Alamo Bowl 2020 – Texas vs. Colorado

Happy Alamo Bowl Longhorn Fans!

Texas Longhorns vs. Colorado Buffaloes

Texas faces an old conference rival in San Antonio tonight as the Longhorns and Buffaloes square off in the Alamodome.  8:00 p.m. on ESPN for the 2020 Valero Alamo Bowl.

The Longhorns are No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings, No. 20 in the AP Top 25, and No. 24 in the Coaches Poll.

The ESPN matchup predictor gives Texas a 79.9% chance of winning.  The Horns are visitors and will be in the icy whites.

Texas is favored by 8 on the Vegas Insider consensus, and the over/under is 64.  The Vegas line opened at 11, which is a pretty big move.  The ESPN published odds have Texas a 7 point favorite, with the money lines Texas -320 and Colorado +250.

This will be the 19th meeting between Texas and Colorado, a series the Horns lead 11-7.

The broadcast crew from the Entertainment & Sports Programming Network:  Dave Pasch (PxP), Mike Golic Sr. (commentary), and Kris Budden on the sideline.  On the radio with Craig Way (who got engaged over the holidays – congrats Craig), Roger Wallace, and Quan Cosby.  In Spanish, also on the Longhorn IMG Radio Network, with Dr. Rubén Pizzaro-Silva and Jesus Mendoza.

Texas is second only to Alabama with bowl games, as this will be the 57th for the Longhorns.  30-24-2 all time, and 3-0 under Coach Herman.  I don’t want to jinx us, but since you will hear about it on the broadcasts:  Herman is really good with more than a week to prepare for games:  11-2 overall, 8-2 at Texas, and 4-0 in bowl games.  Let’s hope Tom’s success in that regard continues, as it would sure be nice to finish 2020 with a 7-3 record.

Texas Football pregame video is good:

Texas Preview:

https://texassports.com/news/2020/12/21/no-20-football-preview-vs-colorado-alamo-bowl.aspx

Texas Gamenotes:

https://texassports.com/documents/2020/12/22/Texas_2020_Notes_11.pdf

Colorado Gamenotes:

https://texassports.com/documents/2020/12/22/Colorado_2020_Notes_11.pdf

The all-time series with Colorado has been one of streaks.  Texas won the first 3 home-and-home games, 1940 (Austin, 39-7), 1941 (Boulder, 34-6), and 1946 (Austin, 76-0).  The Longhorns and Buffaloes met in the Bluebonnet Bowl in 1975, and Texas won 38-21.

Colorado would go on a 6-game winning streak beginning in 1989, with a 27-6 win in Boulder.  The Buffs defeated Texas in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, and 1997.  Texas would get conference wins in 2000 (28-14 in Boulder) and 2001 (41-7 in Austin).

But Colorado and Coach Gary Barnett beat Texas in the 2001 Big 12 Championship Game in Dallas, 39-37, a game many older Longhorns still have issues with.  Texas came into that game ranked No. 3 in the BCS with a 10-1 record and with a legitimate shot at a championship berth (No. 1 Miami would finish an undefeated season, beating No. 2 Nebraska (11-1) in the Rose Bowl, 37-14.)

After that bitter loss, Texas has won 5 straight, including the epic 70-3 destruction of the Buffs, quarterbacked by Joel Klatt, in the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game in Houston.  Texas won the last 2 meetings 38-14.

The Statistics
Offense
Statistic
Texas
Colorado
Rushing Offense #48 – 183.3 ypg #16 – 218.4 ypg
Passing Offense #29 – 274.0 ypg #86 – 202.6 ypg
Total Offense #21 – 457.3 ypg #46 – 421.0 ypg
Scoring Offense #12 – 41.3 ppg #56 – 29.6 ppg
First Downs #44 – 22/game #82 – 20/game
Sacks Allowed #65 – 2.2/game; 123 yards #14 – 1.2/game; 31 yards
Tackles for Loss Allowed #50 – 5.7/game, 181 yards #79 – 6.6/game, 99 yards
Third Down Conversions #74 – 39% #26 – 46.8%
Fourth Down Conversions #43 – 60% 126 – 20%
Red Zone Offense #39 – 86% / 67% #3 – 94% / 78%
Long Run Plays #34 – 55/10; 16/20; 7/30; 5/40 #102 – 26/10; 8/20; 5/30; 4/40
Long Pass Plays #32 – #96/10; 35/20; 22/30; 42/40 #110 – 39/10; 17/20; 8/30; 4/40
Long Scrimmage Plays #32 – 151/10; 51/20; 29/30; 17/40 #114 – 65/10; 25/20; 13/30; 8/40

*Sacks Allowed and Tackles for Loss Allowed are on a per game basis this week

Defense
Statistic
Texas
Colorado
Rushing Defense #30 – 135.6 ypg #55 – 156.8 ypg
Passing Defense #115 – 274.2 ypg #48 – 220 ypg
Total Defense #70 – 409.8 ypg #45 – 376.8 ypg
Scoring Defense #64 – 29.1 ppg #51 – 27 ppg
Sacks #89 – 1.78/game; 114 yards #51 – 2.4/game; 50 yards
Tackles for Loss #17 – 7.67/game; 243 yards #4 – 8.6/game; 117 yards
First Downs Allowed #114 – 24.1/game #51 – 20.4/game
Third Down Conversions #30 – 36.6% #16 – 33.8%
Fourth Down Conversions #8 – 23.1% #3 – 12.5%
Red Zone Defense #51 – 82% / 52% #43 – 80% / 53%
Long Run Plays Allowed #41 – 36/10; 11/20; 3/30; 1/40 #27 – 27/10; 12/20; 5/30; 3/40
Long Pass Plays Allowed #103 – 103/10; 32/20; 10/30; 3/40 #16 – 45/10; 15/20; 5/30; 3/40
Long Scrim. Plays Allowed #81 – 139/10; 43/20; 13/30; 4/40 #14 – 72/10; 27/20; 10/30; 6/40

*Sacks and Tackles for Loss are on a per game basis this week

Other
Statistic
Texas
Colorado
Turnover Margin #20, 15:9, +0.67 #56, 8:8, 0.0
Penalties #114 – 7.9/game, 75.7 ypg #44 – 5.4/game, 54.6 ypg

*Based on number of penalties per game, yards per game.

Match-up Comparison
Texas Offense
Colorado Defense
Rushing Offense – 183.3 ypg 156.8 ypg – Rushing Defense
Passing Offense – 274.0 ypg 220 ypg – Passing Defense
Total Offense – 457.3 ypg 376.8 ypg – Total Defense
Scoring Offense – 41.3 ppg 27 ppg – Scoring Defense
First Downs – 22/game 20.4/game – First Downs Allowed
3rd Down Offense – 39% 33.8% – 3rd Down Defense
4th Down Offense –  60% 12.5% – 4th Down Defense
Red Zone Offense – 86/67 80/53 – Red Zone Defense
LRP-55/10, 16/20, 7/30, 5/40 27/10, 12/20, 5/30, 3/40 – LRP Allowed
LPP-96/10, 35/20, 22/30, 42/40 45/10, 15/20, 5/30, 3/40 – LPP Allowed
LSP – 151/10, 51/20, 29/30, 17/40  72/10, 27/20, 10/30, 6/40 – LSP Allowed

 

Texas Defense
Colorado Offense
Rushing Defense – 135.6 ypg 218.4 ypg – Rushing Offense
Passing Defense – 274.2 ypg 202.6 ypg – Passing Offense
Total Defense – 409.8 ypg 421.0 ypg – Total Offense
Scoring Defense – 29.1 ppg 29.6 ppg – Scoring Offense
First Downs Allowed – 24.1/game 20/game – First Downs
3rd Down Defense – 36.6% 46.8% – 3rd Down Offense
4th Down Defense – 23.1% 20% – 4th Down Offense
Red Zone Defense – 82/52 94/78 – Red Zone Offense
LRP Allowed – 36/10, 11/20, 3/30, 1/40 26/10, 8/20, 5/30, 4/40 – LRP
LPP Allowed – 103/10, 32/20, 10/30, 3/40 39/10, 17/20, 8/30, 4/40 – LPP
LSP Allowed – 139/10, 43/20, 13/30, 4/40  65/10, 25/20, 13/30, 8/40 – LSP

 Given the disparity in number of games played, the standard long plays stats are not so helpful.

Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado comes to Texas with a 4-1 record in a pandemic-crimped Pac-12 season.  Colorado looked to be on their way to playing in the Pac-12 championship, before getting tripped by the Utes on December 12, and losing 38-21.  Utah finished 3-2.  Before that loss in their regular season finale, Colorado had four straight wins:  48-42 over UC Los Angeles (3-4), 35-32 over Stanford (4-2), 20-10 over San Diego State (4-4), and 24-13 over Arizona (0-5).  I should note that in 2020 Colorado did not play:  Washington (3-1, and winners of the Pac-12 North), Oregon (3-2, and Pac-12 Champs), or Southern Cal (5-1, Pac-12 South champs, lost to Ducks in P12 CG).

Good article on CU head coach Karl Dorrell (courtesy of Jody Ferguson):

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2020/12/27/cu-buffs-found-perfect-fit-in-karl-dorrell

Buffaloes

 Buffs quarterback is Sam Noyer (#4, Senior from Beaverton, Oregon, 6-4, 220 lbs).  He is 80/137 passing, for exactly 1,000 yards.  6 TDs, 5 interceptions.  He has also netted 191 yards on the ground with 5 rushing TDs.  Noyer is a good story (thanks Jody!):    He redshirted his freshman year, then was a backup for two seasons and little playing time.  Then last year, the CU head coach, Mel Tucker, moved Noyer to defense as a back-up safety, where he got into games for just 24 snaps.  He graduated last year and was going to transfer for his last year of eligibility.  But Tucker left for Michigan State in February, and Karl Dorrell became head coach.  Dorrell and his staff asked Noyer to stay, and he did.

Jarek Broussard (Tailback, #23, 5-9, 185 sophomore out of Bishop Lynch in Dallas) is the leading (and really only other) player with any yardage. And it is meaningful.  813 yards in 5 games, which is a 162.6 per game average.  He got 301 yards against Arizona; Utah held him to 80.  6.3 yards per attempt, which is really good, although that too is skewed by the Arizona game, where he averaged 12 yards per attempt and had a long of 75.  We need to be careful.  Remember what the diminutive RB from K State, Deuce Vaughn, did to us.

La’Vonte Shenault (#5, 6-2, 190 WR from DeSoto, RS Freshman) has 17 catches for 193 yards and no scores. [NOTE:  I heard Tuesday morning Shenault is out.]  Dimitri Stanley (#14, 5-11, 195 sophomore WR) has 16 catches for 249 yards and one TD.  Brenden Rice (#2, 6-3, 205 WR) has 6 catches for 120 yards and 2 scores.  Rice also returned one punt – for an 81 yard touchdown.  And he has a famous dad named Jerry.

Defensively, the Buffaloes have one guy that is nearly double the next closest guy in stats:  Linebacker Nate Landman (#53, 6-3, 235 Senior).  61 tackles (49 solo) in 5 games.  5 sacks for 10 yards and 5 TFL for 7 yards. Safety Derrion Rakestraw (#3, 6-2, 200 Senior) has 35 tackles (28 solo)and 2 TFL for 5 yards.  Carson Wells (#26, 6-4, 250 Junior outside linebacker) has 34 tackles (26 solo) plus 4.5 sacks for 25 yards and 9 TFL for 20.

Bad news for the Buffs is that Landman is out with an injury.  A huge hole in the Colorado defense.

Texas Longhorns

Texas heads back to the Alamo Bowl with a winning season, a senior quarterback who is one of the best in college football, players with post-season accolades, and what for most programs would be considered a good year, especially given 2020.  But Texas fans, this one included, believe the Texas Longhorns are capable of, and should be playing for, bigger and more prestigious hardware.  Of course, there would be disgruntled curmudgeons if Texas was 8-1 and playing in the Cotton Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.  And so it goes.

Sam Ehlinger finished his senior year regular season with impressive numbers:  223/306 and 2,406 yards, with 25 touchdowns (just 5 picks), and 269.8 yards per game.  That got him in the top 10 nationally in passing TDs.  Sam tacked on 382 yards and 8 TDs on the ground.  Ehlinger finished No. 1 in the Big 12 conference in total offense, averaging 309.8 yards per game.

Bijan Robinson played in 8 games and finished third in the conference in rushing with 65 yards per game.  We saw him getting better and better each game, and I am betting we see a great game tonight.

Defensively, we will miss Ossai and Chris Brown, but our leading tackler is Juwan Mitchell, with 59, 30 solo.

Longhorns not playing tonight in the Valero Alamo Bowl, by choice:  Sam Cosmi, Joseph Ossai, Caden Sterns, Brennan Eagles, Ta’Quon Graham, Chris Brown.  At least that was my last tally.  Lots of dissension and discussion in the Longhorn Nation over this.  And interesting arguments on both sides.

The Depth Charts, which do not take into account any players who may not play because of Covid-19 protocols.  And apparently there are some issues, so it will be interesting to see who is actually on the field.  Reports that Denzel Okafor is out.  Let’s just hope that Ehlinger, Robinson, and Johnson are healthy and play.  I think those 3 are the keys to a Texas win.  I think the next men up can fill most of the holes left by early departers, with the exception of Ossai.  That kind of talent is not really replaceable.

Texas should win this football game.  Yes, missing some key players, but my goodness, we have lots of talent.  I think Sam is going to have a great game, and I just don’t see a defense which yielded 156.8 yards per game rushing (against some very middle of the road, if not mediocre, teams) stopping all of the weapons we have on offense.  Bijan, Whittington, RoJo, and of course Sam can all run the ball, and our receiving corps is still stacked.  If the overhauled offensive line can give Sam time to make his reads, I think he will pass for 280 or so yards.  Just look at the HWR position:  Jake Smith, Jordan Whittington, Brenden Schooler, and Kai Money.  All guys who are capable of big catches and good games.  We still have Tarik Black, Joshua Moore, and Al’Vonte Woodward.  Oh, and we are 4 deep at Tight End.

On defense, Coburn and Sweat are still anchoring the middle of the line, and Ojomo has 12 career starts.  Mitchell and Overshown are 2 of the best linebackers in the conference, and David Gbenda and Cort Jaquess are pretty good behind them.  The only really loss in the defensive backfield was Chris Brown (who was quietly not just the best guy back there for Texas but one of the best in the country).  Think how often you heard these names called this season (and for the right reason [starts in parenthesis]):  D’Shawn Jamison (18), Jalen Green (8), B.J. Foster (15), Montrell Estell (2), Jerrin Thompson (1), Josh Thompson (12), Chris Adimora (9), and Anthony Cook (7).  All supposed to play.

We have two other important weapons that I don’t think Colorado can match:  Dicker the Kicker and D’Shawn Jamison returning punts and kicks.  That is anywhere from 9 to 16 more points.

I feel good about this game, and I feel very confident Texas will win.  Longhorns 41, Buffaloes 24.  That may be conservative.  It is my nature.  Hook em.

Our All-Americans

On Monday, Joseph Ossai and Samuel Cosmi were named to the Associated Press All-American teams.  Ossai was selected first team, Cosmi third.

Other Big XII players honored:  Iowa State’s Breece Hall first team RB, and Darius Stills from West Virginia first team defensive tackle.  Second team:  Cyclone linebacker Mike Rose (well-deserved), OU’s Nik Bonitto (LB), and two Texas Christian Horned Frogs:  cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson and safety Trevon Moehrig.  Third team:  Land Thieves Center Creed Humphrey, Iowa State Tight End Charlie Kolar (6 catches for 131 yards against Texas), ISU defensive end JaQuan Bailey, and Mountaineer safety Tykee Smith.

Alabama had 6 first team All-Americans, 5 on offense.

Rankings

College Football Playoffs:  Alabama, Clemson, The Ohio State University™, and Notre Dame.  That’s all that matters, other than bragging rights for some teams and some conferences.  Although some teams will probably put something on their wall, because it just means more.  The rest, starting at No. 5: Texas Agricultural & Mechanical, Oklahoma, Florida, Cincinnati, Georgia, Iowa State.  Indiana finished a good season and are No. 11.  Then:  Coastal Carolina, North Carolina, Northwestern, Iowa, Brigham Young, Southern Cal, Miami (Florida), Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma State, San Jose State, NC State, Tulsa, and Oregon.

AP Top 25:  Alabama, Clemson, The Ohio State University™, Notre Dame, Texas Agricultural & Mechanical, Cincinnati, Indiana, OU, Coastal Carolina, and Florida.  Iowa State at No. 12, UNC at No. 14, Texas at No. 20.

Coaches Poll:  Roll Tide, Clemson, The Ohio State University™, L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac, Clemson, Texas Agricultural & Mechanical, Gators, Cinci, Land Thieves, Hoosiers, UGA, and Gators.  Cyclones at 12, Okie A&M at 20, and the Texas Longhorns at No. 24.

In addition to names like Coastal Carolina and Liberty in the rankings which both befuddles me and perturbs me, I wonder when the last time the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns finished ranked and Louisiana State was on the outside looking in?

Bowl Games

The 2020 college football bowl season is jacked up just like the year 2020.  Many cancellations.  Lots of schedule changes.  Here is where we were on Monday night.

Games Played

Appalachian State doubled up North Texas 56-28 in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

Hawaii beat Houston 28-14 in the New Mexico Bowl which was played in a soccer stadium in Frisco, Texas.

UTSA hung with Louisiana in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, falling 24-31.  The Roadrunners finish the season 7-5, and the Ragin’ Cajuns with a very nice and impressive 10-1 season.

The Liberty Flames with a big overtime win over No. 12 and previously undefeated Coastal Carolina.  37-34.  Crazy game.  Both teams finish 2020 with just one loss.  A couple of up-and-comers.  Don’t care for either of them.

Buffalo beat Marshall in the Camellia Bowl, 17-10.

No. 19 Brigham Young with a solid 49-23 win over Central Florida in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl.

Nevada beat Tulane 38-27 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  Thought Tulane would get that one.

Upcoming Bowl Games

Before the Horns play in Prime Time, No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 18 Miami play at 4:30 in the Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.  ESPN.  Gundy and the Cowboys favored by 1 over Manny Diaz and the Canes.  Over/under is 61.

Wednesday features 3 2 games, one of which holds potential.

Wake Forest (4-4) and Wisconsin (3-3) play in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.  11:00 a.m. on ESPN.  Badgers favored by 7.5, over/under is 51.5.  Mayo Bowl!  Actually will be interesting to see who wins this one.  I am going with the Demon Deacs to cover.

No. 15 Iowa (6-2) and Missouri (5-5) in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, 3:00 p.m. on ESPN.  Iowa had a nice season, and I expect the Iowa to win.  Cover?  Not sure. Line is Iowa by 14.  Cancelled.  Missouri has Covid-19 issues

The evening game is legit.  No. 7 Florida (8-3) and No. 6 Land Thieves (8-2) in the Cotton Bowl.  7:00 p.m. on ESPN.  Land Thieves are favored by 3, over/under is 70.  Florida is good, but OU is playing good football.  This line opened with Florida -3.  Interesting that it moved the way it did.  I will take the Land Thieves to win and cover.

Thursday

No. 24 Tulsa (6-2) and Mississippi State (3-7) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.  11:00 a.m. on ESPN.  That is not a typo:  Mississippi State won 3 games.  And they are in a bowl game.   Tulsa favored by 2.5.  Over/under is 46.5.  I hope Tulsa pounds them.

Ball State (6-1) and No. 22 San Jose State (7-0) in the Offerpad Arizona Bowl.  1:00 p.m. on CBS.  SJSU won the Mountain West.  The Spartans are favored by 9.5 over the Cardinals.  And so you don’t have to look it up, that means San Jose State is favored to win.  Ball State’s only loss was to the Miami RedHawks to open the season.

West Virginia (5-4) and Army (9-2) in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.  3:00 p.m. on ESPN.  Mountaineers favored by 7, and the over/under is 41.5.  I got Army in this one.

Arkansas (3-7 – three wins, seven losses) and Texas Christian (6-4) in the Mercari Texas Bowl.  7:00 p.m. on ESPN.  I love college football.  But probably not how I am spending New Year’s Eve.  Go Frogs.  (Mercari is an app you can use to sell stuff from home, like eBay).

New Year’s Day

No. 9 Georgia (7-2) and No. 8 Cincinnati (9-0) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.  11:00 a.m. on ESPN.  Bulldogs favored by 7, over/under is 50.5.   This is a big game.  Hope Georgia wants to be there.

Auburn (6-4) at No. 14 Northwestern (6-2) in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.  12 o’clock Noon on ABC.  Wildcats favored by 3.5.  Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele will be coaching the Tigers.  Over/under is 43.5.  War Eagle.

The College Football Playoffs – New Year’s Day Semifinals

No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1) and No. 1 Alabama (11-0) play New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl, which will be in Arlington, Texas, at Jerry World.  The Crimson Tide are favored by 19.5, which is really amazing.  Over/under is 65.5.  3:00 p.m. on ESPN.  While I wish the Irish could win, for family reasons, I fear this will be a bit of beating.  But Notre Dame might cover.

No. 3 The Ohio State University (6-0) and No. 2 Clemson (10-1) play the other semi-final in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.  Clemson favored by 7.5, and that seems about right.  Over/under is 66.5.  Good luck Dabo.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

No. 23 North Carolina State (8-3) and Kentucky (4-6).  Noticing a trend?  11:00 a.m. on ESPN in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.  NC State actually the underdog.  Wildcats favored by 2.5.  Over/under is 50.5.

Ole Miss (4-5) and No. 11 Indiana (6-1) in the Outback Bowl.  11:30 a.m. on ABC.  Hoosiers favored by 8. Over/under is 65.5.  Hotty Toddy!

No. 25 Oregon (4-2) and No. 10 Iowa State (8-3) in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.  3:00 p.m. on ESPN.  Cyclones favored by 4.5.  Over/under is 57.5.  Good luck to the guys from Ames.

No. 5 Texas Agricultural & Mechanical (8-1) and No. 13 North Carolina (8-3) in the Capital One Orange Bowl.  7:00 p.m. on ESPN.  I hope this is a good game.  Last time Mack played Texas Agricultural & Mechanical?  27-25.  Texas Agricultural & Mechanical favored by 7.5, over/under is 65.5.

Texas Longhorns Basketball

The Longhorns are No. 8 in the newest AP Top 25 poll.  That puts 4 teams from the Big XII in the top 10 in the poll:  Baylor at 2, Kansas up to 3, and West Virginia at No. 9.  Texas Tech is No. 13.  We are a heck of a basketball conference!  In the Coaches Poll, Baylor 2, Kansas 4, West Virginia 8, Texas 9, and Tech is 14.  Gonzaga is No. 1 in both, in case you were wondering.  The Longhorns travel to Lawrence for a huge game Saturday morning (11:00 a.m. on ESPN2) at Allen Fieldhouse.  Good luck Horns!

College Football Playoffs

2020 was probably not the year to expand the College Football Playoffs, simply because of the added degree of risk and difficulty with, say, four quarterfinal games.  I get it (the Music City Bowl was supposed to have Missouri vs. Iowa, but on Sunday Missouri had to cancel because of Covid).  But 2020 has also exposed the two great faults with this 4 team playoff:  the rich get richer, and one must ask, are we getting enough of the best teams competing for a title?

First, here are the teams who have been selected to play in the CFP since its inception in 2014, with their seed for each year in parenthesis:

Alabama:       2014 (1), 2015 (2), 2016 (1), 2014 (4), 2018 (1), 2020 (1). 
               The Crimson Tide have played in 4 title games, winning 2 (2015 & 2017).

Clemson:        2015 (1), 2016 (2), 2017 (1) 2018 (2), 2019 (3), 2020 (2)
                The Tigers have played in 4 title games, winning 2 (2016 & 2018)

Ohio State:     2014 (4), 2016 (3), 2019 (2), 2020 (3)
                The Buckeyes made it to the finals once, in 2014, and won.

Oklahoma:       2015 (4), 2017 (2), 2018 (4), 2019 (4).
                The Land Thieves have lost all 4 semi-final games.

Notre Dame:     2018 (3), 2020 (4)
                The Irish lost in the semi-final game in 2018 to Clemson

LSU:            2019 (1)
                The Tigers won it all last year.

Oregon, Georgia, Florida State, Michigan State, and Washington each have one CFP appearance, and only Oregon and Georgia made it to the finals.

I believe in rewarding the best teams with an opportunity to play for a title.  But I have one big issue with the 4-team format and one smaller issue.  The smaller issue is that Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State have a recruiting advantage right now that is almost impossible to overcome:  Kids in high school today have pretty much seen the same teams play in the CFP from middle school to the present.  I will accept the counter-argument that success is justly rewarded.  However, I think an 8 team (minimum) playoff would even the playing field a little.

The bigger issue I have is that some really good and deserving teams get left out, and I think Power 5 conference champions and undefeated Group of 5 teams should have a shot.

As I proffered last year:  expand to an 8-team playoff with the first round played at the higher seed’s home stadium.  All Power 5 conference champions are in, Group of 5 schools have a real shot at playing, and what better reward for a great regular season and being one of the Top 4 seeds than to host a home game in December at your house?  Play the quarterfinals two weeks after the conference championship games and then you still have a couple of weeks before the national semifinals.  Last year, the first round games would have been in Baton Rouge, Columbus, Norman, and Clemson. This year:  Tuscaloosa (Alabama vs. Cincinnati), Clemson (Clemson vs. Florida), Columbus (Buckeyes vs. Land Thieves), and South Bend (Notre Dame vs. Texas Agricultural & Mechanical).  That would have been four amazing college football games.

Even more entertaining, are the hypothetical 12-team and 16-team playoffs.  With 12 teams, the top-4 get a first round bye (reward for the top-4 finish).  In that, the first round:  Coastal Carolina vs. Texas Agricultural & Mechanical (a 5-12 matchup!), Indiana vs. Oklahoma, Iowa State vs. Florida, and Cincinnati vs. Georgia.

The full 16 would have added:  Brigham Young at Alabama, Iowa at Clemson, Northwestern at Ohio State (although I suspect the committee might have tweaked that to avoid a rematch), and North Carolina at Notre Dame.

I suspect that if the recommendations of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics are implemented, and I am certain they will be, we will see an expanded playoff under the auspices of the National College Football Association.  If you missed this from a couple of emails ago:

https://www.knightcommission.org/2020/12/knight-commission-recommends-a-new-governing-structure-for-the-sport-of-fbs-football/

Geography

From the Official Alamo Instagram account.  Yep.

Music

I have enjoyed finding great Texas music over the last decade or so to include in my newsletter, and I have really enjoyed getting to know new music and artists to which I have been introduced by family and friends.  I have spent hours and hours watching YouTube videos and listening to music.

San Antonio holds a special place in the hearts of all Texans.  For most of us, our affection for San Antonio probably stems from the Alamo and its key role in the history and soul of Texas.  For others, it may include memories of good times on the Riverwalk, of family vacations at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort (remember what a big deal that was when it opened?), or of great sporting events.  I have all of those.  For sports, memories of seeing the Spurs play at the old Hemisfair Arena are great, and heck, last year’s Alamo Bowl win over Utah was fun. But probably none of those sports memories can match the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 wins by the Longhorns over Connecticut and Michigan State in 2003, giving T.J. Ford and Rick Barnes and the Horns their only trip to the Final Four in my lifetime.  Loved that team.  T.J., Royal Ivey, Brandon Mouton, James Thomas, Brian Boddicker.  Brad Buckman was a freshman.  Sydmill Harris.  Anyone remember how many languages he spoke?  Bonus points if you can name them all, and I will spot you Dutch and English.

Anyway, there are a lot of memories of San Antonio and a lot of songs about San Antonio.

The most famous is probably San Antonio Rose.  Written by Bob Wills and first recorded in 1938, it was an instrumental.  Band members of the Texas Playboys added the lyrics a couple of years later, and it became “New San Antonio Rose”, but I have never heard it called that.  The New San Antonio Rose was recorded on April 16, 1940, with the great Tommy Duncan on vocals.

The song was recorded by Bing Crosby (with Bob Crosby and the Bob Cats) and sold a million copies.  Others who have recorded it include Patsy Cline, Gene Autry, George Strait, Merle Haggard, and of course, our great friend and the man who helped revive Western Swing and returned the genre to national prominence, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel.  So several versions of this great Texas song:

Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys:

A live version from Wills & the Playboys:

Patsy Cline:

Merle Haggard, off the album “Live From Austin, Texas”.  That studio looks familiar.

And Ray & the Wheel:

Charlie Pride was one of the great people and voices in Country & Western Music in my lifetime.  Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ is one of my all-time favorite songs.  His passing on December 12 really made me pause and think about the lives and voices we have lost in this bad year.  Anyway, here is Charlie Pride singing Is Anybody Going to San Antone?

San Antonio Stroll, Tanya Tucker

 San Antonio, by Willie Nelson, from the LP album “Texas in My Soul”

Home in San Antone, George Strait

Hey Baby Que Paso, by the Texas Tornados

San Antonio, Little Joe Hernandez

And this little jewel I discovered, the San Antonio Steel Guitar Association.  Here is one of their videos:

Adios 2020

I concluded last year’s pre-Alamo Bowl missive with “My best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2020” and a dismissive “See you later 2019”.  Little did I know what was in store for us in 2020, and how good 2019 really was.  Over the holidays, I have been particularly contemplative about 2020 and the pandemic.  I looked for all the silver linings and bits of good news and memories in 2020.  There were many.  Most of all, I am grateful that my family and I have made it thus far healthy and without getting the virus.  I am also grateful for all the extra time I have been able to spend with family.  Working from home has been hard in many ways, but richly rewarding in others.  I have probably spent more waking hours at home in 2020 than in the prior 3-4 years.  Maybe more.  Part of that is work.  Part of it is not going out to dinner. We have had more family dinners at home than in the last decade, and certainly more than one might expect with 4 adult children (2 of whom are married).  I have gotten to know my neighbors a lot better.  I am grateful for my faith, which continues to sustain me and fill me with hope and optimism.

I also know this:  I will be much more appreciative of time with friends when this passes.  I will not take for granted short mid-week lunches with friends and business associates.  I will appreciate in-person meetings with other humans.

And one of the smaller but most interesting and rewarding benefits is the restoration of my home office and, for the first time in many, many years, spending Thursday nights at home to write this newsletter as opposed to being downtown until the wee hours of the morning.

Some sunset photos from my office this fall.

I wish all of you a healthy 2021 and the very best in the year ahead as we hopefully come out of this pandemic and begin a return to some normalcy.  Stay safe, and keep your Horns up!

 God Bless Texas

God Bless America

 

Tim Taylor
Tailgating before Home Football Games
The Juan Heisman Tailgate
Lot 38, East of Sid Richardson Hall.

HOOK EM HORNS!!

© Timothy C. Taylor, Sr. 2020.  All Rights Reserved (as to original material).

www.jw.com/ttaylor

On Twitter:  @tctayloratx

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You can contact me by mail:
Tim Taylor
P.O. Box 5371
Austin, Texas  78763-5371

 

 

 

 

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