Sugar Bowl 2024 – Horns vs Huskies

The 2024 Allstate Sugar Bowl

College Football Playoff Semifinal

No. 3 Texas Longhorns v. No. 2 Washington Huskies

 Monday night in New Orleans, the Texas Longhorns take their next step towards winning a fifth national championship.  The Allstate Sugar Bowl will kick off about 7:45 p.m. from the Superdome.  Texas is favored by 4 over the undefeated Huskies (the line has dropped a smidge). The over/under is 63.5, and the money line is Texas -185, Washington +155.  The ESPN Matchup Predictor gives Texas a 69.2% chance of winning.  The TCT Predictor is 81.9% in favor of the Longhorns.

It took a little time, but we finally got the Big 12 Championship game highlights in Spanish.  Enjoy.  ¡Deja que los buenos tiempos pasen!

Texas Volleyball:  Back to Back National Champions

Congratulations to Texas Volleyball.  What a championship.  Texas swept No. 1 Nebraska 3-0 to win its 5th national championship, one AIAW and one NCAA under Mick Haley and now three NCAA championships under Jerritt Elliott.  The Longhorns match with the Huskers was the most watched college volleyball match of all time with record viewership ratings.  Up against NFL games.  The match averaged a 0.8 rating and 1.69 million viewers on ABC and peaked at 2.1 million.  That is pretty good.

The win in Tampa completed a playoff run that started in Austin with the first and second rounds, as the Horns beat Texas Agricultural and Mechanical in a spirited match at Gregory Gymnasium, then a sweep of Southern Methodist to advance to the Palo Alto regional.  Texas beat the other UT 3-2 in a tough match, then beat No. 2 Stanford 3-1 to advance to the Final Four.  Texas beat No. 3 Wisconsin 3-1 in the national semifinal, with dominant third and fourth sets (25-13 and 25-16).  In the national championship game, the Cornhuskers kept it close in the first set, but Texas closed it out 25-22.  In the second set, the Horns trailed 7-10.  Asjia O’Neal got the ball to serve, and she put up an 11-0 run that included 4 straight aces.  After that it was a beating, 25-14 and 25-11.  Nebraska’s hitting percentage in the final set was 0.000.  Mr. Blutarski, zero point zero.

Madisen Skinner was the MOP.  She joined Emma Halter, Asjia, and Ella Swindle on the Final Four All-Tournament Team.  Skinner also won some Player of the Year awards.

Great video:

Since sweeping Nebraska, Elliott has added three huge transfers to the roster.  Whitney Lauenstein is leaving Lincoln to join the Longhorns (sorry John Cook), plus outside Hitter Reagan Rutherford from Kentucky and setter Averi Carson from Baylor.  This team is going to be so stacked.

You know what I am hoping …

What Starts Here Changes the World

Great clip highlighting some of the 2023 highlights for The University.  Good stuff.

Or, you can read it here:

UT in 2023 – UT News (

The 2024 Sugar Bowl

Texas enters the College Football Playoffs ranked No. 3, with a 12-1 record and the No. 9 total offense, No. 3 rush defense, No. 3 total defense, No. 2 third down defense, and No. 3 red zone defense.

Washington is ranked No. 2, with a 13-0 record and the No. 1 passing offense, No. 12 total offense, No. 120 pass defense, No. 90 total defense, and No. 58 red zone defense.  Their star is quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., who finished second in the Heisman voting.  He leads the nation in passing at 324.5 yards per game.

Full stats and previews below.

Sean McDonough and Greg McElroy will be in the booth for the Entertainment & Sports Programming Network.  Very good sportscasters.  Molly McGrath and Katie George will be on the sidelines.  The Longhorn Radio Network will carry the Voice of the Longhorns, Craig Way, with Roger Wallace providing analysis and Will Matthews on the sideline.  KWKC 1340 AM in Abilene, KEYS 1440 AM in Corpus Christi, KFST 860 AM in Fort Stockton, and KTBB 600 AM in Tyler.  Channel 82 on SiriusXM.

The Spanish Broadcast on the Longhorn Radio Network with Dr. Rubén Pizarro-Silva on the call and Jesus Mendoza and Arturo Mata with analysis.  KTXX-HD2 or KZNX 1530 AM out of Creedmoor for the Spanish and online.

The Sugar Bowl

This will be our fifth Sugar Bowl.  The first Sugar Bowl was played January 1, 1935, and it is tied with the Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl as the 2nd oldest bowl games.

The No. 5 Longhorns defeated No. 6 Alabama 27-7 on January 1, 1948.  The great Bobby Layne was MVP, and the 1948 Sugar Bowl was his last game.  The Texas scoring including a touchdown pass to Peppy Blount, a great Texan.  If you don’t know him, look him up.  Ralph Eugene Blount.  Highlights?  Of course we have highlights.  Harry, hope you enjoy these.

Texas returned to New Orleans a decade later to play No. 7 Ole Miss.  Darrell K Royal led his No. 11 Longhorns to the Sugar Bowl in his very first year on the Forty Acres.   The Rebels beat Texas 39-7.  The 1958 game was broadcast on NBC with Lindsey Nelson and Red Grange.  Highlights of the game:

The 1995 Longhorns finished the season 10-1-1 (the bad beating at Notre Dame and the 24-24 tie with the Land Thieves in the Red River Shootout), winning the Southwest Conference (7-0).  Shon Mitchell ran 1,099 yards, and the kid Ricky Williams added 990 that season. Pat Fitzgerald lead the Longhorn receivers with 8 touchdown catches in 1195.  And Pat had one touchdown in the New Year’s Eve Sugar Bowl, but that catch from James Brown was the only time Texas would get in the endzone.  Ricky ran for 62 (12 carries), Shon got 59 yards on 15 carries, and James Brown ended up minus 43.  5 sacks.  A Texas team with Ricky Williams totaled 78 yards rushing.  A bad night in NOLA, as the Hokies beat the Horns 28-10 (including a punt return for a touchdown and a fumble returned for a touchdown).

Sam Ehlinger led the 2018 Longhorns to a 9-4 season and a spot in the Sugar Bowl against No. 6 Georgia.  No. 14 Texas beat the Bulldogs 28-21, as Ehlinger passed for 169 yards and ran for 64 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Dicker the Kicker hit 2 field goals.  The Longhorns finished the season back in the Top 10, ranked No. 9.  The game is probably best remembered for the encounter between Bevo and Uga.  Bulls and steers don’t like bulldogs for a reason.

2023 Washington Huskies

The Huskies have had an incredibly good season.  Defeating a very good Oregon twice is really remarkable, albeit by 3 points each time.  Here is a look at Washington’s undefeated season:

56-19 over Boise State.  Penix passed for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns (29-40).  Rome Odunze had 5 catches for 132 yards and a score, Ja’Lynn Polk had 3 catches for 101 and a score, and Jalen McMillan had 8 catches for 95 yards and 2 TDs.  Will Nixon had 6 carries for 48 yards, a long of 21.  Penix had 2 carries for minus 2 yards.  Boise State had 264 passing yards (2 interceptions) and 138 rushing.

The Broncos would go on to finish 8-6 and win the Mountain West Conference.  The Broncos had wins over North Dakota, San Diego State, San Jose State, Wyoming (32-7), New Mexico, Utah State, Air Force, and UNLV in the title game.  Loses to UCF (16-18), Memphis, Colorado State, and Fresno State, then UCLA beat Boise 35-22 in the LA Bowl.

43-10 over Tulsa.  Penix was 28-38 with three touchdowns and one interception, 409 yards.  Jalen McMillan had 8 catches for 120 yards and a score, and Odunze had 7 catches for 107 and a score.  Will Nixon rushed 6 times for 30 yards.   Penix ran twice for 11 yards.  Tulsa threw for 150 yards (1 interception) and ran for 168.

The Golden Hurricane finished the season 4-8, 11th in the AAC.  Losses include 66-17 to the Land Thieves, 42-10 to Rice, and 69-10 to Southern Methodist.  The Mustangs passed for 446 yards on Tulsa.

41-7 over Michigan State, in East Lansing.  This looked like a good win early in the season.  The Huskies were up 35-0 at halftime.  Penix was 27/35 for 473 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Odunze had 8 catches for 180 yards, Polk had 5 for 118 and a score, and McMillan had 4 for 96.  The Huskies actually rushed for 177 yards in this game, Tybo Rogers had 74 and Dillon Johnson had 71.  Spartans passed for 208 (1 interception) and ran for 53.

Michigan State had a bad year, finishing 4-8 with wins over Central Michigan, Richmond, Nebraska, and Indiana.  Other losses included 31-9 to Maryland, 49-0 to Michigan, and 38-3 to Ohio State.

59-32 over Cal Berkeley.  Penix was 19/25 for 304, 4 TDs, one pick, and he ran twice for 5 yards.  Polk had 8 catches for 127 yards and 2 scores, Odunze 5 catches for 125 and 2 scores.  Dillon Johnson had 10 rushes for 66 yards and a score.  Cal’s QBs were a combined 27/46 for 363 yards with 3 scores and 3 picks.  Bears rushed for 139.

The Golden Bears finished the season 6-7.  Wins over North Texas, Idaho, Arizona State, Washington State, Stanford, and UCLA (33-7).  Losses to Auburn, Oregon State, Utah, Southern Cal (50-49), and Oregon (63-19).

31-24 win at Arizona.  Penix was 30/40 for 363 and no scores.  Germie Bernard had 8 catches for 98, Odnze 5 for 64.  Dillon Johnson ran for 191 and 2 scores. Huskies ran for 111 yards (and all 4 TDs).  Wildcats QB Fifita was 27-39 for 232, 3 TDs, 1 pick.  Arizona ran for 110 yards.

Arizona finished the season 10-3 (after defeating the Land Thieves 38-24 in the Alamo Bowl Thursday night).  A weird loss to Mississippi State in Starkville (31-24), then wins over UTEP and Stanford before the loss to UW.  Wildcats lost to Southern Cal the next week (43-41) then ran the table, including 27-24 over then No. 11 Oregon State and 42-18 over then No. 22 Utah.

36-33 over No. 8 Oregon.  Penix hit Odunze for an 18 yard touchdown with 1:38 left to win the game (Ducks would miss a game tying field goal as time expired).  Penix was 22/27 for 302 with 4 TDs and one pick (1 rush for minus 5).  Odunze 8 catches for 128 yards and 2 scores, Polk 6 for 118 and a score.  Dillon Johnson carried 20 times for 100 yards and a score.  Bo Nix was 33/44 for 337 and 2 scores.  Ducks ran for 204.

Oregon finished the season 11-2 and will play No. 23 Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl.  Both losses were to the Huskies (Pac 12 CG below).  Oregon beat Texas Tech 38-30 (in Lubbock, and I am pretty sure there is not a road that runs through Lubbock that will get you to Eugene).  Other wins:  35-6 over No. 13 Utah and 31-7 over No. 16 Oregon State.

15-7 over Arizona State.  One of Penix’s worst games, as he was 27/42 for 275 yards with two interceptions, plus a fumble.  Polk had 9 catches for 102 yards.  Huskies ran for just 13 yards.  The only UW touchdown was a pick 6 (in the fourth quarter).  3 field goals.  Arizona State had 196 yards passing (1 interception) and ran for 145 yards and a score.

The Sun Devils were not good in 2023.  Finished 3-9. With their only wins over Southern Utah, Washington State, and UCLA.  Losses include Oklahoma State (27-15), No. 5 Southern Cal (42-28), No. 18 Utah (55-3), No. 6 Oregon (49-13), and No. 15 Arizona (59-23).  Really interesting.  I suspect some of Coach Sarkisian’s analysts have spent some extra time on this tape.

42-33 win at Stanford.  Penix was 27/37 for 369 yards and 2 scores plus a pick.  Polk had 5 catches for 148 (a long of 92) and 2 scores, Odunze had 6 for 89.  Dillon Johnson carried 18 times for 84 yards and a score.  Stanford’s quarterback Ashton Daniels was 31/48 for 367 yards and a score and he ran 18 times for 81 yards and 2 scores.  Perhaps Mr. Ewers will find similar opportunities to utilize his legs.  The Cardinal finished 2023 ranked 8th in the Pac-12 in passing offense.

Stanford was really bad this year.  The Cardinal’s only wins were 27-24 over Hawaii, 46-43 over Colorado, and 10-7 over Washington State (all road wins).  Southern Cal spanked them 56-10, the lost to Sacramento State 30-23, the Ducks beat them 42-6 plus losses, UCLA 42-7, Oregon State 62-17, and Notre Dame 56-23.

52-42 win at No. 20 Southern Cal.  Penix was 22/30 for 256 yards and 2 TDs with one pick, 3 rushes for minus 4 yards (but a TD).  What was crazy was the Husky running game:  Dillon Johnson ran 26 times for 256 yards and 4 touchdowns.  UW had 316 yards on the ground.  The Trojans finished last in the Pac-12 in run defense and 116 nationally.

Southern Cal began the season on fire, winning 6 in a row, all with big scores.   Then the Trojans lost 5 of their last 6, including at No. 21 Notre Dame (48-20), Utah, at No. 6 Oregon (36-27), and 38-20 to UCLA.  The Trojans were not nearly as good as we thought.  Sorry Art.  And Walt.

35-28 over No. 18 Utah.  Penix was 24/42 for 332 yards with 2 scores, ran 5 times for minus 14 yards and a score.  Odunze had 3 catches for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns; efficient.  Jack Westover had 7 catches for 64, Bernard 6 for 63.  Dillon Johnson 23 carries for 104 yards and a TD.  Ute Bryson Barnes was 17/30 for 267, 2 TDs and 2 picks, and he ran 6 times for 39 yards.  Utah rushed for 115 and 2 scores.

Utah finished the season 8-5 with a 14-7 loss to Northwestern in the Las Vegas Bowl.  Wins included 20-13 at Baylor, 14-7 at No. 22 UCLA, 34-32 at No. 18 Southern Cal, and 55-3 over Arizona State. Losses at No. 19 Oregon State, to No. 8 Oregon (35-6), and at No. 17 Arizona (42-18).

22-20 at No. 11 Oregon State.  Penix was just 13/28 for 162 yards and 2 scores, and he ran 3 times for 22 yards and a TD.  Odunze 7 catches for 106 and 2 scores.  Dillon Johnson 16 carries for 89 yards.  For the Beavers, DJ Uiagalelei was 15/31 for 164 and 2 picks.  Oregon State ran for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Beavers are 8-4 and play Notre Dame Friday afternoon in the Sun Bowl.  OSU wins included 21-7 against No. 10 Utah, 52-40 at Cal, 36-24 over No. 18 UCLA, and 62-17 over Stanford.  Losses at then No. 21 Washington State (38-35), at Arizona, and 31-7 to No. 6 Oregon.

24-21 over Washington State.  Penix was 18-33 for 204 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 pick, ran twice for minus 9 yards.  Odunze had 7 catches for 120 and 2 scores.  Dillon Johnson ran 21 times for 82 yards and a score.  Cougar QB Cameron Ward was 32/46 for 317 yards, 3 scores, 2 picks.  Wazzu ran for just 64 yards net (Ward was minus 19).  A close win in a rivalry game over a mediocre team from Pullman.

Washington State finished 5-7.  Started 4-0 with wins over No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 14 Oregon State.  But lost 6 of 7 with only a 56-14 win over Colorado.  Arizona beat them 44-6, plus losses to Stanford and Cal.

34-31 over Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game.  Penix was 27-39 for 319 yards and 1 score and one interception, ran 4 times for minus 4 yards.  Jalen McMillan 9 catches for 13 yards, Odunze 8 catches for 102 yards.  Dillon Johnson ran 28 times for 152 yards and 2 scores; he also was 2/2 passing with a touchdown.

Here are the national rankings for pass defense for some of UW’s opponents:  Stanford 133 (last), California 131, Arizona State 124, Southern Cal 118, Boise State 113, Washington State 90, Oregon State 84, Arizona 72, and Utah 65.

On the other side of the ball, the Huskies faced some exceptional passing offense.  Oregon was No. 2, Washington State No. 3, Southern Cal No. 5, and Arizona No. 11.  Texas faced No. 6 Land Thieves, No. 9 Texas Christian, and No. 27 Oklahoma State.  There is good reason that both the Horns and the Huskies have some big numbers.  They have played the best passing teams in the country.

Michael Penix, Jr.  307 of 466, 4,218 yards, 33 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 161.4 efficiency/qbr.

Rome Odunze is the No. 1 receiver in the nation.  109.8 yards per game.  Averages 17.63 yards per catch (2nd), and has 13 touchdown catches (also 2nd).  His 81 receptions put him in a tie for third.

The UW defense is not great.  Some of the pundits are arguing because of the talent of the offenses they faced.  Maybe a little of both.

The game summaries above tell the story of the Washington team:  Kalen DeBoer has the best passing offense in FBS.  That simple.  He has an extraordinarily talented quarterback, and that quarterback has a receiver corps that catches and runs and scores.  It isn’t just the big 3 of Odunze

The receivers get involved in the run game, with Polk and Odunze getting a chance to run the ball sometimes.  Lots of speed.  Edge containment and lateral pursuit are going to be really important.

The Statistics

These statistics were compiled before bowl season began, so the rankings have changed a bit, but I think this is a fairer presentation. If you look at the Texas Game Notes, you will see some differences on the rankings.

Rushing Offense #24 – 189.1 ypg #100 – 125.3 ypg
Passing Offense #19 – 286.8 ypg #1 – 343.8 ypg
Total Offense #9 – 475.9 ypg #12 – 469.1 ypg
Scoring Offense #16 – 36.2 ppg #11 – 37.2 ppg
First Downs #21 – 23.1/game #16 – 23.6/game
Sacks Allowed #75 – 26, 156 yards #5 – 11, 74 yards
Tackles for Loss Allowed #61 – 66, 255 yards #8 – 46, 63 yards
Third Down Conversions #69 – 38.51% #11 – 48.3%
Fourth Down Conversions #28 –  63.3% (19/30) #9 – 73.3% (11/15)
Red Zone Attempts #18 – 27 #3 – 64
Red Zone Offense #92 – 80% /49% #59 – 86% / 70%
Long Run Plays #32 – 70/10, 23/20, 12/30, 7/40 #102 –  46/10, 12/20, 5/30, 4/40
Long Pass Plays #5 – 154/10, 49/20, 26/30, 8/40 #1 – 174/10, 71/20, 36/30, 12/40
Long Punt Returns #1 – 8/20, 4/30, 2/40, 1/50 #42 – 2/20, 2/30, 1/40, 1/50
Rushing Defense #4  – 80.9 ypg #40 – 133.8 ypg
Passing Defense #96 – 240.8 ypg #122 – 263.2 ypg
Total Defense #23 – 321.7 ypg #93 – 397.0 ypg
Scoring Defense #13 – 17.5 ppg #50 – 23.6 ppg
First Downs Allowed #21 – 17.2/game #120 – 22.5/game
Sacks #32 – 32, 220 yards #112 – 19, 131 yards
Tackles for Loss #25 – 82, 325 yards #106 – 57, 208 yards
Third Down Conversions #2 – 26.51% #84 – 40.3%
Fourth Down Conversions #46 – 46.2% (12/26) #26 – 42.9% (15/35)
Red Zone Attempts #24 – 35 #70 – 44
Red Zone Defense #4 – 71% / 46% #72 – 84% / 70%
Long Run Plays Allowed #7 – 33/10, 7/20, 2/30, 2/40 #59 – 55/10, 7/20, 3/30, 2/40
Long Pass Plays Allowed #99 – 114/10, 40/20, 21/30, 10/40 #106 – 116/10, 45/20, 26/30, 14/40
Turnovers #51 – -16 (7F, 9I) #64 – 17 (7F, 10I)
Turnover Margin #22 – 23:16  +7 #53 – 18:17  +1
Penalties #104 – 82, 665 yards #131 – 102, 960 yards

*Based on total number of penalties.

Match-up Comparison
Texas Offense
Washington Defense
Rushing Offense – 189.1 ypg 133.8 ypg – Rushing Defense
Passing Offense –286.8 ypg 263.2 ypg – Passing Defense
Total Offense – 475.9 ypg 397.0 ypg – Total Defense
Scoring Offense – 36.2 ppg 23.6 ppg – Scoring Defense
First Downs – 23.1/game 22.5/game – First Downs Allowed
3rd Down Offense – 38.51% 40.3% – 3rd Down Defense
4th Down Offense – 63.3% 42.9% – 4th Down Defense
Red Zone Offense – 80%/49% 84%/70% – Red Zone Defense
LRP – 65/10, 22/20, 13/30, 7/40 55/10, 7/20, 7/30, 2/40 – LRP Allowed
LPP – 118/10, 46/20, 16/30, 6/40 116/10, 45/0+  – LPP Allowed


Texas Defense
Washington Offense
Rushing Defense – 80.9 ypg 125.3 ypg – Rushing Offense
Passing Defense – 240.8 ypg 343.8 ypg – Passing Offense
Total Defense – 321.7 ypg 469.1 ypg – Total Offense
Scoring Defense – 17.5 ppg 37.2 ppg – Scoring Offense
First Downs Allowed – 17.2/game 23.6/game – First Downs
3rd Down Defense – 26.51% 48.3% – 3rd Down Offense
4th Down Defense – 46.2% 73.3% – 4th Down Offense
Red Zone Defense – 71%/46% 86%/70% – Red Zone Offense
LRP Allowed – 41/10, 7/20, 3/30, 3/40 46/10, 12/20, 5/30, 4/40 – LRP
LPP Allowed – 116/10, 39/20, 14/30, 8/40 174/10, 71/20, 36/30, 12/40 – LPP
 Texas Defense

 This is it.  These men have to stop Michael Penix and the Husky offense.

Quarterback pressures, nationally, 2023, among Power 5 schools, per PFF:

  • UCLA 292
  • Florida State 289
  • Texas 289
  • Oregon 286
  • Clemson 278
  • Louisville 278

The obvious key to winning this game is containing Penix.  Last year in San Antonio, Kwiatowski actually did a good job at that.  The defensive backs are going to have play their best game, but the key will be getting pressure on Penix.  He is hard to sack.  You see above how good Washington is – No. 5, just allowing 11 sacks all season (and 74 yards).  The UW offensive line is outstanding.  But pressures and sacks are two different weapons.  We have some great men up front, starting with Sweat and Murphy, but also Collins and Broughton.  Ethan Burke could be primed for a big game.  Hill and Ford on the occasional stunt might be good.  Sweat may be ready for his best game as a Longhorn.  Got a feeling.  Penix has not shown himself to be much of a runner this season, and I don’t see that changing dramatically Monday.  So if Texas can force Penix into quick and hopefully bad throws, I think that will limit his effectiveness.  He has thrown 9 interceptions, so he can be picked.  Of note, Texas and Washington both have 16 interceptions on the season.  Penix is going to throw for yards and a few touchdowns.  But not as many as Ewers.  If our cornerbacks can play some good football.  Really need Watts and Brooks to play big as Odunze really is a fantastic athlete.  I feel better about our secondary right now than I have most of the year, despite the fact we are playing the best passing team we have faced this season.  I just sense these guys have gelled at the right time.  We need a couple of interceptions.  A pick 6 would be really nice.  Although I think it may come from a linebacker.

The Huskies have rushed for 1,628 yards this season (Texas has rushed for 2,458).  Dillon Johnson’s 1,113 yards is solid, but bear in mind that 191 came against Arizona, 256 was against Southern Cal, and 152 yards in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That is 54.82% of his production in 3 games; 23% of his season total against the Trojans.  So 514 yards in his 10 other games.  I just don’t see UW getting much on the ground against Texas.

Texas needs to prevent UW from jumping out front early.  The Huskies have outscored opponents 130-58 in the first quarter and 182-107 in the second.   80-77 in the third and 98-65 in the fourth, but some of that might be due to the big early leads.

Texas also has to play great offense. Run the ball, make good decisions, don’t make stupid mistakes, in either turnovers or penalties.  Texas is notably better than Washington in both of those departments, and keeping it that way will be a critical factor in a Texas win on January 1.

Quinn Ewers took his play to a new level in Arlington on December 2.  Going into the game, Oklahoma State’s pass defense was No. 113, allowing 251.2 yards per game.  Quinn threw for 452.  UW is allowing 263.2 yards per game.  The Huskies average about 1.3 sacks per game.  Quinn should have time to make his reads and execute.  Xavier Worthy is just as good a receiver as any of the UW guys, and Adonai Mitchell has the best hands I have seen in years.  Add in Ja’Tavion Sanders and Jordan Whittington, and our running backs who all can catch the ball and do damage, and I think Quinn Ewers is going to show why Joel Klatt named Ewers his early No. 1 for the 2024 Heisman Trophy.

When the season began, we all talked about the strength of the Texas running back corps.  Losing Brooks was a big hit, but Blue and Baxter stepped up, and in Arlington we were reminded what a healthy Keilan Robinson can do.  UW is giving up 134 yards a game.  They are also susceptible to surrendering big ground gains.  I expect Texas to be closer to 200 yards Monday night.

If we can get stops on defense and force punts, then we will have an edge with Worthy.  He is a real weapon on special teams for Texas.

Sark called a brilliant game in Arlington.  He has had a month to get ready for his old team.  So has Kwiatowski.  These guys need to deliver.  From what I heard about practice in NOLA on Thursday, the Longhorns in the Big Easy to deliver a Big Whupping.

My hopes are that we are aggressive but smart.  Remember a turnover on downs is a turnover.  Turnovers turn into points, especially against great teams.  UW is a great team.  Penix is a great quarterback.  A turnover at midfield will not be favorable to Texas.

These Longhorns are ready.  They sense the opportunity.  Time to seize it.

TCT Prediction:  Texas Longhorns 42, Washington Huskies 33

Official Texas Game Notes:

Parker Fleming (no relation), @statsowar on X.  Hope he is wrong; pretty sure he is.

Texas Longhorns vs. Washington Huskies

Texas is 3-2 all-time against Washington.  Darrell K Royal beat his old team (DKR coached at UW in 1956 before coming to Austin) 35-21 in Austin in 1974 and then 28-10 in Seattle in 1975.  Washington beat Texas 14-7 in the Sun Bowl in 1979 (Fred Akers).  In 2001, Mack Brown’s Longhorns beat Rick Neuheisel’s Huskies 47-43 in the 2001 Holiday Bowl.  Last year in San Antonio, UW won the Alamo Bowl 27-20 over the Horns.


Texas is different.  U.S. News & World Report published this article in September, the key point of which is that Texas is the “stickiest” state in America.

Texas, with an 82% stickiness rate, retains the most native-born people and has been at or near the top of the list for years. The Lone Star State also has the lowest percentage of out-migration for 2021, which refers to the ratio of the number of people leaving a state in a given year per 1,000 residents.

It has been that way for a long time.  H.H. McConnell, in Five Years a Cavalryman, or Sketches of Regular Army Life on the Texas Frontier, first published in 1899:

No one ever leaves Texas after they have been here a certain length of time. They either can’t or don’t want to, or it may be as the old settlers used to say, “having once drunk Red River water, it was not possible to go back”; the fact remains, few people seem to come here with a view of staying, but they do stay and have stayed until nearly three millions are here, and there are more to follow.

We are different.  Mostly good different.  After our faith, family, and friends, and for some our profession, being a Texan defines most of us as much as any other trait.  I am proud of that.  I am proud to be Texan, born and raised.

John Steinbeck:  “Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. … A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner.”

Queen Elizabeth II, on her visit here in 1991:  “No state commands such fierce pride and loyalty. Lesser mortals are pitied for their misfortune in not being born Texans.”

Carl Sandburg:  “Texas is a blend of valor and swagger.”

Adlai Stevenson:  “Saskatchewan is much like Texas; except it’s more friendly to the United States.”

Horns vs. Huskies:  More Advanced Stats

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.

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. 46: 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

F+ Ratings combine Brian Fremeau’s FEI ratings with Bill Connelly’s SP+ ratings. Overall team ratings (F+), offense ratings (OF+), defense ratings (DF+), and special teams ratings (SF+) represent each team and unit’s standard deviation above or below average. Record splits include overall team record (Rec) and record against FBS opponents (FBS), plus records against F+ top-10 opponents (v10), against F+ top-20 opponents (v20), against F+ top-30 opponents (v30), against F+ top-40 opponents (v40), against F+ top-50 opponents (v50), against F+ top-60 opponents (v60), and against all other opponents (vO).

  F+ OF+ DF+ SF+
Texas No. 6:  1.91 No. 11:  1.39 No. 7:  1.69 No. 2:  1.69
Washington No. 11:  1.60 No. 4:  1.95 No. 38:  0.59 No. 44:  0.57

BCF Toys – 2023 F+ Ratings

BCf  Toys projection:

Projected Winner Projected Loser PW PM PF PA PT
Texas Washington .550 1.8 27 25.2 52.2

Advanced Stats Preview from Nik Patel on Burnt Orange Nation:

The University of Washington

The University of Washington is a very fine public university and one of the few schools we have played in football in recent years that is an academic peer.  Founded in 1861 as the Territorial University of Washington, the school has grown to a huge and beautiful campus sprawling over 703 acres with over 500 buildings and 20 million square feet on the shores of Union Bay and Portage Bay in Seattle.

Academic Rankings
Forbes 31 26
THE | WSJ 60 45
U.S. News & World Report 32 40
ARWU 24 107-127
Washington Monthly 87 14
ARWU 37 18
QS 58 63
THE 52 26
U.S. News & World Report 43 6

Some cool famous alumni, including Bruce Lee and Dyan Cannon.  Bill Gates, Sr.  A lot of pilots and astronauts (Boeing ties).  Tim Paterson, original author of the MS-DOS operating system, Victor Mills, inventor of disposable diapers, and Waldo Semon, inventor of vinyl and synthetic rubber.  In sports:  Detlef Schrempf and Phil Zevenbergen in basketball, Don Coryell and Napoleon Kaufman in football, and Hope Solo in soccer.

Gregory “Pappy” Boyington.  Medal of Honor.  Navy Cross.  He originally joined the fight against Imperial Japan as one of the pilots for Clair Chennault’s Flying Tigers.  He would rejoin the Marines in 1942, eventually commanding Marine Fighter Squadron 214, famously known as the Black Sheep Squadron.  Boyington tied Eddie Rickenbacker’s record of 26 enemy kills before being shot down.  He was captured by the Japanese and spent the rest of the war in their brutal POW camps before being liberated.

Rose Bowl

Before the Longhorns and Huskies kick-off in New Orleans, we will know who is meeting the winner of our game in the National Championship.  No. 1 Michigan and No. 4 Alabama kick-off at 4:00 p.m. on ESPN in the “CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Prudential”.  Also known as the Rose Bowl.  And The Granddaddy.  I really kind thought we would play Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Michigan is favored by 2.0.  The over/under is 44.5.  Money Lines:  Michigan -125, Bama +105. ESPN Matchup Predictor is Michigan 55.9%.

The BCf  Toys projection actually gives Michigan a much better chance of beating the Crimson Tide than they do for Texas.

Projected Winner Projected Loser PW PM PF PA PT
Michigan Alabama .762 10.5 26.9 16.4 43.3

More Rankings and Ratings

Nate Manzo Composite Ratings.

Massey Ratings

Texas is at No. 3 behind Michigan and Washington.  The Huskies have a surprising number of No. 1 rankings, but also a lot of double-digit rankings.

Massey Ratings – Rankings

ESPN College Football Power Index

The FPI gives Texas a 69% chance of getting to the NC and a 29.1% chance of winning it.

ESPN SP+ from Bill Connelly

No. 21 Texas Longhorns Basketball

Coach Terry’s Longhorns are continuing to improve and play good basketball.  A huge step forward was the return of Dylan Disu.  I think most of us believe that if Disu had played in the Elite 8 game last year, Texas would have been in the Final Four.  He is that good.

Texas (9-2) plays UNC Greensboro (9-3) Friday night at The Moody Center.  The Spartans play in the Southern Conference.  7:00 p.m. tip.

Max Abmas: We pronounce Abmas as “ace-miss” because “Abmas” is the Anglicization of the German Aßmas.  That ß is a “scharfes S”, or sharp S.  Thus, the pronunciation.  ßimple.

Texas finishes the non-conference season on Monday with a 1:00 p.m. home game against UT Arlington.  Then Saturday night January 6, the Longhorns open Big 12 play in The Moody Center with a 7:00 p.m. game with the South Plains Aggies.

Big 12 play is going to be brutal.  This week in the AP, Kansas is No. 2, Houston No. 3, Land Thieves No. 12, Baylor No. 17.

Other Bowl Games

I like bowl season, but let’s admit it:  a lot of these games are pretty sloppy.  Really sloppy.  And I have been shocked at the number of personal foul flags I have seen – anecdotal only, but seems high.


No. 19 Oregon State v No. 16 Notre Dame, 1:00 p.m. on CBS.  The Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.  Irish favored by 6.

No. 22 Clemson v Kentucky in the Gator Bowl, 11:00 a.m. on ESPN.  Tigers favored by 4.

Memphis v Iowa State at 2:30 p.m. on the Liberty Bowl.  ESPN.  Cyclones favored by 10.5 over the hometown Tigers.

No. 9 Missouri vs. No. 7 Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl.  7;00 p.m. on ESPN.  Buckeyes favored by 4.5.  Should be a good game.


No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 10 Penn State at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.  Nittany Lions favored by 4.5.  I really hope Ole Miss puts a beating on PSU.  Don’t like them.  Hotty Toddy! Go Rebs.

Auburn vs. Maryland at 1:00 p.m. on ABC in the Music City Bowl.  Tigers favored by 6.5.  War Eagle.

No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 5 Florida State at 3:00 p.m. on ESPN in the Orange Bowl.  Bulldogs favored by 20.


Wisconsin (7-5) vs. No. 13 Louisiana State (9-3), 11:00 a.m., ESPN2, the ReliaQuest Bowl.  Tigers favored by 10.  LSU to win.

No. 23 Liberty (13-0) vs. No. 8 Oregon (11-2) in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, 12:00 noon on ESPN.  Ducks favored by 16.5.

No. 17 Iowa vs. No. 21 Tennessee, 12:00 noon on ABC.  The Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.  Vols favored by 6.  Rocky Top.

A few of the games of interest so far:


No. 24 Southern Methodist a surprising 23-14 loser to Boston College in the Fenway Bowl.

No. 12 Land Thieves turned the ball over 6 times on the way to a 38-24 beating by No. 14 Arizona.


No. 20 Oklahoma State beat Texas Agricultural & Mechanical 31-23 in the Texas Bowl.  Ollie Gordon rushed for 118 and a score, while Bowman lit up the Kind of Wreckin’ Crew for 402 and 2 scores.

Southern Cal smoked No. 15 Louisville 42-28 in the Holiday Bowl.

Coach Brown’s season ended with a 30-10 loss to West Virginia in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.  At least Mack didn’t have to take the mayonnaise shower.

Texas State beat Rice 45-21 in the First Responder Bowl.  The Bobcats drank all the beer in the stadium by early third quarter.  Impressive.

Kansas beat UNLV 49-36.  Jason Bean passed for 449 yards and 6 scores.  Good night for the kid.

Air Force beat James Madison 31-21 in the Armed Forces Bowl.  9-4.  Excellent season for the Falcons.  Look forward to March 19 as we welcome Coach Kaz and his men back to Disch-Falk.

UTSA beat Marshall 35-17.  Good win in the Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl.

The South Plains Aggies beat Cal 34-14 in the Independence Bowl.

Miami of Ohio fell to App State 13-9, but the RedHawks covered!


I am very happy for Maalik Murphy and his transferring to Duke.  What an opportunity to attend such a great school.  I wish him the very best and am grateful for his contributions.  We would not be in the Sugar Bowl without the wins with him at quarterback.

On the other hand, I am sorely disappointed that Murphy cannot be with his brothers for the Sugar Bowl and hopefully the national championship game.  The current operation of the transfer portal is an absolute travesty and injustice for so many kids.  I totally understand that Maalik had to make the move when he did – but that’s the point, he should not have had to pull the trigger then.  I guess some players stay with their team for their bowl game or whatever, but why put everyone in that difficult situation.

I saw that up to 40 players between Georgia and Florida State have opted out of the Orange Bowl.  I am sure some, perhaps most, are kids who want to start preparing for the draft, as Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson did last year, but there are players on both sides who have entered the portal and won’t suit up in Miami.

The NCAA needs to prohibit players entering the portal until after the national championship game.  No exceptions.  Keep teams together for bowls, and importantly next year, the expanded college football playoffs.  Let the high school kids be the focus of the coaches and their staffs for early signing day.

A December to Remember

I am not heavily in to recruiting and following every young man’s whimsical decisions in the process.  And despite my dislike of the current functionality of the transfer portal, Coach Sarkisian and his staff hit some homeruns.  Including having a top 5 recruiting class.

Some great kids coming to Texas through portal, starting with Matthew Golden, the wide receiver from Houston.  Golden, 6 foot and 190 sophomore out of Klein Cain, had 38 catches for 404 yards and 6 touchdowns.

On defense, two huge gets.  Edge linebacker Trey Moore is coming to Austin from UTSA.  Moore led the American Athletic Conference with 14 sacks for 89 yards (and TFL – 17.5 for 96).  Defensive back Andrew Mukuba is coming home to Austin from Clemson.  He was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and his family immigrated to Austin in 2011.  He went to Lyndon B. Johnson High School.  6 foot, 195, he was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2021.

The 2024 class includes 5 star edge rusher Colin Simmons, top ranked in the country and coming off back to back state championships with Duncanville.  5 star wide receiver Ryan Wingo, No. 8 in the country.  5 star offensive tackle Brandon Baker, No. 2 in the country.  Sark and his men also flipped 5 star defensive back Xavier Filsaime from Florida and linebacker TyAnthony Smith from Texas Agricultural & Mechanical.  Kobe Black from Waco Connally is the No. 3 cornerback in the nation and No. 10 player in Texas.  Jerrick Gibson is a 4 star running back, No. 5 national prospect.

One of the coolest things about this early signing day was that Sark put up billboards in the signee’s hometowns.  Trey Owens, in Brookshire:

New Orleans

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the world.  While it has it warts, as all big cities (and most small towns) do, it has a character and culture unlike any other city in America.  I first started going with my parents in the early 1970’s, and for 50 years the Big Easy has held a special place in my heart.  From those family trips as an adolescent, to some truly craze Austin Lacrosse Club trips in the 1980’s (we actually played a lot of games at what was left of the old Tulane Stadium, original home of the Sugar Bowl), the Final Four in 2003, and some of the W&L KA reunions of the last 15 years, New Orleans has rewarded me with great food, great times, and great memories.

The good times did indeed roll.   “My favorite thing to do” in NOLA has evolved over the years.  The lacrosse era was firmly rooted in the French Quarter, with cheap beer and booze, meals at Acme Oyster House and Felix Oyster Bar, and the usual Bourbon Street haunts.  Pat O’Brien’s has been a bridge across all the years, but perhaps most memorable the Final Four weekend, with Chip Babcock and Tiernan brothers and then hanging on the patio with some of the Longhorn players after the loss to Syracuse.  At the KA reunions, we have enjoyed some of the other good activities of NOLA, highlights being going to the races at the Fair Grounds, a swamp tour on an airboat, and the National World War II Museum.  And great food.

These days, my favorite parts of any New Orleans trip are the WW2 museum and good meals.  I love the traditional restaurants in the Quarter like Galatoire’s, Brennan’s, Antione’s, and Arnaud’s, but my favorite is Clancy’s.  Congrats to anyone who got a good dinner reservation for New Year’s Eve!

I asked for y’all to share some of your favorite New Orleans restaurants and activities.

  • Pete Boyd had one I didn’t know about, going “Coast to Coast” at Galatoire’s. Go there for a martini lunch, and stay all the way through dinner.
  • Charlie Prioleau recommends the Hangover po boys that are fully dressed at either Mothers or Guy’s.
  • Chip Flanagan loves the Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House.
Dell Children’s Medical Center

Dell Children’s is one of the great treasures of Austin (and Central Texas).  DCMC provides life-saving care to thousands of babies and children each year.

If you would be willing to make a donation, it would be much appreciated.

The 2024 Dell Children’s Ball is February 3rd.  This is a great event and raises big important dollars for Dell Children’s.  A few sponsorship opportunities remain.

If you are interested in a sponsorship, email [email protected].  I am pretty fond of her. And very proud of the work she is doing.


Of course it is New Orleans Jazz.  I love music, but if you told me I could only listen to one genre of secular music, it would be jazz.  New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and the Crescent City has raised and nurtured its beautiful baby ever since.  Hundreds of great jazz musicians, far too many to dive deep on.  But a few of my favorites.

Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.  His life story is extraordinary.  Worth your time.

When the Saints Go Marching In.

With Ella Fitzgerald, Cheek to Cheek

With Billie Holliday, Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

Here you go – Armstrong’s greatest hits.  54 minutes of genius.

Pete Fountain.  I remember walking past his club on Bourbon Street as a young teen.  My dad loved him.  A gifted clarinetist and jazz musician.

Live, at the very first New Orleans Jazz Festival:

Basin Street Blues

Ellis Marsalis.  Father of Wynton and Branford

Mood Indigo

With Branford, Delilah’s Theme

With Wynton, Mozartin

Wynton Marsalis.  Wynton may be my favorite living jazz musician.  His trumpet work amazes me.

Hotter Than That – Wynton Marsalis Septet at Jazz in Marciac 2022

Embraceable You.  Newport Jazz Festival, August 19, 1989

Joe “King” Oliver.  King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band.  Louis Armstrong left New Orleans and went to Chicago to play with King.

Canal Street Blues

Finally, Buddy Bolden.  Some consider Mr. Bolden to have been the inventor of jazz.  This is a short (less than 10 minute) history.

The blues and jazz are intertwined, and the blues are also a big part of New Orleans musical history and culture.  I think perhaps I shall ask Dr. Don Counts to be a guest contributor on the Blues in a future edition!

The First 11:  1893-94

My friends Carlotta and Bill McLean shared this photo earlier this year.  Been saving it for a good time.  This seems like it.  Bill’s great grandfather, W.P. McLean, quarterback.  First row.

Jim Nicar

And right on cue, Jim Nicar posted this great photo.

The 1897 Texas football team. At upper right is John Phillips, team manager. Before the idea of college athletic directors arrived in the 1910s, student managers oversaw scheduling, transportation and lodging, uniforms and equipment, hiring a coach, and gate receipts.

The 1897 roster, from Texas Football:

Name Letter # Pos.
Bethea, Cade 1st H
Bethea, Lamar 2nd T
Blacklock, A.G. 1st Q
Clarke, James S. 2nd C
Denmark, Andrew W. 3rd G
Groos, Carl F. 1st F
Hart, James H. 1st E
Hogsett, Sam J. 1st Q
Jenkins, Jack 1st C
Kelly, Thomas L. 2nd G
Leavell, C.H. 2nd H
Parker, R. Daniel Jr. 4th T
Pfeiffer, Otto 2nd F
Read, Cloyd H. 1st S
Schreiner, Walter 2nd E
Wooldridge, W. Birch 1st H
Wortham, R.W. 3rd G
A TCT Collection

I collect a lot of “stuff”.  Both online and in real life.  As I have to remind Kathy and Claudia (who are very, very organized), I am not a hoarder, I am an avid but disorganized collector.  Here is some of the stuff that interested me in the last month or so.

Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso:  Taking Care of your People

Over the last decade, I have become big admirer of many of the sportscasters, commentators, and sports journalists who I see, hear, or read almost daily in some medium, depending on the season.  Kirk Herbstreit is one of those guys.  Along with his broadcast partner Chris Fowler.  But this is about Coach Corso.  I noticed, and some of my friends noticed, that Corso has lost a bit of his game.  Just age.  It happens to all of us.  But I also noticed that Kirk was seeming to take particular care of his friend Lee.  There was a funny video on Instagram or X or something a month or two ago.  Well, many folks noticed, one of whom was Alex Kirshner, who wrote this good article for GQ.  Worth your time when you have some time.  We should all be so fortunate.

Derrick Johnson

Super DJ was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame a couple of weeks ago.  Great video highlights:

Texas Tech Shooters

Texas Tech’s Mingus Reynolds won the NCAA Championship in Wild West Mobility Shooting.  It is the South Plains Aggies’ 11th title in this sport.

Anna Lapwood

Ms. Lapwood is the Director of Music at Pembroke College, Cambridge.  I stumbled across her Instagram. She is an extraordinary organist, and plays great pipe organs around the world.  I planned to include this first post before Christmas.  Enjoy

This second post is her playing of O Come, All Ye Faithful, which includes one of the great musical chords ever arranged and performed.  Word of the Father.  From David Willcocks’ arrangement.

See y’all in the Quarter.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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).

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