Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Five Reasons Kansas Could Win

For those that were skeptical, I did come up with five reasons. You may not agree with many (or any) of them, but they are five reasons. And if all five actually happen, I'll feel great about our chances. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any more links that even broached the hilarity of yesterday's, so you'll just have to settle for my thoughts.

1. Weather. Admittedly, this is a stupid reason. But the weather report in Austin today reveals a high of 79 and a low of 60 with some isolated thunderstorms. Meanwhile, in Lawrence we're looking at a high of 49, a low of 39 and a constant drizzle. The current forecast for Saturday has us at a high of 46, a low of 26 and 20 mph winds. With an AM kickoff, I'd expect game temperatures in the upper 30's, though the wind chill will have us feeling a little bit nipplier. Of Texas' 10 games this year, exactly one has been played outside of their home state. It was played in lovely Boulder on October 4th, so suffice it to say, they haven't been exposed to much cold weather.

Will it help us? I have no idea. But by using nothing more than location, game date and memory, it looks like they've played in cold weather exactly three times in the last 5 years. In 2004, they went 1-0 and I'm guessing most of you remember how that win came. They played none in '05. In 2006, they went 1-1 with a gift of a win in Nebraska and a loss in Manhattan. And they haven't played in one since then. So it certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility that they could be affected by the blustery conditions.

2. Man defense. Due either to Duane Akina, Texas' young secondary, or both, they really can't play a zone. On the one hand, this sucks, because Todd can usually pick apart a zone with some time. But with time at a premium, it doesn't make much difference. So given the relative inexperience of their DBs and the preference of most receivers to go against man, this could be a good thing. Besides that, 1/3 of their starting defense just might be drunk.

Will it help us? Partially. We all know how Dezmon likes man coverage, so he should be in for a big day. And in a game where pressure is sure to be an issue, making it tough to sustain drives, it would be huge to get some big plays out of Dez. On the other hand, Kerry is usually better against a zone where he can find the soft spots, rather than have to work against one specific player as he nurses an injury. Despite Texas' athletic ability, there will be mismatches to exploit. None of their linebackers are particularly great in coverage. Earl Thomas is a pretty good safety, Blake Gideon is not, and they're both freshman. And they have no chance of covering Dez with just one guy (I think they'll try with Ryan Palmer). So we really should have some success against this group if we have time for plays to develop. It will be important to capitalize on opportunities though, because Muschamp doesn't like to make the same mistake twice.

3. Greg Davis. By pretty much every standard, he has had a great year. Texas is averaging over 44 points and 476 yards of offense per game. You can't ask for anything more than that. And though it's certainly not their strength, they've usually found a way to run the ball to keep things balanced (176 ypg). But Texas is a four wide team. It's what they do best and it's who they are. When they're taken out of this, they fall back to earth a bit and that's what happened in Lubbock.

Will it help us? I'm not sure. And unfortunately, I'm leaning towards no. Tech was able to get pressure with their front four which scared Greg into a more conservative offense that utilized a TE that couldn't really catch or block. We won't be able to do this, so we have to find other ways to scare Greg. And Mangino can only be asked to do so much. We absolutely won't win this game if we don't: a) force mistakes; b) force bad play-calling, or more likely c) both. If this means having Holt in a three point stance more often and replacing him with Arist, then that's what needs to be done. If this means dropping 8 and sending 3 while showing 5, then that's what needs to be done. If it means doing both and confusing the hell out of them, then that's what needs to be done. There's no chance we're stopping this team, but I'd like to believe that we could at least contain them. We'll see.

4. Todd Reesing. Last week was not his best game. And he still threw for 304 yards, 3 TDs and ran for another. Of course, there was also the 50% completion rate (and some of them were just misses on his part), the late INT (hell of a play though), and the 5 sacks he took. Though that last one can hardly be blamed on him. In fact, barely any of the blame should fall on him considering the pressure he was under and how much he had to create on his own. As I said the other day, if that first TD to Kerry didn't perfectly embody him, I don't know what does. Just an amazing play and we're going to need some more in that mold to sneak out a victory this week.

Will it help us? Absolutely. Whether he's been at his best or not, there's really only been one time in his tenure as a starter that he wasn't giving us the best chance to win (3rd quarter v. Tech). In every other game, whether it has come easily or he's had to improvise as he goes, he's found a way to keep putting points on the board and keep us in the game. It's a high standard to hold him to, but we can only hope for more of the same this week, because things are almost assuredly not going to come easy for him and his line. And assuming Colt is carving up our defense like most skilled quarterbacks have been doing, we're gonna need to keep putting up points just to keep the pace.

5. Memorial Stadium. First off, a shot at the Texas fans (likely not the ones actually taking the time to read this), but from the looks of this fan's perspective I don't think we'll see a plethora of burnt orange in the crowd on Saturday. Which makes it all the more important that the rest of us completely drown out the few that do make the trip. We've had plenty of practice with these early games, so by now you should have figured out how to be drunk and loud by 11:30. For some reason (i.e. it was Homecoming and everyone was out extremely late), this wasn't the case against Tech and I happen to believe it played a part. On paper, the team has little to no chance of winning this game, but as we know from being the favorite in nearly every basketball game we ever play – that doesn't always matter. The crowd can and should play a big part Saturday.

Will it help us? Definitely. It's no secret that Kansas fans have been waiting for this game since 2004 (if you need a good refresher, Tully Corcoran has a good post up) and should be ready to go. We had great energy for the K-State game and they're worthless, so there's no excuse not to be fired up this weekend. As I've said every time I've used this reason before, the stadium obviously isn't going to win the game for us and we're by no means invisible there, but we have no reason to believe it won't at least help. The only question will be; how much?

Rock Chalk!

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