We like to set aside this spot on Wednesday afternoons to check in around the SB Nation network to see some of the great content being created elsewhere. We spent the last couple of weeks checking around the Mothership, but this week we head back to the Big 12, being that WVU finally plays their first league game this week. And since it's Baylor that's up first for the Mountaineers, Our Daily Bears is up first here:
In case you missed it in the Shotgun/Throwdown this morning, ODB checks in on WVU looking at the 5 key Mountaineers they'll face this Saturday. No real surprises here:
1. Geno Smith -- QB -- #12 -- He's the Heisman favorite at this point and the QB executing the best Robert Griffin III impersonation since the man himself. All he's done so far is complete 81.4% of his passes so far for 1072 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Thankfully, due to the efforts of Maryland's defense, we won't have to hear about his TD-to-incompletion ratio during our game, but he's easily the best QB we've seen this year so far and might be the best we see the rest of the way. Physically, he stands 6-3 and weighs 214 pounds, so I'm guessing he's probably a little bigger than you expected. He's also probably not nearly as good of a runner, though he moves skillfully in the pocket to avoid the rush and can make plays with his feet when he has to. I'm willing to bet, however, that Dana Holgerson wishes he never had to because he's not exactly fleet of foot. So far this season he's rushed for "only" 67 yards on 16 carries, less than our own Nick Florence in both yardage and YPC, and 65 of those came against Marshall in the first game of the season. Since that game he's actually rushed for only 2 yards on 8 carries. What I'm saying is that he doesn't run well and we should take advantage of that. Maryland did by bringing constant pressure with their linebackers and it paid off for them with the first two sacks allowed by the Mountaineers this season.
Blitzing constantly may lead to different problems, however, because though he's no RGIII with his legs, Smith has a cannon for an arm and makes good decisions. WVU has surrounded him with fast receivers not unlike our own and he finds them to the tune of nearly 360 passing yards per game. That puts defenses in sort of a Catch-22 where if you blitz he may burn you but if you don't, he may burn you anyway when his receivers get open. Hardly anyone has corners capable of locking WVU's receivers down indefinitely. Speaking of receivers...
2. Tavon Austin -- WR -- #1 -- WVU's version of Tevin Reese in both style and production, Austin is the biggest playmaker on the Mountaineer offense outside of Smith himself. His best tool is, like Reese, tremendous athleticism reflected in raw speed and agility in the open field. When he gets the ball in space and the defender doesn't have a good angle, it's basically over. Already this season he's caught 5 of Smith's 12 touchdown passes and racked up 345 yards on 34 (!!) receptions. That's double the number of receptions of Terrance Williams, who leads Baylor's team. If Smith can find Austin he will, and if he finds him, things normally go pretty well. They certainly did last week when Austin set career highs in receptions (13), yards (179), and TDs (3).
Next up is Bring On the Cats with an update on their Heisman candidate, Collin Klein:
Sure, 13 of 21 for 149 yards plus 17 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown doesn't seem all that impressive. Luckily, this was the Fox Game of the Week on national television, so it's safe to assume most voters are aware of just how vital a role Klein played in K-State's upset.
Along with not making any significant mistakes (that inexplicable pass into the ground to stop the clock on the final drive was probably his biggest error) Klein simply came through in the clutch. Repeatedly. The Wildcats were 7 of 14 on 3rd down conversions, and let's not forget two of those seven failures came within a yard of success (one was rectified by a determined QB sneak for the first) and another only came about because Torell Miller isn't good at catching footballs.
Yes, Klein missed one deep pass to Chris Harper, but he also made a good one to Tramaine Thompson and even found the aggressive Harper of old downfield for a big gain. It was by no means an astonishing display of accuracy, but we always know Klein will provide in other areas to make up for that deficiency.*
The folks over at Burnt Orange Nation couldn't help but feel some schadenfreude in the Sooner loss to K-State, but then it dawned on them that Texas still has to play the "Purple Merlin." P.S. You need to visit the full article for the LSUFreek gif alone:
Wow. From Sooner schadenfreude to fear of death at the hands of Purple Merlin. Drinking some tasty booze, no less.
This started out as a happy post and ended in a bad place. A bad, bad bad bad badbadbad place. Apologies for that, but such is the road to Purple Merlin's palace. A road the Longhorns are on, regardless of the outcome of the three season-defining contests.
I'm a Longhorn fan, and all I want for Christmas is to beat the Purple Merlin. Please, Santa, please.
P.S. Please remember to deliver the gift on December 1st. Consider it an early present.
And this all comes to a culmination with the final installment of the PAC series by our dumpster burning buddies from Wide Right & Natty Light. The final victim is Texas Tech. Again, visit the full article for the righteous gif:
Make no mistake friends, this is an evil place. A place full of degenerate sinners haunted by their crimes. Theirs is a damnation that extends deep into the past, to a time known as 2009.
That original sin? Firing Mike Leach. Yes, the pirate himself, the man who led Texas Tech to previously unknown heights was fired at the whim of special interest groups. And when I say special, I don't mean extraordinary. I mean the man responsible for Mike Leach's termination may well ride the short bus. Even his name sends a shiver up your spine. Craig James. There! You just felt a chill, didn't you?!
Now, we would never impugn someone's reputation without proof, but what do we really know about Craig James' past? Maybe someone should check on his time at SMU. Maybe do a little digging around Dallas. Like literally digging, with a shovel. Because maybe five ladies of the evening filled with Craig James' DNA might just turn up in shallow graves on the outskirts of town. Just saying. Go to the House of Thrill Repute off Route 289. Ask for Gladys. She'll tell you some stories.