So, how unworthy are the Texas Longhorns?

I’ve seen a lot of Internet sentiment similar to that expressed this week by Stewart Mandel:

Conversely, Texas’ closest thing to a “statement” victory was a 41-14 win at Oklahoma State, a team that lost its last regular-season game 27-0. If the Longhorns had some equivalent to Alabama’s Florida win — or even its Virginia Tech or LSU wins — I’d be more likely to chalk up the Nebraska game as a fluke. As it is, the Longhorns basically faced two elite defenses the entire season, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and Colt McCoy and the offense struggled miserably against both. [Emphasis added.]

And that’s true.  Bill Connelly spells it out a little more over at Football Outsiders.

… Meanwhile, Texas has faced two of the country’s top four defenses in terms of Defensive S&P+, second-ranked Oklahoma and fourth-ranked Nebraska. Their combined output? A whopping 29 points, 471 yards (311 passing yards, 55 percent completion rate, 4.1 yards per pass, one touchdown pass and four interceptions from Heisman Finalist Colt McCoy), six turnovers, and two wins saved by a dominant Texas defense. The good news: Texas did indeed win these games, and their seventh-ranked defense rose to the occasion each time. The bad news: Alabama’s defense is ranked first in the country, ahead of both Oklahoma’s and Nebraska’s. We will get into how Alabama’s defense differs from that of Nebraska and Oklahoma later; for now, Texas is indeed resting most of its title hopes on “Hey, we just have to better than them once.”

So here’s my question – is this an issue of Texas being overrated, or simply that no team can be expected to play with ‘Bama’s defense?  Keep in mind that the top four teams nationally in total defense have combined to lose only one game, Florida’s loss to Alabama in the SECCG.  Is Texas being written off prematurely in the way that Florida was in 2006?  Is there a good case to be made that there’s a team out there that would fare better against the Tide than the ‘Horns?  I honestly don’t know, but I’d be curious to hear what everyone thinks.

26 Comments

Filed under College Football

26 responses to “So, how unworthy are the Texas Longhorns?

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    I don’t think it is that Texas is bad, but that Bama is just so good, so focused.

    Don’t forget Bama had an “escape” game with Tennessee. Are Kiffy’s Blondes better than Nebraska? I would say its a toss up with a tie going to Nebraska.

    It takes one or two miracles to win a national championship.

    My suspicion is this will be a close game, the distractions are just too great for even Nick Saban to overcome.

    The real question probably should be whether Texas is better than Florida?

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  2. Thomas Brown

    Texas beat 2 teams only that are ranked teams, and neither of them beat any Top 25 team at all.

    BCS # 19 Oklahoma State who beat no top 25 team

    BCS # 22 Nebraska who beat no top 25 team either.

    How good is Texas ?

    God only knows.

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  3. rbubp

    I honestly think you would get a better game if Oregon played Alabama, but UO managed to lose twice.

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  4. Hackerdog

    Texas is obviously the most qualified of the undefeated teams to face Alabama. They played a significantly harder schedule than TCU, Cinci, or Boise and won all the games.

    Pointing out that a team struggled offensively against two of the best defenses in the nation seems to me like bear crapping in woods news.

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  5. 69Dawg

    If the D’s are close to equal then it goes to the O’s and Texas has Colt to run it, advantage UA. If Texas is going to win then the passing game needs to win it, they won’t run against UA.

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  6. Macallanlover

    I agree they are the “most qualified of the undefeated teams” under our flawed system, but I still think TCU would be a tougher matchup for Alabama, and Boise might be as well. I know if Bama were playing TCU, Oregon, or facing a rematch with Florida, I think it would be a better chance of #1 going down.

    I have had questions with Texas’ struggles all year against a very weak schedule, particularly their offense. I don’t think they are one of the best 5 teams in America, but since anything can happen in one given game I wouldn’t rule out the chance of an upset. In fact, the chance of an upset continues to go up with all the media disrespect for Texas’ chances. But Bama should be able to shut the Texas offense down, so I will still lay the points.

    To be fair and balanced, there are causes for concern with the Tide as well. The Alabama offense isn’t that all that consistent either, primarily due to their OL. Yes, they looked great against Florida, but in the Old Miss, TN, and AU games they got jammed (against the Rebels they had THREE first and goals inside the 5 yardline that ended in FGs!) Against Florida I felt McElroy’s passing opened up the running game. Texas’ rush defense is decent, albeit against questionable teams, so it may come back to McElroy again. He stepped it up against Florida, and will have to do so again.

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    • Hackerdog

      “I know if Bama were playing TCU, Oregon, or facing a rematch with Florida, I think it would be a better chance of #1 going down.”

      And that’s one of the big problems I have with a playoff system. If Alabama and Florida were to play twice in a season, and each win once, then the team who won the final game gets to say that the other game didn’t count.

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Dead on Hackerdog. In 1996 FSU beat FLA in the final regular season game for each team, knocking FLA out of the running for the National Championship–or so everyone thought. I won’t go into specifics but some other teams lost and damn if FLA didn’t climb back up the polls and get to play FSU in the Sugar Bowl, then won the game and the National Championship. Everybody in the country acted as if the first game did not even happen. You had both teams with 1 loss, each losing to the other, yet FLA was declared NC and FSU got nothing.

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    • Puffdawg

      “Texas’ rush defense is decent, albeit against questionable teams, so it may come back to McElroy again.”

      If by decent you mean the best in the country, then yea, I’ll give you decent.

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      • Macallanlover

        Uh, that is the point isn’t it? Stats are not dynamic since they are not compiled against the same teams, under the same conditions. Consequently they are as unreliable as any other conclusions reached from statistical correlations. It is fair to say they are probably good in rushing defense, but so was Florida before the SECCG….and they had been tested by better competition.

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        • Puffdawg

          I was just pointing out that maybe you were downplaying Texas a bit more than they should be. I don’t care who they played, if you play in one of the top conferences (especially offensively) in the country and you give up less than 2 yards per carry, you’re probably a little better than “decent.” Everybody is totally downplaying Texas because they want a playoff, not because Texas is or is not any good. I would not be surprised to see a really good game.

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  7. Thomas Brown

    Who beat better teams than Texas beat this season ?

    Oregon State
    California
    Southern California
    Clemson
    Georgia
    Miami of Florida
    Arizona
    Virginia Tech
    West Virginia
    Auburn
    Oregon
    Florida
    South Florida
    Ole Miss
    TCU
    Georgia Tech
    Alabama
    North Carolina
    Stanford
    FSU
    Northwestern
    Ohio State
    Cincinnati
    Boise State
    Iowa

    Texas’ wins are not impressive. Are they ?

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  8. Joe B.

    I do not think Texas is as good as TCU, but when perusing stats, there is no doubt that Texas deserves to be in this game, and has a very good chance of winning.

    The following are NCAA rankings:

    Rush Defense
    1. Texas-they allowed 1.99 YPC for the season, LEADS THE NATION, and 62 YPG.
    2. Alabama-allowed 2.76 YPC and 78 YPG.

    Pass Defense
    7. Bama-164 YPG, only 9 TD’s allowed
    23. Texas-189 YPG, 24 INT’s LEADS THE NATION

    Total Defense
    2. Bama-4.06 yards per play
    3. Texas-3.82 yards per play, LEADS THE NATION

    Scoring Defense
    1. Bama-11 PPG
    8. Texas-15 PPG

    I figured Bama to have a significant advantage in the return game, but the two teams have almost identical yardage in KOR and PR.

    I think that Bama will hammer them pretty good, but statistically, this is clearly the matchup of the two best defensive teams in the country.

    Good defense always gives a team a chance to win, and if Texas puts a drive or two together, they have a great chance.

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  9. Jim

    I bet that Utah team last year was so unworthy to play Alabama too. This is why they play the games. Maybe by kick off, the Texas team will be so tired of hearing about how good Alabama is. I expect Texas to shut down the Alabama offense and then the question is whether that idiot Greg Davis can actually implement a game plan to get some points. Alabama may win but it will be a close game.

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  10. Thomas Brown

    Texas is likely the only Big XII team to be ranked in the Final AP Poll and the only Big XII team to be ranked in the Final USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

    Out-of-Conference for Texas this season ?

    UCF who beat no Top 25 team.

    UL Monroe who doesn’t even have a winning record.

    Wyoming who doesn’t even have a winning record.

    UTEP who doesn’t even have a winning record.

    Excuse me, in the Final Polls for 2009-2010, the Big XII will have 1 ranked team and that 1 ranked team beat NO TOP 25 TEAM.

    How unworthy is Texas ?

    There are 25 teams who have more impressive wins this season than Texas.

    Texas who played in the Big XII who have a 4-7 record against the entire 5 other BCS Conferences.

    The Big XII did NOT have a winning record against ANY BCS Conference.

    There is no way to tell if Texas is the 2nd best team in America.

    I long for a playoff. The Big XII has a LOSING RECORD in Bowl Games 46-47.

    In the BCS Title Game, The SEC is UNDEFEATED, winning the last 3 in a row.

    In BCS Bowl Games, the Big XII has a LOSING RECORD, 7-8.

    In BCS Title Games, the Big XII is 2-4.

    How unworthly is the Big XII ?

    Totally.

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  11. Thomas Brown

    You cannot compare STATS of Texas with Alabama.

    Alabama played the Official NCAA Strength of Schedule Number 4 in the nation.

    Texas played the Official NCAA Strength of Schedule Number 31 in the nation.

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  12. Thomas Brown

    Posters who say Texas will do this or that; but, there is no basis for that.

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  13. Dan A.

    People can bitch and moan all they want, but Texas is the #2 team in the country, and not a single person here can make a case that TCU, Boise or Cincinnati would fare better against Bama than Texas will.

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  14. Aligator

    don’t be surprised if mushcamp and company dial it up and they pull out a squeaker over alabama. yes just the way ohio state, texas and florida have done in the last several years …. watch out dick saben …

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  15. sUGArdaddy

    Colt will come to play. History shows that the guy that gets snubbed at Heisman shows up in the MNC, along w/ the support of their teammates, who feel snubbed, too. I watched Greenie win a lot of games and figured out that kid knew how to play football. Colt won more than Greenie. That kid knows how to win. Tide may win, but it’s going to be a battle.

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  16. Thomas Brown

    Who did Colt beat ?

    Go ahead.

    Tell me the teams Colt beat ?

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    • Hackerdog

      Colt (and the rest of the Longhorns) beat all 13 teams they played.

      They played a significantly harder schedule than the other 3, non-Alabama, undefeated teams.

      The best win by any of the 4, non-Alabama, undefeated teams was Boise State beating Oregon, then ranked 16, that finished the year ranked 7. But the rest of Boise State’s schedule (ranked 83rd, the easiest of the teams in question) was against such powerhouses as FCS member UC David, 1-11 Miami (OH), and 2-10 San Jose St.

      I think Texas, winning all the games in a harder schedule than the other teams, deserves the shot at Alabama.

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