Can It Get Any Better?

Beauty Contest Standings (Week 5, 2011)

Can it get any better?

Texas jumped on a plethora of Iowa State turnovers for a 34-0 halftime lead. The second half was a matter of winning while not embarrassing a worthy conference foe.

A&M jumped out to a 35-14 halftime lead against Arkansas, one point more than the Aggies led Big 12 foe Oklahoma State. And again it wasn’t enough. Joy to the world!

An Aggie sympathizer told me that we–Texas alumni and fans–are fixated on A&M. Stop laughing. He has a point. That point, one he doesn’t grasp, is that we are very interested in A&M this season because they are the jerks that started this whole conference-realignment-in-the-middle-of-the-season thing.

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of hours in Sports Business class in the last few months, as we’ve all been required to do. And all of that is because the Aggies chose to swap conferences in August. Not in February or even in May. No. Right before the season started. So even now, we are distracted from the games by events triggered by the bumbling Aggies deciding to upset everything in the middle of the season. During the sacred season! So instead of being about the wonderful performances on the field, the press is covering which school is going where. That’s all anyone talks about. This season is forever tainted – ruined — by the Aggies’ defection, a stupid decision that Aggies will regret for decades.

But enough of that. Despite what your headlines told you, games were actually played this weekend.

Illinois went to 5-0 with more magic than Houdini ever dreamed of, with a Scheelhaase one-yard run with seconds to play. This makes Illinois one of three undefeated teams in the Big 10.

Is it time that we noticed that 5-0 Michigan still plays football? 58-0 over Minnesota is like old times.

They still play football at 5-0 Georgia Tech, too. The score over North Carolina State was only 45-35. The game was not that close.

Air Force beat Navy in a 35-34 game decided by the officials. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said, “I hope those guys can sleep well tonight.” I hope they didn’t.

Ohio State scored with 10 seconds remaining in a 10-7 loss to Michigan State. Later, I heard an Aggie say, “We are Michigan State and we need to get used to it.” Nah. Michigan State doesn’t always choke.

Notre Dame beat the bejeezus out of Purdue 38-10. Who doesn’t? But the Irish quarterback and coach debates may be stilled for a week. With anything resembling luck, they may be put on hold until November 26.

So who’s the fairest in the land?

1. Alabama ground up Florida like a cheap cut of meat. The final was 38-10. Florida is a pretty good football team. Trent Richardson is a sick weapon. Pair him with the best defense in college football and life gets tough.

2. LSU went on the road and beat Kentucky 35-7. Yes, every SEC team is tough. Sure. Right. Aw. Bullfeces! Kentucky is awful. This is a team that lost to Louisville.

3. Oklahoma smeared Ball State 62-6. Wow, Ball State previously lost to South Florida 37-7. Oklahoma is the sort of team that can run up the score against the weak and the lame. Can they play with the big boys? We shall see at the State Fair.

4. Wisconsin utterly destroyed Nebraska 48-17. Welcome to the Big 10, ‘Huskers. In fairness, Wisconsin is the only Big 10 team this year that is capable of playing on a national stage, unless Michigan is much better than I currently think. In the Beauty Contest environment in which we now live, Wisconsin is the sole threat to an undefeated Oklahoma.

5. Oklahoma State was idle.

6. Stanford beat UCLA 45-19, but Andrew Luck was still playing in the fourth quarter. Make of that what you will.

7. Boise State beat Nevada 30-10 despite a bad hair day from Kellen Moore. Moore was 19-33 for 142 with back-to-back picks.

8. Nike was idle.

9. Clemson stomped Virginia Tech 23-3 and takes over LSU’s claim to be the team that has beaten the most good teams. Dabo Sweeney is also the most fun to watch of any coach in America. Eat your heart out, Mike Leach.

10. Arkansas. I don’t really think the Hogs are this good, but I simply cannot resist another opportunity to dog the Aggies. 35-14 at the half. With a running attack that was gashing the thin Arkansas line at will and the game on the line, A&M coach Mike Sherman twice chose to punt on fourth and very short near midfield. You can take the Aggies out of the Big 12, but you can’t take the Aggie out of A&M.


Texas is close. I think Texas will need to be lucky as well as good in the Cotton Bowl this weekend, because very good 21-year-olds are generally better than very good 18-year-olds. But I’m not giving up, either. There is a chance.

Kansas State somehow managed to beat Baylor despite Robert Griffen III’s 5 touchdown passes. Baylor’s defense look like A&M’s second half. In both halves. KSU is better than expected. A lot better.

South Florida’s turn in the glass slipper ended at Pitt, 44-17.

Auburn decided to stack the line and not let Marcus Lattimore beat them. It was time for SC’s quarterback to step up. He couldn’t, and the Gamecocks’ season appears to be heading south. Auburn, though, is now 4-1 in a season expected to require stiff drinks.

Seriously, back in August, did anyone think that Illinois and Michigan would be undefeated and 5-0? Both should be 6-0 this time next week. Then the fun begins.

Georgia Tech and Michigan are close, too.

Closer to home?

Texas Tech outscored Kansas 45-34 after falling 20 points behind to start the game. I’d hope that Tech beats A&M Saturday, but I don’t think the Raiders could tackle your average grandmother. And on any list of Aggie shortcomings, clumsy running backs are not included. Additional schadenfreude seems unlikely.

Houston managed to beat UTEP 49-42 as Case Keenum passed for 510 yards. Did I mention abysmal tackling?

SMU downed TCU in Fort Worth, 40-33 in overtime.

North Texas lost to Tulsa 41-24.

Rice gave up 48 points to Southern Miss while scoring only 24. Is anyone seeing a pattern here? Let’s total it up:

Rice 48

A&M 42

Houston 42

TCU 40

SMU 33

Tech 34


North Texas 41

Baylor 36

Why is it that in a state with so many great high school players to choose, there isn’t anybody–sans the University of Texas–who can play a lick of defense? The Great State allowed a ridiculous average of 40.5 points this week. Why?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Somebody please explain it to me. I don’t get it.

At least we still have the game at the State Fair. Fried beer and corny dogs and Ferris Wheels and football. Ah, football! I am old enough to remember when it was a game.

God, please let Texas win. A blowout would be nice, but I’ll take a 1-point fluke. Please. Amen.

Read more Beauty Contest Standings: week 4, week 3, week 2, and week 1.


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