Moving the goalposts
Sam Ehlinger turned 21 on Monday, but he’s been a man since he was 14. Texas has only had three leaders at QB like No. 11: James Street, Vince Young, and Colt McCoy. And the legend of Pigskin Jupiter, named after the Roman god of third-down conversions, still has more than a year and a half to grow at the XL Acres.
Here’s the simple path to victory: If Ehlinger outplays the other team’s quarterback, Texas wins. That’s how it will go the whole season. Joe Burrow of Lying State University is the only opposing QB to out-sling Sam so far, but we’ll get those AC-deniers in Baton Rouge next year!
But, first, the always problematic West Virginia Mountaineers, who are also 3-1 after beating North Carolina State at home and Kansas on the road. Texas is a 10.5-point favorite, which is kinda crazy, considering the Longhorns will be as welcome in Morgantown as AOC is at a Trump rally. Take the uproar over favorite son Red Sovine being passed over by Ken Burns' Country Music docuseries and times it by 10,000. Since most of those people live in a holler, they can sure make a lot of noise.
We'll see if the upside-down Horns sign, frowned on by NCAA officials, will be in full effect. But, to be fair, the zebra-striped whistleblowers have threatened an unsportsmanlike penalty if the Longhorn band plays “Dueling Banjos” on Saturday.
The Mountaineers have coal-cocked Texas three of the past four years — and probably would’ve made it four straight if Brandon Jones didn’t break All-American QB Will Grier’s finger in the first quarter of the 2017 game. Grier got revenge last year, running in a two-point conversion for a 42-41 win.
Even after a bye week, the Horns come into the game as banged-up as Vontaze Burfict’s locker. The defense’s two NFL locks — defensive backs Caden Sterns and Jalen Green (aka Clobber and Glue) — are out for October, and WR Collin Johnson and DB DeMarvion Overshown could also be in street clothes. The good news is that B.J. Foster, the DB who plays like an LB, is back in action for the 2:30 pm kickoff on ABC. And Texas has the nation's leading pass receiver, with 39 catches, in Devin Duvernay. He's had fewer drops than a Willis Alan Ramsey album release schedule.
Texas has the fourth best offense in college football, after Oklahoma, LSU, and Alabama, but if Hall & Oates had a song called “Trap Game,” I’d link to it right now. It’s impossible not to look past the rebuilding Mountaineers to next week's big game against Oklahoma, who’ve got the elite status Coach Herman craves. (An elite salary doesn’t count.)
West Virginia will be going all out, especially the Stills brothers, Dante and Darius, on the D-line, but UT should be walking tall out of Buford Pusser Stadium on Saturday. Our Sammy will outplay Austin Kendall, which is not the name of a white wine. He’s the West Virginia QB, a grad transfer who sat on the bench at Oklahoma for three years. You have to wonder how good he is if he couldn’t beat out Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, or Jalen Hurts!
You’re a trap game and you’ve gone too far
‘Cause you know it don’t matter anyway
You can rely on the old man’s hyping
You can rely on the Kirk Bohls' typing
But you’re a trap game and that won’t get you too far...