After Saban's pointed takedown of up-tempo, no-huddle offenses earlier this week –- "Is this what we want football to be?" -– the Longhorns and Mountaineers promise to deliver an emphatic "YES!" in Austin, with a kinetic barrage of points that will double as a barrage of eggs aimed at Saban's front door. Between them, Texas and West Virginia scored 15 touchdowns with a grand total of five punts in 24 offensive possessions last week in signature wins over Oklahoma State and Baylor, the two of which combined for 99 points and nearly 1,300 yards of total offense in defeat. Once they found their rhythm, WVU and Baylor were trading touchdowns like basketball teams trade jump shots.
Traditionalists may wince, but the "Basketball On Grass" philosophy will not be getting off their lawns anytime soon. In January, the market reacted to the prospect of watching Saban's Crimson Tide and LSU punt each other to death (again) in the BCS Championship Game by tuning out in near-record numbers; the powers-that-be responded by brokering the most radical overhaul of the postseason system in the history of the sport. This season, Texas A&M is formally introducing the "Air Raid" to the SEC, two years after Auburn won a national championship with an up-tempo spread scheme featuring Cam Newton. If defense and punting are your jams, Alabama and LSU are your Springsteen and Stones. In the meantime, the kids will be having a blast Saturday in Austin.
Football Outsiders – Seventh Day Adventure: Big 12 lets its spread flag fly
At Football Outsiders, the weekly picks column is live, featuring analysis of Saturday's ten most interesting games and a viewing suggestion for Nick Saban on his weekend off.
By Matt Hinton