I've had the chance to consider Saturday night's win over Eastern Washington and after writing the defensive drive chart and the offensive drive chart I had some meandering thoughts that at the time weren't really connected, but maybe now I can draw some conclusions.
- EWU's first touchdown, Drive #6, started at Texas Tech's own 7, that one hell of a gift by the Texas Tech offense. I'm not saying that we shouldn't count this touchdown, but EWU was rewarded and the Texas Tech defense punished for a poorly thrown Harrell pass that resulted in a EWU interception.
- EWU's 2nd and 3rd touchdown were legitimate. Much credit goes to EWU for nicely performed drives.
- It should also be pointed out that Texas Tech's 1st, 9th and 12th drives all started in and around the EWU 30 yard line and only scored on the 1st drive. That's some pretty sweet field position and I'm mentioning those drives because those could also be looked at gifts, but we'll look at them as good defensive plays. I think it's also important to note that the 9th drive was the one where Harrell tried to go for it on 4th and 2 (I think we should have given the ball to Crawford, Woods or Batch) and the 12th drive was the missed Carona field goal.
- Peter mentioned this in his Big 12 Roundup, that per play, Texas Tech only allowed 4.3 yards per play, which is really pretty good. As much flack that the Texas Tech defense has received, it should certainly be pointed out that the defense wasn't that bad. EWU had 5.4 yards per passing attempt, which is pretty darn poor and means that EWU was moving more horizontally than vertically. Just for comparison purposes, Graham Harrell had a 9.2 yards per passing attempt, which is off the charts. I think that anything over 8 is good, but once you get into something over 9, then you're really getting the ball down the field. More simply, I think that the 341 passing yards is overrated a bit. Yes, it would be more simple to request that the Texas Tech defense just stop EWU, but this is not an inept offense and I think they would have some success against most, if not all, BCS teams.
- I don't want to get on any sort of moral argument about what's right and what's wrong, but we've talked about the mental errors and how 169 penalty yards is just too much, but how do these mental errors compare to UT's Lamarr Houston getting arrested for DWI early Sunday morning. Houston is now out at least a game and both instances are obvious lapses in judgment that has the potential to affect the team in a negative manner, it's the degree of the error that's the difference. I think what I'm trying to say here is that there's no question Houston's error in judgment is going to affect the team, although I'm not sure that voters in the various polls will be affected by his actions, but voters will consider the penalties for Texas Tech. Houston's actions will, at least for one game, affect his team, possibly more. Meanwhile, Texas Tech will certainly get criticized, and rightfully so, for the number of penalties and those penalties certainly had an effect on Saturday night's game, but there shouldn't be any long-term effect on the team and it's a correctable problem. (Ed Note: I may be way off base here, too much time to think about a football game.)
- Does Texas Tech still deserved to be ranked in the Top 25? In Kyle's initial week 2 thoughts, he doesn't have Texas Tech in his top 18 and I'm currently trying to take a look at each of these 18 teams and asking myself if each of these 18 teams had a better performance than Texas Tech. Kyle readily admits that Georgia didn't play up to it's #1 ranking against Georgia Southern and he's dropped them 3 spots. Meanwhile, he had Texas Tech at #22 to begin the season and I'm curious if Kyle drops Texas Tech completely for not meeting expectations. I respect Kyle's rankings, which is why I've mentioned this and I think it's a good question to ask, to at least make you go through the exercise as to whether or not a 25 point win against a FCS opponent should knock you down a few spots. I think the most difficult thing here is that it's so dang hard gauge highly ranked FCS teams relative to their lower ranked BCS opponents. I'm convinced that EWU isn't a bad team (in fact I have much respect for the Eagles) and they've got a quarterback and receiver that quite a few BCS teams would love to have. What I am asking is how much do we discount Texas Tech's performance because EWU is a FCS team? LSU beat #1 Appalachian State by 28, West Virginia beat #19 Villanova by 27, and Georgia beat #17 Georgia Southern by 24. And although North Carolina isn't ranked (they did receive some votes in all polls) they only managed a 8 point win against #10 McNeese State. Texas Tech's 25 point win over #9 Eastern Washington doesn't seem that bad in comparison to some of the better FCS teams.
I'd love your thoughts and comments as well.