January 28, 2008

Ranking The RB Seasons -- #9

#9--Cedric Benson, 2001
Stats: 12 games, 223 carries for 1090 yards (4.7 ypc) and 12 tds.

The season: Ced B came to the 40 Acres as one of the highest ranked running backs in his class. Texas went 11-2 with one of the more disappointing endings of the Mack Brown era, losing to Colorado in the Big XII Championship game with a potential thwacking from Miami in the national championship game on the line. Ced played sparingly in the tune-ups before not playing against Oklahoma, although there's no telling if he would have improved on Ivan Williams' 12 carries for 30 yards. Ced came through the second half of the season, including a 213-yard perspective against mighty Kansas.

The ranking: Ced B in '01 comes in at a very controversial 9th. We'll give you a moment to gasp in amazement/disgust. Ok, carrying on. He shared carries to begin the season, didn't play against Oklahoma, but showed flashes of brilliance that we would see again in the second half of 2003. Despite getting the majority of the running load for only 7 games, Ced finished the year ranked 37th nationally.

January 27, 2008

A New Feature: Ranking The Seasons (Running Backs -- #10)

We're sorry that things have been so slow of late, we've been busy. To sum up the last week: Texas won twice, the Hornets are good, Wes Welker is going to play QB in the Super Bowl, Aggy lost to Baylor, and Oklahoma still sucks. There, we're all caught up.

A little something we've been working on is a review of running backs in the Mack Brown era. Mack has been at Texas for ten years now, and Texas has (allegedly) had a running game for all ten of those years. Should this feature work out, we may expand it to other facets (read: passing game -- sans 2004), but here's the plan: we will rank the seasons based on the primary running back's performance. This will take other factors into consideration, such as splitting carries with another back (or VY), number of games played, and national rushing averages. Hopefully this week we can chat a bit about recruiting, Texas hoops, and how glad we are that A&M lost to Baylor at home.

On to the feature --

#10--Jamaal Charles, 2006
Stats: 12 games, 156 carries for 831 yards (5.3 ypc) and 7 tds

The season: Texas went 10-3, beating Oklahoma but losing the final two games of the regular season (no reason to name the teams, we all remember that crap). Jamaal Charles gets the nod here on the list over Selvin Young. The two split carries all season, leading Texas to the fewest rushing yards and yards-per-carry by a starter since 2002. JC ended the season ranked 60th in the country in yards, had only one 100-yard rushing game all season, and ended Mack's streak of 1000 yard rushers.

The ranking: JC in '06 ranks last on our list. He finished with 50 fewer rushing yards than he had in 2005 despite having 40 more carries. JC06 ranks last on our list in yards and touchdowns. We are understanding that he split carries with Selvin Young, but he still finishes last on our last.

Next up -- #9

January 20, 2008

Is The Schedule A Factor?

The answer to the question is: probably a little bit. The question is, how much has taking a week off played a factor in Texas basketball's recent struggles? As you can see below, when Texas has played its best (Tennessee, UCLA, St. Mary's) it has had fewer days of rest (1, 4, 3 respectively). When Texas has played its worst (Wisconsin, Mizzou, Colorado) it has had a full week off each time. In the only other loss (Michigan State...4 days rest), one could make the argument that the Horns didn't play too poorly.

What does it all mean? Likely not very much. If the extra rest has had an effect on how the Horns have played, not having a week off the rest of the season will be a good thing. We're willing to admit that it might have played a small factor, but are hesitant to give it too much credit.

In the end we still remain confident that Texas will return to form and compete for the Big XII title (A&M losing helps). Next up: Stillwater on Big Monday where crazy things have been known to happen.

January 19, 2008

Movie Time, Part Two

Another great video for your enjoyment, ahead of Texas-Colorado at 7 PM CST.

January 18, 2008

Movie Time

We will readily admit that we've never seen this before. We've heard of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, but had no idea the musical had this in it. Poor aggies indeed:

Texas Has A New Defensive Coordinator

Meet Paul Rhoads. He's 40, a native of Ankeny, Iowa and Missouri Western grad. He's also likely to be the Texas defensive coordinator before all is said and done. That's right, Paul Rhoads is Auburn's new defensive coordinator. He ran a stout Pittsburgh defense and should do pretty well at Auburn. In a few years, when Mack comes calling, Paul will come to Austin because the air is fresher, the campus prettier, and the football more prestigious. For now we'll simply offer Paul a preemptive welcome to the 40 Acres.

January 16, 2008

It's a Done Deal

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman is reporting that Major-to-Texas is as good as a sure thing. News 8 Austin also reported that the UT Athletic Department has removed the open Running Backs Coach position from its website, indicating that the position has officially been filled. Texas policy requires that at least 5 business days pass between posting an available position and filling it, so the announcement will not come until at least 5 PM today--although most folks believe it will happen tomorrow morning.

Regardless, this is good news for Texas in terms of the future security of the program, as well as recruiting and offensive creativity right now. We wish football season started tomorrow.

Update, 1-16 at 6:00 PM: Peter at Burnt Orange Nation has finally had enough of the Alabama craziness that we referred to yesterday. Check out his post from today as the story has become more definite, which is most interesting because it is an opportunity to see, in real time, our fellow Texas fans learning what we as Southerners and SEC fans have always known: even smart, rational Bama fans are incapable of being smart and rational sometimes.

Update, 1-16 at 9:00 PM: A few points jump out at us about the Major hiring:

1) Mack Brown has managed to IMPROVE his recruiting ability, Major Applewhite plus Ken Rucker plus Will Muschamp has to be one of the most impressive recruiting tandems (to go with Mack Brown) in the country. Darrell Scott...come on down...?

2) The running back position cannot be Major's strongest subject. That having been said, nobody can expect Major to stay in that position for long. He's bound for bigger things on the Texas coaching staff.

3) In two short weeks Mack has gotten two of college football's fastest rising young coaches for his staff.

4) In today's BON column linked above, Peter mockingly sums up the Alabama argument as:
Nick Saban wasn't sure he trusted the young Applewhite to be his Offensive Coordinator without any help.
He therefore brought in Joe Pendry to assist.
After one season, he'd seen enough to know Major Applewhite couldn't do the job.
Actually, that sounds exactly like something Nick Saban would do.

5) Finally, and most importantly, Mack has been proactive about getting a positive vibe going already for the offseason and 2008 regular season. As poor and reactive (is that the right word?) as last offseason was, this offseason could not have started better for those players that have stayed to play.

January 15, 2008

Come Home, Major!

Word is that there's a serious chance that Major Applewhite may return to UT for next season as some sort of offensive coach, with an understanding that he will be the next offensive coordinator for the Longhorns.

Bama fans are all over the internet in disbelief that anyone in their right mind would even CONSIDER leaving the Great Crimson Tide for any other program, alma mater or not. But here's the problem: this list, compiled by ESPN's college football writers last summer, lists mighty Alabama as only the 34th best college football program of the past decade, while Mack Brown's Longhorns rank 3rd. We also LOVE this quote from Houston-area Tide recruit Damion Square, which we saw on BON:

"Oh, wow. A little (upsetting)," said Square. "I would've loved to have Applewhite. If he wants to win championships, and I know Applewhite does, then he'll stay. You don't win no championships at UT, man. You win championships at UA. But he's got to do what he's got to do."

We're sorry...what was that?? Over at BON, Peter specifically referred to his own lack of interest in a "pissing contest" with Bama fans over this whole thing, but we're are WAY below his maturity level. Which Houston has this kid been living in? Which championships, exactly, has Alabama won recently? The Independence Bowl championship? When was the last time they even won the Iron Bowl championship? That's a two-team race!

We have even seen one Bama fan on a message board state that Major won't leave Tuscaloosa because "that's where his heart is." Our only response to that is:


And of course:

January 12, 2008

Some Random Houskeeping...

January 11, 2008

Continuing an Angry Debate

Note: this is a continuation of a conversation being held in the comments section of our latest "What We Learned" post.

Abram's esteemed Michigan cousin (jbrater) and Abram have agreed pretty clearly in conversation that the SEC-Big Ten thing is overstated in the media often...but, we can't imagine that he seriously believes that there is a "Southeastern Media Bias." That's crazy. All this region gets from the national media is marginalization and ridicule.

Now, here's the deal: you can make stats say anything you want them to say. Big Ten enthusiasts can't just ignore the fact that the Big Ten has only one winning bowl record since 2003 while the SEC has no losing bowl records in recent memory--just like it would be wrong of us SEC folks to ignore the two conferences' .500 record head-to-head in recent years.

You can look at bowl records any way you want; this guy , for example, (obviously biased) has a lot of interesting conference-based analysis over the last 10 years that shows both head-to-head by conference and overall conference records, albeit with a predetermined SEC slant.

But how to determine actual quality of play? It's essentially impossible to quantify that intangible for sure, but let's try by looking at the two conferences' numbers of early NFL draft picks over the last five years. After all, NFL scouts have no agenda except to pick the best players for their teams.
  • 2003: The SEC had 4 players taken in the first round and 5 in the second. The Big Ten had 6 taken in the first round and 9 in the second. Big Ten 1, SEC 0
  • 2004: The SEC had 6 taken in the first round and 9 in the second. The Big Ten had 6 taken in the first round and 1 in the second. Big Ten 1, SEC 1
  • 2005: The SEC had 10 taken in the first round and 5 in the second. The Big Ten had 4 taken in the first and 5 in the second. Big Ten 1, SEC 2
  • 2006: The SEC had 4 taken in the first round and 6 in the second. The Big Ten had 8 taken in the first round and 1 in the second. Arguably a draw, but the Big Ten gets the nod because the first round is more important. Big Ten 2, SEC 2
  • 2007: The SEC had 11 taken in the first round and 6 in the second. The Big Ten had 6 taken in the first round and 5 in the second. Big Ten 2, SEC 3
  • All-in-all: The SEC has had 35 players taken in the first round and 31 taken in the second round over last five years. Over the same period, the Big Ten has had 30 players taken in the first round and 21 taken in the second round.

Overall, those numbers lean a little toward the SEC, but not as overwhelmingly as you'd think if you just relied on the national media and listened to everyone and their mother talking about the huge gap between the leagues. Which is what we've said all along (that is, when we're not just trying to anger jbrater): the SEC probably is the better conference based on depth of good teams and good programs. But the Big Ten is not some kind of embarrassment of a league, and it's not really all that far behind the SEC when taken objectively.

Finally, we think there are 2 things all can agree on: 1) Ohio State has made the Big Ten look a lot worse than it really is with their pitiful performances in the last 2 national championship games, and 2) The Big Ten has a HUGE advantage in basketball.

January 9, 2008

A Post About The Hornets...

That's right, this post is entirely about the NBA with only the one mention of Kevin Durant's awesomeness. We know that all afternoon you've only been talking about the Hornets and state of Louisiana reaching this deal. We'll get to what the deal means in a bit, but first let's take a quick look at why the Hornets are in this situation.

Something happened back in 2005 which caused the Hornets to leave New Orleans for all but nine games over the next two years. The Saints also left the city for one season but were back the very next year. Both teams have now returned to the city and seen vastly different fortunes. The Saints have a previously unprecedented 30,000 person waiting list for season tickets. The Hornets, on the other hand, average under 12,000 fans per game, good for last in the league.

Neither team was particularly beloved by the people of New Orleans for their actions in the aftermath of Katrina. The Saints exploits in San Antonio are well documented. While the Hornets weren't perfect after the storm in endearing the people to the team (announcing the team as "your Hometown Hornets" in games in Baton Rouge and New Orleans following the storm...imagine going to a Texas game and having them introduced as "your College You Went To Longhorns"), but this New Orleanian found them less objectionable than the Saints.

And yet, the Saints are drawing like never before and the Hornets can't draw worth a darn. This New Orleanian believes there are three reasons for this situation:

1) The Saints aren't new -- The Saints have been around for forty years, the Hornets haven't even been in the Big Easy for a decade. As such, the thought of losing the Saints inspired New Orleanians to buy season tickets in droves. There was no such drive for Hornets fans who have not had a chance to build up such a large fan base.

2) New Orleans is football mad -- The South is football mad and the Saints are the team of the deep south. Outside of Memphis, basketball is a sideshow for the offseason.

3)Much of the Saints fan base was not wiped out in Katrina -- Believe it or not, a large portion of the fans who sold out the Superdome were mostly not from New Orleans proper. Saints season ticket holders come from Jefferson and St Tammany Parishes, Mississippi, and Alabama in addition to New Orleans. Because of a dispute between television companies, the Hornets are not even on TV in neighboring St Tammany Parish. Imagine any professional sports team doing well without being on TV for up to 40% of their potential fan base.

The New Deal
The deal reached today (Jan 9) gives both sides a "put up or shut up moment." The city/state gets the following:
  • No new expensive practice facility for the Hornets
  • An extended lease through 2014
  • $100 million from Hornets owner George Shinn should he decide to leave
  • A chance to prove itself

And the Hornets get...:

  • The right to opt out of the lease after next (2008-2009) season should the team fail to draw an average of 14,750 (pre-K average)
  • Continued payments from the state

The deal means a few things. It means the Hornets probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Shinn would be on the line for $162 million (counting payments to minority owner Gary Chouest) just to move. The deal gives Shinn the opportunity to look for a good situation elsewhere should the team continue drawing poorly. If Shinn finds a great deal in another city (which, with the Sonics likely moving to OKC, seems unlikely) then he can leave and pay more money than he probably has. If not, he's stuck in NOLA. If he isn't hemorrhaging money -- and the significant number of club/suite sales, plus lucrative payments from the state suggests to this fan that he is not -- then there really would be little reason for Shinn to actively seek an alternate home venue.

The deal also reminds Hornets fans that it has to put more butts in the seats or it really may lose the team. Despite his imperfect dealing post-Katrinia, Shinn has done a fantastic job building a franchise that can compete in the difficult West. The team has a dynamic young superstar in Chris Paul, an improving young big man in Tyson Chandler, and enough shooters to make the team a regular playoff contender. The outlook for the team really is more positive than most members of the national media would dare suggest. New Orleans will host its first All-Star Game soon and attendance will only increase as the playoffs get closer. If the Hornets are still struggling at the gates in April in the midst of a playoff run despite being on TV throughout south Louisiana, then the Hornets may be in trouble.

Until then -- go Hornets.

Ok, one KD video:

January 7, 2008

What We Learned -- National Championship Edition

Congrats to the LSU Tigers for winning their second BCS national title. One of us is ecstatic (probably Abram) and one of us is happy for his home state (probably Jeff). Before we hit the offseason in stride, here is what LSU's victory over Ohio State taught us:
  1. The Big Ten sucks. We get the feeling that Georgia, West Virginia, or USC would have beaten this Ohio State team. LSU used more speed and a better game plan to beat an OSU team that had not really been challenged all season outside of a not-so-great Illinois team.

  2. The University of Kansas got hosed. The national college football media is so unbelievably awful that we can hardly stand it. KU was the only team from a major conference with only one loss. The Jayhawks won convincingly in the Orange Bowl over a good Virginia Tech team. And yet, in the final AP poll, Kansas ranks SEVENTH! Seventh? Yes, it's trendy to say that Georgia is the "best team right now," so they're going to be 2nd. But why 2-loss USC and West Virginia should be ahead of Kansas totally befuddles us. West Virginia lost at home to a team with a losing record. USC lost at home, to a team with a losing record. And by the way--what, exactly, did USC and Georgia "prove" in their bowl games? All they proved was what everyone already knew: that their opponents didn't belong in the big dance. Who are these voters that can't even put Kansas, who should be number 2, in the top 5??

  3. Give us aggressive over conservative every time. Les Miles may not be the greatest coach in the world but we respect the hell out of a guy with cajones like his. We are also wondering what, exactly, he has to do to get people off his back. It has become one of those pearls of conventional football wisdom that Miles doesn't really know what he's doing, and that he's not such a great coach. We are beginning to think that nothing Les can possibly do will change that perception, so if we were him we'd probably just stop reading the paper altogether.

  4. Considering their respective resumes, these two teams probably deserved to be in New Orleans. In olden days we would have had OSU losing to USC in the Rose Bowl, LSU beating somebody in the Sugar Bowl, and a split title between USC and LSU...sound familiar? It ain't perfect, but give us the BCS over that. This talk of a "plus one" excites us both and would be a great step in the right direction.

  5. With Ryan Perrilloux at the helm and another crop of big, fast, athletic players throughout the field, how can LSU not be number one to start the next year? Answer: pro-USC media bias. In their ridiculous "way too early top-5" after the game, Mark May and Lou Holtz both omitted LSU from the list entirely, instead choosing Georgia and Florida in the top 3. Call us crazy, but hasn't Georgia made it their business to be very disappointing early and finish strong, like, EVERY YEAR? The 'Dawgs are the trendy pick right now, but they have to visit Baton Rouge next year. Of course, Southern Cal is everybody's number 1. Except Rece Davis.

  6. There were lots of good teams in college football this season, but no great ones. It was fun for one season, but we hope there is a return to some level of greatness from someone (Texas, you listening?) next year.
  7. Fox's broadcast resembled the college football season. It had its moments, but in the end it was pretty mediocre. When does their contract run out?

  8. They say Will Muschamp brings pressure? We love pressure.

  9. Speaking of ridiculously early and obviously flawed/inaccurate top ten for 2008: 1) LSU, 2) UGA, 3) USC, 4) WVU, 5) Texas, 6) OU, 7) Ohio State, 8) KU, 9) Mizzou, 10) Va Tech

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!

Ok, maybe we shouldn't be so melodramatic, but this is the last day of the college football season. A part of us will die tomorrow as we go from college football to basketball fans. All that stands between us and the abyss that is the offseason are 5+ hours of LSU and Ohio State and several thousand Allstate commercials. Luckily there are only 232 days left in the offseason before Texas beats the crap out of Florida Atlantic. Until then, Boom Mf'er!

January 4, 2008


Exactly two years ago today we were waking up in Los Angeles, about to experience the greatest performance in football history. Happy VY Day to all!

January 3, 2008

It could be a great month...

Will Muschamp for defensive coordinator?

Darrell Scott to replace Jamaal Charles?

Football season to mercifully end?

A whole bunch of older Texas fans to descend on San Antonio for the Army All-American Bowl to convince high schoolers significantly younger than them from various states throughout the country that Texas is the correct institution for them to continue their educational pursuits?

We're hoping that January will be a great month.

January 2, 2008

Well...crap (updated)

Of all the content that we need to publish, this gets the nod.
Texas junior running back Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 1,619 yards this season, has decided to leave the Longhorns to enter the NFL draft.

If true (the shortness of the article and lack of quotes from JC himself leaves some doubt in our minds), then we wish him nothing but the best. He could have stayed and might have become one of the all-time Texas greats. We'll be interested to see where he falls in the draft. Mack has now lost two juniors to the draft. Vondrell McGee, step right up!

UPDATE 4:46 PM-- Press release from UT is up, read it here. JC has won a title and rushed for 1,500+ yards this season. It's hard to hold it against him for leaving. We're hoping JC leaving opens the door for Darrel Scott to come to Texas.