Archive for October, 2011

Texas-Kansas Post-Mortem: Defense/Special Teams

Posted by    |    October 31st, 2011 at 3:10 am

I’m leading with the Texas defense because while our offense faced a historically bad Kansas defense, the Longhorn defense drew a 30 points/400 yards per game Kansas offense that had success against quality opponents. I thought we’d play well and surrender 14-17 points.

Then this happened:

**

46 yards of total offense
1.3 yards per play
-2 yards rushing.
3 first downs (1 of them by penalty)
15:53 possession for the entire game
Longest “drive” allowed: 28 yards (last series of the game)
Kansas never passed the Texas 40 yard line and left their side of the field only once
Kansas ran the fewest number of plays in the history of the Big 12 (36)
At halftime, KU had 10 total yards
First shutout since 2005

**

In true Mack Brown fashion, everyone gets a trophy! I award this defense the Cleve Bryant Legacy Award For Creepy Audacious Bullying.

Now what does it mean?

Did a defense still learning Diaz’s language finally start rattling off declarative sentences using the future perfect tense after enduring the trauma of suddenly being asked to give a speech on Iran’s Nuclear Program and James Joyce against Oklahoma St and Oklahoma? Did the bye week serve as a Rosetta Stone for the front 7? Did some guys get healthy, get motivated, or quit thinking too much?

Or maybe KU just tapped out on their season and it doesn’t mean much of anything.

I’m looking forward to our last five games to find out the truth. (more…)

The League – Cowboys Thoughts, Week Seven

Posted by    |    October 28th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

If you’re going to write about a team game by game, I think the toughest time to find an interesting angle can be after the Expected Victory.  The Unexpected Victory brims with a heady, excited afterglow and is usually accompanied by the rise of a new star or, at least, moments of unexpected greatness from guys you thought you knew.  The Unexpected Defeat provides a rich bounty of shock and dismay and the opportunity to curse creatively, the Expected Defeat is attended by a palpable air of bleak pathos and offers the chance to curse sullenly, and the Hard-Fought Victory In a Toss-Up is damn near the foundation of sportswriting.  But the dispatch of an overmatched opponent is inherently lacking in the elements of drama, and when guys pretty much do what they’re supposed to do against guys who aren’t supposed to do much it’s hard to escape a kind of ho-hum feel.

But dear Lord – after the first six weeks of this Cowboys season, ho-hum felt really, really good.

And for an Expected Victory, this one wasn’t without its interesting elements.  First and foremost was the rising star of rookie runner DeMarco Murray, who outright eviscerated the Rams’ sordid run defense to the tune of 253 yards and the Cowboys’ single-game rushing record.  I’m more inclined to believe that Murray’s star is of the shooting variety than one destined to shine brightly in the firmament – that Rams run D is shockingly bad – but it was a damn sight more fun to watch it ascend than to watch Felix Jones getting his ass handed to him three yards deep in the backfield.  Murray’s day was highlighted by a weaving 91-yard score (in honor of Dandy Don, let’s call it ‘Ninety one yards and a hayulf!’) that featured good design, solid blocking and plus acceleration – all of which were pretty much making their respective season debuts for the Cowboys’ run game – as well as a couple of half-drunk baseball turns from the Rams’ prized free agent safety Quintin Mikell, who couldn’t be stealing Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s money more brazenly if he was wearing Ben Affleck’s nun mask from The Town.  I don’t really like playing the ‘if you take away his best run’ game when evaluating a guy’s day since, hey – he made the damn run, didn’t he?  But even if you do subtract that 91-yarder, Murray still managed an impressive 162 yards on his other 24 carries and showed good burst, solid vision, some wiggle and a willingness to take on tacklers and finish runs.  These are all good things, but they are the stock in trade of solid NFL running backs.  It’s pretty doubtful that we saw the un-earthing of an Adrian Peterson-type transcendent talent, but rather a guy who can make good things happen when he gets good blocking. (more…)

The Week That Will Be (10.29.2011)

Posted by    |    October 27th, 2011 at 12:12 am

Last Week: 2-4 ATS 3-3 SU
For the Year: 25-23 (.521) ATS 32-16 (.667) SU

We learned last week that we learned that instant replay does work in major sports (Wisconsin/Michigan State)…I’m talking to you, MLB.

…we learned that Stanford can run all over Washington like a LMFAO song, to the tune of 446 yards.

…we learned that Notre Dame = me and USC = my wife and our closet = Notre Dame Stadium.

…we learned that the Aggies were about as interested in playing Iowa State as Tony La Russa was in seeing Lance Lynn pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.

…we learned that Oklahoma State defenders might as well be waving the wheat at opposing running backs, but it doesn’t matter when you run 2 for 1 specials on the opposing defense.

And finally, we learned that 39 game home winning streaks are made to be broken.

Anyhow…

If it wasn’t for Texas…

The last Big 12 win for Texas at home?

You remember it. You probably remember it very well.

You might remember the bomb to James Kirkendoll in front of Section 1 for a touchdown. Perhaps you remember Jordan Shipley tip toeing down the sideline on the north end of the stadium. Then there was the beauty over the middle to Malcolm Williams for a 61 yard score. And finally, there was another score for Kirkendoll in the fourth quarter. (more…)

West Virginia Reportedly Invited to Big 12: Open Thread

Posted by    |    October 26th, 2011 at 5:30 am

Several news sources, including the New York Times and Charleston Daily Mail, are reporting that West Virginia will leave the Big East for the Big 12 as a replacement for Missouri (who is expected to head to the SEC sooner rather than later).  It appears that the Big 12 will stay at 10 for now.  I personally think the Big East can still rebuild into an AQ conference as long as the remaining 5 football members stay and without having to resort to a 32-team Rebel Alliance League.  West Virginia leaving alone also doesn’t seem to be enough to spur Notre Dame to look for a different conference home, either.  (I think Louisville leaving would’ve been worse from the Domer perspective.)  I’ll have more thoughts later, but you can use this post as a new open thread to discuss the latest news.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

Optimal Conference Size

Posted by    |    October 24th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Throughout this conference realignment soap opera, one of the silent driving motivations has been the assumed inexorable march toward superconferences. The most widely agreed assumption has been that the long-term end game for college football is a reduced number of conferences with 16 teams each. What I want to discuss is not if that assumption is correct (others will have better input on media partners, television footprints, etc.) but rather should it be?

Frequently repeated mentions of stability, schedule appeal, schedule strength, and conference strength caused me to question the assumption that those aspects are strengthened in a superconference setup. Now don’t get me wrong, I never took public mentions of those motivations as anything more than the PR moves that they were and are, because the only consistent thing in the conference realignment game is that all the players are out for themselves and the dollars.

So I sat down to consider only the above factors but, as usual, my thoughts led me all over the place. (more…)