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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dr. D - Good, Bad and the Ugly, Week 3

The Good

Okay, so the expected happened and the boys in Vegas had us pegged dead on accurate—18 points worse than USC. The good news was Callahan did not take big risks to try and make us look like something we’re not—a top 5 team. Cally has taken plenty of heat the last 48 hours for being too conservative in his gameplan. What most of these critics seem to neglect is that the likelihood that a first down pass could have ended up in the endzone was offset by an even bigger chance for a big play swing in the other direction (e.g., interceptions, sacks turned into fumble recoveries and touchdowns). So, lambaste the game plan if you must, but I saw it as a way to keep us in the game and perhaps hang around and wait a break later in the game (e.g., Grixby returning an interception for a touchdown). The breaks never came, and I believe that has more to do with why we lost—not playcalling or a faulty scheme. The critics will counter that more passes could have made it 28-24. I would say 49-10 would have been more likely. If you don’t believe me, you’ve never been to Lubbock. Besides, the 4th down fake punt early in the game took, as my new friends from East L.A. like to say, cajones. Big Red didn’t lose because we were too conservative. The best team won Saturday night.

The Bad

The O line’s inability to clear running lanes was disappointing. The Trojans are salty up front, but there wasn’t much room to run, even when we tried running in passing situations. We have plenty of highly touted athletes along the line—Callahan has made signing O-lineman a major recruiting priority in each of his first 3 classes. I would have expected that we would have seen a bit more to show for it by now.

The Ugly

The Big 12 stinks. Sorry to be the one to break it to ya folks—but this just isn’t the same conference that routinely competes with the SEC for tops in the land honors and has won 3 national titles in its 10 year history. After Saturday’s carnage, the conference emerged a woeful 4-8 on the weekend. With the 4 big wins coming over the likes of New Mexico, Rice, Florida Atlantic and Army I might add. I don’t think there’s a team in the conference that will lose less than 3 games. One month into the season, the conference’s biggest win is probably Texas Tech’s come from behind escape at UTEP, and the Miners shouldn’t be ranked in the top 5 in Texas, let alone the country. All 12 teams are beatable if they don’t play well—I don’t think any of them are top 10 caliber. The good news behind the Big 12’s struggles is that the Huskers can win the entire league in 2006—not just the north. I’m actually a little annoyed that nobody seems ready to point that out. I’ve read about the preseason goal of earning a Big 12 north title ring still being intact despite the loss to SC. I found myself asking—is there really such a thing as a big 12 north title ring?? And, if so, why? I think the goal of beating .500 quality teams like Kansas, Iowa State and Missouri is hardly the stuff that fills player’s heads and hearts with determination in their offseason workouts, and probably isn’t the reason 5 star recruits sign to play in Lincoln. I think we’re selling ourselves short with such minimalist expectations. OU and UT are much worse than they’ve been in recent years, and no other squads in either division seem capable of cracking the top 25 this year (maybe Mizzou—maybe). All we have to do is take care of business against some pitiful north competition and then get lucky and play well one Saturday night in December. So, before you get fitted for your Big 12 north championship replica ring—maybe we should consider the possibility that we can actually achieve a bit more.

They should at least have the courtesy to buy Bob Stoops dinner first...

OU got royally screwed in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday...I’m not the first to point that out. But, watch the clip of the disputed onside kick and observe that OU actually recovered the kick. WTF??? OU prez Boren is correct—none of those clowns should ever officiate a game with stakes bigger than the Eugene, OR little league championship ever again. My favorite part of the clip is hearing commentator Dan Fouts astutely observe “Awful close from that angle”, as the OU player clearly possesses the ball. It should be noted, that Fouts, who called the game for ABC, played QB for the Ducks. I’ll go a step further than Boren and say that in addition to firing at least a half dozen zebra hacks, ABC and the NCAA should try and keep Fouts and his homerisms off of live air on fall Saturdays.