Willie Funk: Now that was a revealing Saturday. The real highlight of course was Oklahoma steamrolling an overmatched group of Texas Longhorns. David Ash was David Ash in his first game against a legitimate defense. I had a feeling Texas would struggle facing their first real defense of the year, but not like that. Even Johnathan Gray struggled to get loose. They were completely shut down, save for Case McCoy in garbage time. On the other side of the ball, the defense was a joke again -- they can't tackle or cover or much of anything else. The defense came into the year with a lot of hype, as usual, but have failed to live up to expectations, which is becoming a theme with UT teams of late. At this point, it's becoming pretty clear Mack Brown is the problem. He's made a habit of turning top ranked recruiting classes into middling teams in the Big 12.
Jonathan Tjarks: It's hard to overstate what an absolute debacle that was on Saturday. Since the year 2000, Mack Brown has lost to Bob Stoops by 35+ points four times. It's not too much to ask not to get blown off the field in the biggest game of the year. Nor, for that matter, has OU been some unstoppable powerhouse in that time span, just check Stoops' record in BCS games. Say what you want about David Ash, but he's a hell of a lot better than Case McCoy, whose going to have to play the next few weeks. I'm sure Texas will rebound, because Mack's made a career of taking his head out of his ass after Bob Stoops removes his foot from it. You have to give him credit for bringing Texas back as a national power, but it looks it's time to give him a golden parachute. I'd money whip Chris Petersen at Boise, but if he doesn't want to leave, I'm not sure who the Longhorns go after.
Funk: Case McCoy barely has a high school arm; Point to the Sky Ash is clearly the better option. I think Mack'll just ride the run game to a decent record, but the most damaging aspect of the Ash injury is the long term effect on his development. That's an excellent point about Chris Peterson. I always thought he was evil, but, as they say, "evil is good!" But on a serious note, I wonder how he would adapt to big-time recruiting world -- he coaches up sleeper prospects, but can he recruit the big time players and get them to buy in? In other Big 12 news, Geno Smith and his Mountaineers looked pretty terrible in Lubbock. It wasn't just the defense either, with Geno leading them to only 14 points. I thought they were vulnerable against that pass attack, but I didn't expect to see them struggle to put points on the board. All of a sudden it looks like OU is in the driver's seat in the big 12.
Tjarks: I see you've been watching too much Vampire in Brooklyn. Have you forgotten about Collin Klein and the fighting Bill Snyder's? They tackle extremely well and they have a 6'5 QB/RB who can get first downs at will against Big 12 defenses. They've got a big game at West Virginia next week, but even if they lose, they've got the tie-break against OU. The way the Red Raiders blew out Geno and Co. was pretty eye-opening; Tuberville has been recruiting pretty decently at Lubbock, so maybe he's got a chance to turn that around. They've got a big game at TCU this week, who gave Baylor the business. There's still a lot we don't know about this conference halfway through the season: Oklahoma State barely beat Kansas this week!
Funk: I have not. I am not impressed by eking out victories against Iowa State. Klein still looks like the star of a powder-puff game with the way he throws, and that's the main reason I refuse to buy in. Arthur Brown is a monster on that defense but their win over OU makes even less sense after this weekend. Tech looked pretty damn good, but they were embarrassed by OU at home. OU really established themselves as the class of the conference. TCU will be up and down with an inexperienced quarterback, but they'll be liable to pull an upset on any given weekend. In non-Big 12 news, South Carolina saw their national title hopes fade, and the Notre Dame train kept rolling.
Tjarks: I don't think a close loss in Death Valley knocks them out of the national title picture. A one-loss SEC champion is going to make the BCS title game, especially if Oregon picks up a loss at some point. You can say the same thing about LSU, which is what makes South Carolina/Florida and A&M/LSU such interesting games next weekend. I'm really looking forward to see Johnny Football go up against the Bayou Bengals defense. A&M let LaTech score 57 points, so if Mettenberger and Co. can't get it going next Saturday, it's just not going to happen. Speaking of LaTech, is it time for Sonny Dykes to start getting moved up the food chain? Dykes and Todd Berry at UL-Monroe seem like logical fits for Arkansas and Auburn, who are both going to be looking for coaches in the off-season.
Funk: You're right, those guys are probably movers this offseason to take advantage of their years. No sense in holding on thinking you can be the next Gary Patterson. I'd say A&M is probably the best team in Texas this year with Pachall out and UT UT-ing around. Sumlin is turning out to be quite the hire, and he has transitioned the program into the SEC about as well as possible so far, about the opposite of Gary Pinkel's squad in Missouri. If A&M wins convincingly, at what point can we mention them as possible title contenders?
Tjarks: When they don't have a game at Alabama in a few weeks. It's hard to see a freshman QB beating Nick Saban's defense in a night game in Tuscaloosa. The real question is how long Saban can sustain the current run the Crimson Tide are on. I remember people though Miami in the early '00's and USC in the mid 00's would win indefinitely, but they unraveled pretty quickly after a loss in the national title game. Realistically though, Alabama is probably more FSU in the early 90's. Saban's got Mack Brown's ability to recruit while also being able to develop and coach up his players too. Do you think Alabama makes it three titles in four years?
Funk: I think they'll slip up at some point this year actually, even after that display they put on in Columbia. I have absolutely no basis for that, especially with how strong the running game is and how impressive A.J. McCarron has been so far this year. If they do end up slipping, though, I guarantee it won't happen against Oregon in a national title game. I still have zero respect for that whole conference in relation to the powers of the SEC. Plus, Arizona State on a Thursday night could put a scare into them. It should be an interesting week, and I'd look for more shake-ups at the top of the polls with K-State in Morgantown and Head Ball Coach visiting the Swamp.