Each week, after I have taken you around the S.E.C. and picked the national games of interest, I make note of one additional game that is deserving of your inattention.
Yes, I am talking about the national game of disinterest.
As the name implies, the national game of disinterest is a college football contest for which I refuse to offer a prediction as to the outcome, based upon the complete inability of that gridiron clash to hold my attention.
I'd rather listen to this guy give a lecture explaining what all that scribbling means in French than watch the national game of disinterest. (Photograph from University of Bologna . . . speaking of which, by the way, I'd rather listen to this guy give a lecture explaining what all that scribbling means in French while he's eating a bologna sandwich than watch the national game of disinterest.)
This week, the national game of disinterest has earned that dubious distinction for a most unusual reason, so bear with me for a minute and hear me out, because this week's national game of disinterest is:
Oklahoma State at Texas
How can that be? you may ask. Texas remains in the hunt for the national title and certainly is the favorite to win the Big 12!
That is true enough, but it is not the Longhorns' fault that this game cannot hold my interest. The problem, you see, lies with the Longhorns' opponent.
Two years ago, the Cowboys built up a 35-7 lead on Texas before the 'Horns came roaring back, reeling off 49 unanswered points to post a 56-35 victory. Last year, in Stillwater, Oklahoma State was ahead by a 28-9 margin late in the first half when Texas put up 38 unanswered points to claim a 47-28 win.
If you go back to the 2003 meeting between Texas and Oklahoma State, in which the Pokes held a 16-7 advantage but saw the Longhorns roll up 48 unanswered points, you find that, in the last three seasons, Texas has outscored Oklahoma State by a 118-0 second-half margin.
In the last three series meetings, the Longhorns have been down to the Cowboys. In the last two series meetings, the 'Horns have been down by a lot . . . yet, in all three instances, Texas not only came back to win it but came back to win it going away.
That would be one way of going about it. (Photograph from The Daily Texan.)
Why, then, is this the national game of disinterest?
Because there is absolutely no halftime score that could cause me to believe that Oklahoma State is winning this game.
Let's say the Cowboys hold a 77-0 lead at intermission. If they do, I will think to myself, "Let's see . . . 13 touchdowns and a field goal in the second half . . . Texas is going to win this one 94-77." I will then turn off the television and go do some yard work, secure in the knowledge that the outcome is foreordained.
Suppose, though, that Oklahoma State is up 100-0 at the break. In that case, I will think to myself, "Well . . . 17 touchdowns and a safety in the second half . . . Texas is going to win this one 121-100." I will then turn off the T.V. and take my car for an oil change, so certain will I be that what must be will come to pass.
Imagine, however, that O.S.U. takes a 222-0 lead into the locker room. In such a scenario, I would think to myself, "Well . . . 35 touchdowns with one missed extra point in the second half . . . Texas is going to win this one 244-222." I will then begin flipping through the channels in search of something more compelling, like maybe an "Iron Chef" cook-off, so convinced will I be that a Longhorn victory is assured.
The secret ingredient could be what was scraped off of the floor of Bevo's cage and it would still be better than the national game of disinterest.
It's not just that Texas is going to win. It's not just that Texas is going to win convincingly. It's that there is no amount of good fortune that could be enjoyed by the Cowboys in the early going that would cause me even a momentary flicker of doubt that the Longhorns are going to win what will not be a close contest.
Watching the 2006 meeting between Texas and Oklahoma State would be like following the careers of the Backstreet Boys after having kept track of what became of the members of New Kids on the Block: I've seen this movie before and I know how it ends, which is why this is the national game of disinterest.