The Hoov's Holiday Wish List
After an eight year hiatus, it’s a pleasure to be back and have a regular weekly writing gig! For my first post as a Saturday Feature on You Gab Sports—and given the season—I thought I’d revive one of my old holiday blogging traditions, and create my fantasy Christmas list: the (tongue in cheek) things I’d most like to see this holiday season. So let’s assume I’ve been good this year (no small leap, that) and cut right to the chase: here’s my 2014 list for the man in red.
- CHIIIIIEEEEEFFFFSSSSS!!! I’m a lifelong Chiefs fan, and nobody has enjoyed the Chiefs renaissance more than me. But with improvement comes higher expectation and frustration. I know it’s only season two of the Andy Reid era, but I LONG for some professional consistency. How can you pound the Patriots by 27 (it wasn’t that close), and lose by 16 to Tennessee (it wasn’t that close)? How can you lose to Oakland at all? How can you run the ball all day long on whomever you want, and when you get inside the five you call the most listless and uncreative series of rollouts and non-descript pass plays? And darn it, I LIKE Andy Reid, but I wish he were more decisive in the red zone, and I wish he didn’t look like a four year old about to wet his pants when it gets to the last two minutes of every game. I know, I know…it’s just nice to be relevant again. But relevance is relative.
- Indiana basketball. Again, I’m a lifer. I know they’re just kids, etc., etc. But the incident earlier this year: when sophomore Devin Davis and freshman Emmett Holt were out after midnight and drinking, and the latter hit the former with his car…putting Davis in the hospital with a head injury...c'mon man. This behavior is out of bounds in my book virtually any time for college athletes. But this was the night before the first intra-squad scrimmage. The first time you—as a freshman—are going to wear the jersey of one of the most storied basketball programs in college history in front of your home court fans…and you’re out getting drunk? Underage? Driving? That’s stupid in any scenario…but do you understand what a privilege it is to have your talent, and to get this honor? Unfortunately this has not been an isolated incident; I’m certain it’s not reality, but it feels like this group of Indiana players has had more “character issues” in the past nine months than in the collective history of IU basketball. I wish this team had more respect for its school, its fans, and the opportunity they have. I’m hopeful this has been a learning experience and that they get it now. I also wish IU basketball were more relevant, but as you know relevance is relative.
- College football playoffs. Why is it that football at every level—from pee wee to high school to every level of college except FBS—can figure out how to have playoffs and a meaningful championship, but they can’t get it done for FBS? Mind you, the NCAA (an entity that could be a whole wish-list rant unto itself) does this at every other level of football it plays, save FBS. Today (Saturday, Dec 20th) at 4 pm Minnesota State Mankato takes on Colorado State Pueblo for the Division II championship; they’ve played four games each after the regular season to get there. So you can’t figure it out for the FBS? A couple more games? Don’t use more practice as an excuse—the bowl teams are practicing anyway. And don’t tell me school work; first off, most of them are off school for the holidays at that point…and as I’ve heard somewhere before the bowl teams are practicing anyway. Figure it out you idiots. Gimme a real FBS playoff already.
- College football playoffs, part two. Please tell me this talk of a super conference is lunacy. Please tell me you’re not going to take the 64 best teams in college football and create NFL, Jr. Don’t you get that the upset—Appalachian State beating Michigan, Boise State beating Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic beating anybody—is what makes sport interesting? What keeps it alive and fun for both fan and player? If you think this approach works, ask the state of Indiana how their high school basketball tournament is doing since they retooled to “class basketball” after the 1996-1997 season. How’s it going now that the Milan High School’s of the world are beating Versailles and Osgood and Montezuma, and don’t get the chance to take out Muncie Central for the most storied state championship in sport history? (Author’s note: these small schools don’t exist anymore and Muncie Central is irrelevant—and much smaller itself—but I’m making a point…) Never mind, I'll tell you: this former iconic American sporting event is now dead, irrelevant; (do I need to talk about relevance again?) and "Basketball State Champ!" signs are more common across the state of Indiana than corn stalks. Do me a favor college football powers, and check out David and Goliath in the Bible. The ultimate upset. Today you’d have David squaring off against the Philistine’s best rockslinger in the under 125 pound class; and Goliath would be battling the number three ranked Sumerians, or maybe Alabama. Drop this super conference ridiculousness and let’s exchange this “gift” for socks, or maybe a tie.
- Accountability. At every level. Kids in school, parents at home. Parents at little league. Little league coaches. Cops on the street. People on the street interacting with cops. Idiots who think looting or setting fires or blocking traffic is a sensible form of protest. Race baiters who think it’s ok to use the same flaw you’re criticizing to create issues where oftentimes they aren’t. Congress in general. Come to think of it I’d pretty readily give up numbers 1 through 4 of the list above for a healthy dose of accountability across the board. Unfortunately it’s right up there withWorld Peace on the likelihood scale…
- Toys. C’mon this list can’t be all serious-like. We all know how it is to open that beautifully wrapped package to find underwear or a sweater, for cryin’ out loud. How ‘bout a GI Joe? The USMC version, with the scar under his right eye and the silver suit and the Mercury Space Capsule—still my single favorite Christmas present ever, back in 1968. Or Hot Wheels? Or Barbie? (that’s a nod to my female demographic out there…not for me personally) Maybe even a sled if you have snow, or a bike or wagon if you don’t. Christmas. Toys. Make it happen Santa.
So there you have it, The Hoov’s Christmas Wish List 2014. I’d add one more thing: that each of you have a joyous holiday with the ones you love, or in whatever way that makes you happy; and an appreciation for whatever you can be thankful for, big or small. Put a smile on your face and enjoy the season! For my part, I’m thankful to Jeff Thomas for thinking of me for this Saturday feature spot on You Gab…it’s great to be back! Happy Holidays!
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Another week and again I find myself writing my blog from my dad’s hospital room. I wish I had better news to report, but I just don’t. I remain hopeful, but it very much seems that we will need a Christmas miracle for my dad. Christmas…is it possible that we are almost there? It only seems like yesterday that I was writing my blog about swimming. To borrow a line from a great song…”it’s a long long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September.” As the days grow short, they become precious indeed.
I read a comment on facebook that said that the college football format has “cheapened” the regular season. I have been thinking about those words and just don’t understand that position. It would seem to me that with the current format that the regular season games have become vitally important, with regard to qualifying for the 4 team playoff. Some college football fans have been complaining about the lack of attention paid to strength of schedule. The playoff committee seems have heard this complaint and is hanging their hat mainly on strength of schedule and “good” wins. Why would I say that you ask? Well, how else could you have the unbeaten defending champs as the 4th ranked team (FSU) and the 3rd ranked team (TCU) ahead of the team that beat them (Baylor). It is odd and it is confusing, but it sure as hell has folks talking about college football. While we may complain and question those top four teams, it is easy to see that the job of the committee is damn hard. Let’s be honest for a moment…each of us has a favorite team and conference. It has been said that you can use statistics to support any opinion. If you have ever doubted this, read the different opinions on college football. Fans and writers grab any common stat to try to make their case. It is okay as this is part of what makes being a fan fun. Because of this, I tend to take the various opinions on college football’s best teams with a grain of salt. With Texas well out of the running, I am still digging this college football season. But, I must admit that I remain somewhat confused with the ranking of TCU above Baylor. Yes, I understand that TCU scheduled and beat Minnesota 30 to 7, while TCU went to Buffalo and scalped the Bulls 63 to 21. The bottom line for me is that Baylor beat TCU. Yes, it was a basketball score…but it was still a victory. I appreciate that the best college teams are being held accountable for scheduling weak non-conference opponents, but how do you ignore a head to head game? For those Ohio State fans, you are lucky that I am not ranking the teams as you would be behind Baylor. Slice it anyway you want, but the Big 10 is just not very good this year. Those Golden Gophers that are tipping the scale for TCU are now 8 and 4. Three of those 8 victories were against Eastern Illinois, Middle Tennessee and San Jose State and a one point victory over Purdue (who has 3 victories on the season). Why is this victory being savored so sweetly?
I don’t often agree with Pat Forde, but he makes a ton of sense here:
Of course, then you have the curious case of the Big 12 officials deciding that TCU and Baylor would be named “co-champions” if they finish with the same record. Has everyone lost their mind? In the Big 12 bylaws, it explicitly says that head to head is the tiebreaker…so tell me how Baylor would not be the conference champion? I watched every miserable minute of the TCU and Texas game and the Texas and Baylor game. To be honest, if Texas has even a mediocre QB, they had a decent chance to beat TCU and Baylor. If you saw the score, you probably would think that TCU routed Texas. The reality is that Tyrone Swoops just handed the Horned Frogs the game. Four interceptions and a fumble will get you beat every time…and TCU did what good teams do, they finished. I will take nothing away from the Horned Frog’s victory, as they were the better team… but Texas is not that far away from being a force. I said earlier in the season that Tyrone Swoops was not the answer at QB for Texas and I stand by that statement. What I realized is that Swoops is good enough to beat bad teams, but will never be the QB that Texas needs to get where they want to go. I was listening to sports talk leaving Austin Tuesday night. I understand that Texas is already talking to UAB QB Cody Clements, with the announcement that UAB would be eliminating football. I don’t know much about Clements, but this is the sort of stop gap move that would help Texas. I also know that Texas is looking at a JUCO QB as another option. One thing I do know is that competition is a good thing for a football team.
UAB coach Bill Clark leaving the meeting to end football...a sad tale. Is this just the beginning?
As I heard that UAB was discontinuing football, this got me to wondering how many other schools would come to the same conclusion as UAB officials.
Here is the statement issued by the university:
"The Athletic Department faces many challenges given the rapidly evolving NCAA landscape and soaring operating costs, which place extreme pressure and a growing financial burden on programs like UAB's. Costs are continuously spiraling upwards driven by cost-of-attendance payments to players, meals, equipment, facilities, coaches, travel and more," the statement said.
"The fiscal realities we face — both from an operating and a capital investment standpoint — are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the Athletic Department and UAB," college president Ray Watts said in that statement. "As we look at the evolving landscape of NCAA football, we see expenses only continuing to increase. When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the Athletic Department, football is simply not sustainable."
Football is simply not sustainable…these are difficult words to read, but not surprising. UAB is the first school to cut football since Pacific did in 1995, but my guess is that many other schools might have to make the same decision. With the decision to pay players on the horizon, the costs to play will continue to move higher. The number I heard mentioned for player compensation is $5000 per player. While I do not have the details, I would assume that each player on scholarship would receive this amount. This would be an annual cost of $425,000 for each school. For schools like Texas or Alabama, this amount is nothing. For other schools like UAB, it is a deal killer. A few months back, then SMU coach June Jones made the comment that smaller schools might have to play on a different schedule than D1 football. Many scoffed at his words, but they made sense to me. I hope I am wrong, but I see a very different time ahead for college football. Change is coming, whether we like it or not. UAB is only the first…
Have you seen the new milk ads? I think that they are sort of catchy…what do you think?
MLB umpire Dale Scott announced this week that he is gay. To be honest, I am ambivalent to the entire matter. I guess the announcement by Scott was about him, as he said…MLB has only judged him by the job he has done on the field. And this is as it should be! How long will it be before we no longer see these types of headlines? I did find one of the comments to the article to be funny as hell…”it takes great courage to admit to being an umpire”. Exactly!
I was going to write something about the Cowboys and the stupid ass schedule that the NFL has them playing this year, but I won’t. The egg they laid on Thanksgiving Day was epic, but not the end of the world. I still like where this team is headed, although they will have to figure out how to stop that Eagle offense. If you have a mind, check out this article:
Colt...no longer a third team QB.
Before I go, I have to give a quick shout out to Colt McCoy. After reading so many say that McCoy is not an NFL QB…how does 392 yards and 3 TDs and 0 interceptions sound?. So all you saying Colt can’t get it done…how does that QB rating of 113.1 taste? Of course, when you are playing Andrew Luck who goes for 370 and 6 TDs...you aren’t going to win that game. Some will point to my continued focus on Colt being because he is a former Longhorn. While I admit this has a small measure of truth, the reality is that there are many former Longhorns that I do not write about. I recently read an article by Scott Allen that was an interview with Steve Young and found it to be a fascinating read. He equates becoming a good NFL QB to doing graduate work. Young recalled his early days in San Francisco and the hours of repetition that Mike Shanahan had him do. Shanahan would say, let’s go over this again and Young would reply…no Mike I’ve got this…and then they would go over it again and again. Young says he has nothing against RG3 and even calls him “one of my guys”…or guys that can run around. In Young’s opinion, Griffin has just not put in the time to become a successful NFL QB. He thinks that McCoy is in the middle of this learning cycle…ahead of Griffin and Cousins and…that he may be more than a stop gap measure. Young correctly points out that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, did not have the athleticism, so they had to do the graduate work to become great. He talked about how great QB’s own the pocket and perform their jobs by reflex. Young also noted that he and Drew Brees were not good QBs initially, but through hard work were able to find their way. It is interesting that Young named Brees as he is exactly the type of QB that I think Colt McCoy could one day become. It is about putting in the study time and landing in the right system. Now…it will be interesting to see what happens in Washington as they have 3 QBs to consider. For the moment, I have to believe that the Redskins job is Colt’s to lose. Honestly, it could not happen to a nicer guy than Colt. Although, I will be rooting against his Skins in a few weeks!
Here is the link in case you want to read the entire article:
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I can still recall old Mister Barnslow getting out every morning and nailing a fresh load of tadpoles to the old board of his. Then he’d spin it around and round, like a wheel of fortune, and no matter where it stopped he’d yell out, ‘Tadpoles Tadpoles is a winner’. We all thought he was crazy. But then, we had some growing up to do.
When I heard that trees grow a new ring for each year they live, I thought, we humans are kind of like that. We grow a new layer of skin each year, and after many years, we are thick and unwieldy from all of our layers of skin.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
Florida St. moves into #1 in the computer rankings for the first time this season.
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Florida St. 2
2 ( 1 ) Alabama 1
3 ( 7 ) Ohio St. 4
4 ( 3 ) Oregon 3
5 ( 4 ) Miss. St. 5
6 ( 8 ) UCLA 8
7 ( 19 ) Marshall 9
8 ( 5 ) TCU 7
9 ( 9 ) Georgia 10
10 ( 12 ) Arizona 15
11 ( 14 ) Auburn 11
12 ( 26 ) Boise St. 12
13 ( 6 ) Baylor 16
14 ( 17 ) Ole Miss 6
15 ( 18 ) Ga. Tech 13
16 ( 21 ) Colo. St. 14
17 ( 10 ) Mich. St. 17
18 ( 15 ) Wisconsin 20
19 ( 11 ) Kansas St. 21
20 ( 16 ) Missouri 22
21 ( 13 ) Arizona St. 18
22 ( 20 ) Oklahoma 23
23 ( 22 ) Clemson 24
24 ( 30 ) Nebraska 19
25 ( 23 ) Minnesota –
(Louisville and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (25) USC
There are a total of 44 teams that got some level of points in the Mock BCS standings linked to above.
Earlier top-25 blogs:
Florida St. moved into #1, although I think another reminder that I don’t factor in margin of victory is in order. Alabama could move back into #1 by beating better opponents in the coming weeks, but something else to keep in mind is Florida St. isn’t the only ACC team playing an SEC team this weekend. If the ACC does significantly better, that’s an even stronger argument in Florida St.’s favor, which my system is designed to recognize.
I thought some of the commentariat brought up some interesting points about the committee’s #4-7 teams.
I want to mention something Jeff Long, a member of the committee, said first though. He said they look at where a team was ranked when you played them. I hope that’s not true, but it would explain why LSU was seemingly penalized so much as compared to other two-loss teams before the Alabama game.
I just don’t think it’s right if they don’t consider that a loss to a top-five team. It’s not LSU’s fault people didn’t yet know they were going to be one of the top teams this season. If anything, the team who is the first to go down should get a break since they’ve had more time to recover from the loss. Also, later teams have more ability to anticipate problem areas and can possibly benefit from injuries. Of course, what they should do is consider how good the opponent is without the loss. For instance, had LSU won the last two games, it may be worth noting in the Bulldogs’ favor that taking out their win over LSU, the Tigers would be in the conversation for the top 4.
I do think there are some unique challenges to beating a previously unbeaten team several weeks in, but I also hope Florida St. isn’t being given credit for a top-five win when Notre Dame isn’t even in the top 25 now. A top-25 win maybe, if you consider the Irish could well be in the top 25 had they simply not played the Seminoles. It is very important to consider those teams just outside of the top 25. I’ll talk more about them at the end.
There was some grumbling about Mississippi St., but I think if they beat Ole Miss, they have a good argument. I do think a one-loss Ohio St. team winning the Big Ten championship game (especially if it’s over Wisconsin) should go ahead of an idle Mississippi St. team, assuming Alabama wins the SEC West anyway, though.
I penalize for bad losses and yet I still have Ohio St. in the top 4, so that tells me that Ohio St.’s 8-game conference schedule + Wisconsin (if the Badgers win) is going to be better than either TCU’s or Baylor’s, assuming we’re going to be comparing one-loss teams. Ohio St. also has respectable wins over Navy and Cincinnati.
Baylor didn’t beat anyone worth mentioning out of conference, and TCU only beat one team, albeit a good one (Minnesota).
Obviously, if Minnesota beats Wisconsin, that’s going to be even better for the Horned Frogs and you could have an argument they’re more deserving in that scenario.
I don’t see any scenario, however, where one-loss Baylor should go ahead of one-loss TCU or one-loss Ohio St.
“B-but head to head” isn’t an argument.
Beating TCU is just a high-quality win.
I know the way tie-breakers work, they don’t care how bad the loss is. For instance, if Alabama had lost to Arkansas or Texas A&M instead of Ole Miss, they still would win the tie-breaker over Mississippi St. if the two finish with the same SEC record.
I do care how bad the loss is. In fact, I think that should be the most important game to compare when you compare two one-loss teams.
So before we even get to Minnesota, I think TCU goes ahead of Baylor. Playing well enough to lose to Baylor by three (my system doesn’t look at the margin, but that doesn’t mean my arguments can’t) is playing well enough to beat all but maybe 10 teams in college football. Playing at that level could be good enough to win a semifinal playoff game.
It’s hard to be complimentary about a 14-point loss to WVU though. It is tougher to play them on the road, but TCU did that and managed to win.
I know not everyone will credit Ohio St. for having a couple of mid-level non-conference wins instead of one good one like TCU, and that’s fine. I can accept that. I could not accept Baylor going ahead of either team though, assuming one loss apiece.
I think the Big Ten is slightly better than the Big XII, but even if they’re equal, consider that when you’re in a 10-team conference you play the worst teams as well as the best. Ohio St. did not play Purdue, and that’s one of the two worst teams in the Big Ten. TCU played Kansas (barely beating them) and will play Iowa St. during championship week.
My hope is Ohio St. is given significant credit for beating a tougher opponent on that weekend. If they are and they come up short, that’s fine. I like TCU better anyway.
A lot of these conversations could become even more muddled if you add in a possible two-loss SEC team. I think Mississippi St. is out with two losses, but a two-loss SEC champion Georgia team, I’m not so sure. They would have wins over Auburn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Missouri, not to mention whoever the SEC West champions will be (most likely Alabama but possibly Mississippi St.)
Also, unlike last year, a loss to Auburn doesn’t necessarily knock Alabama out of the divisional race. Most people predicted Alabama to come out of Oxford with a win, and that didn’t happen. The same thing could happen to Mississippi St.
Alabama beat that West Virginia team mentioned above. They also beat Mississippi St., LSU, and Florida and could possibly beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.
Georgia isn’t guaranteed to win the East though. In fact, they need Arkansas to beat Missouri for that to happen. That may be the key to any two-loss SEC team being included.
Nothing down the list was too interesting. Minnesota actually jumped up 10 spots, so even though they beat Nebraska, they still got pretty significant credit for that even though it wasn’t quite enough to most past the Huskers. When two teams are separated by 16 spots going into a game, it’s not always enough for the lower team to get ahead in the ratings.
Also, it was nice to see Boise St. and Marshall finally get included in the committee’s top 25. I’m generally against “mid-major” teams being in the top 10, but the committee went too far in excluding them for so long.
I don’t know what they’re thinking keeping Utah in there though. Losing to Washington St. is pretty bad. If you want to pick a team with four losses, here are some better suggestions: LSU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and USC. Apart from Notre Dame againstNorthwestern, none of the rest lost an embarrassing game like that. Since Notre Dame is playing USC and LSU is playing Texas A&M, hopefully the winners will get some strong consideration for that last spot. I would even take Arkansas as a five-loss team given their schedule (In addition to the SEC West, they will have played Georgia and Missouri, the best two teams in the East, as well as Northern Illinois and Texas Techout of conference).
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I must admit that I have many things on my mind today other than sports. After reading other blogs this week, my mind is drifting back to past times. I heard on the news today that a place in Austin called Mackendrick’s Tree House was being demolished. Even though the club was only open for about 8 years, I can’t tell you how many nights I spent listening to music at this cool place. The building was literally built up on stilts, with windows facing the lights of downtown. One summer night in the early 80’s, Julie and I braved the weather (and ignored our parents’ wishes) to take in a night of music at the “treehouse”. One thing about Austin is that when we get rain, it comes down in buckets. This was one of those Thunderstorms that lasted for hours. The streets were flooding and we had to take a rather circuitous route to make it out of our neighborhood. We should have never made that trip, but am I ever glad we did. The music that night was incredible. The weather meant that the club was not crowded, so it was a very intimate evening. The entire north wall of the Treehouse was glass, which allowed the flashes of lightening to illuminate the club. Sipping cocktails with my fiancé, listening to great music…it is a night that I will never forget and makes me sad to see the Tree House gone.
This is Passenger from an NPR broadcast. They tore it up the night at the Tree House...great memories.
The club has been closed for many years. It is literally a couple of blocks from the location of the old Armadillo World Headquarters…which was razed years ago. With the destruction of the Tree House, another of my personal Austin memories is gone. I stumbled upon an HBO special recently called Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway. The band is visiting 8 different cities across the country and doing a documentary about the music of each city, then recording a tune written from the history. I happened to catch the documentary about Austin and was amazed how many memories the show captured for me. Honestly, living in Austin…you forget how much music history this city has seen in the past 50 years. What I found interesting is that Austin has been home to many different styles of music. Many think of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings when they think of Austin music, but the history of music is much richer than this. My music path usually led me through the jazz venues in town, but occasionally I would venture off and catch other music. The documentary reminded me how important Austin was to the psychedelic and punk rock music scenes. Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators were a bit before my time, but I remember musicians talking about the Vulcan Gas Company, which closed in 1970. You can imagine how popular this music was with the Austin police of the 60s. Erickson was arrested for possession of one joint and ended up being put in the Austin State Hospital. The Punk rock era was totally different. A club called Raul’s was originally a Tejano club, but desperate punkers managed to convince the owner to allow them to play their music. Raul’s quickly gained notoriety as the lead singer for the Huns was arrested on an obscenity charge while he was performing. The bare-chested picture of him being handcuffed on the stage soon had young fans flocking to the club.
Of course the other music form that Austin is famous for is the blues. The roots of Austin blues began back in the 1940's on the east side of Austin. Known as the Chitlin Circuit, the Victory Grill and other venues brought great music to eager Austin music fans. Many great musicians have traveled to East Austin over the years...some of them include: Clarence "Gatemouth" Bown, W.C. Clark, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown and Billie Holiday. Clifford Antone came to Austin as a university student but found his love for the blues too hard to ignore. It is easy to point to Antone as the reason for much of Austin's reputation for the blues. When he opened Antones on 6th St. in 1974, he ushered in the next big wave of music talent. Over the years, Antone's gave musicians like the Vaughan Brothers, Delbert McClinton, John Lee Hooker and many others a place to exhibit their awesome talent. It is difficult to fully acknowledge how important that Clifford was to the soul of Austin's blues. As Antone's began to decline, the Continental Club picked up the blues torch from Antones and proudly continues to provide a terrifc venue for blues today. While the music in Austin continues to move forward, it is just not the same for me. Maybe it is because I am older and no longer have the personal connection…but I sure miss the days of old.
The Foo Fighters documentary was awesome. If you have a chance, you should check it out. The 8 cities being covered are: Chicago, Washington D.C., Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York.
I have been reluctant to jump to any conclusions with the college football committee. It did not make much sense to get too excited when there was more than a month left in the season. As the weeks are being whittled down, we now have a pretty good idea who the contenders are now. Like many outside of Tuscaloosa, I was hoping to see Mississippi State knock off Bama last weekend. But, I should have known better. I know that Nick Saban is an easy guy to dislike, but as I look around the college football landscape…tell me someone who is a better coach? Yes, the Crimson Tide has great talent, but there are many teams that have great talent. The difference is that the talent at Bama gets better. Like Saban or not, you must acknowledge that this guy can flat out coach. Having said that, there is no doubt that Auburn will be looking to put another loss on the Tide. There is also no doubt that Ole Miss will be looking to knock off Mississippi State. Is it possible that the first playoff series exist without a team from the SEC? I guess it is possible, but certainly not probable. I had no problem with TCU being bumped down this week...although I think that TCU is a very good team, I still believe that Baylor is the better team. I am a big proponent of head to head matchups being the trump card…and since Baylor beat TCU, they are the better team to me.
I read on Tuesday that Charlie Strong said that there won’t be any more seasons with Texas losing 5 games. I said weeks ago that teams should get their shots in on Texas while they could. As Oklahoma State found, this Longhorn team is no longer unsure and vulnerable. With each passing week, the Longhorns have grown in confidence and suddenly are a tough team to beat. The next test for Texas is the TCU Horned Frogs. My hunch is that TCU has too many horses this year for Texas to win, but I think it will be a battle. The defense that Texas is playing is the real deal. I am still not sold on Swoopes, but he has made great strides in the past 5 weeks. Is he good enough to beat a top 5 team? I don’t think so, but I will be happy to be proven wrong.
With the Longhorns 6th victory last week, they are now eligible for a bowl game. I heard it mentioned a few weeks ago that a possible Texas and Texas A&M bowl matchup might be possible in the Texas Bowl. I think that would be a terrific game, but after reading quotes from Chip Brown…I am beginning to think that this game won’t happen. Apparently word is that the Aggie suits don’t like the idea of facing this improving Texas team. I suppose that they figure this would be a losing proposition all the way around. I suppose they could be right about this, but I bet their fan base would have a different opinion. It would be nice to see a bowl game on December 29th that was sold out. C’mon Aggies, let do this…it will be fun!
Wait...how did he get dressed so quickly?
I have to take a moment to tip my hat to the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of these teams said goodbye to a disgruntled running back on Tuesday. Ben Tate has been grumbling about reduced carries and tried to leave early on Sunday. LeGarrette Blount did leave the field early on Monday. Both of these guys will soon realize the error of their ways, as they are now unemployed. Ego can be a dangerous thing. I am always amazed how short sighted players can be. Tate may be able to figure out another gig, but with the other baggage that Blount is carrying, he may be done. Too bad, but it was the right move by the Browns and Steelers.
Each year, I am amused how early Christmas decorations go up. Sometimes in the rush to get up decorations, towns must forget to take a look at what they are putting up. This is a town in West Virginia that really should reassess their decorations…
Today is my brother Brad's birthday...happy birthday bro!
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
If you go flying back through time, and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.
You know something that would really make me applaud? A guy gets stuck in quicksand, then sinks, then suddenly comes shooting out, riding on water skis! How do they do that?!
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. It has been an interesting fall in Austin. While the days have begun to grow shorter and the leaves have begun to fall…the temperature stubbornly held in the 90 degree range. But, as they say…all good things must end. With the cold front this past weekend, we actually saw the mercury fall into the low 50s. If I am looking for a jacket, Halloween must not be far behind. Mother Nature reminded sports fans that of her power by forcing the postponement of game 3 of the ALCS. I have asked this question before and I guess it is one a question that I will continue to ponder…given the technology available today, why would a baseball team build a stadium that does not have a retractable roof? Having the ability to play a game despite the weather would seem like something that is a very attractive option. Anyway…despite the one day delay, Tuesday delivered two more terrific post season games. Okay…after watching the Giants and Royals play in the playoffs, I have to admit that both of these teams have captured my fancy. The Giants are unique in the manner that they win games. It seems that they use everything except a hit to score the winning run. On Tuesday night, it was a walk off bunt that bested the Cardinals. I have to chuckle to myself watching the successful use of the bunt during this postseason. I chuckle because I know how much the sabre metric folks deplore the use of bunting. I realize that the propeller heads have added value to baseball, but the part of the story that these guys overlook is human error. While it may appear simple for a pitcher to field a bunt and throw to first, in a pressure packed situation like a playoff game…the act is not always automatic. It is basic baseball for me…in the bottom of the 10 inning, runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs…that is a situation that begs for a bunt. Randy Choate’s wild throw gave the Giants the game on Tuesday, but given the Giants ability to win ugly…it was probably just a matter of time before they squeezed across that winning run anyway. The Giants have a one game advantage, but those Cardinals are pretty salty as well. I still think that this is a 7 game affair.
The Royals snatched another one run game from the O’s Tuesday night. I thought that this might be the game that the Orioles might take. I did not think that Jeremy Guthrie could hold down the potent O’s bats. Boy was I wrong. Guthrie threw a three hit gem to once again stifle Baltimore. Coming into this series, the buzz was about the running game of the Royals. You have to tip your hat to Buck Showalter for his goofy, yet very effective manner of positioning Pearce to hold the runner at 1B. I have never seen this and apparently it has somewhat unnerved the Royal base runners. It is funny…I was watching a bit on the MLB channel talking about the Royal team speed. Typically, we think of the team speed with regard to stolen bases, but that speed can come into play in other ways. A baseball axiom is to always build a team strong up the middle…as in catcher, middle infield and center field. The Royals certainly got the center field position covered well. The Royals are blessed to have two great centerfielders on the roster. I really like how Yost brings Jarrod Dyson off the bench to pinch run, then moves Cain to right field and Dyson to center field. Is it any wonder that teams have a difficult time scoring runs against the Royals? The gaps are covered; the dying quails are scooped up. As a former outfielder, I just marvel at the skill of these guys. For me, it is definitely part of what makes this KC team so special. Of course, that bullpen does not hurt either.
Jarrod Dyson was asked about the series heading back to Baltimore. His reply has created a bit of a stir with the media…”we expect to finish the series in Kansas City and so does Baltimore…” or something along those lines. Maybe he should have left out the part about Baltimore thinking they were done…but words don’t make a team play better. This Oriole team is a very talented, proud team and they have given every bit of effort in each game. The baseball being played has been fantastic. Despite this fact, the media somehow still finds it necessary to try to stir up shit. Up 3 to 0, I expect the Royals to take care of business in game 4…but the Orioles can always remember the Red Sox improbable come-back. The words of Kevin Millar are forever immortalized, “Don’t let us win tonight. This is a big game. They’ve got to win because if we win, we’ve got Pedro [Martinez] coming back today, and then [Curt] Schilling will pitch Game 6, and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.”
You just can’t make this stuff up.As improbable as an Oriole win is, there is always that crazy chance. I know I will be watching.
Regardless of time...OU still sucks.
Last weekend was the annual Texas vs OU rivalry game. Despite the fact that Texas lost to OU, I was very pleased at the progress that the Longhorns have made. I am sure that offenses that have faced the Horn defense this year will agree that this is a very good defense. In the days of Coach Fred, Texas won with defense and special teams. Those old Horn offenses were boring, but they won a ton of games despite the lack of offensive firepower. Charlie Strong is on the right path with his defense, but poor special team play can and will get you beat. In losses to Baylor and OU, special teams have killed Texas. Quite honestly, Texas is just not good enough to allow a blocked field goal or kick returns to good teams. I was proud of the effort Texas gave and will borrow the words from perhaps the best rant ever…”they were who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.” Yep, I actually thought that Texas had a chance to beat Oklahoma this year. When OU has an experienced QB, they are tough to beat. Trevor Knight may be a playmaker in time, but to this point, I am not impressed.
I must admit that I was shocked to see Dallas beat Seattle on the road last weekend. It was one of the best Cowboy games I have watched in many years. With this win, I am encouraged, but I realize that there are 10 games left to play in the season. As happy as I was to see the Cowboys win, there was a surprising sense of dread as well. Coming into this season, expectations for this Cowboy team were low. I won’t say that Dallas snuck up on early opponents, but at least the hype was limited. Now, that is no longer the case. Suddenly analysts want to know if Dallas is the best team in the NFL. Best team in the NFL? How about starting with being the best team in the NFC East? Of the 6 games the Cowboys have played, they have played zero against the NFC East. I like what I see and truly think that Dallas has a good chance to win their division, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a very good reason that smart coaches refuse to look beyond the game at hand. To do so, frequently gets you beat. The other thing that comes with Cowboy success is all those haters that fire up the hate wagon. Yeah, I get it…once upon a time the Cowboys won many games. They were anointed “America’s Team” and this pissed many people off. When I look at how this Dallas team has been constructed, I see many similarities to those Cowboy Super Bowl teams. Those Cowboy teams did not rely on Aikman to win games; they ran the ball behind a huge offensive line. This is exactly what Dallas is doing now. If you watched what Dallas did to Seattle, they did not have a first down in the first half. Dallas had long sustained drives that kept their defense fresh. To be truthful, if not for the mistakes Dallas made, they would have blown the Seahawks away. One thing that everyone said before the Seahawk game is that this game would tell us much about this Cowboy team. While I think this is true, we also learned quite a bit about the Seattle team as well. This is not the same Seahawk team that routed the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson is a talented kid, but why did the Seattle coaching staff not pound Lynch when they took the early lead on Dallas? I think that the Seahawk coaching staff got their ass kicked in this game. I am reminded just how hard it is to repeat after winning a Super Bowl. Successful teams lose players to contracts, injuries or attrition. This is one reason that I have been so impressed by what Belichick has done in New England. Although they have not won it all recently…they have been in the conversation for a long time. Is Dallas good enough to be in the conversation this year? I definitely believe they are, but they will need to win a few games in December first.
Like it or not, the media is responsible for public opinion. This is not conjecture, but a fact. Here is an example of how this works… Last Sunday, Victor Cruz went down with a torn patellar tendon. It was a horrific injury that I was really sorry to hear about. A picture was published by the New York Daily News that had a member of the Philadelphia Eagle’s staff cheering the injury to Cruz. People everywhere jumped to criticize Philly. The fact is this team staff member (named Charlie) was not cheering the injury to Cruz, but only the fact that the pass was incomplete. I think that Charlie’s words will explain exactly what happened:
Angelo, I never call the radio,” Charlie told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday morning. “I just want to be clear. I don’t want to make it look bad for Philadelphia, especially me. I got to live with myself. It was fourth and two, which is an exciting play, the ball was overthrown and I just reacted like we just stopped them, so I was just cheering. As soon as I saw him [Cruz] hurt, we—everyone stopped cheering. I didn’t cheer for that. And honestly, if anyone in the media followed it, they’ll see me go down to my knee—not with the players, but I’m actually, I said a prayer for him as well. It was terrible. I would never do that.”
Hey…I have taken plenty of shots at the Philly fans over the years. They did in fact boo Santa, cheered Michael Irwin’s career ending injury and have been well known for throwing batteries…but in this case, the truth is this criticism was misplaced. Here is the article in case you want the entire story: http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2014/10/13/6968881/victory-cruz-injury-new-york-daily-news-cover-media-misrepresent-philadelphia-eagles-fans
It is always a good idea to slow your roll...and get the facts, even if it is Philly.
Kickers take quite a bit of abuse for being…well, kickers. Dayton has a kicker that made a play worthy of a look. Here it is…
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I'd just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months warm, happy, and floating...you finish off as an orgasm.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…