Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s October 11th — 284 down, 81 to go.
And 17 till the first College Football Playoff poll is released.
YESTERDAY: Daje Johnson was ruled out of today’s Texas-OU game, because of his hamstring. No. 25 Stanford beat Washington State. The U.S. and Ecuador played to a 1-1 soccer draw, in what was Landon Donovan‘s final match for the national team. The Royals downed the Oriles in 10 innings, 6-5. Back in Austin, the second weekend of the ACL Festival kicked off. Outkast and Beck closed things out.
TODAY: Texas meets Oklahoma for the 109th time (11 a.m., ABC, 1300/98.1), in a game that’s being overshadowed nationally by a Top 10 matchup in Waco (Baylor-TCU, 2:30, ABC). Topping all of those, though, is a Top 5 matchup —- No. 2 Auburn at No. 3 Mississippi State (2:30, CBS). Game 2 of the ALCS (Royals at Orioles, 3:07, TBS) and Game 1 of the NLCS (Giants at Cardinals, 7:07, Fox). Day 2 at ACL. Avett Brothers by day, Eminem by night. Be warned: It’s raining out there.
TOMORROW: The Texans are off (they lost to the Colts on Thursday), but the 4-1 Cowboys play at 3-1 Seattle (3:25, Fox). Other top games include the Giants-Eagles (7:30, NBC) and Patriots-Bills (noon, Fox). … Game 2 of the NLCS, Giants at Cardinals (7:07, Fox Sports 1). And Pearl Jam closes out this year’s ACL Festival.
Oct. 11 has a sports history. On this date, Deion Sanders played in games for both the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons — on the same day (1992); the Dallas Mavericks played their first game at Reunion Arena, a win over the Spurs (1980); and NFL commissioner Bert Bell died during an Eagles game. He was succeeded by Pete Rozelle (1959).
On Oct. 11, 2008, No. 5 Texas beat No. 1 Oklahoma; the Longhorns overtook the No. 1 spot in the ensuing Top 25 polls.
Last year on Oct. 11, Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son living in South Carolina died from injuries in an alleged child abuse case. A 27 year-old man there was arrested on assault and battery charges.
Today’s sports birthdays: Michelle Wie (25), Terrell Suggs (32), Cherokee Parks (42), Ty Murray (45), Chris Spielman (49) and Steve Young (53). Other notables: Stephen “Bill Compton” Moyer (45), Joan Cusack (52) and Daryl Hall (68).
TODAY’S TRIVIA: Joe Montana is the San Francisco 49ers’ career passing leader, at 35,124 yards. Who’s No. 2? Hint: It’s not birthday boy Steve Young, who’s No. 3 on the list. (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
TODAY’S LEAD: THE RED RIVER SHOWDOWN. Or is it Rivalry? Or Shootout? Hard to keep track these days. Either way, the Longhorns go into this one as a two-touchdown underdog. Again. Texas was a two-TD ‘dog last week against Baylor and was a two-TD ‘dog in this very matchup last year before Case McCoy, Chris Whaley and Daje Johnson shocked the Sooners.It’s expected to be a little rainy in Big D today. It’s a good year to enjoy this one from your couch.
We’ll kick off our Texas-OU game chat at 10:30.
Ten thoughts on today’s game:
No. 1: In the doghouse. Not Charlie Strong‘s, but Vegas’. Texas is a 17-point underdog today. Is that more of a statement about the Longhorns or the Sooners, Vegas? Either way, it’s the biggest spread Texas has faced as an underdog over the past 20 years, and the biggest spread it’s faced as an underdog against OU since 1989, when the Horns were 17 1/2-point ‘dogs. Texas, 2-2 that year, upset the 15th-ranked Sooners, 28-24.
No. 2: History 101. Maybe part of Vegas’ thinking has something to do with the record books. Texas may lead the overall series, 60-43-5 — including a 48-39-4 advantage in games played in Dallas — but the Sooners have taken three of the last four. Average score over those last four games? Oklahoma 41, Texas 23.
No. 3: How they got here. Texas (2-3), beat North Texas, then dropped two straight to BYU and UCLA, then beat Kansas, then lost to Baylor. Oklahoma (4-1) pounded Louisiana Tech, Tulsa and Tennessee to start the season, then beat West Virginia, then fell at TCU last week, 37-33.
No. 4: What does this game mean? It’s a question that our own Brian Davis asked on Friday, wondering if today’s Longhorns really get the importance that this one game has on a season, team, program and fan base. When’s the last time that Texas-OU wasn’t the day’s best Big 12 game? Or the last time the Horns and Sooners weren’t even the best matchup in the state? Most national eyes will be more focused on Auburn-Mississippi State, or Baylor-TCU, or even Texas A&M-Ole Miss, not Texas-OU.
What it means this year: A Texas win gives Strong his first big victory here, places the Longhorns back into the Big 12 race, and maybe turns this season around, as it did last year. An Oklahoma win stops the Big 12 bleeding, sets things right in Norman, and sets up next week’s home showdown with Kansas State nicely.
No. 5: Eyes on Brown, Gray: We’re still waiting for that big rushing performance from Malcolm Brown (65 carries for 246 yards and 2 TDs, 3.8 yards per carry, 49.2 yards per game) and/or Johnathan Gray (62-301-1, 4.9, 60.2). In the last two Texas-OU games (a 36-20 win and a 63-21 loss), the Longhorns haven’t had a rushing touchdown. And the better rushing team has won this game in 14 of the past 15 games. That means pressure on the offensive line, it means pressure on Gray and Brown, it means pressure on Tyrone Swoopes and it means pressure on Shawn Watson.
Since outrushing North Texas in the opener, 163 yards to 79, the Longhorns have been outgained in four straight games — 248-82 to BYU, 217-126 to UCLA, 173-111 to Kansas and 278-190 to Baylor. Texas is 1-3 in those games.
No. 6: The one to watch. Quandre Diggs and Duke Thomas have their work cut out for them. Whoever lines up opposite Sterling Shepard has to deal with one of the country’s hottest receivers. Shepard’s had four straight 100-yard games — the longest active streak in the country — and is coming off a giant 215-yard day against TCU. Shepard’s averaging 21.7 yards per catch.
Texas, though, stifled Baylor’s passing game — Bears receivers had only seven catches, and guys like Antwan Goodley (4-69-1) and KD Cannon (1-8) were held way below their averages.
No. 7: Look for “The Play.” Earlier this week, Strong — who’s coaching in his first Texas-OU game, but knows what big rivalry games mean to big-time programs (Florida-Florida State, Florida-Georgia) — commented that the first five minutes of a game like this tend to be amped up by emotions, but then after that, big rivalry games can turn on a big play. Remember Whaley’s interception return last year? Or Johnson’s punt return? Or McCoy’s long score to Marcus Johnson?
Davis, in his advance of today’s game, put it best when framing Whaley’s defensive score from 2013: One play led to a 36-20 win, one win turbo-charged the Horns during their six-game winning streak, and one six-game winning streak got Texas to the brink of the Big 12 title.
No. 8: A tale of two halves. So far, Texas’ defense has been great in the first half, vulnerable in the second. Why? Lack of depth, probably. Numbers have been floating around Twitter this week. In the first half, Texas has allowed 9 total points and an average of 129 yards; in the second half, Texas has given up 80 points and an average of 204 yards. And in the three losses, BYU, UCLA and Baylor rushed for 97, 35 and 87 yards respectively in the first half; by the end of those games, those totals ended up 248, 217 and 278 rushing yards.
No. 9: Strong vs. Stoops. Which coach is facing more pressure today? Stoops, according to our own Cedric Golden. Why? “Because the Sooners are the heavy favorites to hand it to Texas this time around. Stoops spoke very highly of Strong in the offseason, but now the time for pleasantries has passed. He knows a loss to Texas will pretty much end the Sooners’ postseason hopes. This is a must win.”
No. 10: A tight series. Great research by the Longhorn Network, which broke down the last 10 Texas-OU games. Wins — Texas has won five, OU has won five; Scoring — Texas has averaged 24.9 ppg, OU 27.6; Total yards — Texas has averaged 337, OU 383; Rushing yards — Texas has averaged 132, OU 139; and Turnovers — Texas has committed 21, OU has committed 21.
This Texas-OU series is college football’s 19th-most played rivalry. The only team that the Longhorns have faced more than the Sooners is Texas A&M. This will be the 109th Texas-OU game.
The average score for the first 108?
Texas 17, Oklahoma 17.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES: A quick sweep of UT teams.
Baseball: Texas’ Orange-White game is 6 p.m. Monday, at Disch-Falk (Longhorn Network).
Soccer: Texas fell to No. 11 Kansas last night, 1-0. The Longhorns (7-5-2, 2-2-0) don’t play again till next Friday, against TCU.
Women’s golf: Texas competes in the Betsy Rawls Invitational, Sunday through Tuesday, at the UT Golf Club.
TRIVIA ANSWER: John Brodie, who quarterbacked San Francisco from 1957-73, is No. 2 on the 49ers’ career passing list with 31,548 yards. No. 3 Steve Young, who played from 1987-99, threw for 29,907 yards. Joe Montana is No. 1 on the list, with 35,124 yards from 1979-92.
ON OCT. 11 …
2001: Polaroid filed for bankruptcy. (Believe it or not, I actually still own one. Not that it works …)
2000: NASA launched its 100th Space Shuttle mission, with Discovery.
1975: “Saturday Night Live” debuted on NBC. First host was George Carlin. The very first SNL monologue joke? “Football’s kinda nice. They changed it a little bit. They moved the hash marks in. Guys found it and smoked them anyway.”
TODAY’S LITTLE NUMBER: 4-4. The record for Texas-OU games when both teams are coming off a loss. That hasn’t happened since 2007.
TODAY’S BIGGER NUMER: 12. Longhorns who have been involved in a sack this season. Texas has 20 sacks, which is tied for third nationally.
TODAY’S BIG NUMBER: 55. Combined catches for Jaxon Shipley (29) and John Harris (26). The next closest Texas pass catcher has 10.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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