Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Tony Dungy's son James was killed in his apartment outside Tampa today. Police ruled it a "suicide".

Naturally with a death this inexplicable and senseless, which happened the son of one of the few likeable figures and truly grounded individuals in sports today, there was no other sports story in America today.

One question.


Especially to a kid like James Dungy, a kid anyone would want their kids to be friends with. From all we've heard so far about James from the people who know him (via the media), he's active in his community and a generally a likeable person. You know, kind of like his dad.

How does that type of person kill himself? This has to be something other than a suicide.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Don't let this person sub at your school

Accused child cyber-predator Dwayne Allen Lawhon (Texas Attorney General)

OK, the above pictured dude is sick.

This dude, Dwayne Allen Lawhon, was caught in an internet sting because he tried to hook up with a police officer posing as a 14 year old girl. Oh by the way, he works at the Pflugerville (Texas) School District as a high school substitute teacher where he is around 14 year old girls every time he gets a sub call.

When I had my sub job at a different Austin-area school district, they had to do so many background checks that they knew how many speeding tickets I had and how much money was in my bank account. Was Pflugerville's HR department asleep at the wheel or is just the the first time he got caught?

If there are any parents out there reading this, please put parental controls on your computer, please monitor where your kids are going online, and please, please, whatever you do don't let them go anywhere with someone they met online.

Mainly because guys like this don't always talk to cops. Sometimes they actually talk to kids.

(Would have done a sports take today, but this was too disturbing not to blog on.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Big 12 Bowl Schedule

Fort Worth Bowl
December 23rd, 7:00 PM Central
Kansas vs. Houston

Champs Sports (formerly Tangerine) Bowl
December 27th, 4:00 PM Central
Colorado vs. Clemson

Mastercard Alamo Bowl
December 28th, 7:00 PM Central
Nebraska vs. Michigan

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
December 29th, 7:00 PM Central
Oklahoma vs. Oregon

Independence Bowl
December 30th, 2:30 PM Central
Missouri vs. South Carolina Houston Bowl
December 31st, 1:30 PM Central
Iowa State vs. TCU

AT&T Cotton Bowl
January 2nd, 10:00 AM Central
TV: Fox (KTBC 7)
Texas Tech vs. Alabama

Rose Bowl presented by Citi
January 4, 7:00 PM Central
Texas vs. USC

Monday, December 19, 2005


Drew Bledsoe watches the final minutes of the game from the sidelines during the Cowboys' 35-7 loss to the Washington Redskins (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
This is what getting sacked 7 times looks like (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

I can hear Jeff Kaye's opening line to the Cowboys' video yearbook now:

"One week, the 2005 Dallas Cowboys looked like world beaters, the next they looked like they could do nothing right"

Seriously. I think the Texans and Cowboys switched uniforms because the Texans actually won yesterday to pull even with the 49ers in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes.

The story of the Cowboys' game is much like their loss to the Giants two weeks ago: Too much pressure on the quarterback (7 sacks), and too many picks that resulted from pressure (4).

The Cowboys' line was supposed to be better than this.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New Posting Schedule

Dear Readers of Cheap Seats, Spur of the Moment, and Double T Ranch:

As I said earlier this week on Cheap Seats, I have a new permanent job working in a cube in an office. Which is nice, because unlike being a substitute teacher, I will actually have some more money to live off of.

However, it also means somethings in my life that I enjoy doing, like blogging, will have to fall around my work schedule. It will be a challenge, because I also want to save time for my off the internet friends as well, and finish this novel. But, I'm not giving this up like a lot of people do when they get a new job. I've got a small group of regular readers now, and I want to keep posting for y'all.

However, having an 8-hour/day job means I can do two blog entries a day on most days.

This will be an especially daunting challenge since I have to make 3 posts a week on both of my blogs on Most Valuable Network because of MVN rules, and Monday through Friday on Cheap Seats since you all expect it from me by now.

But, I think I've been able to formulate a schedule that works:

Post Schedule
Cheap SeatsXXXXX
Spur of the MomentXXX
Double T RanchXXX

An X means you should definitely expect a post that day. If it's blank, there will be posts only if there is breaking news or for some special events like Conference Tournament Watch in March on Cheap Seats, playoff game recaps on Spur of the Moment, or football game and Big 12 Tournament/NCAA Tournament recaps on Double T Ranch.

As for times, I don't know when in the day the posts will come. If I'm working days, it may be after 6:00 PM Central. If I'm working nights, it may be sometime in the afternoon before 3:00 PM Central.

For readers on Double T Ranch and Spur of the Moment, it means that posts will be more like "reporter's notebooks" that you see in your daily paper, with news items and short recaps. The difference is that it will also include short takes from me, because, well, they're blogs and bloggers bloviate (sorry Bill O'Reilly). It's what we do.

Readers of Cheap Seats are already familiar with this style of mine from my Weekend Wrap-Ups and Conference Tournament Watch, so expect more of the same unless there's one thing I really feel like writing at length on.

So anyway, that's how things are going to be from now on. Hopefully I can keep this blogging thing up long as I can.

R. D. Baker

Friday, December 16, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: Austin Police investigate incidents involving UT football players

In a story to be published tomorrow, The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that they are investigating several UT athletes, including (apparently) some members of the football team about robberies and assaults that occured earlier this month. is reporting the same story, but give more exact details:
Four Longhorn football players, including three starters (two defensive and one offensive), are being investigated by Austin police for robbery and assault in two separate incidents. The first alleged incident occurred on September 4 with the other happening last weekend in the early morning hours of December 10. Two of the names that have surfaced include starting running back Ramonce Taylor and starting cornerback Cedric Griffin.

Naturally, no one at UT is commenting at this point, which is what you would expect in a case where the story just broke and involves criminal allegations.

The only one talking is the player's "legal advisor", who just so happens to be former Travis County District Attorney Ken Oden (It's Travis County, I'll let you take a stab as to what political party he's from), who now works as a criminal defense attorney.

Normally, Oden's hourly fee is more than you or I could afford. The athletic department must be picking up the tab on this (or some booster), because I don't think these athletes could afford him otherwise.

Get in trouble, get a high powered attorney to represent you on someone else's dime. Must be a nice recruiting pitch for Mack Brown.

In other Big XII football news...
- Dan Hawkins was named new head coach at Colorado (an institution which probably has some empathy for what Texas is going through right about now).
- Gary Darnell, who was formerly an assistant under John Mackovic at UT before accepting the Western Michigan head coaching job, was hired as Texas A&M's new defensive coordinator. Longhorn fans, who remember how bad UT's defenses were in the Mackovic era, were naturally blowing up the sports talk lines today to bag on A&M.
- Texas Tech's L.A. Reed and Marquis Walker have been suspended for the Cotton Bowl for "violations of team rules. Those better be real serious violations. Hope whatever y'all did was worth it. (Double T Ranch)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

New Job

Hey folks.

I just recently got a 9-5 job at a tech support place here in Austin, so Cheap Seats may not be every weekday for a while as I'm still figuring out how to balance a regular job, 3 blogs, the novel, and a social life and still find time for NCAA 2006.

But once I figure things out, we will be back to Monday-Friday.

So keep checking.

- RD

Monday, December 12, 2005

A study in contrasts.

A team that finds a way to win games

Dan Campbell prepares to spike the ball after catching the game winning touchdown (AP)
(Associated Press)

A team that finds a way to lose games:

Kris Brown watches a potentially game-winning field goal miss (AP)
(Associated Press)

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: Barnett possibly on the outs in Colorado

Gary Barnett vidcap from press conference about Katie Hnida remarks 11/17/2004 (KMGH 7 Denver)

1300 The Zone in Austin, TX is reporting that Gary Barnett's contract with Colorado has not been renewed after all.

If that's true, the coach once thought to be immune to the twin forces of scandal and mediocrity that have killed the careers of other coaches, may turn out to be mortal after all.

Which, except for Ward Churchill, who isn't going anywhere because of tenure (something that should never be granted to any professor in a department with the word "studies" in its title. It should be reserved for science, math, English, economics, medicine, law, and foreign language profs only.*), eliminates all the problem children at the University of Colorado.

UPDATE! (12/7/05):
The Denver Post is the source of the story presented on The Zone, but they are citing "sources close to the contract talks."

Stay tuned.

* - Personal note: I had aspirations of being a history professor at one time, and knew a lot of profs in the history and "studies" fields, so I know giving one of those guys tenure is a waste of resources.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A Country Song for the Cowboys' season

(Julie Jacobson/AP)

Tell me why I'm still crying over you
Tell me why I wound up such a fool
Tell me when these heartaches will be through
Tell me why I'm still crying over you
- Joe Barnhill "Tell Me Why (I'm Still Crying Over You)"
(from ESPN's World Series of Poker telecasts)

There's a lot of old country songs that have this similar theme. You love your woman, but she just keeps letting you down

That's kind of how a lot of Cowboys fans feel about this year's edition of the squad. We all love 'em, and they've got the talent to do great things, but they keep letting us down at the worst possible times.

Last Saturday, for instance, they had a chance to take command of the division against a team that has similar late game issues and lost a heartbreaker. Now they are in a tough spot in terms of playoffs. They have also lost heartbreakers to Washington, Denver, Oakland, and Seattle.

Some say they need to win 3 of their last 4 to make the playoffs. Some think they need to win all four.

Considering the next three games are against a red hot Kansas City team, Washington (who have already beaten the Cowboys once) at FedEx Field, and a tough Carolina team, that's a tall order.

So it's very likely this team, which looked like a playoff contender at the start of the year, could let us down big time at the end. Just like a country song.

So what's wrong with the 'Boys?

Monday, December 5, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up: "PWNED!" Edition


Big Story of the Weekend: UT; USC PWNED their opposition

For those of you not familiar with "'leet speak," (the language that gamers used to use to look cool, but is now sort of mainstreamed and looks dumb) "PWNED!" means "I just beat you badly". It's a form of electronic trash talk.

Basically, one day a gamer got a little overexcited after thrashing his competition, meant to type "OWNED!" and accidentally hit the "p" key instead of the "o" key (which are right next to each other on the keyboard). Hence, "PWNED!"

Where am I going with this? UT PWNED Colorado to the tune of 70-3. It was a beating so bad that Vince Young and the starters only played a little over half the game.

Not to be outdone, USC PWNED their crosstown rival UCLA, at the time ranked #12 in the coaches poll, 66-19. Reggie Bush, whom everyone is now comparing to Kansas's Gale Sayers, made himself not just the frontrunner, but the only legit Heisman candidate at this point after rolling up 260 yards on the Bruins. So you could say that Bush has "PWNED" his Heisman competition also.

Now it's 3 weeks of hype until the Rose Bowl.

Stay tuned.

Other Championship Week thoughts
  • I had Georgia ranked ahead of LSU in my preseason poll, to which Tiger fans gave me no end of grief. Strangely, after Georgia beat LSU, which basically confirmed that they should have been rated ahead of the Tigers to begin with, the LSU fans are surprisingly silent.
  • If Frank Beamer feels bad after his Hokies were upset in the first ever ACC title game, he can console with Tom Osborne. Osborne's Huskers were favored in the first ever Big XII title game and were upset by Texas.
  • Microsoft's XBox 360 was a presenting sponsor for the Conference USA title game. Fittingly, Tulsa and Central Florida played a very EA Sports NCAA 2006-type game as the Golden Hurricane won 44-27
  • What happened to Fresno State? They followed up a brilliant performance against USC with two inexplicable losses to Nevada and Louisiana Tech.
  • Army-Navy, always a classic. Can't say anything bad about either team because they both got more important jobs than the NFL ahead of them.
  • Congratulations to Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, who are in the semifinals of the I-AA playoffs. They take on Northern Iowa this Saturday at Bobcat Stadium. (Playoffs! In Football! What a concept!)


New York 17, Dallas 10

Speaking of PWNAGE, Drew Bledsoe was just absolutely harassed by the Giants' front 4 yesterday. He was sacked 4 times, fumbled twice and was forced into throwing picks twice, both the result of pressure.

Game Ball: Giants Defense

Normally, I give this to the best Cowboy, but New York's defense put on a clinic and you can't ignore a performance like that.

Baltimore 16, Houston 15

And, what discussion of getting "PWNED" in sports would be complete without mentioning the Houston Texans, who seem to have it happen to them every week. This week, they actually made Kyle Boller look like a competent NFL quarterback.

Game Ball: Kris Brown

Accounted for all of Houston's 15 points, which actually speaks to how bad the Texans are rather than how good Brown is.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cheap Seats Big XII Awards, presented by Double T Ranch

Well, we handed out our preseason awards, now it's time to hand out our postseason awards.

Since I like the college convention of naming awards after great players and coaches, I thought I would do the same with my awards. The naming criteria was that they had to have played in the Big XII era (1996-present), starred for a Big XII team, and fit the award given out.

So here's a brief explanation of the awards, and why I named them as such.

Ricky Williams Award - No this is *not* "Most likely to smoke the sticky icky". This is our Offensive Player of the Year award. Why? Well, once upon a time, Ricky Williams was the best running back in the Big XII, a Heisman Trophy winner, and was the DI-A's all-time leading rusher when he graduated.

Roy Willams Award - The Roy Williams Award, which goes to our Defensive Player of the Year, is named after the Roy Williams who played safety for Oklahoma before becoming an All-Pro with the Dallas Cowboys.

Wes Welker Award - This goes to our Special Teams Player of the Year (kickers, punters, and returners). Welker, who's now with the Dolphins, was Texas Tech's special teams ace from 1999-2003 and he graduated with the most punt return TDs in Division I-A history.

Eric Crouch Award - I wanted to also give out an award for a player who was the "Most Valuable to his Team". Not necessarily the best, just someone whose team could least afford to lose him. Someone whose play made that team more successful than it would have been otherwise. Obviously, Eric Crouch typifies this sort of award. He made that 2000 Nebraska team what it was, and the program began to fall apart once he left.

Tom Osborne Award - This is our Coach of the Year, and the name selection was obvious. Osborne was was really the first coach the Big XII had with any kind of national credibility.

Adrian Peterson Award - Our "Freshman of the Year". Peterson's freshman campaign was one of the best ever in college football history, and certainly the best ever in the Big XII.

Michael Bishop Award - Obviously, junior college transfers have become increasingly important as programs under pressure try to reload in a hurry. So in recognition of the transfer who most thrived in the pressure situation of learning a new system while adjusting to the faster pace of the Big 12, we present this award for "Transfer of the Year", named after former Blinn Junior College star Michael Bishop, who went on to lead Kansas State to within one upset loss of a National Title Game.

The envelope please...

Ricky Williams Award
(Offensive Player of the Year)
Vince Young, Texas
First off, they guy is a playmaker all by himself. What's made the difference is that he's made a Donovan McNabb-like transformation in his passing ability, mainly his accuracy. He's a true dual-threat QB now, not just a scrambler.

Our Preseason Pick: Adrian Peterson
If Oklahoma had gotten off to a better start *and* had beaten Texas, Peterson probably would have gotten the award, but he was hurt by having a green QB running the passing attack and a young defense that's still growing into it's roles. Still, he's put up good numbers despite all the problems OU has had this year.

Roy Williams Award
(Defensive Player of the Year)
Dwayne Slay
Slay is the biggest reason Texas Tech improved on defense this year. He's a hard hitter and playmaker who had 68 solo tackles and 101 overall tackles. He also showed some playmaking ability as he led the conference in forced fumbles.

Our Preseason Pick: Charles Gordon, Kansas
He really got overshadowed by his teammate Nick Reid, and people just quit throwing to his side of the field. Plus, Kansas's offense was so bad that it put their defense in too many awkward situations.

Wes Welker Award
Special Teams Player of the Year
Mason Crosby
The Georgetown, Texas native made a statement on opening week when he kicked Colorado to victory over Colorado State. When the Buffalo offense wasn't on track, Crosby's leg kept them in a lot of ball games.

Our Preseason Pick: Todd Pegram, Texas A&M
I did not pick very well with this one. I really thought Pegram would be a contributing factor to more wins for A&M. Oh well.

Eric Crouch Award
Most Valuable to His Team
Brad Smith, Missouri
This was a tough award to choose. Young could have won this one too, but they won the Texas A&M game largely in spite of his bad day. Bret Meyer was under consideration until Iowa State failed to win the Big 12 North after Colorado basically handed them the title. I could have picked Taurean Henderson also, but Dwayne Slay was just as important to the Red Raiders' improvement.
In the end, Brad Smith's improvement mirrored Missouri's improvement from last year's disappointment to one of this years' bowl teams.

Tom Osborne Award
Coach of the Year
Mack Brown, Texas
Before this year, we said, like a lot of people, that Mack Brown was a coach who folded when the spotlight was biggest, and that one close Rose Bowl did not make a career. Well, his Horns won on the road at Ohio State, beat OU to end a long losing streak, and exposed an undefeated Texas Tech team. Oh, and he's also 11-0 and on the verge of playing for a national title.

Our preseason pick: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Wow, not only did Bob Stoops get rolled by Mack Brown, he lost to Mike Leach for the first time *and* saw his Sooners rolled by TCU and UCLA. To his credit, however, Stoops rallied the Sooners late in the year and OU should be contenders next year if recruiting goes well.

Adrian Peterson Award
Freshman of the Year
Jamaal Charles, Texas
Until he got injured, Charles was putting up decent numbers and was part of the reason the Longhorns were able to balance their offense and take the heat off of Vince Young.

Michael Bishop Award
Transfer of the Year
Robert Johnson, Texas Tech
RoJo not only had to learn a new offense and adjust to the speed of the Big 12 in his transfer year, he moved from quarterback to reciever in this whole process. Yeah, Tech's recievers put up great numbers, but he basically had to walk, chew gum, and do his taxes at the same time while putting up those numbers.

And now, the Cheap Seats all-conference teams...

All Big-XII First Team


Vince YoungTexas


Dusty DvoracekOklahoma


Adrian PetersonOklahoma


Adam CarrickerNebraska


Taurean HendersonTexas Tech


Rodrique WrightTexas


David ThomasTexas


Charlton KeithKansas


Jarrett HicksTexas Tech


Nick ReidKansas


Robert JohnsonTexas Tech


Aaron HarrisTexas


Joel FilaniTexas Tech


Rufus AlexanderOklahoma


Johnathan ScottTexas


Justin WarrenTexas A&M


Will AllenTexas


Cedrick GriffinTexas


Mark FentonColorado


Dwayne SlayTexas Tech


Justin BlalockTexas


Michael HuffTexas


Davin JosephOklahoma


Charles GordonKansas


Mason CrosbyColorado


Daniel SepulvedaBaylor


Aaron RossTexas


Charles GordonKansas

All-Big XII Second Team


Bret MeyerIowa State


Tim CrowderTexas


Cory RossNebraska


Larry DibblesTexas


Jamaal CharlesTexas


Brian RobisonTexas


Joel KlopfensteinColorado


Calvin ThibodeauxOklahoma


D'Juan WoodsOklahoma StateLBTim DobbinsIowa State


Travis WilsonOklahomaLBCorey McKeonNebraska


Jason CarterTexas A&M


Brandon PerkinsKansas


Tony PalmerMissouri


Clint IngramOklahoma


Jeromey ClaryKansas State


Marcus KingMissouri


E.J. WhitleyTexas Tech


Willie AndrewsBaylor


Kasey StuddardTexas


Vincent MeeksTexas Tech


Corey HilliardOklahoma State


Michael GriffinTexas


Scott WebbKansas


Sam KochNebraska


Shaun RochonBaylor


DeAndre JacksonIowa State

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Irvin case proves sports media is just as biased as the regular media.

In case you haven't heard by now, Michael Irvin, the former Cowboys great, future hall of famer (if the anti-Cowboys bias doesn't keep him out like it did Bullet Bob Hayes), and commentator for ESPN, was arrested for "possession of drug paraphernalia", which nobody knows exactly what, but it's small enough to fit in a glove box.

Irvin's explanation is that he took it from a friend to try and get him help, placed in a place where his kids couldn't get it, and forgot about it.

I'm sort of inclined to believe Irvin in this circumstance. He has cleaned up his life since a 2000 arrest for marijuana possession, and committed to Jesus Christ as his savior. And frankly, a guy who gets clean isn't a hypocrite for trying to get others clean. Heck, they're in a better position to tell someone to quit than the rest of us, because they've suffered the consequences and seen others die.

And until the police find drugs in a toxicology screen from Irvin, then whatever it is they found isn't his. (And because of his record, they had probable cause to get a warrant for a tox screen at any point before they released him.)

But naturally, he's taking the heat from sports columnists like Gil LeBreton, who don't have all the facts.

Why? Irvin's a born-again Christian and the media, even the sports media, is anti-Christian. But then again, they are educated at the same schools where the rest of the mainstream media is educated, so that's no surprise.

After all, this is the same mainstream media that turned on their "feel good story" Kurt Warner after he said "Thank you Jesus" when accepting the Lombardi Trophy in 2000. It's the same mainstream media who blasted the late Reggie White, Baptist minister and defensive end for the Packers, for making remarks to the Wisconsin legislature that the politcally correct left didn't agree with. It's the same mainstream media that throws Deion Sanders' "Must Be the Money" video in his face now that he's converted and doesn't care about money as much as he used to. And it's the same mainstream media that revels in every loss by Air Force, simply because it's one of the few institutions in America where the rights of Christians are unrestricted.

However, LeBreton's attack is particularly sinister. He labeled Irvin a "con", then tried to cover his tracks by saying he was referring to a "con man".

Problem is, "con" in media parlance is also short for "conservative", (e.g. "neocon"), and, in leftist terms, "conservative" is synonymous with "Christian". However, the media shortens it to "con" so that you, the reader, confuse "conservative"(which is where on the political grid the media puts Christians) with "con man".

Nice try Gil, we know what you really meant.

Where's News Busters when you need them?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up "Almost another BCS mess edition"


Big story of the weekend:Big 12 Championship Game set

The Big 12 South was decided 2 weeks ago when Oklahoma State's victory over Texas Tech clinched the North title for Texas.

The Big 12 North was a bit more complicated. Colorado had first shot to claim it, but were blown out by Nebraska 30-3

Then Iowa State got it's shot to win the title, but Kansas upset the Cyclones 24-21 with a brilliant fourth quarter.

So now that the smoke has cleared, who wins the Big XII North? Colorado.


Blog Links:
Buffs.TV game thread
Husker Jon
Phog Blog

Big 12 Games

Texas 40, Texas A&M 29

Texas was going to the Big 12 championship regardless of what happened in this game. However, A&M backup QB Stephen McGee almost singlehandedly beat the Longhorns by himself as he was the game's leading rusher and notched a couple rushing touchdowns.

In the end, Texas's defense kept them in the ballgame late and Raymonce Taylor added a couple rushing TDs of his own to keep their championship aspirations alive.

Burnt Orange Nation (formerly All Things Longhorn)
Texas A&M and Baseball

Oklahoma 42, Oklahoma State 14

In case you had forgotten, Adrian Peterson is really a good player. He had 237 yards on 24 carries to lead the Sooners to a Bedlam Game victory.

My Opinion On Sports
Gaylord Memorial Gathering

Our Adopted Team

Southern Miss 26, Tulane 7

In a Hurricane Katrina makeup game, Southern Miss's Dustin Almond threw for 276 yards to beat Tulane and, mercifully put an end to Tulane's season.

However, Since Tulane went 2-9 under Cheap Seats "adoption", CPS has stepped in and removed the Green Wave from our care and placed them in a foster home.

Around the State

SMU 40, UTEP 27

Jordan Palmer still looks like a legit pro prospect, but Jerad Romo was better on this day.

Houston 35, Rice 18

Behind the passing of Kevin Kolb, Houston wins the Bayou Bucket easily.

BlogPoll Ballot


Breaking NFL News: ESPNEWS is reporting that Steve Mariucci has been fired by the Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos 24, Dallas Cowboys 21 (OT)

Thankfully the Giants lost in Seattle, otherwise the Cowboys would be behind the 8-ball as far as winning the division. As for the game, Billy Cundiff showed why he got cut the first time, as he botched what would have been a game-winning field goal.

Game Ball: Jason Witten
He was the Cowboys leading reciever in terms of yards and receptions, and he scored an important TD

Recap: The Cowboy Roundup

St. Louis 33, Houston 27

OK, one thing to allow a big comeback, quite another when it's a guy from Harvard leading the other teams' comeback. Harvard!

Game Ball: David Carr
Believe it or not, Carr actually helped this team get out to a lead. He finished with 293 yards and 3 TDs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Off for Thanksgiving

I will be off for the next 3 days, as I'm heading to San Angelo, Texas for Thanksgiving with my family. I will be back Monday to recap all the week's games.

Here's a quick preview before I go:

Turkey Day
Denver at Dallas (3:15 CBS)

This is an important game for Dallas. New York is playing Seattle on Sunday, a potential loss for the Giants as the Seahawks can wrap up a playoff spot with a win. Dallas can put some pressure on the Giants with a win.

It won't be easy, however, as Denver is shaping up to be a playoff favorite in the AFC.

Turkey Day +1
Texas at Texas A&M (11:00 PM ABC)

A&M would like nothing more than to spoil the Longhorns' Rose Bowl aspirations anyway, but A&M also needs this game to become bowl eligible. Still, 10 other teams have wanted to kill the Rose Bowl aspirations of Texas and Vince Young has killed 'em, every time.

Nebraska at Colorado (2:30 PM ABC)
If Colorado wins, they are the Big 12 Champs. If not, there's a huge mess to determine who plays Texas.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (2:30 PM ABC)

Even with nothing to play for, the Bedlam Game is always a fun one to watch.

St. Louis at Houston (12:00 PM Fox)

Speaking of nothing to play for, this game is like the turkey leftovers you've been trying to finish off for the last 3 days.

Happy Thanksgiving.

College Hoops Tourneys: They're FAN-tastic!

I know it's still football season, but these early season college hoops tournaments are rapidly becoming "Must See TV"

After all, where else in the early season are you going to get matchups like Syracuse-Florida, Texas-Iowa, Kansas-Arizona, and Arizona-UConn?

Traditionally, the best games are almost always in the Maui Invitational. The field is almost always stacked, and even though it's a single elimination tournament, everyone plays consolation games, so you are pretty much guaranteed 2 good opponents for your RPI, 3 if you don't have to face Chaminade (which doesn't count in your RPI either way).

And this year was no exception with 4 top-10 teams UConn, Michigan State, Gonzaga, and Arizona in the mix along with Maryland, Arkansas, and Kansas. That's a lot of combined national championships in one building.

The best game of a lot of great games had to be the Triple-OT thriller between Gonzaga, everyone's mid-major darling, and Michigan State. That was an incredible, hard-fought game. The only thing ugly about that game was Adam Morrison's mustache.

There were a lot of close games in the Guardians Classic as well. In the semis, Texas edged West Virginia, an Elite 8 team from last year, by one point, while Iowa shocked Kentucky 67-63. Iowa almost pulled off another shocker in the finals, but Texas pulled away late to win.

And, we still got a Preseason NIT final four that features Duke, UCLA, and Memphis to come.

If this doesn't get you pumped for college hoops, check your pulse.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Big story of the weekend:Texas Tech ekes out controversial win over OU

One thing we can say about this game: Both sides have plenty to complain about with regard to the officiating.

If Taurean Henderson doesn't get in on that last play, Tech fans would be complaining about that call and the out of bounds reversal on the previous play on an apparent Joel Filani score.

As it is, OU fans are crying foul about Henderson's score. Even accusing the Texas Tech student newspaper for "doctoring" a photo because it showed Henderson getting in the end zone. (This, of course, from fans that are praised by Every Day Should Be Saturday for their Photoshop masterpieces)

Generally though, if there's a bad call at the end of the game, there's things your team could have done during the game to make the call a non-issue. And frankly, both teams could stand to make improvements before they head off to their respective bowl games.

OU, for instance, could stand to get more than 118 yards from Rhett Bomar. They also failed to halt Taurean Henderson before the final play, allowing 109 yards rushing, and this is after their Bedlam Series rivals held Henderson to negative yardage the previous week.

Texas Tech could stand to improve it's pass protection as Cody Hodges was harassed all game long by OU's pass rush.

Big 12 Games

Baylor 44, Oklahoma State 34

It's too bad Baylor couldn't pull off one more conference win, but they did knock out OSU from bowl eligibility.

Kansas State 36, Missouri 28

This was a very emotional game for the K-State Wildcats as Bill Snyder, the man who brought Kansas State, a program that was the laughing stock of the old Big 8, to the brink of a BCS championship (a dream rudely ended by Texas A&M), annouced his retirement prior to the game. As much as we joke here about how Snyder liked to schedule easy non-conference games, he will be missed greatly.

Our Adopted Team

Tulsa 38, Tulane 14

I don't know what to say anymore. Maybe the grind of playing every game on the road is getting to this team. Tulane came out flat, Tulsa came out focused and just blew the Green Wave away.

Around the State

UAB 35, UTEP 23

UTEP blows it's first opportunity to clinch a C-USA title but a win against SMU next week will still give it to him.

How about UAB's Darrell Hackney? 4 TD passes? If I'm an NFL team, I'd be willing to take this guy on a late round flyer.

SMU 29, Houston 24

Rarely does a safety make a difference in a ballgame. However, a snap that went over the head of Kevin Kolb and out of the back of the end zone effectively put a 3-point deficit out of reach for the Cougars.


Sunday's Games

Cowboys 20, Lions 7

Is there a running back controversy in Dallas? Julius Jones had 92 yards, but Marion Barber had both rushing touchdowns. Hmmm...

Game Ball: Billy Cundiff
In his first game back with the Cowboys, Cundiff hit the longest field goal in Cowboys history and was perfect on 2 field goal attempts.

Kansas City 45, Houston 17

Is this score really a surprise? This is a team that needs serious help in the draft at all positions. They might as well start looking seeing as how they are already on the clock for the first pick

Game Ball: Larry Johnson
211 yards in a game is impressive, even if they are playing the Texans.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Texas rolls to Guardian's semifinals; Texas Tech KOed by Syracuse.

Texas' P.J. Tucker goes up for a shot against Samford's Jerry Smith during the first half Wednesday. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman)
P.J. Tucker elevates over Samford's Jerry Smith (Austin American-Statesman/Ricardo B. Brazziell)

OK, the games were against Southern and Samford. However, the fact that the Longhorns came out and completely dominated two teams that shouldn't even be sharing the same court with them signals that they are right on track.

Why? Great teams beat bad teams badly. Great teams don't play to the level of their competition.

The most impressive performances came from the two Longhorns who missed significant time last season. P.J. Tucker, who missed last season due to academic suspension, had 18 and 22 points in the two games (an average of 20 PPG even). LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed most of last year with an injury, had a double-double both games and led all Longhorn scorers with 19 points in the Southern game.

They face their first real test in their next game against West Virginia, who knocked out Texas Tech in last year's regionals, almost knocked off Louisville in the regional final, and returns most of the core of that roster.

And if they get through that, it's the winner of Iowa-Kentucky in the finals of the Guardians Classic.

Meanwhile, this year's Texas Tech team just realized how far away from elite status they really are. A sweet 16 team last year, the Red Raiders were demolished by Gerry McNamara and the Syracuse Orange. in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer classic. It could be a bad sign for things to come as the Raiders' big guns, Jarrious Jackson and Martin Zeno, melted under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and a Dickie V ESPN telecast. Also, the Raiders were unable to handle Syracuse's 2-3 zone, something the Raiders handled better last year when they had Devonne Giles.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up "Roy Williams Pick Six" edition

Somehow, losing Terrell Owens gets the Eagles 10 more points against the Cowboys. Earlier in the season, the Cowboys blew up the Eagles, and that was when TO was in the lineup.

This time, the Eagles still lost, but they lost on a late "pick six" by Roy Williams on a very curious pass on 2nd and 7 late in the 4th when the Eagles should have run it to run out the clock.

Oh well, the Cowboys will take the win, I'm sure.

As for the college ranks? What did we learn from the SEC's big weekend in the spotlight? No one in the SEC can execute on offense.


Big story of the weekend:Texas has clear shot to BCS

Between Texas sticking it to notorious whiner Mark Mangino and previously undefeated Alabama losing to LSU, Texas basically controls its own BCS destiny. All they have to do is beat A&M and beat the champ of a weak Big 12 North.

As for Kansas, Mangino reportedy blames the BCS for scoring the 66 points on his ballclub.

Other Big 12 Games

Oklahoma State 24, Texas Tech 17

Tech's Leading Rusher in this game: Cody Hodges with 36 yards. Taurean Henderson had -6. Now OU knows the key to stopping Tech.

Oklahoma 36, Texas A&M 30

That Iowa State loss looms a lot larger than it did weeks ago. If not for that loss, playing Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Texas in their last 3 games wouldn't have been such a task.

Iowa State 30, Colorado 16

Thanks to an uncharacteristic blow up by Gary Barnett's bunch, the Big 12 North is up for grabs once again.

Nebraska 27, Kansas State 25

Nebraska is now bowl eligible and could very well play for a Big 12 Championship if they win and everyone else loses.

Missouri 31, Baylor 16

Well, Baylor's dream season ends one game short of bowl eligibility. Sorry Bears, better luck next year (Ha ha ha ha, "next year", that's a good one).

Anyway, Missouri still has an outside chance to get the Big 12 North, but they need a little help.

Our Adopted Team

Rice 42, Tulane 34

Yeah, I know Rice is glad to have the nation's longest current win streak off their backs, but did they have to beat up a bunch of poor, defenseless Hurricane Katrina refugees to do it?

Eh, it's football, who am I kidding.


Sunday's Games

Dallas 21, Philadelphia 20

Let's not kid ourselves here. Philadelphia outplayed Dallas until the 4th quarter, when Roy Williams bailed out the Cowboys with that interception return.

Game Ball: Roy Williams
You make the game winning play, you always get the game ball. Unless it's the owner's birthday or something.

Indianapolis 31, Houston 17

This game was pretty much over when it kicked off. Houston wasn't going to do anything to stop the Colts from going 9-0.

Game Ball: Vernand Morency
For putting up one of the few Houston scores.

WAR Missouri Firing Quin Snyder! (Part 1)

Sam Houston State's Jejuan Plair, top, wraps his arm around Missouri's Jimmy McKinney as McKinney drives to the basket Monday, Nov. 14, 2005, during the second half of Missouri's 80-77 loss in their first-round Preseason NIT game in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)Sam Houston State's Jejuan Plair mugs Missouri's Jimmy McKinney. (L. G. Patterson/AP)

Unfortunately, the alleged assault depicted above wasn't the biggest crime committed last night. The biggest crime was all the Missouri fans who were promised Big XII-quality basketball and got collectively ripped off.

Sam Houston State, who only occasionally makes the tournament as a 16 seed, beat the Tigers 80-77 in the first round of the Preseason NIT.

Missouri sucks and Quin Snyder is responsible. Norm Stewart, wherever he is, must cringe whenever he views at a Mizzou game. Everything Stewart built, Quin is about to destroy.

I know Snyder has support from key Missouri donors, but are these donors even paying attention to what they paid for? I don't think they're spending all this money just go get scandal and underachieving.

(Weekend Wrap-Up later)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up Tomorrow.

How does losing Terrell Owens makes a 10 point difference for the Eagles?

How far have the Aggies fallen?

How can anyone stop Texas?

How the hell does Texas Tech lose to OSU?

What kind of people are the Rice Owls for beating up on a poor group of hurricane refugees?

What is Mark Mangino going to blame this loss to Texas on?

What the hell was Gary Barnett thinking?

The answers to these and more questions on the next episode of: Cheap Seats!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Weekend Preview - 11/11/2005

Yes, it's a big weekend for the SEC as one and possibly both divisions of the SEC could be decided this weekend. But never fear, Big XII fans, there's still plenty of intrigue in the Big XII as 3 teams have a chance to become bowl eligible this weekend. Oh, and both Big XII divisions could be wrapped up this week also.


Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Texas A&M at Oklahoma
11:00 AM ABC

This matchup isn't the Big XII South-shaping game that many people thought when they looked at the schedule in preseason. However, to these two teams, it's no less important. The winner of this game is assured of going to a bowl game. The loser has some tough games left to to try and become eligible. If Texas A&M loses, it must try to beat Texas to be bowl eligible. If OU loses, it has a game against 7-1 Texas Tech in Lubbock and The Bedlam Game left.

Key Matchup
Rhett Bomar vs A&M Secondary
I would look for Bomar to have a breakout game here. OU may not have it's act together, but they still have the horses to run the passing game, and A&M can't stop the pass.

Key player for Texas A&M
Reggie McNeal
As he goes, so does A&M, and they need a great game from him if they want to clinch that bowl berth

Key player for Oklahoma
Adrian Peterson
With run stuffer Jaxon Appel possibly out for the game, and limited even if he does play. Peterson may just show the form that made him a Heisman candidate a year ago.

Tale of the Tape

Oklahoma offense vs. Texas A&M defenseOklahoma

With a bad seconary and A&M's best run stuffer hurt, expect Oklahoma's offense to look very good in this game.

Texas A&M offense vs. Oklahoma defensePushIt's really hard to tell how this matchup is going to go because neither unit has been very consistent this year.
Special TeamsTexas A&MI give A&M the edge based on Todd Pegram. If it comes down to a game winner, I'd rather have Pegram than a lot of other kickers in the league.
CoachingOklahomaThis is not really a knock against Dennis Franchione, because I think he's still a good coach despite what's happened to the Aggies this season. However, as far as a gameday coach, I would take Bob Stoops over most coaches.
IntangiblesOklahomaBoth teams know they need this game, but home field is on the side of OU, and that makes a huge difference.

Big XII Games

Colorado at Iowa State
6:00 PM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn
Colorado can wrap up a Big XII North title with a win in this game. Iowa State is already bowl eligible, but I'm sure they'd like something better than Fort Worth.

Kansas at Texas
2:30 PM ABC
A win in this game would sew up the Big XII South title for Texas, as they could still lose the A&M game and win the tie breaker with Texas Tech. A win for Kansas would be sweet redemption for Mad Mark Mangino who still believes he was screwed last year by the officials.

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State
1:00 PM
The Cotton Bowl is taking a serious look at Texas Tech this weekend, so they better bring it against Oklahoma State.

Baylor at Missouri
1:00 PM
As bad a season as Missouri has suffered, they can still be bowl eligible with a win against Baylor. Baylor, on the other hand, is 4-5 and can be eliminated from bowl contention with a loss.

Kansas State at Nebraska
1:00 PM
Similar scenario here. 5-4 Nebraska can clinch with a win, 4-5 K-State needs to win to hang on to it's slim bowl hopes.

Our Adopted Team

Tulane at Rice
1:00 PM
Our adopted Tulane Green Wave travel to Houston to take on the Rice Owls. Finally, an easy game for the Wave. Not saying they should take it lightly, but this will be considerably easier than, say Navy. Plus, they've already played against the triple option once this year and should be used to it.

Other Texas Teams

6:00 PM
TCU has the Mountain West wrapped up. Now it needs to avoid an SMU-style letdown.

Texas Southern at UTEP
8:05 PM
Look, I respect historically African-American colleges because they've re-invented themselves as education-focused institutions in this age of integration. The problem is, they aren't the athletic powerhouses that they used to be. (Had they been allowed to compete withe the SEC pre-integration, they probably would have destroyed most SEC teams). This would be like UTEP playing Columbia.

I mean, could we please get Texas Southern alumnus Michael Strahan to put some of his Right Guard endorsement money into the TSU Football program? Please?

Southern Miss at Houston
Sunday 4:00 PM
This is a makeup for a Hurricane Rita. Unfortunately for Southern Miss, it's also their second game this week as they survived against the Marshall Thundering Herd on Tuesday.

National Games of Note

Obviously, like everyone else, we're going to be keeping an eye on the SEC race since the myriad number of scenarios from South Carolina-Florida, LSU-Alabama, and Auburn-Georgia make it intriguing, even if it has little bearing on the national scene.

South Carolina at Florida
11:30 AM, PPV
If Florida wants to have any chance at a SEC East title, they must take care of buisness against South Carolina. Without this win, they are completely out of the running and the Auburn-Georgia game later means nothing to them or the Bulldogs.

LSU at Alabama
2:30 PM CBS
Alabama is one of the last 3 undefeateds despite not scoring an offensive touchdown in it's last 2 games. LSU is probably the best one-loss team in the nation and feels like it has something to prove after the flack they took for the final quarter against Tennessee.

Auburn at Georgia
6:45 PM ESPN
Auburn, who got off to a shaky start earlier this year, has rebounded and still has an outside shot at winning the SEC West, but they face a tough Georgia team.


Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday 12:00 PM CBS

The worst team in the league travels to Indy to play the best team. Think Houston has what it takes to pull the upset?

Ha ha. We didn't think so either.

Key Matchup
Houston offensive line vs Indy defensive line
Yeah, I know it's a mismatch, but the Texans' line has to play the game of it's life to hold off Indy and that may not be enough

Key players for Houston
Vernand Morency and Jonathan Wells
Whoemever starts at running back needs to have a great day to keep the Colts offense off the field.

Key player for Indianapolis
Robert Mathis
Never heard of him? The Indy defensive end is the NFL's current leader in sacks and should pick up a lot more in this game.

Tale of the Tape

Texans offense vs. Colts defenseIndianapolisAny analyst who thinks the Texans' line can hold here needs to have their head checked.
Colts offense vs. Texans defenseIndianapolisPeyton Manning will absolutely shred this defense.
Special TeamsIndianapolisTexans special teams: Bad kicking game. Bad punting game. Bad return game.
CoachingIndianapolisThis isn't a game where Dom Capers is hamstrung by his talent, Tony Dungy is also a better coach.
IntangiblesIndianapolisIndianapolis feels like it's over the Patriot hump and is unstoppable. Houston feels like they are already on the clock for the first pick

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Monday, 8:00 PM ABC

OK, Terrell Owens' suspension has left a huge hole, but Philly still has a defense that will scare you if you don't prepare for them, and D-McNabb is still a great player who made deep playoff runs without Owens. However, in week 5, when T.O. was still around, the Cowboys offense shredded the Philly defense and the Dallas defense held Philly out of the end zone. Which does not bode well for Philly's chances in their first full week to prepare for a game without Terrell Owens.

Key Matchup
Brian Westbrook & Eagles O-Line vs Dallas Front Seven
At some point, the Eagles have to prove they can run the football. Since T.O.'s suspended, they might as well try it this week, although that Dallas front is very good.

Key player for Dallas
Julius Jones
Whomever the starting running back is needs to have a great day because this offense is keyed around the running game and the Eagles defense will be fired up to shut the running game down.
Key player for Philadelphia
L.J. Smith
Philly will look to him to pick up the recieving slack in the absence of T.O.

Tale of the Tape
Cowboys offense vs. Eagles defenseDallasLast time, the Cowboys put up 456 yards and 33 points on the Eagles' vaunted defense...
Eagles offense vs. Cowboys defenseDallas... and the Cowboys defense held the Eagles offense to 3 points, 6 first downs and 129 yards.
Special TeamsPhiladelphiaShaun Suisham has been OK, but not great. David Akers is listed as "probable" and will most likely start
CoachingDallasAndy Reid is good. Bill Parcells is great.
IntangiblesDallasYeah, it's in Philly, and yeah, the Eagles want to prove that they are more than TO, but you gotta figure the Cowboys are tired of Philly getting all the press this week.

Bye Week: New Orleans
And they will definitely take it with the season they are having.

Monday:Weekend Wrap-Up

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thank You, TO

You know, I've been pretty ticked off about how TO has burned his defenders. Then I checked the schedule and realized the Eagles are playing Dallas this week on Monday night.

And then it hit me.

My boy came through for me by blowing up the Eagles on Cowboys game week.

Thank you, Terrell Owens. All is forgiven.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Big XII Basketball Preview


1. Texas (#2 - AP poll)
Last Year: 20-11 (9-7 Big 12), lost in first round of NCAA Tournament to Nevada.
Projected Starters: F LaMarcus Aldridge (6'10" Soph.), F Brad Buckman (6'8" Sr.), F P.J. Tucker (6'5" Jr.), G Daniel Gibson (6'2" Soph), G Kenton Paulino (6' Sr.)
Expected Contributors: F Mike Williams (6'7" Soph.), C Connor Atchley (6'10" RS Fr.), G A.J. Abrams (5'10" Fr.), G Craig Winder (6'2" Jr. Transfer)

The record from last year is a bit misleading, as Texas lost P.J. Tucker to academic suspension and LaMarcus Aldridge with a hip injury halfway through last season. Daniel Gibson shined in the absence of the two, scoring 12.5 PPG and averaging almost 4 assists/game. Texas is expected to make the Final Four behind Gibson, who will possibly bolt for the NBA after this season, Aldridge, and Tucker, provided Aldridge is healthy and the chemistry works out.

2. Oklahoma
Last Year: 25-8 (12-4), lost to Utah in second round of NCAA Tournament.
Projected Starters: F Kevin Bookout (6'8" Sr.), F Taj Gray (6'9" Sr.), G Terrell Everett (6'4" Sr.), G David Godbold (6'5" Soph), G Michael Neal (6'4" Jr. Transfer)
Key Contributors: F Nate Carter (6'6" Jr. Transfer), G Austin Johnson (6'3" Fr.), G Chris Walker (6'3" Jr. Transfer), F Taylor Griffin (6'7" Fr.)

If anyone can challenge Texas in conference, it's defending regular season co-champions Oklahoma, strictly on talent and Kelvin Sampson's coaching acumen. The problem is, a lot of that talent is either young or just transferred in, so we'll have to wait and see if the chemistry works out.

Making the Tournament

3. Kansas
Last Year: 23-7 (12-4), upset by Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Starters: C C.J. Giles (6'10" Soph.), F Julian Wright (6'9" Fr.), F Christian Moody (6'8" Sr.), G Micah Downs (6'8" Fr.) G Mario Chalmers (6'1" Fr.)
Key Contributors: C Sasha Kaun (6'11" Soph.), G Rodrick Stewart (6'4" Soph. Transfer), G Jeremy Case (6'1" RS Fr.)

This team will be great ... someday. Just not this year. It's very, very good now, but also very young. The three freshmen projected starters isn't a misprint, Bill Self expects these guys to start right away.

4. Oklahoma State
Last Year: 26-7 (11-5), lost to Arizona in the Sweet 16
Projected Starters: C Aaron Pettway (6'10" Sr.), F David Monds (6'8" Jr.), F. Torre Johnson G JamesOn Curry (6'3" Soph.), G Byron Eaton (5'11" Fr.)
Key Contributors: F Keith Brumbaugh (6'8" Jr. Transfer), F Mario Boggan (6'7" Jr. Transfer), Jamaal Brown (6' Jr. Transfer), G/F Marcus Dove (6'7" Soph)

Another team that's relying on newcomers as only 4 players return from last year's squad. The situation in the frontcourt is very fluid and might look very different at the start of conference play if the incumbent players don't perform to Eddie Sutton's liking. JamesOn Curry is without question this team's star.

5. Texas A&M
Last Year: 21-10 (8-8), played in the NIT
Projected Starters: F Joe Jones (6'9" Soph.), F Marlon Pompey (6'8" Jr.), F Edjuan Green (6'7" Sr.) G Acie Law (6'3" Soph.), G Dominique Kirk (6'3" Soph.)
Key Contributors: C Antanas Kavaliauskas (6'10" Jr. Transfer), F Chris Walker (6'5" Sr.), G Josh Carter (6'5" Fr.), F Martellus Bennett (6'7" Fr.), G Logan Lee (6'2" Jr. Transfer), G Eddie Smith (6'2" Jr. Transfer)

Texas A&M was an exciting team to watch last year, if you were watching them at Reed Arena (where they went 17-3). This year, with all the newcomers Billy Gillespie has brought in to supplement Acie Law and Joe Jones, A&M should be Big Dance bound.

On the Bubble

6. Texas Tech
Last Year: 22-11, lost to West Virginia in the Sweet 16.
Projected Starters: F Darryl Dora (6'9" Jr.), F Damir Suljagic (6'8" Soph.), G Martin Zeno (6'5" Soph.), G Jarrius Jackson (6'1" Jr.), Drew Coffman (6'1" Jr.)
Key Contributors: F Johnathat Plefka (6'8 Jr. Transfer), G LucQuente White (6' Jr.), G Terry Martin (6'5" Fr.), G Alan Voskuil (6'3" Fr.)

A little harsh, given the fact that Tech made the Sweet 16 last year? Probably. But given the loss of Devonne Giles and Ronald Ross, and the fact that this team is way undersized, and the Red Raiders may just take a giant step backward.

7. Iowa State
Last Year: 19-12 (9-7), lost to North Carolina
Projected Starters: C Theo Davis (6'10" Fr.), F Shawn Taggart(6'9" Fr.), G Curtis Stinson (6'3" Jr.), G Will Blalock(6' Jr.), G Rahshon Clark (6'6" Soph.)
Key Contributors: G Tasheed Carr (6'4" Soph.) (F Anthony Davis 6'5" Sr.)

This team is basically starting over at center and power forward with new players. Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock are back to lead the team, though.

Wait until next year

8. Colorado
Last Year:
Projected Starters: F Julius Ashby(6'9" Sr.), F Calvin Williams (6'7" Fr.), F Chris Copeland (6'8" Sr.), G Richard Roby (6'6" Soph.), G Dominique Coleman (6'3" Jr. Transfer)
Key Contributors: C Lamont Arrington (6'11" Sr.), F Andy Osborn (6'9" Sr.), G Marcus Hall (6'1" Jr.)

The problem with this team isn't size, it's that they have it in the wrong places. Only Arrington is over 6'9", but Copeland, Osborn, and Roby are all taller than average perimeter players.

9. Nebraska
Last Year: 14-14 (7-9)
Projected Starters: C Aleks Maric (6'11" Soph.), F Wes Wilkinson (6'9" Sr.), G Joe McCray (6'5" Soph.), G Jason Dorisseau (6'5" Sr.)
Key Contributors:F B.J. Walker(6'8" Jr. Transfer), G Marcus Perry (6'2" Jr.), G Paul Velander (6'2" RS Fr.)

Despite all the young guns, Barry Collier must win now in order to keep his job. Let's hope he has his resume prepared.

10. Kansas State
Last Year: 17-12 (6-10)
Projected Starters: C Tyler Hughes (6'11" Sr.), F Cartier Martin (6'8" Jr.) G Clent Stewart (6'4" Soph.) G Lance Harris (6'5" Jr.), G Curtis Allen (6'4" Soph.)
Key Contributors:

This is about the weakest front court in the Big XII. If Jim Wooldridge thought his job was in trouble last year, wait until you see his job approval after they go up against Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

11. Missouri
Last Year: 16-17 (7-9), went to NIT.
Projected Starters: F Kevin Young (6'9" Sr.) F Leo Criswell (6'9" Fr.), G Thomas Gardner (6'5" Jr.), G Jimmy McKinney (6'3" Sr.), G Jason Horton (6'1" Soph.)
Key Contributors: F Marshall Brown (6'7" Soph.), G Glen Dandridge (6'6" Soph.)

While he can sing a mean Karaoke, Quin Snyder's coaching acumen seems to be getting worse. He has failed to get some very talented teams to the NCAA Tournament the past 2 years. Now, he doesn't quite have the talent.

To Quote a certain Jim Rome e-mailer, "WAR Missouri Firing Quin Snyder!"

12. Baylor

It doesn't matter who plays or who coaches, Baylor has stunk, is going to stink this year, and will stink until the end of time.

Scott Drew never should have taken this job.

Monday, November 7, 2005

The BCS simplifies itself... @#$%&!

Miami saved the BCS's rear end.

While it would have been nice to see the BCS messed up one more time, Neither Virginia Tech nor UCLA held up their end of the deal.

And Alabama is always teetering on the brink of disaster, so the chances of their undefeated record holding up are slim.

Between this and the surprise TO suspension (who continues to make his defenders look like idiots), I'm really too ticked off to blog right now.

Oh well, at least the Red Raiders beat A&M this weekend.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Weekend Preview - 11/4/2005

Quick Shout-out: Congratulations to Leander, Pflugerville, Connally, Round Rock, Westlake, Hays, Bastrop, McCallum, Lanier, LBJ, Lake Travis, Wimberley, Liberty Hill, Hutto, Lexington, and a few other Austin-area high schools I may have forgotten on making the UIL high school football playoffs.


Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Missouri at Colorado
2:30 PM ABC (KVUE 24)
Regional Coverage Map
Except for any market in Nebraska served by Sioux Falls, SD or any place in Iowa served by Cedar Rapids, Iowa. you're OK. If you happen to live in one of those places I just listed, you need to call your cable/satellite company and get it on PPV.

Yeah, I know, probably not most people's choice for "Game of the Week" but this is effectively the Big 12 North Championship. (Plus, we've never had a chance to really feature a Big 12 North game).

Despite the apparent difference in talent, this is not an automatic win for the Buffs. The last Big 12 North loss Colorado suffered? Last year's Missouri game.

Key Matchup
John Torp vs Marcus Woods
Both teams rely on clock management and possession. So this puts a big premium on field position. John Torp is the Big XII's best punter, but Missouri has the league's best punt return average as a team.

Key player for Colorado
Hugh Charles
The Big XII's second leading rusher for running backs needs to get going in this game to keep Brad Smith off the field.

Key player for Missouri
Brad Smith
... with a capital "Duh!" Come on, the guy is 336 yards away from passing Kliff Kingsbury as the Big 12's career leader in total offense by a QB, and he's Mizzou's leading rusher and passer. This is the guy that has to show up for Missouri. He's also the guy Colorado's going to have to stop

Tale of the Tape

Missouri offense vs. Colorado defenseMissouriColorado has mixed results in the "dual threat QB" category this year. They failed to stop Vince Young, but they stopped Reggie McNeal. Since Smith is closer to Young than McNeal...
Colorado offense vs. Missouri defenseColoradoMissouri's linebackers have had trouble stopping the run, which favors the Buffaloes.
Special TeamsColoradoIf Mason Crosby hasn't locked up the Lou Groza Award at this point, the people who vote for it need to have their head checked.

Gary Barnett is frequently underestimated by media people, opposing coaches, and Attorneys General of the State of Colorado. Gary Pinkel has probably coached his way out of a job, given Missouri's performance this season.
Oh, and Barnett is the better game coach.

IntangiblesPushNeither team has fared well under the bright spotlight of an ABC marquee game.

Big XII Games

Texas A&M at Texas Tech
6:00 PM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn
Texas Tech throws for 428.2 passing yards a game. Texas A&M gives up 307.2 passing YPG. Plus, Texas A&M has lost it's last 3 in Lubbock and 7 of the last 10 meetings. That said, Tech usually spoils A&M's season when A&M is the favorite in this game, so I'm sure there's nothing the Aggies would like more than to return the favor now that Tech is having it's best year in a while.

Texas at Baylor
11:30 AM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn
Let's face it, the Baylor Bears are having a better season than they usually do, but they've let a lot of games slip away, so whether it's close or not, the Bears are probably going to lose.

Nebraska at Kansas
Last week, Bill Callahan made a throat slash gesture and was fined. This week, Cory Ross and Zac Taylor can slash up the Kansas defense.

Kansas State at Iowa State
1:00 PM
Beat Iowa, lose to Nebraska. Beat OSU, Lose to Baylor. Beat A&M, lose to Missouri.
Would the Real Iowa State Cyclones, please stand up? I repeat, would the real Iowa State Cyclones please stand up?

We're gonna have a problem here...

Bye Week: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Our Adopted Team

Tulane at Navy
12:30 PM
Well, Chris Scelfo said his team would play anywhere. Navy's not a powerhouse, but it's still a tough place for visitors.

Other Texas Teams

Colorado State at TCU
6:00 PM PPV
TCU can clinch it's first ever Mountain West title (in the Horned Frogs' first Mountain West season) against the Rams.

Tulsa at UTEP
8:00 PM
This game, between 2 teams with 4-1 conference records, will give the winner the inside track to a Conference USA West title.

Houston at Central Florida
5:00 PM
Meanwhile, Houston will attempt to bring George O'Leary's Golden Knights back down to earth.

Rice at SMU
2:00 PM CSTV
OK, why is this matchup between the two worst teams in the Conference USA West the only C-USA TV game this week? Doesn't the conference have any TV flexibility whatsoever?


Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
noon, CBS (KEYE 42)

Congratulations, Texans, you beat the equally crappy Cleveland Browns. Enjoy the win because it's probably your last for the year.

The Texans step up to play the Jacksonville Jaguars, and will most likely return to their familiar losing ways

Key Matchup
Domanick Davis vs his bum knee
Seeing as how he's the only reliable offensive player for the Texans, they better hope he's more than "Questionable" for Sunday's game.

Key player for Houston
Milford Brown
Bad enough that the Texans line is the worst in terms of sacks allowed, but Zach Weigert is lost to injury and Brown has to step up. Heck, he could play his way to a starting job if he performs well.

Key player for Jacksonville
Fred Taylor
Assuming he stays healthy (a phrase you always have to use with Taylor), Taylor should have a big day against a defense that is allowing 227 yards in the past 3 games.

Tale of the Tape
Texans offense vs. Jacksonville defenseJacksonvilleIf there's an over/under on sacks on David Carr, take the over, whatever it is.
Jacksonville offense vs. Texans defenseJacksonvilleEven though Byron Leftwitch has trouble against the Texans, the Jaguars should run all over a weak Houston defense
Special TeamsJacksonvilleI don't know who Jacksonville's kicker or punter are, but they have to be better than Houston's
CoachingHoustonIn a game that matched equal talent, I would give Dom Capers an edge over Jack Del Rio in terms of game coaching. Unfortunately, Dom doesn't have talent.
IntangiblesJacksonvilleHouston's just happy they aren't the last winless team since the '76 Bucs.

Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints
Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
3:05 PM Fox (KTBC 7)

OK, if there are any Saints fans out there, I'd like to know one thing. How the heck can you possibly pull for this team when, throughout their history, they have constantly found new ways to lose a football game?

Key Matchup
Saints blockers vs Chicago front four
Currently, the Saints are tied for third in sacks allowed. Chicago gets a lot of heat on the quarterback. So if the Saints don't want to be totally embarrassed, they need to fix this.

Key player for New Orleans
Aaron Brooks
He must stay upright for New Orleans to win as he's the only offensive option.

Key player for Chicago
Kyle Orton
Can he improve on his best game as a pro and carve up a bad Saints defense?

Tale of the Tape
Saints offense vs. Bears defenseChicagoLike a lot of fantasy owners I know, the Saints are missing Deuce McAllister's production greatly.
Bears offense vs. Saints defensePushClearly a case of "resistable force" meeting "moveable object"
Special TeamsChicagoSince they won game 1 on a last second field goal, New Orleans' special teams have gone progressively downhill, even contributing to close losses.
CoachingPushUgh, Lovie Smith vs. Jim Haslett? I wouldn't want either in a game situation
IntangiblesChicagoThey say tragedy defines character. Clearly being shuffled around has gotten to the New Orleans Saints, as they keep finding new and interesting ways to lose.

Bye Week: Dallas Cowboys

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Missed my chance at the big time...

I got the following e-mail in response to yesterday's post about the two Koreas fielding one Olympic team:


I'm a radio producer for the BBC World Service and in tonight's programme we want to discuss the joint representation of North and South Korean athletes at the Olympics.

I noticed you write a blog about North Korea and I'd like to hear your point of view on this topic. Our programme is in 5 hours time and if you would be interested could you tell me your contact numbers as soon as possible and I will ring you to discuss further.

Best wishes
Fiona Crack

Fiona Crack
World Have Your Say
BBC World Service

Unfortunately, I had to fish it out of the Junk Mail after the fact, so I missed by big chance to do live radio.


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

An Olympic Special! Two Koreas for the Price of One!

Sports is what it is.

It's people competing.

People have always tried to make it out to be something more, though.

Even on issues like war and peace, sports is often viewed as "more than a game." Teddy Roosevelt once called sports "the moral equivalent of war" The countries of Honduras and El Salvador once made a soccer game an excuse for war. The Olympics were ostensibly founded to give nations a peaceful way to compete. The Nobel Prize committee even once awarded a medal to FIFA for promoting peace.

And that's not counting number of times sports has been used in this country to justify racism or civil rights, or the number of misty-eyed accounts of how the "Miracle on Ice" turned the U.S. around in 1980 and was a victory against communism. (never mind that the U.S. had beaten the Russians hundreds of times before in other sports, and the Russians had beaten us hundreds of other times.)

So pardon me if I don't attach the same kind of gushing romanticism to the news that North and South Korea are looking to field a single team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as others do.

Olympic competition failed to stop either World War. Six Olympic competitions (2 winter, 4 Summer) were wiped out due to World Wars I and II.

5 decades of international competition between the Soviet Union and United States did nothing to stop the Cold War. If anything, the most progress was made during the eight years where they boycotted each other's Olympics.

And as many "statements" as black athletes like Fritz Pollard, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and others have made, racism is still an issue in this country.

So, frankly the chances of a unified Korean Olympic team solving a 60-year old border dispute where only an armistice (not a formal peace treaty) and an aptly misnamed "demilitarized zone" is keeping the two sides apart is pretty slim. And if the Olympics couldn't move the doomsday clock back one tick, don't expect one Korean Olympic team to suddenly make the peninsula nuke-free.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up - "Candy Everybody Wants" edition

Yeah, I took Friday off. Even if they are physically present at work, doesn't everyone take Friday off?


We've had so many of these "wild weekends" in football that I'm not sure we can define what a normal weekend is anymore. Texas had a USC-type close call against Oklahoma State. Texas Tech actually was held for under 300 yards passing. Iowa State actually beat a team from the Big XII South. The The Houston Texans actually won a game. The Saints played a "home" game in Louisiana and people were cheering for the opposing coach. And how many potential 100-yard rushers do the Cowboys have in that backfield, anyway?


Big story of the weekend: Texas survives Oklahoma State scare

The first half was bad for Texas as they fell behind 21-9 after one quarter and trailed 28-12 at the half.

Then Vince Young took the game over.

I think we are witnessing the development of the next great NFL QB in front of our very eyes. He's got athleticism that rivals Michael Vick, but he's showing instincts that rival Peyton Manning and a will to win that rivals no one.

Recap: All Things Longhorn

Big 12 Games

Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 24

Before the season, you probably would have pegged this as an OU victory. Then OU hit a slump and Nebraska started off 4-0 and despite a stumble against Texas Tech, one figured Nebraska would have an easier time with OU this year.

Turns out people's preseason instincts are right... sometimes.

Surprisingly, Oklahoma is tied with Texas Tech for second place in the South.

Gaylord Memorial Gathering
My Opinion on Sports

Colorado 23, Kansas State 20

With Missouri losing to Kansas and Nebraska and Iowa State both falling on their faces, Colorado has firmly seized control of the Big 12 South with this win.

Texas Tech 28, Baylor 0

Texas Tech's defense picked the perfect time to pitch their first shutout. Texas Tech only passed for 264 yards and Cody Hodges had a worse day against Baylor than he did against Texas, believe it or not.

Recap: Double T Ranch

Iowa State 42, Texas A&M 14

Barrick Nealy, Joel Klatt, and Allen Evridge all threw for 300 yards against A&M. Add Iowa State's Bret Meyer to that list. Oh, and they travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech next week.

Kansas 13, Missouri 3

Wow, it's only football season, and Missouri still can't beat Kansas. Still, it was an ugly game.

Recap: Phog Blog

Our Adopted Team

Marshall 27, Tulane 26

Nice to know there are some AP writers with a sense of humor:
Some reward for returning two interceptions for touchdowns.

Tulane's defense forced Marshall's starting quarterback from the game, only to watch the replacement rally the Thundering Heard for two late touchdown drives and a 27-26 Marshall victory on Saturday night.

From Marshall's standpoint however, they at least won a close game this time instead of losing it like they did against K-State.
Recap: Frank McGrath

Around the State

UTEP 38, Rice 31

Not really a surprise. Rice does have the nation's longest current losing streak at 13 games. Jordan Palmer had 387 yards and 3 touchdowns to pace the Miners.

TCU 23, San Diego State 20

TCU came within a recovered onside kick and score of losing this game. Bailing out the Horned Frogs: Robert Merrill with 170 yards rushing.

Around the Nation
(The best blog recaps)

Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 10
Turkey Talk (recap) (photo recap)
Eagle in Atlanta

Florida 14, Georgia 10
Georgia Sports Blog


Sunday's Games

Dallas 34, Arizona 13

The result was nothing new. The last regular season win Arizona had against Dallas was 1989 (but then everyone else except Washington beat up on the Cowboys that year also).

Game Ball: Marion Barber III
Got 127 yards (4.7 per carry) and 2 scores last week after getting 95 yards (4.3 per carry) last week.

Recap: Cowboy Roundup

Miami 21, New Orleans 6

Just their luck, the New Orleans Saints finally get to play a game at Death Valley West, and it's against LSU's old coach, Nick Saban. Saban just did what he did many a time before at that stadium: win.

Game Ball: Joe Horn
While we could give it for him for his brutal honesty about the Saints, it's being the only effective offensive option for New Orleans (7 receptions, 99 yards, 14.1 YPC) that gets my vote.

Houston 19, Cleveland 16

I think an unidentified e-mailer to the Jim Rome Show today put it best

Dear Jim,

We didn't run the table. Sorry to disappoint you

David Carr and the Houston Texans

Game Ball: Kris Brown
For surprisingly not choking when the game was on the line and nailing a 40 yarder.

And one more thing... A moment of silence for Austin's Bitter End restaurant and brew pub.

Fire destroyed the pub August 21, but apparently the people who own the property have decided that they would rather build a hotel on the site and have told the restaurant owners that they aren't interested in rebuilding it.

Sad really.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Don't Dream, It's Over

First off, congrats to the Chicago White Sox on winning the 2005 World Series. They did everything it took to win and the Astros didn't. They earned it.

But the Astros had to tease us one more time before they left. Brandon Backe, allegedly the weakest of the 4 pitchers the Astros were going to throw out in this series, held the White Sox scoreless through 7 innings.

Then they handed it of to Brad Lidge. Who only allowed 3 hits, all ground balls, in two innings without walking anyone. Unfortuntately hit #1 put the winning run, Walt Harris, on base, and hit #2 was Jermaine Dye's single to drive him in.

Well, hopefully they can improve the team in the offseason, and convince Bagwell, Biggio, and Clemens to come back one more year. I'd hate to see this team get so close and and not have a chance at defending their pennant.

Valentine leads Marines to Japanese World Series victory

On the other side of the World, former Texas Rangers skipper Bobby Valentine led the Chiba Lotte Marines to a victory in the Japanese World Series.

Now Valentine wants to take on the Chicago White Sox:
"It's as good a team as I've ever managed. I'd put them up against the winner of the World Series, and I know we'd win at least a couple of games."
While it might not happen this season, I'd love to see a true World Series in between the Japanese and U.S. Major League champions. It would be better than that "World Baseball Classic"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Football Blogpoll Week 9

My "Straight Bangin" and "Mr. Bold" award-winning ballot can be found here


Astros fan Linsey Hasenbank's reaction pretty much says it all (Carlos Javier Sanchez/Houston Chronicle)

Ever since Saturday, my sporting life has stunk.

First, my Red Raiders lost the most important game in the school's history

Second, my Cowboys lost because of a fluke play even though the 'Boys held Seattle in check on defense most of the game.

Third, my Astros went down 0-2 in their first World Series appearance in history.

But I figure it's no problem right? The Astros can win 3 games at home and at least make a series out of it before it goes back to Chicago.

First, Roy Oswalt, our streak stopper, gives up 5 runs in the 5th. Then it goes to extra innings with not much happening. Finally, Geoff Blum, a guy the Astros gave up on, kills us in the 14th with a homer off Ezequiel Astacio.

There are words to describe this. None of them are for polite company.

I'm sure a lot of Astros fans were once Oilers fans must be feeling whatever it is they felt when they saw the playoff game against the Bills in '92.

Seriously, how do you stop this team? Ozzie Guillen just always seems to make the right move at the right time, and every batter seems to be able to come with the big hit.

Meanwhile the Astros are showing the form that got them off to a 15-30 start this season.

And we've got to rely on Brandon Backe and a seriously bad bullpen to get us one stinking win.

Maybe this is God's way of telling me I need to take a break.

(Bonus post later today, this was supposed to be Tuesday's post, but the game ran long)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Texas Leapfrogs USC in BCS

Further proof that we need to scrub this whole BCS stuff:

Texas has leapfrogged Southern Cal the BCS, despite the fact that they should probably be dropped a place for playing a team that consensus says is overrated.

Seriously, if Texas Tech is an overrated team playing a weak schedule, doesn't that weaken Texas's schedule by extension?

A playoff can't come soon enough.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sick as a dog

I'm sorry, I did not feel well at all Friday and I don't feel well today

Here's the deal: I have bad allergies. Apparently most people can breathe in mold spores and tree pollen and nothing happens. My system, however, can't deal with it. Worse, because of other medications I take, I can't take any of these fancy new allergy medicines, so I'm stuck with Chlor-Trimeton and that won't cut it.

So basically I feel like I have a bad cold all day without actually having a cold.

What really sucks is that this coinsides with the biggest game in Texas Tech history, and it's right here in my backyard. I wanted to go to the Alumni Tailgate today, but I can't do it because I'm stuck here at home coughing up a lung.