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February 21, 2011

The Weekend Rewind - Feb. 21

Here's a look at what all we learned over the weekend, including a take on Tech's quarterback battle, the Lady Raiders' big week and more.

Seth Doege brings back Harrell times. It would be hard to find a Red Raider fan that didn't like Graham Harrell.

So I hope you're ready for a second dose of a Harrell-like quarterback.

Texas Tech junior quarterback Seth Doege has looked -- and even talks -- a lot like Harrell through Tech's first three spring practices.

Much like in the days of Harrell, there doesn't seem to be much controversy as to who the clear cut No. 1 quarterback is this offseason. Doege knows the Red Raiders' offense the best, looks the most confident with the ball in his hands and makes the best decisions time and time again.

While Taylor Potts was a victim to injuries and a transition year from the Air Raid to Neal Brown's offense, almost any Tech fan would have preferred Harrell's touch to Potts' strength. Doege is a return to form for the Red Raiders.

Like Harrell, Doege displays incredible touch. Doege throws long balls high into the sky but when they come down they seem to hit receivers in the hands or in a place where defensive backs have no chance to make an interception.

Doege also looks more confident in the pocket than Scotty Young, Jacob Karam and Michael Brewer. He's not a huge threat on the ground, especially after a major knee injury to both knees. Doege insists on staying in the pocket until he sees an open receiver just like Harrell.

Doege even speaks like Harrell which could be an indicator of his leadership abilities.

When Doege speaks, he conjures up memories of Harrell's confidence. Doege speaks to reporters with a sense of authority rather than Potts' non-committal style, granted Potts was alienated somewhat by fans and media during his junior season and the offseason leading up to his senior campaign.

Potts was a good fit for what the Red Raiders needed during his time as the starting quarterback but Doege looks poised to return Tech's quarterback position to what is was under Harrell.

Kristy Curry beat the hot seat. I'm always excited for people who survive in an us-versus-the-world situation, especially when their job is on the line.

Tech women's basketball head coach Curry will successfully survive the grumblings entering this season and the Lady Raiders will make the NCAA Tournament. It's quite an accomplishment in today's world where coaches are more interchangeable than players.

This past week, the Lady Raiders defeated then-ranked No. 20 Iowa State and followed that up with a big, big, big win against then-ranked No. 1 Baylor. The Baylor win was by a bigger margin than the loss Baylor took by UConn, that team that broke the UCLA men's program's record for the most consecutive wins.

Add those quality wins to a 13-1 non-conference record and a .500 conference record and you have yourself a bubble team. And a bubble team will get in with a win against Baylor, a team that is now 24-2 on the season.

Robbe Kilcrease was the big winner in weekend sweep. Tech baseball took to the field four times this past weekend and got four wins out of the deal.

While questions about the Red Raiders' starting pitching rotation will likely remain until they face off against Big 12 opponents, the four starters this past weekend put up some impressive numbers. Especially Robbie Kilcrease.

Kilcrease got the start in Saturday's night game against Northwestern and it was his first start since the 2009 season. Kilcrease missed the entire 2010 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and he was, in my opinion, the biggest question mark going into the weekend.

He was the biggest winner, too.

Kilcrease pitched seven innings while the second longest lasting starter threw for just five innings and he allowed just one run on four hits with no walks. To add to Kilcrease's credit, he did it all while working against a set pitch count of 75 pitches.

College rivalries are the strangest thing. I never fathomed that I would ever write a segment about trees in an entire career of sports writing but the poisoning of Toomer's Corner changed all that.

Allegedly, an Alabama fan poisoned two iconic oak trees Auburn fans roll with toilet paper after big wins. I've heard of fans going a little too far to get at the rivals but destroying property takes the cake.

When does a rivalry go too far? Probably when it leaves the stadium, much less damaging other people's property.

I've always thought college rivalries were strange. I understand them completely though and have partaken in them in the past. Tech represents West Texas while Texas A&M represents an East Texas agrarian lifestyle and, to your average Big 12 fan, Texas represents an "undeserved" elitism.

But collegiate rivalries are funny because nine times out of 10 they're based on location and they coincide within the same NFL market. For instance, Tech, A&M and Texas fans, as a whole, take off their collegiate hats after Saturday night and sport Dallas Cowboys hats on Sundays. Sometimes, you can even see people in different college gear caught in the moment high five over a big Dallas Cowboys play.

The Big 12 South is all Dallas Cowboy country and both Alabama and Auburn fall into Atlanta Falcon country together.

That's just something strange I've noticed about college rivalries. Rivalries are supposed to promote banter at a Thanksgiving dinner table. For the fan of the winner, it's a time to brag. For the fan of the loser, it's the thrill that next year they just might be in the position to boast.

It's never about taking fun or a tradition away from another fan base.

Radical Football will be a flop. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is in the beginning stages of creating a college football playoff system that would have a bigger payout for teams to compete than in BCS bowl games.

I used to be a proponent of a playoff system because the theory of having an unquestionably true champion is awesome.

However, someone once pointed out to me that a playoff plan won't work and I subscribe to that theory now.

First and foremost, bowl games serve as a major staple of many college football fans' vacation plans. If a college football season continued past one game in the dead of winter, would a good group of fans travel from Lubbock to Dallas and then back to Lubbock for a work week and then travel to Glendale, Ariz., and back and then on to another destination within three weeks time?

Naturally, a playoff system could be hosted at home team's stadium but in mid-December but could that stadium be filled without students?

We know at Tech that Jones AT&T Stadium is never near filled during the Thanksgiving weekend and many other colleges across the nation recruit a student base far from campus. Whether or not the local population will fill the stadium come playoff time is risky business. For traditional powers like Nebraska it wouldn't be a problem but how about for those one-and-done BCS teams like Hawaii?

Consequently the playoff system could become purely for TV while taking away from the game atmosphere.

Also, do college players want to play an additional three games at the end of a season? Or do fans want to see one or two games eliminated off the schedule to accommodate a playoff schedule their team might not even have a chance at?

These are questions that need to be answered thoroughly and the answers need not to compromise the uniqueness of the game.



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