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.