OU vs. Texas: Stop the Whining Whitlock, Herbstreit, James. . .

Jason Whitlock threw in his two cents this morning on the three way tie scenario that plagued the South. His take was, basically, UT beat OU head to head on a neutral field. Case closed. Yada, yada, yada. Blah, blah, blah. Notwithstanding Whitlock and his mental challenged compatriots like Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Craig James, et al., and Mack Brown’s whining, there is no (as in ZERO) justification for throwing out Texas Tech (a flukey team, according to Whitlock) and comparing only the other two head to head. Even in the case of a two way tie, head to head is not a logical way of breaking the tie. It is merely a convenient way.

The question that gets lost in the shuffle is: Why is Team A (Texas in this case) only tied for the lead if it won the head to head game with team B (OU)?

The answer, of course, is that, the rest of the time, it was losing more games. In this case, Texas was 6-1 in other conference games, 4-1 in games vs. common opponents (the South plus KU), and 3-1 vs. the South. Meanwhile, OU was better in all comparisons: 7-0, 5-0, and 4-0. What the head-to-headers insist on is that OU beat Texas by two games (8-0 to 6-2) or stay home because they lost the wrong one.

Not saying that OU is necessarily more deserving than UT. Just saying that the argument that UT should be given preference because they beat OU head to head—a questionable argument even in a two team situation--is ludicrous in a three way.

And, no, the fact that Tech lost much (if not all) of its credibility by losing a game by 44 points does not mean they should be removed from the equation, reducing the argument to two teams to then be decided by the outcome of the game between those two. UT did not make Tech irrelevant. Indeed, it was UT that made Tech relevant by losing to them. It was OU that is totally responsible for Tech’s fall from grace. The Sooners should be punished for being too good?

In a way, however, it is good that Texas is the team left out in the cold (barring a Mizzou upset of OU). Teams like Georgia, KU, and Auburn getting screwed will never lead to change in the system.

As they say in Austin, “Money Talks.” A few more of the big boys getting screwed will eventually lead to a decent playoff format involving teams and conferences throughout the country. Not this year, for sure. Maybe not in the next few years. But the more teams like UT, Ohio St, Southern Cal, and other blue (or should I say green) bloods get the short end of the BCS stick, the more likely a REAL playoff system becomes.

As a certain playoff proponent would declare: “Yes, We Can!”


A friend of PB has noted that KU is UT's only road win against a team with a winning record, while OU beat a better OSU team and TT beat both KU and 7-5 Nevada. OU also scheduled a non-conference road game against a BCS opponent (Washington, which admittedly sucked this year), while UT didn't even leave their home state to play at UTEP. Further, OU beat two BCS top 15 schools in non-conference play (TCU and Cincinnati), while UT didn't play anyone in the top 25, so OU is 4-1 vs. the BCS top 15 (all wins by at least 20 points), while UT is only 2-1 (neither win by more than 10 points.) Against the whole BCS top 25 UT is 3-1. OU can move to 5-1 by beating MU on Saturday.

Where Is the Outrage about Mizzou's Schedule?

Where is the outrage over Mizzou winning the Big 12 North solely because of its weak schedule? Last year, KU was given a lot of grief and accused of being a fraud because the Jayhawks “avoided” Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. And wrongfully so. Texas and Tech last year were no better than two teams the Hawks played on the Road: Okie St (where Tech lost and UT escaped with a miracle fourth quarter), and A&M (where Texas lost)—and this doesn’t even account for UT’s 20 point loss at Home to k-state and its near death experience at Home vs. a Nebraska team that KU routed in an historical manner.

Playing Baylor instead of OU? Okay, you’ve got a point.

This year, Mizzou has had the schedule advantage, yet no one even mentions it.

In the Big 12 North, both Mizzou and KU are 4-1 (as is NU). In common opponents (the North and UT), both teams are 4-2. NU is also 4-2 vs. common opponents with Mizzou (the North plus Baylor); and vs. common opponents with KU (the North plus Tech).

So why is Mizzou playing in the Big 12 title game as the North’s sacrificial lamb, rather than KU? The Jayhawks, after all, beat the Tigers head to head on a neutral field?

Okay—so the Big 12 3 way tie-breaker discards head to head (and rightfully so), and Mizzou wins the hypothetical BCS ratings fiasco. Nevertheless, the ONLY reason Mizzou has an edge in the Big 12 North standings and has avoided the three way tie scenario is its schedule.

Mizzou’s non-common conference opponents vis a vis KU are Okie St at Home and Baylor in Waco vs. Texas Tech at home and Oklahoma in Norman. I will allow that Tech and Okie St are comparable opponents, making the teams’ comparable records 4-3.

But Baylor in Waco vs. OU in Norman? You decide whether Mizzou’s W at Baylor (a game they would have lost had a Baylor defender not dropped an easy Pick-6 in the last two minutes of a tie game) means they are more deserving than a team that had to play in a stadium where OU has lost twice in the Bob Stoops era.

The guess here is that Mizzou is 4-4 had they played OU rather than Baylor, and KU is 5-3 had the Hawks visited Waco instead of Norman.

At any rate, there is no logical basis for anyone concluding that Mizzou is a better team or a more deserving one than KU.

Take it to the Bank: The Brave New World Edition

With a Thursday night game looming here is the earlier than usual slate for Week 13.*


1. USC -3.5 at Arizona St

No turkey of a game here. Could be the second wildest game of the weekend. I will take the Home Dog to at least stay within a field goal against one of the country's premiere underachieving teams this year.



2. Nebraska +5.5 at Colorado

Which NU team shows up: the one that allowed 76 points to KU, or the one that scored 73 against k-state? Wouldn't the Huskers like to push a reset button and start the conference season over?


3. UT -5.5 at A&M

This one's easy: the Aggies played KU to within 8 points in College Station. And they don't even hate the Jayhawks.


4. Arkansas +12.5 at LSU

LSU is a fine team, and if they make it to the BCS title game on a virtual Home field, they will be tough. But they get a little more respect than they have earned.


5. Boise St +3.5 at Hawaii

By the time this one is over, there will be but one FCS team remaining with a zero in the loss column. Say it loud. Say it proud., “Rock Chalk, Jay-Hawk. . .”



6. Duke +14 at UNC

The greatest rivalry in all of sports. Game Day. Fifty-two cable and satellite channels. 720 degree coverage. Hey--it makes as much sense now as it does in February or March.

Regardless, the Tar Heel pigskinners avenge Tyler Hansbrough’s broken nose.


7. Alabama +6 at Auburn

Historically, the most bitter rivalry in college football. For REAL. But a distant second this week.

Ya know something? It is hard to take a team that loses to La. Monroe seriously.


8. Tennessee +3 at Kentucky

The second best basketball school on the football field in the land states its case for the Cotton Bowl


9. Georgia -3.5 at Georgia Tech

Matthew Stafford is good. So good, he would be a nice back up QB at a number of Big 12 schools: KU, Mizzou, NU, Oklahoma, Texas, A&M, Tech. . .

Should be good enough in this game.


10. Okie St +12 at Oklahoma

Speaking of backups, Joey Halzle will get the job done after a week of taking first team reps. Barry Switzer, the Big M’s old boss, will have the Sooners ready to play. They will put the finishing touches on a 6-2 record and stamp their ticket for San Antone a week hence.

But by 12 points? Are you kidding me? Against a team that could stay within 15 of KU at Home?

Okie St

11. Notre Dame +3.5 at Stanford

Notre Dame has one last chance to avoid double digits in the L column. If this game were only in South Bend, where the Fighting Irish are riding their longest home field winning streak of the season. . .


12. Florida St +14 at Florida

You can throw the record book out the window in this rivalry game. Unfortunately, for FSU, Tim Tebow will be throwing the football into the end zone—and carrying it. . .


13. k-state +1 at Fresno St

What could Vegas be thinking?


14. Oregon -2 at UCLA

Like the other OU, Oregon’s backup QB—in this case, Ryan Leaf’s little brother—will look a lot better after a week of preparation as The Man. Unlike the other OU, the Ducks’ starter is irreplaceable.


15. KU -2 v. Mizzou (Kansas City)

Saving the best for last. Almost always a good practice.

Mizzou would have had the edge in this game in October, before the Jayhawks learned that they could not only compete with, but beat teams on the Road—teams that had counted the KU game as a W before the season started.

On the last Saturday of November, this game is rated as a virtual toss-up by Vegas and by anyone who has a clue.

But someone has to have the edge. Who is it?

Some say Mizzou. Some say KU has been the beneficiary of an easy schedule, that they have not played anyone currently in the Top 25 or anyone with more than six wins. As if that somehow means they are not a legitimate Top 5 team. Never mind winning at a venue where Oklahoma lost while at full strength. Never mind defeating k-state on the Road when they were playing well, one week after they pounded Texas by 20 points in Austin. Never mind taking out A&M on the Road when they were playing well and were desperate to win when it was still conceivable that their coach could keep his job.

Never mind scoring more points than any team in history against Nebraska. Never mind putting up 43 in Stillwater, and handily taking out a team by 15 that had beaten Tech and k-state and lost to Texas on the last plays of those games.

Forget the schedule. KU has taken care of business the way a strong team should take care of lesser teams.

Some still subscribe to the myth that Mizzou has the edge at QB. In REALity, Chase Daniel is very good. He has a strong arm, he is elusive, he makes good decisions. But he is no better in any of these respects than Todd Reesing. In fact, if anything, Touchdown Todd is more accurate than Daniel. But the difference in the two in quarterbacking skills is so slight as to be negligible.

If there is any meaningful edge at QB, it stems from the fact that Daniel has shown that he is susceptible to succumbing to big game pressure. Those championing Mizzou point to the fact that they played OU tough in Norman. They rarely mention that, although Mizzou was in position to win that game, Daniel dropped the ball. Literally, as well as figuratively. Meanwhile, Reesing has not shown that anything adversely affects him. He shrugged off two early INT’s in his first Road start and proceeded to rip k-state apart. And virtually every time the Hawks have fallen behind this season, he has responded immediately with a T.D. drive. No matter the situation, he just keeps playing his game.

Still, I doubt that QB will be the deciding factor in this game. As they say in those PGA commercials: These Guys Are Good.

Jason Whitlock has been singing the praises of Jeremy Maclin, Mizzou’s freshman speed demon, calling him the best player on either team, and suggesting that he will be the X-Factor that separates the teams.

Again, I have to give Mizzou its due. Maclin is a play-maker. And if the game were likely to be a low scoring, 14-10 affair, I might agree that he is the most likely player to break the big play that determines the Big 12 North’s representative next week in Alamo-town.

But KU has playmakers, too. The same day Maclin took a short pass and turned it into an 82 yard TD to help Mizzou down A&M, Marcus Henry took a short pass from Reesing between two Okie St defenders and turned it into an 82 yard TD. Maclin had more separation from the defense as he crossed the goal line, but whether you beat your pursuers to the end zone by two yards or five, you get six points. No extra credit for style points. And don’t forget Dexton Fields, Dez Briscoe, and Brandon McAnderson, all of whom have recorded big plays this season—not to mention Reesing’s 53 yard scramble at Colorado.

In a game in which both teams could score in the 30’s, or even the 40’s, there will be big plays. Whether either team scores on one big play or a number of shorter plays is not going to decide the outcome. The key will be not settling for field goals.

In their last three games, KU has rolled to 164 points (54.7 ppg), while Mizzou has scored 144 (48 ppg). Neither team has a meaningful edge offensively.

So which team is better equipped to make the other settle for field goals? KU has the better defense. That much is certain. But does it REALly make a difference? It doesn’t unless the better D can actually stop or slow down the opponent’s offense.

This game is reminiscent of two games in recent years. The first, in this very stadium, being the Chiefs vs. the Colts in the 2004 playoffs. Zero punts the entire game by either team. But the Colts had the better D, relatively speaking, and held the Chiefs to a field goal on one possession. That was the game.

The other is USC vs. Texas. UT had a marginally better defense, but it was not good enough to stop the Trojans’ offense. There were some punts, however. Two by each team. But the team with the better D made one play, stopping USC on a fourth and 2, to take possession with two minutes remaining, down 38-34.

If it comes down to one defensive play, the Jayhawks are more likely to make it. But not by much.

In fact, it is likely that neither team makes a play that wins the game. Rather, one team will fail to make a play. As USC did when an easy INT was dropped for no apparent reason on what turned into the game winning drive. Missed chances to secure turnovers will be huge. Dropped passes in the end zone will be huge. Bad spots or bogus penalties called by a ref or line judge that coincidentally help Texas whine its way into a BCS bowl will be huge.

But how do you assess the probability of these things. You don’t. You can’t.

What you can do is ask which team has the better Offense overall. Answer: It’s a push.

Receivers? Mizzou.

Running backs? KU

Overall D? KU.

Defensive line? Linebackers.? Defensive backs? KU. KU. KU.

Special teams? Big edge to KU in punting. Maclin and Hereford are a push in kick returns. Place kicking is a push.

Coaching? KU. (See 3 of the last 4 year, with Mizzou favored every game.)

And, in my mind, most importantly (again saving the best for last), offensive line. It is this group, more than any other, which determines who controls a close game. KU has the edge.

Makes you wonder why KU is only a two point favorite.

Beats me. Probably because in none of the areas in which KU has the edge is it a big edge, with the exception of punting.

In sum, if the game is efficiently played, without cheap points off turnovers playing a major factor, KU has enough advantages to justify giving 2 points.

And besides, KU is 10-0 against the spread. Why in the world would you bet against that?

Lose, Tigers, lose to the Big Blue. You’re in the big time when you play KU. Throw the ball away and have no fear. Tonight the Hawks will grab your tail and kick your rear. So lose, Tigers, lose to the Big Blue. We’ll score many points and you’ll score few, We will stomp you ‘til you moan and groan And you’ll wish you’d stayed at home.


*For entertainment purposes only. No guarantees. No refunds.

Take it to the Bank: Party Like It's 1899 Edition

First, a correction. Last week I stated that I had gone 60-0 with my picks while PhogBlog was down due to technical problems. During that time, I had shared my picks with Jeremy, and his recollection was not entirely consistent with mine. So he asked me to re-check my figures. I did, and, after further review, it turns out that I was mistaken. My record for the four weeks was actually 33-26-1. My apologies for this inadvertent miscalculation.

My record last week was 10-4-1. You could look it up.

My record for the season is 82-55-3.


The games of Week 11*:

1. KU -5.5 at Okie St

This is the third straight week that I have wondered about the respect KU is receiving from Vegas. However, I have profited the previous two times by taking the Hawks anyway.

This week, though, the boys in Nevada are REALly stretching the limit. They are making the Jayhawks give almost a TD on the Road to a team that, for thirty minutes last year, made KU 76, NU 39 seem like a photo finish between two evenly matched competitors.

And that game was in Lawrence. Why would this year’s game be any different in Stillwater.

For one, Okie St does not appear to have improved over the course of the time. At least not to the same extent KU has.

The Cowboys have been dominated by Troy. Not Sparta, mind you. Troy.

They have blown a 17 point half-time lead in a loss to A&M and its lame duck coach.

But those two games were on the Road. Strange things happen on the Road.

At Home, Okis St survived a shoot-out with Tech only because the Red Raiders dropped a certain game winning TD pass on the game’s final play.

They survived a shoot-out with k-state by kicking a field goal on the game’s final play.

And they blew a 21 point fourth quarter lead while going scoreless themselves to lose what should have been a blow-out (not a shoot-out) to Texas.

So Okie St and their adult coach are vulnerable even in Slim Pickin’s Stadium.

And any team that can score TD’s on 10 consecutive tries is well-equipped to win a shoot-out.

In addition, KU’s defense is better equipped, both talent and preparation-wise, to at least make OSU work for their scores this year. There might even be an occasional three and out, as opposed to three and PAT’s.

With all this said, does KU have enough manpower and moxie to win this game?

Before the season, I conceded this game as a certain L. A few weeks ago, I assessed our chances of winning to be 42%.

Because of the problems Okie St has had putting anyone other than the dregs of the conference away, because Touchdown Todd has truly become a TD machine, and because KU is one hard-nosed group of competitors with high football IQ’s, I now rate the Hawks chances in this game at 51.3%.

So, yes, I think KU stays undefeated.

But by 5.5?

OSU has had their three conference Home games decided on the final play of the game against three pretty good teams. KU’s Road wins have been by 6, 5, and 8 points.

Kudos to Vegas. They did a nice job on this game.

My gut says KU by a field goal. But since the Hawks have beaten the spread every week thus far this season, I will ride this bird until the sun sets.


2. A&M +18.5 at Mizzou

How many points would Vegas need to dangle from its odds board to entice me into thinking of taking the dysfunctional entity that is the Texas Asinine Masochistic football team on the Road? Mizzou gets to pad its numbers against an uninspired opponent as it continues on a collision course with KU in Kansas City.


3. k-state -7.5 at Nebraska

How many points would Vegas need to dangle from its odds board to entice me into thinking of taking the dysfunctional entity that is “N is for Nowledge” U at Home. What I would REALly like to see is a game between NU and TAM: Winner keeps its coach. Or would that be loser?


4. Texas Tech +6.5 at Texas

Even Mack Brown is smart enough to stay out of a shoot-out with Graham Harrell and Co. UT methodically wears Tech down at Home.


5. Colorado -5 at Iowa St

I would buy this line in Boulder. But the Cyclones have played solid three weeks running. At best, this game is a toss-up. Five points makes it easy money.


6. Michigan St +4 at Purdue

Two fairly equal teams. If you give Purdue 3-4 points for the Home field, it’s a dead even game. If you value the Boilers’ home field as worth 5 points, you take:


7. Michigan -2.5 at Wisconsin

Michigan’s march to the Top 10 comes to a screeching halt.


8. Illinois +15 at Ohio St

Like it or not, Ohio St, our second undefeated team of the week, just seems to keep improving—like KU. They might get their come-uppance before the regular season ends, but it won’t be in Columbus.

Ohio St

9. Air Force -2.5 at Notre Dame

Notre Dame a Home Dog to Air Force? Because the Fly Boys don’t have a 44 year drought and to end:


10. Florida St +6.5 at Virginia Tech

Florida St is another improving team, albeit more slowly than Ohio St and KU. Last week they beat BC on the Road. They are likely to at least stay close to the Hokies.


11. Arkansas at Tennessee (Pick)

Darren McFadden, the best RB this side of Adrian Peterson, is hitting his stride.


12. Kentucky -3 at Vanderbilt

Kentucky? That’s a basketball school.


13. Florida -6.5 at South Carolina

Gotta like Steve Spurrier getting a TD and half a PAT at Home vs. the team of his youth. And middle-age.


14. Southern Cal -4 at Cal

This once looked like the National Game of the Year. Instead, that title is more and more looking applicable to the Border War (that’s right, Lew, I said “WAR”—put that in your wimpified pipe and smoke it) in the Home of the Cheeeeefs. As for the defrocked contest in Berkeley, what has USC done to make anyone think they can go on the Road and beat a good (if not as good as anticipated) team of Cal Bears?


15. Fresno St +17 at Hawaii

The third and last of the nation’s undefeated teams. Frsno has a history of playing top teams tough. Hawaii has a history of blowing by anyone who ventures into their island lair.



*For entertainment purposes only. You get what you pay for. There are no refunds.

Take it to the Bank: The "Revenge Is a Dish best Served Cold" Edition

The Games of Week 3*: 1. Toledo +21.5 at KU

Payback. This time it's for REAL!

Actually, this isn't REALly a revenge game. It is not as if Toledo last September took something that belonged to the Jayhawks. They accepted a gift. What did the Hawks expect them to do? Politely decline? "Thank you, kindly, for the offer of the free W, Mr. Mangino, but we must respectfully insist that it is rightfully yours. We are not worthy."

Fat chance.

In truth, had the Fighting Manginos asserted themselves, they would have won by 3 TD's last year. They have only themselves to blame for losing that game and staying home during bowl season. This year, the Hawks are not fooling around. They win by 40. Or more.

I love it when Vegas doesn't have a clue. Or their hands are tied, because the average bettor doesn't have a clue.

This is Easy Money:


2. Southern Cal -10 at Nebraska

Nebraska confirmed at Wake Forest that they are over-rated. They can't run. They occasionally execute big pass play as required by the law of averages. Their defense is good, but not the black-shirt D of old: More of a light-grey shirt Defense.

What is not over-rated is NU's home field. Even though USC might be the best team in the country- at least, west of Norman-they will have trouble putting the Huskers away. A couple of turnovers at the wrong spot on the field, and an outright W for the Big Red is not out of the question. Not likely, but not out of the question. They will, at least, stay within a TD and FG.


3. Iowa -17.5 at iowa St

Welcome to the REAL World, Mr. Chizik. The world where you don't have Vince Young. Where your available scholarships are not all snapped up by 5 Star recruits 6-12 months before national signing day. The world where the officials don't serve as your team's personal bodyguards, with their primary duty being to protecting your BCS dreams and the conference BCS money. The world where whining isn't the currency that buys your way into a BCS Bowl Game. The world where, if you want to dream of victory, you have to improve your players' skills, prepare for the upcoming opponent because you don't out-talent them by a margin as big as Palo Duro Canyon, and make insightful in-game adjustments-rather than merely wearing your opponent down with superior players and superior numbers.

In other words: Welcome to Iowa St.


4. Texas Tech -28.5 at Rice

Rice REALly misses Major Applewhite.


5. Texas -19 at Central Florida

UT will have trouble covering this spread on the Road against a fired up team in its brand-spanking new on campus stadium, now that they have abandoned the old Citrus Bowl (cite of the post-season game formerly called the Tangerine Bowl). Not to mention UCF's first ever sellout. But their depth will wear UCF down as surely as nearby Splash Mountain cools its passengers down. The final score will make it look deceivingly easy. And it will be easy enough that the refs won't have to put the Longhorns on their backs and carry them to the finish line this week.


6. Florida St -4 at Colorado

Florida St can likely cover this spread with a field goal and a safety. But they won't stop there. Fortunately, for the Buffs, their offense will score again this season with ISU on their schedule.


7. Central Michigan +19.5 at Purdue

KU downed CMU by 45, which accurately reflected the discrepancy between the two teams. Purdue, approximately half as good as the Hewks, should be able to cover 20.


8. Mississippi St +12.5 at Auburn

Is there team so feeble that it cannot cover at Auburn?


9. Tennessee +8 at Florida

Oh, for the days of Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning, when this game was easy to call.


10. Notre Dame +7.5 at Michigan

What is the Over/Under on how many times ABC will show the graphic that Notre Dame and Michigan have never before both lost their first two games of the season? One of these teams will still be winless Sunday morning. Because the Wolverines are at Home and might have a clue against Notre Dame's non-spread offense:


11. Ohio St -4 at Washington

At this point, there is no reason to be impressed by any Big 11 team. At least not on the Road against a PAC-10 team that has already taken down the defending WAC and Fiesta Bowl Champion.

12. Arkansas +3.5 at Alabama

It is always risky to take the visiting team in a close SEC matchup. Alabama is on the Road back from Perdition, but is still at least a year away.


13. Wyoming +12.5 at Boise St

The Broncos will be hopping-or bucking-mad after having the nation's longest winning streak snapped last week.


14. Fresno St +16 at Oregon

Oregon beat Michigan by 32 in the Big House last week. Surely, they can take out Fresno St by 17 in Eugene. Of course, as mentioned last week, Fresno St says it will play anyone, anywhere, anytime. And by "play," they mean "tough."


15. Louisville -6.5 at Kentucky

Easy Money is hard to beat.



*For entertainment purposes only. There are no refunds.


Nice win for KU yesterday, but not worthy of rushing the field and tearing down $10,000 worth of goal posts.  For all of the freshmen phog-readers out there...KNOCK IT OFF with this crap when we beat a lesser opponent on our own field.  KU wins at home (most of the time).  We should expect to.  And when we celebrate a win over a mediocre K-State team in our own house, the entire program looks ridiculous.  This win is worth a couple of beers after the game at the wheel..and that's IT.  We were a 2.5 point favorite for heaven's sake.  I understand that rushing the field is fun..and I'm fine with it after beating Nebraska for the first time in almost half a century.  But come on..yesterday's post game display was just a joke.