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The Week That Will Be (12.04.10)

Last Week: 3-3 ATS 4-2 SU
For the Year: 32-41-5 (.438) ($-1270) ATS 51-27 (.654) SU

What we learned last week:

We learned that Texas needs to quit letting running backs get away to Oregon, and we learned that .5 spreads really, really suck…

We learned that Kyle Brotzman need not to put “good under pressure” on his resume, but the Broncos’ defense is just as much to blame, yielding 370 yards in the second half…

We learned that Cam Newton is Superman, and that 2009 Alabama kicks 2010 Alabama’s ass…

We learned that Knile Davis is a good running back…and is again from the state of Texas…

We learned that Oklahoma State is Oklahoma State, and the sooner we get that through our head the sooner we can all stop buying into them every other year…

And finally, we learned that Texas A&M can beat Texas by a touchdown in Austin and drop in the polls, and if that doesn’t say it all…


“Bad night to be in Austin, Texas…”

As North Carolina coach Mack Brown roamed the sidelines on a balmy Carolina evening in a win over Stanford, assistant coach Cleve Bryant came up to Brown at one point and uttered that phrase after seeing the 66-3 UCLA/Texas score on the scoreboard at Kenan Memorial Stadium.

Little did Brown know that that night would be the catalyst to a life changing career move for him, his passing coordinator Bryant and his offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

Thirteen years later, there have been a lot of bad nights to be in Austin, Texas this fall.

There was the loss to UCLA in mid-September that looked eerily similar to the one in 1997 with the level of embarrassment only slightly diminished. There was the heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma. The embarrassing losses to Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State. There was the demoralizing loss to Oklahoma State and the final nail in the coffin at the hands of Texas A&M.

And, of course, Cleve Bryant hasn’t had a good night in quite some time.

I wrote this in this space the week before the UCLA game:

So even if you get the shakes at the sight of those UCLA uniforms once again inside the confines of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, take a moment to ponder how far this program has come since then, and if you could have ever imagined that when you walked out of the stadium that day.

We’re lucky, folks. Enjoy the ride, because you never know when it will come crashing down…

And crash down it did.

Why? There are plenty of reasons why, probably led by the implausible decision to switch to a power running attack in the off-season, even though you had the most prolific Texas high school passer of all-time on your roster, one that thrived in a spread attack at all levels in high school.

Why was that move made? We might not ever know the full truth, but I don’t really believe that Mack Brown and Greg Davis sat there and watched Alabama beat us last season and decided then and there he wanted to turn Cody Johnson into Mark Ingram and Fozzy Whitaker into Trent Richardson. We all know that Greg Davis is a pass happy offensive coordinator, are we really supposed to believe that he has the crown jewel of the 2009 recruiting class fall in his lap but he wants to take the ball out of Garrett Gilbert’s hands?

No, I believe that since Will Muschamp took over a lot of Mack’s duties last year in recruiting and what not, the decision was made by the entire coaching staff to start the transition in scheme to the pro-style attack that Muschamp prefers as well.

And it was an unmitigated disaster.

We couldn’t run the ball, and then when we couldn’t run the ball we decided to pass the ball, and then we decided to bring some of the spread attack, and all it did was result in confusion, unpreparedness and ambiguity for our offense.

But the offensive inefficiencies weren’t the only fault on this team. The defense flat out quit in several games, and there was zero accountability on either side of the ball. Players that made mistakes in the Rice opener were still out there making mistakes in the Texas A&M finale.

And where does the fault lie? On the entirety of the coaching staff. Sure, there are guys that need to go more than others, but each and every coach needs to do a Rick Barnes-style tear down this off-season and build himself back up to learn from this season, lest we repeat it again next season.

Make no mistake about it, there will be coaching changes this off-season, but if Mack Brown is trying to convince himself that this coaching staff doesn’t need wholesale changes, he is fooling himself.

5-7 will not work at Texas. It is not simply “a down year” as some out there would like to protest. The last time Texas Tech had a 5-7 type year? 1992, when they went 5-6. Oklahoma went 5-6 in 1998. USC went 5-7 in 2000. The last time Florida had five wins or less was 1979 when they went 0-10-1. Speaking of Florida, they had a “down” year this year and went 7-5, and looked terrible in the process, but you know what, they’re going to a bowl game and have something to build upon.

And if the record doesn’t tell you that this team needs a makeover, recruiting will tell you. We’re sitting pretty in 2011, led by Malcolm Brown, but 2012 is already looming, two months away from receiving actual commitments, and the scuttlebutt in recruiting circles is that we’re getting beaten badly by Texas A&M. And Mike Sherman. Think about how we all laughed when A&M hired Mike Sherman, and now he’s beating us at our own game.

And then there is the Cleve Bryant situation. I don’t know the full details, you don’t know the full details, Gloria Allred doesn’t know the full details, but what matters is that something happened that made someone pick up the phone and call the biggest, baddest lawyer she’s seen on Fox News, and the fact that this has lingered on for two months without resolution tells me that where there is smoke, there is fire. If anything close to what is being alleged happened, it is a massive black eye for the department and the school.

It is time to clean house, to root out the complacency that set in after the 2005 National Championship, to root out the coaches that think that just because we’re Texas it is our birthright to win ten games a year and play a January bowl game. We must do a top down teardown of what we have built and go back and look at how we built it, and do it again. Yeah, we’re Texas, but we are who we are through a lot of hard work, a lot of determination, and a lot of innovation and infusion of talent, none of which is happening right now.

So, Mr. Brown, if you want to step back and look at all of that, and tell us that one offensive position “retiring” is going to fix all of those problems, you need to go ahead and retire to that tobacco farm in North Carolina.

Don’t float stories to Chip Brown about how Cleve Bryant’s situation was detrimental to the team because he was the disciplinarian. If this is the half baked scheme of Brown, Davis and Bryant to save Greg Davis’s job by Cleve throwing himself under the bus, it will not work.

I’m sure next will be floating the idea that a play against Oklahoma here and a play against Iowa State there and a play against Baylor or Texas A&M here and we’re 8-4 and looking at the Texas Bowl, and yeah, that’s a down year but not as down as 5-7 is, so it can’t be that bad, right?


You know what the problem is, Mack. You said it yourself after plenty of games this year. You reiterated it after the Texas A&M game, when you said “we have the talent” and “it is the coaches” not even a week ago. You talked earlier in the year about talking to your coaches and telling them that if it was one player you can deal with them but if it is three players you must deal with the coach.

You know what the problem is. And it will not be easy dealing with it. But when you are the head football coach at the University of Texas, you are paid to deal with it, it is your responsibility to watch guard over one of the proudest legacies going in sports today.

Friendships will heal. Legacies and reputations will not.

Because if you choose not to make the changes needed, if you choose to believe that this was just a down year and this coaching staff has fixed it before and will fix it again, then there will be a lot more bad nights in Austin, Texas…and you might not be around to see them all.

On to the games...

USC -6.5 @ UCLA:

After watching USC lose to Notre Dame and only gain 261 yards of offense in the effort against an average Irish defense, you would probably have to handcuff Matt Barkley to the locker room bench to keep him out of this game, and even then he might pull a Houdini (or his brother) and get out there.

USC hasn’t lost to UCLA since 2006, and I don’t see that changing here.

USC 31 UCLA 16

SMU v. Central Florida -9:

A little shine went off of SMU after an 8 win season last year, but the Mustangs still sit at 7-5 with a chance to do something they haven’t done since 1984…win a conference title.

It won’t be easy, as UCF was ranked before a loss to Southern Mississippi three weeks ago. UCF also has a legit defense, which is problematic for a SMU offense that has struggled at times this year.

UCF 27 SMU 21

Florida State v. Virginia Tech -4:

These two teams are just about mirror images of each other statistically. FSU is 52nd nationally in offense, while Virginia Tech is 38th. FSU is 39th in defense while VT is 42nd. FSU is 11th in scoring defense, while Virginia Tech is 13th.

But, what Virginia Tech does have a decided advantage in is turnover margin, ranking first in the country. They also have the better running game, and should have the better crowd with the game in Charlotte and VT knowing that they would be here a couple of weeks ago.

Virginia Tech 28 Florida State 21
ATS – Virginia Tech
SU – Virginia Tech

Oregon -16.5 @ Oregon State:

After a mid-October victory over Arizona in the desert, the Beavers have hit a tailspin, losing 4 out of 6 and giving up 30.25 points per game in those losses.

But of course, this is the Civil War, where anything can happen, blah blah blah…

Lost in all of Oregon’s offensive success has been its defense, which was porous early in the season, but since a 52-31 win over Stanford on October 2nd, the Ducks have given up 30 points just once (at USC), and have held the opponent under 20 points three times.

Oregon State will need a big game from Katz and Rodgers to even have a chance.

Oregon 44 Oregon State 24
ATS – Oregon
SU – Oregon

Auburn -5 v. South Carolina:

These two teams played back in September, a game that South Carolina led going to the fourth quarter before the Tigers rallied for two touchdowns and won 35-27. Cam Newton ran for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns that day while throwing for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Stephen Garcia was sharp as well, throwing for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns, but there are questions about how good he will be this week with a left shoulder injury.

The key in this one is how Marcus Lattimore responds. The freshman only had 33 yards rushing in the last match-up, and if he puts up a similar effort, then Auburn strolls to Glendale. But if Lattimore has a game like he did against Tennessee and Florida later in the year, there is a chance for the Gamecocks. It won’t be easy as Auburn has the 10th best rush defense in the country, but if Lattimore gets free and opens up the passing lanes for Garcia, watch out.

Auburn 31 South Carolina 27
ATS – South Carolina
SU – Auburn

Nebraska v. Oklahoma -6:

Another year, another trip to the Big 12 Championship game for the Oklahoma Sooners. This is the Sooners’ eight trip to the game, and they have won six of their previous trips.

The question in this game is the health of Oklahoma’s Demarco Murray and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez. Oklahoma would be able to get over the loss of Murray, but take away Martinez and Nebraska turns into the largely ineffective offensive bunch that they were last season.

Oklahoma might not know how to win bowl games, but they own these games. OU wins easily.

Oklahoma 27 Nebraska 13
ATS – Oklahoma
SU – Oklahoma

For entertainment purposes only. Save your money for the NCAA’s new “Pay a Player’s Dad” policy.