Pre-Gaming w/Schmidtty: Mizzou Editionl

I know it’s been a while, but let’s get back on it! Texas travels to Missouri this weekend for what many may consider a trap game (seeing as the Tigers have already upset one Texas school this year in the Aggies). A ranked opponent lies in waiting next week in Kansas State, so lets hope the Burnt Orange and White doesn’t get caught up in looking ahead. The forecast for Columbia is a high of 62 degrees and a low of 51 degrees with winds that could occasionally gust over 40 mph. This will be the first time the Horns have been in less than sunny weather this season.

Head Coach (Record): Gary Pinkel (154-91-3 overall; 81-54 @ Missouri)

Current Record (Big 12): 4-5 (2-4)

BCS Standings: NR; AP Top 25 Ranking: NR; USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: NR

Player(s) to Watch for Mizzou: A lot of attention goes to the quarterback James Franklin as the sophomore is a legitimate threat to run (599 rushing yards, 10 rushing TDs) and pass (2,195 passing yards, nine passing TDs). But the guy you are going to hear more from on Saturday will most likely be Big 12 leading rusher Henry Josey. The 5-foot 10-inch sophomore is averaging 9.0 yards per carry at home this season, albeit that was mostly against opponents like Miami (OH), Western Illinois and Iowa State. Texas has been more than capable at stopping the run this year, but this may be one of the tougher tests of the season to this point (with solid running teams like Kansas State and Texas A&M to come).

Key Matchup: All Texans against All Missourians … Missourans … Missouriis … however you say it. Earlier this week Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a native of St. Louis, had some very pointed comments toward Texans.

“I hate people from Texas,” Richardson said. “I give people on our team from Texas a hard time because they’re from Texas. I hate Texas. I just do. I hate Texas. Any other overrated state in football, I pretty much hate. That’s how I feel about it.”

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Down here them’s fightin’ words. If that’s not bulletin board material then I don’t know what is. And Missouri actually has 35 players currently on their roster that are from Texas! Including the two mentioned above as players to watch! Texas produces more DI football players than any other state. Yes, there are bound to be misses (cough, Garrett Gilbert, cough) but there are also Heisman candidates (Andrew Luck, Case Keenum and LaMichael James are all in the Top 10 in the Heisman Race currently). So hold on tight because Malcolm Brown (if healthy), Fozzy Whittaker and Bam Bam Bergeron (new nickname I just coined, like?) are going to run all day.

No Love Lost for Longhorns via KOMU

Prediction: Texas should and will win this game against the Tigers. The Horns are 1-0 against teams on their way out of the Big 12 so I’d like to see them say ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out Mizzou!’ Final score … 45-32.

Where to Watch: The game will be on live at the crack of dawn (for a Saturday) at 11 a.m. on FX.

Hook ‘Em!

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Pre-Gaming w/Schmidtty: OK State Edition

That was one rough week. And now the other team from Oklahoma comes in attempting to kick the Horns while they’re down. A game plan on how to expose Texas’ weaknesses is now on film for all to see, so hopefully the coaching staff had a good week of practice. It’s all uphill – in terms of the schedule – from here, and there are no more gimme games for the Horns (except maybe Kansas). OK State will be a good barometer to see where Texas currently stands in it’s journey back to the top of the Big 12.

Head Coach (Record): Mike Gundy (52-29, All at OK State)

Current Record (Big 12): 5-0 (2-0)

AP Top 25 Ranking: #6; USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: #7

Player(s) to Watch for OK State: Easy, easy, easy … QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon. Weeden will get teased because he’s older than half the guys starting at his position … in the NFL (he’s older than Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Kevin Kolb, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton, Colt McCoy, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Chad Henne, Sam Bradford, Curtis Painter, Blaine Gabbert, Matt Moore and Tim Tebow … all guys that have started an NFL game in 2011 or will this coming week). That being said, the former Yankees farmhand is currently second in the nation in completion percentage (75.8%), fourth in passing yards (1,880), ninth in passing touchdowns (15) and he has a quarterback rating of 165.0 which places him at 12th overall. Blackmon is making a case to become the second straight Biletnikoff Award winner since Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech. He’s had a touchdown in each of the past four games and is averaging 106.8 receiving yards per game.

Key Matchup: Longhorn DBs vs. the OK State passing attack. Last week, the young corners were exposed by Landry Jones and the OU receivers. Their press coverage failed and guys like Ryan Broyles, Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills could run their routes as they pleased. OK State may not have the combined talent of those three receivers, but they do have Blackmon who may be better than all three combined. And with the lack of a pass rush by UT, the play of the DBs becomes all that much more important. The good news for Texas cornerbacks, Weeden has thrown six interceptions this year. The bad news, he hasn’t thrown one in the last two weeks (against Big 12 opponents Texas A&M and Kansas). The great comebacks against OK State have started with defense (and ended with VY 80-yard runs, see video below), and this year’s group will need a lot of it if they are going to pull off the upset.

Prediction: OU exposed Texas’ weaknesses that the lesser talented teams on the schedule couldn’t, including the two-QB system which up until that point had been pretty successful. The offensive line didn’t allow it’s young quarterbacks enough time to make decisions and never got enough of a push for their running backs. If not for Fozzy Whittaker, would Texas have moved the ball on the ground at all? Even the wide receivers were getting sacked (Jaxon Shipley now has even more in common with Case McCoy). And all the talk about Texas not being worried about the lack of sacks by it’s defense because they were still getting pressure on quick-release QBs can be put to bed now. Landry Jones attempted 50 passes and got sacked once. It’s a problem. I don’t think Mack Brown has all the answers in one short week against a team that is clicking on all cylinders putting 70 points on Kansas last week. OK State wins this one 42-21.

Where to Watch: DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium of course! Well, if you can’t get through the gates you can always catch it on ABC at 2:30 PM CST.

Hook ‘Em!

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Don’t stop ’til you get enough

Can’t get enough UT-OU coverage leading up to tomorrow’s big game? Here are some links to coverage around the country.

ESPN – Pat Forde takes a deep look at the 2011 Texas Longhorns and what a difference a year makes after their 5-7 season in his article titled “Do Adjustments Mean Improvements?”

Sports Illustrated – Bill Trocchi previews the game as part of their Game of the Week package while Paul Finebaum takes a shot at UT for it’s role in the pushing the realignment agenda in what he calls a power play. There’s also a nice photo gallery chronicling the game since 2000.

CBS Sports – Dennis Dodd says Don’t Mess with Texas/OU in his column about keeping the Big 12 and the Red River Rivalry intact.

Austin American-Statesman – Randy Riggs has a nice article about how the Red River Rivalry has a recruiting impact.

The Oklahoman – Berry Tramel equates the game between Texas and OU as a poker match with the Cotton Bowl being a card table where the Sooners can finally win a hand. Travis Haney continues the poker metaphor with his key to the game, turnovers.

Barking Carnival – There are several articles previewing the game, but I really like the Ground and Pound about how Texas can beat OU. Or this one where the writer calls Landry Jones Uncle Rico.

Bleacher Report – Jacob Keyes gives his 3 Key deciding factors for the Texas/OU game. Harsh Kalan also gives his 5 reasons that Case McCoy is the Longhorn QB of the future.

I’m sure and also has a lot of good coverage, but i’m not a subscriber so take a look if you are.

For those that will be at the game, be sure to take a look at the State Fair of Texas’ website to look at the new foods available this year. It isn’t called the Fried Food Capital of the Texas for nothing. The winner of the 2011 Big Tex Choice Award for Best Taste this year went to the Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack and the Most Creative Award was won by Fried Bubblegum. Descriptions below:

Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack BEST TASTE - A buffalo chicken strip is coated in flapjack batter, rolled in jalapeno bread crumbs, deep fried to a golden brown, skewed, and served with a side of syrup.  Crowd pleasing appetizer or a meal in itself! inside the Automobile Building and in the Thrill Way.

Fried Bubblegum MOST CREATIVE - You’ll swear it’s bubblegum!  A light as a feather bubble gum flavored marshmallow is dipped in batter and lightly fried to perfection.  Decorated with a swirl of icing.  A final sprinkling of powdered sugar completes this treat!  It will blow you away!  Granny’s Funnel Cakes on Coliseum Drive.

This year, I’m finally going to try the Fried Coke. When I finally found it last year, they were all sold out so my journey continues. Fried Salsa also may get a try. Take a look at the Fried Food Review from Pegasus News below.






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Pre-Gaming w/Schmidtty: OU (still sucks) Edition

The 106th Red River Rivalry is tomorrow and personally I can’t wait. The State Fair and the Cotton Bowl await the flood of Burnt Orange and Crimson. No need to hype it up any further so let’s get down to previewing the matchup.

Head Coach (Record): Bob Stoops (133-31, all at OU)

2010 Record: 12-2 (6-2/1st Big 12 South; Big 12 Conference Champions; beat UCONN 48-20 in the Fiesta Bowl)

Returning Starters: Offense 9 / Defense 8

Player(s) to Watch for OU: The easy choices are Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles or Travis Lewis (which will all play major roles for OU in this game), but this game tends to make stars out of the lesser known players. This year’s standout performer could be No. 2 wideout Kenny Stills who has 14 catches for 205 yards this year. For a team that likes to throw a lot, he’s the next guy Jones will target if Broyles is covered. If you will recall the 2010 Red River Rivalry, Broyles had a subpar day while Stills posted stats of 78 yards and a TD as a freshman to lead the Sooners.

Key Matchup: The McAsh Experiment vs. the OU D. If Texas is to win this game, they will have to have stellar performances by their young QBs. Both defenses are solid and OU has a very experienced offense (currently ranked 11th in the country in scoring) so the only real unknown in this game is the Texas offense. A lot of Longhorn freshman will be experiencing this rivalry for the first time on the field, so how they react is key. It’s a big stage, but so far they have stepped up to the challenge and guys like Jaxon Shipley and Malcolm Brown have played like seasoned vets. Case McCoy and David Ash are wild cards because though they have played well using their package of plays, nothing they have experienced so far compares to what they will see on Saturday.

Prediction: Call me a homer, but I believe in the Longhorns. The attitude has changed and though I know rationally that they won’t go undefeated this year, I don’t think they get a loss in this game. OU is not unbeatable. They have holes just like every other team. And anyone can win in a rivalry matchup. Which is why I’ll take Texas 28-24 in a close one in Dallas.

Where to Watch: If you can’t make it up to the Cotton Bowl for the game then at least go for all the deep fried treat!!! No? Alright, then you got the game broadcast live @11 AM CST (a.k.a. the crack of dawn for college football fans) on ABC.

Hook ‘Em

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Pre-Gaming w/Schmidtty: Iowa State Edition

Texas opens their Big 12 Conference play with an away game in Ames, IA this weekend. The Cyclones beat Texas in 2010 for the first time in the school’s history. This one sets up to be a defensive battle as Iowa State has held each opponent this season under 25 points in regulation (Iowa scored 41 against the Cyclones, but 17 of those points came during the three overtimes). The Texas defense has also been stingy giving up only 15 pts/game but that number has been on the rise since holding Rice to three field goals in the opener.

Head Coach (Record): Paul Rhoads (15-13, all at Iowa State)

2010 Record: 5-7 (3-5/4th Big 12 North)

Returning Starters: Offense 6 / Defense 9

Player(s) to Watch for Iowa State: Quarterback Steele Jantz not only has a videogame name, but he can make videogame-like plays. That’s not to say that he is the perfect quarterback, but he can put up the occasional gamebreaker. His coach may have put it best, “He’s made a higher number than we would like of poor decisions. He’s made great decisions and he’s made some spectacular plays. I would say at this point he’s inconsistent. Certainly not unusual for a first-time starter at this level, coming off a successful junior college career.” If you want to know what Iowa State fans think, watch the fan video below.

Key Matchup: Malcolm Brown vs. the Iowa State Linebackers. Brown has essentially become Texas’ most reliable playmaker. He’s been the model of consistency for the Longhorns so far this season, and was a steady force for Texas while the QB situation was in flux. With the threat of a passing game now back in Texas’ arsenal, Brown should see a few more open running lanes than he has in the first three contests. That is of course if he can get by junior linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein of Iowa State. So far this season the two have combined for 55 tackles (four for a loss).

Prediction: Texas WILL come out of Ames with a 4-0 record. The question is, will it be a pretty victory or not? The only reason the score against Iowa got up in the 40′s against Iowa State was because they went to three overtimes. Otherwise Iowa State has kept every opponent under 25 points in regulation. The Cyclones haven’t scored in the first quarter through their first three games, so they are susceptible to a quick start by their opponents. They get tougher as the game goes on though as they have outscored their opponents in the remaining three quarters.

Where to Watch: You can catch the game on FX at 6 PM CT. Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Tim Brewster will be on the call. On a side note, if you haven’t used the Gus Johnson soundboard yet, you haven’t lived. ONE MAN TO BEAT … DOWN THE SIDELINE … OOOHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Hook ‘Em!

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