Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday college football rewind
By Richard Durrett
Some thoughts about the regional action from Saturday (I welcome yours):
* We've already talked plenty about the Longhorns, but they will face a Nebraska team that did win its final game of the season (against Colorado). I still can't get Colt McCoy's night out of my mind. The guy was incredible. Tim Tebow had a nice game for Florida on Saturday, but McCoy has a great chance to win the Heisman Trophy. Let's see what he can do at Cowboys Stadium next Saturday.
* What happened to Oklahoma State? The Sooners, no matter how beat up they may be, are very tough in Norman. But the Cowboys' total of 109 yards of offense is still shocking. Oklahoma State was 0-for-14 on third downs. Wow. Zac Robinson had just 44 yards passing. Give the Sooners defense some credit. They were fired up and ready and it allows Oklahoma to finish the season on a better note. For OSU, it means no BCS bowl.
* The good news for OSU fans: The cons0lation prize of the Cotton Bowl isn't bad. There's little doubt they'll end up at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and bowl officials expect OSU fans to buy up plenty of tickets.
* Ryan Broyles had 103 yards on nine catches, his fifth game of 100 or more yards receiving for the Sooners.
* It says something about how good TCU is that they could have a 30-10 lead at the half and everyone -- fans, media, players and coaches -- could see they weren't in sync. But that all changed in the fourth quarter and the Frogs, behind another solid performance by quarterback Andy Dalton and two interception returns for touchdowns by an opportune defense.
* TCU coach Gary Patterson said after the game that his team can play with anybody. I believe it. They have an offense that can score points to go along with the solid defense. The Fiesta Bowl still looks like the most likely opportunity, but nothing can be decided until the championship games are played. I can tell you that I talked to at least one official from the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta and they were not worried about TCU's ability to travel to the game. The Fiesta has a good history with non-BCS teams, including Utah and Boise State.
* Consider that TCU played in only two games that were decided by 7 or fewer points. Both were on the road and in bad weather. And TCU got the job done when it counted in both of them.
* Don't underestimate the importance of SMU winning seven games. Sure, they had the bowl bid pretty much locked up before the game. But now it's automatic and they can talk about a winning season, their first since 1984. Now that June Jones has knocked over that imaginary wall that extended back to the death penalty, SMU should only get better. This is a huge step for that program.
* That should be an interesting meeting between North Texas coach Todd Dodge and AD Rick Villareal this week. A month ago, I thought Dodge was probably fine. But the team won just two games this season and they are moving into a new stadium in 2011. We'll see if UNT will be patient and give Dodge another season or if they're ready to make a change. Losing to Arkansas State, though they did make a fourth-quarter comeback to make it close, didn't help.
* Baylor gave Texas Tech all they wanted on Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium. It was a nice crowd on hand -- 71,964 -- and they saw an entertaining game. The Bears didn't win their second conference game of the season, but they never did quit despite a tough season with injuries. Art Briles is doing a good job there and the Bears will get better. It would have been interesting to see what might have happened had Robert Griffin not gotten injured. Oh well.
* Texas Tech quietly put together another solid season. It wasn't what some fans expected, but 8-4 with the distractions they had at times this season is good. They'll likely go to San Antonio for the Valero Alamo Bowl and should have some momentum, winning three of their last four games.
* I like Taylor Potts at quarterback. I know Saturday wasn't his best game -- the offense averaging 38 points per game didn't do as much as expected, -- but he's a hard-nosed player and looks like a leader to me. And he's got another year of eligibility.
* Briles said he would have gone for two if the Bears had scored to make it a one-point game with less than two minutes left in the game. We were debating that in the press box as the drive was taking place. I'm torn. Baylor's defense had played well enough that they might have been able to hold Texas Tech in an overtime. But that's never easy from the 25-yard line. Briles probably thought he'd have the momentum. It would have been fun to see the attempt.