Monday, December 24, 2012

"The SEC is Overrated"

The Southeastern Conference is widely considered THE premier collegiate football conference in the country.  The last seven seasons have seen the SEC rise to a level of conference domination unseen for ages. It isn't just one great team, it's great teams across the conference.
The SEC a breeding ground for the NFL....and it always seems to come up once a year - "Could 'Bama beat (insert terrible NFL team)?"

Well, the answer to that is no - but all of the ballyhoo for the SEC creates anger and angst for non-SEC fan bases.  Losing is bad enough - nobody likes to have to also have "S-E-C!  S-E-C!  S-E-C!" rain down on them.

In retaliation, other fan bases throw stones at the SEC and claim, "It's overrated."  I've heard it for the past several years so I thought this would be a good time to take a look at that claim.  A&M is in it's first year in the SEC and we're matched up with Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl - what better time, right?

Obviously, I hear this claim of unwarrented adulation primarily from Big 12 fans - for many reasons.  I live and work with mostly Big 12 supporters, A&M has a strong history with them, and they have a legitimate claim for the title of second best conference.  I'm going to pick on them a bit and use them as the comparison.

The Cotton Bowl

Let's start of by looking at the Cotton Bowl itself.  The Cotton Bowl has been a match up between the Big 12 and the SEC since 1999.  The SEC has won 9 of the 14 games and since 2004 the SEC is 8-1.

Bowl Games

Bowl games are a good way to see how a conference does.  The SEC's dominance over the last 7 seasons has been incredible - here are the comparisons for the last 6 bowl seasons against non-conference opponents (with this season's games still to be played)....
  • The SEC is 36-17 (.679)
  • The Big 12 is 26-21 (.553)
Again, the Big 12 is just being used as a comparison.


"Oh, the SEC is overrated because they just beat up on each other and inflate each others rankings."

Ok, so let's just look at out of conference records.  Over the last 7 seasons.....
  • SEC is 329-69 (.827)
  • Big 12 is 263-85 (.756)
That may not look like a big %-age difference but for the Big 12 to catch the SEC in %-age they would have to win 144 consecutive games

Again, the Big 12 is just being used as a comparison - I'm not trying to embarrass them.

"Oh, but the SEC doesn't play anybody out of conference - they just pad their records with powder puffs."

Ok, let's look at out of conference record vs. ranked opponents.  Over the last 7 seasons....
  • SEC is 46-26 (.639)
  • Big 12 is 19-36 (.345)
  • SEC has played 17 more OoC games against ranked teams, and has lost 10 fewer
  • For the Big 12 to get to .639 they would have to win 45 consecutive games against ranked opponents
"Oh, but the SEC is top heavy."

Those are the entire conference numbers.  That accounts for the pummeling that Vandy, Ole Miss, & Kentucky traditionally take.

Just for fun, here are the records against Top 10 OoC opponents:
  • SEC is 18-12 (.600)
  • Big 12 is 5-13 (.278) 
Ok, I was trying to embarrass the Big 12 there.


Like Billy Madison said, "You and me.  Mano y mono."

Over the last 7 seasons the SEC is 15-8 against the Big 12.  Three of the eight Big 12 wins have been against Ole Miss.  Quit picking on Ole Miss.

The SEC has also won two National Championships in head-to-head games with the Big 12 during that stretch - in 2007 when Florida beat OU and in 2009 when Alabama beat texas.

What Everyone Agrees On

The Big 10 is terrible.  The Big 10 is 17-31 against the SEC & Big 12 combined over the last 7 seasons.

The Takeaway

The SEC is THE best conference in the country.  Regardless of how tired everyone is of hearing it, it doesn't change the fact that it is still true.

I didn't even have to play the trump card of 6 consecutive National Champions.....going on 7.

S-E-C!  S-E-C!  S-E-C!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Johnny Heisman

"This is a moment that I have dreamed about since I’ve been a kid. Running around the back yard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Mary’s to my dad. Now, I am so blessed to be on the stage with such a group of great guys and to be invited into this fraternity, what a pleasure it really is. I’d like to start by thanking the Heisman Trust and everybody who made this weekend possible. What a great experience it was to meet the people that I have, Manti and Collin, not only great football players, but great guys off the field as well. It has been a pleasure to get to know you guys better and I wish ya’ll the best of luck.

It’s such an honor to represent Texas A&M and my teammates here tonight. I wish they could be on this stage with me. Texas A&M, choosing that school is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life and I am so proud to be a part of that.

To Mom, Dad, Meri and the entire family watching, you mean the world to me and I just want to thank you for the encouragement, the love and the patience over the years. To grandpa, to all of the times we used to play in the hallway and throw the ball until we couldn’t anymore, I love you with all my heart and you inspired me to play football. To Grandma, I’m so sorry for the things we broke in the house.

To my coaches back in Kerrville Tivy, Mark Smith, Julius Scott and everybody there, you taught us all what it meant to really fight and work for something that you wanted more than anything in the world. You taught us about passion and about heart and what it truly meant to say, “Tivy fight never dies.”

To Coach Sherman, Coach Rossley, Coach Sumlin, Coach Kingsbury, and everybody that’s been a part of me playing football for my entire life you’ve been truly a blessing. You’ve taught me not only what it means to be a football player but to be a man as well and for that I thank you so much.

I wish my whole team could be up here with me tonight, especially my great offensive line and the whole offense. Luke Joeckel, Jarvis Harrison, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Matthews and Patrick Lewis, I’m as safe standing right here as I am in the pocket with you guys. You’ve done a great job of keeping me off my back and I can’t thank you enough for everything. To all my teammates back home, I love you with all my heart.

I’d especially at this time like to honor somebody who is near and dear to everybody at Texas A&M, Joey Villavisencio. Around this time last year, a center on our team, passed away in a tragic car accident. It was something that as a whole team we really had to fight through and press on through the bowl game. And, to Mr. and Mrs. Villaviscencio, if I had a son I would want him to be exactly like him. I know Joey is in a better place.

Most of all, I want to thank God for allowing me to be here. All that he has blessed me with in my entire life I’m so thankful for. For the love and the grace you’ve shown me I’ll be forever grateful. In the values that I’ve learned from my parents and that have been carried over by Texas A&M. Leadership, respect and putting others first, it’s what the 12th Man is all about.

I believe the 12th Man is one of the greatest traditions in all of college football, forty thousand students standing not as fans but as members of our team. To the 12th Man, Texas A&M, Kerrville Texas and Aggies everywhere, this Heisman trophy is for you.


Johnny Manziel etched his name into college football history becoming the 78th winner of the Heisman Trophy.

I'll be honest, I was already a little emotional, but when he mentioned Joey V. in his speech it really touched me.

He had 72.8% of the possible points (2029 points from 923 voters with 3 points each), which makes it the 10th biggest victory in Heisman history.

Congratulations to Johnny - you have made Aggies across the nation proud of you.

Now let's BTHO OU!  WHOOP!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post Season Awards Update

I wanted to give an update of the awards that have been handed out thus far....
I really looked hard to find a picture of Luke with his Outland Trophy because I know I've been pretty Johnny heavy in terms of pictures this season....but I couldn't find one.
  • Davey O'Brien Award - Top QB - Johnny Manziel
  • Outland Trophy - Top Interior Lineman - Luke Joeckel  
  • Walter Camp All-Americans
    • 1st Team - QB Johnny Manziel
    • 1st Team - OL Luke Joeckel
    • 1st Team - DL Damontre Moore
    • 2nd Team - OL Jake Matthews
  •  CBS Sports All-Americans
    • 1st Team - QB Johnny Manziel
    • 1st Team - OT Luke Joeckel
    • 2nd Team - DE Damontre Moore
  • SEC Individual Awards (voted by coaches)
    • SEC Offensive Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel
    • SEC Freshman of the Year: Johnny Manziel
    • SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy: Luke Joeckel
    • SEC Coach of the Year: Kevin Sumlin
  • All-SEC Team (voted by coaches)
    • 1st Team - QB Johnny Manziel
    • 1st Team - OL Luke Joeckel
    • 1st Team - OL Jake Matthews
    • 1st Team - DL Damontre Moore
    • 2nd Team - WR Ryan Swope
  • All-SEC Freshman Team (voted by coaches)
    • QB Johnny Manziel
    • WR Mike Evans
    • AP Trey Williams
One thing that I thought was really interesting was that the SEC doesn't have an Honorable Mention team.  In the Big 12 there were at least 4-5 players from each team in the league that were named to the Honorable Mention squad.

Damontre wasn't able to bring home the Hendricks Award on Wednesday night - it ended up going to South Carolina stud, Jadeveon Clowney.  I can't argue that one.

Johnny, however, lost out on both the Walter Camp Award and the Maxwell Award to Manti T'eo (who also won the Lombardi, Bednarik, Nagurski, Butkus, and Walter Camp Awards).  I think I've made my case as to how I feel about that.

Even STILL, all indications point to Johnny bringing home the Heisman on Saturday night.  The three major polling/predicting indicators all point to him.
  • The Scripps Heisman Poll - has correctly named 21 of the last 25 winners
  • - has correctly named the last 10 winners (in 10 years of existence)
  • - has correctly named the last 4 winners (correctly ranked 5 of the top 6 in '08, all of the top 4 in '09 and '10, and the all of the top 7 in '11)
Also worth noting that since 2000 only two players have won both the Heisman and the Maxwell Award in a single season and only one player has won all three (Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp) .

Oh yeah, and Vegas has him at 1/15....and T'eo is at 4/1.  Those are pretty staggering - and Vegas doesn't lose.

We'll all be watching tonight!  WHOOP!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Look at the Hendricks Award

I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks laying out the case for Johnny's Heisman campaign but I thought I'd take a moment from the Johnny Football mania to look at our great defensive standout, Damontre Moore.
DaMonsta is a finalist for the Hendricks Award which is awarded to the top defensive end in college football.  It is named after Ted Hendricks, a former All-American who played his collegiate days at Miami from '66-'68.

The other finalists are Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), Sam Montgomery (LSU), Cornelius Carradine (FSU), Bjoern Werner (FSU), and Morgan Breslin (USC).  This is a very, very tough group of defenders.

Here are the stats:
                   Tackles                Pass Def.
               G Solo Ast Tot  TFL Sack PBU PD QBH FF FR
   M.Breslin  12  37   16  53  8.0 12.0  4   4  0   0  1
 C.Carradine  12  47   33  80 13.0 11.0  0   0  9   1  1
   J.Clowney  11  37   13  50 21.5 13.0  1      5   2  0
S.Montgomery  12  15   17  32 12.0  7.0  2   2  3   1  1
     D.Moore  12  54   26  80 20.0 12.5  2   2  8   1  0
    B.Werner  13  28   12  40 18.0 13.0  7   7  5   1  1 

Damontre also has two blocked kicks.

It should be a very close race but I really think that Damontre has just as good of a chance as any of those others.

What an amazing season Damontre has had, and holy cow has he be overshadowed by Johnny.  Think about what Von Miller did.  The guy is a legend in Aggieland.  I seriously campaigned to name our one year old Von (before we found out it was going to be a girl).  Now check this out....

                   Tackles                Pass Def.
                G Solo Ast Tot   TFL Sack PBU PD QBH FF FR
  '12 D.Moore  12  54   26  80  20.0 12.5  2   2  8   1  0
 '10 V.Miller  13  38   30  68  17.5 10.5  6   7  6   3  2

Didn't expect that did you?

Damontre Moore is the most underrated player on this years team....and he's an All-American.  Crazy, crazy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ags Go Cotton Pickin'

So it was announced this evening that A&M will be heading back up to Dallas to play in the 77th annual Cotton Bowl.

Our opponent will be Oklahoma, who were completely screwed out of a BCS bowl when Northern Illinois somehow leapt up from #21 to #15 in the BCS rankings after a win over #17 Kent State?

(and at the same time, texas only drops from #16 to #23 after losing both of the last two weekends?)

Of couse, they were only going to a BCS game because the BCS only takes two teams from each conference.  OU is ranked #11 but they would have leaped over 4 SEC schools ranked higher because Alabama and Florida got the two BCS bids.

This, to me, is a disappointing match up.  Like I said before, I love bowl games because you get an opportunity to play opponents that you normally don't get to.  This will be the 19th time we've faced OU in the last 20 years.

On the field, this should be an excellent game against two fairly evenly matched teams.  I'm just not excited.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to spend the next 30+ days trying to figure out which child I will sell to get tickets.

The game is already sold out and tickets are starting at $189 on Stubhub.

Orange Bowl tickets featuring NIU, however, are available for $16.

Over this next week we'll start seeing all of the individual player awards being handed out.  The big night is obviously next Saturday night in NYC with the Heisman but on Thursday night ESPN will be broadcasting The 2012 Home Depot College Football Awards (at 6:30pm).  There are 10 major individual awards that will announced that night.

Luke Joeckel is a finalist for the Outland Trophy for top interior lineman and Johnny is a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien.

Johnny is also a finalist for the Manning Award (announced Jan 6th) and Damontre Moore is a finalist for the Hendricks Award. (announced on Dec. 5th).

Joeckel and Moore were both also named to the 1st Team AFCA All-American squad.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Manti T'eo Facts

Apparently I misspelled his name in my previous posts - my apologies.

I've been reading all of this stuff about T'eo and I wanted to dive into his season deeper.

The three things that I consistantly hear T'eo campaigners tout are
  • Interceptions
  • Total tackles
  • Leader of a great defense
He has 7 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries.  That's nice but....
  • Only one (1) of those nine (9) turnovers resulted in a TD on the ensuing drive. 
Honestly, that shocked me.

He has 103 tackles on the season.
  • He had a no more than 5 tackles in each of his last 3 games "down the stretch"
  • 1.5 sacks on the season
  • 5.5 tackles for a loss
  • 27 of those tackles were on plays that resulted in 1st downs for the opponent
  • 37 of those tackles were on plays of 6 yards or longer.

Notre Dame's defense is excellent and they are ranked #2 in scoring defense and #6 in total defense.
  • They are excellent, but they are not THE BEST defense in the country as I keep getting told

Here are their opponent's national rankings in scoring offense and total offense.
    Navy  69/82
  Purdue  62/57
 Mich St  90/107
Michigan  80/56
   Miami  37/43
Stanford  83/68
     BYU  57/63
Oklahoma   9/7
    Pitt  60/73
    B.C.  97/109
    W.F. 117/114
     USC  30/37
  • They have only played one (1) of the Top 25 offenses in the country
  • Only three of the Top 50
In the three games against the best offenses they faced....
  • T'eo played well against OU (10 tackles, only 1 was for a 1st down, and only 3 went for 6 yards or longer)
  • He did not play well against Miami (10 tackles, 4 were for a 1st down, and 6 were for 6 yards or more....his average tackle was 8.9 yards down field)
  • He did not play well against USC (5 tackles, 2 went for 1st downs, and 2 were for 6 yards or longer).
THE 4th Down Stand vs. USC
On the final goal line stand against USC he had one tackle.  It was a 6 yard gain.

This is not the award for the best player on one of the best teams.  It is not an award for best leader.  It is not the award for biggest heart.  It is not a team award, nor is it a lifetime achievement award.

I have no problem with a defensive player winning the Heisman.  I don't even mind if he doesn't play special teams.  If that player is THE most outstanding player in college football he should win the award.  Frankly, I thought Suh deserved it in '09 and I think Honey Badger should have given RGIII more run for his money last year.  I just don't think T'eo has been THE most outstanding defensive player in college football, let alone the most outstanding overall player. 

If the Heisman is to go to a defensive player this is not the year to make the definitive stand to break that trend.

It should be interesting to see this play out.   There is no doubt he is a great kid, who has overcome a tremendous amount of tragedy.  I truly wish him a tremendous amount of success at whatever he does in his life.  He is a shining example of all that is right with college sports.

Friday, November 30, 2012

horns Don't Want to Match Up with Ags in Cotton Bowl? had the Cotton Bowl chairman on their radio show this morning and he was very candid about a lot of things.
  • They would be excited to get A&M, but the Capital One Bowl would likely be just as excited
  • The Alabama game was the turning point for us....without that win the Ags probably fall short of a Cotton Bowl invite....with it they're likely taken before the Cotton Bowl gets a chance
  • The SEC office is going to pressure the Cotton Bowl to take the loser of the SEC Championship game so they don't fall below that point.
  • If OU doesn't make a BCS game they are probably going to play in Dallas, if not it should be texas
The one question that I found particularly interesting was when he was asked how he would officially respond to the rumors that texas is doing their part to make sure that they don't get matched up against A&M.
"Those are private conversations but there are lots of things on that and we know that there is just a lot of bad blood in the way that Texas A&M departed.  Therefore some members of the Big 12 would prefer not to play them just because of that bad blood and we know that is there."

The fact that there have been actual conversations about it is fascinating.  The fact that he pleads the 5th and says that they're private conversations speaks volumes.

Let's think about this.  The only three Big 12 teams that have a realistic chance at the Cotton Bowl are Kansas State, OU, and texas.  OU has spoken out in the past that they would be willing to schedule us as an OoC game so we know they're not holding beef.  So it's either Kansas State or texas.  Hmmm. 

Considering Mack's recent garbage about how Johnny shouldn't win the Heisman, I would say that they're the ones who are scared of us. 
"Colt wasn't ready as a freshman...I'd like it to be best player on best team."
Here are a few thoughts on that....
  • Colt might have not have been "ready"....but more importantly, even when he was "ready", he wasn't good enough
  • Colt should have beaten 'Bama
  • Yet you campaigned the tar out of Ricky Williams for Heisman....from a 8-3 squad
It is also apparent that DeLoss is worried about more than just a sliver of East Texas and that Mack, despite what he said after the 'Bama game, HAS been following us a little bit.  (And if he hasn't, then how on earth can he cast his weekly ballot for the Coaches Poll?)

As I've said before, I prefer not to play them in the Cotton Bowl simply because we have nothing to gain and they do. 

Frankly, I really don't have any interest in playing any Big 12 team in a bowl this year - I love bowls because you get a chance to match up against big schools from other conferences that you normally wouldn't be able to play.  Playing a Big 12 team doesn't give me that.

That said, if we had to play in a bowl that matched us up with a Big 12 opponent, I'd rather it be texas just just so we could smash them and let the "S-E-C!  S-E-C!  S-E-C!" chant rain down on them from the rafters of Cowboy Stadium.

That won't likely happen.  If they go to the Cotton Bowl, it looks like they'll get crushed by Alabama, Georgia, or LSU instead.  All indications point to us playing in the Capital One Bowl down in Orlando.  We are most rumored to match up against Michigan, but that of course depends on how the Big 10 Championship game goes tomorrow night (Nebraska v. Wisconsin).  For so many reasons, I would LOVE to play Michigan.

Should be an interesting weekend of championship games.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On the Clock

Everyone keeps talking about how much time Johnny missed this season when he comes out in our blowout I thought I'd take a look.
He played the full 4 quarters in five of our games (Florida, Ole Miss, La Tech, LSU, & Bama).  In the other 7 games he came out early.

He took his last snap at the....
 SMU:  0:58 in 3rd Q
SCSt:  1:20 in 2nd Q
 Ark: 10:23 in 4th Q
 Aub: 12:03 in 3rd Q
 MSU:  5:59 in 4th Q
SHSU: 13:34 in 3rd Q
  MU:  8:50 in 4th Q
All in all he sat out 128:07 which is the equivalent of just over 8-1/2 full quarters with.  That's more than 2 full games.

Pretty remarkable.  I'd be curious to see what Cam's numbers looked like in '10 - if I recall correctly, Auburn played in a lot of fairly close games that season. We already know that Cam set the record in 14 games so Johnny is really doing it in 2 fewer games played....but after looking at this it looks Johnny broke it in four fewer games.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ag Football Recap: Ags Crush Mizzou

Mizzou misses our Big 12 days.  I'm not even sure what the final score was.  I think Mizzou's leading rusher in the first half was their punter.

We scored early and we scored often.  We also got scared.

In the first quarter Johnny was running to the right and Mizzou's DB latched onto his left leg and Johnny twisted his knee as he came down.  As he was on the turf curled up holding his knee the stadium went dead silent.  Even the crickets didn't know what to do.

Johnny's touch, of course, can heal all evils so he stuck a knee brace on and came back out and won the Heisman.
He finished with 439 yards and 5 TDs (372/3 passing, 67/2 rushing) and took his last snap with 8:50 remaining on the clock in the 4th quarter.

He spread the ball around - 9 different players had a reception.

We even tried and WR Pass from Kendric McNeal to Johnny in the endzone that was just slightly underthrown and was deflected at the goal line.  It would have been the cherry on the cake.

Does anyone put cherries on cakes?

Malcome Kennedy came out as the biggest beneficiary - 110 yards on 7 receptions.  Mike Evans was ONE YARD SHY of yet another 100 yard game.

C-Mike started the game like a man on fire.  I haven't seen him run as hard or with as much explosion as he did in the first quarter.  He had 60 yards and 2 TDs on 4 carries but came out with a hamstring injury.

We finished the game 12-of-16 on third down.  12-of-13 while Johnny was in the game.

On the defensive side of the ball two players stood out above everyone else.

Howard Matthews had a whale of a game - I can't think of a game where he's played better.  He had 13 tackles, a brilliant pass breakup and a tackle for a loss.  He brings the wood.
Spencer Nealy has found a place deep in my heart.  This guy plays with such passion, excitement, and relentlessness.  He is the definition of motor.  He had 7 tackles, 2 for a loss, and a swatted pass.  Love the guy.

Another guy who deserves a mention is kicker, Taylor Bertolet.  He's taken some heat this season but he was flawless on Saturday night - 8-for-8 on PATs and he crushed a 50 yard FG.

BTW, I looked up the score - it was 59-29.

I've never watched a team play as hot as this team is playing right now.  I truly believe that if we had a rematch with LSU or Florida right now we'd win.

We don't know who our next opponent will be.  It will either be in the Capital One Bowl (vs. a Big 10 team) or the Cotton Bowl (vs. a Big 12 team).  I think it depends on who wins next weekend in Atlanta (Georgia v. 'Bama).  It also looks like OU has a shot at going to the Fiesta Bowl - if that happens then the CoBo will snatch up texas so they can get us matched up with them.

We'll find out next week after Championship Saturday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ag Football Preview: Mizzou

Ahhh, a familiar face. 

Mizzou jumped the sinking ship of the Big 12 with us to the great land of the SEC.  They haven't been as fortunate as we have in terms of our success in our inaugural season.  They are 5-6 on the season and just 2-5 in SEC play, with wins against Kentucky and a 4-OT win against Tennessee.

Behind LSU and Arkansas, they're the SEC opponent that we've played the most games against.  We hold the series record 7-5 but the Tigers have won the last 3....and due to some weird scheduling during/after conference realignment, they're coming to Kyle Field for the third year in a row.

Everytime I think about Missouri I think of one of the intro clips from one of the NCAA Football video games from the mid-2000s where one of their players looks at the camera and says, "Yeah Mizzoou."

That's my personal story of Mizzou.  They are a team that draws zero emotion out of me - not before the move to the SEC and not after.  What I am psyched about is a night game at Kyle Field with the Heisman Trophy on the line.

Mizzou QB James Franklin is a game time decision.  This is going to be a huge factor in how this game plays out.  Franklin is a good spread QB - he's silky smooth when he tucks the ball and runs, which allows him to keep plays alive and for receivers to get open.  He will give us fits.  If Franklin doesn't play, we will see Corbin Berstresser.  He has 23 rushing yards on the season - a bit different.

They have a 1,000 yard running back in Kendial Murphy - well, he's just shy at 938 with 11 TDs.  He only has 17 catches out of the backfield.

Franklin/Berstresser spread the ball out with 5 players over 20 receptions.  Lucas leads the team with 48 receptions and monster recruit, Dorial Green-Beckham, lead with 4 TDs,

Everything indicates that we should roll Mizzou but that's not enough - with the media's completely unwarranted push for Mante T'Or's Heisman bid Johnny needs to put up big numbers to keep his name where it should be on the top of voter's minds.

Lastly, this is the first year we're not playing the longhorns tonight.  Frankly, and this surprises me, I'm not even missing the game.

A month ago I was drooling at a chance to match up against them in the Cotton Bowl.  For the first time I felt like we could just clean their clocks and stick it to them.  No question in my mind. 

Then the Alabama win changed everything. 

We don't need to beat them to show everyone that we can be successful.  In fact, the table has completely turned - they need to play us a lot more than we need to play them.  The pendulum is swinging and we're racing past them and they want to trip us up to say, "See we are still relevant". 

A game against them doesn't do anything for us - if we beat them all we do is prove what we already know - if we somehow lose it undoes a good portion of the traction we've picked up during this incredible season.

They need to play us to have a chance to keep up with us now.  Honestly, they might need to allure of a match-up against us to even get an invite to the Cotton Bowl.

I've already given them too much back to the game at hand....


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Notre Dame Factor

Quick, pick the Heisman candidate out of this group....

        G Solo Ast Tot  TFL Sack INT PBU FF FR

Pl A.. 11  55   34  89  6.0  4.0  2   2   1  1
Pl B.. 10  52   47  99  9.0  3.0  0   1   2  0
Pl C.. 11  53   25  78 20.0 12.5  0   2   1  0
PL D.. 11  49   49  98  5.5  1.5  6   4   0  2
Pl E.. 11  47   54 101 13.5  3.0  1   5   1  0

Mante Te'O is Notre Dame's standout linebacker and he is having a wonderful season.  He also plays for Notre Dame, a team with such a deep historic resonating place in college football - a team that has been quite disappointing on the national level for the last 15-20 years.

Their fans (and media) are chomping at the bit for a return to glory and the Irish haven't disappointed this season.  If they can beat the reeling USC Trojans (who will be without their pre-season Heisman candidate at QB) then they'll face off against the SEC Champion for the National Championship.

Their offense is ranked in the bottom half nationally but they're led by their defense, who allows the fewest ppg in the country.

That said, since they are undefeated and look to be playing in the National Championship then they MUST have a Heisman candidate on their roster.  I'm pretty sure that's a rule.  AND THEY'RE NOTRE DAME!

Since their offense is ehhh you have to look to their defense where Mante Te'O is their best player - so he is the Heisman finalist.

That's how this works, isn't it?

Oh and Te'O is Player D up above.
  • A: Alabama LBer, C.J. Mosley
  • B: Baylor LBer, Bryce Hager
  • C: Fightin' Texas Aggie DE, DaMonsta Moore
  • D: Notre Dame LBer, Mante Te'O
  • E: LSU LBer, Kevin Minter
I threw a Baylor guy in there just to because I thought it was funny.  We all know they don't play defense.

Nope, Te'O isn't the best player in college football.  He isn't the best defensive player in the country.  He isn't even the best player at his position in the country.

Johnny Football For Heisman!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Heisman Update

Whoa, what a night for college football in general.

#1 Kansas State was TROUNCED by Baylor 52-24.  It wasn't even close.  Baylor was 1-5 in Big 12 play going into the game with a sub-.500 overall record on the season.

About 15 minutes after the KSU game ended, #2 Oregon went to OT against #13 Stanford and lost.

This pushes the SEC right back into the National Championship picture.  Barring any sort of craziness, the winner of the SEC title ('Bama or Georgia) should very likely be the favorite to fill the #2 spot in the NC game. The SEC has won the last 6 NCs and has 6 of the Top 10 teams in the BCS rankings.

The other day we concluded that Colin Klien was only the front runner for the Heisman because he was the QB on the undefeated Wildcats.  Well, he was pretty terrible against Baylor, and as a result, they aren't undefeated any more.

Klien threw for 286 yards and 2 TDs.  He also ran for 39 yards and 1 TD on 17 carries.  He also threw THREE interceptions.  To Baylor?!?!

Baylor was THE WORST defense in the nation going into the game.  There are 120 teams and they were #120.  They were giving up over 500 yards per game.  K-State had 362.

Kejon Barner, who is Oregon's candidate, finished with only 67 yards on 21 carries as the RB was a complete non-factor in their loss to the Cardinal.

Notre Dame and their superstar LBer, Mante Te'O, may be the biggest beneficiary of the upsets at the top.  Notre Dame will move to #1 in the polls and Te'O is now going to get some pub for Heisman.

Now, it's pretty unlikely for a defensive player that doesn't play special teams to win - I mean, if any defender is going to win it it would have been the Honey Badger last year.  But Te'O plays for ND and they always get a push for whatever it is they're in the running for as a result.

Johnny might have come out of the weekend smelling like a rose.  Frankly, he couldn't really do much to help himself this weekend against the FCS opponent, but he certainly could have lost it.  He put up 367 yards and 5 TDs and played just one snap after the halftime whistle.  It was about as good as we could have asked for....outside of his one INT.  Well, and if he would have hit that PAT.

In my mind, this is a no contest but it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.  It almost seems that since Johnny is a freshman everyone is looking under rocks for other candidates.  He gets one more chance to push his card to the top of the deck for the entire nation to see.


Ag Football Recap: Ags Keep Rolling with SHSU, 47-28

It started slowly but when the switch flipped it stuck and the next thing we knew, the game was out of control.

From the span starting when the clock hit the 5:24 mark in the second quarter until when it hit the 10:41 mark in the third quarter (so 10 minutes of football) we scored 33 points.  We had TD drives of 1:14, 0:49, 0:16, 0:12, 0:13.

Johnny threw for 267 and ran for another 100 with 5 total TDs.  He only played 1 snap in the second half.  The Ags were up 40-0 at that point.
Trey Williams had a couple of nice little runs, including a TD, and EZ had a day to remember with 4 receptions for 160 yards and a TD....and was inches shy of a second.

A couple of interesting events....
  • C-Mike was ejected for striking an opponent.  I didn't see what happened but that wasn't good
  • Johnny missed a PAT.  How friggin' awesome would it have been if he had made that?  He would have picked up a huge amount of pub.
  • Johnny broke the school record for total offense in a season during the game
  • He also broke the NCAA freshman record for rushing offense by a QB and the freshman record for total offense by a freshman
Next weekend we finish up the regular season with Mizzou, who will be making their third trip to Kyle Field in as many years.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Johnny for Heisman

So, Johnny is having a pretty good season.  He's not the only one though.  Kansas State's Colin Klien is having a wonderful season for his respective team.

So what is all the fuss about?
The Heisman Trophy.  The most prestigious individual award in all of sports.

What are the requirements?
"The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.  Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work."
Ok, so who is the most outstanding?  Well, Johnny Football is.
Let's take a look at the arguements....

Looking at the Numbers
                  TOTAL                 PASSING             RUSHING
          Snaps  Yards  Avg/G  TD   Yards  Avg/G  TDs   Yards  Avg/G  TDs  
          =======================   =================   =================

J.Football 492   3,794  379.4  33   2,780  278.0   18   1,014  101.4   15
   C.Klien 362   2,768  276.8  24   2,020  202.0   12     783   78.3   12
  • Johnny has more than 1,000 yards more than Klien.

  • Johnny has nearly 30% more TDs than Klien.

  • Johnny has played more snaps than Klien so you do have to take that into account. 
  • Johnny STILL averages more yards per play than Klien.

  • Johhny has a tackle and a forced fumble.

  • Johnny broke the SEC record for total offense in a single game in the 4th career appearance.
  • Johnny then broke his own SEC record for total offense in a single game in his 6th career appearance.

  • Johnny is the first player in NCAA history to throw for 400+ yards and run for 100+ in a single game.

  • Johnny averages 379.4 yards per game.
  • Klien's season high is 364 yards.
The SEC is notorious for defense.  Mack Brown has made it very clear at the beginning of the season that an "SEC defense" is something every team aspires to be.  Johnny Football turned the best defensive conference in the country on it's ear.
  • Cam Newton had the greatest single season in SEC history with 4,327 yards of total offense. 
  • Johnny is on pace for 4,932. 
  • Cam did it in 14 games.
  • Johnny should break it in 12.

  • Johnny has played 3 Top 10 defenses.
  • Klien has played 2 Top 50 defenses.
In those three games against Top 10 defenses A&M outperformed each of their season averages - by quite a large margin.
         FLORIDA           LSU           ALABAMA
        Avg  v.aTm     Avg  v.aTm      Avg  v.aTm
       ===========     ==========     ===========
TotD    285    334      263   410      243    418
ScoD   12.9     17     15.5    19     11.1     29
  • Big 12 as a whole gives up 403.5 yards per game.  Klien averages only 276.8.
  • SEC as a whole gives up 357.6 yards per game.  Johnny averages 379.4.

  • Klien barely averages 200 passing ypg....the Big 12 defenses allow an average of 253.6 ypg.
  • Johnny averages 278 passing ypg....the SEC defenses allow an average of 219.1 ypg.

  • Johnny had 345 yards of total offense against Alabama.
  • Klien topped that number once with his season high 364 yards against West Virginia.
  • Alabama is the #1 defense in the nation.
  • West Virginia is the 110th best defense in the nation.

  • Johnny is #1 the SEC in rushing yards
  • Klien is 4th in the Big 12 in rushing yards

  • Johnny is 3rd in the SEC in passing yards
  • Klien is 6th in the Big 12 in passing yards

  • Johnny is #1 the SEC in total offense
  • Klien is 5th in the Big 12 in total offense

  • Johnny is #1 the SEC in total TDs
  • Klien leads the Big 12 in total TDs
  • Hooray, Klien tied Johnny in a category
Due to our blowouts Johnny has played in 4 fewer quarters than Klien.  That's a full game.  Our backup QBs have taken a total of 48 snaps - that averages out to another 370 yards that Johnny would have easily had.

He's a Freshman and No Freshman Has Ever Won

So what?  Until 5 years ago, no sophomore had ever won.  Now let's think about this - it doesn't say anything about age or classification in the Heisman's mission statement.

Johnny is a redshirt freshman so the difference between him being a freshman and a sophomore is a handful of meaningless snaps in garbage time last season? Gimmie a break.

Johnny Has Lost Twice and Klien Has Led His Team to an Undefeated Record

Kansas State's undefeated record is the ONLY reason Klien's name is even in the arguement.

Guess what?  Tim Tebow and RG3 were both 9-3 at the end of the regular season and they still took home the hardware.

A&M has played one of the most difficult schedules in the country.  Our two losses are to #6 Florida and #7 LSU. 

We lost to Florida by 3 points in Johnny's first collegiate game.  We lost to LSU by 5 points.  We missed two FG and a PAT. 

Oh and did I mention that WE BEAT #1 BAMA! 
Look, I know that I'm naturally inclined to lean towards Johnny, but the numbers don't lie.  Johnny Football has had a better season while doing it against better opponents with better defenses.

There is only one thing to say....Johnny for Heisman!

Ag Football Preview: Sam Houston State

Coming off of one of the most exciting week of Aggie football ever we still have to play a game.
Here's the skinny on Sam
  • 8-2 ranked #3 in the nation in the FCS
  • Played for the NC last season
  • 7 game win streak
  • Lost to Baylor in Waco 48-23 then to Central Arkansas 24-20
  • RB Tim Flanders is school's all time leading rusher
  • We are 10-0 against SHSU
  • We last met in '97 when we won 59-6
  • Lots of former Aggie players will suit up at Kyle Field again
    • Chance Nelson (WR)
    • Will Randolph (RB)
    • K.J. Williams (TE)
    • Andrew Weaver (DE)
This should be a game that we win quite handily.  It is on PPV and I'm not sure how I feel about that....on one hand it restricts people from seeing us nationally, which is particularly important with Johnny's push for the Heisman.  On the other hand, Johnny likely won't play the whole game and whatever numbers he puts up will be credited to the level of the opponent.

The game is sold out....for SHSU.  The place is going to be rocking.  I'm not sure I've ever been away from Kyle Field during a season as long as I have been right now - it's been since September 29th against Arkansas that I last stepped foot on the glorious grounds.  Holy cow that game seems like ages ago.

One last quick note....Wednesday night we all got a scare as a missing person report was filed for freshman WR, Thomas Johnson.  He had not been seen since Monday evening but police we able to locate him in the last 24 hours.  Glad that he is ok - very glad.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ag Football Recap: Ags Roll Tide, 29-24

It seems like so long ago....
"The Aggies can't compete in the SEC"

"The Aggies are going to get killed in the SEC"

"We've upgraded with TCU"

Here's a better one for you:
"First of all, you've got to really congratulate Texas A&M's team.  They played a tremendous game and certainly out played us in the game today."
That last one was from Nick Saban's post game press conference.  Nick Saban!  He was sad.  That needs to be fed to recruits on a spoon.

Ten years ago, this week, Texas A&M offensive coordinator, Kevin Sumlin, coached his freshman QB, Reggie McNeal, to a victory over #1 Oklahoma. 

Today, Texas A&M head coach, Kevin Sumlin, coached his freshman QB, Johnny Manziel, to a victory over #1 Alabama.

Is it too early to start fundraising for a statue? 

Sean, Katie, my Father-in-Law, my wife's cousin (and her daughters), my wife's aunt....the whole gang was over.  It was a very spirited evening filled with OOOOOHHHHHH YEAAAAAHHs and OHHH NOOOOOOs.

Simply put, we went into Tuscaloosa and stunned the #1 team in the nation.  It wasn't a game they choked away, it was one that we went out and took.  It put A&M on the map and it legitimized us and our move to the SEC. 

We put up over 400 yards and 29 points on the stingy Alabama defense.

The game started out with a 'Bama 3-and-out and we marched down the field and scored on a 1 yard C-Mike TD run.  On 'Bama's second drive AJ McCarron threw a pass over the middle and Howard Matthews crushed the WR just as the ball hits his hands and it popped out right to Sean Porter.  It was the first INT thrown by McCarron in 142,974,928 pass attempts - and was really the only stat media folk could point to as to why he should be in the running for the Heisman

Johnny threaded a 32 yard pass on a post route that Kendric McNeal dove for and caught at the 9 yard line.  On 3rd down, Johnny took off to his right and ran into Jake Matthews and the ball popped out of his grip - but Johnny caught it out of the air, spun to his left, ran a few steps and then and found Ryan Swope sitting all alone in the back of the endzone.
"Oh my gracious!  How about that!"
                                       - Verne Lundquist
It was a brilliant Johnny Football moment.

We forced another 3-and-out and then manufacture a 14 play, 73 yard drive that manifested with another short C-Mike TD run.  Bertolet missed the PAT.  It has become a tradition.....but it's now 20-0 in A&M's favor.

As the second quarter started, the Tide picked up their first 1st down en route to their first TD drive of the game.   We couldn't answer....Johnny made another incredible play to find Swope for a first down but then couldn't convert on a 4th-and-6 a bit later - Johnny was pushed out of bounds about 10" shy.

Bama's next drive they had a couple of gashing plays before punching it into the endzone.  It amazes me how quickly momentum can swing in college football.  At this point everyone at the house got really quiet - an eerily, nervous quiet.  And it stayed that way through the half - that was the longest halftime ever - and well into the third quarter.

To start the third quarter we went 3-and-out but forced Bama to punt, who forced us to punt again.  Then they scored on a FG to bring the score to 20-17. 

We're all sweating bulletts....we've seen this play out before and the announcers make sure to remind us of our ghosts of 2011.

The offense finally started clicking again.  Johnny went to Mike Evans (the Beast) for a couple big first downs and ended up tacking on a 23 yard FG.  23-17 Ags.

The defense forces another 3-and-out so Bama punts to us again.

Johnny found Swope in traffic and Swope makes the catch and takes a WHOLLOP and picked up 15 more yards on a contact to the head flag.  Johnny went to Evans twice but Fulton has incredible coverage and forces incomplete passes (he had two on the prior drive like that as well).  Bertolet ends up missing a 37 yard FG.  ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH.

McCarron turned around and hit a 50 yard house goes silent.  On the next play, Yeldon coughs up a fumble and the Ags recover!!!!!  We went nuts.

On the first play, Johnny hit Swope on a wheel route - it was magnificant - Swope caught it in stride in double coverage....42 yards.  Ryan Swope is fearless and I love him for that.
On the next snap, Johnny hit Malcome Kennedy at the left pylon - Kennedy made an incredible juggling catch - for the TD.  We went for two and couldn't convert it but pushed the lead out to 29-17 with 8:37 left in the game.  Holy Moses, what a ballgame.

On the following drive, McCarron is inches from being picked again - Deshazor Everett went up for the ball and came down with his toe in bounds but his back heel landed out of bounds.  Then McCarron hit Amari Cooper for a 54 yard TD down the left sideline.  29-24 with 6:09 remaining.

We were forced to punt on another 3-and-out.  Alabama takes over with 4:27 remaning at their 40 yard line.

On the first snap McCarron hit Kenny Bell for another 54 yard pass to the 6 yard line.

Holy $*^#.

McCarron is dropped for a loss on 1st down.  On second down Lacy ran for 1 yard.  On third down McCarron scrambles all over the field, looks like he might have found an opening but gets hit and dropped at the 2 yard line.

It's 4th down and they are on our 3 yard line.  If they score, they take the lead and leave us with just under 2 minutes left.

Alabama puts the WR in motion from left to right and McCarron throws to him out in the flat by the right pylon - and Deshazor Everett stepped in front of the pass and picked it off!!!  I'm not even sure what I was screaming at this point in the game.  When I could take a breath during the commercial break I apologized to the others in the room in the event that something inappropriate came out.

Bama does force us to punt from right at the goal line and should have about 30 seconds left - but they are flagged for an offsides and we are given the first down.  Johnny takes a couple of kneels and the clock hits 0:00.  We celebrate joyously.  

This was easily one of the biggest wins in school history.

We have defeated the last two National Champions by a combined score of 92-45....and finish our season with an undefeated record on the road (La Tech, Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State, Alabama)

Johnny finished the game with 253 yards and 2 TDs passing and another 92 yards on the ground.  Thomas Johnson quietly had a couple of really big plays.  Mike Evans didn't huge numbers but he fought for several key first downs - the kid is so strong.  He's a beast.
Swope became the school record holder in career receptions.....he has 111 yards on 11 receptions and a TD.  In 7 SEC games, Swope has 48 receptions for 668 yards and 7 TDs.

Holy cow, the rematch next year at Kyle Field is going to be nuts!

We have Sam Houston State next weekend and then Mizzou right after Thanksgiving.  Then, barring some sort of nutso turn of events that would put us in the SEC title game, we wait for our bowl game....will it be the Captial One Bowl?  The Cotton Bowl?  The Fiesta Bowl?  It should be an exciting month and a half.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ag Football Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide are one of college football's elite programs.  The Tide has 14 National Championships, 22 SEC Championships, and are one of the winningest programs in college football history.

Everyone instinctively points to Bear Bryant for this success, but this goes beyond the legend of The Bear.  Bryant had a National Championship from his playing days at ' of five that they had notched before he even showed back up in 1958 as the head coach.

I've read a couple of books about Bryant, a couple about 'Bama football, and then of course one of my favorites, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, by Warren St. John.  I've always like 'Bama and almost always rooted for them when I watched casually as a non-partisan viewer.  I have a framed picture of Bear Bryant hanging on the wall of my study (post-College Station).  This is one of the reasons I cried for two years for us to make the move the SEC.  Now that we play them regularly, I don't know if I'll be able to hold a level of respectable admiration (like I did for Nebraska) or if I'll grow to despise them like most of the conference already does.  This is one of the learning curves I'm going through with realignment.

Coach Wade Wallace won in 1925, 1926, and 1934 and then Coach Frank Thomas won in '34 (with Bryant on the squad) and '41.  National Championships, that is.
Bear in '61
Following Thomas' time in Tuscaloosa they settled down into normalcy for a number of years before stealing Bryant away from our Texas Aggies.  Bryant famously said, "Momma called. And when Momma calls, you just have to come runnin'."

In his fourth season, the Tide won the '61 NC and then went on to win again in '64 and '65.  Bryant's boys then hit a skid.  From '61-'66 the Tide were 60-5-1 but from '67-'70 they were a mere 28-15, including a couple of 6 win seasons.  Unfathomable, right?

What did Bear do?  He secretly consulted longhorn head coach, Darrell Royal, and brought the wishbone to Tuscaloosa in the off-season and turned college football on it's side. From 1971-1979 the Tide went 97-11 with three more National Championships.

The Bear retired following an 8-4 season in 1982 at the age of 69 and four weeks later he suffered a heart attack and died.  Thousands upon thousands of college football fans lined the interstate as his hearse drove to Birmingham.
He is the most legendary coach in the history of American sports.

Former All-American, Ray Perkins, takes over the impossible task of filling Bear Bryant's shoes. He was replaced by Bill Curry in '87 who was replaced in '91 by Gene Stallings.
Me with Bebes
Bebes Stallings was a Junction Boy under Bryant in 1954 at A&M and coached our Ags from '65-'71 (where he beat his mentor in the '68 Cotton Bowl).  He is currently on the Board of Regents at A&M....but he has a statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Why?  He won the National Championship in 1992.

(Jackie Sherrill also played for 'Bama under Bryant, yet another incredible tie in between the two schools)

Stallings continued a strong run through the mid-90s until Mike Dubose took over in '97.  That was kind of the beginning of the end.  The Tide went through Dubose, Fran, Mike Price, & Mike Shula over the next decade.  Yeah, we stole Fran from them, which at the time was a big deal - but, as we now know, it turned out to be yet another fleecing by the Tide.

Then, and excuse the pun, the tide turned.  'Bama went out and hired Nick Saban.  Game over SEC.

Saban took over a squad that went 6-7 in '06 and by '08 was SEC West Champs with a 12-2 season record.  One year later he was a National Champion behind Heisman winner, Mark Ingram ('Bama's lone Heisman winner).  Two years later Saban hosted the crystal trophy again.....and is sitting in the driver's seat this year.

He has a statue too. That's a pretty powerful recruiting tool.
On the way back from Auburn we visited Bryant-Denny Stadium and it is intimidating - even when it is empty.  It's the largest stadium I've been in (it holds just under 102,000 crazies) and it feels every bit as big as that.  It is just enormous.  I cannot wait until I get up to Tuscaloosa in '14 to see us play there.

I cannot imagine what the traffic is like getting to Tuscaloosa and getting to the stadium.  The city just doesn't seem like it would be really traffic friendly.

If you are lucky enough to be making the trip this weekend - do yourself a favor and get some ribs at Dreamland.  They are incredible.  It's a little off the beaten path (keep an eye out for Jug Factory Rd) but whoa nelly they are good.

The other recommendation I'd make would be to skip the Bear Bryant Museum.  There is very little Bryant in there, it's mostly the history of Alabama football.  It was cool but unless you have a rooting interest there are only so many jerseys you can look at from the early-1900s or trophies from the 19xx Whatever Bowl. 

The two coolest things, I thought, was a setup of Coach Bryant's office and John David Crow's Heisman trophy.  JDC houses his trophy at the museum as Bryant's only Heisman winner.....BUT it is in the lobby so you don't even need an admission ticket to get to see it.

The school isn't super steep in things to see in terms of unique traditions (if you don't count winning).  The one thing that you will hear, hopefully only once, is their Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer chant.
Hey (Opponent)!
We're gonna beat the hell out of you!
Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, give 'em hell, Alabama!

Post Game:
Hey (Opponent)!

We just beat the hell out of you!
Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, give 'em hell, Alabama!
Alabama is the Yellowhammer state, a nickname that originates with the state bird.

This year's squad currently sits as the undisputed #1 team in the nation and is coming off of the college football regular season equivalent of the Super Bowl.  They went into Death Valley and knocked off #6 LSU with a last minute TD drive last weekend.  It was one of the best games I've seen in a couple of years.
ALA O v. aTm D
  24 Rush 31
  80 Pass 70
  48  Tot 46
  17 Scor 27
Their offense isn't going to fill the highlight reels but it is perfectly designed to compliment their defense.  A.J. McCarron is efficient, experienced, more than capable, and doesn't turn the ball over (as in 0 INTs on the season).  He's the starting QB for the best team in college football - and after his game winning drive last weekend finds himself right square in the middle of the Heisman race.

Their running game is sick.  T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy are one of the best one-two backfields in the country.  They are strong, and fast, and quick and powerful.  They also run behind one of the best offensive lines ever assembled.
aTm O v. ALA D
  10 Rush  2
  19 Pass  8
   5  Tot  2
   4 Scor  1
They have the best defense in the country, which should come as no surprise - Nick Saban always does.  They are led by their three linebackers Nico Johnson, C.J. Mosley, and true freshman Trey Depriest.  This is the matchup that everyone will be tuning in to watch.  Can our high tempo, spread offense execute against the textbook definition of "SEC defense" that we hear so much about?

Here is something interesting to look at.  While we have played two teams in the same realm of defensive greatness (LSU & Florida), 'Bama hasn't seen anyone close to our level of offense.
  OPPONENT    TotO  ScoO
  Michigan     82    60
W.Kentucky     66    57
  Arkansas     46    77
       FAU    105   114 
  Ole Miss     57    55
    Mizzou    109    94
 Tennessee     18    24
  Miss. St     73    48
       LSU     71    57
 TEXAS A&M      5     4
I'm not at all insinuating that Bama's defense is good because they've played bad offenses - they're good regardless of who steps on the field.  What I am saying is that they haven't seen an offense as powerful as ours.

That is what makes this game so exciting - there is a reasonable expected result (the #1 team will beat the #15 team) but then there is this huge unknown which is so intriguing and mysterious.
Nick Saban is going to pound us all night long with their big OL and running game to control the clock and wear us out.  Then he's going to press our WRs and make Johnny beat them - with freak of nature linebackers zeroed in on him.  I don't think that is any secret - the problem is that very few teams can out execute 'Bama with that game plan.

Completely unrelated: Saban is only 2 months younger than Mack Brown!?!  I would have put the over/under at 10 years.

Here are the stats between our common opponents this season:
            Ark   OM  MSU  LSU
            ===  ===  ===  ===

aTm RushO   218  290  361  134
Ala RushO   225  125  179  166

aTm PassO   498  191  332  276
Ala PassO   213  180  235  165

aTm RushD   142  159   98  219
Ala RushD    58   80   47  139

aTm PassD   373  305  212   97

Ala PassD    79  138  209  296
Another interesting trend....Alabama's pass defense over the last four week has given up: 126 yards then 203 yards then 209 yards then 296 yards.

This is why they play the game.  Just another game that the exemplifies the reason we wanted to make the conference move to the SEC.  This is fun.

I did that entire preview without any houndstooth.  Don't worry you'll get enough by the end of the weekend.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I was saddened to find out today that iconic longhorn head coach, Darrell Royal, has passed at the age of 88.
I may have hated the colors he wore, but today is a sad day for the world of college football.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Ag Football Recap: Ags Continue to Roll, 38-13

Did the Ags just go on the road and knock off a top 15 team?  Yeah they did.

The one thing that might have been bigger?  We wore BLACK uniforms.
Yeah, the Maroon & White.....the old traditional school....we changed it up a bit.

On the field, the Ags surged ahead early and often - by the of our first drive of the second half it was a 31-0 ballgame.  We finished with 693 yards of offense - on 97 plays.

It was led by a very strong running game - 361 yards.  Johnny had 129 yards (and 2 TDs), Ben Malena added 112 yards and a TD and C-Mike had 50 yards and 2 TDs.
We did it through the air too....Swope had 121 yards on 9 receptions and Mike Evans had another 97 on 9 receptions.

And no turnovers.

The defense was stout.  The Bulldogs ran for 98 yards and only threw for 212.  Damontre Moore probably had the defensive play of the game as he tracked down a MSU wide receiver from behind and made the tackle.

Next week is another monster clash as we travel to Tuscaloosa to take on #1 Alabama.  This is SEC football!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ag Football Preview: #15 Mississippi State

Mississippi State football is not as renowned on the field as most of it's SEC West rivals but this season they have put together something for the fan base to get excited about.

They were 7-0 and ranked #11 in the BCS rankings going into last weekend's match up against #1 Alabama....but 8-0 was not to be.  Bama dismantled them.

The Bulldogs have one SEC title from back in 1941 and won their division one additional time (1998).  They do not have a strong history of greatness. 

We have two very obvious ties to the school.  They were originally named the Mississippi A&M Aggies until they were nicknamed the Maroons and later the Bulldogs.  The other is that we shared a head coach in Jackie Sherrill.  Jackie took over the program in 1991 and coached in Starkville for 13 years and left as the winningest coach in school history.
They play their games in Davis Wade Stadium, which we visited on our trip last weekend.  It seats about 55,000 but it is pretty non-discrept and there really wasn't anything, that we could see, special.

The big tradition that MSU has are the cowbells that their fans bring and ring.  For years it was against SEC rules for artificial noisemakers but in 2010 the conference voted to allow MSU to use their cowbells.

We've faced the Bulldogs 5 different times, but our only game against them since 1919 was the Independence Bowl on New Year's Eve in 2000 - it was my freshman year.  It snowed in Shreveport and the running game was the only way to get the ball down the field - Ja'Mar Toombs had nearly 200 yards on the ground.  It went to OT and following a Toombs TD we had the PAT blocked and run back.  We lost a bowl game to MSU.

This week's game is a little different.  It is safe to say that this game will be the difference from us having a pleasantly surprising season to a WHOA season. 

A win on the road against a top 15 team would be huge for the program, and frankly, I think we've got a pretty good shot of doing it.

The Bulldogs have 7 wins but only one of those opponents has a winning record - their best win is against a 5-3 Middle Tennessee State? 
Their three SEC victories are against Auburn, Kentucky, and Tennessee - who are a combined 0-17 in SEC play. 

Basically, they're a product of their schedule.  They still have us, LSU, Arkansas, and Ole Miss on the schedule - they could very easily finish the season with a 5 game losing skid.

MSU O v. aTm D
  60 Rush 38
  63 Pass 80
  66  Tot 55
  43 Scor 34
Mississippi State's offense is worse than our defense.  Against that schedule.  This plays HUGE into our favor.
aTm O v. MSU D
  14 Rush 45
  19 Pass 21
   5  Tot 28
   3 Scor 15
Their defense has been pretty good - but they haven't faced an offense that comes close to touching us.

I think this is a winnable game as long as we don't go into a turnover slump.  Protect the ball and win.



I'm working on my Auburn Road Trip Recap.....slowly but surely.

We just closed on our new house so I just got the internet hooked up (thanks brother!) and I have a bunch of unpacking and preventative maintenance tasks that are leaving me exhausted by the end of the evening.

It might not be up before the MSU preview but I'll get to it at some point.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ag Football Preview: Auburn

Auburn is very interesting program.  They remind me of A&M because they were a fellow land grant university and were named early on the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Alabama.

In the broad picture, they are also like A&M in that their fellow large state school arrogantly looks down their nose at them.

The Tigers claim three national championships (1913, 1957, and 2010) and three Heisman Trophy winners - QB Pat Sullivan in 1957, RB Bo Jackson in 1985, and QB Cam Newton in 2010.

When I was a kid, Bo Jackson was like a mythical creature.  He couldn't have been human.  I read his 218 page autobiography in one day while in 3rd grade.  I was just entering the crazy world of sports fandom in the late-80s/early-90s and at that time there were no bigger names than Bo Jackson, Nolan Ryan, Joe Montana, and Magic/Bird.

You could have made a sports Mount Rushmore those would be the faces on it, albeit the Magic/Bird half-and-half would be a bit weird looking. 

I never played Tecmo Bowl but I knew who Bo Jackson was.  He was a rare two-sport athlete - not just a guy who could play both games, but a guy who was good at both games. 

I was a baseball nut so I remember him hitting a lead-off HR in the '89 All-Star game - a BOMB to center field.....he ran up walls and threw strikes to home plate while still halfway up the wall.....he splintered bats over his knee like toothpicks.  The guy was like a cyborg. 

He broke his hip, in what would essentially end his sports careers, but not before building his legend just a little more....he HRed in his first at-bat back a vow he made to his mother before she passed.

Cam Newton is another story entirely.  This was recently, so you all know the story.  He was a freshman at Florida but was kicked off the team following an arrest for stealing a laptop.  He went to Blinn JC in Brenham and then his father was paid a large sum of money to push Cam to Auburn.  In his single season at Auburn he had one of the greatest seasons in college football history.  It was cemented with a 24 point comeback victory in the Iron Bowl against #9 Alabama (in Tuscaloosa).  He went on to win the Heisman and the National Championship.  A tainted Heisman and tainted National Championship.

Sir Charles has an eagle on his arm
The Tigers also love eagles.  Their battle cry is "War Eagle!" and I expect we'll hear it at least 100 times this weekend.  One of the stories of the origin was that a Civil War soldier had found an eagle on the battlefield and kept it as a pet.  He brought it to a game and the eagle flew over the stadium and Auburn marched down the field against arch-rival Georgia for the win.

A great tradition came from that and Auburn now has a golden eagle (named War Eagle VII) that circles around the field prior to kickoff.  I'm excited to experience that in person - I love seeing other school's traditions.

Toomer's Corner after a victory
The other tradition that Auburn is most well known for is wrapping Toomer's Corner.  The corner is downtown Auburn and Toomer's Drug store is on it.  That's not the cool part though - there are two old oak trees at the corner and after big wins the Auburn faithful wrap the trees with paper.

Unfortunately, after Auburn won the national championship in 2010 an outraged 'Bama fan (Harvey Updyke) poisoned the oaks and they are dying.

Only in Alabama would someone be stupid enough to commit a crime of this magnitude and then call into the most popular radio show in the south and brag about it.  That happened.  His children's names are Crimson Tyde Updyke and Bear Bryant Updyke.  We can't make this stuff up, these are real people.

This was the biggest reason I decided to make the trip to Auburn this season over going to Ole Miss or Alabama - I want to see the trees before they're completely gone.  They're not in great shape, or even good shape, but they are still there.  It's a complete shame that someone took the liberty of single handedly killing one of the cooler traditions in college football.
Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium
The Tigers play their home games at Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which is located on-campus.  It is named after Shug Jordan (the winningest coach in Auburn history), Cliff Hare (a member of their first football team and later a dean at the school), and Pat Dye (who coached the Tigers from '81-'92).  It has a seating capacity of 87,000+.  Side note: it is pronounced "JURD-an"

This is only the second meeting between the two schools, which somewhat surprised me.  We beat them in College Station back in 1911 by a score of 16-0 and then again in the 50th Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1985 season.
Wrecking Crew > Bo Jackson
That game is probably considered one of our school's signature wins - mostly because of the incredible goal line stand that kept Heisman winner, Bo Jackson, out of the endzone on 4 consecutive plays.  Kevin Murray went nuts and the Ags won on a cold, blustery New Year's Day in Dallas.  That goal line stand was the epitome of Wrecking Crew defense, and the photo above hung on R.C. Slocum's wall in his office as a reminder.

This season's Tiger squad is pretty bad.  I don't think anyone expected them to win the division or conference but that isn't the problem....they are 1-6 on the season (0-5 in SEC play).  The only team they beat was overtime.

Only once have they scored more than 20 points.  That was bad in the 1960s.  They are kind of terrible at football.
   Auburn O v. aTm D                aTm O v. Auburn D
========================       =======================
 122 (97)   R   138 (45)        221 (19)  R   194 (95)
 154 (113)  P   254 (86)        303 (17)  P   217 (47)
 276 (119)  T   392 (62)        524 (9)   T   411 (75)
15.7 (118)  S  22.1 (38)       43.0 (9)   S  25.1 (55)
Not only are those stats there, but they have also given up 24 sacks in 7 games (que Demontre Moore) and have turned the ball over 19 times (11 INTs and 8 fumbles) compared to their defenses' 9 forced turnovers.

Defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder, is most likely a registered sex offender, probably.  There is no way he's not, right?  And there is no space in their last name.  There is no way you would hire this guy and then send him into the homes of a teenage boys to meet the parents with the goal of wooing them into letting their boy go with him.

At the helm of this squad is Gene Chizik.  He has a national championship ring from just two long seasons ago - but is about to lose his job.  You see, his glory is completely resting on his ability to have purchased the services of Cam Newton.  If you take Cam Newton out of his record, Chizik is just 16-16 overall and .7-14 in SEC play.  Before that he was 5-19 as the head coach at Iowa State.

Sadly, Chizik's mother passed away on Monday.  I wish to send him and his family condolences in this time of  sorrow.

It just hasn't been a good 3 months for him.  I'm not really even sure how to follow that up.

So I will leave it at this....

I am really excited about the trip - we're leaving on Friday and will likely spend the night in either Baton Rouge or New Orleans and then finish the drive Saturday morning.   It should be pretty fun - this is why I wanted to go to the SEC....I love road trips.

BTHO Auburn!  WHOOP!