April 30, 2007

Longhorns in the Draft

It was a great weekend for the Texas Longhorns at the NFL Draft. Seven Horns were drafted, including two in each of the first two rounds, and one in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Interestingly, 12 starters (plus Aaron Ross) from the 2005 National Championship team have now been drafted with five more still in school. Below is a list of Longhorns, their new professional teams and where they went in the draft:

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.

Post-Draft Boredom

We are now entering that period between the NFL Draft and the start of football season with few real distractions to hold our fancy. There's the college baseball post season, but that doesn't really get going until the beginning of June. There's the NBA Playoffs, but they seem...empty without KD. The NBA draft is sometime in June, but we won't have that much interest beyond the second pick. NFL training camp gets going in July, and Texas football practices around the same time, but they aren't quite the real thing. MLB is fun and all, but the baseball regular season is a bit too low key for the hardcore sports fan craving the intense action only football and college basketball can bring.
Offseason activity possibility #214
Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, life begins anew September 1st against Arkansas State. With that in mind, feel free to use the comments feature on this post as a suggestion box for offseason 40 Acre Sports features you'd like to see.

April 29, 2007

Baseball Round Up -- History in Stillwater

In 26 years of play at Allie P Reynolds Stadium, Oklahoma State had never been swept. That was until this weekend. Oklahoma State came in averaging nearly 9 runs per game, but only scored 4 runs the entire series (3-2, 7-2, 7-0). Longhorn batters flashed their power, hitting 5 HRs in the series. The pitching staff saw great relief appearances from Randy Boone and Joseph Krebs. Austin Wood was solid in a Sunday start, to go with a solid 5 innings from James Russell and 6 1/3 from Adrian Alaniz. Jordan Danks struggled mightily at the plate but Chais Fuller had a solid weekend of defense and hitting from the shortstop position.

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.

Offseason Caption Contest #5

Caption RB Chris Ogbonnaya or DT Frank Okam gawking as Godzillatron comes to life at night. This contest will run until Wednesday. Note: click on the picture to see a larger image.

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

NFL Draft Day 2

11:15 PM EST: Brian Robison goes to Minnesota with the 3rd pick in the 4th round. We'll count that as a successful prediction (we said mid-late 3rd round, close enough). We're now 5 of 6 on Horns with Tarell Brown being the exception.

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

NFL Draft Day 1 Round Up

As day one of the NFL Draft winds up, we too wind up our coverage at 40 Acre Sports. Below are a few awards for the day. It's been fun folks, enjoy the rest of the third round.

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.

Your thoughts?

NFL Draft Day Thread #2

6:20 PM EST: The first round ends with the Colts taking Anthony Gonzales. More news and analysis will come in a bit. Meanwhile, the Cardinals take Alan Branch with the first pick of round 2. You don't usually get top-10 talent in the second round. We're now into the second round, Saints pick at 58. Meanwhile, Texas has beaten Oklahoma State in baseball 7-2 giving the Horns another series win.

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.

NFL Draft Day Thread

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.

Favorite Draft Moment #1

It's draft day which means it's time to reveal our favorite NFL Draft moment. Before the 2006 Rose Bowl, it seemed destined that the Houston Texans would take Reggie Bush with their hard won first overall pick. After the Rose Bowl it seemed like they faced a difficult decision with really no wrong answer, Reggie Bush or Vince Young. The Texans choose wrong.

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.

NFL Draft Day -- It's a Boy!

You've been expecting this day for several months, and it's finally here! Your team is about to bring a new life into this world that is the NFL. It's an exciting time in your life. Each time your rookie does something it will be for the first time, and you really don't want to miss a single thing. His first rookie mini-camp, his contract signing, his first day at training camp...they grow up so fast.

No matter what anybody says, your new rookie is perfect. He has suprising quickness, strong as a bull, athletic, fills an important need, will be make great contributions to the community, and you wouldn't change a thing about him even if you could. That's what's so wonderful about the draft. It's a day dedicated to football in the middle of the offseason. Moreover, it's a day of hope, improvement, and achievement. A day where the worse your team is, the better your team does.

Some will say that you should be paying attention to more important things like the NBA playoffs or Mike Vick blowing his chance at PETA membership, but they are wrong. Anything associated with the NFL blows the NBA out of the water, especially the first round in a 3 month playoff (at least until KD is dominating). Mike Vick will be there on Monday, the Draft only comes once a year. By the third game of the season you'll realize what a mistake your draft choice was, or much sooner if you're a Texans fan, but today is perfect.

Check back to 40 Acre Sports for news and notes throughout the draft. Happy drafting everyone!

April 27, 2007

Favorite Draft Moment #2

There aren't many times that the NFL Draft is arguably the highlight of a fan's NFL season, and even fewer times when it is arguably the highlight of a fan's season when that fan's team goes to the NFC championship game. The 2006 NFL Draft, however, proved to be one of the great moments in a fantastic 2006 season.

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...

Sorry, Sam.

April 26, 2007

Baseball Preview v. #12 Oklahoma State

The #5 ranked Texas Longhorns will travel to Stillwater to face on #12 Oklahoma State this weekend in a key Big XII battle. Texas brings a balanced attack of solid pitching, timely hitting and good defense to face an offensively-focused Cowboys ball club. Oklahoma State ranks #1 in the Big XII in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, and home runs. Conversely, Texas ranks #1 in the Big XII in many pitching categories, including ERA and wins. A series win here would be the 12th straight for Texas and could all but seal up the Big XII regular season title. Texas leads Oklahoma State by 2.5 games entering this weekend's crucial series.

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


Way back when we were in school, there were a few things we knew to be true. Oklahoma sucked, Vince Young was the best player in college football history, and Jason Klotz was a mix of Ivan Drago and Connor Atchley...before Connor was Connor Atchley.

I must break you!

Additionally, there was one immutable, unchangeable certainty more rock solid than the law of gravity and theory of evolution (outside of Kansas) combined, and that was that Texas A&M did not beat Texas. Oh, sure, they would get lucky with a half court shot in basketball every once in a while, and they could have women's soccer because soccer isn't a real sport.

But over the aggregate assortment of all sports, Texas had always been and would always be king. We even had Aggy agree to an annual award confirming our dominance over them: the Lone Star Showdown. Texas cruised in the first two years of the award but this year, unbelievably, we're running into trouble.

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.

It's pretty unbelievable that we've reached this point. Let us all root for both track and field and baseball to right this wrong. And we can all thank our lucky stars that meat judging wasn't included in the standings, because we'd be screwed if it was.

Favorite Draft Moment #3

In case you haven't noticed, we love the NFL Draft. We're willing to admit, however, that it is not always the most...exciting...17 hours of non-stop offseason football coverage imaginable. There are times in the draft that are more entertaining than football itself.

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

Favorite Draft Moment #4

This is Mel Kiper Jr., perhaps you've heard of him. Apparently he has magnificent hair, but we don't really see it. This weekend is his Christmas, Yom Kippur and Flag Day all in one. Needless to say, Mel usually brings his 'A' game to the draft telecast.

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.

Offseason Caption Contest #4

Caption this photo of The Thing running at Texas Pro Day:

Greg Kelminson was deemed winner of the third caption contest. This caption will run through Sunday.

Caption Contest Standings:

Scott Price -- 1
Ben Dorfman -- 1
Greg Kelminson -- 1

April 24, 2007

UPDATED: What To Expect From Pete Prisco on Draft Day

Before the 2006 NFL Draft, Pete Prisco decided Matt Leinart was going to be Tom Brady and Vince Young was going to suck. When grading the Cardinals, Pete said:
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.
and about the Titans:
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.
Moreover, Petey attacked any team brazen enough to pass on the future Hall of Famer.

The Titans:

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.
The Jets:

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:

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.
The Bills:
They must think J.P. Losman is the real deal.
The Lions:
But they passed up Leinart, which is shocking. This is a good pick, but Leinart would have been better.
And finally, the Cardinals:
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.

Now, we'll ignore the fact that VY was starting before Matt Leinart, won more games, and was named Rookie of the Year. None of that should be surprising to Longhorn fans. What is surprising (but probably shouldn't be) is that Pete is doing the exact same thing with JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn.

Prisco has placed JaMarcus Russell as his 20th (!) best prospect in the draft, and has compared Russell to both Akili Smith and Ryan Leaf. He also has compared Brady Quinn to both Tom Brady AND Peyton Manning. All because of "the experience and the desire."

Never mind that that Quinn never won a bowl game in his four years of starting, never beat USC and never won a conference championship (although that one may not have totally been his fault). Never mind that JaMarcus Russell showed steady improvement over his meager 29 starts and has fewer starts because he only played three years of college ball.

Never mind that Brady Quinn didn't pull off his "amazing" 5-1 TD-INT ratio over the last two year against SEC competition as Russell was forced to do. Never mind that over the last two years Quinn has played 6 games against Michigan, USC and a bowl opponent. Notre Dame is 1-5 in those games, four by double digits, and Quinn's TD-INT ratio during that period is less than 2-1.

This isn't to say that JaMarcus Russell is Vince Young, but Brady Quinn is equally no Matt Leinart. Experience matters, but college experience is not decisive for an NFL QB to find success. JaMarcus Russell has considerably more experience than Akili Smith at draft time and has not shown the personality defects of Ryan Leaf. The ability to throw a football through a piece of titanium counts too, and we wouldn't discount JaMarcus's ability to do that.

This weekend, Pete Prisco will likely attack whichever team drafts JaMarcus Russell before Brady Quinn because he's already made up his mind. Should Brady fall, Pete will bash any team that passes on his poster boy. You might have seen this script last year, and it's just as likely that Pete will ultimately be proven wrong.

UPDATE: In his newest "Who they should draft" column, Pete says of the Raiders situation (referring to Brady Quinn):
"They need a quarterback. He's the best quarterback. It's that simple."
Additionally, Cold, Hard Football Facts has published a record of the "pundits" success with mock drafts in the first round over the last two seasons...guess who's second to last with an average of .219. They also wrote a great comparisson of Quinn and Russell, concluding that Notre Dame sucked, JaMarcus ain't VY or Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn threw it a lot, he didn't play much competition, he lost whenever he played good teams, and he may or may not be a great pro.

Baseball Round Up -- Kyle Russell Goes for the Cycle!

Normally we wouldn't recap a routine win against over matched UTPA, but we wanted to recognize Kyle Russell hitting HR #24. Then Kyle went and hit for the cycle, including a mercy-rule inducing single to end the game in the seventh. Kyle's final line: 4/5, 2b, 3b, HR, 3 R, 5 RBI. Not a bad night at the Disch. Baseball returns to action Friday in a crucial series against Oklahoma State.

Favorite Draft Moment #5

In the countdown to the NFL Draft, we'll be bringing you some of our favorite draft moments of the last few years. Today's is the story of then Cal QB Aaron Rodgers.

In 2004, shortly after his team had failed to qualify for their first Rose Bowl in half a century, Rodgers said:
“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

Countdown to the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft starts in five days!

We love the draft. The draft stands for renewal, improvement, and (unless you're a Texans fan) hope. As Saints fans we have seen some great draft moments, but many more disappointing ones.

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 Rick Mirer Brady Quinn goes here.

Rick MirerBrady Quinn -- 7th to 9th -- Either the Vikings or Dolphins will take him, or maybe somebody will trade up. We would love to see this guy go Aaron Rodgers all the way into the 20s.

On to the Horns:

Michael Griffin -- 17th to 24th -- Michael could go earlier, but it doesn't seem likely. We don't see him slipping past the Patriots at 24. Favorite MG moment: Balletic interception of Matt Leinart in the '06 Rose Bowl.

Aaron Ross -- 19th to 27th -- It would be sweet to see Aaron on the Titans with VY, but we'd also like to see him on the Saints. Odds are he'll go somewhere in between. It seems there will be a run on cornerbacks in the last third of the first round that will include Ross, Darrelle Revis, Chris Houston, and possibly Daymeion Hughes from Cal or Marcus McCauley from Fresno State. Favorite AR moment: Forcing the critical fumble against Nebraska in '06 which led to the game winning field goal.

Justin Blalock -- Early-mid second round -- We could see him going as early as the mid-twenties, but it seems more likely that he'll fall into the second round. He'd be a great pickup for Houston with pick 39. Oh, wait, strike that. Favorite JB moment: Blowing up USC's Josh Pinkard on the 4th and 5.

Tim Crowder -- Mid-late second round -- Tim Crowder will be a great value pickup for whoever picks him. Good pass rusher, solid enough against the run, seems to be a solid character guy. Favorite TC moment: 3 sack game against Oklahoma State in '04 which Texas won 56-35 after trailing 35-7.

Tarell Brown -- Late second round to mid third round -- Poor Tarrell Brown. If he could have stayed away from Aaron Harris, the 2006 football season may have been different. Character questions could push him down further, but he was just taking a nap...with Tyrell Gatewood's gun on his lap. Favorite TB moment: Highly debatable, but we'll go with Tarrell's interception and return for touchdown against Okie State in 2004. Sure, the play was called back but it set up a gorgeous long touchdown run by VY on the next play.

Brian Robison -- Mid-late third round -- We think Brian Robison could end up being the steal of the draft. He's extremely athletic and could potentially play LB or DE at the next level. He had a fantastic workout so his stock is on the rise. Favorite BR moment: Bomar'd. Never seen a hit like that before.

Selvin Young -- Second day to undrafted -- Unfortunately it doesn't seem likely that Selvin will get drafted. We've always liked him, hopefully he'll catch on somewhere. Favorite SY moment: There was a time when Texas was losing 7-0 to New Mexico State in 2003. Selvin ensured Texas wouldn't have to take an offensive snap still trailing. His kick return prevented Texas from embarrassing itself in Austin...for another week.

April 22, 2007

The 40 Acre Sports One Ring Community

Last July, Rick Reilly presented a new way to keep up with old friends, the One Ring. The One Ring is a community experience which allows you, using the world of sports, "to say 'I miss you.' And, 'I love you.' And, most important, 'Your team sucks.'"

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.

Baseball Round Up -- Texas v. Nebraska

The Longhorn baseball team bounced back from a disastrous Friday night to take a 3-game series against Nebraska, winning Saturday and Sunday in impressive fashion. Nebraska was coming off series wins against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, and presented a significant challenge for the Horns.

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.

Adrian Alaniz (10-2) and the Texas offense proved Friday night was an abberation in a 8-4 win. Kyle Russell hit his school record 22nd HR of the season in the top of the first, but Texas would have to rally from down 4-2 after three innings. Texas responded with three in the fourth and two more runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-4 lead. Alaniz would go 7 2/3 innings and Randy Boone would work the final 1 1/3.

Adrian Alaniz

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?

Offseason Caption Contest #3

For our third Caption Contest, try and get inside the dark mind of Okie coach Bob Stoops as he hurls his headset like a kindergarten kid who can't wait his turn for the slide like a big boy. This contest will close on Wednesday.
Ben Dorfman is credited with winning Caption Contest #2.
Caption Contest Standings:
Scott Price -- 1
Ben Dorfman -- 1

April 21, 2007

Bigger Than Deadspin...?

"Are you sure the phone is working? Should I test it? Alright, it's ringing...hang up, they could be calling right now! I wonder how many figures they'll offer. How much of the Sports Guy's market share will we take?"
OK, so maybe it's alright if we don't stare at the phone waiting for ESPN to call just yet. However, in case you haven't noticed, we hit the 1,000 visits mark yesterday. Either we're not doing too bad so far or advertising the blog on MoveOn.org is paying big dividends. So thanks for visiting, we'll keep up the content and you keep up the conversation. But not right now, we're expecting an important call this afternoon.

-- Management

April 20, 2007

Today's Sign That Skip Bayless is a Moron

There are few teams that we like to defend less than
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!

People DO Care, and KD is a Great Choice

In response to a request from one of our loyal--yet Yankee--readers, we will provide reasons why Kevin Durant is a legitimate number one pick. But first, we must defend the honor of college baseball, which is a great and undervalued American sport.

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.

Baseball Preview v. Nebraska

Texas tries to bounce back from a midweek loss to Rice this weekend in a key series at Nebraska. All three games will be on tv but we doubt you'll get more than one game. Friday's game is on CSTV at 7 PM CST, Saturday's is on Fox Sports at 3 PM and Sunday's is on ESPNU at noon.

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

Sooners to be Bomar'd at Cotton Bowl Until 2015

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that a deal has been reached to keep Texas-OU at the Cotton Bowl for the foreseeable future. According to the article:
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.

On Beating Aggy and Baseball

A few morning ramblings to get you through the day:
  • 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

Kevin Durant: College Star, High Draft Pick, Patriot?

The U.S. has historically had a few ways to punish nations like Argentina, Greece or Spain when they beat us in basketball. Included in America's repetiore over time have been demands for unfair IMF debt repayment schedules, increasing tarrifs on the import of gyros and turning down Pau Gasol's seemingly endless trade requests.

It now seems that U.S. policymakers may have a new weapon at their disposal: Kevin Durant. Andy Katz is reporting on his ESPN Insider blog that Durant will be invited to try out for the U.S. basketball team in July. Seems to us that adding a guy with KD's game to a squad that won the bronze and shot just 37% from the 3-point line in last year's world championships might just break USA Basketball out of its slump.

We Are All Hokies

We have yet to chime in on Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, but it is simply too big a human event not to start a conversation about. That's what blogs are for, after all.

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.

Offseason Caption Contest #2

Caption this photo, if you need a description of the people you aren't going to win anyway:

That explains Major to Alabama

Congrats to Scott Price for winning our first caption contest. Hopefully more will be to come semi-regularly.

Caption Contest Standings:

Scott Price -- 1

April 17, 2007

Kyle Breaks the Record, Rice Breaks the Streak

The 5th-ranked Longhorns baseball team fell 7-4 to #6 Rice in Houston tonight in a steady drizzle. The loss breaks a 10-game Texas win streak against the Owls. The last time Texas lost to Rice, Tim Moss and Omar Quintanilla were roaming Texas's middle infield. All things considered, losing one game in every 11 against your top-10, in-state rival is nothing to lose any sleep over.

Rice played a very impressive ballgame. Starting pitcher Chris Kelley looked nearly unhittable at times. He scattered 4 hits and 2 runs over 6 innings of work--but one of those hits (and one of those runs) was Kyle Russell's record-breaking 21st homer of the season on the top of the 6th. It was against the wind, opposite field, and a no-doubter. Kyle is now the Longhorns' all-time leading single-season homerun hitter, and with plenty of ABs still to go.

Russell's bomb, however, was the lone bright spot for the usually-daunting Texas offense. Leadoff hitter Jordan Danks and number 2 man Chance Wheeless combined for an 0-for-9 night, and both scored the Golden Sombrero with 3 strikeouts each.

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.

Tonight was an indication of just how good Rice's pitchers are when they're on. Aside from Lonergan's tough night, Rice got great outings from Kelley and Cole St. Clair. On the orange side, starter Austin Wood gave up 2 runs and 3 hits in just 3.1 innings of work, but those numbers don't indicate a couple of bailouts he received from his defense. The middle-relief combo of McCrory, Hunter Harris, and Keith Shinaberry, although they were not terrible. Randy Boone had one batter, 3 pitches, and one strikeout. Alex Posey pitched the 8th and did not allow a run.

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.

Sources: Vince Young to Break Madden Curse

It will be officially announced later today that VY will grace the cover of Madden '08. You can read more about the alleged curse here, but we expect VY to shatter this curse much like he destroyed the notion that a QB can't throw for 3,000 yards while rushing for 1,000 in a single season.

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

Offseason Caption Contest #1

Caption this photo of new Texas A&M basketball coach Mark Turgeon (left) showing some emotion as he is introduced at a press conference by athletic director Bill Byrne:

One Fan's Apology

What has 2 thumbs and owes Chris Duncan an apology? This guy. It seemed at the beginning of this season that the Coach's Son was destined to be a flash in the pan. Last year, he started his career like a house afire, but cooled down considerably by the end of the season. Throw in his suspect defense, and you had a spot starter/sometime pinch hitter for the Cardinals' glorious championship run.

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.

Baseball Round Up -- "There are killer bees in Central Texas"

Travis Tucker's AB and base running in the bottom of the seventh in Sunday's final game against Texas Tech can be described with one word: Augieball. Trailing 2-1 in a game where the bats just weren't working, Tucker led off the seventh. Knowing that the Longhorns needed base runners, Tucker quickly worked a four pitch walk. Tucker stole second base, then stole third and scored the tying run on a Jordan Danks single up the middle two batters later. Texas would score three runs in the seventh and sweep the series with Texas Tech (7-2, 10-1 and 4-2). The series was their second Big XII series sweep and their 10th straight series victory.

The Horns showed several reasons this weekend why they may be going far in June.
  • 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.
Throw in Joseph Krebs reaching career highs in innings and pitches thrown and it was a great weekend for the Longhorns. About the only thing that went wrong this weekend was a stoppage of play in the bottom half of Sunday's critical seventh inning after a Tech outfielder was attacked by "killer bees", as Keith Moreland described it. We've said it once and we'll say it again, Texas has the finest home field advantage in the nation.

April 14, 2007

Musings on America's Game and ESPN

  • 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

Texas v. Texas Tech Game 1

James Russell returned to form, scattering 9 hits over 6 2/3 innings. Russell struck out 11 and gave up just two runs. Pat McCrory was solid in two scoreless innings of relief. Bradley Suttle went 3 for 4 from the plate with 3 RBI, including a solo shot to start off the 3rd inning for the Horns.

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.

Several non-conference basketball games announced

The Statesman is reporting that UT has firmed up a number of its non-conference basketball games for next year, and it is an impressive list. In addition to playing in the inaugural Legends Classic, the Horns will play at UCLA, Arkansas and Michigan State (Palace at Auburn Hills).

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

Baseball Preview v. Texas Tech

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.


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)

The VY Rule

Definition: Once in a lifetime player. Professional superstar. Immediately among your favorite pro teams after being drafted

I mean...just look at this!

Examples: VY, Kevin Durant, TJ Ford, Huston Street (borderline)

ESPN Classic Reaction: "NO....NO!"

The Roy Williams Rule

Definition: Superstars and absolute go-to guys that fans of other teams coveted. These athletes may not have won national championships, but they left important legacies in their respective sports and are high-profile (if not always supremely successful) pros.

Examples: Roy Williams, Cedric Benson, Lamarcus Aldridge, Cat Osterman (borderline, because...it's softball, mostly)

ESPN Classic Reaction: "I had almost forgotten how good that guy was!"

The Chris Simms Rule

Hype starts NOW
Definition: Chris Simms...that's it. During his four years on the 40 Acres, you either hated Chris Simms or thought he wasn't so bad. He set several Longhorn records, won a ton of games and ended on a high note with a great Cotton Bowl victory versus LSU. He also never beat Oklahoma, ruined any chance for the Horns to go to the national championship game in 2001 and wasn't Major Applewhite. Those that grew up loving the Major don't like Chris. Those that liked bowl games early in bowl season loved him.

Examples: Chris Simms

ESPN Classic Reaction: Why didn't he throw to Roy Williams more? Or...why did he throw to Roy Williams there?

April 11, 2007

The Brandon Mouton (of 2003-2004) Rule

Definition: Good (but not spectacular) players who starred on good teams. They were enjoyable to watch, and often contributed to games that allowed 'Horn fans to experience a joy that is rare for schools accustomed to being the favorite: the joy of the upset.

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?"

The James Brown Rule

Oops, I mean...

(too soon?)

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

The Drew Gressett Rule

Drew would have totally shut down Carmello Anthony

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

"Minor Arthritis," and an Exciting New Project

The Pride of St. Louis, the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, have been affected very early in the season with a very significant injury. It's worth noting that, without Carpenter, the Redbirds have won 3 of their last 4 after starting the season with an abysmal home sweep by the Mets. In any case, excellent coverage of the team and how they will plow ahead in the rotation without Carp is available at Viva El Birdos.

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

Just Not To The Celtics...

Rumor has it that KD is set to announce as soon as this afternoon that he'll be going pro. If that's truly the case, thanks for the memories Kevin! We'll update as soon as we hear something a little more concrete.It's unclear just how much Kevin leaving will hurt next year's team although Connor Atchley getting more touches can only be a good thing, right? For now let us celebrate every additional moment that KD is a Longhorn...

4:00 EST Update: Burnt Orange Nation reporting that KD is gone, expecting a press conference sometime soon. We'll file a longer long range forecast of how this affects Texas basketball (short answer -- a lot) later in the week.

April 8, 2007

Kyle Russell: Man or Machine?

We won't pretend to an all-out analysis of the Thursday-Saturday baseball series that the Longhorns won in Lawrence this weekend; for that, visit the official Texas Sports website; that is, if it isn't down again.

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.