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View from the Cheap Seats-BigXII Title GAme

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View from the Cheap Seats-BigXII Title Game




Oh what could have been.  It will go down as a season of missed opportunities.   Much like it was a game of missed opportunities.   As much as Tom Herman and staff improved TEXAS from where it was prior to his arrival, it was still a season that will be remembered for what it could have been not what was.  A 'close but no cigar' type of year. Doubt if anyone would believe it was the thieves of land's would have the biggest outcome on the results of the day.   This week's BigXII title game played out much like TEXAS' season.   Moments of great success, mixed with self inflicted injuries and a heavy dose of "bad luck".   This was also a season of "tests" for our team and coaching staff.   Some of those tests were passed as TEXAS largely exceeded expectations, we at the Cheap Seats saw TEXAS  as a dark hose to even get to the bigxii title game.   Some of those tests. . . well the results not so positive.    But end of the day, this season overall is a success for CTH and TEXAS even if we are left with an off season of coulda/shoulda/woulda discussions.


The BigXII has a reputation as a really poorly officiated conference.  So TEXAS' bad luck, is a crew which misses or chooses not to call obvious penalties, oddly the misses seem heavily weighted one way.    Which is not to say every penalty was bogus but the misses were egregious and significantly affected the outcome of the game.  OK, zebra whining over as it smacks of sour grapes.


We knew we needed a big game from Sam to win and overall, we think he delivered.   The most glaring offensive issue was against a team that gave up over 150 yard per game, we failed to rush for 100.   CTH talked about being the most physical team but that was not the case this weekend.   We opened very strong and traded TDs for FGs over the bulk of the 1st half.   But after 2 strong drives for TDs sandwiched around a drive ending in a punt, TEXAS would finish the 1st half punt punt.    OTOH, OU would go TD TD on it's last 2 drives of the 1st half then TD on it's 1st drive of the 2nd half.   a 21 point swing in the game which would be the difference at the end of the day.


Salute to some 1st year Seniors


As we are one game from "turning the page", we would be remiss if we did not take a moment to say goodbye to some departing seniors and let's focus on 2 who just arrived.   Make no mistake, TEXAS is not playing for the BigXII title without the graduate transfers Calvin Anderson and Tre Watson and their contributions.  


And one classy kid who chose not to transfer, was a great teammate and helped us win 2 games.  Shane Buechelle, whether you return or transfer for 2019, you will always be a Longhorn and should enjoy nothing but respect from the Nation of Burnt Orange.


Offensive Pros and Cons


Biggest pro was the passing game.  Not sure how it has evolved or who is most responsible but the passing offense has improved dramatically from last season.  Biggest con was the lack of a running attack.   Watching the Bama/Georgia game later showed that if you want to win and control the game, you have to have a quality OL.   Clearly Coach Hand's troops showed the biggest improvement from last year but even against a suspect OU D, we simply were not good enough to be the more physical team.   10 real drives in the game.   TEXAS generated points on only 4 of them.  Good news, all TDs, bad news, only scored on 4 drives.  Not the recipe for winning a shoot out.


Defensive Pros and Cons


The D didn't get embarrassed in the game as many predicted.  OU had 10 drives but scored on 6 of them.  Plus they added points with a safety on one of TEXAS' drives.   So the D could have used more help from sustained drives by the O but didn't make enough plays.   Specifically the lack of pressure on Murray.  Now he's an odd duck because too much pressure send him running where he's pretty effective but with too much time in the pocket, he picked TEXAS apart.  The defensive line was largely neutralized.   Worse, we might have won Murray the Heisman.   Only 10% of Heisman ballots are in thus many voters waiting on the title games where the 3 finalists were featured.   No way to spin it, Murray had the best day.   Biggest question, why did Joseph Ossai not get a single snap?    Pretty sure his redshirt is blown already.   #1 issue for 2019 is finding players and building a scheme that gets pressure from it's down line.


Offensive Player of the Game:


Collin Johnson.  BigXII Championship record game receiving.  8 for 177 and a TD.  Would have been 227 yards and 2 TDs but he was called for Offensive Pass Interference in the end zone.   Runner up:  Sam  23-36 349 2 TDs plus 2 rushing TDs.


Defensive Player of the Game:


Gary Johnson.   He simply balled out and his biggest play was chasing down a long reception to force a fumble in the red zone to snuff out an OU drive.   Will be the hardest player on the defense to replace.    Runner up:  Anthony Wheeler.  Much maligned by the fan base but over the last 3-4 games, played his best football at TEXAS.  Leading tackler in the game.





5 Key Plays that lead to loss


#5  Collin Johnson's 40 yard TD called back due to an offensive pass interference call.  Replay showed OU defender never made a play on the ball and the hand fighting was the same on both sides.   Instead of 21-13, the score remains 14-13 as TEXAS would be forced to punt  


#4   TEXAS' D gives up an 80 yard drive and surrenders the lead before halftime, this without OU having a timeout and with only :59 seconds on the clock.   TEXAS would then give up a 75 yard drive to open the 2nd half.   In 3:40 seconds, OU would go from down 14-13 to up 27-13


#3   Early 4th quarter, 3rd down pass to Lil Jordan beyond the sticks, he's held before the pass got there then mugged.  Even the announcers thought a no-call was incredulous.   TEXAS down 27-30 at this point killing a drive that potential ties or takes the lead.


#2  3rd down on the TEXAS side of the field, Murray throws a TD pass in the end zone.  Replay shows OU is not lined up properly.   3rd down and 7, TEXAS side of the field, OU runs left for a 9 yard gain, OU tackle started early.   Oppsie.


#1   The biggest, the killer, corner blitz for a safety.   Not the 1st time OU have brought the corner blitz in the game.   TEXAS forced to kickoff to OU, net result of their drive a  TD and a 9 point swing in the game.




Where we go from here



Short term the parodox for TEXAS fans is our path to the best bowl now requires us hoping OU takes the 4th CFP Playoff spot so we go to the Sugar Bowl.    Otherwise it's likely the Alamo Bowl and a date with Utah.   Better bowl vs Georgia?  Or lesser bowl vs a Utah team that should lead to win 10 on the year.  We'll publish this before the announcements.  The Cheap Seats (oh does this OU sucks sucks to say) votes for OU to the playoffs so we can enjoy a trip to Nawlins. 

One bowl game request, get Rising a series.   Let's not go into 2019


Longer term, where does the future hold for TEXAS?    Make no mistake, this was no demoralizing loss.   TEXAS got beat by a team with more talent and acquitted themselves well.  We aren't aggies, this is no "moral victory", it's one that got away.   2019 will see TEXAS as the favorite to win the BigXII.  This presents CTH with a new test in his young head coaching career.   How do you perform with conference title expectations and borderline playoff conversations?    This is territory he has seen as an assistant but never as an HC.   Not at the Power 5 level.


Offensively the biggest off season question will be whether either or both of our outstanding WRs return.  The optimism here is that even if both jump, we seem to be stocked with WR talent.  Devin Duvernay emerged in the 2nd half of the year as a real threat and John Burt was able to red shirt and will be back.   Andrew Beck moves on from his TE/HBack role but behind him is also more TE depth than TEXAS has enjoyed in years.  The offense loses 3 of their starting offensive line though they will have 3 returning starters in the sense that Derrick Kerstetter was a starter in 2017.


Defensively the challenges are much greater.  TEXAS will lose it's entire defensive line and LB corps except Malcolm Roach.   TEXAS will also lose both corner backs and PJ Locke, who was playing "slot safety".   Lots of young talent behind them but as Dandy Don was fond of saying "Potential means you ain't done it yet".    Expectations are high and spring drills will be interesting to watch.   And with lots of young talent, the pressure is on for Coach Todd to produce more efficiently week over week as well as getting his young charges up to speed NOW.    And he's already a candidate at Utah State, do others come sniffing.  We hope Coach Todd takes the Kirby Smart approach and holds out for a better offer at a Power 5 school.




Final Ranking of the Big XII



#1  OU . .to be the champ, you have to beat the champ.  We didn't get it done.  Who's their QB in 2019?


#2  TEXAS    Not quite ready for life at the very top.   Sam returns as the Top QB in the BigXII


#3  WVU    Really interesting that public reports are Holgerson REALLY wanted the TT job.  Not sure how that plays in Morgantown.  Who's their QB?


#4  ISU    BigXII team on the rise.  Can they keep Campbell who clearly is one of the top young coaches in the land.  Returns one of the top QBs in the conference


#5   OSU   the BigXII spoiler.   QB job is uncertain today


#6  Baylor   That sucks to type too, F baylor but Rhule has done a good job.  They have a good but not great returning QB.  Did you know his Dad and Granddad played at TEXAS?


#7  TCU   Mostly out of respect for Patterson's past work.   Team with a QB controversy brewing, seems there will be 3 guys vying for the job in the spring


#8  Texas Tech   New Coach, can we see new results in 2019?   He will enjoy a very good QB and a solid backup


#9  KSU. Their QB is set but is Snyder back for another year?  If not, who they got?   Sklyer Thompson is another good but not great QB.


#10  Kansas  Less Miles in town, the mad hatter will make things interesting.  No clue who their QB will be.

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"The BigXII has a reputation as a really poorly officiated conference.  So TEXAS' bad luck, is a crew which misses or chooses not to call obvious penalties, oddly the misses seem heavily weighted one way.    Which is not to say every penalty was bogus but the misses were egregious and significantly affected the outcome of the game.  OK, zebra whining over as it smacks of sour grapes."


It only smacks of sour grapes is you really don't have a case. But you do. And you do every single week. As I've said here before, people with large wallets are livid and have been for a while. This will not play well with them. Prolly time to talk to my buddy again.

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7 hours ago, Sirhornsalot said:

Its his son. By the way, Rick is the sheriff of Jeff Davis County.


Rick had it all..... tall, cannon arm, ability to run.  Played during the Akers glory years and spent several years in the NFL.  As strange as it sounds, he didn’t end his career as a starter.  I believe Todd Dodge started his senior year?

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