I only watch ESPN on Saturday nights after Texas has played well. I cannot stand, typically, what passes for "analysis" these days.
I only had it on long enough to tell us how Texas thhurvived OethhU and would now be faced wit the toughest challenge of all . . . mighty Texathh Tech.
This annoyed me for two reasons. One, ESPN couldn't find anyone better than an aged, oversized earthworm with Foghorn Leghorn's accent, and two, they spent the whole segment dismissing OSU as a team that was lucky to be in the game with us.
They weren't. We saw a true 1 vs 6 matchup on Saturday. Their offense is as well constructed as any we will ever see. The defense has legitimate athletes and they knew what we were trying to do all day.
It's the nature of the spread era, I suppose, to see perennially mediocre teams populate the Top 10. All it takes now is a good QB and an easy schedule to make noise in any given year, so part of the ignorance can be excused.
But nobody ever talks about the differences between the offenses. I've talked about my feelings towards Tech's "balance" before. OSU shows true balance, where anything can happen at any time.
Dez Bryant can do anything on the football field -- except math -- and Brandon Pettigrew is not only the best receiving TE in the conference, which is saying something, but he can dominate the edge as a blocker, probably the single most underrated aspect of the best offenses. Zac Robinson is like the other 7 good QBs in the conference, good decision making ability paired with accuracy, and just enough speed to scramble for 7 if a play breaks down. Kendall Hunter is their Wes Welker, someone who can get reliable, chain-moving gains and turns what should be three yard runs into 5-6 yarders.
What makes it work, though, is not just that they can do these things, but that they do. Mike Gundy might be an utter dunce when it comes to 4th quarter playcalling, but the man can guide an offense at the macro level. He avoided our strengths, highlighted our weaknesses, and every time we needed a stop we ended up having to rely on Rashad Bobino and an assortment of freshmen -- a true indicator of how well OSU was able to get their guys in positions to succeed.
Tech has been rushing more, or at least better, than they ever have under Leach this year. But they ran on us in 2005, too. It's not that they can't, it's that they don't, and they let opponents play scheme games with them in the secondary. OSU forced us into vanilla-ry, Tech doesn't.
The other thing to consider is that after Crabtree, there isn't someone or something to protect him. They can run, but don't, and all the other WRs are still castoffs, despite their numbers. When Tech scores a million points, it's because Harrell has time to stand in the pocket for 5 seconds while someone wiggles free 20 yards downfield. Ther OL is solid, but I'm guessing that won't be a game-long issue for us. OSU schemed us extremely well, had a great running game and a well coached OL and we still ended enough drives with pressure to win.
That's the bottom line. In order to beat great teams with Tech's offense, you essentially have to be us. You need an 80% completion rate and a couple WRs who seem to be telepathically linked to the QB. Harrell has never been that good against decent competition. He could, but it would be like expecting Bill Maher to convert to Southern Baptist. You're going to regress to the mean over the course of the game. You need to be able to run, to block, and play defense.
Unless, of course, you pray really hard and cut out Dr. Pepper.