Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Coaches justify routs

Four league teams went over 50 points

September 22, 2005


Kevin Weiberg warned us there could be weeks like this.

In July, the Big 12 Conference commissioner said he'd prefer to see more challenging nonconference games on future league schedules to enhance the quality of September telecasts.

Weiberg did not mention the potential for a public-relations backlash from recurring blowouts of outmanned opponents on 2005 schedules. But it was easy to sense that secondary concern.

Now, the numbers are there, thanks to Saturday's results. The topic is hot because four league schools - Texas, Missouri, Texas Tech and Texas A&M; - hung 50-plus points on visiting teams in blowout victories. Tech (80) and A&M; (66) eventually reached totals that would make many basketball teams envious.

Tech quarterback Cody Hodges added fuel to the fire in the wake of an 80-21 rout of Sam Houston State by saying the Red Raiders' offense "can score 100 points" when it is clicking.

Monday, Hodges clarified his statement, emphasizing that 100 points was not a Tech goal in this week's game against Indiana State or in any game.

Mix all the elements, however, and Big 12 coaches have had some explaining to do this week, specifically, about how they walk the fine line between a dominant performance by their team and a public humiliation of another school.

"Some people will say, 'If we score 150, we score 150.' I don't agree with that," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, whose team is coming off a 52-21 victory over Troy.

"My personal opinion is, if you get to a point where you humiliate people, the right thing to do is to back off."

For Pinkel, the humiliation zone begins "around 50" points. For Texas A&M; coach Dennis Franchione, whose team pasted SMU, 66-8, there is no set number. It's all about intentions.

"I think if you're the one doing the scoring and you're not substituting and playing a lot of people, you open yourself up for criticism," said Franchione, who used roughly 80 players against the Mustangs. "If you're losing and you're the one that can't control the score, a little of that falls on your shoulders, too."

Without question, intent is everything in these situations. All four schools that posted big numbers Saturday did so while flooding the field with reserves throughout the second half.

Still, the topic has been a hot one this week. But any blame directed at Big 12 coaches is misplaced, said Iowa State coach Dan McCarney.

"If a game gets out of control, that's a signal to you on the losing end," McCarney said. "You've got to get your program better."


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