Another incredible finish to another heart-stopping Texas Tech Football season. Another come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter - and high hopes for a strong squad in 2008...let's get to it...
Bourbon distillers reported an above average consumption of their favored beverage as the clock rolled from 12:00 pm through 2:00pm Central time all over Texas, almost without regard for human alcohol toxicity.
At least that's what went down at my house.
Many more gray hairs will fall to the bottom of the shower in the morning as I head back to my cubicle. Why Dear Lord must you put us through these trials so soon after the birth of Baby Jesus?
DT! Graham Harrell was penalized twice in the first half for two safeties...aw hell...you saw the game as well I'm sure. What was going on was...Chris Long and his defensive line buddies were absolutely on point from the first snap - and as has been common throughout our season, our guys need (but shouldn't) to get knocked around a little before they get going.
DT! I thought that it was absolutely amazing that Virginia didn't commit a single penalty in the entire first half - a bit of karma/yin-yang Asian Rim voodoo that would play a serious role in the second half. We'll get to that later.
DT! I turned to my wife after we went up 7 to nothin' on Detron Lewis' TD and said "We're going to crush them." You can blindfold me and shoot me at daybreak.
DT! I'm a big message board reader as some of you know - and I find that the greatest entertainment known to man - and yet still largely undiscovered by the masses - is reading message board "Game Threads." That is, for the uninitiated, a topic of discussion dedicated to the events of the game as it happens live. In these threads any junior high mind can call for the defensive coordinator's head of his choosing. In this case - Ruffin McNeill.
Listen fellas, did you think after 15 more practices we were all the sudden going to come out and play Minnesota Vikings style run defense? During summer camp Tech will have 15 practices in only a little over one week...so installing an entirely new defensive scheme is not even an option folks.
And Ruffin McNeill should be given the opportunity to be Tech's DC. I think Tech is reaping the rewards of coaching staff consistency as they recruit. Ruff is a big part of the fact that we have some absolute studs coming our way on defense in this coming class.
So Tech allowed a 96 yard run that was a SportsCenter "Top Plays" nominee tonight. Don't tell me you were shocked - just don't.
DT! I can't recall when Tech came out and kicked an onside "surprise" kickoff...it always seems that kind of stuff is happening TO us - is that just me? Al Groh said in his post-game interview that the Cavs prepared for those sorts of things because it was a part of our "aggressive nature." Search me - I had no idea we had that play in our playbook.
DT! Crabtree was great today by the way. Focused the entire game even when things weren't going well for him personally, much less for the entire offense.
DT! I appreciated very much the commentary by Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist as it related to Crabtree's "Jim Brown" moment in the second half. I thought both those guys did a great job today and were absolutely professional. My only gripe would have been to note that they cheered on big #71 of Virginia's OL as he celebrated a big play - but then didn't bring nearly the contempt to bear on the "Unsportsmanlike" call on Parker only 3 minutes later. They still derided the call a bit but failed to make the connection that I thought was right there in front of their face.
DT! Oh yeah - the officiating. I would call it "equally bad for both teams." Tech seemed to pick up a lot of little BS calls - while Virginia had the one big call go against them. Groh was told the fumble by Crawford was unreviewable - the better made up word would be "un-challengeable".
Groh just couldn't let that call go - and his post-game presser was littered with blame directed at the officiating.
So, Coach Groh, get over it. The call happened early in the second and you had LOTS of opportunity to recover. And it wasn't even a scoring play. The irony for Red Raiders is clear - and there's lots to go around:
1. Your team wasn't penalized a stitch in the first half and probably only had 3 flags thrown against you all game.
2. You should have watched our last few game films against UT.
3. Karma's a bitch.
DT! In keeping with the karma theme, I should counter that negative comment about Groh with a positive one about Chris Long. I had never seen this kid play before today. Holy son of famous pro football player Batman! Did you know he was Howie's kid? The kid is flat out amazing - and single-handedly dominated the game at times. I wish him the best of luck in his NFL career and will watch him many times and say "Remember when he blew up Tech's OL?"
DT! We lost a great O-Lineman today in what had to be one of the more gruesome broken legs I've seen in a while. Rylan Reed is a great man - and deserves better than a broken leg for his trouble. Our thoughts and prayers are with him for a speedy recovery - one that is without trouble or concern.
DT! While Coach Groh is convinced that the deciding factor today, I'm not. I think it was the injury to his QB, Jameel Sewell for all but the entire fourth. His freshman QB was serviceable, but was clearly thrown into a situation for which he was not prepared. The real wonder was when Colby Whitlock all of the sudden blew through the line and blew up a screen. The unfamiliarity with the speed of the game ended up being the deciding factor.
DT! So Tech has now won 5 of their last 6 bowl games - only losing to 'Bama on a dead-duck-last-gasp-sorry-good-for-nothing field goal that barely crossed the pipe two years ago. Good thing I'm not one who remembers things like that. Our bowl record is still for crap as a whole - but that's certainly not Mike Leach's fault who runs his bowl record to 5 - 3.
While we're on the subject of bowl victories let me make sure we're clear on something. Despite the team's poor performance today - they still won the game. And since we haven't been in the business of getting into Big 12 title games, these bowl trophies are important. If we continue to fill our trophy case with these bowl wins, higher and higher quality recruits will continue to grace us with their presence and we may actually be able to put one of those crappy looking NCAA horrible looking but undeniably important trophies right out front of the football offices.
So no bitching and moaning about lack of discipline and mental errors and on and on and on...
The scoreboard says we scored more points than the other team - and they would trade places with us in a heartbeat. So we must be doing something right.
DT! The folks who get paid to write about college football take notice of our continued success:
5. No one has played better bowl games over the last three years than Texas Tech.
The win over the Cavaliers might have been a thriller, but it was nothing compared to 44-41 overtime win over Minnesota in last year's Insight Bowl. The 13-10 loss in the 2006 Cotton Bowl wasn't exactly thrilling, but it was a close battle until the end.
Virginia's bowls have been just as good with an overtime collapse in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl to Fresno State and a 34-31 win over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl. Bowl games are all about making money and putting butts in the seats, but they also want compelling games.
At this point, Texas Tech has become an extremely attractive bowl draw.That would be Pete Fiutak on Fox.com. He's a pretty impressive guy and always makes the talk radio rounds during the season. I hope he gives us some praise as he call into FOX radio shows this week. A great recap of the game.
DT! No doubt that there were "good seats still available" at the game. So Pete Fiutak's comment should come as welcome salve to those of you who were disappointed by the massive amounts of blue seats at the game. Let's keep in mind that the University of Florida Gators happened to be playing a big game of their own just down the road. Any potential Gators that might have bought a ticket were elsewhere - and I heard some rumblings that Jacksonville residents felt game tickets were priced out of their range.
So the crowd was dominated by UVA and Tech folks - which I'm sure made the atmosphere plenty electric despite the slim crowd.
To re-iterate - it won't have a thing to do with whether or not Tech is (or is not) chosen for another top-flight bowl game (see Fiutak's comments above).
DT! Shame on ESPN News for not showing a single highlight of the Gator Bowl for a FULL 2 HOURS after the game had concluded. They were far too busy masturbating to Lloyd Carr and their very own Capital One Bowl to pay attention to the thriller in Jacksonville...
DT! Thanks to Scotty at TVTanLine for once again hooking us up with some awesome screen caps - I'll be liberating some of these images and adding them to my hard drive soon...
DT! Richard Justice at the Houston Chronicle wrote a great piece that is quite flattering to Tech today as well - potential recruits and their families should take the time to read it...as should readers of this blog...
That's all for now - I'm sure I missed some topics of discussion - feel free to comment below - we'll sure miss our Seniors and we'll talk about how hard it will be to replace them sometime this spring...we appreciate all the blood and sweat they've shed so that we can be entertained - and frustrated.