Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Night Dessert: Tigers, Buffies, and Wildkitties Lay Eggs

I must say that I was rather surprised to see Texas A&M leading Texas Tech at halftime yesterday. Tech did come back and won, but their 7-0 record is looking rather suspicious at this time. Sagarin's rates their strength of schedule 103rd at this point, meaning that except for Nebraska, they really haven't played anybody. That changes starting this week, as they play Kansas, then Texas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. Tech's going to have to step their play up a few notches, as they could easily be 7-4 when Baylor arrives in Lubbock after Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, Dan Hawkins yanked the redshirt off of freshman Tyler Hansen to replace Hawkins' son Cody, who was struggling mightily this season. Right now, it's "splitting snaps", though it's important to note that Hansen played more than Cody Hawkins. Look for this situation to mimic Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor; Hansen will likely be the starter for the Buffaloes by the start of November.

Not that either quarterback had a lot of success against Kansas State's awful defense. So while Hansen gives them a little more of a spark and potential, it's still a bad offense to this point in Boulder. Speaking of the Wildcats, Kansas State starts begins the Ron Prince death march next weekend with Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri up next to face the nations #105 defense.

I headed down to the Qwest Center last night to catch UNO's hockey game against Union College. Looks like I didn't miss anything by skipping the Texas/Missouri game; I walked by the Briequarium and just shook my head when I saw the Bovines led the Tigers 35-0. Surprised the heck out of me; I figured Missouri could be outscored upon, but not be essentially shut down offensively. Is Texas that good? Well, after defeating Oklahoma and Missouri, you'd have to go that direction until someone proves otherwise.

Speaking of the UNO/Union game, it was a fairly physical defensive battle, with neither team having much success putting the puck on net during the game. That might be the biggest change with UNO hockey, as the Mavs now seem to be much more physical than they've been in years. They came out a little sluggish in the first period, but they controlled the play much of the third period and nearly all of overtime. There was one stretch in overtime where UNO controlled the puck like they were on a power play for over two minutes, periodically rotating a player out for a subsitution while not allowing Union a chance to change up. Certainly remarkable, and not like anything I've seen from UNO hockey before.

It's just game two for the Mavs, so it's hard to say much about where the Mavs are. Union was a middle of the road eastern hockey team last season, so while the victory is good, it's not like UNO slugged it out with a national power. That being said, the victory was enough to make UNO #1 in's Pairwise calculator. Yeah, it's silly to look at it this point, especially with the way they calculate the Pairwise. But it's a good start for this season, even if AJ already gave up on them before the season even began.

Anybody else see Zach Bowman's impact on the Chicago Bears today? Activated from the practice squad this week, he only saw a little action, but oh, what an impact. Playing initially on special teams, he spooked the Vikings' Charles Gordon into muffing a punt deep in Viking territory, then pounced on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown. Then, after more injuries in the Bears secondary, he sealed the Bears victory with an interception with 41 seconds left in the game. We heard all about Bowman's talent when he arrived in Lincoln, but injuries really limited him throughout his Husker career. Whether it was nagging hamstrings, torn tendons or torn ACLs, he never really was healthy during his Husker career.

Speaking of former Huskers in the NFL, I see Barrett Ruud got 5% of the votes for "player of the game" on tonight's NBC broadcast. Yeah, he won't get on the horse trailer tonight, but another big game for the former Husker.

I criticized Shawn Watson for not pulling Joe Ganz against Missouri two weeks ago; turns out Watson had a good reason to do it. I'll name this variant the "Spread Coast Offense", and so far, it looks fairly productive. What I'm especially intrigued with is the Marlon Lucky lining up in the shotgun taking the snap from center. I'd love to see Lucky utilized much like the Miami Dolphins line up Ronnie Brown. Of course, I've been calling for it all season.

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