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It's always fun when a game circled since the spring arrives bigger even than its buildup. It was easy to assume that either West Virginia or Louisville would reach Thursday night undefeated. This is bigger than that. Both are undefeated, and BCS contention is at stake. West Virginia is No. 3 in the BCS standings. Louisville is No. 5.
Pat White and the Mountaineers have won 14 straight.
West Virginia's 14-game winning streak is a school record and second to Ohio State's 16 straight among I-A schools. The Mountaineers' seven victories this season have come by no fewer than 17 points. The Cardinals won their first five games by no fewer than 18 points but have had more trouble in the last two games, beating Cincinnati (23-17) and Syracuse (28-13) in more competitive games.
It's kind of been that way all season. West Virginia, as the higher ranked of the two, has taken more bullets for the Big East and has played more games in the spotlight. That's an advantage for Louisville, as will be the "blackout" crowd that will pack Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Thursday night.
Louisville loves a party, and with the Breeder's Cup at Churchill Downs this week, there will be a festive air in the stadium.
West Virginia has proved that it can move the ball on anyone. The Mountaineers have scored at least 37 points in six of their seven victories. No defense has solved quarterback Pat White's ability as a runner in the Mountaineers' spread offense. Louisville is eighth in the nation in rushing defense (74.9 yards per game) and has allowed a total of two touchdowns on the ground this season.
White had that many in the third quarter against Syracuse. Mountaineers tailback Steve Slaton had that many in the first quarter against Maryland. He already has rushed for nine this season, along with 1,059 yards.
Alan H. Schwartz/WireImage.com
Brian Brohm has thrown for 1,269 yards in 2006.
Louisville has the better defense and has plenty of talent on offense, too. Brian Brohm has taken over the offense after missing four games because of injury. If he's right, the Cardinals will be able to move the ball on the Mountaineers.
"If you could protect and you can throw, then you have a chance to move the ball and score some points against West Virginia," UConn coach Randy Edsall said Monday. "That's what I see. One of Louisville's strength is quarterback Brian Brohm and those receivers."
Whether it's coincidence or not, the offense isn't running as smoothly since Brohm put Hunter Cantwell back on the bench. The Cardinals have begun coughing up the ball at an alarming rate: three turnovers in each of the last two games. Louisville has lost nine fumbles, tied for last in the Big East, and is minus-three in turnover margin.
West Virginia has been behind for a total of one minute, 47 seconds this season. But don't expect the Mountaineers to panic if they fall behind. They can always hearken to a year ago, when they spotted Louisville a 17-0 lead and came back to win 46-44 in three overtimes.
We should only be so lucky to get that kind of game Thursday night.
Not only would the Buckeyes be the first No. 1 to win three games against No. 2s, there have never been three 1 vs. 2 games in one season in the 70 years of the Associated Press poll. In fact, Ohio State's 24-7 defeat of Texas on Sept. 9 was the first regular-season game between the two highest ranked teams in 10 years.
Only twice before, in 1943 and 1945, has a regular-season No. 1 played two No. 2 teams. In 1943, Notre Dame beat Michigan 35-12 and Iowa Pre-Flight 14-13. In 1945, Army beat Notre Dame 48-0 and three weeks later beat Navy 32-13.
Regular-season 1 vs. 2 games rarely took place before the late 1980s. After Army and Notre Dame played their famous 0-0 tie in 1946, No. 1 didn't play No. 2 again until 1963, when Texas beat Oklahoma 28-7.
In 1985, however, college football fans began to get lucky. In seven of the next nine seasons, No. 1 played No. 2. After second-ranked Notre Dame upset top-ranked Florida State 31-24 in 1993, there would be only one such game in the next 12 years, the Seminoles' 24-21 upset of Florida in 1996.
What happened to 1s vs. 2s? Simple: In 1992, the limit on I-A scholarships dropped to 85. The talent spread among more teams. That's why eight Big Ten teams have won at least a share of the conference championship in the last seven seasons, why in the last 10 years no SEC team has won more than two league championships.
All of which is to say that college football fans are lucky this season. Enjoy the regular-season games between No. 1 and No. 2. You never know when they'll come around again.
Butch Davis wants to return from coaching exile, but his coaching friends say he is stalling North Carolina to see what other jobs (Miami? Dallas Cowboys?) may come open. It sounds as if athletic director Dick Baddour will have to do some selling.
If Baddour can't (or decides not to) make that sale, think in terms of a proven I-A head coach. He has hired two coaches in a row, Carl Torbush and John Bunting, who had little or no I-A head coaching experience, and the Tar Heels are 20 games under .500 over nine seasons.
West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez did his best on the Big East media call Monday not to tamp down speculation regarding him and the Tar Heels. Rodriguez expects to renegotiate with West Virginia after this season, and he may be the most popular man in the state, so why would he leave? Not that he might have an ulterior motive or anything, but Rodriguez's response Monday diverted attention away from his team in the final days leading up to its showdown Thursday night at Louisville.
Keep an eye on Boston College coach Tom O'Brien, who has clinched his eighth consecutive winning season in Chestnut Hill. O'Brien, who coached as an assistant at Virginia for 15 years, would have an easier time of recruiting ACC-type speed down south.
Tulsa coach Steve Kragthorpe took his name out of consideration Monday and Navy coach Paul Johnson said he isn't interested, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
If North Carolina looks at assistant coaches: Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow coached up the road from Chapel Hill in 2000 as offensive coordinator at NC State. The rest is USC history.
Chow, 60, was a finalist for the Stanford job after the 2004 season but lost out to Walt Harris. Chow left USC in the spring of 2005 for the Titans. The speculation regarding Titans head coach Jeff Fisher's firing may slow down now that Tennessee followed an 0-5 start with two victories.
"I'm not going to chase anybody," Chow said of any college opening. "I don't mind the job I have. I work for a great guy, the best guy I've ever worked for."
LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik also have been mentioned as candidates. Chizik has the advantage of having his current boss, former Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown, as an advocate. Brown is close to Chuck Neinas, the consultant serving as a headhunter for North Carolina.
We judge losses all the time. We judge them by whether they took place at home or the road, by whether they were close or one-sided, by whether they took place in September or November. Generally, it's smarter to lose early than late. Ask Lou Holtz, whose 1993 Notre Dame team lost to Boston College the week after it beat No. 1 Florida State, then watched as the Seminoles won the national championship.
With the loss by USC at Oregon State, and the release of the new BCS standings showing a gulf between Michigan at No. 2 and all the teams behind it, the voters must decide whether the Ohio State-Michigan loser deserves a second chance against the same opponent. More important, should the winner have to prove itself again against the same opponent?
Could Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes have to beat a team twice to win the title?
My gut reaction is that I don't like it, that the loser had its chance and failed.
The issue here isn't merely a regular-season rematch. The possibility of an Ohio State-Texas national championship game doesn't trouble me. They played nearly an entire season ago. But bowl rematches of late-season rivalries have gone over about as well as most Hollywood remakes -- which is to say, they have been anticlimactic, artistic failures.
The two that come to mind are the 1979 Orange Bowl, when Oklahoma beat Nebraska 31-24 after losing to the Huskers 17-14 in NU's next-to-last game of the 1978 regular season, and the 1997 Sugar Bowl, when Florida beat Florida State 52-20 after losing 24-21 in Tallahassee in a 1 vs. 2 showdown in late November.
My fear is that a rematch wouldn't justly reward the team that won the regular-season matchup. Intellectually speaking -- something I try not to do very often -- it's harder to justify leaving the Ohio State-Michigan loser out. It would be easy to make a case that the loser still would be the second-best team in the nation. If the goal of the BCS championship game is to match the two best teams, does it matter if they just played?
If the Ohio State-Michigan loser is not included, then we have anointed the Nov. 18 game as a playoff. That may not be fair to the loser, but there may be some solace in the fact that this will be the biggest regular-season game of the year, and perhaps of the last decade. The No. 2 Seminoles' victory over the No. 1 Gators in 1996, mentioned above, is the last regular-season-ending matchup between the top two ranked teams.
Brian Leonard will never make it in the NFL.
The NFL scouts gush. The Senior Bowl already has issued an invitation. But all it takes is a few minutes around Rutgers' senior fullback to understand that he will be gone before anyone at a minicamp learns his name.
You want to know why? He doesn't have the ego for professional football.
Jim O'Connor/US Presswire
Brian Leonard doesn't have to carry the ball to help the Scarlet Knights.
The Scarlet Knights' coaches took his carries away and he never said a word. He didn't skip practice. He didn't even complain. Leonard responded by saying he enjoys blocking.
He'll never survive in the Chad Johnson League. A player needs self-regard the size of New Jersey to survive on Sundays. Leonard's ego would fit in a coach's whistle. I bet he doesn't even have a mirror in his bedroom.
Leonard says he is glad he didn't come out for the NFL draft last spring because the Scarlet Knights are 8-0.
"This is my dream right here," Leonard said Sunday night after Rutgers beat UConn 24-13. "This is the reason I came back. I told Rutgers I came back for a reason, to help take this team to a good bowl game and win the bowl game. This is the next step to it."
When the season started, Leonard had a Heisman campaign. Rutgers paid to have a promotional video shown in Times Square four times a day. In his first three seasons for the Scarlet Knights, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Leonard averaged 22 touches, either running the ball or catching it, for 115 yards per game. He scored 40 touchdowns.
This season, Leonard is averaging fewer than 10 touches per game. He has carried the ball 52 times. He has caught 26 passes. He has scored only two touchdowns in eight games. Meanwhile, sophomore Ray Rice has become the Heisman candidate. Rice is second in Division I-A rushing with 160.6 yards per game.
Against UConn on Sunday night, Leonard blocked everyone from linebacker Donta Moore (6-1, 213) to defensive tackle Ray Blagman (6-3, 327). By my unofficial count, only one player that Leonard blocked got a piece of a tackle.
It's a complete "All About Eve" deal. Leonard took Rice under his wing, teaching him how to practice, how to study video. "Inseparable," running backs coach Robert Jackson called them. Rice is getting his carries. Rice is getting Leonard's pub. No coach sat Leonard down and broke the news to him. He just stopped getting the ball.
And Leonard claims it's the best thing that has ever happened to him.
"It just happened over time," Leonard said. "I came in this season expecting more carries, I guess you could say. Really, it doesn't matter to me. When Ray runs the ball and I make a block for Ray, that feeling of blowing someone up is just as satisfying as getting in the end zone. Really, it is. I really didn't know what to expect. I thought I would get more. That's my role now. It's a different role, and I'm pleased to take it."
Brian, a little piece of advice: If you're not going to whine about how many times you get the rock, don't even bother putting your agent on speed dial.
You can take the boy out of Gouverneur, N.Y., a town of 7,300 so far north that you nearly have to drive south to get to Canada, but you can't take the Gouverneur out of the boy. Leonard played in Class C in high school, the next-to-smallest of six divisions. He set six all-class state records. Some guy at a Class D school named Mike Hart broke five of them before he went to Michigan.
"I have the all-time scoring record, I guess," Leonard said. "He didn't break that one."
That's another thing about Leonard. He says, "I guess," a lot, delivering a semi-apology for making a statement that any real NFL player would have tattooed on his right bicep. You think T.O. ever says, "I guess" when he talks about his records? No way.
Leonard does what the coaches ask him to do. He goes to class, too. Last week, he was named a Draddy Trophy finalist, which means he will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation.
"I look at him as a throwback," said Jackson, Leonard's position coach. "He's very unselfish. He's a very humble kid. As good a football player as he is, he's a better person. The athletes of today are me, me, me, me, me. 'What are you doing for me?' I find him so refreshing and a joy to coach. He comes to work every day. He has a blue-collar mentality. There are no days when, 'I take off because I'm Brian Leonard.'"
If he's not going to take days off or take plays off, how's he going to get on the cover of Madden 2010?
"Look at the record," Leonard said, referring to Rutgers' eight wins and no losses. "I was scoring three or four touchdowns a game in the past and now I'm not scoring at all, because I'm blocking for Ray. This is so much better."
If Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano isn't careful, Leonard's team-first attitude is going to spread through the locker room.
"It's unbelievable," defensive tackle Eric Foster said. "Brian's such a great guy. He could have gone to the NFL last year. We noticed that. Brian just goes out and does his job. It rubs off on everybody. If any guy should be upset about playing time, it should be Brian. He does it. He's not saying anything. The best player is just doing his job."
Uh-oh. It may be too late. Some believe that Leonard's leadership by example is the reason that Rutgers is 8-0. That unselfish stuff may be great for team success, but no way is Leonard ever going to get a Chunky Soup ad. What is he thinking?
Rutgers, the Powerhouse.
Three words I never thought I would hear outside Rutgers Stadium: "Anyone got tickets?"
Greg Schiano has built a winner at Rutgers.
First of all, 10 years ago, when the 41,500-seat stadium celebrated its third season, the Scarlet Knights' average attendance was 26,257. That would have been Year 2 of the era of head coach Terry Shea, a nice guy who took the momentum generated by the new stadium and the new Big East and generated 11 wins in five seasons.
Ten years later, on a blustery, cold Sunday night, when the New York Giants had played not 45 minutes away earlier in the day, Rutgers drew 41,077 to see a 24-13 victory over UConn.
That must be why athletic director Bob Mulcahy, who often has a dour look on his face, was a walking grin Sunday night. What's not to like?
The team is 8-0.
The coach, Greg Schiano, who has built a winner, is now building a house within walking distance of the stadium.
The tailback, sophomore Ray Rice, has generated Heisman buzz.
The ranking, No. 15, ties the highest that a Rutgers team has ever been voted.
The bowl bid, a second straight one, could be the first-ever on Jan. 1.
And if Louisville defeats West Virginia on Thursday night, the unbeaten Cardinals will come to Rutgers Stadium a week later for a second consecutive game that will showcase two unbeaten Big East teams on ESPN.
That will be a tough ticket, too.
It had to happen. In a time when every Little Leaguer gets a trophy every season, in a time when grade inflation plagues our college campuses, college football has been overrun by players of the week.
It used to be that conferences named a player of the week. Then they named one for offense and defense. Then they added special teams. Now the Atlantic Coast Conference names backs and linemen of the week on each side of the ball, as well as a Specialist of the Week and a Rookie of the Week. That's six awards times 14 weeks of the season.
It is shrewd marketing. College football has 18 major awards now (for a 10-point bonus, name any 10). A player who has won the MAC West Special Teams Player of the Week on multiple occasions sounds more impressive than a kicker with good stats.
Nevertheless, being named Conference Player of the Week doesn't mean what it used to mean. With that in mind, here's a list of players who have won their league's award at least three times this season. It's no coincidence that demanding repeat performances weeds out all but the best. Study this list, because you'll see these names on All-America teams.
Of the 10 players, only one is a defender. Their numbers, and thus their performances, are more difficult to interpret.
ACC Back -- Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech WR
ACC Specialist -- Sam Swank, Wake Forest K
ACC Rookie -- C.J. Spiller, Clemson TB
Big East Offense -- Ray Rice, Rutgers RB
Big Ten Offense -- Troy Smith, Ohio State QB
MAC West Offense -- Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois TB
MAC West Defense -- Ameer Ismail, Western Michigan LB
MAC East Special Teams -- Matt Lasher, Ohio K/P
MWC Offense -- John Beck, BYU QB
WAC Offense -- Colt Brennan, Hawaii QB
WAC Offense -- Ian Johnson, Boise State TB
Editor's note: Every week, Ivan Maisel will explain how to perform a task integral to college football. It might happen on the field. It might happen on the sideline. It might have to do with tradition, or preparation, or the band, or the managers. But you'll go inside the sport as you never have before. Here goes:
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Mack Brown concentrated on not dropping the crystal football.
That's the money shot every coach and every team captain wants: standing on the portable stage on the field after the BCS championship game, holding the crystal football from the national championship trophy.
"I'd always seen everybody else hold it up high so you could see it, so that's all I knew to do," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "It's hollow, and it's really light. The only thing you don't want to do is drop it. You're tired after the game and your hands are sweaty."
Brown held it high above his head, fingers spread at each end of the ball, at the Rose Bowl after the 41-38 defeat of USC. It was the Longhorns' second straight Rose Bowl victory.
"I thought it was bad when they handed me the Rose Bowl trophy and I said, 'Thank you. Hand me the other one. I had that one last year,'" Brown joked. "And then, when they give you the crystal ball, your hands are sweaty and you're holding it very carefully. And then you lift it. I want to turn it around in my hands, and I said, 'Nope. This would be really embarrassing to drop this thing.' There's no question I could have done that. So it's kind of a bad-looking picture."
Brown said he held the ball on only one other occasion -- at the Longhorns' celebration when they returned to Austin.
Senior tailback Selvin Young didn't get to hold it until last spring, in a photo shoot for the team media guide.
"They gave it to me and said, 'Don't drop it,'" Young said. "I was like, 'Shoot, you don't touch me while I have it in my hand.' That's something we worked real hard for. It was fun to look at. I kind of caught myself dazing, glazing a little bit, seeing my reflection in it. I kind of wanted to take it home with me. They wouldn't let me."
So how do you hold it?
"I held it like you would hold a baby," Young said. "It was a baby. It wasn't as heavy as I thought it was going to be. It had a nice weight to it. It almost felt like a baby, like a real, live baby. It was precious. You didn't want to drop it. You didn't want anyone else to touch it. And you didn't want to give it back. It was quiet. It kind of set in my arms. I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Like any proud father, Young added, "I'd like another one."
1. Troy Smith, Ohio State, QB: I'm thinking of how the engraver at the British Open starts carving the name as the winner walks down the 18th fairway.
2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB: The running backs keep dropping because of injuries. Slaton stays healthy and keeps producing.
3. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame QB: His candidacy is getting pushed aside by the Irish's own schedule.
4. Colt Brennan, Hawaii, QB: Ask Dennis Erickson how good this guy is. Hawaii beat Idaho, 68-10, in the wee hours.
5. John Beck, BYU, QB: The Cougars' quarterback is one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.
1. Ohio State (1 last week): Are the Buckeyes this good? Is the rest of the Big Ten any good? I wish Ohio State played Wisconsin.
2. West Virginia (2): Everything the Mountaineers can't control has worked out well. Now it's up to them.
3. Michigan (3): LaMarr Woodley snuffed out Northwestern's first drive with a sack and a forced fumble, and the Wildcats barely made a sound again.
4. Texas (5): The Longhorns made one gutsy comeback. You have to wonder if anyone else in the Big 12 can go to school on how Texas Tech threw for more than 500 yards.
5. Louisville (6): The Cardinals have flown in West Virginia's shadow all season. The spotlight awaits.
6. Tennessee (7): The Vols get an impressive road victory at South Carolina. That may be redundant.
7. Arkansas (8): The Hogs failed to capitalize in the rankings on the win at Auburn because they played three opponents with losing records. Now come South Carolina away and Tennessee at home on consecutive Saturdays.
8. Cal (11): The Bears are the first team in three years to hold the Pac-10 lead without sharing it with USC.
9. Auburn (9): Alabama fans may take heart at how Auburn struggled with Ole Miss, too.
10. Florida (12): If you had to pick a defense, would you take the Gators or the Wolverines?
11. USC (4): Great comeback, but the Trojans prove they're no longer good enough to overcome their own spotty play.
12. LSU (13): Tennessee has played two straight physical games, and LSU goes into Knoxville after a week off.
13. Notre Dame (14): The Irish needed the Trojans to get to Nov. 25 undefeated.
14. Wisconsin (16): The most impressive aspect of the comeback victory against Illinois is that the Badgers didn't have tailback P.J. Hill Jr.
15. Boise State (NR): That 42-14 victory over Oregon State looks good after what the Beavers did to USC.
16. Rutgers (15): If the mark of a good team is to win when you don't play well, it's PGA Tour time; these guys are good.
Adios: Clemson (10).
Let's be honest. It is a struggle finding three games worth TiVo-ing this Saturday. You remember Separation Saturday. This is Desperation Saturday. But let's be serious. You're going to be raking leaves at some point, so you might as well be able to get caught up on something when you get back in the house.
No. 13 LSU at No. 8 Tennessee
Saturday, 3:30 p.m ET, CBS
The good news for LSU fans is that the Tigers are 6-2 and ranked 13th in the nation. The bad news is that the Tigers have four SEC teams ranked ahead of them, two of them in LSU's Western Division.
That's what happens when you lose two of your first three conference games. LSU's schedule has a certain rhythm this season: two games at home, one on the road and repeat. The problem is that the Tigers are 6-0 at home, and 0-2 on the road. Of the six teams that LSU has beaten, only Lousiana-Lafayette (4-3) has a winning record.
If you ask opposing SEC coaches which team in the league has the most talent, the majority would say LSU. Yet the Tigers' offense has disappeared at inopportune times. LSU never sniffed a touchdown in the 7-3 loss at Auburn, and committed five turnovers in the 23-10 loss at Florida.
Now LSU travels to No. 8 Tennessee (7-1, 3-1), every bit as hostile a road stadium as Jordan-Hare and The Swamp. The Volunteers have won two physical games in the last two weeks, and they are banged up. The Tigers didn't play last Saturday, which should be a huge advantage. Nevertheless, Tennessee is favored for a reason. Junior quarterback Erik Ainge has matured in this offense. He is accurate. He is smart. He makes quick decisions (only sacked six times in eight games), which may be the most important talent of all against an LSU defense with 26 sacks.
Tennessee has played well in its big games. LSU has not played well in its big games. This is a big game.
No. 16 Boston College at No. 22 Wake Forest
Saturday, 7 ET, ESPN2
The winner on ESPN2 Saturday night will raise its record to 8-1, 4-1 in the ACC, take control of the Atlantic Division, likely secure conference coach of the year award for its head coach, and head down the short road to the ACC Championship Game at Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium on Dec. 2. The loser can start thinking about inviting friends over to watch New Year's Day bowl games.
At first glance, it's tough to figure out how the No. 22 Demon Deacons have come to be 7-1, please explain. They have been outgained by an average of more than 17 yards per game. Only one of their six I-A victory margins has exceeded 11 points.
But take a closer look. The Deacs get an early lead (four touchdowns and a field goal on their eight opening possessions). They come out after halftime and reassert control (only six points allowed in the third quarter all season). They don't make mistakes. Despite relying on redshirt freshman quarterback Riley Skinner, Wake Forest leads the league in passing efficiency (150.4).
Wake is ailing at tailback, where Micah Andrews (first game) and Kevin Harris (last game) suffered knee injuries. That leaves fumble-prone De'Angelo Bryant and Travo Woods as the team's only healthy backs. Kenneth Moore, the team's leading receiver, is taking some snaps at tailback this week as an emergency solution.
In the four games since the Hail Mary loss to NC State, the only game that stands between Boston College and the national championship conversation, the Eagles have been plus-11 in turnover margin and allowed a total of 115 net rushing yards. They have played a tougher schedule than Wake Forest, even with the recent games against Maine and Buffalo.
This should be a good game. Both teams are physical, and use it as a weapon and a mask to hide their lack of speed compared to the rest of the league. Boston College has run 103 more plays than has Wake Forest. The Eagles lead the ACC in time of possession (31:23 average) and turnover margin (plus-10). That's what it will take to win this kind of game on the road.
Oklahoma State at No. 4 Texas
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, TBS
Generals say not to fight the last war, and coaches say not to game-plan the last game. But as slowly as Texas came out of the box Saturday at Texas Tech -- spotting the Red Raiders a 21-0 lead before coming back to win, 35-31 -- it might be time to worry. Don't forget, the Cowboys led the Longhorns, 28-12, at halftime last season.
The Texas fans would have every right to point out that Texas won the second half, 35-0, and that Oklahoma State led at the half, 35-14, two years ago, and Texas won the second half, 42-0.
But as I was saying, don't game plan for the last game (or two games). This is a better Oklahoma State team. With sophomore quarterback Bobby Reid beginning to blossom this season (third in I-A in passing efficiency at a 177.4 rating, with one TD throw every nine attempts), the Cowboys are 5-3 after walloping Nebraska, 41-29, last week.
Unless one of them leaves early for the NFL, this will be the first of three duels between Reid and Texas redshirt freshman quarterback Colt McCoy. That alone makes the game worth watching. McCoy has risen to seventh in I-A in passing efficiency (166.6), with 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in the six games since the 24-7 loss to No. 1 Ohio State.
Texas will be home, where the Longhorns have won 20 of their last 21 games, where they haven't lost a Big 12 game since 1999. It's too much to expect this young Oklahoma State team to beat the veteran Longhorns. But if Oklahoma State once again gets a big lead, the Cowboys may not crumble so easily.