Big 12 Champions & Heading to New Orleans

Big 12 Champions & Heading to New Orleans

The Texas Longhorns left no doubt on Saturday:  Not only the best team in the Big 12 this year, but also one of the best in the country.  The College Football Playoff Committee agreed, and Texas is heading to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed to play the Washington Huskies in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Texas isn’t “back”.  The new Texas Longhorns are here.

Texas Longhorns 49, Oklahoma State Cowboys 21

I rarely, if ever, get writer’s block when it comes to penning these little missives.  But I have been at a loss for a couple of days on where to start with the Championship Game.  So many great plays. So many Longhorns who dominated in their positions (and some who did so in a new position!).  I finally settled on starting with Sark’s team putting it altogether and playing with a killer instinct, then my favorite play from the game with one of my favorite players on this team, my favorite moment in the game, and then my usual default (and bias), a look at some of the individual numbers put up by Longhorns.

Earlier this season, a couple of times when Texas let opponents back in the game after a good first half lead, Coach Sarkisian talked about how to fix it.  Specifically, on one occasion, he said:

Where we can improve is that killer instinct, that mental intensity, that focus, that tenacity that we played with in those first two quarters and to come out in the third quarter and finish a team off. … That’s where we have to improve. … We have to have that killer instinct to put people away when we have a chance.

Texas led 35-14 at halftime.  We had held Ollie Gordon II to 28 yards on 10 carries (he had already lost it in the second quarter – clip below).  31 yards rushing total, and Bowman was 13/23 for 126 with 2 scores and a pick.  137 yards of offense.  No question that most folks felt like the game was over.  But it wasn’t a done deal.  Texas had blown similar leads before (notably Texas Christian – a 26-6 halftime lead squandered).  And, more important, Texas was playing the second best coach in the Big 12, albeit the designated 2023 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Michael Ray Gundy.  A good game coach, skilled at adjustments.  The kind of guy who has given us fits.

Saturday, Texas played with that killer instinct – what I saw some call the Mamba Mentality.  Bowman managed to complete 9 more passes for 124 yards and a score, but Ollie Gordon II got 3 more carries and finished with 34.  The nation’s leading rusher got 6 yards in the second half on 3 carries.  Cowboys were only averaging 2.4 yards per carry in the first half.  They finished averaging 1.7 yards per attempt.  Most of Quinn’s yards came in the first half (354), but that’s because we put the ball in the hands of our extraordinary running back corps, who ran for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns in the second half.

Texas dominated Texas Tech in the second half too, but with all due respect to Coach Joey and all the roads running through Lubbock, Oklahoma State was (and is) a much better football team.  As I told some of the very nice (really) Cowboys fans behind us, they will be the dominant team in the Big 12 in the years to come.

T’Vondre Sweat scored more touchdowns in Arlington than Ollie Gordon II.  What’s even funnier, he talked about it early in the week at the Monday presser, Kirk Bohls asked Sweat if Sark owed him a touchdown, and T’Vondre said yeah, he does.

I love Big Man touchdowns.

From @TexasFootball on Instagram

My favorite moment of the game was Sark’s class and Texas culture at its finest.  Jonath0n Brooks, whose legs helped mightily in getting this Texas team to this great opportunity, put on his helmet and limped on to the field for the final play. Lined up behind Arch Manning in the Victory Formation, Arch took the final snap, and turned around, flipping the ball to J Brooks.  It wasn’t anything like not kicking the PAT in 2001 against North Carolina, for that final score of 44-14 (R.I.P. Cole), but it was pretty cool.

Next, the big numbers. Have to start with No. 3.  I loved Ced Golden’s headline on one of his post-game articles:  “Quinn Ewers skewers Oklahoma State, takes his place in Longhorns lore”.  Good article too – link below.  Mr. Ewers set the Big 12 record for passing yards:  452 yards on 35 of 46.  The old record was held by Heisman winner Sam Bradford, the Land Thieves’ quarterback in 2008 – 384 yards.  Ewers also tied the CG record with 4 touchdown passes in the game.  Set the record for yards and touchdown passes in a half.  Quinn’s first half 23 of 31 for 354 yards (and the 4 TDs) resulted in a 206.6 passer rating, highest ever for a half in the Big 12 CG.

I also like pancakes.  And Kelvin Banks.

Ollie Gordon II was a bit frustrated.  After the second quarter three and out, where Gordon got 6 yards on 2 runs and then didn’t make the catch to convert on third down, OSU punted, and Ollie Gordon II was a bit perturbed.  Sorry Ollie.

Ced’s article on Quinn:

Texas football enjoyed an epic passing performance from Quinn Ewers (

Sark & The Horns

Sark knew this team was going to be good.  Interview from this summer.  Nice post by @pcfrlores13:

If you didn’t read this article last week, it is still worth your time.

How Texas embraced the hate in its last Big 12 season – ESPN

Texas Volleyball

This edition was supposed to go out at a reasonable hour Saturday night/Friday morning.  But I didn’t plan on a 3+ hour volleyball match.  The Horns beat Tennessee 3-2 in the Sweet Sixteen (Stanford Regional).  It was one heck of a match.  Texas won the first set, then close losses in the second and third sets.  Texas had to win out.  26-24 in the fourth set to even the match, and then a great final fifth with the Horns winning 16-14.  Leland Stanford Junior University defeated Arizona State, and Texas will play the Cardinal Saturday night in Palo Alto for a chance to go to the Final Four.

Red River Rivalry

Texas and the Land Thieves announced they are staying at the Cotton Bowl until 2036.  Big upgrades supposedly coming.  Best news of this long week.  On Friday night, October 10, 2036, I hope to be sitting my tired 76 year old butt down at Javier’s for some margaritas and codorniz.  Hook Em.


The All-American honors are pouring in.  I may have missed a couple:

CBS Sports:  Xavier Worthy and T’Vondre Sweat, First Team.  Ja’Tavion Sanders and Byron Murphy II, Second Team.

Sports Illustrated:  T’Vondre Sweat, First Team.  Byron Murphy II, Second Team.

USA Today:  T’Vondre Sweat, First Team.  Xavier Worthy, All-Purpose, Second Team.

The Athletic:  Freshman All-Americans – Anthony Hill, Jr., First Team.  CJ Baxter, Second Team.

Thank you Texas Agricultural & Mechanical!

I am sure everyone has seen this by now, but my goodness this gives me a chuckle.  In the summer of 2018, Chris Del Conte (University of Texas at Austin Vice President and Lois and Richard Folger Athletics Director) reached out to Texas A&M in an attempt to reinstate our great rivalry.  CDC wanted to schedule a home and home in 2022 and 2023.  Sadly, Scott Woodward (A&M AD) said the Aggies were already booked and didn’t have a spot for the Longhorns on their busy and important schedule.

CDC stayed with the SEC and booked Alabama instead.  You cannot make this up:  Texas played Bama because the Aggies were busy.  Texas beat Alabama, the best win in college football in 2023, and that win propelled the Longhorns into the College Football Playoffs.

Forever grateful little bro!  👍

Full Article:

Texas Longhorns 49, Oklahoma State Cowboys 21

We end our short series with the Okie Aggies with a dominant 27-11 final record.  Gundy was 9-9 versus the Horns before Saturday.  He will join the ranks of hundreds of other coaches with a  career losing record against Texas, although his 10-9 mark is quite respectable.

The Texas defense started strong, forcing a three and out (and getting lucky to not get flagged for DPI).  Three incomplete passes with the nation’s leading rusher in the backfield.  I guess Gundy knew something.

On the short ensuing punt, OSU got called for catch interference, setting the Horns up at the Cowboy 39.  Sark and the Horns didn’t screw around.  Excellent misdirection screen to Baxter for 17 yards on 1st down. Two plays later another 10 yard pass to Baxter, good blocking from Sanders and Helm. On first and goal a from the 10, play action and misdirection and Ewers hit Adonai Mitchell for the first Texas touchdown. 128 seconds in, 7-0 Horns.

The Cowboys got a first down on the next series, as Gordon got 2 and 9, and then another yard.  The 11 yards on that possession would account for nearly a third of Ollie’s yards that day.

On first down, Ewers swung it right Worthy, and Xavier his the afterburners early and picked up 54 yards to the OSU 30.  A couple of short gains then an incredibly cool play.  Ewers took the snap in the gun, then flipped it to Baxter, who gave it to Mitchell on what looked like a reverse, who flipped it back Ewers.  Ja’Tavion Sanders was all alone at the 9 yard line, and he caught it and walked into the endzone.  14-0 Texas.

Oklahoma State put together a scoring drive, started by an interference penalty on first down on a pass to Presley.  The big play was 34 yards to Rashod Owens, to the Texas 20.  Bowman completed the drive with a good pass to Presley for the Cowboys score.  14-7 Texas.  Note that Gordon gained 8 yards on that drive.  So 28 yards in 3 of the first 4 OSU possessions.

Sark had Jaydon Blue in for the next possession.  It was a great mix of run and pass.  Blue for 6, 16 yard pass to Keilan, Blue for 12 (no late hit out of bounds called), 4  yards to J Whitt, 15 yards to Blue, 9 yards to Worthy, and Texas was at the OSU 15.  Blue for 7 and Blue for 3.  Two plays later (after DPI on OSU in EZ), Murphy and Sweat are in, and you got a Big Man Touchdown.  No. 3 to No. 93 for 6.  21-7 Texas.

That would be the score at the end of the first quarter.  Some crazy Q1 numbers:

  • Ewers 11 for 11 for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns.
  • Blue 4 carries for 28 yards
  • Worthy 2 catches for 63 yards, with 61 YAC.
  • Texas had 197 yards offense and 10 first downs. Only one third down, which the Horns converted.
  • Ollie Gordon 7 carries for 20 yards

Oklahoma State’s next possession had begun in the first quarter and carried over into the second for one play. That one play ended with a spectacular interception by Kittan Crawford on the Texas 5.  I turned to Walter Keene Linscott Ferguson, Jr., and I said a 95 yard drive would be nice.

Baxter with a good 8 yard run, a good pass to JT Sanders for 8, and we were outside the 20.  A couple of no gains, including Ewers first incompletion.  But on third and 10 from the UT 21, Mitchell got behind his man, and Ewers laid it in over Adonai Mitchell’s right shoulder for 62 yards to the OSU 17. Good pass to J Whitt for 7, then good blocking and good running by Baxter for the 10 yard touchdown.  28-7 Texas.

The Texas defense forced a three and out, then one of the few (only) bad possessions for Texas. Texas was moving the ball, and Quinn completed a 24 yard pass that would have had Texas at the OSU 44, but the play was called back for holding.  So first and 20 from the Texas 22.  3 plays later an almost inexplicable interception, which set OSU up at the Texas  3 after a 27 yard return by the Okie Aggie linebacker Nicklaus Martin.  Bowman would get a touchdown pass to Owens to close the score to 28-14.

Texas answered with an 82 yard scoring drive that included a nice 17 yard pass to Whittington, another great connection with Ja’Tavion Sanders for 26 yards to the OSU 14, and finishing with a 8 yard touchdown pass and run by Jaydon Blue.  35-14.

Texas got the ball to start the second half and actually had to punt. Despite the 21 point lead, I was a bit nervous that Gundy’s boys might bet a quick score and make it a 2 score game.  Didn’t happen.  The defense held, and Texas took over at the UT 21.  A bumpy possession that included a 3 yard loss on a pass to Mitchell and a false start ended with one of the nicest runs of the year as Keilan Robinson bounced it out left on 2nd and 10 and then tight-roped the sideline for a 57 yard touchdown run.  42-14 Texas, and it was Beer:30.

That score would hold until the fourth quarter, and as we began the final frame, the party was on. The Texas offense used all their weapons on a great 77 yard drive:  17 yards to Sanders, 10 yards to Worth, Baxter rush for 14, 15 yards to Adonai Mitchell, and an 11 yard Keilan Robinson touchdown run.  49-14 Horns.

The Cowboys would get a trash-time TD to get to 21, but whatever.  Texas sent out Maalik Murphy and Savion Red, who picked up a couple of first downs.  Wisner got a few carries.  A bunch of kids got to play in the Big 12 Championship Game. Arch Manning executed the Victory Formation and it was time for confetti, booing Brett Yormark, high-fiving, and cigars.

Quinn Ewers had a great post on Instagram after the game that included this photo.   A little respect please.

That is Captain Woodrow F. Call and Augustus McCrae.  They did get some respect.

For Bevo’s cousin | Instagram

Highlights of Big 12 Championship Game

From ESPN College Football, about 14 minutes:

Every Play, from Texas Clips.

Brett Yormark on Texas Sports Unfiltered.  Dude looks like he was a character in Jessica Rabbit.  This was before the game.

One of the best parts of the game was sharing it with my brothers.  Thank you Tony.

And seeing my brother Poage. Love you Sammy.

The Portal

The college football transfer portal is just nuts.  On the first day, 1,184 players entered the portal.

Texas Agricultural & Mechanical has been particularly hard hit.  Warren Nolen, a defensive tackle and the No. 1 prospect from the 2022 class.  He might be coming to Texas.  Plus L.T. Overton (a 5 star), Chase Bisontis (OL), and tight end Jake Johnson, all top gets for Jimbo now getting out of C.S.  The portal count for the Aggies is at 11 best I can tell.

Here are a few of the quarterbacks:  Dillon Gabriel, leaving the Land Thieves.  Dante Moore, out of UCLA; taking the midnight train to Georgia?  Will Howard at K State, Tyler Shough at Texas Tech.  And craziest, to me, Kyle McCord at an Ohio State University.  Guess maybe the fringe nutcases in fanbases shouldn’t send death threats to kids who lose in a rivalry game.  Sick.

The good news for the Horns is that there are a lot of very good football players who have Austin on their short list.  Stay tuned.

The Playoff Controversy

I fully intended to provide my pontificating on the playoff brouhaha, but will save it for next time.  But a few quick thoughts.

There have been many undefeated teams not win a national championship, mostly in the MNC era.

Texas deserved to be in.

The principles adopted by the BCS Group June 20, 2012, when the four team playoff was created:

The selection committee will select the teams using a process that distinguishes among otherwise comparable teams by considering:

  • Conference championships won,
  • Strength of schedule,
  • Head‐to‐head competition,
  • Comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory), and,
  • Other relevant factors such as unavailability of key players and coaches that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.

CFP Selection Committee Protocol – College Football Playoff

In 1993, Florida State won the national championship, first in the AP and the Coaches.  Earlier in the season, they lost to Notre Dame, 31-24 (the first ever ESPN College GameDay).  At season’s end, one loss FSU was selected under the Bowl Coalition to play No. 1 and undefeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.  FSU was selected to play instead of undefeated West Virginia, who was No. 2 in the Coaches Poll.  So one-loss Florida State got to play for a natty instead of undefeated West Virginia.  Florida State would upset Nebraska 18-16.  (West Virginia would get smoked 41-7 by Florida in the Sugar Bowl, but we all know sometimes disappointed teams don’t play so well in the Sugar Bowl, right Uga?).  Notre Dame beat Texas Agricultural & Mechanical 24-21 in the Cotton Bowl.

This too, shall pass.  Next year we will have the 12 team bracket for which I have long advocated.  If played this year:

Paying The Players

It looks like the NCAA is moving forward with direct payment of athletes by schools.

Read the letter from NCAA President Charlie Baker to the Division I schools.

The Final 2023 Regular Season Texas Statistics

When looking at the national stats:  there are 133 FBS teams this year.  So if you are ranked in the top 33, you are about top quarter.  34-66, top half.  67 to 99, third quartile. 100 or worse, bottom quartile.

Big 12
Rushing Offense No. 24 No. 6 189.1 yards per game
Passing Offense No. 19 No. 3 286.8 yards per game
Total Offense No. 9 No. 3 475.9 yards per game
Scoring Offense No. 16 No. 3 36.2 points per game
First Downs No. 21 No. 5 23.1 per game
Sacks Allowed No. 75 No. 11 26 sacks for 156 yards
Tackles for Loss Allowed No. 61 No. 9 66 TFL for 255 yards
Third Down Conversions No. 69 No. 9 38.51%
Fourth Down Conversions No. 28 No. 3 19/30 – 63.3%
Red Zone Attempts No. 18 No. 4 55 attempts (27 TDs)
Red Zone Offense No. 92 No. 9 80% / 49%
Long Run Plays No. 32 No. 6 70/10, 23/20, 12/30, 7/40
Long Pass Plays No. 5 No. 2 154/10, 49/20, 26/30, 8/40
Big 12
Rushing Defense No. 4 No. 1 80.9 yards per game
Passing Defense No. 96 No. 10 240.8 yards per game
Total Defense No. 23 No. 1 321.7 yards per game
Scoring Defense No. 13 No. 1 17.5 points per game
First Downs Allowed No. 21 No. 1 17.2 per game
Sacks No. 32 No. 1 32 sacks for 220 yards 1
Tackles for Loss No. 25 No. 2 82 TFL for 325 yards
Third Down Conversions No. 2 No. 1 26.51%
Fourth Down Conversions No. 46 No. 5 12/26 – 46.2%
Red Zone Attempts No. 24 No. 3 35 (16 TDs)
Red Zone Defense No. 4 No. 1 71% / 46%
Long Run Plays Allowed No. 7 No. 1 33/10, 7/20, 2/30, 2/40
Long Pass Plays Allowed No. 99 No. 9 114/10, 40/20, 21/30, 10/40

1  Texas was also No. 1 with 2.46 sacks per game, so the extra game didn’t give us a leg up on that stat (or most the others I looked at).

Big 12
Turnovers No. 51 No. 8 16:  7F  9I
Turnover Margin No. 22 No. 4 23:16  +7
Penalties No. 104 No. 14 82 for 665 yards

*Based on total number of penalties.

In penalties per game, Texas was No. 13 in the Big 12 at 6.3.  The Land Thieves were No. 14 at 6.7 penalties per game.  Shocking that we were both at the bottom.  Shocked I tell you.

Explosive Plays

Explosive plays are generally defined as running plays over 12 yards and pass plays over 20 yards.  I have seen a number of variations, including, for example, defining an explosive pass play as one that goes over 25 yards.  I have also seen it as run plays over 20 yards and pass plays over 30 yards.  Then, add in a team’s margin in a game on explosive plays.  It gets complicated.  But, for simplicity in looking at the 2023 regular season, I am going with any play over 20 yards.  Using that at the metric, here is where Texas ranked:

Explosive Plays on Offense

Statistic National Big 12 Texas
Rushing No. 13 No. 4 23 rushes 20+
Passing No. 27 No. 4 49 passes 20+
Total No. 14 No. 3 72 plays 20+
Explosive Plays Allowed by Defense
Big 12
Rushing No. 9 No. 2 7 rushes 20+
Passing No. 74 No. 6 40 passes 20+
Total No. 40 No. 3 47 plays 20+

 Finally, I have been remiss in not paying attention to our punt return team.  It is pretty good.  Like No. 1 in the nation good.  Texas leads with 8 over 20 yards, tied with several with 4 over 30 yards.  Texas also has 2 over 40, and 1 over 50, 1 over 60, and 1 over 70 yards.

Guess who is No. 1?  Xavier Worthy.  The X man is responsible for all of those.  He also leads the nation in punt return yardage with 358 yards.

I am sure a few inquisitive readers are curious about punt return defense.  Well, 34 teams are tied for first in the nation with zero punt returns over 20 yards. 38 teams are tied at No. 35 with only 1 punt return over 20 yards.  Makes the X-Man’s stats all the more impressive.

Going to have to up my stat game next season!

The comparison to Washington will be included in the Sugar Bowl edition of The Austin Horns Fan Dispatch.

America’s Game

The United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy meet on the gridiron for the 124th time this Saturday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  Navy leads the series 62-54-7.

Both teams are 5-6.  The Black Knights are favored by 3, and the over/under is 27.5.  the Money Line is Army -150, Navy +130.  ESPN’s Matchup Predictor has Army at 61.7%.  Looks to be a low scoring affair.

BCf  Toys Projection:

Projected Winner Projected Loser PW PM PF PA PT
Army Navy .598 3.5 11.0 7.4 18.4

CFB Graphs from @statsowar has a bit more optimistic outlook for some offense.

Championship Weekend

Quite a weekend for the NCAA and the College Football Playoff Committee.

A few notes on the games.

Conference USA:  Liberty University won C‑USA and finished 13-0 after beating New Mexico State 49-35.  Flames quarterback Kaidon Salter passed for 319 yards and 2 scores and ran for 165 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.  New Mexico State is bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time since I was a little over 3 months old (1960).

Pac-12:  The Huskies and Ducks delivered a great football game Friday night, with Washington winning 34-31 and securing their spot in the playoffs.  The teams combined for 844 yards of offense.  Penix was 27-39 for 319 and 1 score and 1 pick.  He is mortal.  Obviously I will have a lot more to say about Penix in a couple of weeks.  [On a related note, this Pro Tip:  Add “Penix” to your MS Word spell-check dictionary; will avoid an unpleasant autocorrect.]

BCf  Toys projected Oregon to win 42.7-31.4, the ESPN Matchup Predictor: Oregon 75.8%.  “That’s why we play the game”.

MAC Champions!!!  Miami RedHawks 23, Toledo Rockets 14.  Really happy for my buddy Jimmy U.  Nice.

BCf  Toys projected Toledo to win 18.9-15.0. ESPN Matchup Predictor was Toledo 60.2%

Mountain West:  Boise State 44-20 over UNLV. Big cover.

Southeastern Conference:  Roll Tide!  Alabama 27, Georgia 24.  As it turned out, this is the game that got us in I think.  I listened all the way down Interstate 35.  Had the Georgia Bulldog radio feed.   Saban has now won 17 games in a row in Atlanta.

BCf  Toys projection had Georgia 29.4-23.4. ESPN Matchup Predictor was Georgia 52.1%

American: The Southern Methodists are conference champions!  26-14 over Tulane.

BCf  Toys projected SMU to win 24.1-20.1.  ESPN Matchup Predictor had Mustangs 72.5%

Do y’all know how much I love this tweet?

Sun Belt:  Troy demolished Appalachian State 49-23.

Big Ten:  The BCf  Toys projection of minus one point for Iowa was actually really close, as Michigan shutout the Hawkeyes 26-0.  Iowa punted 7 times for 353 yards.

ACC:  Did y’all know Florida State went undefeated and won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship?  16-6 over Louisville.

No. 12 Texas Longhorns Basketball

Texas had a bad night in Milwaukee.  Shaka Smart’s No. 8 Marquette Golden Eagles put a beat down on our boys, 86-65.  Shaka has a very good team.  Hard to beat a team that hits 14 of 30 3-pointers.  Time to regroup.

Big game in Houston in December 16, 11:00 a.m. on ESPN2, against the Louisiana State Tigers.

Reminder of the holiday home schedule.  Come to the games.

  • Houston Christian, Saturday December 9, 2:00 p.m.
  • Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Friday December 22, 2:00 p.m.
  • UNC Greensboro, Friday December 20, 7:00 p.m.
  • UT Arlington, New Year’s Day, 7:00 p.m.
Bowl Season

I am and always have been fond of college football bowl season, although as the number of bowls proliferated in my lifetime, that interest has waned, or at least been spread a little thin.  But I am still grateful for college football almost every night for over two weeks plus a lot of afternoon games.  I have a few of the pre-New Year’s Eve bowls profiled here.

Saturday December 16

Miami RedHawks (11-2) vs. App State 8-5), 2:30 p.m. on ABC in the Avocados from Mexico Cure Bowl.  Mountaineers favored by 5.5.

California Golden Bears (6-6) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-6), 8:15 p.m. on ESPN in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl.  Ah, that coveted all-expenses paid trip to Shreveport!  U.S. Highway 84 runs through Lubbock, and that’s what you take to get to I-20, get on at Roscoe right before Sweetwater, then it is a straight shot to Shreveport.  South Plains Aggies favored by 3.

Tuesday December 19

UTSA (8-4) vs. Marshall (6-6), 8:00 p.m. on ESPN, in the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl.  Roadrunners favored by 9.5.  UTSA QB Frank Harris will end (I assume) a great college career with over 12,000 yards passing and nearly 100 touchdowns.

Saturday December 23

James Madison (11-1) vs. Air Force (8-4), 2:30 p.m. on ABC in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl from Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.  I hope some of my Fort Worth friends go out and support the Academy.  JMU favored by 3.

Texas State (7-5) vs. Rice (6-6), 4:30 p.m. on ESPN in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl.  I believe this the first ever bowl game for the Bobcats.  Congrats.  Texas State favored by 4.

Wednesday December 27

North Carolina (8-4) vs. West Virginia (8-4), 4:30 p.m. on ESPN in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.  Mountaineers favored by 3.5.  Good luck Coach Brown!

No. 15 Louisville (10-3) vs. Southern Cal (7-5), 7:00 p.m. on FOX in the DIRECTV Holiday Bowl.  Caleb Williams has already said he’s not playing.

Texas Agricultural & Mechanical (7-5) vs. No. 20 Oklahoma State (9-4) in the TaxAct Texas Bowl.  NRG Stadium.  Should be a home game for the Aggies.  Their depth chart should be interesting.  As of Wednesday night, 11 Aggies were in the transfer portal.  Brutal.  But those Fightin’ Texas Aggies are 3.5 point favorites for now.  With Texas A&M minus 170 on the Money Line, how much would you have to bet in order to win $76.5 million?  Asking for a friend.

Thursday December 28

Southern Methodist (11-2) vs. Bosto College (6-6) 10:00 a.m. on ESPN in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl.  Mustangs are 11 point favorites, and this will be one of about 3 bowl games I bet on (directly).   Pony up.

No. 14 Arizona (9-3) vs. No. 12 Oklahoma, (10-2), 8:15 p.m. on ESPN in the Valero Alamo Dome.  Wildcats favored by 3.

Friday December 29

No. 19 Oregon State (8-4) vs. No. 16 Notre Dame (9-3), 1:00 p.m. on CBS in the Sun Bowl. Sorry, that’s the “Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl”.  Irish favored by 8.5.

Memphis (9-3) vs. Iowa State (7-5), 2:30 p.m. on ESPN, in the Autozone Liberty Bowl.  Cyclones favored by 8.5 over the hometown Tigers.

No. 9 Missouri (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (11-1), 7:00 p.m. on ESPN in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.  Tigers favored by 1.5.

Here is a link on to the full schedule:

College Football Schedule – Week 1 Postseason, 2023 – ESPN

Final Regular Season Advanced Ratings and Rankings

I went ahead and included Washington Huskies while I was doing this.  Will update before the trip to New Orleans.

FEI Ratings.  FEI Overall Ratings (FEI), Offense Ratings (OFEI), Defense Ratings (DFEI), and Special Teams Ratings (SFEI) are opponent-adjusted data representing the scoring advantage per possession a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. Strength of schedule ratings represent the expected number of losses an elite team two standard deviations better than average would have against each team’s schedule of opponents (ELS), the expected number of losses a good team one standard deviation above average would have against the schedule (GLS), and the expected number of losses an average team would have against the schedule (ALS). Mean Wins are the sum of individual game win likelihoods for all regular season games including games against FCS opponents (Total) and against FBS opponents only (FBS).

Texas No. 6: 1.04 No. 15: 0.63 No. 7: 0.138 No. 1: 0.25 No. 3: 0.13
Washington No. 8: 0.95 No. 6:  1.28 No. 27: 0.66 No. 45: 0.14 No. 25: 0.06

BCF Toys – 2023 FEI Ratings

Available Yards Percentage.  Net available yards percentage (NAY) is the difference between offensive available yards percentage (OAY) and opponent offensive available yards percentage (DAY) on non-garbage, regulation possessions in FBS vs. FBS games. Available yards percentage is calculated by dividing drive yards (measured from starting field position to ending field position) by available yards (measured from starting field position to end zone).

Texas No. 6:  0.251 No. 9:  0.593 No. 7:  0.342
Washington No. 14:  0.162 No. 6:  0.629 No. 64:  0.466

BCF Toys – 2023 Available Yards Percentage

Net points per drive (NPD).  NPD is the difference between points scored per offensive drive (OPD) and points allowed per opponent offensive drive (DPD).

Texas No. 10: 1.53 No. 14:  2.98 No. 13:  1.45
Washington No. 12: 1.42 No. 6:  3.45 No. 45: 2.03

BCF Toys – 2023 Points Per Drive

Net Yards Per Play (NPP).  Net yards per play (NPP) are the difference between drive yards per offensive play (OPP) and drive yards allowed per opponent offensive play (DPP) on non-garbage, regulation possessions in FBS vs. FBS games. Drive yards are calculated as the difference between starting field position and ending field position on offensive drives.


Texas No. 11:  1.71 No. 20:  6.70 No. 16:  4.98
Washington No. 10:  1.75 No. 4:  7.43 No. 61:  5.68

BCF Toys – 2023 Yards Per Play

College Football Playoff Quarterbacks

CJ Vogel is one of my favorite follows on X.  He has good info and intel.  Great example here on his breakdown of where the four CFP starting quarterbacks throw the ball.  I knew we threw a lot of screens, but holy cow.  And look at Penix in short range.

Massey Ratings

Texas is No. 3, behind Michigan at 1 and Washington at 2.  Ohio State actually finished 4th, followed by Alabama, Georgia, and Florida State.  The Land Thieves are No. 10, Ole Miss at 13.

Massey Ratings – Rankings

Nate Manzo (@cfbNate on X).


New Orleans

I love New Orleans so much.  I am sure all of y’all have been to New Orleans, and I bet most of y’all go to New Orleans with at least some degree of regularity.  It was long considered one of America’s three great cities:  New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco.  It has the most unique culture of any major American city, with its French ancestry and all the cultures that have been stirred into the gumbo the last 300 years.

So much to do in New Orleans that unless you are going for several days, most of us will not have a lot of spare time with New Year’s Day being filled with gameday activities and the Sugar Bowl.  But if you have time, I recommend a visit to The National World War II Museum.

Home | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans (

Last time I was there, one of the recorded oral histories in the European Theater section was Frank Denius talking about the Battle of Mortain.  It was so cool to hear Frank’s voice and hear him telling that story.

A jillion other things to do, but on my shortlist will be a cold beer at Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street, a Pete’s Special on the back patio at Pat O’Brien’s, an old fashioned at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone, and a Sazerac in The Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt.  And some jazz somewhere in the Quarter.

I won’t be there long enough for one of my other favorites, which is to watch some horse racing at the Fair Grounds.  If I am reading the schedule right, they will be running Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

What’s your favorite thing to do in New Orleans?  Best answers will be included in the pre-Sugar Bowl edition of The Austin Horns Fan Dispatch.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

ESPN College Football Power Index

The FPI has a lot more info than what I included above.  On the right side of their matrix, ESPN has a “Make NC%” and “Win NC%”.  I haven’t been tracking it in the Dispatch, probably because I am so superstitious.  But we are in, and here is what the ESPN football mathemetricians have:

H-Town gonna be lit.

ESPN SP+ from Bill Connelly

AP Top 25 & Coaches Poll


Eternal Father, The Navy Hymn, by the Naval Academy Glee Club.  Tribute to Pearl Harbor.

Jerusalem, by Cadet Glee Club of West Point

Battle Hymn of the Republic, USNA Glee Clubs, at Senator McCain’s Funeral.

Mansions of the Lord, West Point Band and West Point Glee Club

The Marines’ Hymn, “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band

Jim Nicar

A Tower sunset in 2003 – 20 years ago – before the development in West Campus.

Follow Jim on X

 Picture of the Week


From JType’s Instagram account earlier this week.  Several other stunning photos in this series.

God Bless Texas

God Bless America

 Tim Taylor

 Member, Football Writers Association of America

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


The Austin Horns Fan Dispatch

© Timothy C. Taylor, Sr. 2023.  All Rights Reserved (as to original material).

On Twitter:  @tctayloratx

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Tim Taylor
P.O. Box 5371
Austin, Texas  78763-5371


1 thought on “Big 12 Champions & Heading to New Orleans”

  1. Favorite thing to do in NOLA: picking up a Bloody Mary at the Gumbo House on the way to breakfast at Cafe DuMonde.

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