THE state of Texas took center stage over the weekend.
The two biggest games in our borders were big, though for different reasons. Texas A&M-Alabama was a top-10 showdown dripping with intrigue and star power. Texas-Ole Miss was big for all the wrong reasons.
Both Texas teams ended up losing, but somehow the Aggies might have retained even more national relevance after their 49-42 loss to top-ranked Alabama. They slipped only four spots in this week’s AP poll and remain one of the most dangerous offenses in the country.
Not so much for the Bevos.
The Horns were once a perennial top-10 program, but these days it’s hard to stay in the top 25 for more than a week or so.
Teams once feared players like Vince Young, Cedric Benson and Colt McCoy, but the current crop of Longhorns, while talented, doesn’t elicit that kind of respect from the enemy.
Nowadays, opponents come in knowing if they have a solid rushing game and an average defense, they stand a great chance to knock off the Bevos.
It’s that simple.
“If Kansas State hasn’t run the option, they will,” said Mack Brown, who is still Texas’ head coach, in case you’re wondering. “Or they should.”
The Wildcats have Texas’ number (five straight wins), but won’t be able to suit up Collin Klein. The team that Bill Snyder brings into DKR isn’t one of his best, but that doesn’t mean Texas will have an easy night.
Easy nights are a thing of the past.
AS if there weren’t enough to ridicule the NCAA over, this targeting rule — while well-intentioned in scope — is horrible in its execution. I watched three games Saturday, and in each one a defensive back was whistled for targeting, ejected and then reinstated upon review of the replay.
Texas safety Adrian Phillips was one of those. He was whistled for targeting Rebel receiver I’Tavius Mathers and ejected, which caused secondary coach Duane Akina to set a personal best in the vertical leap. Peace was restored when it was determined that Phillips was not guilty of targeting.
Here’s where the rule is garbage. The NCAA stipulates that penalty yards remain in place even if a player is judged not to have been guilty of targeting. In essence, a mistake by the refs was huge in Ole Miss getting a momentum-changing 52-yard field goal to end the first half; Phillips’ penalty of 15 yards occurred with 1 second left on the clock.
American Football Coaches Association President Mack Brown declined to discuss the subject as a spokesperson for that institution Monday, but rather as the head coach at Texas.
“If we’re going to make a decision that it wasn’t even really a penalty, but since our rule says we can’t pick it up, if we’re going to take our time to delay the game and go up and show that it wasn’t targeting, why in the world can’t you say, ‘In fact, it wasn’t targeting? He hit him with his shoulder. It’s not even a penalty.’ That’s where it needs to change.”
NEW defensive coordinator Greg Robinson hasn’t met with the media during a game week just yet. The guess here is he’s working up some wicked brew somewhere in the bowels of the Moncrief-Neuhaus complex, maybe even a voodoo doll of K-State coach Bill Snyder, who is 5-2 in head-to-head coaching meetings against Robinson’s boss.
Mack has thrown the weight of his support behind Robinson, but last I checked, Robinson won’t be allowed to play Saturday. It’s still up to the players.
I asked cornerback Carrington Byndom about his frustration since the win total isn’t adding up to the work the team put in over the offseason.
“It can be frustrating, but you can’t start pointing fingers,” Byndom said. “It’s tough, but at the end of the day, you have to find a way. As a defense, you have to find a way. It’s our job to stop people.”
THE Dallas Cowboys hold the title of being the team that allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to match their win total of two from 2012.
So much for Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen calling the NFC East the “SEC of the National Football League.” From what I hear, the big dogs in the SEC aren’t into losing on the regular. The four teams in the NFC East put up a whopping zero wins over the weekend, including a second straight blowout loss by the Redskins to start the season.
As for Dallas, the Cowboys can get that bogged-down offense back on track against the St. Louis Rams — that is, if Tony Romo continues to cultivate a great 0n-field relationship with Dez Bryant, who, despite a couple of big drops, remains one of the three scariest wide receiver matchups in pro football.