Stop the presses as Desmond Howard speaks gibberish

Saturday, November 15th 2008, 4:41 pm

By: News 9

ESPN analyst Desmond Howard just said something on Game Day that is beyond comprehension.

Howard said that if Texas Tech loses by less than ten points in its critical game with OU next Saturday in Norman that they should not drop below the Sooners in the rankings. Add this to the fact that Kirk Herbsteit repeatedly states that regardless if OU beats Tech and OSU in two weeks that Texas should definitely be ranked ahead of OU in a BCS tie-breaker scenario because they beat the Sooners heads up.

No wonder they believe Bob Stoops gets defensive. Who can blame him? The most watched college football show in the business has basically said OU might as well not play its final two regular season games. One guy says win and you shouldn't move up. Another says win and win-and you still should not play in the Big 12 title game and effectively have the inside shot at playing for the national championship.

Back to Howard and what he said this morning. Dubious of the statement and perhaps thinking his sidekick misstated his true feelings, veteran host Chris Fowler gave Howard a chance to back off his statement. But he didn't adding something about "greased fish-" appropriate wording since that bizarre line of thinking smells like a pool dead perch fish that have been floating in a skanky fishing hole near Lubbock. Howard was hopefully confused when he called Texas Tech quarterback Graham "Hu-RELL".

Howard comments were shallow, bizarre and fishy. It should not come as a shocker that Howard could come up with something like this. He doesn't strike one as committing a great deal of time doing homework. In a recent phone interview apparently done while riding in a limo in OKC with local radio station WWLS Howard sounded somewhere between extraordinarily distracted and in the midst of a happy hour.

His responses to simple questions where at times lame, baseless, strange and at other times so far off the subject that several listeners told me they felt sorry for him and wondered what was going on.

Howard's statements today again showed a lack of homework. First, people who are in the business of knowing a lot more about how good teams are, will have Tech around a touchdown underdog next week-meaning TT would be a 3-4 point dog at a neutral site and probably a slight dog in rowdy Lubbock.

For the record, I would never bet on that and I give OU no more than a fifty-fifty chance of beating both Tech and OSU in Stillwater. But back to the point at hand.

The second reason Howard's statements make no sense is that a Tech loss would give the favored team the identical one-loss record with the Sooners.

Third, Tech would have lost in its 11th game-a killer by everyone else in the college football world.

Fourth, a point that panel-mate Kirk Herbstreit has repeated any time the subject of a three-way Big 12 South tie-breaker comes up, a team that beats the other must be ahead of the other (although Kirk's logic is not nearly as clear-cut as Howard's for a number of reasons-although I can certainly see his point.) Finally the most important element-and one that merits significant consideration: Strength of schedule. Or lack thereof. Predictably, Tech's non-conference games consisted of weak sisters SMU, UTEP, Rice and mighty Northwestern State.

Meantime, Oklahoma pounded two ranked BCS teams: TCU is No. 18, 9-2 and could become conference champs. Cincinnati is No. 22, 8-2 and in good shape to win the Big East.

Howard has just made the knucklehead who voted Texas No. 1 the night after they'd just lost at Tech look like Einstein. Maybe Dez has a Harris poll vote and it was him. Whoever it was should have had his vote revoked.

Dez was speaking another language from everyone else with common sense. Swahili would be an improvement from what we heard today. Even Swahili would have been more easily understood than the twaddle that rolled off the lips of Howard. His opinion was incomprehensible in any language.


Of note, Game Day ran an interview with Mack Brown who might have said something he'd like to take back. Responding to a question about a possible tie-breaker which could wind up with the highest ranked team in the BCS playing in the Big 12 title game, Mack said the team playing the best at the time should be ranked ahead of the others in case a tie-breaker.

Presumably, that would not be Texas. A three-way tiebreaker involving Texas, Tech and OU, would all but certain give the Sooners the edge. They would have won their final six games.

The Sooners bounced back from the Dallas loss with a solid win over Kansas. 674 total yards, 36 first downs, including Sam Bradford's throwing for 468 yards, 3 TDs and no oskies. Bradford led his team to the nation's longest active home win streak, winning at the time 22 straight and 42 of its last 43.

Then Bradford and Co. jumped on Kansas State 35-0 en route to posting 55 in the first half before calling off the dogs in a three point second half.

Next, OU led Nebraska 28-0 after 5 ½ minutes of play scoring 62 and then erupting minutes after the game watching Texas lose at Tech. Somehow, OU then saw an idle Texas team jump them in the ranking as they dropped from fourth to six.

Next was Texas A/M, which was the biggest home underdog in school history. They proceeded to give up the most points ever at Kyle Field. QB Sam Bradford was pulled in the middle of the third and the mercy rule was instituted.

Of course this scenario would also mean the Sooners would have beaten No. 2 Tech and at arch-rival OSU.

So, it would be hard to convince anyone-aside from the fellow at the North Pole-that OU would not be playing better than the others. The national perception that the Sooner defense is not up to title standards definitely hurts. And it will likely take more hits if TT and OSU do as expected and post big numbers. But before this three-way scenario mess kicks in, Texas gets to sit back and watch the OU defense squirm as it attempts to slow down TT and OSU. They'll have to pull for their hated Norman rivals to beat Tech. But then they get to pull for the other team that hates their Norman rivals.

Oddly, Texas could still be on the outside looking in as they might be left watching two teams play for the Big 12 title that they beat-OU and Missouri.

But don't fret yet Bevo. There's a good chance that won't happen. Even then, Miami could still be your January destination. In that case the Longhorn nation could still proclaim with pride, "Hey folks....don't you know better?Don't mess with Texas."


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