Unfortunately, Greg Davis' firing didn't make the list.
Texas with 4 losses
Just because Greg Davis sucks doesn't mean we are finally doomed to lose to any football program with a pulse. If you got a nickel for every instance of some dork predicting a loss to Texas Tech in July you could finish the stadium expansion with them, then sail to the moon in your nickel-financed space yacht.
That's not to say Texas won't lose that game, there is always that chance. Too many fans only look at Texas. Sure, Vondrell McGee is the least inspiring starting RB we've had since Hodges Mitchell, but who is supposed to tackle him? Blake Collier? There is a reason Texas's worst offense under Mack had it's season high point total against Tech.
Not to pick on The Harvard of the (Texas) Panhandle or anything. You could fit any number of teams into Tech's place and still find enough change to fund at least half of Roger Clemens' defense team. There is a rumor that Oklahoma State might be good this year.
Yes, Greg Davis is imperfect, to put it nicely. But the ASU game showed what Texas is capable of when they play inspired football, not the lazy brand of country club intramural we've come to know and love. By our standards, Texas lacks playmakers, but you better believe that ASU, Tech, OSU, Kansas, even Missouri and OU would love to have a Jordan Shipley or Vondrell McGee. Hell, Mike Leach would sell his dirty pirate soul for Malcolm Williams or Brandon Collins.
The OL, which has been awful since 2005, should also improve with the addition of Tre Allen, Michael Huey, and Kyle Hix. It's been a few years since we could push anyone around, and 2008 could be a return to form. Chris Hall will still be the plucky underdog that starts early on and isn't quite as good as everyone thinks, but Tanner and Ulatoski should be bumped from the lineup.
Then there is there defense. Possibly the worst defense in school history and we still managed to go 10-3. A&M improved their defense by simply not giving up big plays and being tough on 3rd down, and they went from 5-6 to 9-4.
Not only do we have the best defensive coordinator in Mack's tenure, but we might have the best overall talent. Even if Sergio Kindle doesn't play, there won't be a glaring hole in the defense for the first time ever. They will be young, but the talent will shine through that.
We'll have two (potential) shut down corners, unless they let Ryan Palmer start. Ben Wells and Earl Thomas are greatness waiting to happen. Personally, I'm so excited about Thomas I may have to take a homemade sign to the first open practice.
But think about it this way: how many of our losses don't happen if the defense is just a little bit better? If Bobino doesn't blow that tackle on DeMarco Murray's long run? If Josh Freeman and Stephen McGee both don't have career games and start 11 for their first 11?
I made the same statement last year, before it could be immortalized on a public website, fortunately, that we were so bad last year that the only place we can go is up. I saw Gary Darnell do it, so why couldn't Akina? Well, question answered.
But THIS year, no, really guys, this is the year. National champions is a bit much to ask until either Colt or Davis is gone, but we'll be in contention for the conference.
Plus, KSU is off the schedule. And yes, I just spent like 3 hours celebrating the fact that Texas will only lose 3 games. Oh, the perks of elitedom!
Texas Tech challenge for the conference
There exists such a thing called the "Mike Leach ceiling." Basically his offense, or any"equalizer" offense for that matter, does make average teams competitive, but it will only go so far. His particular brand of football relies way too much on the QB, and it requires him to play at an unreasonably well level to compete against the best teams.
He may do it over one game, but over the course of the season, the law of averages will set in and Tech will lose their annual 3-4 games.
Don't be fooled by 5,000+ yard seasons. Pay attention to the fact that Mack hasn't lost to them since 2002. OU hadn't until the fraudulent "review" game, and last year when the awful Joey Halzle had to play. Stats are one thing, wins are another. If Cody Hodges can lead the nation in passing, why am I supposed to be impressed now?
Spread option teams can succeed because they don't ask as much of the QB. Pat White just has to run and make the occasional throw to an open receiver. Dennis Dixon went from terrible to great all of a sudden when the offense went run first.
Leach needs to put aside his faulty notion of balance and run the damn ball. Too many teams can focus solely on the pass, and anytime you allow a defense to do that, you can't say you have balance. OSU beat them two years ago by shifting, jumping around, and disguise in the secondary. After that game Mike Gundy said:
"If I was them I guess I would've just run the ball. I'm 40!*"
*some quotes not researched.
I appreciate what Leach has done for offensive football, and his unique outsider perspective. But he hasn't quite found a finished, final product yet, and until he can remove some of the pressure from his QB, Tech will continue to be Tech.
Kansas in the BCS
Wait, isn't Mark Mangino the hottest thing since sliced bread with ham, cheese, more ham, mayo, and even more ham and mayo? Yes, he is. But it's still Kansas. The hardest leap any team has to make is from good to consistently good. Any team can go 10-2 one year and earn national attention, followed by a summer or overhype. It happens once or twice a year. That team always fades into obscurity.
When a team puts together a great season out of nowhere, there is always a big element of luck involved. Now I happen to think that if Mangino stays, Kansas is in it for the long haul. But it's not going to be a smooth road. Kansas is now a target. They'll have a harder schedule. Nobody is going to take them lightly, and that makes a difference.
KU is mostly a coach-fueled mirage right now without the talent to really back it up. It'll take time to get that talent, if it ever even happens. Lawrence isn't a hotspot, exactly, although it looks like Dubai compared to places like Norman and Stillwater.
Kansas will lose a couple and not make it to the conference title game. If they do, then the entire state of Georgia should erect a statue of him in my yard. They'll need a lot of bronze.
It's OU, then Texas and Missouri, then Kansas. That's it. 4 teams have any kind of shot at this, and Kansas is probably in for a reality check of sorts this year.
October is going to be an important month.