Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Week With Tech On Top

This morning, I want to direct you to the Josh Howard essay (scroll down) and offer a few short college football options and some other stuff…The Cowboys are back to work, so my light weekend is over…

However, College Football is amazingly entertaining right now …say goodbye to Penn State, and hello to SEC vs Big 12…

While Alabama and Texas Tech control their destiny, any of the first five teams remain viable for a championship appearance

"There's a lot of football still to be played," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, whose team hosts Texas Tech on Nov. 22, one of several key games.

Texas Tech, which closed the BCS gap significantly on Alabama, can clinch the Big 12 South title and a spot in the conference championship game with a win, even before the regular-season finale with Baylor. All the scenarios, all the figuring down to the last decimal point, don't really matter in Lubbock right now.

The Red Raiders' mission: Win and they're in.

"We've said it all year, that we have a chance to do something special," said quarterback Graham Harrell, who has completed 75.8 percent of his passes for 1,316 yards and 13 touchdowns in consecutive wins over Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma State.
"We've got to continue to improve and get better and win football games. Being 10-0 is great, but we've still got two more football games ahead of us. "

One of those requires a trip to Norman, where Stoops has compiled a career record of 60-2. The Sooners still remember last season's national title hopes ending with an upset loss in Lubbock, where quarterback Sam Bradford was injured early.

Texas fans now face the strange emotional conflict of rooting for Oklahoma, as a way of opening the door to the BCS.

An Oklahoma win against Tech could conceivably create a three-way tie in the South between OU, Tech and Texas.

In that scenario, the tie-breaker would be the BCS standings.

How much would Tech be punished for its loss at OU? What kind of love would Oklahoma receive from the computer polls, which have viewed the Sooners skeptically? And would Texas get credit for its 10-point neutral-site win over Oklahoma this season and blame for a one-point loss at Tech?

Even the usual BCS gurus aren't quite sure what would happen.

Tech passes another huge test with relative ease

* Tech (10-0, 6-0) remained in first place in the Big 12 South and kept its BCS national title game aspirations alive. The Red Raiders reached 10 wins in a season for the first time since 1976 and are 10-0 for the first time since 1938.

* Tech became only the second team since 1965 to beat a No. 1 team one week before defeating another Top 10 foe the following week, joining Barry Switzer's 1984 Oklahoma team. The Red Raiders improved to 30-6 in home night games under Mike Leach and extended their school-record - and national-best - win streak to 12 games.

* Oklahoma State (8-2, 4-2) had its BCS bowl dreams go up in smoke and fell a game behind second-place Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 South race. OSU lost its 12th consecutive game at Tech and hasn't won in Lubbock since 1944.

7 Straight!

Tech charged ahead with touchdowns on seven-straight possessions as they cruised to a resounding 56-20 victory over Oklahoma State.

"Seven-straight was good," Harrell said. "That's what it's all about: putting the last drive behind as you are scoring the next one."

The length of the drives were equally impressive. Tech marched for touchdowns on drives of 80, 70, 97, 72, 48, 80 and 96 yards. Only another fumble by Harrell on his final play of the game ended the streak.

"That's probably as good of a whole game as we've put together," said Eric Morris, who led Tech with 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. "We were clicking on all cylinders."

Harrell said he was inspired by many doubters who thought the Red Raiders would crumble after the victory over Texas last week.

Oklahoma State had upset Missouri and played Texas close in Austin. In both games, they had limited those opponents to more than 20 points below their yearly scoring averages.

But the Cowboys were no match for Texas Tech's offense on Saturday as the Red Raiders raced to their first 10-0 start since 1938.

Updated look at the NFC EAST division…

WeekDallasNew YorkPhillyWash
11@ WashBalt@ CinDal
12SF@ Arz@ Balt@ Sea
13Sea@ WashArzNYG
14@ PittPhil@ NYG@ Balt
15NYG@ DalCle@ Cin
16BaltCar@ WashPhil
17@ Phil@ MinnDal@ SF

My latest Stars Blog Entry:

Questions that we may never be able to answer:

How many stars are in the sky?

Is there intelligent life on other planets?

How do they get the cream inside a Twinky?

What was Marty thinking Saturday in San Jose?

The Sharks Announcers seem most pleased:

According to Mike Heika’s game story, Marty doesn’t know either:

"I really didn't know what I was thinking," Turco said. "Generally, I watch them (the opposition) and let them dictate, but I'm on my backhand at that particular time of the game, I don't know what I was thinking."

"My embarrassment aside, we were in the game and at least had a chance to get a point," Turco said. "That's huge for where we were and where we are in team confidence."

He was very, very good Saturday night. It looked like Turco got his groove back for all of Friday and about 99% of Saturday. But, Yikes.

Talk about giving a way at least a point with one solid kick to the groin.

As I was reminded on Saturday night – as I was filling in for Craig Ludwig on Fox Sports Southwest – I have often compared the Stars goaltender to my favorite QB in the NFL, Brett Favre. The saying I have coined over the years is “you live by the Favre, and you die by the Favre”. The idea is that his greatness wins games, and his absent minded decisions that sometimes arrive without warning will lose you some games, too.

Marty, and to a lesser extent, Sergei Zubov both share the element of Favrian play. They dazzle, dazzle, and dazzle, and then make a play that makes even the youth coaches have steam come out of their ears. But, you cannot take the good without the bad. The high risk element of their game is what makes them great. If Favre and Turco stopped taking chances, then they would become ordinary and average.

But, I will still try to kick it positive, and say to you that if we can look forward to “Old Marty” -which means solid net-minding, and the occasional absent minded decision…I can live with that. And so can Dave Tippett and the Dallas Stars. What we cannot live with is 5 goals against per game, or what we fear is “2008-09 Marty”. And maybe, just maybe, Marty left that guy in Boston.

Does a player who plays great all night only to blow it at the end benefit from such
an experience? Or does it dump him deeper into a funk? How about a QB who throws for 300 yards and a few TD’s only to lose the game with a late interception? Is it progress?

I guess we find out this week. Kings, Kings, Coyotes, and Blackhawks are the next 4 until their next date with the Ducks. Pull 6 or 7 points, and it is all good. But, go 1-2-1 in the next 4 and I have to believe it will be time for the Stars management team to shake things up.

But, this weekend in Cali perhaps added some important ingredients from last spring: Zubov, Lehtinen soon, and “Old Marty”.

The Denver Paper claims the Stars are in chaos

The Avalanche's problems have been on display and under discussion around here, but the Stars' fall from the league's elite — at least so far — is more surprising. They not only got to the Western Conference finals last spring, they were competitive against the Red Wings.

The Stars' co-general managers, Les Jackson and Brett Hull, and coach Dave Tippett all received extensions that take them through the 2010-11 season.

It's not so much the record — the Stars were 5-6-2 heading into a Saturday night game at San Jose — as the atmosphere of chaos in the wake of the offseason signing of center Sean Avery. He's the supreme agitator, but he can be more disruptive of his own team's chemistry than of the other team's focus.

Last weekend, after a loss in Boston, Dallas veteran Mike Modano sharply criticized Avery and the Stars' holdover pest, Steve Ott, saying the agitation approach had backfired that night and was "idiotic and stupid."

Most reading those comments inferred he was talking about the approach the Stars were taking in general since the Avery signing, and not only about that game. Both players drew 10-minute misconducts against the Bruins and yapped at both the men in striped shirts and Boston fans.

Modano tried to back off a bit in the next few days, saying he was talking more specifically of the events that night in Boston.

He was right the first time.

Signing Avery was a stupid move, and the Stars are paying for it.

Avery pulls off the feat of bringing down the average IQ about 80 points.

No, the Stars' slow start can't solely be attributed to Avery's toxic presence. But their recovery depends on making sure he doesn't completely poison the atmosphere — on his own team.

John Williams tribute - Gold


Flaco said...

It is so laughable to me whenever media that is not close to this team at all, including Canadian national media (ahem TSN) think that Sean Avery has one bit to do with anything going on around here. It is completely ridiculous.

Bob, my theory on Marty is that he saw something up ice and he tried to make a play. He Brett Favred us, is what I'm saying. There's no play that Marty doesn't think he can make.

Flaco said...

Never mind Bob, you had the Favre angle too.

But I may have beaten you to it

Anonymous said...

See ... you start watching Tech and college football gets interesting. For years we watched un-fun football. Now you watch Tech and it's fun. Pure logic.


Michael said...

Not a word about Parrish and his hat-trick debut? Ouch. When was the last time a team had two guys net hat tricks in their debuts in the same season?

bomberman said...

Thank's Bob, now I have that music with that guys voice in my head. It was pretty cool though.