Posted October 24th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Football

SI.com is predicting the second half of the 2009 season and they don’t foresee good things for the Texas Longhorns. Only one out of six of their experts thinks the Horns will end up in the BCS title game and even worse that would mean some awful “no win” matchups in the Fiesta Bowl. Texas better keep winning, because a bowl game against [tag]Boise State[/tag], [tag]Cincinnati[/tag], or [tag]TCU[/tag] does not sound fun.

Link: SI.com’s 2009 midseason Crystal Ball

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In the last couple of weeks, Sports Illustrated has been releasing “Thrill Lists” across the various major sports and their list for college football has quite the burnt orange tint to it. According to writer Austin Murphy, former Longhorn greats [tag]Earl Campbell[/tag] and [tag]Vince Young[/tag] are the two most electrifying players to ever play the game.

Check out the writeups on the two Longhorns at the top below or see their list to find out all 10 players:

These lists are not mere compilations of all-time bests in their respective sports but all-time bests at quickening the pulse and evoking a visceral response from those fortunate enough to have witnessed their artistry. […]

2. Earl Campbell, Texas
The Tyler Rose rushed for 4,443 yards — the bulk of them at the expense of defenders he head-butted or stiff-armed or trampled underfoot. The two-time All America and 1977 Heisman winner was, according to Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, “the greatest player who ever suited up.”

1. Vince Young, Texas
Even before his near-miraculous, national-title-clinching performance in the ’06 Rose Bowl (VY passed for 267 yards and rushed for an even 200, including a game-winning, nine-yard scramble with 19 seconds remaining), the rangy dual-threat QB specialized in leading outrageous, you-cannot-be-serious comebacks: from 28 points down against Oklahoma State in 2004; from 10 down against Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl, after which he had the prescience to promise, “We’ll be back!”

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SI NFL expert Peter King was apparently up watching with us as Texas and Boston College played a 25-inning marathon Saturday night. He devoted an entire page of his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column to Texas pitcher [tag]Austin Wood[/tag], heaping high praise on him and providing some really good quotes from Austin and Coach [tag]Augie Garrido[/tag].

Stat of the Week/Hero of the Week

[…] “In my 41 years of coaching,” said Texas coach Augie Garrido, “the effort by Austin Wood was the best pitching performance I have ever seen.” […]

When he walked off the field, just after midnight, everyone in the stadium rose and cheered. The Longhorn bench emptied and met him with cheers and high-fives and hugs in front of the dugout. The BC dugout cheered.

“The coolest feeling I ever had on a baseball field,” Wood said. “I can’t lie. I wanted to soak in every second of it. The BC kids, what class. That was incredible. I just wanted to make sure I enjoyed the best moment I’ve ever had in baseball. But I wasn’t satisfied. Not at all. We had to win this game.”

Austin Dicharry, the reliever, got two quick outs to send the game to the 21st. and Texas won it in the 25th, finally, on a Travis Tucker RBI single to right — after Tucker had gone one-for-11 up to that point.

Wood heard what Garrido said about him, about how it was the greatest pitching performance he’d seen in 41 years. “Now that is pretty cool,” Wood said. “I can’t lie — that’s some unbelievable praise.”

There may have been higher praise. “But I have to tell you what was the most incredible thing after the game. The president of the university came to me after the game, and this is a direct quote. He told me, ‘That’s probably the best athletic performance ever at the University of Texas.’ I mean, wow. Earl Campbell, Vince Young.”

Now there came the physical toll. “As soon as I started icing it,” he said, “I knew it was going to hurt. And it did. It does. But boy, is it worth it. I was on Cloud 9 all night. I couldn’t fall asleep. I got to bed around 4:30, I guess.”

“Did you sleep OK?” I asked.

“About four hours,” Wood said. “But I’ll tell you this: Fell asleep smiling, woke up smiling.”

And that is why we love sports.

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Two of my favorite things about Sports Illustrated growing up were the weekly “Sign of the Apocalypse” and “They Said It” bits in ever issue. They were a glimpse at the weird and interesting side of sports that we didn’t get to see much before we had access to the the ubiquitous freak show we call the Internet.

In this week’s issue (with “Up For Grabs” cover) two former Texas defensive linemen were featured, just another sign of the tons of Horns now playing throughout the NFL. Defensive end [tag]Brian Orakpo[/tag] had an awkward quote about he’ll fit in NFL defenses, “a versatile guy is a guy who can be very versatile.” Very well put Brian. Meanwhile, in this week’s “Sign of the Apocalypse”:

The Browns’ [tag]Shaun Rogers[/tag] reportedly wants to be traded, in part because new coach Eric Mangini didn’t say hello to at the team’s practice facility in January.

I’m sure more there’s more to the Rogers/Mangini story, judging by his quick and unceremonious exit from New York he definitely appears to be a tough person to like. You don’t have to be friends with your coaches or teammates, but someone small and petty enough to intentionally walk past you without saying high doesn’t exactly earn much respect.

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