August 12, 2008

2008: Grading the non-conference schedules


We've created a vicious cycle in college football. Sure we all love the fact that just about every game is on TV nowadays. And because coaches and athletic directors want their teams to look good on TV, so they schedule a lot of limp fish opponents. Because wins beget bowl games. Bowl games begets job security. Job security begets more money. Thus, more money is insured by wins. You spin me right round baby right round, like a record.

No longer do college football teams across the country take chances. Or, well, rarely do they. Have you noticed how boring Septembers have become, except for the occasional Appy State upset of Michigan or Ohio State showdown with Texas?

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December 28, 2007

A Happy Holiday Bowl For Texas

SAN DIEGO - Tabbed as a BCS-worthy squad prior to the start of the 2007 season, few prognosticators believed Texas would wind up in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. But as everyone would soon come to find out, not much would go according to plan in the college football world this past season and that the entire landscape would be turned on its head.

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Texas with 52 points on Charles run

SAN DIEGO - The Longhorns toppled the 50-point mark when Jamaal Charles, who was already having a monster of a game, scored with 2:24.

Texas 52, ASU 34 with 2:24 remaining

No quit in ASU

SAN DIEGO - Give ASU credit. They're not folding despite it being nearly impossible to climb back into this thing. Jarrell Woods just scored from a couple yards out to cap a methodical ASU scoring drive.

Texas 45, ASU 34 with 3:40 remaining

December 27, 2007

Too little, too late

SAN DIEGO - An impressive drive by ASU, as Dany Sullivan finds Michael Jones in the end zone. But it took way too long for the Sun Devils to find their scoring touch in this one.

Texas 45, ASU 27 with 8:49 remaining

Texas flexes its collective muscles

SAN DIEGO - Vondrell McGee scampers virtually untouched into the end zone to make the 2007 edition of the Holiday Bowl an official blowout.
Apparently it was a leap year for the "most exiting bowl game of the season."

Texas 45, ASU 20 with 11:03 remaining in the contest

The finishing touches

SAN DIEGO - With 12: 55 to go in the 4th, Ryan Bailey boots a gimme of a field goal to put Texas ahead 38-20. Barring the miraculous, the Longhorns have this one snatched up.

ASU keeps breathing on Carpenter TD pass

SAN DIEGO - A prime-time return by Rudy Burgess gives ASU the ball at their own 49-yard-line. It will be interesting to see what the ASU offense can muster.

On 3rd down, Carpenter throws off his back foot and miraculously finds Michael Jones in the end zone for a sterling 22-yard TD pass.

This keeps Arizona State alive, but-not-so-well, as they find themselves in a 15-point deficit, 35-20, with 2:49 left in the third.

The Stars align for the 'Horns

SAN DIEGO - Marcus Griffin intercepts the ball to put a quick end to ASU's drive, followed by McCoy coming up with a clutch third-down completion.

McCoy then felt the need to go to his feet on another third-down as he scampered out of bounds to move the chains.

The Texas punt team was forced to come out, but give the Longhorns credit for eating up a chunk of the third quarter.

Not that it matters...ASU gives it right back to the 'Horns as Henry Melton recovers a muffed punt.

McCoy then takes off for a wild jaunt, weaving in and out of the ASU defense right to the 4-yard-line before fumbling into the endzone.

As has been the case all night long, things work out for Texas as Jermichael Finley recovers McCoys fumble in the end zone to put Texas up handily, 35-13.

ASU showing life

SAN DIEGO - ASU forces Texas to punt out of their own endzone and are doing all the neccessary things to make this one interesting in the fourth quarter.

28-13, Texas with 9:27 left in the third

ASU adds three, still down 15

SAN DIEGO - Arizona State puts together a productive drive but can't punch in six. Now would be an opportune time for the defense to produce a three-and-out.

28-13, Texas with 11:49 left in the third

Continue reading "ASU adds three, still down 15" »

A Happy Horns Holiday

SAN DIEGO - Tabbed as BCS-worthy squad prior to the start of the 2007 season, few prognosticators believed Texas would wind up in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.
But as everyone would soon come to find out, not much would go according to plan in the college football world this past season and that the entire landscape would be turned on its head.
So in the most bizarre of collegiate pigskin seasons, it was fitting that Texas would end its 2007 campaign on a bizarre note.
Sure, Texas bested Arizona State 52-34 in the 30th edition of the Holiday Bowl Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium, but it was the matter in which they went about it that will have people in Austin half-heatedly chuckling at what could have gone wrong.
A fumble late in the third quarter at the 4-yard-line by a scrambling Colt McCoy bounced into the end zone and was somehow found at the bottom of an unforgiving pile by the Longhorns' Jermichael Finley. It resulted in a Texas touchdown that put them safely ahead, 35-13.
That strange fumble sequence, however, was as routine as they come when compared to what transpired on one play in the second quarter.
Behind by 21 points, Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter was drilled by Texas linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy and the ball fell to the ground, about three yards away from the Longhorns sideline.
A then-unidentifiable Longhorns assistant wearing a burnt orange jumpsuit was also on the field at the time and actually reached for the ball to pick it up. The problem was, the ball was still in play.
Texas defensive end Aaron Lewis recovered the fumble, but the call was reversed minutes later and the ball was awarded to ASU. This gave the Sun Devils undeniable momentum and Carpenter capped it with a TD pass that electrified the Sun Devil faithful.
Then came word of who the potential goat of the 2007 Holiday Bowl was...yup, you guessed it...Mack Brown's stepson.
Luckily for Texas, Chris Jessie (a member of his stepfather's football staff), will not put his name in the history books next to the Steve Bartman's of the world.
The 52 points Texas laid on ASU made sure of that.

2:58 left in 1st half, Texas looking mighty fine

ASU had better hope they can stifle Texas in what will likely be the 'Horns final drive of the half. If not, this one is in the books.

Back in the saddle again

Things getting chippy on the field and the Holiday Bowl has come alive after it looked as though Texas would romp.

It's still entirely possible that could be the case with Texas driving.

An ASU defender stepped on McCoy's back to draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and put the 'Horns in prime scoring position.

McCoy wastes little time as he performs a Vince Young, Rose Bowl-like scamper into the corner of the endzone.

A nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive for Texas puts them up 28-7. Maybe the already infamous Texas coach that touched the ball earlier will get off easy. He just won't have a job come that Spring football game in Austin.

Texas fake

Now that the buzz has died down from that bizarre play, it will be interesting to see if Texas can maintain the offense they had early on.

John Chiles enters the game at QB for McCoy. On 3rd and 3, Chiles spins on the QB keeper but can't pick up the first.

Direct snap to usual-linebacker Rashad Bobino gives Texas new life.

McCoy enters the game again after the change of pace.

A gutsy call by Mack Brown. If the fake wasn't pulled off to perfection, ASU would have had phenomenal field position and even more momentum.

The momentum shifter

We now have a potential goat for Texas...and a big goat at that. When a "coach" from the Texas sideline touched the ball to garner an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, ASU got all the momentum it needed to stage a potential comeback.

After a touchdown to make it 21-7, ASU even started to get pressure on McCoy and pinned him back at the 8-yard-line.

ASU's Robert James then had the hit of the game and Texas punted out of their own endzone.

Texas up early on ASU

Great kick-off return by Texas that sets up them up in solid field position at their own 49.

McCoy with the sweep.

Texas offense looks great early on, particularly Jamaal Charles, who picked up a pretty first down, bouncing outside to burn the Arizona "D" on an outside run.

Texas should have had a TD but Nate Jones couldn't stay in bounds. Seemed like he didn't know where he was.

Lokey with the touchdown reception. McCoy did whatever he wanted that first series.

7-0 Texas with 13:39 left in the first. This could be a high-scoring affair.

Home for the Holiday Bowl?

By Matt Burke

SAN DIEGO - They say everything is big in Texas, however the Longhorns' fan contingency at the 30th Annual Holiday Bowl appears to be quite less than large as fans begin tricking inside Qualcomm Stadium tonight.

Strolling through the parking lot hours before gametime, there wasn't exactly a sea of burnt orange and as's Adam Caparell wrote today in the Red Zone, about only half of Texas' 11,000 alloted tickets were sold.

Sure Arizona State is only a Rudy Carpenter spiral away from San Diego, but c'mon...this is Texas. We'll see if things pick up on the attendance side for the Hook 'Em's right before kickoff.

November 03, 2007

All he does is catch touchdowns, the sequel

NORMAN, Okla. - Sam Bradford just threw another ball to Jermaine Gresham. And you know what that means.

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October 06, 2007

Texas-OU: Sooners take a classic

DALLAS, TX -- Sometimes rivalry games don't live up to the hype.

This one did.

In front of 80,000 at the Cotton Bowl, 10th-ranked Oklahoma outslugged 19th-ranked Texas 28-21 to stay in contention for the Big XII title.

"It was a great football game," said losing coach Mack Brown. "It was what you expect out of Texas and OU."

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Texas-OU: Sooners come up big

DALLAS, TX -- Oklahoma just pulled off the longest, most time-consuming drive of the game to take the lead, 28-21 over Texas with 10:42 left in the game.

Starting from their own 6 after a flub on the kickoff return, the Sooners drove 94 yards in 12 plays, with the score coming on a 3rd-down 35-yard pass from Sam Bradford to Malcolm Kelly.

It was the third third-down conversion of the drive. Bradford went 7-for-8 on the drive for 83 yards.

Texas-OU: Pow, Longhorns!

DALLAS, TX -- It's like a Batman comic book here, the hits are coming so hard and so quickly.

Texas answered OU's quick-strike TD with their own quick scoring drive, and we're tied 21-21 early in the 4th quarter.

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Texas-OU: Boom, Sooners!

DALLAS, TX -- OU freshman running back DeMarco Murray just busted a 65-yard TD run to give Oklahoma a 21-14 lead over Texas late in the third quarter.

It looked like a normal off-tackle play, but a hole opened, Murray hit it, hurdled a blocker on the ground, and outran Texas safety Marcus Griffin to the end zone.

The run gave Murray 100 yards on 8 carries today.

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Texas-OU: Locked up at half

DALLAS, TX -- 10 plays and 66 yards, and we're tied.

Facing 3rd-and-goal from the 6, OU QB Sam Bradford hit TE Jermaine Gresham for TD to make it 14-14 at the half.

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Texas-OU: Hi, my name's Jermichael

DALLAS, TX -- Sometime earlier this week, someone introduced Texas Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis to tight end Jermichael Finley.

Finley, who entered the game with only 187 yards receiving in five games, just caught two more huge passes to give Texas a 14-7 lead over Oklahoma.

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Texas-OU: McCoy answers in a flash

Dallas, TX -- BLAM! BLAM! We're tied!

After totalling only 47 yards on their first 14 plays and punting three times, Texas just struck quickly to tie it at 7-7.

Starting from the UT 39, Colt McCoy found TE Jermichael Finley wide open over the middle and Finley rumbled another 30 yards to the OU 6 for a 55-yard gain. On the next play, McCoy dropped back and initially found no one open, but he moved to the left, drew the attention of a CB, and found Jordan Shipley drifting to the back corner for a TD.

With 11 minutes to play in the half, we've got a good one.

Texas-OU: Bradford catches fire

DALLAS, TX -- Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford just broke up a defensive struggle by taking the Sooners on an 84-yard TD drive.

After hitting several big passes, Bradford capped off the drive with a 1-yard TD pass to TE Jermaine Gresham.

At the end of the first quarter, the Sooners lead 7-0.

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Texas-OU: Football's Best Rivalry

DALLAS, TX -- Texas and Oklahoma will be kicking off soon, the 102nd renewal of the best rivalry game in college football.

That's right -- the best rivalry game in college football.

Sorry, Ohio State and Michigan. No way, Southern Cal and Neutered Dame. Get serious, Alabama and Auburn. Texas-OU matches the hatred and intensity of any of those games, with the added bonus of the greatest setting imaginable.

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September 15, 2007

Goodnight Knights

ORLANDO - The only things that dampened UCF's opening game at the Bright House was the weather and Kyle Israel.

UCF, hold your head up high.

UCF fans, you're team will be one to reckon with.

And Texas QB Colt McCoy sang music to the fans' ears when he said after the game, "It was a tough environment for us to play."

The UCF Knights gave No. 6 Texas all that it could handle and more Saturday in the inaugural game held in UCF's Bright House Networks Stadium.

In the end, however, Texas was too tough and UCF's Kyle Israel made one two many mistakes, and Texas won the game, 35-32 in front of a sold-out Bright House.

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Texas' Answer

ORLANDO - The Longhorns answered by driving down field until an interesting exchange on the 26 yard line of UCF.

On 1st down, Colt McCoy attempted a pass that was nearly picked off and taken to the house by a UCF linebacker. That guy is going to have to work on his hands.

On 2nd down, McCoy threw a nice pass to Quan Cosby that looked like a spectacular catch. It was ruled incomplete and Texas challenged. The ruling on the field held.

On 3rd down, Ogbonnaya rushed for four yards in what looked like a give-up play.

That led to a Ryan Bailey field goal to give Texas back the lead, 26-24.

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Bright House Upset?

ORLANDO - The third quarter belonged to the UCF Knights.

This has been a running back battle with UCF's Kevin Smith leading the way. Smith has 137 yards on 20 carries and two TDs and his huge 32-yard run after a Colt McCoy interception by Joe Burnett gave UCF the ball deep in Texas territory.

Smith was hurt on the tackle, but another Smith, Phillip, came into the game and immediately gained 11 yards to put the Knights on the two yard line as the third quarter ended.

The Knights are running all over the Longhorns so far in the second half. And that was even more evident when QB Kyle Israel sneaked right on 4th and 1 at the goal line for the TD that put the Knights ahead.

With 13:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, UCF is WINNING, 24-23.

UCF is winning.

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Knight And Day

ORLANDO - After a Texas field goal on their opening drive of the second half, UCF took the ball and did something they hadn't done in a while.

They scored a touchdown.

Texas only has themselves to blame. After UCF completed a third down conversion, the Longhorns hit the Knights late out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty.

Smith then took the next play 36 yards up the left side of the field and was forced out at the three. He would score on the next play to pull the Knights to within six. The score: Texas 23, UCF 17.

15 carry, 77 yards, 2 TDs, four on season

Smith carried 3 times for 41 yards and the score

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Texas At The Half

ORLANDO - On the biggest day in UCF football history, the God's haven't been smiling in their favor.

UCF has played step for step with Texas the entire half, but the score stands at 20-10 Longhorns because of one bad Kyle Israel pass.

That pass was intercepted by Brandon Foster and brought to the house for a touchdown to make the score 17-10 Texas.

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Back To Work

ORLANDO - After only a 15-minute delay, the Knights and Longhorns are back playing.

Texas began with the ball after the UCF TD.

I just don't feel that the Knights can stand up to the Texas offense for too long. With playmakers like Charles, McCoy and Sweed, not many teams can.

And now, with a healthy and speedy Jordan Shipley, the Longhorns can hurt you in a multitude of ways.

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A Rainy TD

ORLANDO - The Sunshine State is raining on the Knights parade.

Of course, before the teams left the field at 3:58 p.m. due to lightning in the area, UCF was able to score the first touchdown in the Bright House era.

And it came on a two-yard TD run by Kevin Smith.

The Knights embarked on an eight-play, 68-yard TD drive that went 2:37, and more importantly, they seemed to slice and dice a weak Texas secondary, and made it look easy.

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Here Comes The Rain

ORLANDO - It's not so bright out here at the Bright House, as the rain is beginning to fall.

Texas just chipped in a field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 8:45 left in the first quarter, but UCF was robbed when on the previous fourth down play, the refs missed a delay of game call on Texas in which the 'Horns were at least two second over their alotted time.

The result was a fake field goal run by the holder, Jordan Shipley, a junior wide receiver used on fakes a lot, and a first down for Texas that allowed them to kick the next field goal when the Knights held tight again.

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Play One

The first play of the Bright House era was a play action pass down the middle of the field that looked good until the Texas corner Ryan Palmer leaped in front to bat the ball down.

Love the aggressive play call by the Knights.

Of course, the drive ends with a dropped pass that would have been a first down, and the Knights must punt on their opening drive after a three and out.

Lots Of Gold

ORLANDO - For a team no longer called the Golden Knights, the Knights are dressed in gold.

The band in on the field and the stands are full and we are minutes from kickoff.

This place is sold out and UCF is serious about its football team right now.

Of course, Texas travels well and have taken over one endzone.

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Bright Beginnings

ORLANDO - They should call this place the Hot House. Or maybe the dehydration house, as the stadium is without a single water fountain anywhere on the premises.

I'm a native Floridian, but it is scorching in Orlando today for the inaugural game at Bright House Networks Stadium, the brand spanking shiny new $55 million stadium built on UCF's campus.

And who'd the Knights draw to christen their new digs? Why it's the 2-0, No. 6 Texas Longhorns, who reportedly had trouble getting into Orlando last night, but who you can also expect to make the Knights' first game an unpleasent one.

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September 08, 2007

Texas wins second half, game

AUSTIN, TX -- Odds are, you won't find another football game this season with more different halves than what we saw here tonight.

19th-ranked TCU rode a dominating performance from its defense to 10-0 halftime lead.

Then 7th-ranked Texas got it all together after intermission, scoring 27 unanswered points and coasting to a 34-13 victory in front of 84,621.

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Texas delivers killshot

AUSTIN, TX -- Two interesting facts about Genus Phrynosoma:

1. No one calls them "horned frogs" in Texas. They're called "horny toads."

2. When threatened by a predator, they can shoot blood from their eyes, up to four feet in distance. Seriously.

TCU might want to try something along those lines, because they're now behind 27-10 and in danger of being squished by Texas

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Attitude Adjustment

AUSTIN, TX -- A different team came out of the Texas locker room after halftime.

The team that entered the locker room had totaled 0 points and 137 yards of total offense. The team that exited has come out and put up 17 points and 176 yards in first 16 minutes of the second half.

Early in the fourth quarter, Texas leads TCU 17-10.

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TCU D dominating in Austin

AUSTIN, TX -- TCU's defense has spent the first 30 minutes of the game befuddling Colt McCoy, shutting down Jamaal Charles, and silencing the huge, burnt-orange sea of a crowd in Royal-Memorial Stadium.

At the half, 19th-ranked TCU leads 7th-ranked Texas 10-0.

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TCU-Texas, just like old times

Here in Austin, TCU and Texas are going throwback. The long-time rivals will meet for the 82nd time, but the first since the Southwest Conference broke up following the 1995 season.

The Horns and the Horned Frogs first battled in 1897, with Texas holding a 60-20-1 lead in the series. With both teams ranked, though, tonight's game will be the biggest matchup in the series since the 1930's.

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