Why I love Mike Leach, Graham Harrell, and Texas Tech

by on December 1, 2008 · 0 comments

So, it occurred to me that I own this place and can pretty much write about whatever I like (with all due respect and apologies to my loyal readers – all three of you).

With that said, I have to make a shout-out to my favorite ‘underdog,’ my favorite ‘freak show,’ my favorite college football team of the 2008 season (since my beloved Fighting Illini dropped a huge turd this season).

As I’m sure I don’t have to tell most of you, the Big XII South is a total cluster this season, with Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma all beating up on each other and winding up in a three-way tie for first place and the right to face Missouri (blech) in the Big XII Championship Game.

So basically, in a world where Texas beats Oklahoma (earliest in the season), Texas Tech beats Texas (next in the season, logically), and Oklahoma beats (politely speaking) Texas Tech (last, see how this works?) – Oklahoma comes out on top – one is left to wonder… why?

Long story short, they had to go to the fifth tiebreaker in Big XII process to determine which team in the South goes to the title game.  Methinks they’d have been better off skipping five and six, going straight to seven.

So Oklahoma is due to play Missouri (blech), and in a way, Texas still is in better shape than some other teams hoping to sneak into the BCS Championship Game.  Now they can sit at home watching the game in Dallas, rooting for Missouri, and sneaking into the game via the backdoor.

At any rate, back to Texas Tech.  The Oklahoma game basically eliminated them from consideration for any title game – arguments about non-conference schedules and the like (and by ‘the like’ I mean the bogus reasoning that since Oklahoma has put up 60+ points in recent weeks means they are the best team – did no one notice that Oklahoma State put up 41?  Ask the Rams whether you can win solely on scoring points and never stopping the other team.  The old Rams.  You know what I’m talking about…) aside.

So again – the Red Raiders.  When asked his thoughts on how the conference should determine who represented the Big XII South in the Championship Game, Mike Leach offered the following:

“I think they should break that three-way tie based on graduation rate. I think the Big 12 conference should have an executive session [immediately],” Leach said. “When they do that, they will find that no one’s more deserving than the Red Raiders.”

Indeed, the Red Raiders boast a 79% graduation rate, first in the Big XII.  Texas came in eleventh of twelve at 50%.  Oklahoma finished dead last in their conference, with a graduation rate of 46%.  The national average is 67%.

While obviously the NCAA would never go for this standard of evaluation, it’s at most optimistic about the state of college athletics, and at worst a hilarious mockery of the BCS and the Big XII.  Kudos Mike Leach.  Put in a position where you knew you couldn’t win, at least you could still come out with the upper hand over your opponents – in an arena that a lot of people care a lot more about.

Then I read this article about Graham Harrell.

Good sweet Mary.  Read this and tell me Harrell doesn’t have a pair:

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell played with two shattered fingers on his non-throwing hand Saturday in the Red Raiders’ victory over Baylor

The source said Harrell underwent four hours of surgery Sunday on the pinkie and ring fingers on his left hand, with 17 pins and two plates inserted in his hand to heal nine separate breaks.

The source said Harrell was x-rayed at halftime, and the Tech medical staff told him he was done for the day. Harrell responded, “Tape my hand up. I’m going out.” Harrell finished the game with black tape around the two fingers.

So let me get this straight.  Harrell smushed up his fingers (non-throwing hand notwithstanding) into a mangled mess, trainers told him he was done-zo, Harrell says “put some electrical tape on it, and I’m good” (I’m paraphrasing there) – and he brings his team back to win?  I am speechless.  Can we just give this kid the Heisman Trophy now?

Graham Harrell to reporters after the game?


Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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