By Danny Reagan / Abilene, Texas
Not a bad way to finish the season for Colt McCoy ( MVP of the Holiday Bowl) and the Longhorns (their most exciting game in the post-Vince Young era).
The 52-34 win on the "big stage" in San Diego is a great way for a team full of sophomores and juniors to finish the season - even though that will put more pressure on everyone for next season. If the Holiday Bowl is any indication, however, it looks as though everyone has matured enough to deal with it in 2008.
Colt shows up for the "big stage," and the Longhorns actually have two big stages to perform on each season - the OU game and the bowl game (remember, Colt was Offensive MVP at last year's Alamo Bowl). The sophomore QB is 3-1 on those stages in two seasons.
Next year some of the "smaller" stages will loom larger. Can he continue his dominance of the Red Raiders (he has 8 TD passes in 2 games against Tech)? Can he finally get a "W" against A&M? Whoa, that's a road trip to Kansas on the schedule isn't it?
A third-straight 10-3 season won't satisfy a lot of UT fans or players, but Colt's Holiday Bowl performance was a microcosm of a 2007 season that saw him mature even more. He took more chances (I'm not talking about carrying the ball like a loaf of bread), ran more and was more physical.
That, of course, led to some talk of a "sophomore jinx" - more interceptions (18 vs. 7) and a worse completion percentage than 2006 (65.1 vs. 68.2). But taking those chances also meant almost three times the rushing yardage for him, almost 60 more completions and over 700 more yards through the air. That's all a "sophomore jinx" is - the downside of the maturing process.
So, here's my early prediction: The Longhorns - behind an even stronger and more mature McCoy - will go 13-1 in 2008, winning all THREE of their efforts on the big stages (throw in the Big 12 championship game) and losing only to the Red Raiders in Lubbock.
Hey, I gotta stay true to my school! Anyway, my sources say Colt's "Techsan" girlfriend is ready to give back his letter jacket if he beats Tech again. (Sorry, that's my attempt at trying to be like the other blogs out there).