0.
Clendon Ross, Co-Publisher -- It's almost embarrassing having to make a pick for this game. Think what it must be like for the Texas players to have to play it!
Actually, all indications are the Longhorns are taking it like any other week. It's an opportunity to play football against someone wearing different colored jerseys, to put into practice in a real game (I use that term loosely) what they bust their butts on throughout the week of practice. More specifically, the 'scrimmage' should be an opportunity for guys that seldom see the field to play, and it's an opportunity for young, future contributors to play earlier in a game than normal, and it's an opportunity for the starters to seek perfect execution for the few snaps they play, and then head to the sideline to cheer on their teammates for the rest of the night.
Are we going to learn anything significant about this Texas team versus the Bearkats? No. Neither will the Sooners, sitting on their sofas watching on TV. Nothing, aside from perhaps playing a turnover-free, penalty-free game (and the penalty-free part ain't gonna happen giving all the subbing that will take place) would be of note. That's what happens when you schedule a I-AA team largely full of guys that couldn't even make a low D-I squad, or big school castoffs like Rhett Bomar, whose eligibility issues will sadly keep him from getting another well-deserved backfield greeting from Brian Robison.
I guess the biggest positive about this game is that the Horns don't need to play the banged-up Robison, or Selvin Young, or Michael or Marcus Griffin, or just about any group of slightly ailing Horns you can string together. It's as close to a bye week as you can get while still suitin' up on Saturday. This one should be in the 50s by the mid-point of the third quarter. And a walk-on parade will shortly follow. Texas 63, Sam Houston State 0.
Pat Culpepper, Special to Inside Texas: "Texas can name the score."
Average of IT Members Picks: Texas 57, Sam Houston State 6.
Note: There's still time to get your pick in! The deadline on this week's Pick 'Em Contest is kickoff Saturday (2:30 p.m.). IT Members, click here and then click on the "Make your pick" link. See Pick & Win A 'Next Generation Gaming Console' for more contest details