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.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blogpoll Roundtable #9?

Brought to you by All Things Longhorn.

1. What would it take for you to vote someone other than USC #1 in the poll? If you already are, what would it take for USC to regain the top spot on your ballot?

I think Texas has basically done everything they need to do to be #1. They've won their tough games, and they've beaten their bad opponents badly.

Also, If USC were to play a bad first half against Texas, they would be so far down that they'd never be able to come back.

2. Which of the undefeateds is most likely to remain so? Who is least likely?

Most Likely:
USC - Should win out.
Texas - they can have their way with the rest of their schedule
Georgia - Only have the SEC championship game to go.

Less likely:
Virginia Tech - They still have games against Miami, and they are probably on track to play FSU in the championship game
Alabama - Couldn't beat Georgia the way they played against Mississippi

Least likely:
UCLA - Because of USC
Texas Tech - Like USC, haven't played a complete game yet.

3. If you were running the BCS system, would you let the computer rankings factor in margin of victory? Why or why not?

Margin of victory only applies, I think, when it's a BCS conference team playing a Sun Belt or I-AA team, because a BCS team letting one of the other teams hang around is a good predictor that they are going to lose against their conference. Otherwise, it really doesn't matter.

If it applies in a limited case, it's really unfair to judge every team based on margin of victory.

So if you can find a formula that allows MOV to apply only to BCS vs. non-BCS games, then great. Otherwise, leave it out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I knew it was too good to be true...

Pujos celebrates his homer to win game 5(Ron Heflin/AP)

The Astros were up 3-1 in the series on the Cardinals with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in Game 5 and Brad Lidge, closer extraordinaire, on the bump

I'm excited.

The State of Texas is about to land it's first team in the World Series.

Then David Eckstein singles and Jim Edmonds walked.

"No problem," I thought, "The Astros will just walk Pujols to get Reggie Sanders."



Monday, October 17, 2005

Weekend Wrap Up: "A Game of Inches" edition

Matt Leinart shows South Bend who is No. 1 after scoring the winning TD with three seconds left. (AP)
Leinart: What, you thought you were gonna be #1, Texas? I got your #1 right here. (Associated Press)

According to the NCAA rulebook, the official width of the goal line is 1 foot.

That's how close Texas was to being #1 in the land Saturday.

In what could be the most memorable QB sneak since Bart Starr, Matt Leinart dove over the goal line into the end zone to get USC past Notre Dame and hold on to the top spot in the polls.

But it wasn't the only close finish as several other college and pro games were decided on the last play.


Big story of the weekend: Texas beats Colorado; almost gets help from ND

I don't know if Vince Young can make a better Heisman statement than the one he made Saturday against Colorado. He was absolutely brilliant.

The Texas game was pretty much over by halftime, so most of the Longhorn fans exited the stadium en masse just to get to the nearest TV to watch USC-Notre Dame.

Big 12 Games

Texas Tech 59, Kansas State 20

It took them a while, but once Texas Tech's offense got in the groove, it was all over. Tech also forced a bunch of turnovers. Now, they face Texas next week.

Oklahoma 19, Kansas 3

Once again Kansas's defense played great, only to have their offense not show up. If the Jayhawks had a halfway decent QB, they would have a great season.

Nebraska 23, Baylor 14

Just when it looked like Baylor was going to be one win away from bowl eligibility, Nebraska rolled off 17 unanswered points and put Baylor in a hole they couldn't come back from.

Texas A&M 62, Oklahoma State 23

Can we conclude that OSU stinks? Yikes! 62 Points?

Missouri 27, Iowa State 24 (OT)

No Brad Smith? No problem for Missouri. Freshman Chase Daniel, who replaced the injured Smith, led Missouri down the field on 2 4th quarter drives and the game winning drive in OT.

Our Adopted Team

UTEP 45, Tulane 21

I think we can safely conclude that Lester Ricard is a very good QB on a very bad team. His 376 yards passing and 3 TDs would be good enough to win a game for any other team.

Around the State
TCU 38, Army 17

Last week, the Horned Frogs won at Wyoming in spite of a bad performance by new QB Jeff Ballard. This week, they won because of Ballard as he scored 4 touchdowns.

East Carolina 24, SMU 17

Maybe East Carolina watched the A&M-SMU game tape because Pirates' QB James Pinkney did his best Reggie McNeal impersonation, scoring 3 touchdowns.

Memphis 35, Houston 20

DeAngelo Williams's numbers: 198 yards, 2 touchdowns. Williams is probably the best pro prospect out of the non-BCS conferences.

Tulsa 41, Rice 21

The numbers for Tulsa's Uril Parrish aren't impressive at first glance (16 carries, 66 yards), until you consider that he scored 3 touchdowns.

Cheap Seats' Blogpoll Ballot


Sunday's Games
Dallas 16, New York Giants 13 (OT)

Jose Cortez is about as accurate as a nearsighted carnival knife-thrower. But yesterday, he hit the game winner for the Cowboys.

Game Ball: The heat and humidity at Texas Stadium
The Giants defense was on the field almost 40 minutes by the time OT rolled around. Once the Cowboys won the toss and got the ball, the Giants were too tired to keep them out of field goal range.

Atlanta 34, New Orleans 31

Well, San Antonio, you wanted an NFL team, you got the New Orleans Saints instead. Seriously, the Saints just find ways to lose a ball game that no one ever thought of before. Think about it: how often is defensive holding called on a field goal?

Game Ball: Aaron Brooks
He got the ball to Devery Henderson to tie the game and stepped up in the absence of Deuce McAllister.

Seattle 41, Houston 10

In pro wrestling, this would be referred to as a "squash match".

Game Ball: Shaun Alexander
22 carries. 141 yards. 4 Touchdowns. Shaun Alexander is good.

Laundry is piling up, so I'm gonna go do that now.

Tomorrow: Astros in the World Series?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Weekend Preview 9/15/2005


Starting their weekend off early

UTEP 45, Tulane 21
Don't blame the loss on Tulane's Lester Ricard as he had 376 yards, 3 TDs, and no picks, and matched or exceeded his UTEP counterpart, Jordan Palmer, in just about every category. No, the fault for the loss goes to Tulane's run defense, which allowed Sophomore backup Marcus Thomas to run for 93 yards on 12 carries.

Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Colorado at Texas
2:30 PM ABC
Regional Coverage: All markets in: Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska plus Albuquerque, Shreveport, Ft. Smith, Jonesboro, Kansas City, Joplin, St. Joseph's, Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis, Sioux City, and Des Moines.

(Note: Sioux Falls, SD and Cedar Rapids, IA will get Penn State-Michigan instead, as will portions of Missouri that border Illinois, and are not served by St. Louis. The SE corner of Missouri will get Louisville-West Virginia.)

No offense to my fellow Red Raider fans, but this is Texas's toughest post-Oklahoma game. Mainly because Colorado hung 41 on A&M last week, and is putting some distance in between itself and the rest of the North. Could this be a Big XII title game preview?

Key Matchup
Texas Longhorns vs complacency
It's real easy for Texas L

Key player for Texas
Selvin Young
Selvin Young's fumble-itis and lack of yards per carry forced him out of the feature back's role. Now he must step up with Jamaal Charles on a gimpy leg that will limit Charles' carries or keep him out altogether.

Key player for Colorado
Joe Klopfenstein
If Klopfenstein has any aspirations of playing on Sunday, he must prove he can produce against 3 Pro Bowl linebackers.

Tale of the Tape

Texas offense vs. Colorado defensePushWith Jamaal Charles a question mark, this matchup becomes a bit more even.
Colorado offense vs. Texas defenseTexas
Special TeamsColorado(notes)
CoachingTexasEven if Mack Brown hadn't won the Rose Bowl,
IntangiblesColoradoIs Texas up for this game. Mack Brown doesn't seem to think so.

Big XII Games

Kansas State at Texas Tech
11:00 AM ABC
Regional Coverage: All markets in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado plus Albuquerque, Shreveport, Ft. Smith, Jonesboro, Kansas City, St. Josephs, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Western Nebraska (except those markets served by Sioux Falls, SD)

(Note: Sioux Falls, SD, Cedar Rapids, IA, Sioux City, IA, Des Moines, IA, St. Louis, SE Missouri, and places in Missouri that border Illinois will get Michigan State-Ohio State instead.)
Texas Tech will probably use this game as a tune-up for Texas. It doesn't matter whether or not Allen Evridge, Allen Webb, Michael Bishop, Ell Roberson or Chad May start for Kansas State, the Wildcats offense lacks the punch to hang with the Red Raiders.

Oklahoma at Kansas
6:00 PM TBS
This is a game Kansas can ill-afford to lose after losing it's first two conference games. Unfortunately, they are facing a ticked-off OU team that will have an Adrian Peterson who is in better shape than he was against Texas.

Iowa State at Missouri
1:00 PM
Two straight conference losses have made their early victory over Iowa a distant memory in the minds of poll voters. A third conference loss could put them behind the 8-ball in terms of Bowl eligibility.

Oklahoma State at Texas A&M(home)
2:30 PM
Oklahoma State was close against Missouri, and it looks like their new passing-oriented offense is finally clicking, which is bad timing for an A&M defense who is near the bottom of the nation in pass defense

Nebraska at Baylor
6:00 PM
In past years, one could look at this game on the schedule, figure Nebraska will win, and move on. This isn't your father's Baylor team, though as they are 4-1 and two wins away from their first bowl eligible season since joining the Big XII. Still, Nebraska came withing a Joel Filani touchdown pass of upsetting Texas Tech and should come up strong here.

Our Adopted Team

...played UTEP last night, see above

Other Texas Teams

Army at TCU
6:00 PM (surprisingly, no TV)
TCU, which right now is the favorite to win the entire Mountain West, finally finishes off it's non-conference schedule against an Army team that almost beat Iowa State earlier this year. Believe it or not, TCU is undefeated all time against Army.

Memphis at Houston
4:00 PM CSTV
Houston needs to win to keep pace with UTEP in the Conference USA West division.

Tulsa at Rice
3:00 PM
Look for Tulsa to have it's way with the punchless Rice Owls.

East Carolina at SMU
2:00 PM
East Carolina blew out an equally horrible Rice team, let's see how Skip Holtz's bunch does against the Ponies.

National Games of Note

USC at Notre Dame2:30 PMNBCA tough road game for the #1 team in the country, however USC is playing a team it has blown out in previous years. Charlie Weis is the new head coach, but it's basically the same players
Florida at LSU2:30 PMCBSLast time Urban Meyer went on the road to a SEC West foe, they lost big. Last time LSU hosted one of the SEC's "Big 3", they lost close.
Michigan St. at Ohio St.11:00 AMABC or PPV*A reeling Ohio State team can save it's season by upsetting Michigan State at home.
Louisville at West Virginia2:30 PM

ABC or PPV**

The Big East doesn't officially have a championship game, but this is definitely the unofficial one.
Penn St. at Michigan2:30 PMABC or PPV**If you told anyone in August that Penn State would be the only undefeated and ranked team in this game, you would have been laughed off the face of the earth
Wisconsin at Minnesota11:00 AMESPNPaul Bunyan's Axe is not the only thing on the line here in this game, the loser gets that much closer to Penn State at 3-1 and the loser drops to 2-2
Georgia at Vanderbilt6:15 PMESPNSurprisingly, Vandy needs 2 wins to become bowl eligible. Georgia hopes to stay in the national title picture and avoid the upset
Alabama at Ole Miss11:00 AMCBSCan Alabama survive the loss of Tyrone Prothro? Well, Mississppi isn't going to provide much of an answer to the question.
Florida State at Virginia6:45 PMESPNFlorida State faces a tough test on the road against a team that is hanging around on the fringes of the Top 25.
UCLA at Washington5:30 PMFSNUCLA should blow this team out and remain in the Top 25, but who knows.

* - See Texas Tech game for what game will be shown in your area
** - See Texas game for what game will be shown in your area


Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks
Sunday 8:30 PM ESPN

What looked like a matchup of teams on the rise (to all who knew nothing about the Texans offensive line crisis) at the beginning of the season now looks like an easy Seahawks victory.

Key Matchup
Seattle pass rush vs Houston O-Line
Yes, it is that simple. Houston's offensive line has to show they can pass protect if they want to pull off the upset

Key player for Houston
Marcus Coleman
Must help in run support against Shaun Alexander without getting burned by play action.

Key player for Seattle
Darrell Jackson
Mainly because he will never have as good an opportunity to get great fantasy numbers as he will against this defense.

Tale of the Tape

Texans offense vs. Seahawks defenseSeattleUntil that offensive line shows it can pass block, Houston loses this matchup no matter who they face
Seahawks offense vs. Texans defenseSeattleTwo words: Shaun Alexander
Special TeamsSeattleEven the special teams on the Texans are bad.
CoachingSeattleMike Holmgren may no longer be a genius, but he's still better than Dom Capers
IntangiblesSeattleHouston seems to come into every game mentally beaten.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
at Alamodome, San Antonio TX
Sunday, 12:00 PM FOX

Michael Vick maybe out, but typically Matt Schaub has done well when called upon to start. Don't expect the New Orleans defense, which gave up 52 points last week against Green Bay, to "Stump the Schaub."

Key Matchup
Aaron Brooks vs Falcons secondary.
Since the Falcons won't have to worry about Deuce McAllister, The safeties can play back on all plays. It's up to Aaron Brooks to find the holes in the defense.

Key player for New Orleans
Antowain Smith
An unheralded key contributor on 2 of the 3 Patriots Super Bowls, Smith must provide a decent running game for the New Orleans Saints.

Key player for Atlanta
Matt Schaub
He's done admirably filling in for Mike Vick in the past, and will probably be someone else's decent starting QB next year.

Tale of the Tape

Saints offense vs. Falcons defenseAtlantaAtlanta is among the leaders in run defense.
Falcons offense vs. Saints defenseAtlantaNo Mike Vick, but the passing game should be better.
Special TeamsPushNothing real spectacular about either unit
CoachingAtlantaIn a short period of time Jim Mora Jr. is proving to be a better head coach than his father.
IntangiblesAtlantaWith New Orleans coming off a demoralizing victory and the loss of their franchise running back, it's hard

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday 12:00 PM FOX (KTBC 7)

So which team is the real Dallas Cowboys? The one that beat Philly and San Diego, or the one that lost on a last second pass from Mark Brunell to Santana Moss and failed to show up against Oakland?

Key Matchup
Eli Manning vs Dallas pass rush
We know Manning is improving, but he must hang in the pocket to deliver the ball and not let the pass rush get to him mentally.

Key player for Dallas
Terrence Newman
Must shut down Plaxico Burress to slow down the Giants offense.

Key players for the New York Giants
Will Peterson and Will Allen
They must "will" themselved to play great pass defense against an explosive Dallas passing attack.

Tale of the Tape

Cowboys offense vs. Giants defenseDallasEven with Tyson Thompson in the backfield, this Giants defense is bad enough to allow him to rush for 100 and give up 300 passing yards.
Giants offense vs. Cowboys defenseNew York GiantsExpect Eli to show the trademark Manning poise in the pocket and toss a few to Shockey and Barber for scores.
Special TeamsDallasI give Dallas the slight edge based on coverage units and punter.
CoachingDallasParcells knows the tendencies of his protege Coughlin probably better than anyone out there.
IntangiblesDallasDallas just beat the defending NFC Champions and the favorite to win the division. Plus, Parcells will not let the Cowboys have a letdown.

Monday:Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday, October 14, 2005

Clock Strikes Midnight on College Hoops Offseason

In case you forgot with all the college and pro football going on, Midnight Madness, the official kickoff of college basketball practice, is tonight.

So what are the storylines for this season.

For Texas and Oklahoma, both of which are preseason top 10s, it's championship or bust. Both programs feel that they have the talent to win it all.

For Kansas, they are looking forward to proving that they are still one of the elite programs year in and year out.

Texas Tech is listed in the top 4 in the preseason coaches poll, but they are the weakest of the top 4, and could miss Ronald Ross more than they realize.

Even though they lost Antoine Wright, Texas A&M could make the leap from pretender to contender this year.

Oklahoma State is trying to avoid a big fall in what could be Eddie Sutton's last year.

Iowa State is looking to make the leap from "bubble team" to the NCAA tournament.

Nebraska, Kansas State, Baylor, and Colorado are all hoping to just make the tournament.
Missouri's Quin Snyder is just hoping to keep his job.

Should be an exciting year for Big XII Basketball. It will be lightyears better than the league's football competition to date.

We'll have a more detailed preview next week.

Weekend Preview Early tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blogpoll Ballot - Week 7

Week 4's Blogpoll

My Ballot:

First 5 out

Fresno State
Arizona State

Why the NFL gets it's marketing right and everyone else doesn't

Lance Williams, host of the "Just Talking Sh--" Podcast, pointed out on his most recent program that nobody is going to really care about the Major League Baseball playoffs now that the Yankees and Red Sox are out of it.

I take great offense to that because I'm an Astros fan, even though I'm not that really into baseball, and I *do* care that they are now 4 wins away from a World Series, something they've never been to. (Damn you '86 Mets, Maddux-Glavine-era Braves, '97 Padres, and '04 Cardinals that it hasn't happened yet!)

But Lance does have a point. There are probably 5 teams that have real name recognition in baseball. The Yankees, Red Sox, Chicago Cubs (thanks, WGN, for shoving them down our throats), the Atlanta Braves (thanks, Ted Turner, for shoving them down our throats), and the L.A. Dodgers (Thanks, aging ex-Brooklynite baseball novelists, for shoving them down our throats). If they're not involved, the ratings drop.

And it's not just baseball where ratings drop when it's major name teams are gone. The NBA sweats whenever the Lakers, Celtics, and Knicks are all eliminated, the NHL is concerned whenever Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and the New York Rangers are all eliminated.

However, the NFL can have Green Bay and Jacksonville in the Super Bowl, and there's no hit in the ratings.


The NFL and those who market it and cover it, realize that every team, no matter how small their market or how much name recognition they have, matters.

All their TV money comes strictly from network and national cable TV, and it's distributed equally to every team. No Fox Sports Nets, Comcast Sports, NESNs, or YES Networks to unbalance the playing field.

Oh, and every team gets an equal share of licensing revenue, and they split the road team's share of the gate equally.

And the salary cap, as much as fans complain about the breakup of teams, ensures that their team can, with good personnel management and salary management, be competitive every year.

ESPN sends it's football reporters to every game site, not just New York, Boston or LA games.

NFL Films doesn't just make a Super Bowl video for the champ, they make 31 other "yearbook" films for every team, and then run them all on ESPN to get every fan in every market jacked up for football season.

The games are once a week, so every game counts. But in between, not an hour in the day goes by without some kind of NFL highlight, analysis, nostalgia, or news show. And all teams get covered, not just the New York teams.

Also, any city can write their name into pro football lore. Green Bay, the league's smallest market, is "Title Town", Buffalo can lose 4 straight Super Bowls and still be remembered as the "lovable losers" of football. Even Oakland, a town dwarfed by San Fransisco and San Jose, can have it's own piece of football lore in the renegade Raiders franchise.

Not coincidentally, the NFL is #1 in just about every survey, poll, and rating you can imagine.

All the other sports only emphasize the best recognized teams. When baseball is covered, whether it be network TV, or ESPN' s Baseball Tonight, the emphasis is on the teams with the best name recognition. They don't take any time talking about the other teams.

And then they wonder why no one who's not a fan of the game can name a player on the Houston Astros or St. Louis Cardinals.

And in the NBA, it doesn't matter that San Antonio has won 2 of the last 3 NBA titles, has one of the best-run organizations in the NBA, and has the league's best player in Tim Duncan. No, the NBA and every media outlet involved with it would rather focus on how Kobe Bryant is running the Lakers into the ground or how Isaiah Thomas is screwing up the Knicks or how Danny Ainge can't run the Celtics. There are 27 other NBA teams, but you'd never know it the way the NBA and NBA-related media promote it.

And then they wonder why the ratings for a Pistons-Spurs final are so bad.

And Hockey? They talk about expanding the game, yet despite the fact that some of it's best young talent plays for franchises in the Sun Belt and Canada, the emphasis of it's US coverage is still the Rangers, Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Bruins.

And they wonder why, aside from all the ridiculous clutching, grabbing, and trapping, that ratings are down.

The NFL understands that every team is important. That's why teams can come out of nowhere and make it to a Super Bowl without Paul Tagliabue worrying what the ratings will be.

If the other leagues have to have a big market or name team make the finals to boost ratings, then maybe it's time they rethink how they market.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Deconstruction of Rising Stars

Rethinking Mack Brown's place in coaching

Used to be the conventional wisdom was that Mack Brown was not a good game coach.

"He's always had the players", many, including myself, argued, "but he can't get it done in big games." And as recently as last week, a former players Cedric Benson was saying that Mack Brown coaches conservatively in big games

But in the last 3 big games Texas has been in, something has clicked. In last year's Rose Bowl, Texas played a close game against Michigan and won. Then they went up to Ohio State, and got Mack Brown's first regular season win over a top-5 AP team (at the time, the Buckeyes were #5) and handed Ohio State it's first non-conference loss at Ohio Stadium in a long while. Now Mack has finally beaten Bob Stoops.

Now, this could very well be the fact that Brown has a once-in-a-lifetime QB like Vince Young, who apparently has the mental toughness to go with his athletic ability. But there's been a drastic change the Longhorns' game play in big games.

The play calling is more aggressive, as evidenced by the long bomb the 'Horns called at the end of the first half in the Oklahoma game. Most coaches play the percentages when up 17-6 and take a knee to end the half, and Mack Brown would have done the same in the past. This time, Brown called a pass play, scored a touchdown, and effectively ended the contest.

Also, the Longhorns have designed their offense around their players' abilities, rather than constraining them by making them fit a "system". They let Vince Young take off during the Michigan game, but during the Ohio State and Oklahoma games, they've taken advantage of Vince Young's arm on key plays.

Maybe he's learning as a coach.

However, coaching is a "what have you done for me lately" buisness, and Mack Brown faces a QB crisis next year as former walk-on Colt McCoy could be the only returning player next year, and the star QB they thought they had, Mitch Mustain, verbally committed to his home state of Arkansas (although, verbal commitments are worth nothing, as UT found out last year with Ryan Perriloux). Without a solid QB, the longhorns could sink back to the pack, and we can forget we ever had this conversation about Mack being a better coach.

Astros beat Braves, set up rematch with Cardinals.

It took 18 innings, but the Houston Astros finally won Game 4 of the division series to set up a rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals. in the National League Championship Series.

It's been a wild ride for the Astros, who started out slowly, then came back to capture the Wild Card behind a cast of young talent, which were led by veterans like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, and Craig Biggio.

Unfortunately, for the second straight year, the Cardinals may block the Astros from getting into the World Series. Houston lost 11 of the 16 meetings with the Cardinals this year, and in almost every game, St. Louis stifled Houston's hitting. Also, the Cards have been surprisingly effective against Houston's pitching.

I'd like to see Houston finally make the World Series, but it looks like the Cardinals are going to stuff them once again.

Stars score 5 unanswered goals to win home opener

The NHL season opener snuck up on a lot of people. I was one of them.

However, from what little I've heard and seen, I looks like the NHL's new rules are working. For proof, look no further than the Dallas Stars' home opener.

The LA Kings got up 4 goals on the Stars, which last year would've meant that the Kings would have just sat on the puck and clutched and grabbed their way to victory.

The Stars, however, because of the new NHL rules, were able to score 5 unanswered goals and come back to win.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up: "Reverse the Curse" Edition

William Winston waves the Longhorn flag after beating Oklahoma 45-12 on Saturday (Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman)(Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman)

Well, just like the Red Sox of last baseball season, the Longhorns "cowboyed up" and "Reversed the Curse". Now all Texas has to do is win out.

But a BCS berth is not as automatic as people say it is.

First off, there's injuries and suspensions. While the Longhorns are deep at all but one position, if Texas faces a series of injuries and suspensions to the two-deep, it could hurt them because then you're either a heartbeat away from playing a walk-on or scout team player or you're playing them altogether.

Also, the Longhorns can ill-afford an injury to Vince Young. Matt Nordgren is a good drop-back passer, but he's not even close to the runner Vince is, which means that defenses can blitz easier knowing that Nordgren won't leave the pocket on a heavy blitz.

Second, with Ohio State's loss to Penn State the Longhorns' strength of schedule is in deep trouble, and while it's not a separate component of the BCS rankings anymore, many pollsters will take it into account and many of the computer rankings have an S.O.S. component. Auburn was left out of the championship game, in large part because they scheduled weak in the non-conference, and their division was in an off year. Both divisions of the Big XII are weak this year, but so long as there was a 1-loss Ohio State team contending for the Big 10 title, that would overcome any shortcomings of the conference schedule. Now, they don't have that anymore.

As of right now, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Penn State are all undefeated in better conferences than the Big 12. If Texas has a close game against one of their remaining opponents, even in a victory, it could mean someone leapfrogs Texas.

Third, the Longhorns have two remaining trap games on their schedule within their own state. Texas Tech is also currently undefeated, and though they barely escaped Lincoln with their lives, the Red Raiders always play Texas tough(Last time the game was in Austin, for instance, Texas Tech missed a field goal that could have won it.). Also, the traditional "Turkey Day +1" game against A&M will be tough as the game will be at Kyle Field and the Aggies, as bad as they've looked this season, would like nothing more than to ruin the Longhorns' national title shot.

Oh, and the Longhorns better not overlook that Colorado game next week either.

Meanwhile, in the Pro ranks, Dallas surprised everyone, myself included, and beat the heck out of the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that the 'Boys needed to beat if they were going to climb to the NFC's upper echelon.


Big story of the weekend:
Texas finally over the Oklahoma hurdle with a 45-12 win

How sweet it is for Burnt Orange Nation.

They finally win the one game that has plagued them these last 5 years.

The biggest sign that this is a different Texas team? With 17 seconds left in the 2nd quarter and Texas at their own 36 yard line, Mack Brown, who's normally been too conservative in his playcalling in this game, called a long pass play rather than take a knee.

Vince Young threw it.

Billy Pittman caught it.

Texas went into the locker room up 24-6 (instead of 17-6), and the Sooners pretty much quit from that moment on.

All Things Longhorn
My Opinion on Sports
Gaylord Memorial Gathering
Rubbing it in, blogosphere style:
The Burnt Orange Bad(censored) at Personal Foul

Big 12 Games

Texas Tech 34, Nebraska 31

The finish to this game, Cody Hodges' 10-yard touchdown pass to Joel Filani with 12 seconds left, was one of the best in college football this season. Up until then, it was ugly for Red Raider fans as an early 21 point lead evaporated in the second half, and 2 scoring drives in the second half ended with field goals instead of touchdowns.

Recap #1: Shallowbottom Blog
Recap #2: Double T Ranch
Bitter Nebraska Fan Blogging: Struggling Joe

Colorado 41, Texas A&M 20

So much for A&M being a championship contender. Joel Klatt becomes the latest QB to put up 300-plus yards on A&M's defense (398 to be exact). The Carl Torbush firing watch continues.

Buffalo Recap: Buffs.TV
Aggie Recap: Texas A&M and Baseball

Baylor 23, Iowa State 13

Baylor bounces back from their narrow loss at A&M to give Iowa State a dose of reality in their own crib.

Recap: Cyclone Sports Journal
Post-game hand wringing: Cyclones Football blog on Des Moines Register

Missouri 38, Oklahoma State 31

For the first time this year, Oklahoma State actually shows up on offense. Unfortunately, their defense can't play worth anything.

Recap: Cowboy Brand

Kansas State 12, Kansas 3

Wow, that was an ugly game. Both teams combined for 277 yards passing. Not surprisingly, both these teams currently have QB controversies.

Our Adopted Team

Houston 35, Tulane 14

Art Briles, former Texas Tech assistant, knew he needed a Taurean Henderson-type dual threat running back to emerge if Houston's offense was going to be like Texas Tech. One may have emerged tonight in Ryan Gilbert, who got 130 yards and 2 TDs on the ground and got another 58 yards and a TD through the air.

Unfortunately, this means the Tulane Green Wave, our adopted Hurricane Katrina vagabond team to 2-2 on the year. On the bright side, Lester Ricard passed for both of the Wave's scores.

Recap: Frank McGrath

Around the State

TCU 28, Wyoming 14

High altitude? No problem for the Horned Frogs as they forced 7 turnovers from the Cowboys. Amazingly, the Frogs won the game in spite of backup QB Jeff Ballard, who in his first start was an embarassing 9 for 23 for 112 yards and 2 picks (oh, and a touchdown).

SMU 28, UAB 27

Don't let the final score fool you, Phil Bennett still can't coach. However, his team showed a lot of heart yesterday with a comeback win over Darrell Hackney and the UAB Blazers, a team that gave Tennessee a scare in it's opener.

East Carolina 41, Rice 28

Believe it or not, Rice was actually leading this game until the last play of the first half when ECU's Aundrae Allison threw a 40-yard bomb to James Pinkney. After that, it was pretty much all Pirates

Troy 13, North Texas 10 (Tuesday)

Well, now that everyone's pretty much figured out that North Texas has no defense and no passing game, the rest of the Sun Belt is teeing off on them.

Mike Price $20 Million, Sports Illustrated 0

UTEP was off this week, but that didn't stop their head coach from collecting an undisclosed settlement from his defamation lawsuit against SI.

More commentary: Every Day Should Be Saturday

Around the Nation
(The best blog recaps)

Georgia 27, Tennessee 14
Georgia Sports Blog
VOLuminous (Tennessee):
"Report Card"
"Help Wanted"
"By The Numbers"

Penn State 17, Ohio State 10
50-Yard Lion (Penn St.)
Nittany Blog (Penn St.) (Ohio St.)
Around the Oval (Ohio St.)

UCLA 20, Cal 10
Bruins Nation

Boston College 28, Virginia 17
Game Recaps:
Eagle in Atlanta (BC)
On the Brad Butler late hit:
Eagle in Atlanta #1
Eagle in Atlanta #2
Sexy Results (Virginia)

NC State 17, Georgia Tech
Section Six (NC State)
Golden Tornado (Georgia Tech)

Cheap Seats' Blogpoll Ballot

I didn't submit a ballot this week, because I wanted to re-evaluate the teams this week. I'm still doing that, so expect a full ballot tomorrow.


Sunday's Games

Dallas 33, Philadelphia 10

HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS! Who would have though that Terry Glenn would have better fantasy numbers than TO? Who would have thought the Cowboys could actually get 4 sacks on D-McNabb, while Drew Bledsoe was barely touched? Who would have thought Julius Jones could go down and a reserve running back could step up and get 75 yards?

This is a game I've been wanting to see from the Cowboys all season. They finally laid the wood to someone. More importantly, the "someone" they laid the wood to was the defending NFC champs and favorites to win the NFC East.

Game Ball: Drew Bledsoe
289 yards, 3 TDs, no picks, no sacks.

Recaps: The Cowboy Roundup

Green Bay 52, New Orleans 3

Wow, Did I say Green Bay had no chance in this game? I take that back.

By the way, Najeh Davenport's touchdowns in the game: 2.
Insert your own joke here.

Game Ball: Bret Favre
3 Touchdown passes? I'm sorry I ever said he was done as an NFL QB.

Tennessee 34, Houston 20

If Tennessee hired Norm Chow with the expectation that they would be getting Matt Leinart in the draft, they messed up by winning this game. Now Houston has the inside track for the USC quarterback.

Game Ball: Domanick Davis
Once again, he's the Texans most reliable option with 130 yards.

Monday Night Football vs. CSI:Miami

This Week's Monday Night Football Game (San Diego at Pittsburgh):
With the Patriots in serious trouble because of injuries, this matchup could go a long way towards determining AFC home field advantage.

This week's CSI:Miami ("48 Hours to Life"):
Yahoo TV Listing:
Evidence suggests that a confessed killer is actually innocent; Horatio works to collar the actual culprit before the man falls victim to the system
I think they already did a case like this on the orginal CSI.

The Verdict
Even if tonight's CSI:Miami was a good episode, the Pittsburgh-San Diego matchup is too good to miss.
Monday Night Football.


Division Series:
Houston beats Atlanta 3 games to 1

Congratulations to the Houston Astros on winning their second straight Division Series. Now they face the Cardinals again for a trip to the World Series. Hopefully, it will go better than next year

More Commentary: The Dugout

Tomorrow: Astros, Stars, and Blogpoll

Friday, October 7, 2005

Weekend Preview - 10/7/2005

T-1 day to the Red River Shootout

(cue NFL Films music)
(cue John Facenda)

The second weekend in October

It is the weekend where legends are born.

The legends of the second weekend in October read like the history of college football itself: Layne, Nobis, Wilkinson, Royal, Campbell, Selmon, Gill, Watts, Switzer, Bosworth, Brown, Williams, Stoops, Heupel, and White.

The second weekend in October once hosted most anticipated non-conference matchup of the year. Now in the short history of the Big XII Conference, no weekend has impacted the final standings more.

Now as the weekend approaches once again, Longhorn fans and Sooner fans both travel on Interstate 35 to Dallas, to watch their gladiators battle again.

They come to the State Fair Grounds, where on the venerable field of the Cotton Bowl, Texas and Oklahoma will battle like the mythic titans once struggled with the Greek gods. In front of a stadium half crimson and cream, half burnt orange and white, a battle worthy of the epic poet Homer will take place.

All the while Big Tex stands guard, ready to greet both teams.


Starting their weekend off early

Troy 13, North Texas 10
The defensive problems continue for North Texas as they allowed 283 yards rushing to the Trojans. Then again, it could be the early Tuesday date threw everyone off because Troy's passing game wasn't sharp either.

Big 12/Texas Game of the week
Oklahoma at Texas
Red River Shootout - Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Saturday, 12:00 PM ABC (KVUE 24)

The last 5 years, Texas's national title aspirations have died in this game. If they don't win this game this year, with OU already out of the national picture and rebuilding, they may never beat them again.

Key Matchup
Texas defensive line vs Oklahoma offensive line.
Texas has about 6 stars playing 4 positions on that line. OU's line has been spotty. If Texas wins the battle up front, Adrian Peterson will end up with hurt pride to go with that hurt ankle and Rhett Bomar will be looking for his mouthpiece all day.

Key player for Oklahoma
Rhett Bomar
Texas has the tools to stop the run, so it's up to Bomar to step up to take some of the pressure off of Peterson.

Key player for Texas
Vince Young
OU will be prepared to stop Young's ground game, so he must beat OU through the air and challenge their patchwork secondary.

Tale of the Tape
Texas offense vs. Oklahoma defenseTexasI know Oklahoma has a tough run defense that contained Maurice Drew, but they haven't faced a QB-RB run combo like Vince Young and Jamaal Charles yet.
Oklahoma offense vs. Texas defenseTexasRhett Bomar has not faced a pass rush or secondary like Texas's yet. And Adrian Peterson, while probable, is slowed a bit.
Special TeamsOklahomaWith Texas struggling with kick coverage and David Pino struggling even on extra points, OU has the better special teams in this game.
CoachingOklahomaBob Stoops is still a better game coach than Mack Brown. Mack has traditionally been a shrinking violet in this game.
IntangiblesPushTexas knows this is their best shot yet to get over the OU hump, and they're going to play like it. OU would like nothing better than to ruin the Longhorns season again.

Big XII Games

Texas Tech at Nebraska
Saturday 3:00 PM TBS
This is a game that should scare the heck out of Red Raider fans. Nebraska's got a very good pass rush and Cody Hodges was knocked around last week, albeit in a win, against Kansas. The Red Raider defense stepped up, but they need to prove they can consistenly get pressure and force more turnovers.
If the Red Raiders want to prove they are a good team, they must win this one.

Kansas at Kansas State
Saturday 11:00 AM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
Neither Sunflower State school fared very well in their conference opener. The loser falls behind in the Big 12 North race and in all likelihood is out of it.

Texas A&M at Colorado
Saturday 6:00 PM FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
Well, the Aggies aren't winning pretty, but they are winning. Now they travel to Boulder to play the Buffs at mile-high altitude.

Baylor at Iowa State
Saturday 1:00 PM
Both these teams lost in overtime last week, let's see who can bounce back the fastest. Iowa State needs this one, otherwise they will be behind the 8-ball in the North race with 2 early losses.

Missouri at Oklahoma State
Saturday 1:00 PM
Will Oklahoma State ever score against a Big 12 Team? Stay tuned.

Our Adopted Team

Tulane at Houston
Saturday 5:00 PM
Since this is going to be a conference matchup for a long time to come, and both cities have been recently affected by major hurricanes, perhaps they could make a "Gulf Hurricane Trophy" for the winner of the now-annual game.

Other Texas Teams

TCU at Wyoming
Saturday 2:00 PM
Both teams are 4-1 and undefeated in Mountain West play. The extreme high altitude of Laramie, Wyoming (almost a half mile above Denver in elevation) makes this a tough road game for the Horned Frogs, who haven't made this trip since both schools were in the WAC. If they win, however, they have an egde on the rest of the conference

Rice at East Carolina
Saturday, 5:00 PM
The only thing interesting about this game is that both coaches have ties to Arkansas. Skip Holtz' dad Lou once coached at Arkansas, as did current Rice coach Ken Hatfield.
Other than that, it's a Pirate blowout.

Saturday, 6:00 PM
If you happen to be going to this game, watch UAB's Darrell Hackney, because he will smash records in this game against a hapless SMU defense.

Bye Week

National Games of Note

Georgia at TennesseeSat. 2:30 PMCBSWinner of the game has an easier road to the SEC East, loser is scoreboard watching for the rest of the year
Cal at UCLASat. 6:30 PMTBSWinner gets to be the biggest threat to UCLA on the remaining schedule.
Ohio State at Penn StateSat. 6:45 PMESPNOK, Penn State's undefeated at 5-0, but this game will tell us if the Nittany Lions are truely back.
LSU at VanderbiltSat. 6:00 PMESPN2LSU fan needs to lay off Les Miles. The guy got the most out of Oklahoma State and he's eventually going to get the most out of this program too.
Arizona at USCSat. 2:30 PMnoneThey say Notre Dame has a bye this week, their opponents for next week virtually have a bye. I bet Mike Stoops wishes he was in Dallas laying another one on the 'Horns right now.
Oregon at Arizona StateSat. 9:30 PMnoneThe "We were leading USC at the half, but choked it away" Bowl. Winner gets the Golden Heimlich.
Virgina at Boston CollegeSat. 12:00 PMPPVWith BC's uncertain quarterback situation, Virginia should roll in this one
Marshall at Virgina TechSat. 11:00 PMESPN2This is not you're father's Marshall team. Also, they're playing at Lane Stadium.
Iowa at PurdueSat. 3:30 PMESPNThis looked like a better game when the schedule came out. Now neither Iowa nor Purdue are ranked.
North Carolina at LouisvilleSat. 3:30 PMPPVLet's see if the Cardinals can bounce back from that bad loss to South Florida


Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
12:00 PM CBS (KEYE 42)

There's no reason to watch this game. Heck, there's no reason any station outside of Houston or Nashville should be showing this game. Don't even place money on this game, it's too unpredictable.

Loser gets Matt Leinart.

Key Matchup
Fisher's "46" vs Houston's offensive line
OK, so it's not your typical Jeff Fisher aggressive defense, but they are still facing the worst offensive line in the league.

Key player for Houston
Andre Johnson
Since the pass blocking isn't working, he needs help out by come back to the football.

Key player for (opponent)
(road player)

Tale of the Tape
Texans offense vs. Titans defenseTennesseeInstead of a spread for Texans games, they should have an over/under on sacks on David Carr.
Titans offense vs. Texans defensePushResistable force vs. movable object.
Special TeamsPushThere's nothing special about either special teams unit
CoachingTennesseeJeff Fisher has at least coached well in more big games.
IntangiblesPushWho cares?

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
12:00 PM FOX/Sunday Ticket (check local listings)

Well, Green Bay almost won on Monday Night, now they face America's Favorite Hurricane Vagabonds, who are coming off their first "home" win.

Key Matchup
Brett Favre vs New Orleans Secondary
We all know when Brett gets desperate he throws the ball up for grabs. He's done it his whole career.

Key player for New Orleans
Joe Horn
Look for him and Donte Stallworth to go off on Green Bay's woeful secondary

Key player for Green Bay
Ahman Green
Green needs to get going. Period.

Tale of the Tape
Saints offense vs. Packers defenseNew OrleansPack can't stop much of anything these days.
Packers offense vs. Saints defenseNew OrleansFavre and recievers showed some signs of life, but it's not going to be enough against the New Orleans defense
Special TeamsPushThere are no winners here
CoachingPushI wouldn't trust either of these coaches with a game plan.
IntangiblesPushThat whole "frozen tundra" thing only counts when it's actually cold and the Pack have a good team.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
3:15 PM Fox (KTBC 7)

At the beginning of the season, the Cowboys looked like the biggest challengers to the Eagles' dominance. Now the Cowboys will be lucky to win this game.

Key Matchup
Terrence Newman/Anthony Henry vs Terrell Owens
As bad as Dallas's safeties are playing pass coverage these days, Newman and Henry might as well be single-covering Owens every play. Let's hope they took notes from DeAngelo Hall's Week 1 performance. Let's also hope Mike Zimmer puts one of these guys on him every play because if Aaron Glenn's on him, well, see Brunell-to-Moss from Week 2 for a preview.

Key player for Dallas
Rob Pettiti
I know, I know, it's the second time I've had him as a key player, but it's the first time the rookie has had to face the Eagles defense, and you can bet Jim Johnson's going to place his "Joker" on his side most of the plays.

Key player for Eagles
Donovan McNabb
He better be mobile, because the Cowboys will send the house if he isn't.

Tale of the Tape
Cowboys offense vs. Eagles defensePhiladelphiaI don't think Drew Bledsoe will be upright enough to make much of a difference. And Julius Jones will be stuffed all day.
Eagles offense vs. Cowboys defensePhiladelphiaSingle coverage favors the offense in the NFL, and since the safeties are really no help even when they're supposed to help, Terrell Owens will have a great day
Special TeamsPhiladelphiaLet's face it, this is basically David Akers vs. Jose Cortez.
CoachingPushWhile Andy Reid may not have Parcells' rings, he is very much his equal when it comes to in-game coaching.
IntangiblesPhiladelphiaLet's face it, all is right in Philly and it isn't in Dallas. Dallas can't close out opponents or put distance on their opponents.

Monday: Weekend Wrap-Up

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Can you feel the hype?


T-2 Days to the Red River Shootout

Weekend Preview Tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

OU-Texas leaving Dallas?

T-3 Days to the Red River Shootout

Yeah, it's been discussed before, and it's been a story for months, but as the game draws closer, there's been a lot of talk about the Red River Shootout becoming a home-and-home series.

Basically, the issue here is the Cotton Bowl itself. The City of Dallas, which maintains the Texas State Fair grounds on which the Cotton Bowl stadium sits, has let the stadium fall into disrepair since they allegedly fixed it up for the 1994 World Cup.

How bad is it? Friends of mine that have gone to the OU-Texas game have told me that they have to "hold it" for the whole game because the toilets are backed up.

And no offense to those from the neigborhood, but all my friends from the Metroplex tell me that Fair Park is "no man's land".

They had an opportunity to build a new Cotton Bowl on the site for the Cowboys, but red tape ruined the project. So they lost the Cowboys to Arlington when they approved a bond measure to build a new stadium. Their only regular tenant, Major League Soccer's FC Dallas, just moved to a new facility in suburban Collin County.

Now, Dallas runs the risk of sacrificing hundreds of millions of tourist dollars a year as OU and Texas are talking about letting the contract with the city of Dallas expire. And millions more as the Cotton Bowl is also threatening to move to the Cowboys' new facility.

You know, if someone out there is willing to step up and build a new site for the State Fair, Dallas just may lose that too.

Ordinarily I'm opposed to stadium projects because the alleged economic benefits created are simply the result of shifting spending from one part of a city to another. In this case, however, it's tourism dollars, meaning people from out of town are spending money in the City of Dallas itself. That means extra sales tax revenue. That also means more hotel tax revenue.

That tourism money from the annual OU-Texas game and the Cotton Bowl will be lost to Norman, Austin, and Arlington if the City isn't careful. A little investment could go a long way here.

Not only that, Oklahoma City has a nice downtown. So does Austin. A lot of people from those areas go to the game, see Fair Park and the Cotton Bowl, and don't come away with a very good impression of Dallas proper.

Combine that with the fact that it's really to both school's advantage to have that extra home game every other year. Why spend money to go to Dallas to an ugly stadium in a bad neighborhood where the toilets are overflowing and the locker rooms are bad, and where each only gets half the gate and no additional TV money other than what they get from the Big 12 TV deal, when you can have that big OU-Texas game at home every other year and collect home team gate?

And the Cotton Bowl game? At some point the BCS is going to add a 5th New Year's Day game. The Cotton Bowl would be only one with the corporate sponsorship to offer a BCS-type payout. Also, it's the the only New Year's Day game not in the currently in the BCS that has hosted a #1 vs. #2 game in it's history, and it's one of the oldest New Year's Day games. However, no one's going to want to play college football's ultimate game in the dump that currently houses the Cotton Bowl game.

The Fiesta Bowl's getting new digs with all the luxury boxes, and so is the Sugar Bowl because they have to tear down the Superdome. The current Cotton Bowl stadium won't be interesting to the BCS people, but the new stadium in Arlington just might be enough to propel the Cotton Bowl game back to major bowl statius.

Bottom line: Dallas needs the tourism dollars for this game, the Cotton Bowl game, and the State Fair, and they better plunk down the money to build a new stadium, fix up the fairgrounds, and improve the neighborhood . Otherwise, one of the greatest neutral site games in college history is going to be lost, and the Cotton Bowl and State Fair might not be far behind.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Rangers part with Rogers; Benson has parting Shots for Brown

T-minus 4 Days to the Red River Shootout

Benson: Texas needed "better preparation for OU"

Cedric Benson recently took a parting shot at Mack Brown's preparations for the OU game.(DMN)
When asked earlier this year what it would take for UT to finally beat OU, Benson, now with the Chicago Bears, didn't hold back.

"It will take better preparation of the players for that particular day," Benson said during an ESPN radio interview. "Not by cussing them, not by running them. Just by showing them the game plan, so they understand the game plan and have them understand OU's game plan. It's going to take better preparation by the coaches."

Then when asked if UT coaches were trying not to lose the game instead of planning to win it, Benson said: "Yeah. Without a doubt."
I've seen all the OU-Texas games for the last 5 years, and frankly he's right. OU has come into the game playing to win and Texas has always played not to lose. (If you've played or watched sports long enough, you know those are two different things.)

Rangers to Kenny Rogers: Don't let the door hit you on the way out

In what's probably the final chapter in the Kenny Rogers saga in Texas, The Rangers have announced that they will not re-sign Kenny Rogers.

What started out with barbs being traded in spring training, continued with the Rangers accusing Rogers via the media of taking a game off to avoid a good team, and reached it's climax when Rogers put a cameraman in a hospital, ended with a phone call from Rangers management to Rogers's answering machine.

Frankly, it's upsetting and a little sad that it came to this because Kenny Rogers stuck with the Rangers franchise for a long time when a lot of other players would jump from that perpetual train wreck, and he's one of the best pitchers in Rangers history. He deserved a lot better in his remaining Major League years from the Rangers than what he got.

He pitched a perfect game for the Rangers! Nolan Ryan didn't even do that! And it ends with back-and-forth between player and management and an answering machine call?

They say John Hart is the next to go. He better be.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up: "Let the Red River Shootout hype begin" Edition

Well, Texas beat Missouri, and OU beat Kansas State.

The Red River Shootout hype can officially begin.

Yes, even though the game has lost a bit of it's luster with OU's horrid start, Texas still needs to get over this mental block if it wants to maintain it's current place in the BCS Championship Game.

So sit back and enjoy the hype.

BTW, I was in kind of a rush and didn't get to check my RSS reader for blog recaps or formulate the Blogpoll. All that stuff will be back next week.


(Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

Congratulations to the Houston Astros on making the playoffs for the second straight year.

If they get some hitting in the postseason, maybe they can make the World Series. Ah, who am I kidding?


Big Story of the Week: Texas A&M survives scare from Baylor

This is why Baylor is near the bottom of the barrel of college football, they lose the games they dominate.

For those who wondered how Carl Torbush's defense would show up after getting lambasted: They only allowed 13 points to Baylor and tightened up in the red zone.

Baylor managed to keep A&M's offense in check until overtime. On offense, however, Baylor really didn't have the assets at wide reciever to beat A&M's bad secondary.

Other Big 12 Scores

Texas 51, Missouri 20
Believe it or not, Texas came out misfiring in this game and still managed to beat Missouri by 31.

Nebraska 27, Iowa State 20
Every time Iowa State thinks they are hot stuff, Nebraska always seems to be the one that smacks them back down to the bottom

Texas Tech 30, Kansas 17
Well, Kansas at least held Cody Hodges to a "pedestrian" 333 yards and 6.4 per attempt.

Oklahoma 43, Kansas State 21
Despite the win, Adrian Peterson injured his ankle yesterday. If Alabama's Tyrone Prothro hadn't gotten hurt in such a way that gave people flashbacks to Tim Krumrie's freak injury in Super Bowl XXIII, Peterson would have been the injury story of the day.

Colorado 34, Oklahoma State 0
OSU takes the collar against a defense that made Miami's Kyle Wright look like a competent QB last week. Think the Cowboys have serious offensive issues?

Our Adopted Team

Tulane 28, SE Louisiana 21
Way to close for comfort against a team of that caliber

Around the State

Memphis 27, UTEP 20
So much for Mike Price's Miners going undefeated. But then 6 turnovers will kill anyone's dreams of going undefeated, no matter who the program is. Credit goes to DeAngelo Hall for racking up an ungodly 236 yards.

TCU 49, New Mexico 28
Meanwhile, TCU's Mountain West Title hopes are still alive after their thrashing of New Mexico.

Marshall 16, SMU 13
All right, now can we put Phil Bennett on the hotseat, SMU? Face it, Ponies, you got a head coach that doesn't have what it takes to win at the D-I level.

Houston 30, Tulsa 23
Stat of the game: Former Texas Tech assistant Art Briles, whose offenses are never known for their running gamr, put up 200 yards. Two bills!


Oakland 19, Dallas 13
Permit me to vent for a moment. I'm getting really sick of watching the Cowboys play these games so close. The Cowboys, with their defense and it's blitz packages, their offensive line opening holes for Julius Jones and keeping Drew Bledsoe on his feet, their running game controlling the clock, and their recievers getting decent balls from Bledsoe, the Cowboys should be winning these games by a lot more. A lot more. There's no excuse for them being within 6 points of Oakland. None whatsoever.

Game Ball: Jason Witten
The Cowboys' most consistent option all day with 5 catches

New Orleans 19, Buffalo 7
New Orleans is still a road team, but at least for one day, they felt like they were right at home

From the AP:
Aaron Brooks saw an opening and bolted. Crossing the goal line just ahead of a defender, he spiked the ball and raised his arms to celebrate.
That's when he heard it: the deafening roar of a crowd cheering for the New Orleans Saints.
Game Ball: San Antonio Fans
They showed up, they were loud, they made it feel like the Superdome. Actually, check that, they made it feel like a college rivalry game, and I mean that as a compliment.

Cincinnati 16, Houston 10
Despite the Bengals of their losing years making a brief appearance in the first half, the 2005 Bengals finally showed up and kept up their unblemished record.
By the way, for those who think it was a good idea to promote offensive line coach Joe Pendry to offensive coordinator after his O-line left David Carr battered and bruised the first two weeks: David Carr was sacked 7 times.

Game Ball: Domanick Davis
Almost singlehandedly kept Houston in this game

Monday Night Football vs. CSI:Miami

This Week's Monday Night Football (Green Bay at Carolina):
If this were 2004, and Carolina had been healthy, this might have been an intriguing matchup. Unfortunately, it's 2005, the Pack is 0-4, Bret Favre is showing his age, the game is away from Lambeau, and Carolina has a better team. Yikes!

This Week's CSI:Miami ("Prey"):
From Yahoo! TV Listings:
When a teenage tourist goes missing, the team investigates the dark side of Miami's nightclub scene.
Dark Side? As opposed to the side that the Miami Nightclub Scene Jedi Knights are on?

Seriously, though, sounds creepy, and worth watching.

The Verdict
Thank you Green Bay for stinking so bad so I can finally catch a CSI episode.