Third and Long: College Football Takes
A couple of things were played out on Thursday night that I’ve believed all season: 1) OU can’t score points. 2) Marcus Mariota is not a Heisman contender. Credit also has to go to each respective defense facing them last night. Baylor’s D has been good all year and Stanford is, well, Stanford.
Apologies to Sooner fans, but having a No. 10 next to OU on the TV graphic is downright insulting. This is not even close to a top-10 team; it’s a reputation ranking. Well, expect that to go away come Sunday night. It’s hard to believe but OU has been practically eliminated from the Big 12 race one week into November.
It pretty much starts and ends at the quarterback position for OU. Blake Bell’s stock was never higher than when he was a back-up, brought in for short-yardage situations. Until Bob Stoops finds an answer under center, don’t expect the Sooners to be as big a factor in the Big 12. They’re a paper tiger.
Baylor? Well, of course that may have been the biggest win in program history last night. Hard to judge, especially when you consider that the 2011 home win over OU basically pushed RGIII over the top for the Heisman Trophy (which I consider an individual national championship).
Still, it’s a big win. Baylor had literally beaten no one, even though their numbers were unreal. Props to the Bears on a huge win. I’ve felt for a while that the game at Oklahoma State would decide whether Baylor’s season was a good one or a great one. Keep your eyes on that contest.
Meanwhile on the West Coast, Oregon’s slip up at Stanford cracks open the door for Baylor to sneak into the BCS National Championship talk. They still need help, but that was a key loss in the puzzle. Will Baylor jump Ohio State in the Sunday night rankings?
Stanford really won this game more than Oregon lost it (though the Tree tried to hand them the game in the waning minutes). Mariota did his best to hand it right back with three fumbles, two of which he luckily got back in the red zone. Other than that, he was good, not great. Certainly not a Heisman game for him.
While Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston have deservedly gotten Heisman consideration from the media, I’m flabbergasted that Mariota has gotten tons more love than A.J. McCarron. The only thing Mariota and McCarron have in common is that each were undefeated coming in. McCarron has completed just under 70 percent of his passes and is a field general who is steady and strong.
Oh well, probably don’t have to worry about Mariota staying in contention now. My money is still on Winston to win it, but Johnny Football has some big games (at LSU, at Mizzou) to convince some voters that he is still the best player in the game. Stay tuned.
New Sheriff in Austin
Steve Patterson was introduced as the new athletic director at Texas on Thursday, and while he spoke about coming home (he’s a Texas grad) and gushed about the great jobs across the board that Horns coaches and administrators have done for years, the elephant in the room was Mack Brown’s job status.
It’s a little unfair, but at the same time, a realist would have none of that argument. Mack’s Horns have rebounded from a tough start to 2013, sporting a 6-2 record and a chance to win the Big 12. But it’s clear to anyone who has watched Texas over the last few years that a change is really needed to get back to legitimately contending for titles.
Patterson will make many decisions in his first few months on the job, but none will be bigger than Brown. If Texas keeps winning, it will be harder to make a change. Many have been whispering in Brown’s ear to retire, and I expect that to continue. But make no mistake – Patterson’s early impact on Texas Athletics will depend solely on the football head coach situation and how it is handled, especially who replaces Mack. And when.
I found it humorous how the media was scrambling with the news that Nick Saban’s agent told Texas regent Tom Hicks that “he would only consider leaving Alabama for the Texas job.” Of course they have to report what comes out in the news, but read between the lines.
What else would Saban’s agent say? Of course he’s going to keep his options open and try to create leverage on both sides to guarantee his client a maximum amount of money. Saban is the biggest name in college coaching and of course Texas is going to go after any big fish possible.
Remember that this supposed phone call went down in January, not last week. And also consider that the news was revealed in a Hicks email and not direct from Saban, nor direct from his agent. Who knows what kind of slant or feel Hicks placed on the message to his fellow Horn boosters.
Bottom line – Saban is no closer to taking the Texas job than he was at this time last year (or any other year). I’d be floored if he left Alabama for Texas. It would be a move only fueled by ego, and he has plenty left to accomplish with the Crimson Tide (like passing the Bear in stature and legend). The money will come – one way or the other. Here’s betting it’s in a new contract extension in Tuscaloosa.