Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ag Football Preview: Northwestern Football History

When it was announced that we were selected by the Mineke Car Care Bowl I was glad only because it is in Houston and it would be the easiest bowl game to ever navigate since I live in Houston.

After playing some big premier opponents in our last few bowl games (LSU, Georgia, Penn State, Cal, Tennessee) I was disappointed to find out that our opponent was Northwestern. I was really hoping that we would land a down Ohio State who finished tied with Northwestern in the Big 10 this season - but their traveling passionate fanbase got them snatched up by the Gator Bowl who matched them up against Florida (pitting newly hired tOSU HC, Urban Meyer's new and old teams against each other).

While the Wildcats are not the sexiest opponent, they are our opponent and I like to take the time to to learn about the history of our bowl opponents as the actual team prepares for them.

Quick hitters:
  • Only private school in the B1G
  • <8,000 students
  • Traditions include a wildcat "growl" over the PA System and hitting a 2x4 with "Trust" written on it
  • They wear purple
  • Ross from Friends and Elaine from Seinfeld both went to school there
  • Pretty much a horrible football history
The Wildcats were horrific until 1995 when they went 10-1 in the regular season under HC Gary Barnett, winning the Big 10 title and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl. It was their first winning season since 1971.

They followed up that season in '96 with a 9-3 campaign but fell off once Barnett left for Colorado.

Current Head coach Pat Fitzgerald was a consensus All-American linebacker for the Wildcats in both 1995 & 1996 - he also brought home both the Bednarik Award & Nagurski Trophy in both seasons. He took over as head coach in '06 and has brought the longest stretch of success the program has seen with bowl games in each of the last 4 seasons....remember they had only 6 bowl appearances from 1876-2006.

That's really it. I did some digging and that was all I could come up with. The moral of the story....go better than 6-6 and make a real bowl game against a legit football school.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Who is Next?

Well, a result of making some money at work was that I didn't get a chance to dive into the potential head coaches. Last Saturday the Ags officially named Kevin Sumlin the new head coach.

Sumlin was the first name that surfaced when Sherman was fired but a lot went on over the 9 day stretch but he was certainly not the only one. In my last post I mentioned three other initial candidates, Charlie Strong, Larry Fedora, & Kirby Smart.

Louisville put up a huge roadblock in terms of allowing Strong to interview and it came out that he had a $1m+ buyout in his contract. Fedora's name was hot and he was offered and accepted the North Carolina job mid-week. Smart - I'm not sure what happened there but from everything I was reading he seemed to be the least likely to get tabbed.

One of the reasons that this process drug out as long as it did was because Bill Byrne went after a couple of big fish. Early on, Mark Richt of Georgia was rumored to be interested but I don't know if any sort of official discussions took place. Byrne also interviewed Gary Patterson of TCU but I don't think we wanted to push for him as hard as we would have needed to to get him - he has a pretty cush setup right now at TCU.

Chris Peterson of Boise State was Byrne's wild card. Peterson has been rumored for every big job that has become available in the last 4 years but has never budged. There was apparently some interest with our job but we couldn't get the crazy money together that would have been needed to make it work.

Regardless of who was interviewed, Coach Sumlin is our new man.

This is his second go-round in College Station after serving under R.C. as the WR/TE coach in '01 and then mid-season '02 he was promoted to offensive coordinator and rose along with Reggie.

When R.C. was fired Sumlin moved on to Norman where he stayed from '03-'07, acting as the co-offensive coordinator in his final two seasons there. He was supposedly Coach Sherman's top candidate for OC when Sherman took the job in '08 but was offered the HC gig at Houston and couldn't pass that up for a coordinator position.
2008: 8-5
2009: 10-4
2010: 5-7
2011: 12-1*
At UH, Sumlin built on what Art Briles had started prior to taking off for Baylor. In his second season you might recall in 2009 his Cougs knocking off #5 ranked oSu in Stillwater and the following week knocking off Leach's texas tech squad in Houston putting them in the AP rankings for the first time since the old SWC days in the early-90s.

In 2010, after starting out 2-0, Sumlin lost his both his starting QB, Case Keenum and backup Cotton Turner in their third game of the season and played out the rest of the season with their third string QB. That's a might tough blow to take, having to play with your third string QB for the final 9 games.

In 2011 with Keenum back at the helm the Cougars ran the table going 12-0 with a BCS bid guaranteed before completely crumbling in the C-USA Championship game to Southern home. Had the Cougars won that game I think there would be very little grumbling from A&M fans but everyone and their brother watched this game knowing that there was a strong chance he would be taking over our program and we all saw a mirror of what happened to us all season and it took the gloss off the Sumlin bandwagon.

Of course it is ridiculous for one game to make or break your opinion but what it did was put a chink in the armor and made fans take a step back and reassess all the potential candidates.

There are detractors who have questioned a few things, all of which I feel are legitimate:
  • He didn't win a CUSA championship in his 4 years at UH
  • Can he recruit? He won a lot with Keenum - but Keenum was a holdover from Briles. Seeing it being done at Purdue, A&M, and OU is one thing but overseeing it is another
  • How does he address the glaring need for a stout defense in the SEC?
I'm not worried about him from an offensive standpoint at all. He put up huge numbers at UH running a fast paced spread offense and he put up huge numbers at OU running a more traditional pro-style offense. My biggest deal was that I wanted a defensive minded head coach - that's the biggest knock against him I have.

UH's National Rankings:
PRE-Sumlin WITH Sumlin
'06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11
------- ---------------
Tot O 7 4 2 1 11 1
Sco O 10 23 10 T1 13 1

'06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11
------- ---------------
Tot D 72 46 100 111 103 64
Sco D 64 74 91 95 96 41

His defensive coordinator hire is going to have to be a big success for me to get completely on board. The other problem there is that he is not only going to have to hire a defensive coordinator who can succeed but he's going to have to keep him or be able to replace him with someone equal or better - because good DCs leave and become HCs elsewhere.

Along that front, current DC, Tim DeRuyter, just took the HC job at Fresno State and it looks like the rest of our defensive staff will be departing as well (Toth & Dat are both rumored to be joining DeRuyter in Cali). The one mainstay we have to keep will be DL coach Terrell Williams, who is knocking it out of the park on the recruiting trail.

Overall, I'm luke warm on this whole ordeal. I don't like that we're going into a new conference with a new head coach and a new QB and I'm not thrilled that we hired an offensive guy and I really thought that if we were going to fire Sherman right now it was because we were going to go out and make a big splash with a big name, proven guy.

I've heard Sumlin on the radio quite a bit here in Houston and I do really like him - but I'm still not sure if this is a step up or just a step onto a new staircase. I guess we'll have to see how all his coordinator hires goes before I can decide if this is a better situation than what we had.

As they say, only time will tell.

Welcome to Aggieland Coach Sumlin!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The End of an Era....Again.

What a incredibly crazy 10 days. I'm emotionally wiped out - from the craziest 45 days of work I've ever gone through & then the craziness that is the life of an Aggie football fan.

We'll start with the texas game on Thanksgiving.....

I make it a point to keep myself fairly grounded leading up to games. That might be a little bit of a stretch considering I'm probably clinically diagnosable as a fanatic - but as a result of the years and years of disappointment I have managed to temper my emotions prior to a game in order to lessen the blow afterwards.

This game, however, I let it all out. I don't think I had ever wanted to win a game as badly as this one - I was so amped up I was dreaming about Aggie football the two nights leading up to the game.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal at our home that Jennifer labored over and following that we made the drive up to College Station for the game. My father had found a ticket on Stubhub that was actually the same row/section as our season tickets - and he bought it way, way back before the prices jumped over $200/seat.

We got into the stadium and made our way up, up, up, up to our seats and settled in for the ballgame.

The Ags came out swinging and we took a 13-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter before we started our frustratingly familiar unraveling. Five of our six losses included blown double digit leads.

(I've got to figure out where to get that jacket)

Ben Molena had a nice ballgame, particularly in the first half....he had this because Cyrus Gray did not play. Turns out he fractured his collarbone and didn't suit up. What I really don't get is the fact that Will Randolph's redshirt was burnt last week against KU when Cyrus came out but he didn't get a single snap against texas? Why on earth would you burn a RS in a second half blowout against the worst team in the conference?

In the second half, the horn's defense stepped up and we didn't adjust. DC Manny Diaz out chess-matched Sherman - big time.

Their DL and LBers are stout and really killed our running game. They also forced us into giving up insane field position....Tannehill threw a Pick-6 (he also had at least 4 other balls tipped at the LOS), Dustin Harris muffed a punt and then didn't dive after the ball and texas recovered and scored one play later on (on a stupid double pass trick play), 81 yard punt return.....same story different day.

We were down 24-16 in the 4th quarter before a Randy Bullock FG brought us within 8 (btw, Bullock had an incredible night hitting 4-of-4 FGs including a 49 yarder and a 51 yarder). The defense forced a 3-and-out and we took over at our own 32 yard line with 4:20 remaining on the clock.

Tannehill hit Fuller down the sideline for a big 29 yard gain and two plays later Molena picked up 9 yards on a hard run. Tannehill couldn't connect on his next two attempts and then on a 3rd-and-10 he scrambled and just barely picked up 10 yards for the new set of downs. At this point we're at texas's 11 yard line. The next snap Tannehill hit Fuller on a little underneath route and Fuller made an incredible play to get to the goal line and spun as he was hit just enough to get the tip of the ball to cross the goal line.

At this point I was high fiving and hugging everyone I could. I can't remember a single moment in any game that I celebrated as jubilantly as I did for this one.

Throughout the game we used Jeff Fuller like Jeff Fuller is supposed to be used. All season he has just been running these little 10-15 yard comeback routes but we finally let him get downfield - he had his best game of the season with 107 yards on 7 receptions and what was, for 1:48, the biggest TD of the season.

We had a 25-24 lead so we went for the 2-point conversion but the play never had a chance - we tried to roll Tannehill to the short side of the field and then force a pass between the sideline and 5 players.

The horns returned the KO to their own 30 and then backed up 5 yards on an illegal formation penalty. The next "play" changed the outcome of the game.

McCoy threw errantly down the right sideline and Trent Hunter closed in on the WR and pulled up at hte last second to avoid blowing him up without having the ball - but he did still graze him.

The guy second from the left was the official who threw the flag. Personal Foul - Unnecessary Roughness. The graze was so slight that the WR didn't even stumble, let alone fall down.
"He laid off - that's not a good call" - Jesse Palmer - ESPN Analyst

"The officials are not supposed to be a significant part of a football game" - Craig James - ESPN Analyst
That took texas from a 2nd & 15 on their 24 yard line to a 1st & 10 on their 39 yard line. It was at that point I realized that they were going to win the game and I was almost sick right there at the top of the stadium.

McCoy completed three consecutive short passes and then somehow scrambed for 25 yards putting the horns at our 23 yard line. It was like dying a slow death.

Our defense played an incredible ball game - the only three miscues were the Shipley TD pass, a meaningless prayer floater that McCoy threw blindly into the air that Shipley caught and ran on, and the McCoy run on the last drive. That was literally it.

I couldn't even watch the FG unit take the field. The final score was 27-25.

I've suffered through some horrific losses over the last 10 years but never did a loss cut so deeply as this one. I was sick about it until Sunday. Not just aw-shucks but knot-in-my-stomache sick.

texas outscored us 17-0 in the third quarter. That is the most pathetic thing about this entire season. We have been horrific in the 3rd quarter. In our 6 losses we were outscored 76-7 in the third quarter. SEVENTY-SIX to SEVEN.

Outside of the OU game, Missouri beat us by the largest margin....of 7 points. That is why this season was so miserable. We were in control in every game and we literally gave them away.

Sherman's Fair-well Press Conference

A full week later, December 1st to be exact, I got a text message from my Father-in-law that read: "Sherman was fired"

Holy cow.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I'm glad that the Athletic Department has decided it is not going to settle for losing 4 of our last 5 games and finishing with a 6-6 record after a pre-season Top 10 ranking but there are lots of other things that you have to ask about.

I don't have a problem with Sherman being ousted but I'm really surprised that they did it when they did - going into a new conference. We're going to have a new conference, a new head coach, and a new QB....and, oh by the way, three of our new division rivals are sitting at #1, #2, & #6 in the BCS rankings with LSU playing Alabama for the national championship.

I really like Coach Sherman - he is everything you would hope for in a coach in terms of honestly, intergrity, character, etc. He "got" A&M which is something his predecessor certainly did not. Even after he was told of the decision he still called up one of our top recruits (QB Matt Davis of Cy-Falls) and told him to stick with A&M. He is the definition of class.

I also felt like he was building a program. We were in complete shambles when he took over and I felt like he built a very solid foundation. He wasn't hated like Fran was - when he comes back to campus he will be greeted warmly.

The problem lies in the fact that he was very stubborn to make changes. He took over the play calling duties after Coach Cromwell left for the NFL following the '09 season and I don't think he could handle running the offense AND running the team. He also struggled, this season in particular, to make any adjustments - or at least to out coach our opponents after they made adjustments.

The other downfall was, what I believe, is an inability to motivate college aged kids. I don't think he grasped how fragile the confidence of these players is compared to NFL players. Momentum swings are ENORMOUS in the college game - big plays win or lose games. Kids can't come back from some devestating special teams play. Maybe he did grasp it - but it was something that was never corrected. When the yarn started to unravel the sweater came apart.

It has been reported that Sherman was fired over the phone. That is an embarrassment. You don't fire someone over the phone - you call them in like a man and do it in person.

I am worried about this recruiting class sticking together - this is one of the best classes we've had over the last 10 years. I'd like to see whoever takes over get here quickly as to try and save as many commits as possible.

That leads right into the next question....who is next?

Going into this past weekend it was generally assumed by almost everyone that spoke about it that Kevin Sumlin was going to take U. Houston to a BCS bowl and then jump up to College Station.

It is amazing what one football game does to perception. Sumlin's 6th ranked Coogs got slaughtered in the C-USA Championship (at home) by Southern Miss. They went from the Sugar Bowl to the second-tier C-USA bowl.

The victor in that game might have gained the most....Larry Fedora is the HC at Southern Miss and his name has become fire-hot on message boards. He's a College Station native who has risen from the Texas HS coaching ranks to creating a Top 20 program at So. Miss.

The other two most buzzed names are Charlie Strong and Kirby Smart. Strong is the head coach at Louisville, a position he took following two national championships as Urban Meyer's DC at Florida. Smart is the current DC at Alabama under Nick Saban.

As of right now, I'm leaning towards being in the Strong camp but over the next couple of days I'm going to try to dive into a little more depth and find out more about all the candidates.

Finally, it was announced today that we will be playing here in Houston for our bowl game in the Mineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (formerly the Texas Bowl) against Big 10 opponent, Northwestern. I was hoping for a bowl here in the state of Texas so I could go but Northwestern is about the most unexciting opponent we could have pulled. Bleh.

The game is at 11am on New Year's Eve at Reliant Stadium.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ag Football Recap: Ags 61 v. KU 7

After a painstakingly long week at work I needed a release and this was exactly the kind of game I needed.

As Sean and I were driving up we got a text message from my Father-in-law who had extra tickets for us so we met up with them again. I have sat in my actual season ticket seat a total of one time thus far this season....which is fine. We actually walked up to a scalper who was about to rip off some old lady and gave her our tickets.....much to the scalper's dismay.

We took control of the game early and didn't let off the pedal until the 4th quarter when we had pulled all of our starters.

Of course we have to point out that Kansas is really bad. But we're so inconsistent that there is no telling what we're going to get each week.

Ryan Swope had a huge game with 9 receptions for 137 yards and two TDs.....including a highlight reel catch where he got HAMMERED while airborn and he landed and just kept trucking.

Cyrus Gray has cemented his place as my favorite Aggie tailback. I love this kid. He tacked on 94 yards on 10 carries including 3 TDs.....all in the first half. He came out for the second half in street clothes after we saw the trainer rubbing his left shoulder under his pads just before the intermission. The internet rumors started hot and heavy....he broke his clavical, he separated his shoulder, he strained his one knows. I do know that he looked fine during the second half - he wasn't in a sling or had his arm restricted at all.

The thing that fueled the rumors was that Coach Sherman burned true freshman Will Randolph's redshirt in the 4th quarter of our 11th game. I don't know any more than anyone else but I'd be SHOCKED if Cyrus didn't play on Thursday night.

Cyrus has now hit the 1,000 yard mark for the second consecutive season (only the third Aggie RB to do so). He is closing in on top 5 finishes in a good number of Aggie career rushing slots in the record books.....and he's done most of this splitting time with C-Mike.

On the defensive side of the ball the two guys who I think have really stepped up their game over the last 2-3 weeks are LBers Damontre Moore and Jonathan Stewart - vast improvement of late. Moore had two sacks and two forced fumbles. True freshman, Brandon Alexander, also saw the most snaps he has seen all season - by a lot - and led the team in tackles with 10.

A couple other things worth noting are....

  • Dustin Harris was a monster at PR taking one to the house and picking up big yards on another
  • On a third and ten, Trent Hunter BLEW UP the Jayhawk's QB on a late blitz right up the middle forcing a fumble. It was nasty.
  • Jeff Fuller did not start....for the first time in his career....and he wasn't hurt
  • This win gave us the magic 6 needed to be bowl eligible....we'll probably end up in one of either the Holiday Bowl (12/28 v. Pac-12 in San Diego), Texas Bowl (12/31 v. Big 10 at Reliant), or the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (12/30 v. Big East in Yankee Stadium). I'm hoping for the Texas Bowl so I can go.
In other news.....after a weekend of wacky upsets (#2 oSu lost, #4 Oregon lost, #6 OU lost) the newest BCS rankings have #1 LSU, #2 Bama, #3 Arky.....they're not only in the same conference but they're all in the same DIVISION. The one we're joining next year. Yowza.

We've got a short week ahead with the biggest Lone Star Showdown ever ahead of us on Thursday night. Never has there been a game that I want to win as badly as I want to win this one. Up until about 5 months ago tech was the one team that I loathed more than any other but after all the SEC stuff that went down texas has become enemy #1.

Each school is trying to pin the breakup of the rivalry on each other in a PR battle but I think we came out ahead in that one. A few weeks back Bill Byrne made a statement that we wanted to continue to play the horns in all sports but texas replied back, "Sorry, our non-conference schedule was full for the foreseeable future." Then last week they announced a new game with UCLA in 2014 at Jerry's World. Liars.

All I can say is...BEAT THE HELL OUTTA t.u.!
SEC West

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What the Hell Happened?

Life got crazy so posts got neglected.....but whoa, we're in a totally different world now than we were when I last posted.

10/22 Ags 33 at ISU 17
Ags won but it was much closer than it should have been against one of the worst teams in the conference. C-Mike ran for 142 yards and Cyrus added 125 yards on the ground while Jeff Fuller had his best game of the season with 75 yards and a TD on 7 catches.

10/29 Ags 31 v. MU 38 (OT)
We were lucky to get this one to overtime as Mizzou missed a FG as time expired in regulation. Of course, we blew another double-digit 4th quarter lead to get to that point. Sherman lost me in this one - completely inexcusable.

11/5 Ags 25 at OU 41
We played really poorly in the first half but somehow went into the intermission tied up at 13 with the #9 ranked Sooners. Then OU blew the doors off scoring 28 unanswered points in the third quarter. It was ugly. The highlight was Ryan Swope's 148 yards and TD on 13 receptions - he is on pace to break all three big single season receiving records (receptions, yards, & TDs). Oh yeah, C-Mike tore his ACL and is out for the year.

11/12 Ags 50 at K-State 53 (3OT)
As much as I felt like we should have won the Mizzou game....and even after everything I've seen this season....I really thought we'd beat #14 KSU. Apparently, I forgot that we blow double-digit fourth quarter leads....don't worry - the team didn't. Four of our five losses we've coughed up DOUBLE DIGIT FOURTH QUARTER LEADS!?! It was the drops by our TEs and WRs that did us in this time. Whether it was an early walk-in TD, key first downs down the stretch, or a triple overtime 2-point conversion.....we dropped'em. Don't fear, we're heading into flu season and our WRs don't need to get their shots because they can't catch anything. Thank goodness for Cyrus - I love this kid - he ran for 218 yards and 2 TDs.

What a complete mess this season has turned into. All of the momentum we had coming off of last season, and the recruiting campaign, and pre-season accolades, and then the SEC's all gone. We flushed it down the toilet.

We have Kansas, the worst team in the conference, at home this weekend before turning around for the biggest Lonestar Showdown of all time....the last one.

Frankly, at this point, I don't care what happens against KU - Sherman needs to start getting the team ready for texas - just game plan for them from today until Thanksgiving. We HAVE to beat texas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ag Football Recap: Ags 55 v. Baylor 28

Eternal Scoreboard.

Honestly, this is one of the games I circled on the schedule and said, "We have to win this game - I don't think I could take listening to Baylor fans overplay this game for all of eternity if we lost."

There was never a Baylor game that I burned to win more than this one. Normally it was just another game on the schedule that I anticipated a victory in but this year was different. Whether it be the entire SEC roadblock, all the RG3 hype, or the fact that they were, not only ranked, but somehow ranked ahead of us - I wanted our boys to crush them.


The Battle of the Brazos ends with A&M dominating the series with 22 wins in the final 25 meetings and the Bear's winless streak at Kyle Field will stay frozen at 13, dating back to 1984.

It was a great game - it was close enough, long enough for the fans to be into the game and have some suspense but we finished so strongly that we ended up completely blowing them out. The perfect combination.

Let me start by saying that Robert Griffin III is a great player. It's a shame that he is being wasted away in Waco. He threw for a school record 430 yards and had 3 TDs.

Our defense did get after him though, picking up 5 sacks. We should have had 4 or 5 more but he is so incredibly elusive he slipped out of them - usually resulting in a nice scramble or even a long completion - very impressive. We did also pick him once. It was our first forced turnover since the first quarter of the SMU game and it was only the second INT he has thrown all season.

I'm not sure what on earth he was thinking, but that INT was probably one of the worst I've ever seen. It was 1st & 20 on their own 20 with 9:46 remaining in the game and we were up by 20 at that point. He was flushed out of the pocket and just hurled the ball deep downfield - he was standing flat footed and wasn't even looking - it was a jump ball that Dustin Harris won.

One place that has completely killed us all season is getting off the field on third down....especially in 3rd & long (they converted on a 3rd & 19 and 3rd & 11).

On offense everything finally clicked on all cylinders. Holy cow we have the ability to just roll a team up when that happens. We finished with 681 yards of offense and only failed to score on our opening drive (when Tanny was picked on a tipped shuttle pass). My favorite part was that in the second half the offense actually stuck around - we scored 31 points in the last 30 minutes.

Ryan Tannehill found Ryan Swope over, and over, and over, and over. Swope finished the day with 205 yards (5th most in school history) and a school record 4 TD receptions on 11 receptions. Jeff Fuller had a couple of drops but he made up for them with 71 yards on 5 receptions - when he had the ball in hand he fought like a dog for yardage. EZ also had 94 yards and a TD on 4 receptions.

Fuller also passed Terrence Murphy for the top spot in the school's all-time receiving yard list. He now sits atop all three of the school's big receiving categories for a career -receptions, TDs, and yards.

Tannehill finished the day 25-of-37 with 6 TD passes and 1 INT and 415 yards passing. He added 55 yards on the ground.

CMike and Cyrus Gray are so incredible to watch. Cyrus had 42 yards on 12 carries while CMike had 105 and a TD on 21 carries.

Other notes:
  • Steven Jenkins make his first career start at ILB
This was my first game to sit in my actual season ticket seat and I'm still crispy red from sitting so close to the sun. The lady next to us was probably in her 50s and she was there by herself and was as loud as Sean and I. At one point in the 3rd quarter she turned to me and gave me instructions on what to do if she had a heart attack. And I think she was serious. That is redass.

This coming Saturday we travel to Ames to face ISU and the following weekend we get another 11am kickoff at Kyle Field with Mizzou.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ag Football Recap: Ags 45 v. tech 40

The tension was high my my living room as I watched this one play out - it was Jennifer's birthday on Saturday so we went out for dinner and after she went to bed I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to watch the game - and it was so hard to keep quiet and not wake everyone up.

It wasn't our best game, and we certainly looked bad at several points, but I will take a win in lubbock any day - any way necessary.

It wasn't Tannehill's best game, but I thought he did a good job leading the team and being athletic enough to turn a handful of negative plays into positive ones. He threw for 188 yards and 1 TD but ran for 55 yards and added two TDs on the ground.

Cyrus ran for 115 yards and a TD while CMike added 52 strong yards and another TD.

There were two times that Cyrus was whistled down but his knee never hit the turf (he was sitting on a defensive player) - we noticed this also once in the Arkansas game. The coaching staff or someone needs to point this out to the officials because at least two of the three times he got up and took off and they would have been easy TDs.

Everyone has been ranting and raving about the defense over the last three weeks but what might be a bigger concern is the offense consistently disappearing in the second half.
1st Half: 301 yds/20 pts
2nd Half: 170/7

1H: 424/35
2H: 234/3

1H: 326/31
2H: 82/14
Seven of those second half points against tech came on a blocked kick (by Dustin Harris) that was returned by Terrence Fredrick for a TD so the offense doesn't even get credit for it.

This has way more to do with those late game comebacks that we've seen than the defense does.

On the defensive side of the ball three players jumped out at me as guys who stepped up.
  • Sean Porter continues to be our best (and most consistent) defensive player
  • Terrence Fredrick not only returned that blocked FG for a TD but he had a couple of big pass deflections - I thought it was his best game of the season - he also did a great job (along with Porter) at breaking through his blocks on the bubble screens and making the tackle on the receiver
  • True freshman, Howard Matthews, who made his first start of the season - he was all over the field and played the run very well and brought pressure constantly (4 QB hits including a sack)
We had a couple of injuries - Jeff Fuller came out of the game with a concussion and Brandon Alexander dislocated his elbow. Ryan Swope was on the field a lot but was MIA - I think they are really trying to keep him out there as a decoy and not give him the ball as he recovers from his concussion.

Is there a team in the conference that gets away with more holds than tech? It seems like they, more than anyone else, get away with big obvious holds every single time we play them.

While I'm talking about penalties, I'm going to mention the officiating. You aren't allowed to complain about it if you lose so I'm going to do it when we win. They were bad.

I already mentioned the whistles on Cyrus and the holds but there was some sort of phantom pass interference call on T-Fred just before tech's last TD of the first half - probably the worst PI call I've seen in a few years. There was also a really badly missed block in the back on a return where Tony Hurd Jr. was shoved right out of the path of the return guy - right in front of the official.

I know there are missed calls in every game but some of these were egregious.

One thing is for sure - I couldn't be happier to never have to play tech again. I dispise tech more than any other school in the Big 12, including texas, and I pray that the Big 12 still falls apart simply so tech gets dropped to the MWC or something similar/more deserving.

Next Saturday we host the Robert Griffin IIIs in what will be the biggest Battle of the Brazos ever. Not only is there bad blood about the whole SEC move/attempted block but they a) are ranked for the first time we've played them since I've been around; and b) have somehow leapfrogged us in the AP poll after their mighty home win against fellow bottom feeder Iowa State.

Typically, this is a game that is just another blip on my radar because it means that I get to see my Ags play....but this year, I actually care about it. The Bears haven't won a ballgame at Kyle Field since the early-80s and since this is the last time we'll face the Bears there is no one in this state wants that record to hold tight for the rest of eternity than me. I truly hope that we beat them 2003-style.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ag Football Recap: Ags 38 v. Arky 42

We walked out of the stadium on Saturday and there was no speaking. We were completely stunned.

How on earth can a team, in back-to-back weeks, blow a 17 point halftime lead and then an 18 point halftime lead.

We had the football world right where we wanted....where we had dreamed for it to be. It was a Top 20 matchup - another big game - and we were in the process of rolling up our opponent (a future SEC rival) and we blew it - AGAIN.


We can't quite take advantage of momentum.

The weekend itself was fun. Jennifer and I drove up Friday night with the kids after I got off work. Saturday morning Jennifer dropped me off at her Dad's house and they went to the State Fair and we went to the game, where we met up with my brother, my dad, and my brother-in-law. After the game we met back up with the Fair group for dinner and had an evening at GrandAggie's place.

Our running game was outstanding. It was probably the best rushing performance I've ever seen from us....the '06 Nebraska game where J-Train and McGee each ran for 130+ is the only other game I can think of that would be in the conversation.

Christine Michael led the way with 230 yards and 3 TDs. He was like a man amongst boys. It was the most rushing yardage by a single player since Darren Lewis put up 232 back in 1990 against tech....tied for 3rd most in school history. And he did it on only 32 carries (7.2 ypc).

He's probably my favorite running back to watch since I got to school. He runs with such passion and strength. J-Train was lots of fun to watch in short yardage situations but C-Mike has him beat when it comes to doing it from anywhere on the field.

Not only did C-Mike run all over the Hogs but Cyrus added 95 yards and 2 TDs and Tannehill tacked on 56 more.

Everytime C-Mike or Cyrus scored I turned to Sean and said, "C-Mike/Cyrus did it for your birthday." Because it was Sean's birthday. I feel like I said it a lot during that first half.

We went into half-time with a 35-17 lead and I told Sean, "The winner of this game is going to have more than 35 points. We're either going to put up 70 or finish with 35."

The frustrating thing was that I was pretty close to being right. We scored 3 points in the second half, including a highly scrutinized FG late in the game. The game was tied with 4:22 remaining after Arky had marched back with 18 unanswered points and we had the ball in a 4th & 2 on their 6 yard line. I turned to my father-in-law and said something along the lines of, "Wow, he thinks we're going to stop them." (referring to Sherman). I then turned to my brother and moaned, "We're not even going to have enough time to get back down field and score after they score."

Arkansas marched down the field and scored a TD and we got the ball back with a little under 2 minutes remaining - which actually was enough time, we just couldn't move the ball.

I understand that Sherman plays a conservative style and that his background in the NFL is much more of a play it by-the-book approach but in college football you're dealing with 18-22 year old kids who can unravel when things go wrong. The ones that don't and are able to rise to the occasion are the ones that go onto the next level where you can have a more by-the-book approach.

How did Arkansas manage to mount this sort of comeback? They threw the pigskin off the ball. 510 yards passing.

Now the two things that I find interesting is that they actually threw for more yards in the first half when we were romping them than they did in the second half when they mounted their comeback (271 in 1st H and 239 in 2nd H). Their leading receiver, Jarius Wright, had a school record 281 yards and 2 TDs....but he only had 54 of those yards in the second half.

The difference was that the offense stalled out in the second half. It wasn't that Arkasnas wasn't scoring in the first half, they were, it was that we were just tacking on points faster.

Here's a look at the blow-by-blow scoring....
We did have two turnovers. Tannehill threw an INT in the first half that led to Arkansas's first TD drive of the game and C-Mike fumbled a ball. We are not getting turnovers - we are -5 on the season and haven't forced one since the first quarter of the SMU game (excluding the oSu Blackmon self-inflicted fumble into the endzone for a touchback). Even with that gimmie fumble we are 112th in the nation in turnover margin. That has to change.

Lots of people pointed to the C-Mike fumble as the turning point in the game but I'm not completely sure it was because our defense came out and forced the only 3-and-out of the second half and got the ball back. I think that the turning point came on our drive following the 3-and-out:
1-10 C-Mike ran for 5
2-5 C-Mike ran for 10
1-10 Cyrus ran for 7
2-3 Cyrus ran for 11
1-10 Cyrus ran for 10 (called back on a illegal block)
1-15 Pass to Fuller for 9
2-6 C-Mike ran for 2
3-4 Pass to Cyrus for 3
4-1 Punt
That illegal block killed what was looking to be a MONSTER drive. A backbreaking drive.

Jeff Fuller is playing on a bad hamstring and as a result our passing game has looked pretty weak - particularly down field. Ryan Swope had the play of the game (and long pass of the game) when he leapt over a diving defender and picked up major YAC but beyond that I don't think we had a single pass go for more than 15 yards.

Somehow, amidst the roller coaster of emotion, Sean and I noticed that Arkansas's players all seemed to have some sort of abdominal bleeding.

What a horrible uniform design.

What is happening? I'm not sure. I don't think we're getting enough pressure without having to blitz an outside linebacker or a defensive back. Dustin Harris and Terrence Fredricks each had a sack and Sean Porter had two. On the season we have 18 sacks but 10 of those are from CBs and Porter.

I don't think it is our defensive backs that are the problem - we returned everyone from last season. It has to be our DL and our LB corps (particularly the inside LBers).

Even with our 112th ranked turnover margin and our 120th ranked pass defense - we lost to the current #6 and #10 teams by a combined total of 5 points. It's amazing to me how slim the margin is. If we fall on that Arkansas fumble in the endzone 1/10th of a second faster than we did they don't score that TD and we probably win the ballgame and we're riding high as the 10th or 11th ranked team in the country. We didn't - and it's the end of the world and we're just hanging onto a #25 ranking.

It's a funny game. A game of inches. And emotion.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aggies SECede!

The Ags are going to join the Southeastern Conference starting in the 2012 football season.

Wow. I can't believe this is actually going down.

I actually wrote the meat and potatoes of this post way back in June 2010 but had to save it, tweak it for relevancy, and keep it stored away.

Let me back up a little bit and update how we got here. Last weekend OU said something along the lines of, "Hey, we'd like to stay in the Big 12...but here is what we need to see: 1) Get rid of Dan Beebe; 2) Equal revenue sharing. Otherwise, we're pretty cool with going out west to join the Pac-12."

The problem was that on Monday, the Pac-12 said, "Hey gang, we're going to stay put at 12 teams for the time being. Thanks for the interest though." OU said, "Oh crap, we shouldn't have played that card without already having this thing in the bag."

Mid-week Dan Beebe resigned and Chuck Neinas was named his interim replacement. The conference had a meeting on Thursday or Friday and everyone hugged and made up, signing a 6-year commitment to the conference. Baylor and ISU cried tears of joy.

So did Ags everywhere because this saved the Big 12 which meant that there shouldn't be any problem on the legal end because BU got what they wanted. There were rumors that it would be announced on Friday night at Yell Practice....and then at half-time during the game....but no. It came in a press release on Sunday from the SEC (click the link to read the whole thing).

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that Texas A&M University will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.

The addition of Texas A&M will increase the SEC membership to 13 institutions. It is the first expansion for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league. The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991. With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.


The official press conference will be Monday at 6pm.

Holy cow, thank goodness that is all over.

Culturally, this is a much better fit for us than the Big 12 was. We've always been the fanbase that gets the weird look out of the corner of our opponent's eyes because of our passion and a move to the SEC would certainly put us with more teams that are as passionate and over the top (if not more so).

Under the current alignment the conference falls into two divisions: East & West. The East includes Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. The West includes Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State.

We're going to join the West and o
ne would have to think that they're going to get someone else to join to even the numbers out at 14 teams....rumors point to Missouri, North Carolina, and West Virginia. If it is Mizzou, Auburn has volunteered to move to the East so long as they keep their cross-division rivalry with Alabama.

Quick note - the way the SEC schedules is that you play 8 conference games - 5 against your division, 2 from the opposite division (these opponents rotate), and 1 against a permanent opponent from the opposite division. We will most likely be matched up with the 14th team - but if they take another West team and move Auburn over to the East, I'm not sure how they'll do it.

Here is a snapshot at each current SEC school and some important, and some totally unimportant, info on them....this is a group that has won the last FIVE national championships (6 of last 8)....

(* indicates permanent cross-division rival)

SEC West

Alabama Crimson Tide (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 28,807
Distance from College Station: 629 miles (10:30 hours)
Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,012)
SEC Titles: 22 - (5 most recent: 1981, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2009)
National Titles: 13 (most recent: 2009)
Rivals: Auburn, Tennessee* , LSU

Arkansas Razorbacks (Fayettevillie, AR)
Joined SEC: 1991
Enrollment: 19,849
Distance from College Station: 503 miles (8:30 hours)
Stadium: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (76,000)
SEC Titles: n/a
National Titles: 1 (most recent: 1964)
Rivals: Ole Miss, LSU, South Carolina*

Auburn Tigers (Auburn, AL)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 24,530
Distance from College Station: 756 miles (12:45 hours)
Stadium: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
SEC Titles: 7 - (5 most recent: 1987, 1988, 1989, 2004, 2010)
National Titles: 2 (most recent: 2010)
Rivals: Alabama, Georgia*, LSU

LSU (Baton Rouge, LA)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 28,810
Distance from College Station: 338 miles (6 hours)
Stadium: Tiger Stadium (92,400)
SEC Titles: 9 - (5 most recent: 1986, 1988, 2001, 2003, 2007)
National Titles: 3 (most recent: 2007)
Rivals: Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida*

Mississippi State Bulldogs (Starkville, MS)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 18,534
Distance from College Station: 481 miles (10 hours)
Stadium: Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (55,082)
SEC Titles: 1 - 1941
National Titles: n/a
Rivals: Ole Miss, Alabama, Kentucky*

Ole Miss Rebels (Oxford, MS)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 16,009
Distance from College Station: 615 miles (10:30 hours)
Stadium: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580)
SEC Titles: 6 - (5 most recent: 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963
National Titles: 3 (most recent: 1962)
Rivals: Mississippi St, LSU, Vanderbilt*, Arkansas

SEC East

Florida Gators (Gainesville, FL)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 51,474
Distance from College Station: 924 miles (15:45 hours)
Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
SEC Titles: 8 - (5 most recent: 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008)
National Titles: 3 (most recent: 2008)
Rivals: Georgia, Tennessee, LSU*

Georgia Bulldogs (Athens, GA)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 35,520
Distance from College Station: 896 miles (15:15 hours)
Stadium: Sanford Stadium (92,746)
SEC Titles: 12 - (5 most recent: 1980, 1981, 1982, 2002, 2005)
National Titles: 2 (most recent: 1980)
Rivals: Auburn*, Florida

Kentucky Wildcats (Lexington, KY)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 26,054
Distance from College Station: 972 miles (16:30 hours)
Stadium: Commonwealth Stadium (67,606)
SEC Titles: 2 - 1950, 1976
National Titles: n/a
Rivals: Tennessee, Mississippi State*

South Carolina Gamecocks (Columbia, SC)
Joined SEC: 1991
Enrollment: 27,488
Distance from College Station: 1,035 miles (17:30 hours)
Stadium: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
SEC Titles: n/a
National Titles: n/a
Rivals: Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas*

Tennessee Volunteers (Knoxville, TN)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 30,410
Distance from College Station: 936 miles (15:30 hours)
Stadium: Neyland Stadium (100,011)
SEC Titles: 13 - (5 most recent: 1985, 1989, 1990, 1997, 1998)
National Titles: 6 (most recent: 1998)
Rivals: Vanderbilt, Florida, Alabama*, Georgia, Kentucky

Vanderbilt Commodores (Nashville, TN)
Joined SEC: 1932
Enrollment: 12,093
Distance from College Station: 760 miles (13:15 hours)
Stadium: vanderbilt Stadium (39,790)
SEC Titles: n/a
National Titles: n/a
Rivals: Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss*

Talk about tradition rich - only South Carolina and Arkansas don't date back to the formation of the conference in 1932.

In regards to Bowl Bids here is how the SEC is aligned:
1) Sugar Bowl
2) Capital One Bowl
3/4) Cotton Bowl (West team)/Outback Bowl (East team)
5) Chick-fil-a Bowl
6) Gator Bowl
7/8) Music City Bowl/Liberty Bowl (rotates)
9) Birmingham Bowl
Of course I have a few questions:
  1. What is going to happen with our recently formed Arkansas series? Will it be dissolved (and we lose all that big money from Jerry Jones?) or would it be rolled into an SEC conference game that is just played at a neutral site? If the latter, would this be a permanent fixture on the schedule in Dallas or does it end when the original contract ends?

    The pressure just went WAY up for next weekend's game. It is going to be used as a measuring stick by everyone, as irrational as it would be, as to how well we'd fare in the SEC.

  2. What happens with our current rivalries? The Lone Star Showdown has been played 117 times, the third oldest rivalry in the nation.

    "Goodbye to texas university.
    So long to the orange and the white.
    Good luck to dear old Texas Aggies
    They are the ones who show the real old fight."

    I'll be sad to lose the t.u. series. The way things are ending, you could push me over with a feather if we play them in any scheduled event for the next 5-10 years. It could make for a HELLUVA bowl game though (and regional hosting in baseball).

    After being asked about the t.u. series in his press conference following the B.O.R. meeting last week, Dr. Loftin said the following:
    "I would just say this, that if we were to negotiate with other conferences of any kind, SEC or anybody else, a primary criterion would be our ability to continue a non-conference contest each year, hopefully on Thanksgiving Day or thereabouts, with our friends at UT-Austin. That's a historic rivalry. We see no reason why it could not continue under a different conference arrangement. If they chose to do so, we certainly want to make that part of any discussion we have with another conference."
    Dr. Loftin put the ball squarely in the horn's court.

    Mack Brown had come out the day before the B.O.R. meeting and said, "it's been a great rivalry with Texas and Texas A&M, so I hope it stays." Obviously, this is a call that will be made above Mack's head....but maybe there is a chance.

    Get your tickets now for the final showdown on Thanksgiving night - it is going to be a WILD one at Kyle Field.

    As for Baylor and tech.....

    I originally felt kind of bad for Baylor's fans for the likelyhood of them dissapearing from DI football (their administration can go to hell), but now that they've landed on their feet, I don't really care what happens to them.

    After the shenanigans they pulled during this ordeal I can't imagine we'll be scheduling any games against them in the near, or distant, future. The football game is going to be nuts - both teams are currently ranked in the top 20.....and the basketball games will be even crazier because that rivalry is so much more bitter.

    texas tech - I hope they end up rotting away to nothingness - which is better than they deserve.

  3. If we're split from t.u. do we still sing both verses of the War Hymn? I better find a lyric sheet because I have no clue what the first verse is.

    "All hail to dear old Texas A&M
    Rally around Maroon and White
    Good luck to dear old Texas Aggies
    They are the boys who show the real old fight
    That good old Aggie Spirit thrills us
    And makes us yell and yell and yell
    So let's fight for dear old Texas A&M
    We're gonna beat you all to…"

  4. Do we add or lose any recruits as a result of this move?

  5. What happens to the Southern Cal (2015/16) and Oregon (2018/19) home-and-homes that we have scheduled for OoC?

  6. How long before a Houston radio station picks up the Paul Finebaum Show?
Hands down the most exciting part of this move for us fans is the thought of these monster teams coming to Kyle Field AND THE ROAD TRIPS!

If any of you old readers remember My Sports Bucket List from two summers ago you might realize that this move also puts a large majority of that list within fairly easy reach.
  • Ags at Alex Box Stadium (LSU) - missed out my chance in '04 because I couldn't get out of a weekend of work when I was interning at Minute Maid Park

  • A game at Neyland Stadium (U.Tennessee) - 102,307 people, the checkered end zones and the beautiful Smokey Mountains

  • Ags playing at Ole Miss - Dying to see a game in Oxford and check out The Grove. I just can't justify going to see Ole Miss without the Ags being in town - this one is going to take some time

  • Ags playing at Georgia - See above - want to see a game "Between the Hedges" in Athens but it would probably need to involve an Aggie roadtrip

  • An SEC night game at LSU - This kind of goes back to the European soccer fascination....these folks are crazy and they also love their football. Stick a conference opponent in the mix and top it off with a full day of crazy backwoods drinking and you have what is considered one of the most electric atmospheres in college football.
  • I am glad that I went ahead and got up to Boulder and Norman in '09 to see the Ags play so I could scratch off seeing games at Colorado and Oklahoma off my list.

    I can also probably get a trip to Vandy out of Jennifer because she's always wanted to go to Nashville. I've already started working on negotiations for one road trip per season. We'll have to see how that plays out.

    Another side-affect of this move is that a high percentage of the big games that I normally have on my "need to watch this weekend" list are SEC games. Being in the same conference puts us in a position where we have a vested interest now and these games are going to be even more exciting. Think of the '08 texas/texas tech game (Crabtree's TD) but have it happen 5 or 6 times each season.

    One of the biggest downsides is the extreme difficulty the SEC creates to advance to the National Championship, but then there is the thought that to be the best you have to go through the best. Frankly, it can't be any worse than suffering through the Fran-era.

    For those of you who want to find out what to expect from other SEC fanbases, I highly suggest reading two of my all-time favorite books: Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John and Dixieland Delight by Clay Travis. Both are highly entertaining stories of traveling through the SEC conference. (St. John chronicled his RVing experience as he literally followed the 1999 'Bama team and Travis writes about his journey in 2006 when he attended a game at every SEC stadium). Funny books and great, easy reads.

    Once you read those you'll see that we're going to need to get some sort of etiquette manual, otherwise we're going to be the proud, passionate new guys that step on lots of toes.

    Two words: THICK SKIN

    SEC fans are different from Big 12 fans, and that is something that it going to be a rude awakening for most Ags. The Big 12 was a fairly friendly conference - it was new so most of the teams didn't have a long history to build up hatred. The SEC is old and there are plenty of instances between each school to flare up the old blood pressure. Be prepared for heckling like you've only heard in lubbock.

    I've always had an affinity towards Georgia and Alabama so it will be interesting to see if I maintain that (kind of like I did with Nebraska in the Big 12) or if it goes the other way. I get the feeling that I'm going to get really annoyed with some of the moron t-shirt fans that seem to come with a good number of the deep south schools. By the time we're comfortable in the conference we're probably going to have strong feelings one way or the other about almost each team.

    Our natural rivalries are obviously going to be Arkansas and LSU, both schools we already have a deep history with. We played both of them last season which has already rekindled a little bit of the venom. They are going to be easy to get fired up to play against.

    I'm also a little - I think apprehensive is the best word - about chanting SEC! SEC! SEC! You see, I've been raised with the mindset that if my conference rival does something good (like win a bowl game) it is better for their recruiting which automatically means it is not better for A&M and thus is undesirable. In the SEC everyone roots for each other in OoC games - it has been described as a brotherhood. I'm probably going to struggle with that.

    Something else that you're going to definitely want to prepare yourself for - a HUGE hike in ticket prices. Bringing big name football programs to Kyle Field has always caused for a jump in individual game ticket prices and we're going to get a lot more of them now. This probably means the end of "No Donation" season ticket areas, which is going to flip me upside down. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if tickets jumped to $100 per game. This is a prime opportunity for $Bill to make a big jump and at least have some way to back it up. Either way, Kyle Field will be ROCKING!

    By the way, this is also an incredible move for baseball - the SEC is a TREMENDOUS baseball conference. Their college baseball is on par with their football. We got to see South Carolina first hand up in Omaha on their way to defending their national champ (beating Florida, another SEC school, in the final).

    On the hardwood, I think that we walk in to the conference as the 2nd or 3rd best team with Kentucky as the one school that is clearly ahead of us.

    After waiting for over a year, is it safe to say it now?

    SEC! SEC! SEC!

    #7 Oklahoma State 30 v. #8 Ags 29

    This was a stunner.

    Not because #7 Okie State came into Kyle Field and won - but because we were up 20-3 at the half and 54 seconds into the 4th quarter we were down by a TD.

    What a melt down.

    In the first half we completely dominated the Pokes on both sides of the ball. On the opening drive Tannehill ran a zone-read, kept the ball and sprinted 65 yards for the games opening score. Kyle Field went nuts.

    We did have to settle for a couple of field goals inside the redzone that we needed to convert on, but the defense looked good and we had 350-something yards and a 17 point lead. I think everyone went into the half with good feelings and thoughts towards Arkansas and potential back-to-back weekends getting to watch top 10 teams battle it out.

    The third quarter was on par with some of the worst football I've ever seen us play - and that included the entirety of the Fran era.
    • We only had 11 offensive snaps. Three of those were turnovers.

    • They ran 37 plays for 275 yards and scored 21 points

    • Our defense was on the field for just a couple ticks shy of 11 minutes
    During and after the game I was really upset because I thought we abandoned the run game waaaaaaaaay to early. In the second quarter C-Mike was running with more determination than I had ever seen him run with....5 carries for 58 yards (11.6 ypc) - he was a one man wrecking ball.
    1st Drive (Score 20-10):
    Tannehill scrambled for a yard
    Pass to EZ for 10 yards
    Pass to Fuller for 6 yards
    Run by Gray for 1 yard
    Incomplete pass

    2nd Drive (Score 20-17):
    Run by C-Mike for 4 yards
    Pass to McNeal for 33 yards - but he tried to bowl over the defender and fumbled the ball away

    3rd Drive (Score 20-24):
    Run by C-Mike for 3 yards

    4th Drive (Score 20-24):
    Incomplete pass
    Run by Cyrus for 5 yards
    Thankfully, we got possession on that fourth drive on a touchback as Justin Blackmon fumbled a sure TD forward and out the back of the end zone - it really should have been 31-20 at that point. That was probably one of the most frustrating things - we had opportunities to recover but just couldn't.

    We really didn't abandon the run game, we just didn't have the ball - and then in the 4th quarter, once we did, the clock dictated we need to get down field more quickly

    Our defense was completely gassed. One of our defensive linemen, who I won't call out by name, wasn't even getting into a 3-point stance and was just leaning into the OL who was completely pushing him around. There was no effort - nor was he replaced. That infuriated me.

    I can't figure out who stole Tim DeRuyter and who he was replaced with in that second half? He has always been excellent at making adjustments at halftime but in this case they regressed. oSu just threw little 7 yard bubble screens out to the flats over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over....

    It didn't help any that Coryell Judie was out with a bad hamstring and that Sean Porter was sick and had lost 12 pounds leading up to the game.

    In the 4th quarter they got it up to 30-20 and we mounted a comeback to make it 30-27....then forced them into a 3-and-out with 1:47 left on the clock. Our second snap was intercepted - game over.

    They snapped the ball twice and then ran one backwards out the back of the endzone as the clock hit 0:00 for a safety.

    They finished the afternoon with 94 offensive plays and accumulated 484 yards (this was after the 39 yard negative run for the safety). Brandon Weeden was 47-of-60 for 438 yards and 2 TDs. Josh Cooper had 11 receptions for 123 yards, Justin Blackmon has 11 for 120 and a TD, and Hubert Anyiam has 10 for 92 yards.

    Okie State came out and handed it to us in the third quarter and we couldn't punch back. Got to tip your cap to them - they flat out wanted it more.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    A Little Karma....but Not Enough

    Baylor worked themselves up another "catchy" campaign to preserve these sacred rivalries....but they must have forgotten that you can't steal. TexDot got in on the legal actions and served BU with Cease and Desist orders for using their "Dont Mess with Texas" slogan. They have since changed it to "Rise Up for Texas Football".

    In other Baylor news, the Bears sold 830 tickets that we provided them for our October 15th matchup and had to send back 3,000 of the 3,850 tickets provided.

    The university has to pay for all the tickets if they don't return them by the Big 12's cutoff date....and clearly they don't have enough confidence that their rabid fan base will eat them up.

    Before you start with a defense of "they're boycotting A&M game this year" keep in mind they sold fewer than 1,000 ($) for their previous two trips to Kyle Field (in '07 & '09).

    That is certainly a rivalry worth saving.

    But then there is good 'ol Ken Starr getting himself another editorial piece, this time in the Houston Chronicle.

    According to our friends in the sports media, the football programs of our beloved Texas institutions are about to become exported commodities, competing in different national athletic conferences. If this proves to be true, we will be tearing something very special from the celebrated fabric of our Texas history.


    But there's something else unique about college football in Texas. A review of the rosters of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor shows approximately 410 out of 470 total players - better than 87 percent - list Texas hometowns. Unlike top-ranked teams such as Alabama, where the Crimson Tide has fewer than 50 percent in-state players, and Oregon, where the number is about 20 percent local, the players at UT, A&M and Tech grew up in Texas and competed in Texas high schools. Each week, they are cheered on by Texans who have rooted for these programs and for these athletes for years.

    I don't get how he thinks we don't realize that, as I've mentioned before, this is nothing new. The non-Texas Big 12 schools have rosters that are completely chocked full of Texas high school athletes.

    I also don't get how he thinks this is helping their cause. They look completely petty and this whole thing just goes to show that they've been taking the handout that the Big 12 has been giving them for their pathetic on-field results and feel they're entitled to keep it forever. As the great Eddie Vedder says, "It's evolution, baby!"

    The Friday of opening weekend Oklahoma came out and said that they were looking around and those rumors continue - now to the point that it is a foregone conclusion that OU is going to go to the Pac-12 and take oSu with them. There have been rumors that texas was going to jump to the ACC (some rumors said their FB team would be independent but the rest of their sports would be ACC) but there are other rumors that they're going to the Pac-12 with the Okie schools. I think tech is going to go wherever t.u. goes.

    The interesting part is that this weekend it was announced that Syracuse & Pitt are bolting the Big East for the ACC....this move was BRILLIANT by the ACC. It moved them from a position of "about to be picked over" to a position of "Oh dang, we just killed the Big East. Dead."

    From what I understand, if 6 of the current remaining Big 12 schools (including us) vote to dissolve the conference then no one has to pay exit fees. If that's the case, then Baylor would have actually saved us millions of dollars by stretching this whole thing out and causing uncertainty with Oklahoma (and oSu) and then that uncertainty causing further uncertainty. Had BU just stayed quiet and they grabbed another school quickly to replace us this very likely wulnd't have happened.

    What I foresee is the remainder of the Big 12 joins up with the remainder of the Big East - give or take a team or two.

    Clay Travis completely nails this entire thing. He has been the best national blogger throughout this entire process....which, I am sure, has been wonderful for his new gig out on his own.

    Hopefully, this all ends soon because I'm getting tired of having to keep up with it. I just want to watch some football and get excited about the on the field stuff. No more lawyers and school presidents.


    Hey, There is Actual Football to Talk About

    Ags 46 v. SMU 14

    I am going to tell you this sheepishly....the SMU game was the first home game I've missed since the 2005 Texas State game that was pushed up to a Thursday night due to Hurricane's only the third home game I've missed in season since I started school (this is my 12th season).

    I missed it with good reason though....Sean and I had a trip planned that was pretty awesome....Thursday we scratched Camp Randall off the bucket list as we saw Wisconsin romp UNLV, Friday we took a tour of Wrigley Field (got to watch part of BP from on the field) then attended the Cubs game later that afternoon, and on Saturday and Sunday we were at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin for both of Pearl Jam's 20th Anniversary shows (my all-time favorite band).

    It was completely worth it - but I'd be lying if I said that my heart didn't pound a bit on Sunday evening when I glanced at my phone and saw it was 6:27pm and I knew Aggie football was being played on Kyle Field without me.

    Luckily, I had a DVR back home recording the opener for me to watch upon my return to the Lone Star State.....and 86,951 other Ags were attendance for the 6th largest crowd in school history and largest for a season opener.
    • Cyrus Gray ran for 132 yards and 2 TDs on 21 carries and became the school's all-time all purpose yardage leader (passing Darren Lewis). It was also his 8th consecutive game of 100+ yards. C-Mike added another 85 yards and 2 TDs on 14 carries.
    • Ryan Tannehill was 21-for-26 with 2 TDs and 246 yards
    • Ryan Swope had 8 catches for 109 yards and a TD and Fuller had 6 for 52
    • TJE had three sacks leading the way for Coach DeRuyter's defense to pick up a total of EIGHT. I can't remember a game in my time where we had more. Sean Porter had 10 tackles and 1/2 a sack.
    • The defense also picked off SMU's first two possessions which put returning QB Kyle Padron on the bench for his 5th year senior backup, J.J. McDermott.
    • I thought that special teams looked worse than any other part of our squad.....KO out of bounds, two PATs blocked, and a muffed punt return.
    The Ags had a bye during week 2 and in that time we discovered that F-RS runningback Mister Jones and F-HS wideout Chance Nelson both have decided to leave the program.

    Ags 37 v. Idaho 7

    I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but since Sean graduated in the spring he and I had to spring for real season tickets for the first time. Prior to this past weekend's game I had been in the student section for every home game I had attended with the exception of one (when I had 50 yard line, row 2 seats on the alumni side).

    Obviously we missed the first game....and we still haven't seen our actual seats. My father-in-law texted me on Friday night and offered Sean and I two extra seats down with them so we gave our seats to an Ag outside the ticket office and sat with them. I'm sure whoever has the seats next to us is going to be confused when we show up for the oSu game as the third set of people in as many games.

    It was a pretty dominant performance. Going into the 4th quarter the defense had Idaho shut out and had given up less than 75 yards of total offense and only allowed 3 first downs.

    The offense accumulated huge numbers and the end result was great - but in the first half I did feel like we left points on the board.

    Tannehill finished the day 26-0f-39 for 337 yards and 1 TD (on 1 INT, which was a tipped pass). All three of our starting WRs had 5+ receptions with EZ leading the way with 6 for 80 and Swope having 6 for 74 (1 TD). Fuller had 5 catches for 79 yards including a reception that put him ahead of my boy, Terrence Murphy, on the school's all-time receptions list. He already owns the Receiving TD record and is just 284 yards (minus Idaho game) from taking T-Murph's #1 spot in receiving yards.

    Cyrus added 58 yards receiving and a TD to his rushing totals of 101 yards and 2 TDs on 29 carries. C-Mike only had 5 carries (31 yards) as a result of a fumble.

    Cyrus leapfrogged Bob Smith, 'Lectric Leeland, and Roger Vick moving from 13th to 10th on the school's all-time rushing leader board. He has no chance at catching Darren Lewis at the top but he will very likely finish in the top 5 and possibly top 3.

    Drew Kaser, the top rated punter in this year's freshman class, made his Aggie debut. On his first punt he mishandled the snap and had to get it off quickly resulting in a 23 yard squib. I believe my comment to my father-in-law was along the lines of, "I miss Justin Brantly." I almost forgot Justin existed after Kaser's second punt.....a 68 yard BOMB. It was insane.

    Freshmen who have had their redshirts pulled:
    • SMU (5): Deshazor Everett, Steven Jenkins, Howard Matthews, Tyrell Taylor, Shaun Ward
    • Idaho (8): Brandon Alexander, Donnie Baggs, Taylor Bertolet, Ben Compton, Drew Kaser, Johnny Manziel, Floyd Raven, Darzil Washington
    Next weekend Kyle Field will play host to a pair of top 10 conference rivals as #7 Oklahoma St faces our #8 Ags. I'm not sure when the last time Kyle Field hosted a pair of top 10 teams.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    The Never Ending Quest for Freedom

    Over the weekend the Dan Beebe sent the SEC a letter that stated the Big 12 nor any of it's members would bring legal action against the SEC if they accept A&M. The SEC presidents came together last night and voted, unanimously, to accept A&M's application....a big moment in time for Aggies everywhere, right?


    We got Baylored.

    Baylor has re-neged on their initial agreement with the Big 12 to not bring legal action and have now threatened the SEC for tortious interference.

    This brought an astrisk to our acceptance to the SEC....
    After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.

    Earlier in the week BU tug at the heartstrings of this great state by writing about how the Big 12 needs to stay the best interest of the state of Texas, of course:

    "Football in Texas is more than a passing interest, it is a part of the fabric of this great state.

    Will Texans stand by and watch hundred-year-old rivalries be cast aside as the state's largest universities align themselves with other states across the country? Will Texans sit and watch as Texas' flagship universities pledge their loyalties to other states? Will Texans stand by as our most promising student athletes are lured out of Texas by new rivals? Will Texans watch as our most precious resources—the great minds of the next generation—are exported to new conference institutions?

    Texans must stand up and call the leadership of the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech to clear-headed thinking about the state's future. Texas' flagship institutions of higher learning are the guardians of the state's future—their loyalties must first be to Texas and to her citizens. Ask these leaders to take a stand for Texas and to stop this madness that will lead to the dissolution of the Big 12 and the end of an era for Texas."

    Did Baylor not get the memo that the SWC died in the 90s.....have they not seen the rosters of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Nebraska, etc. They are completely littered with Texas high school athletes.

    This isn't over yet but it is just one more thing to drag this out.

    Over at Outkickthecoverage they had a great article outlining the legalities of all of'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    Regardless, our October 15th meeting at Kyle Field will be bonkers. It's sold out already. And it's going to be a bitter and heated game.

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Ag FB Preview: SMU Mustangs

    Sunday September 4th, 2011 - 6:30pm

    Taking advantage of Labor Day on Monday we are playing our first Sunday regular season game that has been played since I started school. The thought is that from a TV standpoint we'll have much fewer games to compete against for has been picked up nationally by FSN.

    We're ranked in the preseason Top 10 for the first time since the late-90s. Kind of strange, huh?

    Here are the breakdowns based on last season's stats:

    SMU Offense v. aTm Defense

    139 (81) Rush 130 (30)

    276 (21) Pass 234 (89)

    415 (33) Tot 364 (55)

    25.7 (74) Scor 21.9 (34)

    aTm Offense v. SMU Defense

    165 (46) Rush 145 (53)

    277 (20) Pass 208 (43)

    442 (23) Tot 353 (40)
    31.2 (34) Scor 25.6 (59)

    The Ponies finished 7-7 (6-3) on the season and finished second in C-USA losing to UCF in the title game.

    SMU is definitely a team that we shouldn't expect to blowout. If we play badly they can beat us.

    That said....enjoy some '10 Nebraska Kyle Field awesomeness:

    Now go run through a brick wall.....and enjoy the start to a beautiful college football season

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Ags Serve Notice

    On Wednesday August 24th, 2011 Texas A&M announced to the Big 12 their intention to entertain leaving the conference for another.

    "We look forward to hearing from you." CLASSIC!

    Rumors started today that texas is looking to replace the annual Thanksgiving day game against us with Notre Dame. That's all fine with me.....but they're going to need more than one decent OoC game to make their schedule respectable. OU and then the little-7 isn't going to cut it.

    We started to read, shortly thereafter, a whole bunch of spin about how texas came back to the Big 12 last year after getting a pen stroke away from joining the Pac-10 to save the rivalry. What a load of revisionist crap. texas came back to the Big 12 because the Pac-10 wouldn't allow for them to start their own network and Dan Beebe said the Big 12 would. Bottom line.

    It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out in the end. I mentioned on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that OU has been WAAAY to quiet during all of this. If nothing else, this season should be a wild and emotional one.


    Tuesday, August 23, 2011



    It's sooooooo hard to be patient.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Still Quiet....But More Interesting

    The Thursday recap:

    Interesting Note #1:

    A flight from Talladega Muni landed at Easterwood Airport this morning at 8:33am and then departed back to Taledega Muni at 11:30am.

    Taledega Muni is 57.7 miles from the SEC Headquarters in Birmingham, AL.

    Note: I didn't do any of this legwork....behold the power of TexAgs ($)

    Interesting Note #2:

    The Big 12 Presidents had a conference call in which they voted to add a second game to LHN....this second game will be a Big 12 matchup. It will likely be either KU or KSU.

    Interesting Note #3:

    @ChipBrownOB: An A&M official just told me they were not on the call when guidelines for 2nd game on LHN were discussed and agreed to by B12 presidents.

    @DarrylBruffett: A&M President Loftin was not on the Big 12 conference call today when a second LHN game was discussed.

    @stevefullhart: Loftin was on the call at the start. A&M officials will not confirm whether he left of his own accord or was asked to leave.

    One word Ags....SECede! WHOOP!

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    All Quiet on the Eastern Front

    So the lawyers are apparently still working through all the legal stuff and everyone is just waiting.

    Big 12 Commish, Dan Beebe, wants us to let everyone know our intentions. Seriously? We want out and we would already be out if your puppet masters weren't doing everything in their power to thwart us moving.

    "We can’t operate with an institution waiting to decide if it wants to remain in the conference. There has to be a very short time for an institution to commit.”

    At some point soon, Beebe said he could approach the Big 12’s board of directors about setting a date for A&M to make a commitment.

    Please Dan Beebe - PLEASE - give us an ultimatum and kick us out.

    Baylor is also doing their best to keep things together in ways only Baylor can.

    Straight from their website. "Committed to the Big 12: And the historic Texas rivalries" and "BaylorNation: Loyal. Dedicated. Active."

    Yeah, they sure as heck are commited to the Big 12....'cause their next option is the Big Sky Conference.

    The school president, Ken Starr, is doing his best to win over support to save his school's BCS status with an editorial piece in USA Today and a plea that was in the Waco is my favorite bit from that:

    "I shudder to consider a future gathering of my fellow university presidents in which conversations about the disappearance of our historic rivalries lead us to consider what we were thinking back in 2011 when we let something so valuable slip away."

    I'm curious if they shuttered when they forced their way into the Big 12 leaving "historical rivalries" like SMU, TCU, Rice, and UH to fend for themselves.

    One final thought before I head off to bed....

    On the radio all this week the radio hosts in Houston have been arguing that A&M shouldn't go to the SEC because it's a harder to win there and winning is the most important thing.


    By that logic then everyone should be fighting to get into the WAC or the Sunbelt. We could go 12-0 or 11-1 there since winning is all that matters. We should all strive to be in the situations where we have to do the least to accumulate the most wins.

    Ask Utah how much respect you get for that - didn't they go undefeated in '04 & '08....and now they have moved into the Pac-12 so they can play tougher competition because no one cared that they beat up on New Mexico and San Diego State.

    Look, I'm not saying that THE reason we're wanting to go to the SEC is because we strive to play stronger competition. I don't have delusions of grandeur where we walk in and win 5 SEC titles in the first 15 years. The SEC is the strongest conference in the country, year after year, at the top and from top to bottom. We're going to struggle and we're going to have a bunch of 7 win seasons but to make an argument that we shouldn't go simply because it's harder is asinine.

    Taking the easy road is the reason this entire country is in the situation we're in.

    PS. At what point does the Big 12 become the Big East and undefeated teams don't go to the national championship because their road wasn't hard enough?

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Twist of Events

    I read an article from Sporting News this morning that said, "Presidents from the SEC will not meet on Sunday to discuss the possible move of Texas A&M to the SEC, a high-ranking official from the SEC told Sporting News on Saturday."

    After I read that I thought, "Wow, this guy has a horrible source. The presidents are meeting - their planes have already been tracked to Atlanta."

    After that I read close to 4,000 articles, tweets and message board posts and didn't think anything else about the Sporting News article.

    Then the bombshell in the early afternoon.....The press release from the SEC:

    “The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.”

    I was sick to my stomach. Thankfully I was already sitting down.

    After my vision came back to me I re-read the presser two or three more times. Shoot, I read it about 10 times. I thought it was good that they worded it, "No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M." They could have said, "We voted against admitting Texas A&M". It could have been worse - maybe?

    Still, I couldn't imagine that we have been in conversations with Mike Slive (SEC Commish) for three weeks (as reported) and didn't have assurances that this was going to go through before making our bold move/announcement at the end of the work week. Not unless we just got totally screwed over.

    What I couldn't get my head around was if this was some sort of vaguely written statement, then why did it start out with: "The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment"? That I didn't get. If there is really a chance for us then why would you say that you're happy with 12 teams?

    I fought with that until my law degree bearing wife, who graciously listened to me rant and rave and read the press release aloud over and over, mentioned that they need to make sure they have as much documented evidence as possible showing it was A&M that came to them, not them coming to poach us from the Big 12.

    Ok, I can breathe again.

    Shortly after that I saw Sporting News's Matt Hayes tweet: Source on "meeting" today: Conf call/w SEC attorneys and Machen. Released legal statement to protect the league.

    I had read something a day or two ago about potential "tortious interference" from the legal side but I just brushed past it. Apparently, the SEC lawyers didn't and they know what they're doing - us sports fans just blow past words we don't understand.

    So the A&M Board of Regents are still scheduled to meet tomorrow and are apparently going to give President Loftin the power to negotiate a new conference affiliation. The state legislature is still scheduled to meet on Tuesday and we're going to go from there. I imagine it will involve an application to the SEC (and likely other conferences) and at that point the SEC presidents will get together and actually vote.

    So we didn't get the good news we wanted today, and there is still a small part of my stomach that is in knots, but I believe that the press release was a CYA move by the SEC. I'm sure tomorrow we'll find out some other new twist in the plot that we hadn't considered/realized was a possibility....and it will add to our anxiety.

    Either way, the Sporting News article that I thought was completely bogus was the only one that actually knew what the heck was going on.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pop a handful of Xanax.