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December 30, 2009

THE WAY YOU DO IT

I've seen almost all the bowl games ... or at least portions of most of them.

And I haven't seen any better than what I just witnessed in the Whatever It's Name Was Bowl with Bowling Green and Idaho.

It had everything I like in a post-season football game - sportsmanship, high scoring, 100-percent effort by everyone, not too many inordinate displays of celebration (until the end), quick-pulsed drama and yes ... even a blue playing field.

Idaho won the game 43-42 because of a wild scoring drive with about a half a minute to go in the back-and-forth game, and - more importantly - the coach's decision to go for two and the win instead of one and the tie with 4 seconds left in the game. Not that I would've minded overtime. It's my second favorite thing in college football next to the onside kick.

The Idaho coach took a chance and it paid off.

I bring all this up because after the lackluster showing against the Cornhuskers, the Longhorns will probably need to take a chance or two to beat Alabama and claim the National Championship.

I hope Colt McCoy and a lot of his teammates were watching that game. It was not only exciting and great entertainment, but the sheer joy of the moment for the victors seeped out of the tube and infected me ... someone who doesn't know Idaho from Shinola.

Here's my placard I would hold up if I were going to be in Pasadena: "Remember Idaho!"

There are wins and then there are big wins ... and then there is the biggest WIN of your life.

Just ask the Vandals.

(P.S. Which reminds me of one more thing I like about post-season football games - teams with cool mascot names).

December 17, 2009

BROTHERHOOD

Great thing about sports ... it helps you remember where you were at any given time.
I happen to remember Aug. 31, 2006. I was watching the opening game of the GoFridayNight.com Champions Classic in Abilene.

It was between Graham and Midland Greenwood. Coach Brad McCoy, new to coaching Graham, was starting his son at quarterback in his freshman year.

Case McCoy was skinnier than I ever remember Colt being. I prowled the sidelines during that game taking pictures and hearing comments about how Case was going to get pounded, he was no Colt, etc.

Well, the Steers - who wear the exact same logo on their helmets (only blue) as UT - lost 25-15 and Case didn't have the debut he wanted, despite throwing for 251 yards and a TD. Some fans were already writing him off.

Two days after that game I was still prowling the sidelines of the Classic during another game, while Case's older brother Colt was starting his first game as a freshman for the University of Texas.

Colt McCoy had already been written off before he took a single snap - "He's no Vince Young ... Why couldn't we get (fill in the blank here) ... Kiss this season goodbye." I remember all those comments on the web and in sports publications.

Even though the Longhorns pounded North Texas, 56-7, in Colt's first game, his doubters weren't impressed.

Not until the following week when Ohio State beat UT, 24-7, did some people think Colt might have a future. That's the best I remember someone looking in a loss.

After that game, I even remember one ruggedly-handsome guy who said to himself - "Dude, this guy has it; maybe you should do a blog."

Fast forward through all the victories and pounds of muscle gained during the years in between then and now, and the bottom line is both the McCoy brothers will soon be playing for championships.

Case and the Steers, 14-1, play for the Texas 3A Division II state championship this Saturday.

And we all know what championship Colt and the 13-0 Longhorns will be playing for in early January.

Not bad senior years for either guys, huh? And, oh, I almost forgot ... Colt is the winningest quarterback in the history of college football. Ta-da to you people who wrote him off way back when!

Case, of course, has already committed to Texas and will make it official in February, and Colt will hopefully land somewhere in the NFL where he can watch how it's done (as he did that redshirt year with Vince Young), and then go for future championships one of these days.

This blog will officially come to an end sometime in early 2010, and it's been a great ride. Hopefully, the recollections, stats and photos archived here will be around for a long time and remind those in the future about that ride the Real McCoy enjoyed.

P.S. That's it from me until after the holidays. Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2009

THE NATION'S QB

Colt McCoy was just named quarterback to the Associated Press All-American team this morning.

He is joined on the first team by bud Jordan Shipley and UT defensive star Earl Thomas. Only Alabama had more players on the first team than Texas.

Guess that cements it. The Longhorns will be the underdogs on Jan. 7 in the National Championship at the Rose Bowl.

I can't read Colt's mind like some people purport to be able to do, but even though he has nothing left to prove individually, I imagine he will get some amount of motivation out of the contest, like Vince Young did - rising to the occasion and pulling out his best game to be able to share the biggest award of all with everyone.

December 12, 2009

BIG PRIZE STILL WAITS

No Heisman for our man, Colt McCoy, but I'm getting deja vu all over again.

The Heisman winner and his team enter the Rose Bowl Stadium favored heavily over Texas.

And the Texas quarterback has the game of his life and upsets the favorites for the National Championship.

It could happen ... again.

H-DAY

Well, ESPN says Colt McCoy will win the Heisman Trophy later tonight.

Something about "name recognition" overcoming the fact he didn't put up good numbers in the Nebraska game like Alabama's Mark Ingram had against Florida.

After Colt's won just about everything else, I'm starting to believe them.

While you wait, here are a couple of great stories about Colt from ReporterNews.com today:

_smallUTlogo.gif The Heisman? No doubt in Tus-Colt-a by Doug Myers

_smallUTlogo.gif Colt McCoy: From Tuscola to title game by Greg Jaklewicz

Enjoy.

BTW: The Graham Steers, coached by Colt's father Brad, advanced to the Class 3A Division II state championship game with a 27-20 victory over Pittsburg last night. Bet Brad and his lovely wife will be a little short on sleep when they are in the Heisman audience up in New York tonight.

December 11, 2009

BTW ...

After Colt McCoy's big night last night, I put a new "Awards Week" slideshow on the site. Just click on the "Slideshows" link at the top of this page or click HERE.

December 10, 2009

THREE FER

Thursday was a huge night for Colt McCoy - winning three of the most prestigious awards in college football.

He began the night repeating as recipient of the Walter Camp Award, following that up with the Davey O'Brien Award and then the hat trick, the Maxwell Award.

The Maxwell, of course, honors the nation's best all-around player, the O'Brien Award is for the nation's best quarterback, and the Camp is another award for best all-around player, but voted on by coaches and sports information directors.

I knew he would repeat with the Camp Award, but thought his only other "win" in the "Big Four" would be the Heisman. Well, three out of three ain't bad, and we'll find out about the fourth one Saturday night.

December 9, 2009

TUX TIME

This Associated Press photo by Stephen Chernin shows Colt McCoy speaking on behalf of all the selected Scholar Athletes at the annual National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York on Tuesday night.

December 8, 2009

THREE BIG ARMS

This Associated Press photo by Richard Drews shows our man Colt McCoy and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow flanking National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning at the 2009 College Hall of Fame inductees news conference in New York, earlier today.

December 7, 2009

AND THE HEISMAN FINALISTS ARE ...

Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart and Ndamukong Suh.

To show you how strongly tied the Heisman is to the "what have you done for me lately?" philosophy, Suh came out of left field (and across the line of scrimmage) to get a surprise invite.

Not that the guy isn't a great defensive player, but without that strong showing against UT just two days ago, that list probably would have been 4 instead of 5.

I don't think he'll win the Heisman, but since "Body of Work" doesn't seem to sway the voters much either, Colt may not win. That's a big shame, because it took a lot to win every game this season and have more victories than any other QB in NCAA history.

Still, Mark Ingram's votes might be diluted by Stanford's Gerhart, and our man might have a shot. However, Ingram had a really nice game against the Gators so that is still fresh in the voter's minds. And they only have a couple of days to vote.

Hopefully, Roger Staubach's support for Colt will sway a few "fence-sitters."

GOAL ACHIEVED

I didn't think there would be a lot easy about the Nebraska game, but I didn't expect it to be quite that hard.

But it was an appropriate finish for the season. Aside from the Louisiana-Monroe and UTEP games, nothing was easy for Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.

Sure there are several lop-sided scores on the sheet, but aside from the two mentioned above, if you recall, a wake-up call in the second half turned many a close game at intermission into a rout.

Colt's three games with Nebraska have been decided by a total of 6 points, but the only points that really mattered were the three flying through the air with no time remaining on the clock.

The game was also appropriate because it epitomized McCoy's perseverance under pressure. He was sacked a lot and hit a lot all night long, and yet he had the wits about him, trailing 12-10 (with a future bed of roses fading quickly), to lead his team down into position for the fateful 46-yarder by Hunter Lawrence.

And so the storybook ending is still out there waiting in Pasadena.

The Horns have exactly a month to get over the "mission accomplished" glow to deal with the "we made it, now what" reality of the situation.

They'll be underdogs, probably about the same as the Horns were against USC, what now seems like so long ago.

Mack and Vince figured that one out ... I'm sure Mack and Colt and a determinded run defense can figure this one out, too.

December 6, 2009

YES!

It's official!

Colt McCoy and the Texas Longhorns are going to the National Championship game.

FEELING A LITTLE BETTER

Still a few hours until the final BCS rankings come out, but the coaches' poll just about cinches it for Texas.

The Longhorns are in 2nd place with 1,409 points in that newly released poll, followed by TCU in No. 3 with 1,336 points. That poll is a third of the BCS system, as is the computers final findings, which are supposedly supposed to be objective with team power rankings, etc. That will also give it to Texas.

Who knows about the Harris Poll, the other third, but with Texas holding onto No. 2 in the other two-thirds, they should be on their way to Pasadena.

FEELINGS

I have this horrible feeling.

The same one I had last night while trying to watch Colt McCoy and the Longhorns on TV, listen to the Abilene Wylie Bulldogs on radio and talk to tech support on the phone.

Texas looked like it had just lost to Nebraska, Wylie had 15 seconds remaining and behind, and GoFridayNight.com had crashed because of too much traffic. This was all at practically the same moment in time.

Not to mention the second I got off the phone with the gearheads, my wife called from the Metroplex at the Tournament of Champions looking for a phone number because the officials had mistakenly moved another team ahead in the tourney that the team she coaches (and our daughter plays on) had beaten.

Well, a second was put back on the clock in Billion Dollar Stadium, Wylie's Joe Nasser (the fastest kid on my wife's soccer team when he was a kid) scored with 8 seconds left to send the Bulldogs into the Class 3A state championship game next weekend and our high school website came back up.

Not to mention my wife/daughter's team won their quarterfinals game earlier this morning and are about to step on the field in McKinney as I write this back in Abilene.

All's right with the world ... except I have this horrible feeling, the one like in those few seconds of perfect storm last night.

I dread that the Horns are going to be denied Pasadena. That the BCS will somehow get it wrong again. Never trusted the BCS. Never liked it. Never will.

Well, have to live with that one all day long ... the final BCS standings don't come out for many, many hours.

Well, maybe this, too, will turn out rosy. I included the photo of Vince Young just to help the mojo, since it is very similar to the one of Colt from last night (below).

IN THE MEANTIME ...

You need to read a great package the Abilene Reporter-News sports staff put together called "Lonestar Heisman Sweep."

Here are the four stories in that series:

If it were up to us

McCoy shows he's a natural leader by Greg Jaklewicz

Shipley's stats jump off the page by Evan Ren

Keenum a master of late comebacks by Daniel Youngblood

December 5, 2009

WHEW!



December 4, 2009

ROGER THAT!

There's a great story by Jim Veruno about Roger Staubach mentoring and becoming friends with Colt McCoy over the past few years. Click HERE to read it. BTW, Roger the Dodger says Colt has his vote for Heisman.

Before we get to the Game-at-a-Glance, let me say I'm confused why the pre-game "fuss" focuses on the 1996 Big 12 Championship game when no one major is still around from those days when Texas upset Nebraska and ruined their National Championship hopes. I guess so they can bring up the "revenge" thread, which always seems to be popular with sports writers.

What is more relevant is what I mentioned a few days ago about Colt and team barely getting by the 'Huskers in 2006 and 2007 by a total of 5 points in two wins.

In the 2007 game, Colt had his lowest passing percentage ever - 42.9 - and didn't have a single TD pass. The only other time he didn't throw a pass into the endzone while wearing burnt orange was in 2006 when he was injured against Kansas State and A&M. And, he "only" had a 64.1 completion percentage and one TD pass in the 2006 Nebraska game - very low for Colt.

So, I don't think I would worry about 1996 and instead concentrate on improving against the most recent efforts against the Cornhuskers. Roger, that!

GAME CAPSULE: Texas vs. Nebraska, Big 12 Championship Game

Line: Texas by 14 ... Series record: Texas leads 8-4 ... Last meeting: 2007, Texas 28, Nebraska 25.

_smallUTlogo.gif What's at stake

Texas can lock up a spot in the national championship game, something it had no chance at last year because of a last-second loss to Texas Tech and a tiebreaker formula that kept the Longhorns from competing for the Big 12 title. Coach Mack Brown has used that memory to fuel his team all season.

Nebraska can force its way into a BCS bowl and pay back Texas for an upset in the 1996 Big 12 title game, when the Cornhuskers were No. 3 and eyeing a national championship.

_smallUTlogo.gif Key matchup

Texas QB Colt McCoy vs. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh. McCoy was voted the Big 12 offensive player of the year and is likely to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Suh was voted the Big 12 defensive player of the year and is up for all the top defensive awards. The Cornhuskers will need Suh to hit McCoy early, often and hard to try rattling him into as many mistakes as possible. Nebraska wants to avoid a shootout.

_smallUTlogo.gif Players to watch

Texas: Receivers Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, John Chiles and anyone else not named Jordan Shipley will need to stretch the defense because Nebraska certainly will do what it can to keep McCoy from hitting his favorite target.

Nebraska: QB Zac Lee is mostly considered a bus-driver type of quarterback, someone who keeps the offense going without doing too great or too terrible. For the Cornhuskers to pull off the upset, he might need to do something special. Nebraska also needs RBs Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead to grind out yards and chew up the clock.

_smallUTlogo.gif Facts & Figures

Texas is 6-1 against Nebraska since the start of the Big 12 and has won the last four meetings. ... The team have split two Big 12 championship meetings, with the Longhorns winning in'96 and the Cornhuskers winning in '99. ... Nebraska has won five straight, its best streak in Big 12 play in eight years. ... The Cornhuskers are 2-0 in Big 12 title games they have played in Texas.

December 3, 2009

HARDWARE

Guess you saw Colt McCoy is a finalist for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year honor - an award he won last year.

Tim Tebow, Case Keenum, Mark Ingram and Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) are other finalists for the Walter Camp.

That makes Colt a finalist in 3 of the top 4 post-season awards. I think he'll get to make the trip to New York as a Heisman finalist as well. Those invitations are announced next Wednesday.

I believe the schedule favors Colt in the Heisman race. He took over the lead from Tebow this week in the Scripps Howard News Service Heisman Poll, which has been right almost all of the time recently.

Tebow and Ingram could have so-so games this weekend playing against each other's really good defenses. If the Longhorns remember that Nebraska is a "dangerous" underdog to be feared they just might have a great game with lots of good numbers for McCoy, which would just about cement his standing for that hardware.

Just for grins, I'm going to predict who wins what:

_smallUTlogo.gif Walter Camp: Our man Colt. If he won it last year, he should definitely win it this year.

_smallUTlogo.gif Davey O'Brien: I believe Case Keenum will pull an upset victory here because Colt and Tebow will split the votes. Plus, Keenum has phenomenal numbers this season.

_smallUTlogo.gif Maxwell Award: Stanford running back Toby Gerhart. Don't ask me why. Just predicting here. But this is for the best all-around player, and he has been outstanding in the past month, showing versatility by throwing for a TD pass as well.

_smallUTlogo.gif Heisman: Colt. This is based on my comments above. Of course, if Tebow and Ingram have great games and Colt doesn't (bite my tongue), then I could be wrong. I believe the Tech loss last year cost him the Heisman.

And don't forget, he's also a finalist for the Campbell Award, given each year to the senior college football player who is recognized as the "top scholar-athlete."

Lots of hardware up for grabs, but for the next couple of days the only piece of metal that matters is a Big 12 Championship Trophy, something Colt has yet to lay his hands on.

(P.S.: It was just announced that Colt was unanimous pick for quarterback for the AP All-Big 12 team. Roommate Jordan Shipley was also a unanimous pick, as well as Earl Thomas and Adam Ulatoski)

December 2, 2009

BULL'S EYE

Here's a Colt McCoy trivia question for the future: What year did he not win a Big 12 Offensive Player award?

That would be his sophomore year, when his 18 picks didn't help his cause much.

If you recall, in his freshman year he won Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, even though he was injured in the season's last two consecutive games.

And now, of course, two Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Awards in a row.

He's having a great year, and just look at his career stats: 44 wins and only 7 losses. In two of those losses in his first year, he was injured and taken out of the game. He had another loss his freshman year, a 24-7 setback to Ohio State, which actually got everyone's attention. Three of those other losses were by a touchdown or less, including last season's last second loss to Tech, which sorta fueled this year's run.

At any rate, that's a 86.3 winning percentage. He has completed 1,135-of-1,607 passes for 13,060 yards (almost 7.5 miles), has 112 TD tosses and 42 INTs.

All those numbers will mean he will have a target on his front, back and wherever else this Saturday. The Cornhuskers have already let on that they are all about stopping him to have a chance at winning. Smart bunch of cornheads.

Sounds like a challenge that will just fire him up to add more numbers to the career statboard.

December 1, 2009

JUST CATCHING YOU UP ...

... but am sure you've already heard that today Colt McCoy was named the Associated Press Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and Mack Brown was named AP's Big 12 Coach of the Year.