April 30, 2007
Michael Griffin -- Tennessee (1)
Aaron Ross -- New York Giants (1)
Tim Crowder -- Denver Broncos (2)
Justin Blalock -- Atlanta Falcons (2)
Brian Robison -- Minnesotta Vikings (4)
Tarell Brown -- San Francisco 49ers (5)
Kasey Studdard -- Houston Texans (6)
In addition, the following Horns went undrafted but have signed on with teams as free agents:
Selvin Young -- Broncos
Lyle Sendlein -- Cardinals
Tully Janzen and Greg Johnson may very well be invited to some NFL training camp for special teams work. Ramonce Taylor probably would have been drafted but reports are he came in about five pounds too heavy.
April 29, 2007
The sweep gives Texas a 3.5 lead in the Big XII standings. Taking two of three from Missouri next weekend would clinch the Big XII regular season title for the Horns. Texas returns to action next Friday night in Austin against Mizzou.
We'd like to acknowledge tremendous efforts from Benji Orlansky and Ben Dorfman with caption contest #4. There were some great entries but Jonathan Brater's took the cake.
Caption Contest Standings:
Jonathan Brater -- 1
Scott Price -- 1
Ben Dorfman -- 1
Greg Kelminson -- 1
12:00 PM EST: The Saints trade up to take Antonio Pittman with their first pick in the 4th round. Interesting to say the least. The thinking is that if/when Deuce gets hurt, they'll need another running back to take his role in the offense. It's a weak group of RB prospects but Pittman is one of the top RBs in the draft. At best, the Saints may have found Deuce's heir in a few years. At worst, the Saints got a solid running back that can fill in for Deuce when needed.
12:33 PM EST: With their second pick in the 4th round the Saints take Jermon Bushrod, OT from Towson...no idea. Next pick is 154
2:57 PM EST: Kasey Studdard goes #183 to the Texans. Tarell Brown went #147 to San Fran, who is having a nice draft so far. Saints have one more pick in the 7th round. They went CB with the 5th round pick, some guy from Wingate. Would like to see them go DT, LB or QB with the final pick, don't count on it though. Texas baseball up 3-0 on Oklahoma State in the bottom of the 3rd.
April 28, 2007
Best Pick: Adrian Peterson -- The best player in the draft and possibly the second best player in the draft. Maybe it's the memories of AP trouncing the Texas defense in 2004, but we'd take Peterson over Quinn any day of the week.
Best Value Pick: Leon Hall -- Brady Quinn may be the obvious choice but we'll hold off because of the uncertainty of what they gave up to grab him. Leon Hall was a top-10 talent and a great pick by Cincy.
Worst Pick: Ted Ginn Jr. -- It wasn't all that suprising when Miami passed on Quinn, but it was suprising that they took Ginn. Teddy could be a good player down the line but they passed up some serious talent to take him. They also probably bcould've traded down and still gotten Ginn.
Biggest Winner: Vikings -- Lots of teams had really solid drafts, but adding Peterson and Sydney Rice in the second round gives the Vikings a slight edge. Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and Atlanta also did extremely well.
Biggest Loser: Eagles -- Obvious choice would probably be the Dolphins but they were redeemed in the second round with John Beck. The Eagles had no first round picks, deciding instead to trade down and pick up Houston QB Kevin Kolb. Miami, Washington, and Tennessee were not all that impressive on day 1.
6:39 PM EST: Robert Meachem. Obviously defense was a need, but WR was a need as well after losing Joe Horn. Our source with the Vols loves the pick, so we'll defer to that. Chris Houston might have been a reach, the run on corners came too soon (starting at #14 with Revis), and they clearly liked Meachem over Greg Olsen. The pick really solidifies the Saints as one of the top offenses in the NFL.
7:03 PM EST: Justin Blalock goes to the Falcons at #39. A solid pick there for the hated dirty birds. 3-for-3 on where we thought the Horns would go. Meanwhile, the Dolphins take BYU QB John Beck with the 40th pick. It's a great pick for Miami as we're not really sold on Quinn, and it's also certainly possible to get a solid QB in later rounds.
7:40 PM EST: We've settled into a good draft rhythm as we hit the midway point of the second round. So far the highlight of the round (and perhaps the draft) was a Keyshawn Johnson interview with Dwayne Jarrett minutes after Jarrett was drafted. The two minute interview contained at least a minute and a half of silence between the two. The Saints pick in ten spots.
8:04 PM EST: Maybe the best moment of the draft. The Jaguars pick Justin Durant. Shortly thereafter appearing on the Jags website is:
(7:56 pm)--The Jags have picked Justin Durant, a LB from Hampton. Sorry, folks, I don't know this guy.That, folks, is expert analysis.
8:21 PM EST: Apparently the Mike Williams trade to Tennessee didn't happen. The Lions have officially shipped Williams and Josh McCown to Oakland for a 4th rounder. Randy Moss can only be a good influence on Williams. Saints up in just five more.
8:36 PM EST: We're now to pick 55. The Saints pick 58. Would love to see the Saints pick up one of: Rufus Alexander, Marcus McCauley, Daymeion Hughes, Tank Tyler or Ryan Kalil. The Saints should be picking around the top of the hour.
8:41 PM EST: Denver takes Tim Crowder. We're now 4-4 for Longhorns. The Saints pick after Philly. The guess is Marcus McCauley to the Saints.
8:47 PM EST: Philly takes Victor Abiamiri, a DE from Notre Dame, the Saints are on the clock.
8:54 PM EST: The pick is in, and...it's a trade, to the Lions. The Saints give up the 58th pick in exchange for the 66th pick and the 145th pick in the 5th round.
9:31 PM EST: We're through round 2 after 9 1/2 hours. Only one more round to go, and the Saints have two picks in this round.
9: 34 PM EST: The Saints are on the clock and should go defense. Several good players available. The guess remains Marcus McCauley, CB from Fresno State.
9:37 PM EST: The Saints pick is in, and...it is Usama Young. The good news is they went CB, the bad news is we don't know who that is. Apparently he had good workouts. Filled a position of need, and he immediately is better than Fred Thomas, which isn't saying a whole lot. The last Saints pick today is #88.
And we're off and running for the 2007 NFL Draft. The Raiders are on the clock with nine minutes remaining.
12:19 PM EST: Raiders have their pick in, and...it's JaMarcus Russell from LSU. Lions are on the clock, and this pick should go a long way towards determining the entertainment value of the first round. Roger Goodell with a little more chit chat then I'd like to see from the Commish. Just stick to the picks, Rog. I'm missing Paul Tagliabue already.
12:32 PM EST: The Lions are still on the clock, will they go WR for the fourth time in the last five years? Will they trade the pick? Here comes the Commish for more chatting...and the pick is...Calvin Johnson. Will they trade him today? Will he be a Lion at the end of the day? Who will throw to him? Either way, the Lions get the best player in the draft. Now hopefully we'll get to see Brady Quinn's slide begin.
12:36 PM EST: With the Lions taking Calvin Johnson, there's no suprise that they have allegedly traded Mike Williams to the Titans for an undisclosed draft choice. We're now halfway to Cleveland's pick, the guess is Brady Quinn, the smart move is Adrian Peterson.
12:41 PM EST: With the third pick, Cleveland selects Joe Thomas from Wisconsin. Here comes the slide for Quinn. He could fall to either the Vikings at 7 or Dolphins at 9.
12:45 PM EST: Pete Prisco update...about JaMarcus -- "They need a quarterback, but they took the wrong one." Shocking. A solid pick by the Browns, not flashy but it'll definitely improve the team. The Bucs are on the clock now.
12:54 PM EST: Tampa Bay's pick is in, the guess is Gaines Adams...and the pick is...Gaines Adams. A smart pick from Tampa. We could all probably do without the "Ok, Buc fans" from the Commish...just the picks, please.
1:03 PM EST: Interesting pick here for the Cardinals. They don't really have a need for RB or QB. The pick is in, and it is...Levi Brown. Another smart pick, gives their offensive line added support. Washington is on the clock. LaRon Landry, Adrian Peterson, and Jamaal Anderson are all possibilities. The winner of this draft so far seems to be the Minnesota Vikings. They may have the chance to choose between Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson.
1:12 PM EST: We are rolling through the first round. Redskins are on the clock and it looks like the pick is going to be LaRon Landry. Another solid pick. Nothing spectacular but adding a good player from the bayou. Vikings are now on the clock. This is a pick that could determine the fate of Brady Quinn. He could conceivably fall into the middle of the first round if the Vikings pass.
1:25 PM EST: The Vikings are still on the clock, so it makes sense to post a link to VY freestyle rapping. Enjoy.
1:27 PM EST: The Vikings take Adrian Peterson, a fantastic pick. He could be the second best prospect in the draft. The Falcons are now on the clock. Does Quinn fall past the Dolphins at 9? This could be an Aaron Rodgers situation developing.
1:37 PM EST: Falcons still on the clock, the pick has to be Jamaal Anderson or Amobi Okoye. Here come's the pick, and...it's Jamaal Anderson. Another smart pick, although he'll never get a whiff of Drew Brees.
1:41 PM EST: Miami Dolphins on the clock. If they don't take Quinn, he could fall all the way to Kansas City at 23. Jacksonville could take him at 17, or somebody could trade up.
1:50 PM EST: The Dolphins pick is in, and...it is Tedd Ginn. Wow, let Brady's fall begin. An interesting pick to say the least. Didn't see that pick coming, to say the least. A risky pick for the Dolphins, could work out in the long run.
1:55 PM EST: The Texans are on the clock, and how they'll screw this up is anyone's guess. The guess is Amobi Okoye, but who knows?
2:04 PM EST: We're two hours into an exciting NFL Draft. We're going to slow down the live blogging, click over to Pete Prisco if you want accurate, unbiased draft coverage. Some highlights of the first round -- the Steve Spurrier Under Armour commercial sucking worse each time, the VY and Reggie Bush Madden commercials, Brady Quinn's slide, and the run on CBs hasn't begun yet. Hopefully one will fall to the Saints. Not to say we told you so, but nine picks in and Prisco has criticized four teams for passing on Quinn. Anyhow, the Texans take...Amobi Okoye. A solid pick for the Texans, their defense could be markedly improved from a year ago. Key questions for the rest of the first round: when will the run on CBs start? How far will Brady slide? Will Greg Olsen last until #27?
2:59 PM EST: We're back after pick 14. The Jets gave up a lot to take Darrelle Revis. Brady's slide continues, the guess is that it'll be #17 or #23. The Steelers are on the clock, and they could go a number of directions...The Steelers take Lawrence Timmons, a pretty solid pick for them. The Packers are now on the clock.
3:46 PM EST: The Titans are now on the clock...could reunite Aaron Ross with Vince Young. Jarvis Moss, Leon Hall, Justin Harrell gone...the Titans instead go with Michael Griffin. The first Horn is off the board and it's not Aaron Ross.
3:58 PM EST: For absolutely no reason whatsoever, below is the greatest commercial...ever. Also, the Giants pick is in and...it's Aaron Ross! The run on CBs is officially on.
4:04 PM EST: Jaguars are now on the clock, the guess is Brady Quinn's slide ends here...The pick is in and...it's Reggie Nelson. Not a shocker, the Cowboys could take Quinn or he could fall to the second round. The DB run continues, can Tarell Brown be far behind?
4:16 PM EST: The Cowboys have traded their pick to the Browns, a terrific move by the Browns. Quinn is the obvious pick. Be prepared for major praise from Pete Prisco. The Browns gave up pick 36 this year and their #1 next year.
4:30 PM EST: "This is the best pick of the entire draft. They get a franchise passer in the back end of the first round? Are you kidding me? Good job by Phil Savage to go up and get Quinn. He will be a star." Praise from Caesar himself. The Chiefs are still on the clock, and allegedly they were looking at Quinn as we called. Joe Staley is the guess here.
4:32 PM EST: It's Dwayne Bowe, another guy the Saints were likely looking at. New England, Carolina and Philly are all up before the Saints pick.
4:43 PM EST: Patriots are almost done with their pick. The guess, just going by the gut, is Paul Posluszny. They have two of the next five picks. The pick is in, and...it's Brandon Meriweather. That's not really a Bill Belichick player.
5:02 PM EST: Dallas has traded up to #26, giving up their 2nd rounder from Cleveland, a 3rd and a 5th. One of Greg Olsen, Robert Meachem, Paul Posluszny or Chris Houston will be available to the Saints.
5:06 PM EST: The Cowboys pick is in, it's probably whoever the Saints wanted. And...it's Anthony Spencer...Saints didn't want him.
5:09 PM EST: THE SAINTS ARE ON THE CLOCK! It's been five hours but it's finally here! Our preferred players are, in no particular order -- Paul Posluszny, Chris Houston, Robert Meachem, Dwayne Jarrett and Greg Olsen. David Harris or Joe Staley would be less attractive but also acceptable. Expect to see somebody not on this list in the black and gold next season.
5:13 PM EST: Quick update, Texas baseball up 7-2 on Oklahoma State. Back to back HRs by Moldenhauer (grand slam) and Peoples went yard back-to-back to give the Horns the lead.
5:20 PM EST: The pick is in, and...it's Meachem! Good pick, making a good offense even better.
5:21 PM EST: We'll be back in a bit with first round wrap-up and analysis.
By selecting Mario Williams, the Texans opened the door for the first three picks of the 2006 NFL Draft to end up as our favorite draft moment. First, the Texans did the unthinkable, then the Saints followed suit by drafting Reggie Bush. Reggie is the type of exciting, transcendent, game-changing player that has NEVER gone to the Saints.
At the time, New Orleans was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina, looking for a good story wherever it could be found. Along with the signing of Drew Brees a few weeks earlier, the drafting of Reggie Bush gave New Orleanians something fresh to talk about. As famed New Orleans columnist Chris Rose wrote, "Levee failures, looting, death, destruction, murder, corruption, depression, suicide, bankruptcy -- that we can handle.
But another losing season? Oh, the horror."
Reggie arrived in New Orleans during Jazz Fest and the Zurich Classic golf tournament. During one of his first media appearances at the golf tournament, Reggie got a call from Bruce Springstein asking if he'd be able to join him on stage at Jazz Fest. That night, Reggie walked into Emeril's restaurant and received a standing ovation. For Saints fans, it was a great moment. Watch this video, you can almost make out the "doh!" coming from Houston around the 22 second mark.
April 27, 2007
There were two schools of thought when the Houston Texans began suggesting they were seriously considering drafting Mario Williams with the 1st pick. The first argued that the Texans were using Super Mario as a bargaining chip to make Reggie Bush more signable. The second argued the Texans were using some strange logic to position themselves better for a trade.
Nobody thought they were stupid enough to actually talk themselves out of two of the most dynamic players to enter the NFL Draft in years. What can we say? We didn't listen!
The Texans took Mario first and the rest is history. By passing on VY and Reggie, the Texans opened up the door for Reggie to fall to the Saints and VY to go to a good situation in Tennessee. Not suprisingly, Mario suffered through an unimpressive (although injury affected) first season, and both Reggie and Vince showed flashes of their brilliance. Moreover, NFL fans everywhere got to follow every Texans game and laugh at their misery. This moment became even sweeter following the '06 season when the Texans cut both Dominick Williams (Davis) and David Carr...
April 26, 2007
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
April 27, 2007
Texas: LHP James Russell (8-3, 3.66 ERA)
Oklahoma State: RHP Jeff Breedlove (2-0, 2.88 ERA)
April 28, 2007
Texas: RHP Adrian Alaniz (10-2, 2.54 ERA)
Oklahoma State: RHP Oliver Odle (4-3, 4.80 ERA)
April 29, 2007
Texas: LHP Joseph Krebs (5-0, 2.63 ERA)
Oklahoma State: TBA
I must break you!
With last night's softball loss to Aggy, Texas A&M has climbed to within a point (8 1/2 to 7 1/2) of Texas with 3 points left. Odds are we'll win Men's Outdoor Track and Field, which leaves us needing to win either Women's Outdoor Track and Field or baseball to take the cup.
One of those moments came 7 picks into the 2003 draft. The Vikings were on the clock but wanted to trade their pick to Baltimore at #10 and get extra picks. The clock wound down, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, and still no pick. Then the clock struck zero and there was still no pick. Jacksonville was supposed to pick next and wasted no time rushing their pick in for Byron Leftwich (the player Baltimore wanted), then Carolina grabbed Jordan Gross. Finally, Minnesotta grabbed defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
Don't feel too bad for Baltimore, they picked up Terrell Suggs, one of the best young DEs in the league. A word of advice to the Vikings, missing the deadline to pick Brady Quinn this year may end up being the best mistake you'll ever make.
April 25, 2007
In 1994, Mel went above and beyond criticizing the Colts drafting of Trev Alberts with the #5 pick. Colts GM Bill Tobin responded by attacking Kiper on ESPN, saying “who the hell is Mel Kiper anyway? He has no more credentials to do what he’s doing than my neighbor, and my neighbor’s a postman.”
For what it's worth, Kiper was right about Alberts, who went on to have a long and successful career as a Nebraska fan for ESPN. We weren't really into the NFL Draft in 1994 as we are now. Just the thought of Mel Kiper arguing with a GM over TREV ALBERTS makes our day, and earns a spot in the top 5 draft moments.
Greg Kelminson was deemed winner of the third caption contest. This caption will run through Sunday.
Caption Contest Standings:
April 24, 2007
Best pick: Taking Matt Leinart in the first round was a great pick for the future of this franchise. He's the next star quarterback in this league.
Worst pick: Picking Vince Young third is risky. They will either hit a home run, or it will be three strikes and out. He's years away from playing.
They blew it. They picked the wrong quarterback. Vince Young is not ready to play. Matt Leinart would be. This will bite the franchise in the butt.
This is the worst pick of the draft so far. How can this team, with no star quarterback, pass on Matt Leinart? It's unreal. He would have been a star in New York with Eli Manning. Ferguson is overrated. He's not the next Walter Jones.
The Raiders will likely play him at safety, which might not be his best position. Does he tackle good enough? This is another team that should have taken Leinart.
They must think J.P. Losman is the real deal.
But they passed up Leinart, which is shocking. This is a good pick, but Leinart would have been better.
This is a terrific pick for this franchise. When Kurt Warner is done, they have a guy to build around. And they can be patient with him.
"They need a quarterback. He's the best quarterback. It's that simple."
“I thought it was a little classless how Coach Brown was begging for votes after the (Texas A&M) game. I think a team’s record and the way you play should speak for itself, and you shouldn’t have to complain about the BCS system. Coach Tedford isn’t going to, although he’s frustrated just like we are. I think we’re a bigger team, classier than that.”
Mack Brown has his faults. His offenses have occasionally failed to deliver in big games, the whole Greg Davis thing, the whole Chris Simms thing, etc. But lack of class? Mack is arguably the classiest coach in college football. Calling Mack classless is like calling Nick Saban loyal.
It gave us great pleasure, therefore, first to see Cal lose to fellow Big XII stalwart Texas Tech. Then Rodgers fell from the potential 1st overall pick to Green Bay with the 24th pick. Making matters even more delightful, Rodgers had been invited to New York to attend the draft. During ESPN's draft coverage, we got to see Rodgers squirm for several hours as team after team passed him up.
As a final point of redemption, Rodgers was picked by Green Bay where he has wallowed on the bench behind Brett Favre. After two NFL seasons, Rodgers has played in 5 games, throwing just 31 passes for 0 touchdowns and an interception. What can we say? Karma is a bitch.
April 23, 2007
Recently there was the drafting of Alex Molden over Eddie George in 1996, taking a borderline first round pick, Chris Naeole, with the 10th pick in 1997, the Ricky debacle in 1999, and trading two first round picks to take Jonathan Sullivan #6 in 2003.
But with the draft, unless your a Texans fan, this year's pick will be a great one. This guy fills the only real hole on the offense or defense, is a great character player (or conversely, through his problems which hurt him in college), and will easily start for the next five to ten years. The only time of more joy than the NFL Draft for an NFL fan is training camp.
Predicting precisely where the players we care about will be drafted seems to be a pointless process, but what follows are predictions for the range of picks you can expect to see a few players of interest go off the board.
JaMarcus Russell -- 1st -- It just makes too much sense, so don't be surprised if he slips. Calvin Johnson could go first and JaMarcus could slip to 2 or 3.
Adrian Peterson -- 3rd -- Once again makes too much sense, so don't be surprised if
April 22, 2007
Rick Reilly described the One Ring as this: "Let's say your friend in Houston is a sick Texans fan. Any time the Texans do something stupid -- like fumble or blow a 20-yard field goal or not draft Reggie Bush -- you simply call him, let the phone ring once and hang up. You One Ring him."
"Also, you can be the ringer of bad news. Say your friend Tork is at his desk, minding his own business, selling and buying widgets as usual. Suddenly his phone rings once. Then again. Then again. An icicle suddenly forms in Tork's heart. He knows something horrible has happened to his beloved Red Wings. He goes to the Internet to find -- hello! -- they've moved to Tucson!"
It's that simple. Your baseball team gets rained out, expect a One Ring. Your team gets blown out 42-17 by the Saints on national television, expect several One Rings. The one prohibitive rule to the One Ring is no celebrating injuries. Say Reggie Bush gets absolutely destroyed on a swing pass, wait to One Ring until you're sure he's not dead.
Now on to our little One Ring community. What we propose is to create a One Ring community on this blog. We would like have every person that would like to One Ring, post your name, who you cheer for, and your e-mail address in the comments section, we'll send out a roster after that. Every member of the community is eligible to call and be called. The more the merrier. Check the comments section for available phone numbers and One Ring away.
Nebraska pitcher Tony Watson pitched a complete game two-hitter on Friday night as Nebraska won 7-0. James Russell (8-3) took the loss for the Horns.
Texas earned its eleventh straight series victory with a win on Sunday. The game was delayed nearly 40 minutes in the third inning because of rain. Joesph Krebs (5-0) picked up the win for the Horns with 6 1/3 solid innings, giving up two unearned runs on four hits. Kyle Russell hit is 23rd HR of the season in the top of the first to stake the Horns to a 2-0 lead. Nebraska tied it up in the bottom of the first but Texas would respond with four runs in the top of the third. Randy Boone finished the game off, pitching 2 2/3 innings, giving up only one hit and striking out three.
Texas has UT-Pan American on Tuesday night before travelling to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State. Seemingly the only questions left for the Horns to answer are when will they seal the Big XII title and how many home runs can Kyle Russell hit?
Ben Dorfman is credited with winning Caption Contest #2.
Caption Contest Standings:
Scott Price -- 1
Ben Dorfman -- 1
April 21, 2007
April 20, 2007
the New York Yankees and few players on the Yankees that we despise more than Alex Rodriguez. Today's quote from Skip, however, requires some defense.
Skip Says: "Jason Giambi has been almost as hot as A-Rod has and Jason Giambi is a left handed batter who's coming up against a right handed pitcher...(Giambi) has, he hit a home run in this game."
Skip was trying to defend the Indians pitching to Mr. April with first base open and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. We're not sure whether the Indians should have pitched around Alex (although his 3 run blast to center suggests it might have been a good idea), but A-Rod is hitting .355 with 10 HRs in 14 games. For comparison's sake, Jason Giambi is hitting .255 with 4 HRs for the year. It was a tough call for the Indians and there's no guarantee that walking A-Rod gets them the win, but right now Giambi's about as close to A-Rod as we are to Giambi.
We hope this will be the first of many posts holding Skip accountable for his opinions, and hopefully A-Rod got it all out of his system before this weekend. Go Sox!
Let's compare college baseball to another marginalized NCAA sport with only regional interest: hockey. Here you'll find the attendance statistics for college baseball in 2006, and here are the hockey attendance numbers. Now, the top few hockey school in terms of attendance (Wisconsin, North Dakota, Minnesota) have much higher numbers by virtue of greater stadium capacity than the top few baseball schools (LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi St.). However, through the rest of the list the numbers are very even. Furthermore, the baseball list includes only the top 50 schools in terms of attendance; there are another 200+ schools playing D-I baseball. The hockey list includes all 58 colleges that even play the sport in Division I. So few schools play hockey, in fact, that the game can't even use traditional college conferences to organize itself. On the other hand, baseball, as a popular college sport, is played under the auspices of the SEC, Big XII, Big 10, Pac-10, ACC, etc. etc.
This is not to mention the fact that EA Sports makes a College Baseball video game, and we have yet to see a College Hockey X-Box phenomenon. We will not dispute that college baseball is a regional pastime, popular mostly in the Southeast, Deep South, Southwest, West, and a couple of outposts in the Midwest. But, most important, it's popular in Texas. So it'll stay a major focus on these pages.
As for Kevin Durant: we were thinking about presenting our top 5 reasons why KD should be the #1 pick in the draft but we didn't because Chad Ford already did it. But, here are our thoughts in brief anyway. We will not sit here and make the argument that no reasonable person would draft Oden first. Oden may be the best shot blocker since Bill Russell, especially due to his ability not only to block shots but to block them to his teammates. 80% of most defenders' blocked shots end up back in the hands of the offense, either by going out of bounds or deflecting into their hands. Oden has the ability to keep the ball in play and direct it to his own guards, which is an example of what a smart, heads-up, and extremely talented ballplayer he is. Oden would be a smart #1 pick because he as close as you'll find to a sure bet to be a very solid player you can build a team around in the NBA.
But Durant is the number one pick because, while less of a sure thing than Oden, he has more of a chance to be an absolute superstar. Today's NBA is about big offensive playmakers who score a whole lot of points and do it in spectacular fashion. Oden's range is about a 6-8 foot perimeter around the basket, which is fine for someone with his type of game. Durant's range extends beyond the 3-point line. Oden was in foul trouble throughout the NCAA Tournament, rarely playing more than 23 minutes a game. Durant stayed out of foul problems most of the season. You can expect more minutes early on from KD, and a lot more explosive offense than Oden will ever be able to provide.
The big question marks everyone has about KD right now are his defense and size. In our opinion, these are very related issues, and a year or two with an advanced NBA training program should bulk him up without sacrificing any speed or flexibility, and in so doing will help him to improve his defense--which already saw marked progress in Austin.
Reasonable people can disagree, and there is certainly no reason to believe that a team can go wrong with either of these guys. But for a GM who believes in higher risk, higher reward, there's no contest: KD's your guy.
Oh, also: he looks dreamy in his orange Texas jersey.
Look for Jordan Danks to recover from a disastrous night against Rice while Kyle Russell tries to extend his grip on the Texas single-season HR record.
The Horns have begun to solidify their weekend pitching rotation of Russell, Alaniz and Krebs. More importantly, Texas will need the bullpen to bounce back from a tough night in Houston in which Austin Wood, Pat McCrory, Keith Shinaberry and Hunter Harris all gave up runs. The expected pitching matchups are as follows:
Friday, April 20, 2007
Texas: LHP James Russell (8-2, 3.15 ERA) Nebraska: LHP Tony Watson (3-2, 3.36 ERA)
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Texas: RHP Adrian Alaniz (9-2, 2.30 ERA) Nebraska: RHP Johnny Dorn (6-1, 4.47 ERA)
Sunday, April 22, 2007 Texas: LHP Joseph Krebs (4-0, 2.91 ERA) Nebraska: TBA
April 19, 2007
Dallas Mayor Laura Miller will announce Friday that the future of the Texas-OU game at the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair will be extended through 2015, several Dallas officials said Thursday.This is great news for the future of the Texas-OU game which we feel strongly is one of the best in college football. There's just something unique to this series about seeing half a stadium filled with burnt orange and the other half emptying as Rodrique Wright does his best Carl Lewis impersonation while Rhett Bomar contemplates about his future as a car salesman.
- Congrats are in order for the UT women's tennis team for defeating Texas A&M and bringing the Lone Star Showdown magic number down to 1.5 for the Horns to clinch for the third straight year. Texas now leads the "showdown" 8.5 to 6 with 4.5 points remaining.
- The Cardinals still can't hit
- Dice-K is getting the Pedro treatment from the Bo Sox. Tuesday's outing: 7 innings, 3 hits, 10 strikeouts and getting saddled with a 2-1 loss. As usual, all of America will undoubtedly tune in to watch Yanks-Sox this weekend as all three games are on national TV.
- Caption Contest #2 will be open through Sunday, limit two entries per person. At the end of the offseason, the person with the most Caption Contest victories will receive a prize.
April 18, 2007
As information has become available and the sequence of events has become more clear, what we all knew from the beginning has been confirmed: that no matter how much we learn about this awful situation, it will never, ever make any sense at all. Now, for those of us not directly connected to Virgina Tech, all that's left is to commemorate, mourn, and do whatever we can to help the people with ties to Blacksburg move on as best they can.
There have been many wonderful examples of this desire to show solidarity with their heartbroken campus around the country. Almost every major university in America, including UT, is holding or has held a vigil in Va. Tech's honor. The Washington Nationals wore VT caps in their ballgame yesterday. Some Penn State students are planning to wear maroon and orange instead of blue and white to their spring football game this Saturday, and the traditional "S" section at Beaver Stadium will instead spell out "VT."
Sports, like most other things in life, are put squarely into perspective when a tragedy like this occurs. But they do not become meaningless. In fact, as we've heard many times before, sports can often act as a catalyst to healing and mass shows of support in times of grief. It makes perfect sense; built-in media coverage and thousands of people gathered in one place is a natural time for big displays of unity. And, much as New Orleans Saints and LSU football continue to be rallying points for the people of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Katrina's wake, Hokie football in 2007 will be a welcome community event for the Virginia Tech family. It will be one of many factors in helping that community gather the strength to return to normalcy.
When the Hokies meet those LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on September 8, it will be a contest between two schools and football programs that have learned the hard way that a sporting loss is not a tragedy--but also that sport can help you live on after one. While a tragedy of this magnitude may make a football game seem less important, reality is that for the students, faculty and anyone associated with Virginia Tech, the first game of the season may be the most important football game of their lives. September 1st is Virginia Tech against East Carolina in Blacksburg. We say go Hokies.
April 17, 2007
The Owls gave themselves a comfortable cushion in the bottom of the 5th, when Texas reliever Pat McCrory walked the first 2 hitters who both ended up scoring on DH Aaron Luna's double which chased McCrory. That one-hit, 2-run frame left Rice with a 4-1 lead.
The Horns entered the 7th trailing 6-2, but gave themselves a shot to get back in the hunt. Nick Peoples and Chais Fuller led off with back-to-back singles, and then Rice reliever Scott Lonergan pulled a 2006-World-Series-Detroit-Tigers move by throwing away a sure out at 3rd on a Travis Tucker bunt, allowing Peoples to score. Fuller then scored on a Lonergan wild pitch which put Tucker on 3rd base with nobody out. But a failed safety squeeze by Danks, a K by Wheeless, and a pop-out by Bradley Suttle ended Texas' best threat of the night, and the Longhorns could get nothing going for the rest of the night.
The loss is just the 11th of the year for Texas, and you can bet that Augie's boys are hoping to get another shot at Rice in Omaha in June. Next up, the Longhorns travel to Lincoln for a big conference series against Nebraska. All 3 games are televised, kind of: Friday's is on CSTV, Saturday's is on FSN Southwest, and Sunday's game is on ESPNU. For the 2 of you who get that channel.
We don't know precisely why EA Sports decided on Vince as opposed to say, Terrell Owens, but we'd imagine it was because of plays like this:
Oh, and it could also be because VY is not a self-involved, clinically insane shmuck.
April 15, 2007
Then, in the opening-series sweep at the hands of the Metropolitans, Duncan looked like more of the same. He couldn't catch up to the high heat, and he couldn't hit a top-notch curve. But then, it turned out he was just giving in to peer pressure by stinking up the joint in the first 3 games.
Duncan has regained top form thus far in the young season. He is hitting .412, including a 4-for-5 performance in today's 10-2 shellacking of the Beer Men. The man belongs.
Why write about Duncan instead of Albert Pujols' 2 homers today that appear to have broken him him out of his early-season slump? Because there was never any doubt that Albert would break out. It was just a question of when and how.
The other extremely encouraging thing about today's game was another solid outing from Braden Looper, holding Milwaukee scoreless after giving up 2 in the first. With ace Chris Carpenter on the DL for awhile, the rotation has thus far stepped up and looked absolutely great. The Cards must continue to get this kind of performance from the other 4 starting pitchers to stay in contention until Carp gets back. In fact, up to this point, when the Cards have lost it has been due far more to anemic offense than to pitching. Further proof that Chris Duncan's dad, pitching coach Dave Duncan, is a genius.
And, finally, Jackie Robinson Day was a huge success. Don't let anyone tell you it was corny. It was a great tribute to a great man. Seeing all the Cardinals (and several other teams, including, of course, the Dodgers) wearing number 42 was one of the coolest pictures in awhile.
- Starting pitching: All three starters went at least 6 innings, combining for 24 strikeouts and 4 earned runs. James Russell and Adrian Alaniz have been doing this more or less all season, but if Joseph Krebs is pitching well then the Horns will be a very tough out.
- Relief pitching: Aside from a few appearances, Randy Boone has been lights out this season. Sunday was really the only time Texas needed solid relief pitching and Boone responded beautifully with 3 innings, 22 pitches and no hits to pick up the win. Hunter Harris and Pat McCrory also pitched spectacularly in limited appearances. Relief pitching is certainly not a strong suit of this team, the bullpen does seem to be coming together at just the right time.
- Power: Just about the only thing that didn't happen this weekend was a Kyle Russell home run. Bradley Suttle hit his 10th homer of the season on Friday, Chance Wheeless went yard on Saturday, and Texas put up three or more runs four times. Considering they were playing in the vacuum that is Disch-Falk, Texas is proving that it has one of the best offenses in the country
- Defense: Statistically speaking, this Texas team is tied with the 2005 team as the best defensive team in the Augie era (both had a .978 fielding percentage). There's not much more to say about this other than to note that comparisons to the 2005 team are a good thing.
- The lineup: Right now, the Texas batting order is like a murderers' row. They can hit for average, they can hit for power, they can steal bases and there aren't a whole lot of holes. Kyle Russell is slugging an insane .874, the team is averaging 8.2 runs per game with Danks leading off and Tucker, Danks and Nick Peoples have stolen a combined 43 of 47 bases.
April 14, 2007
- Several things are encouraging about the Longhorns' first game against Texas Tech Friday night. First of all, James Russell and Adrian Alaniz absolutely have to be on top form if Texas expects to make noise in the postseason, because they are thin in the rest of the starting rotation (although it must be said that Joseph Krebs has been showing steady improvement). Second, Bradley Suttle's 3-for-4 night is huge as he was in danger of dropping below the Mendoza line-times-two. OK, so it wouldn't be that big a deal if his batting average fell under .400. But it's really cool that he's still above it. Third, it's good to see someone other than Randy Boone have a solid outing from the 'pen. Finally, assuming they hold on for the win Saturday, Texas continues their trend of getting ahead in each series by taking Game One.
- The spate of rainouts and snow-outs across the Major Leagues is getting frustrating. last night the Cardinals fell victim for the first time, and their game against the Brewers has not been set for rescheduling yet.
- Speaking of the World Champions, today they will play the Milwaukees in New Busch. The funniest thing about the game? Erstwhile Cardinals postseason hero Jeff Suppan (who looks like our friend Brian's dad) comes in to pitch for the enemy with his 0-2 record and 4.15 ERA. The cardinals throw the only guy they went out and got to replace him, Kip Wells: 1-1, 1.38. It's too early in the season for ERAs to really mean much. But it's still fun to see early on how much money other NL Central teams wasted on average pitchers who came up big once for St. Louis (you listening, Cubs?! How's Jason Marquis working out for you?).
- It's been interesting to see the Jackie Robinson tributes so far this year. Some people have complained that it's silly or cheap to have so many players wearing number 42 tomorrow (including 5 entire teams, one of which is the World Champions). We happen to agree with Mike Golic on this issue. Golic said on the radio this week that, while it may seem to us "older" fans that be overdoing it, every kid who turns to his mom or dad to ask why everyone is wearing 42 and learns about Jackie Robinson will make any minor annoyance worth it and then some. He's right.
- The other interesting way in which Jackie-mania has manifested itself is ESPN's constant reporting on the fact that fewer and fewer black American children are interested in baseball. It would be nice to see a a youth sports culture where parents don't all think their kid is going to the pros, where kids don't feel compelled to specialize in a specific sport by age 10, and where kids of all races feel comfortable and excited trying out all different sports. But we're not holding our breath.
- Speaking of ESPN, unless you've been living in a bunker the last two weeks, you've undoubtedly heard that ESPN has a new ombudsman. You can check out her latest column here, and it seems to be so far, so good for Le Anne Schreiber. Anybody working for ESPN that has the gumption to call Skip Bayless "absolutist" is okay by us. Hopefully she can keep up the good work in the future.
April 13, 2007
Adrian Alaniz is on the mound for the Horns tomorrow...oh, wait, the score. Friday's game was suspended because of rain with 2 men on, 2 outs in the top of the ninth with the Horns leading 7-2. Matt Smith is at the place for the Red Raiders facing a 2-1 count. The last inning, hopefully a two pitch strikeout, will be concluded Saturday.
The premiere home game appears to be a December 29th date with Wisconsin. The non-conference schedule should be a great test for the Horns in what could very well be a down year for the Big XII.
April 12, 2007
The Longhorns baseball team tries to win its ninth straight series this weekend when it hosts Texas Tech.
Kyle Russell can set the UT single season HR mark with just one home run and Chance Wheeless enters the series with a 15 game hit streak.
On the pitching front, both James Russell and Adrian Alaniz will try to rebound from relatively rough outings in Lawrence while Joseph Krebs will make his fifth start of the season. It would be nice to see another solid Sunday outing as five of the Horns' 10 losses on the season have come on Sunday. We'll try to update periodically over the weekend.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday, April 13, 2007 Texas: LHP James Russell (7-2, 3.20 ERA) Texas Tech: RHP A.J. Ramos (7-1, 3.72 ERA)
Saturday, April 14, 2007 Texas: RHP Adrian Alaniz (8-2, 2.41 ERA) Texas Tech: LHP Josh Scofield (0-1, 6.23 ERA)
Sunday April 15, 2007 Texas: LHP Joseph Krebs (4-0, 3.08 ERA) Texas Tech: RHP Travis Young (3-1, 3.07 ERA)
I mean...just look at this!
Examples: VY, Kevin Durant, TJ Ford, Huston Street (borderline)
ESPN Classic Reaction: "NO....NO!"
April 11, 2007
Examples: Brandon Mouton ('03-'04 only), Cory Redding, Jason Klotz (senior year only, and domestic issues aside)
ESPN Classic Reaction: "Are you sure this is ESPN Classic, and not Bevo-D?"
Definition: Significant Longhorns who played in the '90s and early '00s, after we followed sports but before we cared about Texas. Can be superstars or simply fan favorites.
Examples: James Brown, Casey Hampton, Major Applewhite, Ricky Williams (borderline, because everyone in the country cared about Ricky regardless of team affiliation).
ESPN Classic Reaction: Varies. Includes "Glad I didn't care yet!"; "I vaguely remember my dad telling me something about some school with a hand signal called 'Hook 'em Horns'"; and "Huh, good game. I think I'd like to change the channel, but am strangely unable to do so."
April 10, 2007
Definition: Fan favorites for quality teams. Players who either rarely saw the field or did so in a limited capacity. Jewish is a plus. No real chance at a professional career.
Examples: Drew Gressett, Brett Robins, Michael Unger, Ivan Williams (borderline)
ESPN Classic Reaction: Laugh out loud
Now, on to the Exciting New Project: we college sports fans are currently in an intriguing phenomenon of a season. This is the time of year when college baseball teams are winding down and we now know who's good (Texas, for example) and who's not so good (LSU, for example). We still have the always-exciting NCAA Tournament and College World Series ahead, but we are rapidly approaching the dreaded "it's almost football season" season. So, it's a good time to begin the longstanding tradition of coming up with pointless but fun things to talk about while we wait for another college sports cycle to begin.
In that vein, we are proud to present the Six Rules of Supporting post-Texas Athletes! We will present a rule for supporting Texas athletes from the past 15 years or so, give some examples, and our reaction to seeing said players on ESPN Classic playing a meaningless but exciting game against some Big XII opponent. We hope that readers will use the Comment feature on the relevant posts to add their insights into each category. So, enjoy!
April 9, 2007
April 8, 2007
But, this guy was fortunate enough to be visiting Middle Bro, who attends KU, and thus got to go to the rubber game on Saturday (as well as the ugly last couple of innings on Friday). The KU starting pitcher, Andy Marks, was very impressive Saturday, throwing a confusing mix of junk that had Horns' hitters frustrated most of the afternoon. It was a good enough performance to make a casual observer wonder why the Jayhawks haven't won more games this season. But, the Longhorns uncharacteristically won the game via the long ball. Nick Peoples started it off with a solo shot. Then, the very powerful Kyle Russell joined in the party--first with a 3-run dinger to give Texas a 4-0 lead, then with a solo bomb of his own to tie the game at 5-5. The game-winning run came on an RBI double off the center field wall by Russell Moldenhauer in the top of the 8th, after he had fouled off 2 bunt attempts. Hmmm...small ball, huh?
Kyle's second dinger tied him with Jeff Ontiveros for the Texas all-time single season home run record with 20 for the year. Ontiveros set the record in the CWS championship season of 2002 in which he played 72 games. Kyle tied the record playing in just 38 games and with at least 21 games remaining in the season (going out on a limb to say this Horns team will at least make the NCAA tournament). Consider that the Longhorns have been playing baseball for quite a while and historically Texas has had one of the top programs in college baseball, all which makes Kyle's season all the more spectacular. Hopefully we'll get to see Kyle hit a few monster shots out of Omaha in a few months.
Joseph Krebs pitched admirably, but the Texas gloves left something to be desired. Kansas put together a game-tying 4-run rally in the bottom of the 5th. However, it should be noted that all 4 runs were unearned because, with the bases loaded and 2 outs, second baseman Travis Tucker committed a fielding error that allowed the inning to continue and the first run to score. Tucker seemed to be in a hurry to field the ball and tag the runner headed to second, but with 2 out all he needed to do was sit back and make the easy play to first. So, Krebs did not get the win even though he performed well enough to earn it.
The silver lining on the mound was the relief effort of Randy Boone. Boone came in to stop the bleeding in that 5th inning, and after giving up an RBI double on his first pitch and allowing a go-ahead run in the 6th, he shut the 'Hawks down for the remainder of the game to take the win.
All in all, it's nice to get a series win on the road--particularly in cold, windy conditions against a Kansas squad that clearly brought its A-game. Since starting 2-4 and losing its first two series, the Longhorns have won 8 straight series going 26-6 in the process. They now stand at 28-10 overall for the year.