chance of bowl: 13.6%
So, how does Brian feel about the Rose Bowl?
Uh... I dunno. Texas doesn't run a spread but has a running QB. We've had problems with the latter but especially the latter running out of the former. Iowa Debacle I, Northwestern A Train Debacle, Syracuse Debacle, Ohio State Debacle, MSU Near-Debacle... I'll stop now because I want to throw up.
On the other hand, I'm pretty sure the Big Twelve sucks really badly this year. Texas played Oklahoma and then nobody particularly good. They let Adrian Peterson go nutzors on them for 200+ yards. They almost lost to Kansas. They should have lost to an OSU team that just got waxed by, uh, our OSU team.
If I had any faith in our defensive coordinator, I'd feel good about the game, because Texas is one of those one-dimensional teams that we just eat alive: they're 2nd nationally rushing but 105th passing. So we'll inevitably sit back in a soft zone, rush three, and just generally retard around like we did against OSU, unless someone with the initials LLOYD CARR lights a fire under Herrmann. The way we should defense this team is simple: lock up Hall and Jackson on whatever recievers they throw out there (leading reciever Tony Jeffery averages 36 yards a game), bring Shazor up to play Tomahawk Missile on anyone with the ball, and blitz blitz blitz blitz.
Sure, they may hit some big plays. But I'm willing to lose if they hit enough. I am not willing to lose because our defense gives up 500 yards with a combination of soft stupidity and blown tackles/coverages for big plays. At the very least let's see some aggressive stupidity.
By the way, did you know that Indiana leads the nation in kickoff return average? Bet you didn't.
I think we'll know how the game is going to go on the first offensive series of the game. If we see an eight-man front, blitzes, and the general theme of "Win this with your arm, Vince Young" we can win. If we don't, well... there's at least a small chance Herrmann will get sacked.
I didn't even talk about the offense. I mean, what does it say when the first thing that pops into my perpetually-worried mind about the Rose Bowl is "God I hope we don't give up 40 points" when we've got true freshmen at QB and RB and they've got the Bednarik winner at LB? It says something good about Hart and Henne but mostly, uh, it doesn't say anything good at all.
I'll talk more about this in my season postmortem. The upshot is that I don't think there's anything JH can do that will not have me pretend-firing him every day this offseason.