Flying Purple People Eaters

Greetings, football maniacs! This week, we look forward to uncomfortable visits from our relatives, getting out our eating pants, tryptophan overdoses, and football! Verily, I say, we will have football, and be grateful for it. This week, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs travel to Austin to take on the ‘Horns in an old-fashioned Southwest Conference rivalry game. Will the TCU players shoot blood out their eye sockets like real horned frogs? That remains to be seen! I’ll certainly be watching. Gametime is 7:30 p.m., Eastern Time. You know where you live. Adjust accordingly. The football gods have indeed smiled upon us, for in this week where we are giving thanks, the game will be shown on a station that normal mortal humans receive on their television boxes in their regular human living rooms. ESPN! Hooray!

Look, I’m not making up that thing about shooting blood out their eyes. It’s called autohaemorrhaging, and it’s a defense against predators. Use that and “loess” in a sentence at a cocktail party and watch people flock to you! More fun facts about horned toads. They aren’t toads or frogs at all, but actually lizards. The Texas horned lizard is the most widely distributed of the U.S. species.

So, this week we say goodbye to an old tradition. The ‘Horns and Aggies have met in this hotly contested rivalry game for the last 100 years. That’s a long time! And now, we’re saying farewell to them as they scamper off to the SEC, to beat Alabama and do other heroic acts, like keeping their shoes on the correct feet. We wish them well, but only a little bit. They remain rivals, even if we don’t meet them on the field as often. It seems the Aggies are having a hard time letting go of the Longhorns. Not so for the Longhorns. No hard feelings, see ya 100 years from now.

The ‘Horns were invested in keeping that Thanksgiving Day tradition alive, and the Texas vs. TCU match-up was born. For that, I am grateful.

Let’s talk stats! TCU is actually one of Texas’s oldest rivals. They were part of the Southwest Conference from 1923 until it disbanded in 1995. This year is TCU’s first in the Big 12. Welcome back, hope you lose! One of the greatest things about traveling to Fort Worth to a game back in the day was seeing the old ladies in their purple fur coats. Who owns a fur coat in Texas? Rich ladies from Fort Worth, that’s who. It does get cold up toward the Dallas Metroplex, and it was always a spectacle to see them in the stands, being really, really purple. The last meeting between the two teams was 2007, when the ‘Horns bested TCU 34-13. Texas owns the series record at 61-20-1. Here’s hoping they make it 62 wins on Thursday.

We have every reason to be hopeful and optimistic, considering the much-improved play on both sides of the ball by the ‘Horns. The defense is showing steady improvement every week. In my mind it’s because Coach Brown has offered to shave his head into a Mohawk should the team win out. Because, I’d pay to see that. In reality, Coach Brown has taken a more active role with the defense. The efforts are paying off. My ulcer is getting smaller. I don’t have nightmares where I’m being chased by a dragon with Manny Diaz’s head. Now it’s just Nick Saban.

Texas comes into the game having won their last four, including an impressive road win against Texas Tech. The ‘Horns racked up 609 yards of offense in the Iowa State game alone! With the upside-down clown car the BCS has become, anything is possible, and I hope the ‘Horns keep this great motivation going.

TCU comes in with a 6-4 overall record, but they’re 3-4 in conference play. Texas is 5-2 in the conference and 8-2 overall. TCU has performed better on the road than at home, and Texas has performed pretty well (if a little erratically) in both settings. We’ve seen the ‘Horns really buckle down and have a super effective game on the road, and we’ve seen them fall apart at home. The trend is for incremental improvements every week. Looking for more of the same, y’all!

David Ash on the season has completed just over 69% of his passes for 2,354 yards. Not too shabby! TCU’s quarterback, Trevone Boykin, is a freshman. At 6’2” and 215 pounds, he’s no shrinking violet. He’s completed a shade over 58% of his passes for 1540 yards…AND 8 INTERCEPTIONS. That’s right: EIGHT. The Texas secondary just needs to have a rover hanging in the backfield looking for wayward passes. We’re all aware of the power available to Texas at the running back position, including part-time spirit animal Johnathan Gray. TCU brings B.J. Catalon and Matthew Tucker with their running game. This duo has produced running totals of 445 and 410 yards. They are well below Texas’s top producers, but nothing to get too cocky about.

The oddsmakers favor Texas by a touchdown. The over/under is 58. Bet wisely, children!

So this week, Texas comes in hopefully refreshed and ready, having a bye last Saturday while other teams were crashing and burning through the BCS rankings. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Oregon. And Kansas State! I had mixed feelings about Texas playing K State, honestly. I was hoping, truly and honestly, for a BCS title game pitting Oregon against K State in a battle of the unbeaten. Now we have all this nonsense and tomfoolery, and we have Notre Dame on top of the heap. My husband, H, and I were at the Oregon game, freezing and getting rained on. That game broke all my intact feeling-bones. They’re all gone now. I’m just a shell with no feelings. Like a noodle. With a fainting couch and smelling salts.

After the tragic loss by Oregon (a tragedy of their own making, I might add), I logged on to some sports websites to see what the discussions looked like. That was my first mistake. Some sports writers were already asking which SEC team would now be in the BCS title game. I was all, LOLWUT? We now have this morass of teams with one loss. Quality teams! With ONE loss! And all you sports people can think about is getting the SEC back in the mix? I have some theories and feelings (they’re in a cast) about why this happens with pollsters. There is a clear SEC bias, and I will probably devote a whole post to my fever-dream rantings against them. Yeah, it’s true, we can LITERALLY have a national championship game without an SEC team. It’s been done in the past, and the world kept on spinning.

My second mistake was leaving a comment on the sports arm of one of my favorite websites (Gawker, holla!). I posed the same question: Why can’t we consider a world where the SEC isn’t in the title game? Among the colorful replies I received was one where the commenter said he thought the new commenting system would keep out the “r*&@rds.”

So come along with me, fellow traveler, and we will see what havoc this week in college football will wreak. I’ll have the gin and the life preservers. Bring your iron constitution and a good pair of walking shoes.

The ‘Horns brought the Hex Rally, so look out, eyeball-blood-spitters! Texas is coming to town and they’re looking for more than a turkey. They want another one in the WIN column.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hook ‘em!

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