December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Here's to a happy and healthy new years celebration and a good start to 2008 from the staff at 40AS. Let's all hope 2008 brings more crying Aggies (see below), arrested Sooners, and Gary Johnson. Hook 'em and happy new year!

December 29, 2007

Why The Holiday Bowl Mattered...

We've always said (actually, somebody else has always said, but not remembering who, we're going to take the credit) that a team's bowl game is the first game of the following season. The only time it really isn't true is when a team loses its identity in the offseason and has to start over.

To prove our point, take a look at Texas' recent bowl history and compare them to the seasons that followed:
2006 Alamo Bowl -- 'Meh' bowl win over Iowa, 'meh' season in 2007
2006 Rose Bowl -- VY over USC, VY leaves, next season does not correlate
2005 Rose Bowl -- VY over Michigan, VY over college football in 2005
2003 Holiday Bowl -- Bad loss to WSU, rough start to 2004 (12-0 anybody?)
2003 Cotton Bowl -- Texas overpowers LSU, starts over in 2003
2001 Holiday Bowl -- Wild and unpredictable win over Oregon, unpredictable and inconsistent team in 2002

Texas started over in 2003 and 2006 but every other year the bowl game correlated with the team that followed. Even the 2004 Horns which won the Rose Bowl over Michigan were not a very good team until the second half of the season.

So, you may ask, what does it all mean? The answer seems to us to be that it means a lot...maybe. Mack Brown in his post game interview with his stepson (whose name you'd think ESPN would have figured out and broadcast during the game, we're shocked they didn't) was a lot more like the Mack Brown of 2004 and 2005 than of 2006 and 2007. Colt McCoy did exactly what Texas needed (run when possible, throw well enough to keep the chains moving), and Jamal Charles proved why he is a special back.

More importantly, perhaps, the defense put pressure on Arizona State all game, causing numerous turnovers and making plays all over the field. This was a defense we hadn't seen all year. Lost in all the hooplah with "touchedballgate" (which could use a post by itself. INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE ANYONE?!) is the amazing play by Roddrick Muckelroy and Roy Miller to cause and recover the fumble respectively. Throw in solid offensive line play by a line without a single senior, and you can see why there is reason to be optimistic.

You can obviously make the argument that the Pac-10 sucks, Arizona State was not that talented, and Texas was simply fired up. All of that is true and could certainly mean that 2008 will be no different than 2007.


We like to think that Mack has proven he can/will change. The Mack Brown of 2005 that won a title was a product of disappointments in 2001, 2002, and 2003. As we said after the A&M loss, Texas is lucky to have Mack Brown. With the victory, Texas has now won 10 or more games 7 straight seasons. No other school in the country can claim that. We, therefore, enter the 2008 offseason cautiously optimistic that Texas can compete for another title.

December 28, 2007

40AS Guide to the Bowl Season, Part II

Before getting into the continuation of our bowl preview, we'd just like to say: WOW. We know that Texas' performance in last night's essentially meaningless Holiday Bowl was also, in many ways, essentially meaningless. But last year's lackluster (albeit victorious) Alamo Bowl performance set the stage for an often-frustrating 2007 season. Hopefully, this fantastic Longhorn showing against Arizona State will have an equal and opposite effect on the mood surrounding 2008.

All in all, the coaches and players are to be commended for viewing the Holiday Bowl--which has become a punch-line in sooner fans' jokes about Texas--not as a consolation prize, but as an opportunity. They took full advantage of that opportunity and showed the country, on a day when they had the complete college football spotlight all to themselves, that Texas football isn't going anywhere.

Now, on to the bowls. Today's pop culture comparisons will come exclusively from "The Simpsons." Except for one. Can YOU find the one that isn't from "The Simpsons?" We bet you can!

Champs Sports
Boston College vs. Michigan State
ESPN HD, Today
Artie Ziff: Like Artie, both of these schools have delusions of grandeur. On the surface, Artie, MSU, and BC all have everything they should need to be successful. In Artie's case, money; in the schools' cases, resources. But Artie can never attain Marge, and BC and MSU are and seem destined to remain middling football programs.

TCU vs. Houston
NFL Network, Today
Disco Stu: Mister Irrelevant as always, Disco Stu never has a plot-significant line. He is good for a laugh almost every time he speaks, but no episode would be noticeably different without him. This game, sandwiched between two others that feature teams from major conferences, will be good for some entertainment during commercials but no one will watch the end or remember who was playing in it come New Year's Day.

Maryland vs. Oregon State
ESPN HD, Today
Marshmallow Man I: He'll be patrolling the Terps' sidelines.

Meineke Car Care
UConn vs. Wake Forest
ESPN HD, Dec. 29
Grampa Simpson: Grampa always seems a little bit out of his element--what with the senility and all. These two basketball schools are out of their element playing in football bowl games as well, but in a good way.

AutoZone Liberty
UCF vs. Mississippi State
ESPN HD, Dec. 29
Troy McClure: Washed-up actor McClure is always looking for his big "comeback," which sort of comes in the form of his starring role in "Planet of the Apes: The Musical." Except that his comeback is merely a return to mediocrity and some level of credibility. On a related note: congratulations on your comeback, Mississippi State!

Valero Alamo Bowl
Penn State vs. Texas A&M
ESPN HD , Dec. 29
Rainier Wolfcastle: This thinly-veiled Schwarzenegger character, as action hero McBain, kicks ass and takes named whenever anyone pisses him off. It looks to us as if Dan Connor and the rest of the Nittany Lions might be set to do the same after this little incident no doubt angered them. Also, A&M doesn't have a real coach for this game.

PetroSun Independence Bowl
Alabama vs. Colorado
ESPN HD, Dec. 30
Lionel Hutz: Just like Springfield's top lawyer (who has studied at all the major academic institutions: Harvard, Oxford, the Luve-ra), Nick Saban swooped in with lots of promises to fix what was ailing Bama. But now, 6-6 with another Indy Bowl berth and an all-too-recent loss to UL-Monroe, the Tide will be scrapping to avoid a losing season.

December 27, 2007

One Last Game Day

For the final time in the 2007 season, the Football Longhorns will lace 'em up and toss the pigskin around tonight. The Holiday Bowl is being called "the most exciting matchup of the non-New Year's Day bowls," "the REAL start of bowl season," and other such terms of backhanded praise in the national media. And, all in all, those are pretty accurate assessments. This is the first game of bowl season that should drum up significant national interest, and in all honesty it's a pretty important game for Texas.

A strong performance against a solid Arizona State team tonight could be a starting point for success next year. Will we see John Chiles? What about the young linebackers? Will we play with a sense of urgency and purpose? Obviously, for your actual well-thought-out football analysis you should visit BON, but these are some of the key questions to concern yourself with as you watch tonight's contest with an eye toward next year--which, to be honest, is what every team's fans except those of Ohio State and LSU will be doing during their bowl games.

Most of all, though, our advice is to spend the rest of your day trying to recall that Mid-June feeling of despair when all you really want is for college football season to start. In Mid-June, you'd kill to watch Texas in the Holiday Bowl. In Mid-June, you swear that you don't even care if we win the Big XII--you're just ready for football to start. Remember that feeling today, because after the final buzzer it's yet another long Texas Football Offseason until the Horns kick off against 2007 New Orleans Bowl Champions Florida Atlantic next August 30.

December 26, 2007

Happy Christmas (War is...Oh, Wait)

Last night, the Trail Blazers and Sonics played a Christmas night ballgame in Portland wherein the home-standing Blazers wore their road unis and the visiting Sonics wore their...road unis. The result was a red and green combination on the court that we found hideous and unnecessary until Benji pointed out that it was Christmas, and red and green are generally accepted as Christmas colors. We felt stupid. But honestly, Christmas to us just means a day when everything is closed, so we didn't feel that stupid.

In any event, KD scored 23 points in a losing effort for Seattle. He was only 8-20 shooting the ball, however, bringing his season field goal percentage to 40.5%. So that stat may be some cause for concern for The Man Who Stole Texas' Heart. But on the whole, the fact that Kevin is still averaging 20 points an outing after 28 games in the League can only be encouraging, especially when you consider that the kid still has 5-8 years before he really hits his prime. He's good.

On the subject of basketball, by now we have all had plenty of time to reflect on the fact that the Michigan State game didn't go well. What we have to keep in mind is the following: first, Michigan State is very good at basketball. Second, the Horns were 11-29 from 3-point range, and against good competition we're not the kind of team that can overcome an off-night from downtown. And third, it was our first loss of the season! This is a really fun team to watch, and they're going to win a whole bunch more games before this year is over.

On the other hand: check out the box score from the Michigan State ballgame. Look particularly at the far right column, which shows playing time for each individual Longhorn. That, friends, is a scary sight. Texas' starting five can play with anyone in the country, but we are seriously hurting in terms of bench contribution. Depth is an integral component to a successful run deep into March, so here's hoping Ricky B can develop that young talent sooner rather than later so that those kids are poised to play serious minutes this season.

One final thought: watch on Dec. 29 for the first day of Post-Football Basketball Season, when most Texas fans will finally turn their (our) full attention to roundball. Turn on the TV at 11 AM CDT, tune it to ESPN2, and watch the basketball Horns take on another solid (albeit less solid) Big Ten opponent in Wisconsin. The Badgers' only two losses this season are to highly-ranked Duke and Marquette.

December 19, 2007

40AS Guide to the Bowl Season: Part I

Many people are going to give you a lot of baloney with their "analysis" of which bowls you should watch and why. We, on the other hand, will give you exactly what you want: a ridiculously brief synopsis of each bowl game, including each game's big storylines, players to watch for, and why you should (or shouldn't) watch--all provided in the form of comparing each game to a characteror reference from popular TV or movies. This way you can not waste your valuable time but know what to watch. Here you go (our comments in bold and italics)...

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia
Utah vs. Navy
Popeye: Because he's a sailor-man, and we're pulling for Navy. Obviously.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic
"Sports Night:" This may, in the end, turn out to be a very entertaining and close game. But it won't matter, because no one will be watching. Including people in Memphis, who will be too busy getting pumped for the upcoming roundball showdown with the Hoyas. Bowl
Southern Miss vs. Cincinnati
The Noid -- This is the closest we're going to come to a Bowl.

New Mexico
Nevada vs. New Mexico
Rob Schneider is "The Carrot" -- Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb

Pioneer Las Vegas
Gary -- Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum

Sheraton Hawaii
Boise State vs. East Carolina
Steve the Pirate: In "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," the good guy underdogs beat the bad guy favorites in the final showdown. Just like the good guy Broncs beat the sooners last year. Also, East Carolina is the Pirates. This one is airtight.

Motor City
Purdue vs. Central Michigan
Pete from "Rudy": There is a scene early in the movie when young Pete requests that the TV be switched to watch some of the Indiana-Purdue game at halftime of the Notre Dame game. He is told that is not a possibility because "we only watch one team in this house." Listen up, Ruettiger family: either broaden your horizons, or your college football watching is over until next season.

Pacific Life Holiday
Arizona State vs. Texas
George from "Seinfeld:" You know that George is a terrible person, and you shouldn't care if his life sucks. But somehow, you always pull for him to do well. We know we ought not to care so much about this game, but...well, we have a disease.

December 16, 2007

Caption Contest

" Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"
Back by popular demand is the 40AS Caption Contest. Remember, use the comment feature to add your caption. Winner will get a crappy prize...probably.

December 15, 2007

Deconstructing the Mitchell Report

We know that much of the media has been waiting for our response to accurately frame the Mitchell Report's identification of NINE Yankees who 'roided. The most shocking revelation from the report, however, was easily that Nationals outfielder Nook Logan appeared on the list. Talk about destroying our trust in the game.

Other than Logan, the biggest revelation of the Mitchell Report was clearly Roger Clemens. Many are already claiming that Clemens' 1998 season with the Blue Jays is tarnished, and it seems to reason that so is everything that followed. The thing with steroids is that they don't just improve a players' ability to hit or pitch, they also enable a player to play longer and more often than somebody of his age should be able. That explains Clemens and Bonds, who combined remarkable skill with steroids to smash conventional wisdom of what a player should be able to do.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would have made the Hall of Fame without steroids, but would Clemens and Bonds have been considered the greatest players at their respective position had they not have had amazing seasons late in their careers which can be attributed to cheating? Had Roger's career diminished after Boston as it is now (and as one can assess it may have without steroids), he would have probably struggled to hit 300 wins and probably would not have had a title. Had Barry Bonds not taken steroids he probably never hits 73 home runs and his career would likely have been done several years ago.

The Mitchell Report clearly is not perfect, but it forces issues to the realm of public debate that have never been debated before with names being mentioned. As more players admit to steroid use, baseball will be able to move on past this ugly era and focus on the fact that the Boston Red Sox are World Champions.

December 12, 2007

Toddling Descendant of American Legend Murders Innocent Caniform for Fun

Editor's note: in an effort to improve the quality of our comments, we have given jbrater a different forum to exhaust his opinions. So, without further ado, here's jbrater:

Eat your heart out, Ralphie
I will try my best not to make fun of the South in this post.
So i'm enjoying my afternoon caffeine fix when this doozy comes my way via the good 'ole series of tubes we call the internets.
My initial reactions:

- Wow.
- WTF?
- Colbert would absolutely go to town on this one. This had to happen during the writers' strike!?!

Fight on, young soldier of liberty, fight on.
- Aside from being stupid, I think this story is kind of emblematic of the way our culture interacts with a mythologized version of our past. The legend of Davy Crockett killing the bear, as I recall it, is more or less a story of incredible resiliency and survival, displayed at a very young age, in the new frontier. The story was almost definitely apocryphal, (notably reminiscent of the myth of Hercules strangling snakes as a baby) but it was a nice symbol of the strength and vision of our then-nascent society. This, on the other hand, is a kid hiding in a tree with a marvel of modern technology, a hunting rifle with a scope, shooting a big dumb animal that was most likely looking for some berries or insects to eat, completely oblivious and indifferent to said kid's existence. The kid's aim is impressive, but the fact the bear was "10 times his size" isn't really relevant here, is it?

Note: this isn't meant to be an indictment of hunting. I don't really have a problem with hunting. Just saying...

- It would seem, based on the interviewees, that the Crockett family has suffered some... degradation... over the last 10 generations.

"I was up in the stand and I seen the bear," Tre Merritt said. "It came from the thicket and it was beside the road and I shot it."
But then again, this is a five-year-old. I'm sure by the time he grows up his command of the English language will have improved, just like his grandfa...

"His 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett," Mike Merritt said. "And Davy supposedly killed him a bear when he was three. And Tre is five and really killed a bear. I really doubt if Davy killed one when he was three."

Never mind.

December 11, 2007

TJ Ford Injured in Atlanta

TJ taken off the court on a stretcher following a late fourth quarter flagarant foul by Atlanta rookie Al Horford. You can watch the video on the ESPN link. Gutwrenching and sad...get well TJ!

Things that make ya go 'hmmmmm'...

Who would have thought that Olindo Mare would turn out to be one of the better free agent acquisition of the offseason? Think about it for a second...
Eric Johnson just dropped a TD pass and really hasn't done much.
Robert Meachem has not played a down.
We can't spell Kaesviharn.
Jason. David.

Amongst that group, Mare doesn't look so bad. Obviously David Patten (31 catches, 505 yards) was a great signing, and Johnson (42 catches) has been an alright target for Brees. The point remains, however, that a good offseason (Brees, Bush, Colston, Faine, Evans, Harper, Hollis Thomas, Fujita, etc.) is the difference between 2006 and 2007. As Bill Simmons pointed out last year: "One smart free agent signing (Brees), one smart coaching hire (Sean Payton), one blue-chip pick (Bush) and one lucky late-round pick (Colston) and suddenly you're a playoff team."

Oh, and Payton...the Henderson reverse to start the Falcons game?


December 10, 2007

Assessing the Horns

We're now 9 games into the 2007-2008 basketball and we can only imagine how good this team would be if Rick Barnes could coach (note: kidding). This start is clearly better than any Texas basketball team we've ever followed, so we thought it would be fun to compare the '07-'08 Horns to our favorite Texas basketball team.

DJ Augustin vs. TJ Ford:
This is by far the most difficult comparison. Both are fantastic point guards, but in different ways. As quick as DJ is, he doesn't hold a candle to TJ in that regard. DJ has a better jump shot and can has a pretty three-point shot unlike TJ. We also feel that TJ's leadership is the intangible that puts him on top, for now. Edge: TJ Ford.

Damion James vs. James Thomas:
The James Thomas of 2002-2003 was a beast on the glass, had a serviceable jump shot, and knew how to put it in the hoop near the rim. Damion James is a year younger, less a beast on the glass, a sweeter jump shot, nearly as much skill around the rim, and a FAR better free throw shooter. Considering the rebounding, we'll give a slight overall nod to the man from zip code 12345. Edge: James Thomas.

Justin Mason vs. Royal Ivey:
Both wear #24, both do many things well but nothing particularly excellent, and both are shutdown defenders. Given his skills as a defender and experience, however, it's hard to place Mason over Royale with cheese. Edge: Royal Ivey.

Connor Atchley vs. Jason Klotz/Brian Boddicker:
What was your first thought when Connor got the ball at the top of the key against UCLA with Texas down 61-58? Don't be ashamed to admit it was: "shoot it, Connor!" Connor has become a major asset to this team that Jason Klotz never was in 2002-2003. With the exception of his hook in the lane to put OU away during the home win (the only time we ever rushed the court, awesome moment), Jason Klotz really didn't do a ton. Brian Boddicker had his moments but seems to not have quite the same inside presence as Connor. Edge: Connor Atchley.

Alexis Wangmene vs. Brad Buckman:
The two freshmen seem to be having a very similar impact on their respective basketball teams. They average similar minutes (~15 minutes per game), and both are having significant albeit somewhat limited impacts on the offensive end and in rebounding. Buckman is probably a little further along than Wangmene at this point, but for all intents and purposes they're about even. Edge: None.

AJ Abrams vs. Brandon Mouton:
The two are virtually nothing alike, but since the Mason/Ivey comparison had to be made, we're stuck comparing AJ and MOOOOO-ton. AJ is such a unique offensive talent that he doesn't really compare to anybody on the 02-03 team, but there isn't a Mouton on the 07-08 team either. AJ has added considerably to his game and is much more of an overall offensive threat than he has ever been, but his size is still a liability on the defensive end. Mouton was the jack-of-all-trades for the Horns, able to score and defend as well as anybody on the team. Brandon led the team in scoring 7 of the last 14 games, including 27 against UCONN and 25 against Syracuse. In all, neither player really has a counterpart. Edge: Brandon Mouton.

Dexter Pittman and Clint Chapman vs. Sydmill Harris and Deginald Erskin:
Big Dex and Clint Chapman compare favorably with what Sydmill and Deginald brought to the table. Sydmill was never the three-point specialist that he was made out to be, and circumstances prevented Deginald from really contributing once the season got going. Pittman and Chapman are likely to see significant improvement over the course of the year and could be contributing solid minutes off the bench by tourney time. Edge: Dexter Pittman and Clint Chapman.

Harrison Smith vs. Kenton Paulino and Terrell Ross:
If the 07-08 Horns have a real weakness it is the lack of backup point guard play. Should DJ get in foul trouble, Texas may have trouble running its offense. KP didn't really produce much his freshman year, and Terrell Ross is best known for not screwing things up during the scariest five minutes of our Texas basketball watching career following TJ picking up his fourth foul against UCONN. We had confidence that things would not go immediately and completely to hell without TJ. Harrison Smith...not so much. Edge: Kenton Paulino and Terrell Ross.

JD Lewis vs. Chris Ogden:
It is the O-Zone. Edge: Chris Ogden.

Ian Mooney vs. Drew Gressett:
Please. Edge: Drew Gressett.

Why the 02-03 Horns:
One word -- experience. The 02-03 Horns lost 4 of its first 18 games before winning 7 of the next 8. The Horns as we remember them, that team that went to the Final Four, was born during this stretch. It was here that this became the team we know and love, including the biggest regular season win we've ever experienced (at OU). The 02-03 Horns played great defense, could score when they needed to, and the best player in the country. Considering that the 02-03 Horns had significantly more experience and we know they were a Final Four team, it's hard to even think that the 07-08 Horns can compare.

Why the 07-08 Horns:
Had we compared the first nine games of the 02-03 Horns (7-2) to the 07-08's first nine games, we would have to say that this year's team is better. Two wins over top ten teams, including the biggest regular season win since ruining Hollis Price's senior night. This Texas team doesn't defend as well but is more potent offensively and has already shown it can play with (and beat) any team in the country. Should this team finish its non-conference schedule strongly and have a strong conference record, a #1 seed is certainly not out of the question.

The Final Comparison:
The 2002-2003 Horns have our edge with four of five starters and most of the bench. Considering it had more experience and played better defense, the 2002-2003 Horns have the overall edge...for now, but we feel these Horns can accomplish just as much.

December 9, 2007

You + Me = We

That's right, we're back together again. We just wanted to let you know, and to get jbrater's post off the top of the blog. We'll be back later this week with posts about basketball, football, and everything in between.

December 5, 2007


(Editor's note: we welcome back occasional guest columnist and regular commenter jbrater with a word on why his Detroit Tigers may now compete for the right to lose to your defending world champion Boston Red Sox in the ALCS in 2008)

Hannukah came early this year! Wait, actually, it came right on time.
We interrupt this regularly scheduled reality to bring you a world in which the Detroit Tigers control all human life.

It started innocently enough, when Jim Leyland, if rumors are to be believed, walked into the Marlins office in Nashville and said "We want Cabrera." Anybody who knows anybody who knows anything about Jim Leyland knows that if Jimmy Leyland says he wants something, odds are Jimmy Leyland is gonna get said thing.

Leyland gets what leyland wants

I, like most of the at-that-time-still-in-tact universe, was not, however, aware of this exchange, and so I assumed the the rumors trickling out about a cabrera/Willis for Miller/Maybin + whatever remains of the Tigers Farm System was little more than the Tigers pulling a Steinbrenner and getting involved in negotions to drive up the price for the White Sox or Angels.
Well... turns our there was a little more to it than that. The deal is done. The Tigers are unstoppable.

Now although the Red Sox don't usually receive much attention in major media outlets, some may speculate that the world series champs plus Santana make a pretty freaking formidable squad. They are correct.
And now... look at this lineup:
1) Granderson - CF
2) Polanco - 2B
3) Cabrera - 3B
4) Sheffield - DH
5) Ordonez - RF
6) Guillen - 1B
7) Renteria - SS
8) Jones - LF
9) Rodriguez - C

Right now I'm seriously considering drafting those guys as my fantasy team. The problem is, I wouldn't be able to, because at least 6 of them would go in the first two rounds. This is a lineup with 7 all-stars, 1 future all star, and Jacque Jones. This lineup will shatter every offensive record in the books.

I haven't witnessed pandemonium like this since ridiculous day at the deli... when prices were so low, it was ridiculous.

This, ladies and gentleman, is the beast of the apocalpyse. Call Batman. Get Beowulf. Dial up Chuck Norris. We're gonna need a bigger boat.

Imagine a word in which the Detroit Tigers control everything. A word in which a shadowy entity controls all life, and to step out of line is to perish. A dystopian realm of misery and madness.
Big brother is watching you
What's the name of that story, again?
It's coming to me...

It's coming to me...

Oh yeah.


December 3, 2007

Some More Points

A few thoughts from the world of sports:
  • Pats in another tight game that they'll probably end up winning. That's two straight games that the Pats haven't looked like world beaters. Like I said earlier, going 0-16 (Dolphins) is harder than going undefeated (Dolphins).
  • John Clayton called 'The Play' the worst call he's seen in 30 years. Still too painful to read, but it's ironic that the Saints scored a TD on that same play on the Monday Nighter last year (if you don't know what I'm referring to you aren't a Saints fan). Yep. That's right. I've never seen a call like that before. It was just as bad as Tim Couch's hailmary for the Browns first win in 1999, the missed XP after the miraculous TD against the Jags in 2003, and the Vikings fumbling the snap on a two-point conversion and still running it for the winning score in 2002.
  • It wasn't exactly Texas ruining OU's Senior Day in 2003 (Hollis Price's only home loss), but we're 24 hours later and the win over UCLA seems like the biggest regular season win since that game.
  • The Michigan State game in less than three weeks could be the third game against a top ten team this season.
  • Damion James won Big XII Player of the Week this week, the second straight for a Longhorn.
  • Finally, Michigan lost to Harvard, (insert obligatory Appy State joke here). The best part of the whole story: Harvard is coached by Tommy Amaker who was fired by Michigan in March.

December 2, 2007

#8 Texas 63, #2 UCLA 61

Thus ends the weekend. What a win! DJ Augustin was the best player on the court, Damion James was the player we all hoped he would become, Justin Mason made some plays, AJ Abrams hit a couple of big shots, and Connor Atchley(!) hit the biggest shot of the season to tie the game up at 61. When (we hear it's when, not if) this team gets Gary Johnson, the Horns could become scary good. #2 UCLA was the highest ranked team Texas has ever beaten in a true road game and is the second top ten team to feel the wrath of Barnes. It'll be interesting to see where the Horns, with the best resume in the nation, are ranked this week.

Texas returns to action on Wednesday against North Texas in Austin before meeting Rice in Houston on Saturday.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Saints Style

You're up by three points. There is 3:36 left in the game and your opponent only has one timeout left. You have the ball at midfield. Second and ten. You have all the momentum, are averaging 8 yards per pass attempt, and 4 yards per rush attempt. Do you:

A) Run the ball up the middle twice, hoping to get a first but knowing that you can pin the opponent deep in their territory late

B) Run it once and throw it once, hoping to run a little time off the clock but thinking you've got a good chance to pick up the first down and end the game

C) Throw it twice, knowing that you have a smart quarterback and a good chance to pick up the game and the win

D) Run a shotgun draw, reverse pitch the wide receiver involving two players with sketchy hands and a penchant for coughing it up.

Yea, we'd do option D too. At least you've gotta give credit to Sean Payton...for admitting that this was the worst game he's called as the Saints coach. Actually, that's pretty much all I wanted to hear.

In other news, BCS is about to be announced, the guess is LSU vs. Ohio State, Texas is Holiday Bowl bound, and the Horns are about to square off in basketball against UCLA in a huge early season test. Should be fun.

December 1, 2007

The Kase for Kansas

Quick, name the BCS teams that had only one conference loss this season. There are three: Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and Kansas. Ohio State is in the title game, Virginia Tech is unlikely to make it because of a bad loss to LSU, and Kansas is about to get screwed.

We can all agree that all things being equal, a team that wins its conference should be ranked ahead of a team that does not. We can also all agree that if Team A beats Team B then Team A should be ranked ahead of Team B. So why should KU get in ahead of everybody else? The answer is easy, all things are not equal.

A few things to say first about this season.

A lot of media folks are going to say that every team other than the team chosen for the #2 spot is getting screwed. The reality is that only KU is going to get screwed. No team "deserves" the #2 spot. In college football, when you lose two games, you have no argument that your team should be in the national championship game. None. Whatsoever.

The fact of the matter is that KU has one loss to a top five team at a neutral site by eight points. No two-loss team can compete with that. Considering that KU did not get the chance to play for its conference title because it plays in one of two divisions in all of college football where 7-1 did not get it done, it becomes even harder to defend the "not a conference champion" argument.

Finally, other than the conference champion argument, there is the schedule argument. Kansas quite clearly played a cupcake schedule. But the thing about this season is that everybody sucked. The media is going to talk about how KU didn't beat anybody, and it's true. But nobody beat anybody. LSU, who probably played among the toughest schedule in the country, only beat two teams with fewer than four losses, and one with fewer than three. Not exactly your typically tough SEC schedule.

The media will gripe about how this year finally proves that a playoff is needed. The truth, however, is that it is only their idiocy that will prevent the true deserving #2 team from getting to New Orleans. Ohio State clearly deserves to go. Virginia Tech has a 41-point loss on its schedule. UGA has an ugly 21 point loss on the books and did not win its conference. USC lost to Stanford. Nothing needs to be said about Mizzou and WVU. Screw OU. Appy State has losses to Georgia Southern and Wofford.

The point is, nobody really deserves the #2 spot, but KU doesn't not deserve it most.

November 28, 2007

Today's Random Points

A few random things today in the world of sports...
  • We both agree that Les Miles is likely good as gone. Poor LSU fans have to go through hating a former savior again and just as soon as Ryan Perriloux is gone the one of us that's a Tulane fan can start cheering for LSU. WWLTV in New Orleans is reporting that Michigan has gotten permission to talk with Miles after the SEC championship. So long, Les.
  • In our opinion Jacoby Ellsbury would be too much to give up to have the best starting rotation in MLB, although...damn that's a nice thought.
  • Texas basketball is now 6-0 after beating Texas Southern 98-61. Damion James and DJ Augustin had great games for the Horns. Texas has now beaten each of its opponents by 15 or more points, accomplishing that feat for the first time since the 1915-1916 season (no crap, that's what Craig Way said). The Horns have the biggest test of the season on Sunday at 8 ET against #1 UCLA.
  • Finally, ABC...what the hell is this? Just let the starting safety name the lineup or have Cartman drop the f-bomb.

November 27, 2007

Nice Season, Ricky

Well folks, it's just you and me. One of us is away in Spain for the next few weeks, so as far as content and editorial control goes, it's just me. Obviously the end of November/start of December is a hotbed of sports news and I'll be reporting on all of it, so long as it isn't depressing (we didn't start this blog to make ourselves sad). Where to begin?
  • Like Roger Dorn in Major League II, Ricky Williams had a nice comeback last night with Pittsburgh. 6 carries for 15 yards and one season ending injury was his line, thus ending his comeback attempt for one more year.
  • Texas basketball still isn't depressing...yet.
  • Les Miles yesterday gave us this gem of a quote which really shows his genius. Les says:
    "This team has not lost a game in regulation. I know it does not mean much to you guys (media.) The point is, in a 60 minutes game, we play as competitive as we can be. There is not a team that we have played that has bested us in the first 60 minutes. If you had to look at the length and width of the game, that is how it is measured. Then you go to overtime, and I think our overtime system is just as flawed as any other overtime system. It’s just the way it is and it is probably correct. You have to decide it then where it takes the length of the field and certain situations out of it. It is imperfect, but a darn good system. You tell me if there are other teams in this country that can say that. If you just give us ties, like in the old system, we are undefeated with two ties. Maybe that adds up as one lost."
  • To summarize the above quote, LSU is undefeated, the overtime system sucks, the overtime system is a good system, LSU should have two ties, LSU should have one loss. We'll be sorry when he's in Michigan.

Finally, if only this were Ed Hockuley...

November 24, 2007

It Feels Good To Laugh Again (AKA b-ball preview post)

We've been doing this whole blogging thing for seven months and have now hit baseball, off, and football season. It's time, therefore, for basketball season. We know, we're 5 games into the season, but this is as good as any time to do our first basketball post of the new season.

For the first time in our career as Texas fans, the basketball program is healthier than both the football and baseball programs. To illustrate this point, think about this: without defections to the NBA, the Texas starting five this season would probably be DJ Augustin, Kevin Durant, Lamarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson, and Connor Atchley(?). Obviously players leaving early is a part of college basketball, but the fact that Rick Barnes has fielded another solid squad which should be playing well into March is a testament to his coaching ability (no matter what Bill Simmons says) and the positive direction in which Longhorn basketball is headed.

To start with, if you look closely at our dream lineup you might notice one player who doesn't fit in. That's right, Connor Atchley. So far everybody's favorite neo-Jason Klotz has been playing very well for the Horns, a fact that bodes extremely well for the future. Aside from clamping down on defense and rebounding, Connor has put in 12.4 points per game (up from 3.9 last season). Say what you will about Rick Barnes as a recruiter first, coach second; the fact that he has turned Connor into a useful member of a basketball society is proof that Barnes can teach and coach, too.

Damion James has brought energy and enthusiasm on the defensive end, much like James Thomas circa 2002-2003 (yeah, we know, our frame of reference for Texas basketball remains that season. Our glorious, glorious freshman year of school). Justin Mason seems like a whole new player (a player named, say, Royal Ivey. Yep. We went there), AJ Abrams has been lights out on both sides of the court (a great account of his defensive impact on Tennessee sharpshooter Chris Lofton can be read here), and DJ Augustin is playing PG as well as anybody in the country (there will be no TJ Ford comparison).

We can't wait to see what happens when you throw in the potential of Gary Johnson with the already impressive play of Alexis Wang...Wang...well, just Johnson, just Gary Johnson. All kidding aside, should Texas develop a defensive and offensive interior toughness, this Horns team could go far into the postseason.

Finally, and best of all, we don't expect Bill Simmons to be watching the Horns this year, which is probably best for all of us. The Horns season continues Wednesday against Texas Southern and then a big early season matchup with UCLA on Sunday in Los Angeles.

We Remain on Team Mack

As usual, Peter is right. Over on Burnt Orange Nation, PB has the analysis spot-on when it comes to Mack Brown and the job he and his staff did this year with the Longhorn football team. It was not good, and there will be, ahem, concern expressed about the program from many areas of the fanbase over the coming offseason. And trust us: we, too, are concerned and hope to see significant improvement in 2008 over the last 2 seasons.

BUT: at most schools, a national championship is worth at least 5 years of goodwill for a head coach. Next year will be Year Three after the 2005 national title season, yet already many Texas fans seem to be headed toward outright anger at the coaching staff. For our part, you will hear criticism when it is warranted, and there will certainly be times when it is. But to not appreciate that a 9-3 season (albeit with 3 bad losses) is the worst moment in Mack Brown's tenure at Texas is ludicrous. Next year, we need to see some improvement. But we also need to understand as a fan base that the program is still pretty damn healthy.

We said back in May, when it's easier to be coolheaded about the Longhorns, that we thought all 3 major men's sports had coached that Texas fans could (and should) be proud of. That has not changed. Mack Brown remains a class act who represents the University very well. Do we need to get better at tackling, cut down on the arrests, and get more consistent quarterback play? Yes. Has Mack earned the benefit of our support as he attempts to improve in all those important areas? Absolutely.

Mack Brown is clearly not perfect, but in the game of college football there aren't a whole lot better. This team obviously had significant flaws due to faults of both players and coaches. We as fans, however, must remember that many of the causes of these flaws are unobservable due to our position outside the program.

We can empirically see that the pass defense has been atrocious the last two seasons. We cannot, however, say that the problem this year is a lack of fundamentals or the coaching staff failing to teach the basics (as one e-mail we received argued). The reason the linebacker corps sucked at tackling is because Bobino, Derry, and Killebrew simply do not excel at tackling. You can teach a hungry lion not to eat the gazelle all you want, but you shouldn't be miffed or blame the teacher when the gazelle gets eaten.

You may remember in Week One when Texas was played tightly by Arkansas State. After that we agreed in a conversation that Texas was probably a 3-4 loss team this season. The product on the field this season simply was not all that good, and the Texas team at the end of the regular season is pretty much the Texas team we expected at the beginning. If there's one thing you can count on a mediocre team to do over the course of a season is to play mediocre. We aren't shocked or mad at the head coach, we are just hoping the staff continues to field a winner (and improve) as it has the better part of the last decade.

We remain hopeful that the best analogy of 2007 is the 2003 season. Texas went 10-3, had an embarrassing loss to a rival (65-13 was worse than losing to aggy), and had a lot of young talent to build on. That offseason was a positive one, with major coaching changes and the introduction of Greg Robinson. An important junior RB returned to give Texas a strong running game, and the linebacker corps and secondary had lots of talent waiting to become stars.

Mack has been one of the best coaches in college football for the better part of a decade. Supporting his efforts and avoiding unnecessary/unsubstantiated criticism is the only way to approach this offseason.

Hook 'em.

November 23, 2007

The Price We Pay...?

Remember this? One of us is a big believer in karma, the other is at the LSU-Arkansas game so he can't argue. Should Texas not pull it out just remember that there is a price to be paid for success, and the 2004 & 2005 Horns were worth it.

November 22, 2007

Diary of an Unsuspecting Contender

This is a special post from currently-Spain-based Kansas student Jonathan Orlansky, otherwise known as jaybro.

At the University of Kansas, we have an understanding. In gratitude for success in any capacity, we are to thank, praise, and sacrifice goats to one man, and one man alone: Dr. James Naismith. As you should well know, Dr. Naismith was a professor of Science at our prestigious institution who came up with the awfully good idea of basketball. He put up some peach baskets, very cleverly crafted some inflatable rubber, and provided the United States with its most accessible, most original, and arguably most fun sport (you’re welcome). Since that time, it has been the responsibility of the Jayhawks to be the greatest basketball program of all time.

I. 1,900 wins
II. 50 conference championships

However, in the past we have been humble enough to limit ourselves to unspeakable greatness in that one sport alone. To attempt even to be competitive in any other sport was a crass and ungentlemanly notion. However, as many have come recently to notice, our sense of decorum seems to have quite startlingly and suddenly fallen away. How to explain a University of Kansas football team at 11-0? My answer was instant and decisive: this could only be the work of Dr. Naismith.

An oft-mentioned, but under-appreciated part of the Professor’s legacy is that, at the time of his innovation, he was the football coach of the proud Jayhawks. Football is a sport not quite graceful enough to have been invented by Naismith (that, as is known by all you attentive sports fans, was Abner Doubleday), but curiously, Naismith was a better leader of exclusively white football teams than equally stark basketball teams. Naismith remains the only basketball coach in the history of the university to retire with a losing record, whereas his football years were some of our finer times.

To come to the point, I think the truth is clear: reincarnation is heavy. Before ridiculing Mark Mangino for his size, bear in mind, he’s eating for two: his primary person (or pod), and the soul of the inventor of basketball, dead for nearly 100 years. The ever-wise and powerful professor looked down from his personally furnished fluffy cloud, where he had just finished beating Jesus at ping-pong for, like, the fifth time in a row, and he saw his proud Jayhawk footballers in need of his help.

We were in the hands of a coach so inept that he would sit out in the fourth quarter a running back who ran for more yardage than Gail Sayers ever approached (Jon Cornish; look for him in the CFL), so dull that he would refuse to blitz one of the most highly regarded linebacking corps in the country. Dr. Naismith knew it was time for Chapter Two.

So the poor, unsuspecting, already large man became the home of the spirit of one of the great minds ever to grace sports. Since then, the formerly inept KU football squad has become the only team in the country to be in the top twenty in both passing and rushing offense, the only undefeated team from a major conference, and proudly stands as the least penalized team in the country, all this with an undersized quarterback, an overslow halfback, and a completely white tailback.

We’ve got a big game coming up against Missouri on Saturday, by far the biggest challenge of the season. The good doctor will have to pull out all the stops, and swing around the very large arms of his surrogate with tremendous focus. But if he is able to accomplish a victory in that game (and do the same the following week against Oklahoma), then I swear on the Rock Chalk foundation of the Kansas Union that I will go to New Orleans, wrap my arms halfway around Mark Mangino, lean into his ear and whisper, “I know you’re in there. Thanks for coming back,” before being dragged away by security.


November 20, 2007

Suggestions for Pacman

Aside from sharing a nickname with possibly the greatest non-Tecmo Bowl video game ever made, Pacman Jones has not given football fans much to like about him lately. The former West Virginia Mountaineer standout and current Las Vegas "rainmaker" recently agreed to accept probation on charges related to a triple shooting in Sin City. A little known part of the deal requires Jones to perform 200 hours of community service within a year. We thought maybe he could use some help in figuring out how to fulfill that commitment.
Note: Input from jbrater was used and appreciated.
  • Wash our cars. OK, so only one of us has a car because the other one lives in a place with big, fancy "public transportation." But still, if Pacman washed our one car, that would take, like, half an hour. Only 199.5 to go! The car is really dirty.
  • "Make it Rain" on Atlanta. Pacman enjoyed "making it rain" so much in the Las Vegas strip club where this whole incident took place that we thought he might have the power and ability to help out the Southeastern United States with its terrible drought. Atlanta needs some drinking water, Pacman! Make it happen! We believe in his powers, we'll say 195 to go!
  • Attend a Notre Dame football game, in the stands, without a bag on his head. Someone has to. 192 to go!
  • Disconnect the transmitters at the Big Ten Network headquarters. Someone has to. 190 to go!
  • Get rid of those damn ghosts. Those guys are always trying to eat you when you're just trying to get some tiny, yellow, dot-shaped food and the occasional piece of fruit. It's not cool. 180 to go!
  • Partner with Blackwater USA to form a private contracting defense unit to protect Vince Young from the cornerback blitz. VY needs some protection back there! He's getting hit way too often. Also, his receivers suck, do something about that. 150 to go!
  • Go to Buffalo and start a counseling group for people who continue to insist that the Music City Miracle was a forward pass. No explanation necessary. 130 to go!
  • Start an after school program to help steer troubled kids in the right direc... wait, never mind. On second thought, best just to keep Pacman as far away from schools as possible. 130 to go!
  • Write an episode of The Office for production by NBC. The funniest show on television is not going to be showing new episodes because of the selfish writers strike. It was all fun and games when it was Letterman getting cancelled, but now it has gone too far. 95 to go!
  • Blog. This crap is hard, he'll see...60 to go!
  • Dance-a-thon. If you thought blogging was hard, try dancing...36 to go!
  • Jerry Lewis telethon. We doubt he'd be offended by anything Mr. Lewis would have to say. 14.5 to go!
  • Help Mark Mangino lose weight. Seriously, he's a little big. Our worry is that KU will make it to the championship game and he won't be able to fit into the Dome. Just stay away from Mother's. o to go!

And that is how we suggest Pacman Jones should complete his 200 hours of community service. Just stay away from the kids.

November 19, 2007

Let's Set The Record Straight...

Tim Tebow is no Vince Young. That is not debatable. That is fact. Dennis Dodd says:

Tim Tebow became the first 20-20 player in NCAA victory in a victory over Florida Atlantic. He now has 20 rushing touchdowns and 26 passing TDs. The last guy to change the game this much was Vince Young. But Vince, for all his bulk, wasn't as powerful of a runner. His arm can't compare to Tebow's. We now have a new, better run-pass hybrid. Tebow has rushed for more touchdowns than 77 teams.
WHOA! Stop right there. That kind of seems like saying that LT isn't as powerful a runner as Ron Dayne. What the hell does that even mean? Isn't a "powerful" running quarterback just a euphemism for a quarterback who averages 4.1 yards per carry and gets his team's every carry? Statistics don't even begin to tell the tale of VY's dominance over college football.

To begin with, the most important statistic is that Tim Tebow is 8-3 as a starter. VY was 30-2.

VY's sophomore season Cedric Benson got 2 carries for every 1 for VY. The next year five Longhorns got 75 or more carries. This season only one Gator other than Tebow (181)has gotten 75 carries (Kestahn Moore --98).

Finally, think about VY's numbers if Texas hadn't been so dominant in 2005. Vince took the final snap for the Longhorns in four games in 2005. In three of the 13 games he didn't even make it through the third quarter (four counting CU where he only finished the first series of the fourth quarter). Tebow has finished all but two games.

That Tebow is a better passer than VY is obvious, but lots of quarterbacks can throw better than VY (Stephen McGee cannot). Tim Tebow has had a great year for a Florida team that lost a lot of talent. To say that Tim Tebow even compares running the ball, however, is ludicrous. We are to Tim Tebow running the ball as Tim Tebow is to VY.

Oh, and the next time Tim Tebow does this will be the first.

Mike Huckabee for President

We don't normally delve into politics, and we also don't know much about Mike Huckabee. That having been said, because of the below ad we now endorse him for President.

What To Wish For

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. As already stated, OU losing was fun (although it IS earily similar to last season's collapse by the Horns). The Oregon loss may hurt the Horns as it opens up a potential at-large bid for KU should they lose to Mizzou but stay in the top four of the BCS (giving them an automatic at-large bid). Ohio State winning was bad for the Horns in that Texas loses its chance at the title game, but it was good in that Ohio State will likely be in the top four. An LSU-Ohio State championship game remains our favorite scenario, followed by an LSU-KU championship game. The possibilities are in order of preference:

  1. OU loses to Okie State, Texas wins Big XII, Texas plays in Fiesta
  2. Texas beats Aggy, OU beats Okie State, KU wins Big XII, Texas plays in Sugar
  3. Texas beats Aggy, OU beats Okie State, Mizzou beats KU, OU wins Big XII, Texas plays in Sugar
  4. Texas beats Aggy, OU beats Okie State, Mizzou beats KU in a close game, Mizzou beats OU, Texas goes to mid-level non-BCS bowl
  5. Texas beats Aggy, OU beats Okie State, OU beats KU in a close game, Texas goes to mid-level non-BCS bowl
  6. Texas beats Aggy, OU loses to Okie State, Texas loses in Big XII championship, Texas goes to Holliday Bowl
  7. Texas loses to Aggy, OU loses to Okie State, Texas wins Big XII championship, Texas goes to Fiesta
  8. Texas loses to Aggy, OU beats Okie State, who cares.

November 18, 2007

This Week's Top Ten

Texas wins the Big XII South regardless of the A&M game should the Pokes beat the Sooners. Sweet. The only way the OU loss could have been better is if it was the Horns winning (or Baylor, that would rock too).

  1. KU -- Jaybro, just so you know, we considered dropping them to know...just to show you we can. But in all reality, the idea that Kansas would not be number one in anybody's poll right now is just ridiculous. The fact is, up to now they are undefeated in a BCS conference--one which, by the way, has 4 teams in the BCS top ten. Being number 1 right now really means very little; it only matters who's 1 and 2 on Dec. 3. That said, KU may finish out with a loss next week and get hosed out of an at-large BCS bid (in likely thanks to Texas), but they certainly deserve to be tops in a poll that matters (read: not this one) for at least a week. For our part, we see no reason not to think Kansas legitimately is the best team in America. Great QB play, solid O-Line, a great secondary, and linebackers that won't knock your head off but who play the position very intelligently. We say the Hawks will beat Mizzou next week and then win the Big XII Championship (note: should Texas sneak into championship game, this pick is subject to change).

  2. LSU -- A decidedly lackluster performance in the defensive and kick-coverage areas of the Ole Miss game still produced a comfortable win for the Tigers. The question remains: will we see the LSU team we saw against Va. Tech again? That team was the absolute best squad in the country, hands-down. But LSU has not strung together a truly great performance since then, and they will need to return to form if they want to beat a talented Arkansas team playing for its coach and then either the Other UT or UGA on Dec. 2. Wins in the next two weeks do appear to have LSU in almost guaranteed Championship Game position.

  3. Mizzou -- The Other Tigers are good. It seems to us, however, that Chase Daniel is a lot like Dennis Dixon and Sam Bradford--a compliment to be sure, but also a liability. If Daniel goes down, it is unlikely that Missouri will be able to generate anything offensively. He is not the only weapon, but he's the one who makes the rest of the offense effective. So, as long as he stays healthy, that showdown with the Jayhawks in KC next weekend will be an absolute classic. By the way, Jaybro: now that Missouri is relevant, are you learning to hate them yet?

  4. WVU -- Pat White, Pat White, Pat White. Pat White. The Moutaineers may be the last team LSU wants to see in the national championship game simply because of the mobile QB factor. Even the disappointing Ole Miss quarterback Brent Schaeffer (sp?) made the LSU defense look silly a few times simply by being able to scramble.

  5. Ohio State -- With UO and OU both losing, Ohio State is suddenly back into the realm of "we could conceivably be in the championship game!" But tOSU could suffer for the simple fact that it plays in the Big Ten (jbrater, let us explain before you get all defensive). Much like last year's Michigan team, Ohio State will not have played for 2 weeks the day after conference championship games. Out of sight=out of mind for voters. The other issue is that 12-1 is inherently more impressive than 11-1. So, we aren't saying that they'll be hurt by their conference because it's inferior; we're saying they'll be hurt because of the conference's scheduling policies. Of course, it's possible that these same liabilities could turn into advantages: if LSU and KU/Mizzou both lose in their conference championship games, the Buckeyes will be thrilled that they didn't have to play in one.

  6. Arizona State -- Meh.

  7. UGA -- The Dawgs are in a similar position to that of last year's LSU team: they appear to be playing about as well as anyone out there right now, but they may have hit their stride a bit too late to make noise in the conference. LSU fans are praying that Tennessee can hang on and beat Kentucky next weekend, because playing a hot Georgia team in Atlanta is not the Tigers' idea of a fun obstacle on the way to the Superdome.

  8. Texas -- WOOOO! Say what you will about the 'Horns' season--they're a 2-loss club on a 6-game winning streak. After what looked to be a disastrous season, it looks like Texas is bound for the Cotton Bowl at worst, Sugar Bowl at best. That is, as long as they can bring an end to the Land of Frantasia in an appropriate manner the day after Turkey. This is a recovery that shows character, and the youth in burnt orange is enough to have all of us really excited for 2008.

  9. Va. Tech -- The Hokies are right where they belong in the 9 slot. They have taken care of all the teams they were supposed to beat, and their 2 losses have both come at the hands of the team ranked number 2 in the country at the time (LSU and then Boston College). Va Tech also should have beaten BC, and in their effort exposed several of the Eagles' weaknesses that have since been exploited by 3 opponents in a row (2 losses for BC and a blown opportunity by Clemson). Va Tech is a not a national title type of team, but they are certainly the class of the ACC. You know Beamer's boys will be fighting hard to beat cross-state rival UVA next week so they can get another shot at Boston College in the conference championship game.

  10. OU -- How can Texas be ahead of OU? Well, we're a Texas blog, so OU sucks. At least when Mack Brown loses he doesn't have a "I'm getting screwed, whom can I blame for this loss?" look on his face. Stupid Stoops.

November 17, 2007

Some Random Musings

  • One sign the Hornets may be good this season as compared to last (7-2 to start this year, 8-3 to start last year) is margin of victory. Last year's 8 wins: 5.38, this year's 7 wins: 13.58. Last year the Hornets won 12 of 38 wins by double digits, but this year they've won 5 of 7 by double digits. Just saying...
  • To set the entire A-rod record straight, here is how things have gone down for him since the season ended. A-rod (or Scott Boras, whatever) declared free agency during game four of the World Series. Then A-rod (or Scott Boras, whatever) asked the Yankees for $350 million which was kind of like when Homer demands $100 billion from the Tobacco company for his Tomacco plant. Then A-rod goes back to the Yankees when it's clear that nobody really wants him and signs for $275 million. And that is why the Yankees are still the only Yankees no matter what Jbrater says.
  • Along those lines, reason #842 to hate A-rod is that he stays while Torre gets the boot.
  • With A-rod going back to the Yankees the question would have become: do we cheer for Alex Rodriguez the Yankee to beat Barry Bonds? Thanks go out to the Feds for solving that question. Bonds goes to prison, the record (rightly or wrongly) probably gets wiped off the books, and we can go along with hating A-rod for being the bastard that he is. Barry Bonds looks bad, A-rod looks bad, Scott Boras looks bad, and the Red Sox are World Series champs...awesome.
  • Speaking of awesome.

November 15, 2007


Head over to Burnt Orange Nation and check out this week's 40ASNCGOW if you have the chance. It's Ohio State-Michigan this week. Sorry to ruin the surprise.

November 13, 2007

Top Ten

KU loses to Mizzou and OU, LSU loses to UGA, Oregon loses to UCLA, OU loses to Tech, WVU loses to Cincy, Mizzou loses to KSU, OSU loses to Michigan, Arizona State loses to USC. Anybody else feeling a UGA-Texas championship game? Anyhow, here's how things shaped up this week:

  1. KU -- Before Jaybro pipes in, we had decided to move KU to #1 on Saturday night. The rationale is simple: going undefeated is hard, that's why so few teams do it. This season there is only one school from a BCS conference that has not lost. Until it loses that team will occupy our #1 spot, then all bets are off. The cupcakes clearly did serve their purpose.
  2. LSU -- If/when KU loses, things are going to get interesting. Ole Miss generally plays LSU close, and Arkansas will not be a pushover for a Tigers team that hasn't always played up to potential. Our guess, however, is that the biggest challenge to playing in New Orleans for the Tigers will be Georgia in the Georgia Dome. Did anybody else find it funny that Les Miles quoted Bo Schembechler when denying an interest in the Michigan job?
  3. Oregon -- Not far behind LSU, especially if they win out. Has a potential Heisman winner ever received so little fanfare? That's what you get for playing at a non-USC West Coast school.
  4. OU -- Remember last year when OU got screwed by the officials at Oregon? We know we'll laugh when the national title game is LSU vs. Oregon. Plus, OU sucks.
  5. WVU -- The team nobody is talking about, but we wouldn't want to face the Mountaineers in the championship game. At #6 in the BCS, however, WVU may be the odd team out in any scenario involving three one-loss teams. We would have liked to see Rich Rodriguez back roaming the same Superdome sidelines where he terrorized C-USA defenses as Tulane's offensive coordinator.
  6. Mizzou -- Why not? Only loss is a close one to a top five team. If they beat KU and OU, it will be tough to keep Mizzou out of the championship game. Odds of that seem low though.
  7. Ohio State -- What a bad loss for the Buckeyes. It would almost seem to benefit them by losing to Michigan, kinda makes firing Lloyd Carr a bit more difficult.
  8. Arizona State -- If they win out they could find themselves back in the discussion. Odds are even if they win out they're looking at a Rose Bowl birth.
  9. Georgia -- Quietly UGA has put together a nice year and can play spoiler to an LSU championship. Let's see, Georgia versus LSU with the national championship game in New Orleans on the line. Seems like we've seen this before.
  10. Texas -- Who would have thought that out of Nebraska, Okie State, and Tech that the Tech game would have been the easiest to watch? The Horns put together a complete game and head to College Station staring at a BCS bowl game. We would LOVE to watch the Horns in the Sugar Bowl this year. We're just saying, it would be nice.

November 11, 2007

Gone Bowlin...

A great breakdown of Texas and the BCS can be found here. The point is: beat Aggy and Texas has a great chance at a BCS bowl, which we thought might happen. Considering all that's happened this season, that would be a heck of an accomplishment for the Horns. To summarize the post:

Assuming LSU and Oregon go to championship, Sugar gets first choice.
Ten BCS bowl spots, two championship teams, four other BCS automatic bids.
Four at-large bids.
Let's assume Hawaii gets one of them after climbing to the top twelve.
Only BCS teams in the top four get automatic at-large spots, can't predict the future so let's just assume that doesn't happen.
So, three at-large bids remain.

At-large candidates (if they don't win their conference championship:
Georgia, LSU, WVU, Ohio State, Arizona State, USC, Texas, KU, Mizzou, OU.

Here is how each team could get an at-large bid:

Georgia -- Loses the SEC Championship game, hard to believe a 3-loss UGA team gets an at-large over Texas.
LSU -- Loses to UGA in SEC Championship game, hard to believe a 2-loss LSU team gets an at-large bid in a BCS game (remember, Sugar Bowl will be taken by UGA in this scenario).
WVU -- Does not win Big East, hard to believe a 2-loss WVU team gets an at-large bid over Texas.
Ohio State -- Loses to Michigan, hard to believe a 2-loss OSU team losing two straight gets an at-large bid over Texas.
Arizona State -- No way a two-loss ASU team gets in over Texas, a one-loss ASU team may get a Rose Bowl bid if Oregon goes to the national championship game.
USC -- A 2-loss USC team probably gets a Rose Bowl bid over Texas, but USC playing ASU next week means that only one of these Pac-10 teams can get an at-large bid. We'll give one of the at-large bids to the ASU/USC winner.
KU -- A 1-loss KU team goes to the Cotton/Holiday Bowl in our opinion. An undefeated KU team goes to the national championship game in our opinion. KU losing would be good for Texas as it removes LSU & Oregon as at-large possibilities.
Mizzou -- Assuming a 1-loss Mizzou team does not go to the title game, a 2-loss Mizzou team seems like a less attractive option than a 2-loss Texas team. A 1-loss Mizzou team goes to the Fiesta Bowl as the Big XII representative, so they are unlikely to be an at-large team.
OU -- Here's the trick. If OU wins the Big XII it probably goes to the Fiesta Bowl. If it does not the question becomes which is more attractive to a BCS Bowl: a 2-loss Texas team having won 6 straight or a 2-loss OU team coming off a conference championship loss. Our guess is that Texas gets the nod as the bigger television audience that will travel better and stay in hotels as opposed to trailers.

So, the guess right now for at-large spots: Georgia, Texas, Hawaii, ASU/USC.

Sugar Bowl here we come?

Of course it's all moot if Texas doesn't beat Aggy.

November 7, 2007

Top Ten -- Week Ten

Oregon wins out. LSU wins out. Ohio State wins out. LSU wins the SEC Championship. LSU, having won all but one game while playing the most difficult conference in NCAA sports will play Ohio State for the national championship in New Orleans. Some voters (and most of the media) will bitch that Oregon deserved it more. Few will defend the logic that LSU deserves it because defending what is obvious does not sell papers.
  1. Ohio State -- We've been saying it for quite a while that this is a good (but not spectacular)football team in a season devoid of consistently good football teams. Ohio State - Michigan may decide the Big Ten and give Lloyd Carr a chance to save his job.

  2. LSU -- It was only a matter of time for Boston College. The Tigers have now won two games they probably should have lost, lost one they probably should have won, and then won the Alabama game that could have gone either way. Ole Miss and Arkansas could be surprisingly tough, but it's looking like the road to New Orleans will run through Georgia again.

  3. Oregon -- We are less impressed with this win than we are with last week's victory over USC. Two more road games could be tough, but if they win out it will be VERY interesting to see how the BCS works out. Once again the lack of a Pac-10 championship may give the Pac-10 team the shaft as going 12-1 is inherently more impressive than going 11-1.

  4. Kansas -- Are you kidding? 76 points? Against a non-Baylor conference opponent? We aren't saying it is even likely, but if KU wins out it deserves to be playing for the BCS championship. How people (and we're basing this on Mark May leaving KU out of his top five) are still ignoring the Jayhawks is beyond us. (Note: this blog does not in any way officially endorse the view that Mark May is a person.)

  5. Oklahoma -- ou sucks, and that's what makes it so hilariously delightful that all the media talk about one-loss teams getting into the championship game boils down almost exclusively to LSU and Oregon. Will sooner fans soon become so enraged that they invade the ESPN set and start ripping analysts' scrotums (scrota?) off? Only time will tell.

  6. West Virginia -- By virtue of playing a somewhat weak schedule, and with the South Florida loss looking worse and worse each week, the Moutaineers will likely end up in another BCS bowl game-but not the championship game.
  7. Mizzou -- The Tigers and their Border War rival Jayhawks have led the resurgence of the Big XII North this year. Who saw that coming? We all expected that the Northw ould produce a couple of legit teams again eventually, but we figured it would be Nebraska and Colorado returning to prominence.
  8. Boston College -- We feel bad for the Eagles, but honestly? An Ohio State-BC championship game would have been way too boring for us. Plus, the Celtics appear to be pretty good now, the Patriots are dominant, and the Red Sox have just won the World Series. Enough already.
  9. Arizona State -- On the big stage with a chance to prove they belonged in the national conversation, the Sun Devils instead proved that everyone was right not to take them too seriously.
  10. Georgia -- The 'Dawgs have quietly compiled a 7-2 record while playing in the cannibalistic SEC East. It is Tennessee, however, that controls its own destiny in the division by virtue of the Vols' 35-14 thumping of the Bulldogs. Both UGA and LSU will be hoping that Bad Tennessee shows up for at least one of their 3 remaining conference games (Arkansas, Vandy, and Kentucky) so that Georgia can play the Tigers in Atlanta. A win over higher-ranked Georgia would do more for LSU's BCS numbers than would a win over The Other UT.

November 6, 2007

Some More Disagreements. And the Odd Agreement or Two.

Which is more impressive -- New England at 9-0 or Miami/St. Louis at 0-8?
Abram: I think if you use the word "impressive," it has to be the Pats. But if you're asking which one I am enjoying more, the answer is unequivocally Miami and St. Louis. I do feel a little bit bad about the Dolphins, as the wheels have clearly come off that once-proud franchise since the Sabanator left 10 months ago. But it's really fun to watch the Rams lose. Why would a human being take greater pleasure in two teams' pain than in one team's success? It's called Schadenfreude (forgive the World of Warcraft graphics. The song is what's important).

Jeff: There's an NFL saying that goes "any given Sunday..." They never say how that saying ends, but I imagine it has to do with parity in football. It is really hard to lose every game. Really hard. That two teams have lost every game this season is pretty difficult to do in a game where you've got a fifty-fifty chance at winning any game. I just hope the Rams losing streak continues one more week, although by the end of the season they may be the most dangerous 1-15 team in NFL history.

Which is your favorite Okie State comeback?
Abram: It has to be 2004, simply because it was my last home game as a student. In fact, as I recall you said you were leaving at halftime if we didn't score before the 2nd quarter ended to cut it to 35-14. Thankfully, we did. Otherwise you would have missed the greatest comeback ever, and I would have had to walk home by myself because I'll be damned if I was leaving my last game early and you're just weaselly enough to actually leave me there alone. The other reason that one was my favorite is that The Longhorns played easily the most perfect half of football I've seen in a long time in the second half of that one. I love the now-legendary halftime speech when Mack Brown told the team, "Longhorn pride is gonna make this sucker 42-35" and he had to apologize to them later because they actually made it 56-35. Also, I saw zero plays of this year's contest because I was at the LSU-Alabama game.

Jeff: Abram is going to say 2004. It was his final game, I said just before halftime that I'd leave if we didn't score on the final drive to make it 35-14 (we did), and it was the first time I'd ever been at a game where you knew your team was going to win down 35-21. But the real answer is 2005 for one reason. Down 28-12, VY had his 80 yard touchdown run. The most amazing part is that he did it in something like 34 VY ended with 500 yards of total offense as Texas ran away with the win. I love that game because if there is any game that sums up VY (and any play other than 4th and 18) it is that one.

Who's your #2 on January 8th?
Abram: What a ridiculous question. Who's coming up with these? Us? Look, who knows? I guess I will make the prediction based on the following set of assumptions: 1. LSU wins out and actually comes up with a couple of blowouts in the process. 2. Ohio State wins out. 3. Oregon wins out (safest assumption so far). 4. OU or Mizzou beats Kansas. If all 4 of those things happens (and I'm sure that at least one of them will not), then I'd say the number 2 at the end of the bowl season will be Oregon. LSU would not have much problem with Ohio State, and Oregon would slip past the Buckeyes easily into the 2 spot assuming they beat (insert team here) in the Rose Bowl.

Jeff: Can I say Texas? No, probably not. I don't think it'll be LSU (who could easily have 4 losses right now), OU sucks, KU probably won't beat OU and Mizzou, and Mizzou is Mizzou. The answer, therefore, is Oregon.

Who will be awarded the Heisman?
Abram: I don't care. Dennis Dixon? Yeah, I think it'll be Dixon. He's good.

Jeff: Vince retroactively. Screw the Heisman. Seriously. Since somebody has to get it I'll say Ray Rice.

Bill Belichick is an ass: agree or agree strongly?
Abram: I strongly, strongly agree. I will point to one particular example that points to the overall issue. Last weekend, his Patriots blew the Redskins away and there was some hand-wringing on television about whether Belichick was running up the score. In his postgame press conference, Belichick managed to pull off what seemed impossible: he made my stomach churn while saying something I agreed with. When it comes to the running up the score in the NFL, what exactly is he supposed to do? The defensive players are paid a lot of money to keep the score low--the offensive players are paid to keep it high. If he kicks a field goal? "You're humiliating them!" If he kneels it? "You're humiliating them!" If he runs it right up the middle, begging the D to stop it, and they instead allow a touchdown? "You're humiliating them!" The fact is, he's in an uncomfortable position because there is no good option. The only thing I took issue with was the way the Pats were still celebrating after TDs late in the game. Grow up. BUT: as Belichick answered the question about whether he was running up the score by putting it in the endzone, and he gave the exact right answer ("what do you want me to do? Kick a field goal?"). But the way he said it showed a portal to an empty and terrible soul. Showing a little humanity by way of one sentence would have been fine. Something like: "Well, it's a tough situation because you're kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't." But the man had utter contempt in his voice for no reason. That's kind of why I think he's an ass.

Jeff: Up 77-0 against Texas A&M, Bob Stoops got the ball back midway through the 4th quarter deep in Aggy territory. What did Bob do? He ran it. Four straight downs. Dives. Up the middle. That is what you do up big to avoid running up the score. You score a touchdown then your opponent deserved it. What did Belichik do? He threw it, and threw it, and threw it. He is an ass. Screw him.

The Hornets are 3-0. Do you care?
Abram: The short answer: nope. The slightly longer answer: I care more than I would if, say, the Timberwolves were 3-0. Are they? I don't know. I like the Hornest as much as any NBA team--I just can't care much about a league that the players don't care about either.

Jeff: The Hornets are doing a really good job of selling their product to New Orleans. The Hornets are doing a really good job of trying to be a part of the community. The problem is that nobody cares about basketball. You could fill the New Orleans Arena twice with all the people on the Saints season ticket WAITING LIST, but you can't get 10,000 people in the Arena for a Hornets game. This is a city that sells out Arena Football is football crazy. But the NBA generally sucks, so nobody cares. Except me. I care. Go Hornets!

November 3, 2007

Texas To Play Four 4th Quarters Against Texas Tech

We literally have NO idea what to say. Honestly, we're just really happy the Horns won. Navy won, so we figured that Texas losing was the price to pay. It was ugly, but when has it not been against Oklahoma State in the last six years (answer: last year)? Texas got the 'w', and if it gets two more wins it may get to a BCS bowl. By no means is this Texas team a good one, but at 8-2 it certainly isn't a bad one either. It is simply an exciting but deeply flawed football team that holds a lot of potential for the future. In the mean time, enjoy Texas's drive chart for the 4th quarter this week.

October 30, 2007

It Has Arrived

You've been waiting months for this week to get here but it is finally here. You dream about it all year but it is still special when it gets here. That's right, we are talking about:
A) NBA opening night
B) Scott Boras admitting fault for texting Brian Cashman that A-rod would not be returning to the Yankees
C) Hyping the hype of Pats vs. Colts has finally begun
or D) Ryan Perriloux is in trouble again

The answer, of course, is A. That's right, the longest six season in professional sports begins tonight. The sport where even the players don't care about the regular season, where Stephen A. Smith and Charles Barkley are respected commentators, begins tonight. The sport that used to not be dominated by Kevin Durant begins tonight. GO HORNETS!

October 29, 2007

WOOOO!! (Or How The Red Sox Learned To Stop Losing And Love Moneyball)

We started our blog last night with: "Call me Bill Simmons." How right we were. Simmons begins his World Series recap:
"So if we win, who gets the MVP?" I asked my father Sunday night.
"I ... I don't know," he answered. "Ellsbury?"
Our conversation last night was similar, although ignoring Lowell altogether. How things have changed since October 2003. The second World Series win in the last four years was great for the one of us that is a Red Sox fan, and at least tolerable for the other. 2007 was nowhere near the emotional rollercoaster of 2004.

Simply put, the best baseball team in April was the best team in October.

More importantly for the Red Sox, the stage has been set for another title run in 2008 and 2009 (as Tim McCarver reminded us before the '07 squad had won a title). Terry Francona saw the big picture the entire season, shutting down Okajima and limiting Beckett when needed, keeping Gagne on the bench for most of the postseason, etc.

Just think how differently things could have been starting with A-rod going to the Yankees in 2004. The fight with Varitek in July, trading Nomar, keeping Manny, Dave Roberts, bloody sock, etc. A-rod was willing to take a pay cut to win a title. After four years of that he is looking for another record contract that may bankrupt whoever wants to have an MVP every few years and a chase at Bonds towards the end of the contract.
But that's neither here nor there. It has been a great year and the Red Sox are champs. Woo!

October 28, 2007

Live Blogging the World Series, Part III

8:07 PM PDT: Bobby Kielty has come off the bench and ensured that the Rockies' gaining of ground is short-lived. If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: when you think Red Sox, you start getting worried early about facing Bobby Kielty.

8:09 PM PDT: Infield hit for Ellsbury. Pedroia at the plate and the "this is meant to be a sweep" aura has engulfed all of Denver. You gotta feel a little bit bad for Denver fans. They were all excited when someone told them they had a baseball team, and that team is in the World Series. And the Broncos are looking like quite a disappointment.

8:10 PM PDT: The Fox announcers have just now reported and discussed that A-Rod is leaving, a full hour after we talked about here on 40AS. Ken Rosenthal said he had just talked to Scott Boras, but we believe he heard it here first.

8:12 PM PDT: Joe Buck: "John Henry is on his Blackberry and smiling. Is that a good sign?" Of WHAT?!?!

8:13 PM PDT: Tulo shows that the old adage is true that even if you're not hitting, you can always make a contribution with the leather. Great play by him, Matsui, and a scoop by Helton for a double play.

8:17 PM PDT: After a walk to Ortiz, the Rockies are changing pitchers. The good folks at Haley Barbour for Governor have just reminded Fox's Mississippi audience for the umpteenth time tonight that John Arthur Eaves is bad for Mississippi. For his part, Eaves' campaign appears to have spent all its money as the last ad we saw for that one was about 2 weeks ago. Hooray for Mississippi politics!

8:19 PM PDT: Manny is clearly trying to put this thing away with his first swing. Now he's gotten himself down 0-2. And now he's gone. Colorado has 6 outs to make up 3 runs, or else Rocktober is over.

8:24 PM PDT: Six outs left for the Rockies and the question has become: who's the series MVP to this point? Our guess is Ellsbury, came up huge in game three. Youklis didn't play really in 3 and 4, Beckett only pitched one game, Pedroia was only so-so for 2 and 4, Okajima was huge when he pitched but he's a reliever. Also, we see Gagne warming up just for the hell of it...good for him.

8:36 PM PDT: Atkins goes yard, ending Okajima for MVP and more importantly his night. 4-3 Red Sox, that was a pretty big homer for Kielty. The Rockies should be thrilled but in comes Papelbon....

8:45 PM PDT: Papelbon gets the second out. We've never met a man named Spilborghs we could trust. Former Tiger Hawpe up, and he flies out to current cereal brand Coco Crisp. On to the ninth, 4-3 Red Sox.

3:48 AM GMT: Top of the 9th, which could possibly be the last inning of baseball for 2007. Except for the Arizona Fall League.

3:51 AM GMT: First two Sox have gone down quietly. Is it weird that this is the first time possibly ever that a Boston team has visited Denver and Denver citzens have cared, but neither the Pats nor the Bruins were in town?

3:55 AM GMT: That's it for the top of the ninth inning. Three more outs from Papelbon and the Sox will be World Champs. Or, you know, the Rockies could score.

3:57 AM GMT: We're three outs away from a Red Sox World Series. Papelbon starts off strike one to Torrealba, then ties him up with strike two. Papelbon gets the ground out to second, there is one out.

4:01 AM GMT: You know what would be funny here? Eric Gagne! Given the choice of Gagne here for three outs and they give the Sox the 2007 AND 2008 World Series, I'd bet most Sox fans would decline. Papelbon ahead 0-2 and Jamie Carroll hits one to the wall. ONE MORE OUT!

4:06 AM GMT: Papelbon behind 2-1 to Manny Corpas. Will Corpas be Renteria tonight? It's 2-2........AND PAPELBON STRIKES HIM OUT...THE BOSTON RED SOX ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!

4:08 AM GMT: Folks (really just the two of us), it's been a blast. We'll be back to blog more later today, but for now there's sleep to be had.