Thursday, October 15, 2015

Longhorns save Charlie Strong's job with huge upset of OU

Perhaps I shouldn't have worried...Charlie Strong's Texas team pulled off a huge upset of OU Saturday.

The win effectively makes it damn near impossible for the power boosters (and the racist elements in UT fandom) to run off Charlie Strong this year.  Given his history, his recruiting prowess and eye for talent, and his strategy of starting freshmen this year,  it seems entirely that it he make it to next year, he will win enough to keep the job.

Best headline ever? " Charlie Strong beat Oklahoma. Your argument is invalid."

It cracked me up anyway...

UT is already using the win in recruiting to good effect.  It backs up the narrative "We are close to being a very good team, we just need a few more guys ---like you."

I think the importance of the win to Texas is obvious,  the impact on Oklahoma is IMO less pronounced.

People scream at what an upset it was as Texas is only ranked 55th in the Massey rankings today, but they need to take a closer look at UT's schedule so far this year.  UT has played six games and five of them were against teams ranked in the top 21 by Massey.  Of those games they lost to #21 Cal by 1 point, #12 Oklahoma State by 3, and they got stomped by #10 Notre Dame and #1 TCU before beating OU.

None of those results are all that surprising given the reliance UT has had to have on their freshmen and sophomores.  Young teams have to learn how to close out close games and when they are overmatched tend to get blown out.  And there is the fact that UT had an offensive coordinator trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole at QB in the Notre Dame game and that TCU purposefully ran up the score on UT to manufacture a recruiting asset.

Overall it suggests that Texas's placement at 55 may be the stats skewing UT far lower than they may really be.

How would #33 West Virginia, #35 Kansas State, or #44 Texas Tech have fared vs. a schedule of #10 Notre Dame, Rice, #21 California, #12 Oklahoma State, #1 TCU, and #17 Oklahoma? 

I have to think they would be 1-5 or 2-4.  Which suggests UT may be playing at a level in the 30's, not 55.

It also suggests that despite a total lack of depth, UT may have quite a good shot to be bowl eligible at the end of the year with a couple games they may be favored in vs. Kansas & Iowa State and three games that could be tossups (Tech, KSU, and West Virginia).  They also have a shot vs. Baylor as the Baylor defensive scheme is not nearly as suited to slow down UT' offense as TCU's scheme.

The loss doesn't really matter for OU.  If they win out with victories over TCU and Baylor, they will be in the playoffs.  In that regard it may actually be good for OU in that their players know the playoff effectively starts for them in the next game.

It also suggests OU is about what you'd expect them to be given their recruiting in the last 4 seasons --- a team rated in the teens with very good starters but maybe lacking the depth a real national title contender like FSU, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida, USC, Ohio State, or Alabama would have.  (Something which as I touched on in the Big 12 expansion articles may have people in the know at OU wanting to address via Big 12 expansion or moving to another conference.) 

Suspect depth is the difference between a top 6 team and a top 18 team; Suspect depth leads to the upset loss that can eliminate a school from the playoffs.

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