Big Iron

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Yearbook: UTEP Flowsheet

This is likely my last foreseeable chance to post UTEP's yearbooks in a timely way.

I'm proud to present the UTEP/Texas Western Flowsheet yearbook.

These are some pretty good yearbooks with some nice content, I'm seeing that the scans don't do justice to the pictures. I really had to dig to find an aerial shot of the Sun Bowl, and it seemed to me that the best shots of the stadium were often used as a splash page for a student group - so there would be lettering on the photo of the Sun Bowl rendering it unusable as a visual on this page.

So while I was a little bit let down by the lack of the Sun Bowl stadium as a photographic subject, the UTEP Flowsheet's depiction of student life showed a notable respect for school administration and the academic departments, a reverence for meaningful student organizations such as their Greek system, ROTC, student debate team, various arts clubs and, indeed, a clear love for their stadium.

The Sun Bowl is one of my absolute favorite stadiums and I can't remember being this excited for an Army football game. It sounds so bizarre to even say that, but I expect tonight's game can conjure up every bit of the magic that the late-December classic gives me when I tune in every bowl season. 

If there is one year to check out try the 1966 Flowsheet. Finish the fantastic write-ups of each football game as the success of the 1965 football year was relived in the pages of their yearbook. That 1965 season presented Texas Western it's first opportunity to play in their 2-year-old stadium for what it was constructed for - the Sun Bowl postseason bowl game.

Thrilling year, great football story that is fun to relive if you were there and nice to discover if you weren't. 

Turn the page and then read about Texas Western's NCAA basketball championship - itself a worthy read and another great story. 

Now wide awake at 2:00 AM EST I am going to have a tough time waiting for this 7:00 kickoff. 
You can find the Flowsheet yearbook listed with a collection of other great online yearbooks in the Yearbooks tab above.


It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

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Game Notes, Army/UTEP

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Army plays against UTEP in El Paso this weekend. The Sun Bowl is one of my favorite venues for NCAA football, and accordingly one of my favorite bowl games out of all bowls. This is a game that fits Army's scheduling criteria, and I would love to see more games scheduled against Texas Western.

Here are Army's game notes. UTEP's notes are here. I think it's quaint how they refer to Army's offense as "wishbone". Must be a southwestern thing.

Now two games into the season, we're seeing injuries play a role. UTEP's starting QB Zack Greenlee didn't play in their last game vs. Texas due to a literal handful of injuries.

Greenlee tweaked the MCL in the first drive of the Miners 38-22 win over NMSU, and also popped out a shoulder, and dinged a finger, but the MCL strain has lingered over into the week.

By most accounts Greenlee, who recently transferred in from Fresno State, is by far the most capable quarterback on the Miners' roster. They played two QB's last week: Kavika Johnson and Ryan Metz who combined for 14/21 (0-0) vs Texas in Greenlee's absence. As it is Zack Greenlee is participating in practice and from what I can tell he's 100% and will start.

TV availability will depend on something called the American Sports Network and how far their reach extends. Knight Vision will also broadcast the game online.


Army 2-0

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Army took care of business at home Saturday, paying back the Rice Owls for the past 2 years of frustration with an impressive and dominant win.

If you're like me, three plays into the 1st quarter with Rice leading 7-0, you had doubts. Is Army going to have to play catch-up all day vs. Rice? Could Rice be faster and better than advertised? My doubts were erased once Army's offense started to move the ball with ease, and after the result of Army's first 6 plays tied the score there was not much else to be concerned about. After looking back at the tape, Army had zero doubts about the play calls and very few questions about their assignments. In fact, the first quarter was an exercise in absolute trust between coaching staff and athlete. 4th and a foot with 5 min to play in the first? Come on. That decision  ill advised that early in the game, but at that point with almost 10 min gone in the first quarter Army was already doing whatever they wanted to against the Rice. On the few times where the Rice defense had Army's play dead to rights - Ahmad Bradshaw would wisely tuck the ball and take the loss. For a play that breaks down - it just ends up being a great decision. The offense stays within reasonable down and distance and advances - ultimately scoring touchdown #2.

All kinds of formations, and misdirection... some shotgun, wishbone, midline veer. There was something for everyone, and they got in and just ran their plays. Rice would get in for a 3 yard loss...  ok how about a quick fullback draw for 10+ yards? Just a very high level of competence at this early stage of the season.

A few of the metrics easily tease out Army's dominance.

- 40:00 + minutes of ball possession.
- Nearly doubling up Rice's first downs 23 to 12
- Outgaining Rice 414 yards to 289

It was as complete a dismantling as you could imagine. There are some very enjoyable replays to be seen if you would like to go back and watch it. I don't think we've seen even a fraction of Army's playbook, which is a nice luxury to have at 2-0 as we look ahead to a three game road trip.

The real story in this one was Army's defense: Rice had 12 drives, 7 times Rice ended up punting the ball, twice the ball was turned over. The offense can be as good as you want it to be, but if the defense can't make plays and make plays that count, you can quickly find yourself playing catch up.

Oh, and Danny Wild has some pretty nice photos from the game. Check out some of his past work or bookmark his site.

Here's your Rice/Army story, stats and highlights

Ahead is a night game in the Sun Bowl. The evening should make for an exciting atmosphere in El Paso in, as much as I would like to see a true Sun-Bowl early afternoon start, the night game will have to suffice.



There is nothing that can prepare you for a tragedy like losing a loved one.

Tragic news came through on various news outlets and verified by West Point. The Army football team lost one of its own on Saturday. Army cornerback Brandon Jackson died in a one-car accident Sunday morning.

There is no replacement for a departed family member, and there is no substitute for a friend. By all accounts, #28 was both to the Army football team.

My thoughts and condolences go out to Brandon's family and teammates.



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