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2010-07-02 digital edition

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2010-07-02 / Sports

Items to Think About

by Mike Organ
Did Texas, Tech, OU, and A&M do the right thing in spurning the Pac 10 conference?

The schools were absolutely correct in this writers’ opinion in remaining in the Big XII minus two. Texas has won the national championship and played for it twice in the last four years. OU has been in the big game when Texas wasn’t. Why didn’t the Big XII try to raid the Pac 10? Probably, because they did not want to lower their standards in academics and athletics. Nebraska was mad because they could not admit partial academic qualifiers into their athletic programs and because Texas and Oklahoma were the conference headliners.

If the schools had gone to the Pac 10 the Austin American would have basically been a twice weekly paper. The late football games would have been reported in Monday’s paper during football season because the Sunday paper would be in print before the games were over. For basketball, softball, baseball, and volleyball the results would be so late they would not be printed. The travel cost for the teams to go to the West Coast would have been astronomical. How long a trip, time wise, would it take for the A&M girls’ soccer team to travel to Washington State in Pullman to play a game?

The travel costs alone would have eaten up any additional monies the schools would have received. Some of the ‘minor’ sports programs may have been dropped because of expenses. What were they thinking?

Texas, A&M, OU, Tech, and Oklahoma St are strong enough in football to attract athletes. The Pac 10’s cash cow, USC, is on probation and can not be on TV during the 2011 and 2012 seasons plus losing a number of scholarships for the next three seasons. The Pac 10 conference wanted the Big XII schools to offset the USC losses.

Why did the 2A schools vote to split into two divisions?

Competitive balance was the leading argument in the initial phase. The 2A schools wanted two 16-district conferences with two playoff teams from each district. That initiative was passed overwhelmingly by the schools involved. In May, the 2A schools voted to allow three schools from each district to the playoffs.

Some of the districts only have four teams, so all but one team will make the post season party. Why? MONEY. The thing that drives most everything these days. Sixteen more playoff games means more money for the UIL and the schools involved. A team could conceivably make the playoffs by going 1-9. How many folks are going to that post season game?

Will the Lee County football teams go deep in the playoffs?

Preseason predictions say yes. Recent history says both schools have excellent programs that allow the teams to reload after losing a group of outstanding seniors.

Lexington lost linemen and running back, Clinton Hutson. Eagle coaches think the team will be better than last season due to the presence of a group of seniors that will be playing varsity football for the third or fourth season. Lexington will need to quickly develop an offensive line that will afford the skill people time to display their abilities.

Giddings will enter the season without a seasoned starter at quarterback, a most critical position in their offense. The Buffs return size in the trenches and speed at the skill positions, but QB is a big question. They have two candidates that have never taken a varsity snap. Time will tell if either is up to the task.

Both teams could be weakened noticeably by injuries at critical positions. Will the Texas Rangers play in the World Series?

The Rangers will make the American League playoffs if their pitching holds and they can add a proven starter like the Astros’ Roy Oswalt. The only draw back is that the Rangers don’t have any pitching prospects to trade for a top starter. The Rangers offense is and has been very proficient but they could not outscore their opponents. This season seems to be different as the starting pitchers are not giving up double-digit runs on a regular basis. The Rangers may have to give up some of their offense to get the pitching they need.

Why have quarterbacks been featured on the last few Texas Football covers?

The trend the last few years has been toward the passing game or the Vince Young zone read offense. Smaller schools with a very good athlete to play the feature role have made some dramatic improvement record wise. Other schools just don’t have a “Vince Young” to play the position. The offense offers quick rewards with long-distance scoring which is fun for the fans. It drives defensive coordinators batty as they try to have a move to check the new offensive wrinkles that are seen each week. Teams are using motion, offensive line splits, and offensive positioning to get into favorable match ups. There are some very inventive coaches out there, who can concoct some outstanding offensive schemes.

Some schools like Liberty Hill, Caldwell, and Rogers are throwbacks, running the run-oriented winged-T. Schools playing them have to change their defenses for the week. The offenses are relentless in their efforts to ram the ball down the opponents throats. These schools are successful more often than not.

(More next week)

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