Texas versus Texas A&M Thoughts & Pictures

Order was restored to the universe Thursday evening, with Texas defeating Texas A&M by the largest margin of victory in the series since the 19th century, Mack Brown getting his 200th career win, and the Longhorns taking sole possession of the record for the second most winning program in NCAA football.

Was it enough to hold off Oklahoma in the BCS chase? Maybe. Maybe not. It was a impressive victory, and Mack Brown was able to maintain his classiness by calling off the dogs early in the fourth quarter. From here, we just have to let the chips fall where they may.

My bride and I started off the game day by heading down to the stadium early to watch the team walk in. They arrive via buses about two and a quarter hours before kickoff, and enter through the north gate (the same place that Longhorn Band marches in).

Then we strolled over to the University of Texas Club for their buffet, and up to our seats in Section 127 for the pre-game show.

Finally, it was game time and Texas dominated from the opening kickoff.

Great turnout for the game, especially considering that it was a holiday. And, of course, there were 45-35 signs everywhere.

Being the Texas A&M game, the Corps marched at halftime.

And, of course, the Longhorn Band marched as well.

The Aggie Band was impressive as always. While their formations aren’t what one would call complicated, they do what they do very, very well. In fact, in their final pass across the field, you could see the footsteps in the grass where each player had stepped in the exact spot of the marcher in front of him.

While I’ve been somewhat unimpressed with the formations by Longhorn Band this year, their closing yesterday was nice. After they hit their final formation, they started to march off the field. You could see that each band member had left one shoe behind, so the formation remained in place in shoes. It was a neat effect.

So, some thoughts on the game…

It certainly seems that the field keeper failed in his job somehow. While there had been a bit of drizzle during the day, the field seemed like it was soaked. Players were slipping all over the place, and the field definitely degraded as the game went on.

The closing in of the north endzone with the upper deck has done great things for the crowd noise levels. If they ever close in the south endzone, DKR could be an intimidating place to play.

I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Stephen McGee. While somewhere along the way he forgot how to throw, he’s always been a warrior. He beat us twice, and kept it closer his freshman year than any of us liked. His smack talk after being sacked last night was a punk move. His team was down by multiple touchdowns and he needed to be a man about it.

Not that I can completely blame him. He was certainly in a tough spot. He loses his starting position to Jerrod Johnson a month or two ago and gets sent into an impossible situation against Texas. He’s got no offensive line to speak of, and he knows he’s going to take a beating.

And he didn’t even get the start.

Will Muschamp and his defense did an amazing job, holding the Aggies to single digits. A&M had been getting their points all season, and we put a hurt on them. I would have preferred a shutout, but I’ll take it.

Other than Colt McCoy, our running game is horrible. Scipio of Barking Carnival had a fantastic analysis of the Texas running game a couple of weeks ago. It’s a must read.

At times, Greg Davis seems to have a misunderstanding of the appropriate times to call certain plays. He can certainly develop players and has decent offensive schemes, but there are some fundamental play-calling problems.

Mack Brown proved yet again that he’s a true gentleman. Calling off the dogs like he did, when he had every excuse to let them run, shows that his ethics are not situational.

Colt McCoy should at least be in the top three for the Heisman Trophy. Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow will be up there with him. Frankly, either Bradford or McCoy should win, but I think they may split the midwest vote, giving it to Tebow.

Tomorrow’s games are big, of course. Most helpful and most possible would be an upset of Oklahoma by Oklahoma State. I’m not holding my breath. It the OU that played Texas Tech shows up, it will be ugly.

Assuming wins by both Oklahoma and Texas Tech, it’s going to be very close between Oklahoma and Texas in the BCS. Texas may have done enough to hold off Oklahoma, but it’s going to come down to the human voters.

Technical Notes: The images above were taken with my Nikon Coolpix P80. The optical zoom on it is much higher than anything I can bring into the stadium for my D200. Still learning about the camera, but it was good practice given that I won’t be able to bring the D200 into the Dallas/New York game in a couple of weeks. They don’t allow any SLR’s into Texas Stadium, apparently.

I had to jack the ISO way up to freeze the action, thus the high noise levels.

The lens seemed to flare easily. My experience with digicams is quite limited, however, so I don’t know if that’s a particular characteristic of the P80, or simply the way digicams behave.

I shot some video as well. Lots of Cloverfield-type camera shake, but I think I captured some decent clips. I’ll need to edit them a bit, but I hope to upload some soon.

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