The Kickoff: The real Saturday-night special

BY Peter Schrager • September 25, 2009

The real Saturday Night Game of the Week

ABC and ESPN's 35 networks have been promoting Iowa-Penn State as the premier Saturday night game this week, and that's all well and good if you're into Big 10 snoozefests.

But anyone who loves things like fireworks, fun and America knows that the Houston-Texas Tech game, kicking off at 9:15 ET, is the real main feature of the evening.

Tech-Houston's got all the guilty pleasures a college football fan craves: big offense, intra-state/out-of-conference intrigue, and names like Taylor Potts and Case Keenum lighting up the late evening Texas sky.

On top of an estimated 250 points being scored (the Vegas over/under is actually 73.5), there are a ton of other enticing sub-plots in this one. First off, Houston's offense looks eerily similar to Texas Tech's run-'n'-gun spread offense these days. There's a reason for that: Houston offensive coordinator Dana Holgoresen is a former Texas Tech assistant, having learned his X's and O's from Mike Leach. Moreover, former Tech gunslinger and New York Jet Kliff Kingsbury, is Houston's director of quality control. While at Tech, Kingsbury threw for 12,429 yards and 95 touchdowns. He left Lubbock in 2002 as the owner of seven Division 1-A passing records. If anyone knows Leach's offense, it's Mr. Kingsbury.

This is Patriots vs. Browns; Belichick vs. Mangini. Student vs. pupil (or pupils, in this case) and all that jazz.

When asked about his old QB Kingsbury on Monday, Leach was full of praise: "I think he was certainly the quarterback that lifted off the passing here at Texas Tech. When we first started, a lot of folks thought I was nuts to throw the ball and thought that Kliff was some guy out there that was just average and throwing it too much. Of course, he went on to rewrite the record books, not just at Tech but nationally. He was really instrumental to where we are today."

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