By Jim Weber
Everything’s bigger in Texas alright – especially the blowout losses to archrival Oklahoma.
The Longhorns were thoroughly embarrassed again in a 63-21 loss to the 13th-ranked Sooners on Saturday in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. OU’s Bob Stoops is now 9-5 against Mack Brown and has hung 50 points on the Longhorns four times.
As for Brown, he is now just 17-14 since Colt McCoy graduated after the 2009 season. It surely doesn’t look like he is capable of getting UT’s program back to where it was that season when the Longhorns played for the national title.
For starters, Texas’ defense has been a colossal disappointment this season under Manny Diaz, the former “it” coordinator while he was at Mississippi State. A unit stacked with former blue-chip recruits is currently 97th in scoring defense (32.5 PPG) and was routinely torn to shreds by Oklahoma.
While the offense has played well this season, it went completely AWOL on Saturday by getting shut out in the first half. QB David Ash, who at one point was garnering Heisman attention, was dreadful with two interceptions and a fumble before leaving with a wrist injury.
The Longhorns are now coming off their third straight loss to Oklahoma, the last two by a combined score of 118-38. It’s sad to see Brown’s legacy diminished after leading Texas to a national title in 2005 and on the brink of another in ’09, at which point he had beaten OU four of the last five times.
There were even rumors Brown would retire if the Longhorns won the 2010 BCS National Championship Game against Alabama. But we never found out, as McCoy got hurt on Texas’ fifth offensive play of scrimmage and Alabama rolled to victory.
There will undoubtedly be calls for Brown’s head this week but it appears he will be in Austin as long as he wants. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has said as much in the past and just gave Brown, 61, a contract extension through 2020 in the offseason.
But instead of going out as a legend as he could have in just a couple years ago, it appears Brown will leave Texas – whenever that is – seen as a coach who couldn’t quit while he was ahead.
Even more painful for Texas fans? UT’s old head-coach-in-waiting from the 2009 team, Will Muschamp, is now the head coach of a revived Florida program that is 6-0 and currently ranked No. 3 in the country.
TIGERS BACK IN HUNT: Just as everyone wrote LSU out of the national title picture, the Tigers responded with a 23-21 victory over No. 3 South Carolina that revived their hopes of heading to Miami in January. With West Virginia also losing on Saturday, LSU will control its destiny as long as Kansas State and Notre Dame don’t go undefeated. If I’m Les Miles, I like my chances. Beating No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3 will still be a tall order, but LSU has a shot if freshman RB Jeremy Hill runs like he did Saturday night while going for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
STANFORD GETS HOSED: This fall has seen plenty of controversial calls by football officials and the end of the Stanford-Notre Dame game has been added to the list. On fourth and goal from the one-yard line in overtime, Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor looked like he clearly scored a touchdown to send the game to a second overtime.
Instead, officials ruled that Taylor’s forward progress had been stopped and the game was over. FOX officiating analyst Mike Pereira thought it was the wrong call – as did the rest of America. Too bad we don’t have replacement officials to pin the blame on. Notre Dame fans? They say it’s karma for the “Bush Push” that cost them the 2005 game vs. USC.
TEXAS TECH, VEGAS WIN BIG: The Texas Tech-West Virginia game was a reminder that gambling on sports will eventually leave you broke; Las Vegas handicappers are just too good at their jobs. When bettors saw No. 5 West Virginia and its explosive offense were only four-point favorites at Texas Tech, the wagers on the Mountaineers started pouring in.
According to one gambling web site, 85 percent of gamblers put money down on the Mountaineers as of Friday thinking they had just made easy money. So much for that. The Mountaineers looked completely flat all day and were crushed, 49-14 – meaning Vegas won big, as usual.
HEISMAN-ZIEL? Raise your hand if you had ever heard of Texas A&M freshman QB Johnny Manziel before the season started. That’s what I thought. And if you did, it’s only because the three-star recruit was arrested in June and had a hilarious, shirtless mug shot. But so far Manziel has been a revelation in Kevin Sumlin’s Air Raid offense.
On Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech, he scored six total touchdowns and combined for 576 total yards. If he keeps this up, Manziel could make a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist during his freshman year.
DUKE BEING DUKE: After people spent all week singing the praises of Duke football and head coach David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils jumped out to a 20-0 lead in Blacksburg only to give up 41 unanswered points to lose to Virginia Tech.
Duke and Cutcliffe still deserve a lot of credit for being 5-2, but the Blue Devils are going to have to earn their first bowl game since 1995 with remaining games against North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami (FL).
REPRIEVE FOR TULANE: There’s no nice way of putting this: Tulane was the worst FBS team in America entering this weekend. The Green Wave was 0-5 and averaging just nine points a game. A miserable season turned tragic when the team watched safety Devon Walker suffer a serious spinal cord injury on Sept. 8.
So big congratulations are in order for first-year head coach Curtis Johnson and the Green Wave, which snapped a 15-game losing streak by defeating SMU on Saturday, 27-26. Here’s hoping Walker ends up with a game ball from Tulane’s first win of the year.
Week 8: Top games
5. No. 12 Florida State vs. Miami (FL): No one will confuse this game for the titanic clashes these two programs had in the 1990s and early 2000s, but it’s still a great rivalry.
4. No. 2 Oregon vs. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are flying under the radar at 5-1 and are 17th in scoring offense. They’ll have to play a perfect game to knock off the Ducks.
3. No. 6 LSU vs. No. 20 Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin’s offense at Texas A&M has put up ridiculous numbers so far. We’ll see if that continues when Les Miles and LSU roll into College Station.
2. No. 4 Kansas State vs. No. 17 West Virginia: This would have been a colossal game if West Virginia hadn’t gotten blown out by Texas Tech. However, the contest could still decide the Big 12 champion.
1. No. 9 South Carolina vs. No. 3 Florida: South Carolina’s loss to LSU put a damper on this matchup as well, but it’s still Steve Spurrier vs. his alma mater and the winner will have the inside track for the SEC East title.