Friday, April 28, 2006

The last mistake Charlie Casserly will ever make

Let's see... It will probably be about midnight on Saturday, Central time when this post goes up, which makes it about 12 hours until the NFL Draft

And 12 Hours until the Houston Texans make their biggest mistake since they became a franchise.

They're going to draft Reggie Bush.

That's right, I said it. Drafting Reggie Bush would be the biggest mistake the Houston Texans have ever made.

(And by the way, this has nothing to do with his recent problems with an extortionist "agent", more on that later)

Why? First off, he averages 15 carries a game. That's not exactly the best conditioning to be a feature back. Feature backs in the NFL get somewhere in between 20-30 carries a game. No one knows if he's durable enough to take the pounding, and that punishment's going to be amplified in year one because of the Texans' so-called offensive line.

Second, the whole point of the first round in the draft is to fill your biggest need. And running back is not the Texans' biggest need, it's offensive line. Reggie Bush, for all his skill, would never be able to run behind the Texans current offensive line, any more than David Carr would be able to throw behind it. All the leg whipping and chop blocking that Gary Kubiak will probably bring over from the Broncos won't help this excuse of a line get Reggie Bush out of the backfield alive either. And there's a pretty good tackle out there in D'Brickashaw Ferguson that the Texans have completely ignored.

Oh by the way, this would make this the second year in a row (at least) that the Texans did not take care of their biggest need (offensive line), should they do what everyone expects them to do.

Thirdly, there's the Vince Young factor. Even though they've decided Carr is their man and talent right now dictates that Young go later than #1, Vince Young is a Houston kid with the potential to be a superstar. If he becomes an NFL icon when the Texans had an opportunity to get him, Charlie Casserly will get Bartman-ed out of Houston.

Granted, Casserly has some deniablility here because every other GM has Reggie Bush #1, but given his track record with the moves he's made since coming to Houston, he's on a short leash with the ticket buying public. And Reggie Bush will just prove to be another failure, should he go to the Texans

Speaking of Reggie Bush...

Thoughts on "Rent-Free Housegate":

- The biggest reason why this became a big deal? The media will jump on anything involving the words "Bush" and "scandal". Editors probably all thought it was Bush the president and not Bush the running back and told their people to run with the story.
- Colin Cowherd, for once, made a great point on his radio show this week: This kind of behavior from sports agents isn't going to stop until the federal government passes a law to stop it
- Speaking of laws, isn't threatening to go public with embarassing facts unless they either do something for you or give you money considered extortion? Isn't that a crime?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Triple Coupon Wednesday!

One thing I've learned this week

Blogging is apparently not like riding a bike, it's hard to get back on a regular schedule...

The Masters: Lay off Mickelson

If there's one thing I get sick of, it's people talking about how Phil Mickelson is supposed to be this great rival of Tiger Woods, and how he gets hated on when he's not performing up to Tiger's standard, especially by Jim Rome clones who are always bagging on Mickelson's weight.

First off, Tiger Woods has no rival. Period. We haven't seen a golfer of his mental toughness and physical skill ever and we may never see it again once he hangs up his bag. Tiger's not competing against his peers, he's competing against Arnold and Jack.

Second, Mickelson's got 3 majors and 2 green jackets, so frankly, to call him a failure as a golfer is absurd. That's a pretty darn good career considering most touring pros are lucky to win one major. Most of us regular folk would be lucky to break 100 at these major courses on our best day.

So just lay off the guy, already.

LaMarcus leaves; Barnes stays

Well, two Longhorns made key career decisions this week, and both are probably going to turn out to be the right ones

LaMarcus Aldridge is going pro; Rick Barnes is not going to N.C. State

Yeah, LaMarcus probably could have benefitted from another year at Texas, but an opportunity to collect first or second pick money from an NBA every day, and if he gets hurt next year, he's better off getting injured as a pro, than getting injured as a college player.

Plus, as much as I like college ball, you have to be fully committed to coming back if all you're getting for doing so is a scholarship and the title of "student-athlete". Aldridge was kinda hemming and hawing there for a while, and if you're doing that when making the decision to stay or go, it's best to just declare, get an agent, and go pro.

Barnes, on the other hand, took one look at the NC State job and decided that he was better off at Texas, where it's his team and his recruits, and he doesn't have to play 2 games each against Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams every year. Call it a hunch, but I think Memphis's John Calipari may come to a similar conclusion.

Support Your Local Arena Football Team
(not starring James Garner)

Austin, Texas, you really need to get behind your Wranglers

The Wranglers are 7-4 and in the hunt for the AFL playoffs after getting off to a 5-1 start, which is a heck of a lot better than they were this time last year. But frankly, the attendance figures at the Erwin Center have been pathetic.

Especially since this is football that Austin folks should be able appreciate. After all this isn't normal football, it's weird football.

They pass almost every play. They score almost every trip down the field.

The AFL is the "homeless drag-queen running for mayor" brand of football compared to the buttoned up, respectable NFL. Last I checked, the unofficial city slogan wasn't "Keep Austin Normal."

Maybe if they had local bands play after the game, it would be a better-attended event, who knows.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Green Jackets

We're waiting for the Masters to finish to do our take.

See you Sunday after the Final Round.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Baseball: The new pro wrestling?

They might as well stop selling major Major League Baseball as a bona fide sport.

The top players are juiced like pro wrestlers

The system is fixed so that the Yankees, Red Sox and occasionally the Mets get top of the line free agents, just like Triple H and Jeff Jarrett always seem to get title shots.

And the frequent Bud Selig-Donald Fehr battles bear much resemblance to a WWE Raw angle involving Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff.

Maybe instead of home whites and road greys, we can throw some tights on these guys, put turnbuckles where the bases are and make a 'rassling ring out of the diamond.

Because basically, pro wrestling is what this sport has become.

Major League Baseball was dying in just about every market after the 1994 strike. Only Boston, New York, and the north side of Chicago were the only places drawing as many fans after 1994 as before. In many places today, it still is because most people outside of Boston, New York, and the north side of Chicago only pay attention to baseball if their team is doing well. (Except for the Atlanta Braves, they still can't even sell out a playoff game).

Anyway, by 1994, the alleged national pastime had been long since passed by the NFL, the NBA, and college sports and, at the time, hockey and NASCAR were nipping at it's heels. Oh, and that summer the first soccer World Cup in the U.S. managed to steal the summer spotlight baseball usually has to itself.

So to juice the revenues, the higher ups at Major League Baseball let the players juice themselves.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be like injecting cancer cells to cure chicken pox, it didn't help the initial problem (lack of overall revenue), and made the game sicker than ever.

Of course, there's nothing Major League Baseball can do to cure itself. The only way the fans will accept that Major League's steroid policy as legit is if Barry Bonds flunks a drug test and gets every homer he hit since 2001 erased from the record books.

And, as our friend Corey at Sporting Fools would probably remind all of us at this point, Barry ain't the first hall of famer who cheated. So basically, they'd have to take a wrecking ball to the Hall of Fame if they did anything to Barry Bonds. MLB probably doesn't want to do that, considering that baseball's contrived history is one of it's few selling points.

Problem is, Bart Giamatti set the standard for baseball dealing with scandal when he banned Pete Rose for life, and Bud Selig has to live up to that standard. Anything less and and it would be the capper of a tenure most would regard as the worst by a commissioner in American sports history.

A Catch .22 that Joseph Heller himself probably wishes he could have written.

Like I said before, the only thing for MLB to do at this point is to script the games, throw 'rassling tights on the players, juice them all up and market it as "sports entertainment". Maybe while they're at it, they can put foreign objects under the bases to make close plays that much more exciting. Oh, and a few random steel chairs would liven up those bean brawls.


By the way, baseball as a legitimate sport is still out there, you just have to drive to a college game or minor league park to find it.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Catching up, Part 2: NCAA Hoops

The Big XII: Major (conference) Disappointment

A lot of hoopla was made over the mid-major conferences getting multiple bids. Problem is, when they're getting that many bids, it means that there's a a lot of bad teams in the middle of the pack of major conferences.

Yes, the ACC was down, the PAC-10 outside of UCLA and Washington wasn't so hot and the Big East turned out to not have the depth we expected come tournament time as 5 of their members were bounced on the first day.

But the worst offender among the major conferences had to be the Big XII.

Face it folks, whether it's Texas, Kansas, Missouri, or Baylor (who probably saved themselves further embarassment by cancelling their non-conference schedule this year), almost everyone in the Big 12 underachieved or just outright stunk.

In order for a season to be a "success", major conferences that take in BCS money have to get at least half their teams in the tournament and land at least one in the Final Four. I realize this means there will be at least a couple major conferences left out every year, but BCS schools spend too much money on hoops to do anything less.

Every one of the teams of the Big 12 has issues right now.

Texas, show us you can translate good recruiting classes into Final Fours. You've had 2 highly rated recruiting years the past 2 years, and so far, you've gotten a first round exit and a near miss at the Final Four to show for it.

Kansas, show us you can be Kansas again. You're one of the elite programs in college hoops history, there's no excuse for you losing first round games like you've done the past 2 years.

Oklahoma State, show us you can uphold your tradition also. That was a weak effort from the Cowboys last season

Oklahoma, show us that there is life after Kelvin Sampson.

Texas A&M, show us you can hang on to Billy Gillespie. Every time major conference jobs open up Gillespie's going to be mentioned.

Colorado, show us you can provide Ricardo Patton with the resources to do his job. Patton's bunch almost made the NCAAs in spite of the budget issues in the athletic department, now you need to give him the resources to take the next step.

Nebraska, show us you're not just a football school.

Baylor, show us you can finish somewhere other than last in the Big XII.

Missouri, show us ... well .... heck, just don't make another hire as bad as Quin Snyder ever again. Failing that, keep the current head coach away from the Kroenke and Laurie families so you're next firing will be painless.

Kansas State and Iowa State, show us you can at least be competitve in you're own state. You're both in states where basketball is the #1 sport. Even if you're overshadowed by State U., you two should be able to make more of an impact in college basketball.

And finally, my beloved alma mater Texas Tech, show us you can freaking recruit! There's no excuse for a program with a name coach like Bobby Knight to be fielding the least athletic guards in the conference and a 6'8" center.

RD's "Shining Moments" of the NCAA tournament
- Craig Littlepage calling out Billy Packer for asking why the ACC and Missouri Valley Conference got the same number of bids. Yes, on the surface it looks like Littlepage and the NCAA are trying to influence the coverage, but Packer is an ACC homer who was just upset that the ACC didn't get 12 bids. Nice to see someone put him in his place.

- Northwestern State sinking a 3 to beat Iowa. A shot that will forever go down as "The shot that cost Steve Alford the Indiana job."

- LSU beating Duke. Not so much for the huge upset factor, but more because it proves that you don't have to play perfectly to knock off a number one anymore

- George Mason's run. Not only was it a great cinderella story, it was also an educational opportunity. Honestly, did you know who the heck George Mason, the founding father whose name is on the school, was before?

- Joakim Noah. Most second-generation athletes don't perform as well as their fathers do, usually because they know they have talent, but don't have the work ethic. Noah has proven that he's got both.