A Blog devoted to all things SWC, the greatest college athletic conference. Updated weekly with the SWC Game of the Week during football season. Other relevant SWC News will appear from time to time as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SWC Game of the Week: SMU at Houston

First, SWC Game of the Week would like to wish everyone a belated Happy Halloween and hope your Grant Teaff costume came off as a hit. Of course, true fans would dress as their favorite SWC mascot. SMU coach Phil Bennett had a scary week, losing his job. UH is scary everyday on campus after dark. The Aggies are everyone’s favorite for a trick and Fran might charge you for it, while it seems the Longhorns end up with all the treats at the end of the season. Texas Tech has the masked rider (if only he was a pumpkin head.) Baylor, I think they go to a Fall Festival at Church on Halloween. Rice, they just run around naked on Halloween, sort of like the Castro Halloween Parade. TCU is haunted by ghosts of Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien, making them play on Thursdays to avoid the scary moments. Finally Arkansas, at Arkansas Halloween is about one last trip around the neighborhood, before moving to a new place with better candy.

THIS WEEK’S GAME:

This week’s match-up features the SMU Mustangs taking on the Houston Cougars at Robertson Stadium. Houston leads the all time series 12-9-1, with the first meeting occurring in 1975 in the old SWC with SMU winning. U of H won last year’s game in Dallas. This game is on Sunday night with a national television audience on ESPN. (That is if you can recover from a weekend of football for one more game, and we know you SWC fans can.) UH is led by running back Anthony Alridge and have rushed for 300 yards the last two games, for the first time having back to back 300 yard rushing games since 1984. The Cougars are 5th nationally with 518 yards a game of total offense. UH splits time at QB with Case Keenum and Blake Joseph. The defensive, not the strong side of the ball for the Coogs, has only allowed 27 points in the 4th quarter this year. Senior LB Bendan Pahulu is second on the team in sacks (3) and tackles for a loss (6.5) and leads the team with interceptions. In his 4th seasons as head coach, Art Briles has led the Coogs to 3 bowl games and a conference championship last season. SMU is having trouble getting back to the lime light after suffering the death penalty and not fielding a team for two seasons. SMU coach Phil Bennett was relieved of his duties this week, though he will remain to finish the season. SMU hopes to snap a 6 game losing streak in a season they were hoping to go bowling. SMU QB Justin Willis has recorded 40 career touchdown passes, tying him for first on the all time SMU career list. In his first 19 games of his career he has 7 games he has 3 or more TD passes. Emmanuel Sanders is Willis favorite target, averaging over 80 yards a game to lead the Ponies. SMU has been hurt on defense by injuries, with WR Devin Lowery having to start at one corner and backup Brandon Jones at the other against Tulsa. Corner Bryan McCann started at free safety and backup Tyler Jones started at strong safety last week as well. SMU has lost quite a few games this year at the very end, and the Cougars have played some close games as well.

COTTON BOWL MEMORIES:

This week’s Cotton Bowl is the 1983 Classic, featuring the only unbeaten team in the country, SMU (10-0-1) against Pittsburgh (9-2-0). The Mustangs offense was the triple option with QB Lance McIhenny and the Pony Express running back combo of Eric Dickerson and Craig James. Pittsburgh would rely on the arm of Dan Marino. In the cold damp 38 degree weather neither offense would dominate with SMU totaling 254 yards and Pitt totaling 31 yards. SMU would drive 91 yards in the first half, only to have McIhenny fumble the ball back to the Panthers. Pitt would go ahead 3-0 before McIhenny would lead SMU on an 80 yard drive to take the lead. Big plays included a 43 yard completion to Bobby Leach on 2nd and 21 and scoring himself on an option play from 9 yards out. Pitt would drive to the SMU 7 yard line before Blane Smith would intercept Marino in the end zone. McIhenny would finish his career as the SWC’s all time winningest QB. The Mustangs would be denied the national championship however, finishing 2nd in both polls behind Penn State. It was however the first unbeaten season for SMU since 1947.

OTHER GAMES THIS WEEK:

South Carolina at Arkansas (Tough times for the “Old Ball Coach” and then there’s Houston Nutt)

Texas Tech at Baylor (Tech needs Baylor right now, Baylor needs, ummm. lots)

UTEP at Rice (Rice returns home, tries to finish season strong)

Texas at OK State (You heard it here first, OSU to upset the Horns)

Texas A&M at OU (Remember when Fran made the “jobs” comment this summer? Stoops does.)

New Mexico at TCU (This game is this week, duh)

RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK:

SWC Game of the Week, Week 8:

Houston 34 UTEP 31 (UH in control of its own destiny as they say, don’t we wish we all were)

Other Games:

Arkansas 58 Florida International 10 (Hogs roll over FIU, who has not won all year)

Kansas State 51 Baylor 13 (Poor Bears)

Marshall 34 Rice 21 (Rice comeback falls short)

Tulsa 29 SMU 23 (SMU gets stopped on 4th and 1 at the goal line, then give up TD drive to lose, Coach Bennett is fired on Monday)

Texas 28 Nebraska 25 (Texas has big 4th quarter and Charles runs all over the Nebraska)

Kansas 19 Texas A&M 11 (KU dominates Aggies, who barely avoid shutout)

Colorado 31 Texas Tech 26 (CU stops the Tech offense, but that kid Crabtree is good)

STANDINGS:

Conference:

Overall:

W

L

W

L

Texas Tech

3

0

6

3

Texas

3

0

7

2

Houston

1

0

5

3

TCU

2

1

4

4

Arkansas:

0

0

5

3

Texas A&M

1

1

6

3

Baylor

1

3

3

6

SMU

0

2

1

7

Rice

0

4

1

7

FINAL WORD:

That’s a wrap for this week. Please feel free to forward to your friends, send me emails of those that should be included that aren’t, and submit your additions to the weekly newsletters (favorite SWC memories, player bio’s, funny old SWC stories, mascot hijinks, etc.) If you are receiving this note and you don’t want to, shame on you, but let me know, I’ll take you off the list.

Remember to visit http://www.honortheswc.com/home.asp and help build the SWC Gallery in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

SWC Game of the Week: Houston at UTEP

This week we will visit the newest member of the Southwest Conference, the Houston Cougars. Houston joined the conference in 1972, making Texas Tech feel better about no longer being the new guy. (Although Tech acts like they are still the new guy, or little brother.) UH has had some very successful football seasons, under legendary coach Bill Yeoman and more recently in the run and shoot days. Although joining in 1972, the Coogs weren’t eligible for the conference crown until the 1976 season and then promptly went to 3 Cotton Bowls their first 4 seasons. UTEP on the other hand, not a SWC school, but becoming prominent on the now second level of Texas college football pecking order. This should be a good game.

Southwest Conference Game of the Week does recognize that the past two weeks there has been some technical difficulties with text wrapping. We hope we have corrected the problem and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

THIS WEEK’S GAME:

This week’s game features the Houston Cougars visiting the UTEP Miners. This is a new series, with UTEP leading with 3 wins (all in El Paso) to the Cougars 1 win. This game could have Conference USA West division championship significance. The U of H offense averages 37.6 points a game is lead by receiver Donnie Avery, averaging 133.3 yards a game receiving, and running back Anthony Alridge, averaging 122.7 yards rushing a game. Against Rice on Oct. 13th the senior duet accomplished something no two have done in NCAA major college football history, a 300 yard receiving game and a 200 yard rushing game from two players in the same game. Avery recorded a UH record 346 yards receiving while Alridge rushed for 205 and 4 touchdowns. Sophomore QB Blake Joseph passed for 318 yards against Rice, completing the offensive dominance. QB Joseph splits time with red shirt freshman Case Keenum as the Cougars search for a replacement for Kevin Kolb, now with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cougars are not strong on defense. Senior Rocky Schwartz has settled in at strong safety and was named CUSA defensive player of the week after recording two interceptions against UAB and delivering a devastating hit on a UAB receiver. Defensive coordinator Alan Weddell has tried to shake some things up on the defensive side of the ball for his head coach, Art Briles. Two constants however are linebackers Trent Allen and Cody Lubojasky, with the two combining for 70 tackles so far in 2007. UTEP is a very similar team to UH, good offensive output, not so good defensive results. They have scored 40 points in four straight games for the first time in school history, unfortunately the last week it game in an OT loss to East Carolina. Freshman quarterback Trevor Vittatoe threw for over 400 yards in last week’s loss and has thrown 13 touchdown passes this year and only 3 interceptions. He ranks 4th among Division I-A freshman QB’s with 1,704 yards passing. Senior RB Marcus Thomas has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last 4 weeks, scoring 9 touchdowns along the way. On defense, senior defensive back Quinton Demps is 3rd in school history with 13 interceptions. Both teams have a tendency to play high scoring, close games. This game should be a good game, if you like scoring, just budget 4+ hours for viewing.

COTTON BOWL MEMORIES:

This week we will remember the 1979 Cotton Bowl where the Houston Cougars represented the SWC and played host to the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish. The game was played in icy conditions, with the wind chills 20 below zero, chasing most fans away before the finish of the game. Houston overcame an early 12 deficit and scored 34 straight points. Cougar signal caller Danny Davis, who won here for the Coogs 2 years ago, threw for a touchdown and ran for two others. His QB keepers were scored in the 3rd quarter, when Irish QB Joe Montana was in the locker room being treated for low body temperature. With 7:37 left in the game, UH led 34-12 and it appeared Davis would be the star QB of this match. But Montana and the Irish were just getting warmed up. A blocked punt run in by the Irish’s Steve Cichy with a two point conversion from Montana put Notre Dame only down 14. The next time ND got the ball, Montana directed a 61 yard drive culminated by his 2 yard run and another 2 point conversion. 4:14 was left on the clock, with UH clinging to a 6 point lead. Two minutes later Montana fumbled the ball back to Houston, apparently preserving the UH win. But UH gambled on 4th down and came up short on a 4th and 1 at the Houston 29 yard line with 28 seconds left. Montana then scrambled for 11 yards and passed to Kris Haines for 10, then missing Haines in the end zone leaving 2 seconds on the clock. The next play Montana hit Haines on the same route and Joe Unis added the extra point for a 35-34 Irish victory. Montana would later go on to make comebacks his specialty, even hitting a fellow named Dwight Clark and beating the Dallas Cowboys, further breaking the hearts in Dallas.

Note, last year during the holidays I was home from work observing one of my sick days I’d saved and watched this game on ESPN Classic. It looked really cold out there.

OTHER GAMES THIS WEEK:

Florida International at Arkansas (If you take out the International, you end up with FU)

Baylor at Kansas State (Baylor, what more can be said?)

Rice at Marshall (Rice, maybe last year was a fluke)

SMU at Tulsa (SMU is having a rough year, Phil Bennett may be a defensive coordinator next year)

Nebraska at Texas (Nebraska may be done this year, Texas should win big)

Kansas at Texas A&M (A&M will get them in basketball season, ironically)

New Mexico at TCU (When is this game TCU? No one can keep up with you)

Colorado at Texas Tech (Winner is Big 12 West Champion, and gets a calf fry)

RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK:

SWC Game of the Week, Week 8:

Texas 31 Baylor 10 (Baylor hung in there, Bless their Hearts)

Other Games:

Arkansas 44 Ole Miss 8 (Houston Nutt lives another day)

Houston 49 UAB 10 (Coogs rolling now, biggest win for Art Briles)

Memphis 38 Rice 35 (Rice loses another close one, but Rice players will have jobs when the graduate)

Tulane 41 SMU 34 OT (SMU can’t get it going)

Texas A&M 36 Nebraska 14 (McGee, Aggie QB, runs 35 times for a school record, can you say balanced offense?)

Utah 27 TCU 20 (This was a Thursday Game, why did TCU isolate themselves from the rest of us, do we smell bad?)

Missouri 41 Texas Tech 10 (Tech plays a good team, gets beat)

STANDINGS:

Conference:

Overall:

W

L

W

L

Texas Tech

3

0

6

2

Texas

3

0

6

2

Houston

1

0

4

3

TCU

2

1

4

4

Arkansas:

0

0

4

3

Texas A&M

1

1

6

2

Baylor

1

3

3

5

SMU

0

2

1

6

Rice

0

4

1

6

FINAL WORD:

That’s a wrap for this week. Please feel free to forward to your friends, send me emails of those that should be included that aren’t, and submit your additions to the weekly newsletters (favorite SWC memories, player bio’s, funny old SWC stories, mascot hijinks, etc.) If you are receiving this note and you don’t want to, shame on you, but let me know, I’ll take you off the list.

Remember to visit http://www.honortheswc.com/home.asp and help build the SWC Gallery in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

SWC Game of the Week: Texas at Baylor

We’ve already discussed the Miracle on the Brazos, although those from Baylor love to talk about that game. Baylor has beat Texas since the SWC died, and they get them in Waco again this year. But, unless the Longhorns eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Health Camp the day before, I think they will dispatch the Bears. (This SWC Game of the Week Correspondent once ate the before game and after game meal at Health Camp one fall Saturday when the Bears played the Aggies.) But this week, an old rivalry along I-35 will be renewed and will be highlighted in this weekly newsletter. Since the game won’t be that fun, let’s talk about other Waco stops: Dr Pepper Museum, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Elite CafĂ©, Suspension Bridge over the Brazos River and several Baptist Churches. (Don’t stop at the Health Camp and order the fish sandwich.) I

THIS WEEK’S GAME:

Baylor and Texas will met on Saturday for the 97th time, with Texas holding a decisive edge in the all time series
70-22-4. The last Baylor victory was in 1997, 23-21 in Waco. However, the Bears have not scored in the last 10
quarters against Texas in Waco. Baylor will be possibly making an adjustment at QB for this game. Starter Blake
Szymanski suffered a concussion in Baylor’s game against Kansas last week and is listed as questionable for the
Longhorn game. Szymanski was replaced last week for a few series and Michael Machen and John David Weed
are the favorites to replace Szymanski if he is unable to start. RB Brandon Whitaker leads the Bears with 31
receptions this year. Baylor’s offensive line has improved this year allowing only 8 sacks in 7 games, compared to
36 sacks in 12 games last season. On defense, LB Joe Pawelek is tied with safety Jordan Lake with 11 tackles per
game in Big 12 play. The Longhorns begin their second half of the season, or after OU game season. They are 48-5
under head coach Mack Brown after the OU game. QB Colt McCoy has shaken off some early season rust and
finished the Iowa State game 23 of 29 for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns and rushed for another 50 yards on 4 carries
including a 44 yard TD run. Texas will be without the services of senior receiver Linus Sweed however, who suffered
a season ending injury. Texas defense is holding opponents to 207 yards passing for 24th in the NCAA. Senior
safety Marcus Griffen, twin brother of Michael Griffen who is in the NFL, leads the Longhorns on defense and will be
making his 18th start on defense and last season was second on the team in tackles with 90. (If his twin is done with
college, why isn’t he, interesting, huh?) Another interesting note on this game is Baylor assistant coach Eric
Schnupp was suspended from the team after his arrest for public urination at a Waco bar. Waco has bars? You
can’t pee in public? What if your drunk and really really have to go? It might take another miracle for Baylor to pull
this one out. Enjoy the games this week.

COTTON BOWL MEMORIES:

The 1964 Cotton Bowl featured #1 ranked Texas, unbeaten and untied vs. #2 Navy. While the two major wire polls had Texas firmly at #1, many in the East thought Navy was the true #1. The Cotton Bowl would settle it. Navy had only lost one game that year, to SMU in the Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Middies were led by Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach at QB but Texas quarterback Duke Carlisle stole the show. On the sixth play of the game Carlisle connected with 18 year Phil Harris for a 58 yard touchdown. That was the 8th time in 11 games that year that Texas had scored on the first possession. Later the two would hook up on a 63 yard touchdown and Carlisle scored on a 9 yard run putting Texas on top 21-0 at the half. Carlisle would finish with 7 completions for 213 yards, 3 completions to Harris for 157 yards. After another Texas touchdown in the 3rd quarter, Navy finally got on the board with a Staubach run from the 2 yard line. Staubach’s stat line read 21 completions in 31 attempts for 228 yards, including 4 passes covering 57 of the 75 yards on Navy’s touchdown drive. But the Longhorn defense would hold the scrambling Staubach in check, holding him to -47 net yards on 12 carries including sacks. Navy would rush for -14 yards on the day. Outland Trophy winner Scott Appleton and Tommy Nobis were the Texas defenders keeping Navy in check. The Texas seniors would walk off the field with a 3 year career record of 30-2-1 including a 2-1 record in the Cotton Bowl.

OTHER GAMES THIS WEEK:

Arkansas at Ole Miss (Anyone for a Grove tailgate? Pack your party dress)

Houston at UAB (Coogs try to right ship now that conference play has begun)

Memphis at Rice (Rice returns to Rice Stadium, should win this one, Miracle on Main Street II?)

Tulane at SMU (Tulane returns to temp. home after Katrina to take on reeling Ponies)

Texas A&M at Nebraska (Buyout Bowl, loser pays buy out clause for both coaches when they are fired at the end of the season)

Utah at TCU (TCU takes on Utah in even match)

Texas Tech at Missouri (Tech, now ranked, will have tough road test against good Tiger team)

RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK:

SWC Game of the Week, Week 6:

Texas Tech 35 Texas A&M 7 (Tech rolls Aggies again, no goal post demolition required)

Other Games:

Auburn 9 Arkansas 7 (Have you seen the U-Tube where the Hog fan burns his tickets every week until Houston Nutt is fired?)

Kansas 58 Baylor 10 (Kansas shows their a few steps ahead of Baylor)

Houston 56 Rice 48 (21 points in 4th quarter gets Coogs the “Bucket”)

Southern Mississippi 28 SMU 7 (SMU can’t get on track)

Texas 56 Iowa State 3 (Texas recovers, will not repeat winless conference schedule of 1956)

TCU 38 Stanford 36 (TCU come from behind victory over the Tree)

STANDINGS:

Conference:

Overall:

W

L

W

L

Texas Tech

3

0

6

1

Texas

2

0

5

2

Houston

1

0

3

3

TCU

2

1

4

3

Arkansas:

0

0

3

3

Texas A&M

1

1

5

2

Baylor

1

2

3

4

SMU

0

2

1

5

Rice

0

4

1

5

FINAL WORD:

That’s a wrap for this week. Please feel free to forward to your friends, send me emails of those that should be included that aren’t, and submit your additions to the weekly newsletters (favorite SWC memories, player bio’s, funny old SWC stories, mascot hijinks, etc.) If you are receiving this note and you don’t want to, shame on you, but let me know, I’ll take you off the list.

Remember to visit http://www.honortheswc.com/home.asp and help build the SWC Gallery in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.