As they always say, "Strange things happen in Lubbock".
Tipped passes? Questionable calls? A given.
A few mental errors? You bet.
The issue always becomes whether a visiting squad can come into Jones Stadium and overcome these undoubted setbacks and keep enough composure to head home with a long exhale and a hard fought ‘W’.
While most fans would have enjoyed the Horns continuing the pace they set over the first 5 minutes of the game and blown out a young and rattled Tuberville team, it was actually quite exciting to watch Texas overcome staunch adversity, much of which came at their own hand.
Mistakes can, and will, be corrected.
Let’s give credit to Gilbert for keeping composure, even in the midst of watching his sack count and interception stats sinking while he helplessly stood by and watched. Watching the national TV broadcast this week, I was almost surprised we didn’t catch a glimpse of him smacking Malcolm Williams upside the head after the 2nd quarter clang of the hands, yelling in the earhole of FozzWhitt following a 3rd quarter bonehead fumble, or in any quarter to Britt Mitchell in his personal attempt to make Tech DE Scott Smith an All-American frontrunner. I usually have a hard time sending out props to Greg Davis for play calling and game strategy, but I really enjoyed seeing the ball thrown more than 5 yards down the field. Loved the 9+ minute drive to put Texas up by 10 midway through the final stanza, albeit with the help by a couple of judgment lapses by Tech defenders which drew post-play penalties.
Defense was effective all evening, an assessment that I’m certain will continue or improve all season. If this unit can eliminate a few minor mistakes per contest and continue to gel as an overall squad, they will certainly give offensive coordinators fits for the remainder of the season. I don’t even mind the (somewhat overly) aggressive play of the likes of Blake Gideon, certainly making opposing receivers take a quick glance downfield before crossing over the middle of our secondary. And holding Tech to less than 150 yards of total offense? No matter how you accomplish that feat, declare the game a success.
Of course, you don’t need my analysis here to determine which of the players we have fit definition of true stud. What so exciting is how many of them still have another 3 years of eligibility left to explore the heights of greatness.
What we need to speak about, now that the season is officially underway after 2 scrimmages, is where the Horns destiny will take them this post season, and that of the other BCS elite. In my own order of power ranking, here’s the Nation’s Top 5:
1. Alabama - Head and shoulders above the rest. With the return of Mark Ingram, they may have a hard time finding a competitive game for the rest of the SEC regular season schedule. As Ingram starts to roll up the stats in a repeat campaign for the Heisman, some games will get ugly early and often.
2. Ohio State – Not the best team they have fielded, but certainly good enough to run the table and stave off the leapfrog effect from the 2 or 3 team immediately behind them looking for a matchup to play the defending champ. Upset alert @ Iowa.
3. Boise State – Continue to do the job in earning the respect of the entire voting press, but will once again fall just short. The original BCS buster is becoming a BCS regular, but will now become the biggest argument for (at minimum) the “Plus 1” playoff alternative. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the Broncos face the Tide in an absolute offensive throwdown for all the marbles?
4. TCU – Froggies deserve the respect they have gained over the past couple of seasons. It will be very hard for their players to act excited to go to an unanticipated Sugar Bowl after steamrolling the Mountain West conference, introducing a couple more cool purple and black uniform combinations along the way. Sorry, Frogs. You, too, deserve a playoff in a year like this.
5. Texas – Solid, but a far cry from the elite performances of the ’05 team and even several lengths behind the above mentioned pacesetters. Perhaps Mack Brown can make an effective lobby toward the end of the year to the voters…….hell, we’ve had that same lone 1st place vote in the AP poll for the entire year!! While we could see 6 undefeated teams this year, if you add Oregon to these 5, I have a bad feeling that we may stumble in Lincoln in a month’s time. Even if so, we should be able to regroup and defend the Big XII title and still guarantee the sour taste in the Huskers mouths will last all the way to the Big 10.
BCS Championship Game
Alabama 38 Ohio State 17
Boise State 34 Texas 24
And your predictions for the title game and for our Horns??