Let’s kick off these bye-week flavored nuggets with a temperature check on the Forty Acres.
The last time the Longhorns had a bye week, it came after they rolled over Oklahoma in Dallas, a win so gratifying that coach Mack Brown said the team’s 24-hour rule was extended due to the huge significance of the victory.
Spin forward four weeks, and the Horns were at their futile worst against what was actually an evenly matched opponent. Oklahoma State isn’t a world beater — the Cowboys actually lost by nine at West Virginia — and, like Texas, the Pokes have a quarterback who isn’t an NFL prospect.
But they took it to Texas, and now the Longhorns get to spend the next 10 days prepping for Texas Tech as fans wonder whether they’ll win another game in the regular season.
The Horns will certainly be favored to beat Tech at home on Thanksgiving, but the Red Raiders are capable of lighting up Godzillatron and sending Texas to a second straight beatdown. They gave Baylor a real tussle in the first half, and the fact that their passing attack is much more lethal than Texas’ should have defensive coordinator Greg Robinson working overtime leading up to the game.
FOR those who believe the Bears are bound to say bye to that perfect 9-0 record with Saturday’s game at Stillwater … think again.
Baylor just doesn’t seem to get flustered because coach Art Briles has finally found some defense to go with the high-powered offenses that have come to typify his teams. The Bears fell behind 14-0 Saturday but got the stops when they needed them against Texas Tech, and the 63-34 victory extended their winning streak to 13 games dating back to 2012.
Baylor will take care of business against Oklahoma State and finish up with wins over TCU and Texas for a 12-0 regular season and a possible appearance in the national title game.
The Bears are percentage points behind Ohio State for that third slot in the BCS standings, which means a Fiesta Bowl is likely. That said, top-ranked Alabama will have its hands full at Auburn this weekend, and a Baylor win over No. 10 Oklahoma State should resonate favorably with the BCS computer, while the Buckeyes are unlikely to move the needle after they blow out Indiana at home.
ON to the pros, where the situation in Houston has become toxic.
While my prayers are that head coach Gary Kubiak continues to progress from his health scare, it’s time for the Texans to part ways with him. The organization can no longer excuse the underachievements that have been the story of his tenure.
Sunday’s 28-23 loss to Oakland should be the last straw.
The only thing more unbelievable than Peyton Manning’s Papa John’s restaurant in Denver getting robbed on the same night the boss beat the Chiefs was Kubiak’s decision to replace quarterback Case Keenum with the still-erratic Matt Schaub in the third quarter of a winnable game.
As the Reliant Stadium boos cascaded down from the fans who had bothered to stick around, Andre Johnson — the usually mild-mannered face of the franchise — got into a screaming match with Schaub and walked off the field with more than a minute still remaining in the game.
They all downplayed the incident, but here’s what we know: Keenum had provided an offensive spark since he replaced Schaub in mid-October. He had also developed a nice on-field rapport with Johnson. Schaub missed badly on a deep route to Johnson that would’ve gotten the Texans back into the game, then misfired on an end zone throw late.
Can’t blame Johnson for being frustrated. The Texans are 2-8, and Kubiak waffled at first before naming Keenum the starter for the Jacksonville game. Schaub lost this fan base long ago, and the people who have suffered through eight straight losses deserve a new look behind center.
IT might be time to drop the “L” from the NFC L-East. There were signs of life on the same weekend that Dallas had its bye. The New York Giants have won four in a row after starting 0-6, and the Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) surged to the top of the division with an eight-point win over the freefalling Redskins.
I predicted Dallas would win this division, but it will have to undo an unenviable dry spell when it comes to winning streaks. The Cowboys have won two games in a row only once this season and are 0-4 on the road.
Dallas could really cripple the Giants’ playoff hopes with a first road win Sunday.
Yeah, I said that with a straight face.
Join beat writers Randy Riggs, Mark Rosner and Dave Behr at 11 a.m. Tuesday for their weekly Longhorns chat at statesman.com/bevobeat.