Things you can't live without as you prepare to sit and watch college football this weekend.
1. This Is Not 2005 For TCU.
Gary Patterson has a sense of humor, and watching him make SMU into the Texas Longhorns is funny. He is 7-1 all-time against the Mustangs. The only time he lost was one week after upsetting OU in Norman in 2005. Yes, losses that way have a way of sticking in his head.
Yes, SMU has upgraded its talent under June Jones. And, yes, SMU will make this game slightly closer than in years past. But TCU is going to cover the 18-point spread. TCU is good, but the two things I see that could be a problem in the future is a front seven that is not as dominant as in years past, and a secondary that is still green.
2. This is one of the lamest non-conference schedules in recent memory at UT.
The Horns recently released their future non-conference opponents, and it's time for Mack Brown, Bill Little and the rest of the crew down in Austin to hear it about this. They're non-conference slate is loaded with fake teams, much like Saturday's opponent, UCLA.
Brown has mastered the art of the mirage schedule, as has Gary Patterson. It's a simple formula: Find the team from the power conference that is either in the middle or near the bottom and beat them. It's a great concept.
2.1 Now, before HornedFrog nation attempts to burn down my house...
To TCU's credit, they aren't afraid. In the next few years, the Frogs will play LSU, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Arkansas. Those are real "stretch" games for TCU.
2.2 I want, as the great Clarence E. Hill Jr. says, "Big on Big"
UCLA is not a real Pac 10 team this season. This is the first time in the four-game history of UT/UCLA one of the teams is not ranked.
What UT announced this week is a slight bummer. The Horns have loaded up middle-of-the-pack or "name only" teams. A home-and-home with Ole Miss looks pretty, but under the surface we know this is not a fair fight. Same with BYU, which the Horns will play in '11 and '13.
My only hope is that when the Horns play some of these teams they will be on the "up cycle" and this will be a seriously competitive game.
What I want what I can't have - UT vs. Ohio State. UT vs. Alabama. UT vs. Oregon.
2.3 UT has won 33 of its last 36 games in September.
3. The Aggies Have Serious Issues That Can't Be Corrected Before Their Next Game
The Aggies are talented, but they are so young along the offensive and defensive lines that I'm not sure there is much The Sherminator can do to fix before they play at Okie State next Thursday. To build a program that can sustain itself, Sherman is playing his most talented players, even if they are third graders. But that means serious inexperience issues, which will mean erratic play. Players like Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore (right) are going to be all-conference players, but they're true freshmen. That kind of inexperience is going to reveal itself against 21 or 22-year-old players who have physically matured.
That said, the Aggies are talented and have defensive speed. But they aren't good enough to commit too many mistakes and expect to win.
4. If the Houston Cougars Make a Bowl Kevin Sumlin Should Be Coach of the Year
News of Heisman candidate QB Case Keenum season-ending leg injury last Saturday against UCLA pretty much ended the Coogs' chances of reaching a BCS, or winning CUSA. And when CK's backup suffered a season-ending injury in the same game the Coogs chance of a winning record may have left the building as well.
The Coogs will start true freshman QB Terrance Broadway against Tulane on Saturday.
"We don't have any choice," Sumlin said this week. "As I told our guys, we've got nine games left. Our goals have not changed. ... So the guys that are in this room, it's your time to win games. That's where we are and that's how we're approaching it."
5. Todd Dodge Is Going to be Fired At Season's End
After talking to North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal on the phone on Monday it is nearly impossible to feel that head coach Todd Dodge will be able to keep his job after this season. The Mean Green (0-3) play at Florida Atlantic this week. Dodge, who is 5-34 in his tenure in Denton, has endured a run of injuries this season worse than any other college program. But this team has to start winning now.
- Mac Engel