So Texas ascends to the top of the college football landscape and then holds its spot there after defeating two more top 10-15 teams and the collective response from our fanbase is to take mangina rubbing to new heights? For the life of me, I cannot get my head around the inferiority complex some folks carry with them in regard to this program. We’ve got more money than Wells Fargo, rank number 3 all-time in wins, and can claim 4 national titles. Yet the handwringing making its way through the ranks on the various boards, the radio, and next to the watercooler by purported members of this group of fans is borderline hilarious and entering the theater of the absurd.
Exacerbating the problem is a portion of the media who is comprised of paunchy eunuchs and Canadians who’ve done little in life besides accelerate in coffeehouse poetry. Well, that and they’ve developed a knack for watching highlights, reading box scores, and then espousing opinions. This is the type of person from whom some of our folks are taking cues?
It gets confusing enough for me to actually doubt myself and all that is right in this world for a moment and to then doublecheck the schedule. Indeed, there is still no Tommy Frazier-led 1994 or 1995 Nebraska title team rolling into town. Instead, as suspected, it’s Texas Tech pulling up in their clown car. Texas Tech. This is a school normally only feared for the people they label as "graduates" that wind up entering the workforce and, if you’re not careful, part of your staff.
"But this Texas Tech offense is a juggernaut!"
Everyone knows the basics. Texas Tech throws the ball with reckless abandon, to the point where they’re leading the country in passing, second in total offense, and third in scoring offense. We get it. What’s ridiculous is the notion that this season is any different than prior seasons in that regard. Outside of the fact that they’ve played two D2 teams this year instead of one and they’ve created some shadow of a running game, I’m lost on anything new, certainly anything relevant.
What I do know is that many of the refrains we’re hearing now are the same as always, only amplified. The favorite within the talking head parade is that Mike Leach is a mad scientist, whose offensive skills are unbounded. It’s not been too long since the man’s greatest skills involved Jack Daniels and successfully driving halfway to alumni functions. Now this guy plays Nintendo and then prints copies of the plays for his squad and we’re supposed to wet ourselves? The reality of the circumstance is simple – this is the same Mike Leach. He’s indifferent about what game he’s playing or what the score is, often to the point of being unaware of the down. Some will argue that that works to his advantage, but history dictates a different story when he’s facing defenses that involve organisms with opposable thumbs and a DC with an IQ above 100. In this season’s case, with Muschamp calling the shots and the talent we’ve got on D, we’re going to be in good shape
Things against Tech are usually pretty simple, only not every team is built to handle it from a talent perspective. Keep the play in front of you. Ignore the run. Make sure tackles. Get a push from your front four, disrupt the screens and the QB’s timing, and hit the QB frequently
Michael Crabtree has added a dimension to the offense that they lacked ahead of him and that has to be taken seriously. It’s encouraging to see the secondary maturing each week. Curtis Brown did as good a job of shutting down Dez Bryant as one can. He and his cohorts will have the confidence and the plan behind them to hold Crabtree down in some capacity. It’s important that someone physical in nature have primary responsibilities for Crabtree. The notable big play from Bryant last week involved a moment where Brown was elsewhere and that’s not coincidental. Beyond him, our secondary has men like Detron Lewis and Eric Morris in their stool. The big plays will happen, but not enough of them.
Ignoring the run has usually been easy. This year, their run has improved and some are cautioning against tuning it out. That said, remember the fat girl in high school that went away one summer and came back about 40 pounds lighter? You know, she didn’t look good or anything close, but one of your friends was ugly enough and desperate enough that he figured out a way to make it happen and then bragged to everyone about it? Well, Texas Tech is that guy this year. The only way that running game had to go was up. The linebackers have to tackle better than they did last week, but neither Woods or Batch are on a level with the OSU backs.
Getting a push from our front four has been something we’ve seen week in and week out. We’ll see it again Saturday. This offensive line and its big splits are very similar to Missouri and has talent. It’s also going to get porked heinously. That is bad news for Dark Helmet, who has only been sacked 3 times all season. He can be rattled, especially when our ends come at him at ludicrous speed and/or go plaid. Listen, Graham Harrell is a poor man’s Chase Daniel, right down to his rumored lack of boogereating skills. Like Daniel, Harrell is going to be in trouble against this scheme. The offenses are not very dissimilar and we’ve got a coach running things that’s up to the task. The defense handles its business against an overrated Tech offense. The difference in talent and speed between the UT DL and what Tech has seen all season is going to take some getting used to on the Tech side, but that’s not a simple in-game adjustment for the players.
"But this Texas Tech team plays defense!! This D is different!!"
This Texas Tech defense is getting a lot of credit across the net and within the media for miring itself in mediocrity against a schedule that looks worse than my ass pressed firmly against a mirror. They’re allowing more than 21 points a game and rank slightly inside the top 50% of all D1 defenses this year. Hey, that’s an upgrade from prior seasons, right? Well, problem is, they didn’t play all D1 offenses up to this point. Don’t get me wrong, Dan Hawkins will certainly support anyone’s claim that Eastern Washington’s O is a silent group of assassins, but it’s hard to buy. UMass begs to differ, I know.
Truth be told, nothing within the Tech program is getting more credit for pummeling Kansas into a royal blue pulp than this defense. What clearly seems to be unrecognized is that Todd Reesing spent the entire night before this game out with nothing but booze and hookers. Beyond that, it’s evident that he had a parlay going on Tech and the over. It appeared that way, at least. Perhaps he was briefly hit with colorblindness, I don’t know, but his performance was horrific.
This defense honestly looks better than prior Tech defenses, but that is akin to getting excited about being the tallest midget. Beyond McBath and McKinner Dixon, they’ve got a bunch of guys that Baylor couldn’t find a spot for. They’ve faced nothing even remotely resembling the offense with whom they’re about to, well, lock horns. We all know the story of the Texas offense this year, so no need for heavy personnel details, but it’s tough to feel like they’re going to be able to do much damage to McCoy and Co. The OSU defense was legitimately good and they’re years ahead of Tech. McCoy still played like a robot outside of the one passing miscue.
The Texas strategy offensively will likely not be a lot different than it has been all season, and that’s worked fine. Kudos to Davis and Applewhite for finding ways to exploit our strengths against the opponent’s schemes. There’s little doubt that this week for our offense will be somewhat about ball control and finding new ways to continue to put the ball in Cosby and Shipley’s hands. The running game does not need to be electric, but it needs to have a better week this week than last, and the personnel is there and healthy in order to do it. There isn’t a prayer of Tech holding this offense under 40 points, minimum.
Texas Tech does a mediocre job of getting pressure outside of Dixon and Brandon Williams and that’s against subpar talent up to now. The two of Dixon and Williams will likely pick up a sack or two, as they’re good ballplayers against anyone. That’s just not going to be enough pressure and the Texas OL has faced worse. Some might look at the Tech turnover margin and find worry there. These are the same mouthbreathers that are deriving their entire opinion about Tech from only seeing them play an overrated KU team that has quit. The turnover margin is deceptive. They are +8 against SMU and KU and +1 against their 6 other opponents. KU and SMU are 79th and 99th nationally in turnover margin, so Tech’s results against them are uniform with both teams performance all season. It should surprise no one that Tech’s only two impressive performances this season were against KU and SMU. Texas does a good job of controlling the ball and the turnover tipping point for Tech will not be there. Smoke and mirrors are good for magic shows and Halloween, but won’t be good enough to stifling the Texas O come Saturday.
"But the pressure of this #1 run!!! Nobody beats Tech in Lubbock at night!!!!"
Some of the gyrations people go through to wind up finding doubt in this team are outlandish. None of the positions thrown out there is more absurd as a concern than the "too much pressure of being #1" card. When a team goes on a run like this, it’s never not befuddling to hear people gnashing their teeth over the team’s ability to step up. You either watch the team every week and accept what you’re seeing at its face value, or you should change entertainment preferences. No one is playing with more calm and resolve in the face of a challenge than this team currently. They did it against OU and they did it again against OSU. Should Tech pose a challenge, they’ll do it again in Lubbock. Many players from the 2006 team that started in a 21-0 hole are playing prominent roles this year, not the least of whom is McCoy. They’ll be ready.
What causes headscratching for me is why Texas is referenced as the team feeling the pressure. They’ve been there before, a number of them having firsthand knowledge of winning when expected at a national level. This team also finally has a break in sight against Baylor. Finish what was started and get just desserts. This team gets it.
All of that considered, what about Texas Tech? Shouldn’t this team be the team feeling pressure? They’ve not won a game this big since … ever. They’ve got Gameday in town. Hillbillies from Alabama, couchburners from Pennsylvania, and cheaters from Southern Cal are begging them to show up on Saturday. Much of the Tech team knows fully well that their entire fanbase is defining their limited hopes in life through this program’s success. All of that has a way of building up. Of course, either Mike Leach doesn’t notice one bit, which is plausible, or he’s about to perform his rendition of Shooter from Hoosiers and disappear on Saturday before gametime. A flip of the coin may hold the answer.
Added to the nonsense about Texas feeling pressure is the topic of "Lubbock, TX, Football Bermuda Triangle". How and when this fallacy was created is beyond me, although it sounds like something perpetuated by aggies. The stadium brings nothing to the table in terms of adding fear or atmosphere. It’s apparent that it was put together during an offseason by a pack of boosters following a Home Depot tutorial. Texas plays in front of 53,000 fans at practice.
"CTJ, they’re going to ‘blackout’ the stadium by wearing all black against us!!!!!"
Ooofff. A group of people actually got together and created the premise of a collective fanbase wearing all black to a night game. It’s as though this were a skit on SNL. They’ve effectively constructed a strategy to disguise their stadium as an empty toilet bowl. This concept will have no effect on the opposing team, and the stadium is going to look like 10 pounds of shit stuffed into a 5 pound bag.
Beyond the blackout folly, this school then takes idiocy to new heights by announcing that they’ll be allowing excess fanbase onto the grass of the field below the seats for standing room only. Apparently no one made leadership aware of the fact this is a fanbase existing largely of lower and lower middle class common folk who are used to fashioning weapons out of junk, goalposts, and sporting materials. I am honestly fearing for our team’s safety.
Much like the looks we’ll see on offense, I don’t sweat this team’s ability to cope with pressure or hostile crowds. They’ll put it together on Saturday night and play a complete ballgame. In the process, McCoy will deservedly seal up the Heisman lead and the possibilities start to become really exciting for the program. At the same time, Texas Tech will be awakened to the sad and confusing idea that indeed, they are still Texas Tech. At that moment, Lubbock will immediately become a frightening place to be.
As Texas shows up on Saturday and rolls Tech to the tune of 48-21, my hope, and every other sane Texas fan’s hope, is that some of the people within this fanbase then pull themselves together and leaves the bawling all over oneself to the losers on the other end of the scoreboard.