Post Game: Cotton Bowl

Sorry this didn’t go up last night, but the day started for me at 6 AM after precisely zero hours of sleep. A brief work shift, lunch at KFC, an awesome football game, and Evan Williams white label put me out cold until almost midnight. Having said that, here is a hastily thrown-together set of post game observations:

1. Texas Tech did not play a poor game. Your team was not prepared for the intensity that Ole Miss brought on every play. Sure, a lack of talent in the secondary caused us to give up some points, but Graham Harrell's pocket was usually a small and unpleasant place to be. The receivers got jammed hard, and manned up by guys who should not be able to hang with them athletically. The linebackers occupied throwing lanes and chased down guys in space. There were none of the wide open spaces that Tech had become used to. And the defense? Tech's defense was far worse than I could have hoped for. Assuming that Tech had an average SEC offense, and played in the SEC (so they wouldn't be helped by getting a lead early, time of possession, etc.), they would have had the worst defense in the conference. Bank on it. So no, you didn't play poorly, you just got beaten.

2. Pat Summerall is a bad overbite away from being Lou Holtz. Terrible. He made many mistakes about personnel on both teams. Oh well. It starting being amusing when we stopping being terrible and took control. I especially enjoyed hearing that Michael Oher might be a first-round pick in NEXT April’s draft, and hearing about Ole Miss running back Inrick Davis.

3. Tech is a good team, and offensively, the game didn't go much differently than they predicted. Obviously, Crabtree wasn't 100%, and would have had more production had he been healthy, but the main thing that limited him was pressure on Harrell. I love that we got to see one of the nation’s most hyped quarterbacks flinch in the face of pressure, throwing errantly off his back foot and hoping for the best. Still, their offensive line did a much better job of holding back Peria Jerry and company than I expected, and the receivers displayed good hands and good routes for the most part. We just robbed them of the ability to make plays in space, and they weren’t able to dink and dunk it forever.

4. The Ole Miss offense is for real. We didn’t show it early, but the lucky convergence of Jevan Snead, Michael Oher, Dexter McCluster, Shay Hodge, Mike Wallace, Kent Austin, and Houston Nutt makes Ole Miss the 2nd best offensive unit in the conference, and one of the better units nationally. It is hard to scheme against a team that can literally do anything with the football like the Rebels currently can. They were certainly the reason we won this game, and putting up 38 points (47 minus the pick-6 and safety) against anyone when you have three turnovers is pretty good.

5. Big XII fans are silly. Honestly, look at yourselves. Put away the hand signs, the hair gel, the silly outfits… Talk to most self-respecting SEC fans, and you’ll talk about the upcoming football contest, not about "How BAD UR teems gonna L00se, SUCKER, LOl." Of course, there are fans all across the country that put far too much personal pride on the line when their team takes the field, but this crowd of Red Raiders seemed to take this game as something personal, and their collective psyche had a hard time considering that maybe their team wasn’t as awesome as they’d first thought. I dunno, maybe Rebel fans are just used to realistic expectations, and realize that sometimes things don’t work out like you’ve planned. We’re only occasionally used to this whole ‘winning’ thing, and I hope that if it continues, we’ll continue to handle it gracefully.

6. The national media is silly. Dear ESPN: stop talking about the teams that look cool and have interesting, feel-good stories, and start talking about the teams that know how to play football. I guess sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s who, but by now, it seems like the SEC is usually the most dominant conference, it’s usually easy to tell who the best teams are in other conferences, and there are only a few BCS buster teams worth talking about, ever (Boise, TCU, and Utah). I hate seeing undeserving teams get coverage because of their location and/or the size of their fan base.

7. Rankings. Here’s how I’d stack up the top 10 or so (I know the games haven’t been played out yet, more on that later). I’m basing this on (get ready!!) how good each team is RIGHT NOW, rather than penalizing a team for losses that happened in September.

1. Florida (provided they beat Oklahoma)

2. USC

3. Utah (hard to choose between 2 and 3, but hard to argue against USC’s late dominance)

4. Texas (provided they beat Ohio State)

5. Oklahoma (provided they don’t get blown out. Flip-flop UF and OU if OU wins)

6. Ole Miss (I’m not backing down here. These 5 teams are the only teams that could beat a healthy, well prepared Ole Miss team right now)

7. Oregon

8. TCU

9. Penn State

10. Alabama

11. Georgia

After that it gets fuzzy, but I defy you to claim that Ole Miss, right now, isn’t a top 10 team. And that’s pretty cool.

We’ll probably post more about this game and its ramifications in the future, but for now, I’ll stop taking it about and bask in the awesomeness just a while longer.

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