- Jeff does not suck at softball, evidenced by his clutch hitting and solid defense including the speediest 14 second inside-the-park home run in Jacobs Camp history.
- The Saints are not doomed to lose to the Lions. Moreover, the Lions probably will go 0-16 unless they beat the Packers in what would go down as one of the worst losses in that franchise's storied history.
- The Red Sox are not the Yankees. $400+ million on 3 players? That's insane. The top 4 highest paid players in the Majors including an incredible $275 million to Alex Rodriguez, a guy whose most memorable hit in the postseason remains his futile slap at Bronson Arroyo in the 2004 ALCS? This should put to rest that the Red Sox (or anybody else for that matter) are anything like the Yankees.
- Camp is a sacred place. That one's only partially true after this weekend.
December 23, 2008
December 19, 2008
December 14, 2008
- The Lions at 0-14 have nothing to lose
- The Saints at 7-7 and out of the playoff hunt have nothing to gain
- The Lions have played opponents closer in recent weeks including Indy last week and the Vikings the week before
- The Saints have been awful on the road, holding an appalling 1-6 record.
- Traveling to Green Bay in week 17 it seems inevitable that the Lions must beat the Saints if they're going to win at all this season.
December 7, 2008
Well, here we are. Tonight the Longhorns will have to surrender to the fate of being screwed by the BCS arguably worse than any team in the history of the system. One of us hates the system in favor of a playoff, one of us is a general proponent of the system but is of the belief that a "plus-one" is needed for flexibility in times like these. Beyond that, Colt will be screwed out of the Heisman that should be his because Sam Bradford gets all the publicity (he completed 77% of his passes and had 4,000 yards passing/rushing, seriously! Again! The Heisman is such crap).
Texas will likely be relegated to the Fiesta Bowl to play Ohio State, a seemingly amazing fate to begin the season will be relegated to one of two story lines: Texas will beat OSU because we're better than them, or Texas will come out flat and lose (a la Texas 2003, Cal 2004) because they're pissed of about losing their chance for glory. Until our destination is decided this afternoon, however, we are very much looking forward to booking our hotel room in Miami. And if not, we will take great pleasure in Florida whipping the crap out of OU.
December 1, 2008
At any rate, there remains a glimmer of hope for the Longhorns that has nothing to do with Missouri (who, for the record, have no shot of beating Oklahoma unless it's snowing). LSU fans (like this guy) will recall the 2003 season, in which there was much hand-wringing and shouting about who should play in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship. Oklahoma had just gotten waxed in the Big 12 Championship Game by Kansas State. USC played a weak conference schedule. LSU seemed to be the only team that everyone tacitly agreed belonged in the game. In the end, of course, LSU and USC shared the national title, with AP voters placing Southern Cal at the top and LSU claiming the crystal football.
Yes, LSU fans in some corners are still bitter about sharing the title, sure that Southern Cal couldn't have scored on that mighty Tiger D. And some (but probably fewer) SC fans are still upset about being left out of the official title game. But in the end, it was the best possible solution in a broken system: both deserving schools get to claim a national championship. Undefeated Auburn would not be so lucky the following season.
So the question now is whether the 2008 Texas Longhorns, should they win their bowl game, will get the SC treatment or the Auburn treatment. Should Alabama win two more games, they obviously deserve the title of undisputed national champion. But we don't think they can beat Florida. And if they don't, two of the following roughly equally deserving teams will play for the national title: Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Penn State, USC, Texas Tech. The teams on the second half of that list all have a major chink on their resumes that will keep them out of title contention. Texas is likely to be the most qualified team left out of the championship game. Should the Longhorns beat Ohio State or whomever they play in the Fiesta Bowl, here's hoping that the AP voters award this amazing Longhorn football team a share of the national championship. Lord knows they deserve it.
November 2, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 7, 2008
No real connection to present events? Probably.
But, damnit, last night hurt. Add 2008 to 1987, 2001 and 2002 as times that the Vikings have devastated Saints fans.
The good news is that Drew Brees is the best QB in the NFL, Reggie Bush is coming into his own as a true superstar, allegedly the team is going to get healthier over time, and the Oakland Raiders are next up on the schedule. At 2-3 the Saints aren't done by a long shot, and the Saints had legitimate chances to win all three games they lost.
Our sporting world is relatively positive at the moment. Texas could be challenged this week against Oklahoma, ditto LSU with Florida, the Red Sox beat the Angels despite John Lackey's best effort to be Matt Leinart ("We are a better team than they are. The last two days, we shouldn't have given up anything") and the Hornets are starting soon.
Still, that one hurt.
October 4, 2008
October 2, 2008
Kevin Durant, the reigning Rookie of the Year took in Oklahoma's football game against TCU on Saturday, and the former Texas start said he wrote "Hook 'Em Horns" on every autograph he signed and flashed the Longhorns' hand signal when fans wanted to take a picture with him. He didn't shy away from predicting a win for his alma mater against the top-ranked Sooners in two weeks either.
Way to go, KD!
Oklahoma still sucks!
September 3, 2008
LSU also put on quite a show against a lesser opponent, easily handling last year's Cinderella Appalachian State in Baton Rouge. Herr Gustav then responded with a pounding of Baton Rouge that will suspend the LSU-Troy game until November.
And that's about all we knew before finally having a little bit of time to get online and read some information about opening weekend. And, as always, Pat Forde of ESPN.com proved to be the pick of the mainstream media litter. We particularly enjoyed this seemingly random tidbit:
That's somewhat amusing.
One Of Them Academic Schools?
The Dash doesn't want to accuse LSU of putting on airs, but what exactly is going on in Baton Rouge when the starting quarterback is Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch (27), new athletic director Joe Alleva (28) came from Duke and new basketball coach Trent Johnson (29) was imported from Stanford?
If Les Miles (30) starts quoting Shakespeare, it will officially be getting weird on the bayou.
As for this weekend, UTEP is a potential trap game for the Longhorns. It's on the road and it will be the biggest game in El Paso since they started playing football in El Paso. That means that all 54 UTEP fans will be out in force to try and yell Texas into submission. If the 'Horns come out fired up and bury the Miners it will be an excellent sign for a tough season ahead. Our biggest hope coming into this season, at least in terms of intangibles, was that the team would begin to reflect Will Muschamp's attitude and intensity on the field. It will be absolutely necessary against a slate that could banish even a good team into the Land of Eight and Four.
On the other hand, UTEP lost to Buffalo and therefore probably isn't good enough to give Texas a game even without a high level of intensity from the Longhorns.
We are, however, particularly excited about the fact that the game doesn't start until 9:15, which means we should still be watching Texas football past midnight. That's pretty sweet.
August 30, 2008
It is football season.
Ich bin ein Longhorn.
August 21, 2008
By now you've noticed that we're within 500 hits of the big 50,000 on our little blog. We're honored after just under 18 months to be hitting 50,000, especially considering our blogging peer and mentor over at ZiggyBackRide is yet to hit 20,000. Through our first 49,500 hits, we've had the following people visiting our site:
- 48,000 -- Jeff and Abram reloading
- 1,000 -- Random Deadspin jerks
- 500 -- JBrater
- 300 -- Various members of the Orlansky family
- 199 -- Various friends (A couple Bens, a Laz, Scottie, Greg, Barry, etc.)
- 1 -- Sam Lee
- 0 -- Various members of the Asher family
The only question remaining is -- who will be the 50,000th visitor? Will it be you? The winner will receive a free autograph from both authors on your 2008 The Eyes of Texas preview book (you buy the book, we'll sign it for free). So subscribe to the site or keep checking back regularly, because anyone can win.
August 20, 2008
August 19, 2008
First, one of our favorite (and arguably most underrated) college football sites is CollegeFootballNews.com, formerly administered by Fox Sports and now by Scout. They've got great previews up for Texas, LSU, Penn State, Michigan, Kansas, and most any other team you'd care to read about. The only real issue with the site is that it tends to load rather slowly. The other, not-so-real issue is that they are predicting the Longhorns to go 8-4 with a loss to OU and 3 road losses (Colorado, Tech, & KU). Those are certainly all games that Texas could lose, but we're not ready to buy the hype on Tech or CU just yet.
Meanwhile, SMQ used to provide a lot of college football-related chatter and analysis, but now its author Matt Hinton has moved on to Yahoo! We assume that means he is now being paid to write. His Yahoo! blog is called Dr. Saturday, and it's very good. But it's apparently not quite done yet.
Burnt Orange Nation, where we sometimes post, is a part of SBN (Sports Blog Nation). Until recently, the LSU blog on SBN had been less than stellar in its frequency of posts, but now Richard (formerly of Geaux Tuscaloosa) has taken over and the site is kept quite current. It's called And the Valley Shook. It's fun.
Finally, read Barking Carnival. It's fun, too.
August 16, 2008
- The Olympics have been fantastic, just fantastic. The glory includes Michael Phelps captivating the nation, the tragedy of the men's volleyball team, women's gymnastics taking the individual gold and silver, the men's basketball team teaching us to love (USA basketball) again, 13 year old Chinese gymnasts, and a real medal count race being tainted by the existence of synchronized diving. We've got a week and a half left in the Olympics, and we're not ashamed to say that we'll be sad when this is over.
- Jannero Pargo is going to Russia to play basketball, signing a one year deal worth roughly $3.5 million with the Moscow Dynamo. Rather than adding to his skills during the prime of his career on the world's stage, he's taking a single fat paycheck to play in international abscurity and avoid paying taxes. Maybe there's an angle here that we're not seeing, but it seems like an awful lot to give up (fame, chance to play for a title, long term financial security) for just over $1 million, not to throw in the relative increased cost of living between Moscow and New Orleans/San Antonio.
- As if you need another reason to hate USC, it turns out they kicked Augie Garrido out of a scrimmage that was closed to the public but open to select alumni. Garrido is not an alum, but it seems kind of dick to kick the all-time winningnest baseball coach out of a preseason football scrimmage. We'd say something chippy but instead we'll just put the 2006 Rose Bowl DVD on and enjoy.
August 14, 2008
10. Don't watch the early-December bowl games unless your team is involved. It will only get you frustrated with the fact that North Texas and Middle Tennessee State get to go to bowl games, you'll get burnt out by the time the good games roll around, and you'll be embarrassed to be watching such drek when you could be having social interactions with real people.
9. Never forget the One Ring.
8. Play the "Which Crappy Big Ten Game Will Pam Ward be Calling This Week?" game with your friends. Check out the several crappy Big Ten games on ESPN on a given Saturday, everybody select a matchup, and tune in for as long as you can bear it to see who wins!
7. Make sure to watch the greatest player of our era every Saturday you can during football season because that 2006 Rose Bowl DVD never gets old.
6. Go to a good SEC tailgate party. It might even be a good idea to go without tickets, skip the game, and just stay at the tailgate the whole time. You might not enjoy the game, especially if your team sucks. But you're sure to have fun at a tailgate!
5. Watch the Texas-OU Game. Texas was the better team in '05 and '06 so Texas won the game. Last year was a toss up and OU won a close match. This year it seems OU is the more talented squad, but we must always hope.
4. Watch the Alabama-Auburn Game. We have no real interest in either one of these teams. In fact, we actually rather dislike them both. But with apologies to Ohio State-Michigan, there simply isn't a more bitter rivalry in all of college sports than the Bama-Auburn game. In Alabama, you're not Baptist, Catholic, or Jewish first. You're either a Bama person or an Auburn person. If a kid from a Bama family goes to Auburn, that kid "converted." This is not just about football to these people. This is about getting confirmation that your entire belief system is better than that of the other half of your little state. For people like us who are not involved, it's actually a little much. And funny. And it makes for great football.
As a caveat, we would not, in fact, recommend that Bama or Auburn fans watch this game. It will only get you worked up.
3. Remember that the games are played on Saturdays (and sometimes Thursdays). Do so by not letting your buddies who are fans of other schools get to you and by keeping your own dialogue civil. We will, of course, be writing a lot about what we think in this space but we will certainly be doing our part to try and keep the conversation rational. Some of your friends like to needle you and get a rise out of you over college football. That's cool. But just remember that no matter what they say or how you respond, you will have absolutely no impact on the outcome of the game. So just watch it.
2. Remember that the games are played on Saturdays (and sometimes Thursdays). Do so by watching a minimal amount of football-related television throughout the week. The more you listen to Mark May and all the other talking heads on ESPN, the angrier you will become. Unless you are a Southern Cal fan, you will feel that your team is constantly "disrespected" because we all have a certain level of irrational bias about our teams. And, those guys are blowhards.
1. Be a Texas Fan.
August 11, 2008
- Underdog -- check.
- Jerks are favored -- check.
- History on the line -- check.
- Charismatic leader who is arguably the greatest of his sport -- check.
- Solid start -- check.
- Fall behind big late -- check.
- Amazing comeback leading to remarkable victory -- check.
Ladies and gentlemen we present for you the pool version of the 2006 Rose Bowl. Just replace French with Trojans and every American swimmer with Vince Young and it fits perfectly!
We love the Olympics!
August 8, 2008
- Let's start off with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds are in a perfect storm of almost-awesomeness this season: a bullpen not good enough to hang onto medium-sized leads, and an offense not quite good enough to give mediocre pitching performances adeuate run support to bail them out. Of course, were St. Louis located on either coast of this great nation rather than in the middle, then we'd be overjoyed about our first-place heroes. That's right: the Cardinals, at 64-53, would be atop either of the other two NL divisions right now. Instead they are 6 games out of first and one game out of second. The third-place team in the former "Comedy Central" is one game out of the Wild Card. Which brings us to the question: why the heck did Bud Selig think his little mini-realignment that moved the Brewers to the NL was necessary? All it did was create baseball's only 6-team division and give the NL 16 teams to the AL's 14. What sense does that make? None. Would we be complaining if the Brewers didn't happen to be the only thing standing in the Cards' way to the Wild Card? No. And do we understand that the decision actually did make sense because it allowed both leagues to have an even number of teams? We guess so.
- We get to go see the Saints practice here in beautiful Jackson, MS tomorrow. They looked pretty solid in their preseason opener against Arizona last night--but more importantly, no one got hurt.
- Tom Glavine will start for the Mississippi Braves tomorrow night. The M-Braves maintain a 1.5 game lead over Montgomery for first place in the Southern League South Division, further proving that Jackson is better than Montgomery. Birmingham is 7 and a half behind Mississippi, meaning that if the M-Braves can stave off the Biscuits then we should have Minor League Playoff Baseball in Jacktown for the second straight year.
- College football happens really soon. We are a mere 22 days from the Longhorns' season opener against the Fightin' Howard Shnellenbergers of FAU and LSU's opener against the Very Scary Appalachian State Mountaineers. Who, you may recall, are hot, hot, hot.
August 3, 2008
July 22, 2008
- The Saints got Jeremy Shockey yesterday for a second and fifth round pick in 2009. How this can be seen as anything but a good thing is beyond us. Shockey is a four-time Pro Bowler entering the prime of his career who will be leaving an oft-troubled (other than 4 games in the playoffs in 2007) mostly running squad onto a pass-heavy precision offense that desperately needs a good tight end. And they got it all for a 2 and a 5. And he's signed for the next four years. And the Giants already paid his signing bonus. Considering the last 20 years of Saints history have produced four Pro Bowl appearances from their 2nd and 5th round draft choices (LeCharles Bentley (2), Dalton Hilliard and Tyrone Hughes), a solid tight end is a great pick up. In other words, should he cause issues with team chemistry, the Saints really haven't given up a ton to get him. Good get!
- The LSU Tigers baseball team played extraordinarily well, reaching Omaha for the first time in several years. It may not have gone all the way, but the team is certainly headed in the right direction.
- VY is getting his jersey retired. There has never been any doubt in our mind that it should have been done. It's about damn time.
- Finally, check this out! It's a book, with stuff we wrote in it! A book! Go buy it, we get none of the proceeds, so not buying it just to spite us will not work.
41 days until football starts.
May 12, 2008
While the Longhorns will always be our first and foremost college athletics concern, we each had a first love that has been referred to frequently around here. For one of us, the first love was/is LSU sports and every time we think one of their teams is going to suck long enough for us to let go for good, they haul us back in. The College Baseball Team of the '90s had fallen on very, very rough times over the last few years under coach Smoke Laval, but Paul Mainieri seems to have his guys putting it all together here in the closing weeks of 2008.
In the final regular-season series ever at college baseball landmark Alex Box Stadium, LSU completed a sweep of Mississippi State last weekend. It marked the first time the Tigers had strung together 3 straight SEC sweeps since their first National Championship in 1991. That's pretty remarkable. Making Sunday's game that much more emotional was that it came against traditional rival Mississippi State and longtime coach Ron Polk, who unfortunately is retiring after State's worst season in a long, long time.
For several weeks it has been assumed that Mother's Day would mark the last time anyone would ever play "Baseball at the Box," but after a 12-game winning streak the Tigers are actually in position to vie for a hosting spot in a sub-regional of the NCAA Tournament. They currently sit atop the SEC West and sport a 35-16-1 overall record. If LSU can keep this train rolling through UNO in a mid-week game and follow it up with a series win at Auburn (11-16, 27-25) they will have an excellent case for a 1-seed and a hosting position.
If you're in any way interested, you can watch the Final Game Ceremony here.
May 8, 2008
- Cedric Benson: DWI offender or victim of a DWB imposed by Lake Travis police? ESPN is reporting that Ced's friends on the boat with him at the time of his arrest believe that the cops were overly forceful with him and that he was not, in fact, drunk. The most interesting part of the article from our perspective is Elizabeth Cartwright's claim that she has been out on the lake 6 times with Ced, and all 6 times they have been stopped by the police. Outright racism? Or is Cedric a really bad driver? We want very badly to side with Benson here, and since we are unlikely to ever definitively know who's telling the truth, we're going to!
- Ryan Perrilloux: Les Miles finally had enough of RP's shenanigans, and to be honest we're at the point where we'd rather the Tigers lose without him than win with him. So the question now becomes: who plays QB for LSU next season? In the spring it was looking like redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee would likely beat out Harvard transfer Andrew Hatch. Both of those guys are traditional pocket passers and Lee was very highly recruited out of high school. But also keep an eye on true freshman Jordan Jefferson, who apparently has some serious talent both with his arm and with the wheels. Fall practice should certainly be interesting.
- The Cardinals are awesome, despite blowing a late 3-0 lead to lose to the Rockies 4-3 last night. What's worse, they got Todd Helton to pop out to third for the second out while still leading 3-1 in the 8th, but couldn't close the deal as Colorado put up 3 more in the inning. Regardless, the Redbirds continue to follow Tony LaRussa's philosophy of a successful season consistently: just win every series you possibly can, and mathematically it's always going to be good enough to make the playoffs. The Cards have done what they are supposed to do against weaker opponents, and even won Round One against the hot-hitting Cubbies. There are few things as a sports fan more satisfying than a team producing way beyond its expectations (see: 2007-2008 Texas basketball).
- Our old friend Ben Dorfman has been in the news lately. First with his award winning caption in the first offseason caption contest: "No, Mr. President, I don't think she would mind if you put your dollar bill there." Then Ben went and outdid himself with the post of the year on his blog about Austin eateries. We HIGHLY advise you to go over there and comment.
- Finally, someone forgot to tell the Hornets that they weren't supposed to beat the Spurs. After two games in which Chris Paul and His Raging Band of Basketball Badasses beat the defending champs like rented mules, the series returns tonight in San Antonio--where, by the way, the Hornets have already won 102-78 earlier this year. Splitting the two games in Texas will give New Orleans a chance to win it in 5 in front of a home crowd. Which would mean the Hornets will have gotten as far in the playoffs (conference championship) after 6 years in New Orleans as it took the Saints 38 years to get. Just saying.
April 23, 2008
April 17, 2008
Apparently Royal Ivey has something in common with Chris Paul.
Clearly Royal With Cheese is thinking that Chris Paul is the best PG in the game, Royal Ivey is not. Chris Paul once punched a dude in the nuts, Royal Ivey should do just that.
We say good for him, and we fully expect to see significant improvements in his game after his suspension is up.
April 16, 2008
Obviously, it's still very possible that all the naysayers will turn out to have been right. It's only April and a lot of teams start off like a house afire only to cool off quickly as the season grinds on. A fifth place finish is still very realistic. But if, somehow, the pitchers can keep producing and a couple of guys named Mulder and Carpenter can come back at full strength at or before mid-season, this may turn out to be a pleasantly surprising summer for the Redbirds.
Either way, for now it's awesome.
April 8, 2008
5) Texas played some elite competition, and beat some elite competition. KU, UCLA, Tennessee, Baylor, the list goes on. There have been years with ho-hum basketball schedules, but this was not one of them.
4) The loss to Memphis was not Rick Barnes' finest as a coach, but this season reminded us fully why we are lucky to have him. He took a lot of heat last season, mostly from Bill Simmons, but his coaching job in the offseason right up to the last day of March was nothing short of beautiful. If DJ and DJ return (we feel probably not on the former, possibly on the latter), Texas will have no excuses for not making the Final Four in 2009.
3) It started off slowly on the first day, but this turned into a fantastic tournament. Texas played 3 great games, WKU hit the shot of all but the tournament's last 5:03, Davidson became America's team, Duke lost in the second round, and UNC and UCLA did not make the championship game. It won't be as near and dear to our hearts as 2003, but it was still an amazing 3 weeks.
2) The championship game was the best in a long time. Billy Packer tried to ruin it, but he failed. We have nothing but respect for KU's program, and had no hard feelings for Memphis after they destroyed Texas. Both teams played a great game and Mario Chalmers did what Mario Chalmers does. 2009 hoops can't start soon enough!
1) It made us believe again. That may be a tad over the top, a tad melodramatic, but this basketball season gave us some bright spots on an otherwise dreary football-dominated landscape. The future is bright for Texas basketball, with or without the DJs.
April 5, 2008
We know we know haven't been all that responsible in posting since moving the majority of our Texas posts over to Burnt Orange Nation, but you've stuck with us and rewarded us with 40,000+ hits.
So here's to a great year of Coach Boom, at least 3 sports titles, and hitting the 100,000 hits mark.
And also: the Cards beat the Nats today. St. Louis is on a 4 game winning streak and has a 4-1 record. Woo!
April 4, 2008
That's right, the 3-1 Nats visit the 2-1 Cardinals as the Birdos try to stay above .500 for as long as their mediocre roster will allow. It's on like Donkey Kong.
April 3, 2008
This is so shocking because we just assumed the Red Sox were just like the Yankees. Sure the Yankees are spending $70 million more than the nearest competitor. Sure the Yankees signed MLB's best and pansiest player to a $300+ million contract. Sure the Yankees are jerks. But the Red Sox are just as bad. Now it seems the Tigers are spending a crapload of money. For shame, jbrater. For shame.
Just for kicks let's check out the payroll. We see that the Yankees are clearly #1. We see the difference between the Yankees at #1 and the Tigers at #2 is the same as the Tigers at #2 and the Rangers at #19. The Mets are a close #3, but where are the Red Sox?
New York Mets----$138,293,378
Geez they're a long way down
Really makes you think, huh?
April 2, 2008
But then, there's also the fact that the mighty Cards seem to be on the brink of completing their collapse that began last season and we hope will lead to the long climb back up next season. But there are some reasons to be optimistic: first, the Birdos did finish spring training with a string of nice performances. Second, Kyle Lohse actually threw pretty well last night. And third, we still play in the NL Central, and it's still the worst division in baseball.
But last night the visiting Colorado Rockies frustrated our dreams to at least have a winning record for a day. Those dreams were even more vivid after St. Louis appeared to be in control of Sunday night's season opener only to have the game rained out. So Monday's do-over came along, and Yadier Molina produced the Cardinals' only run with a solo homerun in the 5th. Troy Glaus--who, for those keeping score at home, is not Scott Rolen--made a critical throwing error to allow the tying run to score in the top of the 8th. Then Randy Flores had the unenviable task of coming in from the bullpen with no one out and the bases juiced in a tie ballgame. Randy then proceeded to strike out the first two batters he faced, then walk in the eventual winning run on some brutally close calls by the home plate ump.
That's the nasty thing about Ball: Flores faced 4 guys, got 3 of them out, but still gave up the winning run. At least it wasn't charged to him.
Let the long summer begin.
March 19, 2008
As probably only one of you (jbrater) knows, he and the one of us that lives in DC have spent that last few Wednesday nights at a favorite meeting place to enjoy beverages and Hornets/Pistons games. During these gatherings there three immutable events have occured:
- We have had a good time
- The one of us that lives in DC has stolen a few fries
- The Hornets have performed better than the Pistons
Tonight, the Hornets ran away from the Rockets big time in the 4th quarter while the Pistons suffered through at least a dozen of the worst calls either of us had ever seen in our entire lives.
So, here is the plea. If you know jbrater, please implore him to continue this worthy tradition. The Pistons will surely come through their weekly midweek slump, and it gives a great boost for the best team in the NBA's best conference.
Please. Write your congressman. Do it for the Hornets. Do it for the Pistons. Do it for Andre the bartender. Do it for jbrater.
March 14, 2008
March 6, 2008
The point is, sometime in the last year it turned out that someone other than our parents and eight of our friends started to read this thing. So this post is to let all of you--we still don't believe there are more than 15 of you out there--know that there will be a bit of a slowdown here on 40 Acre Sports. We will continue to keep the site up and post to it regularly. Our thoughts on LSU, Tulane, the Cardinals, the Saints, the Hornets, the Red Sox/Nats/whomever Jeff is pretending to be a fan of today (go Capitals!), and some Texas items will remain here. But, the bulk of our Texas posting will now take place on Burnt Orange Nation. So go there. Now.
March 5, 2008
Fan 1: Saw you havin' a heated argument with your t-sip friend over thar. Whatchy'all arguin 'bout?
Fan 2: We can't decide whether our Top 10 basketball coach or Top 10 football coach is better.
Fan 1: Saw 'em both off!
Fan 2: [peering in closely] Are you retarded?
Well executed, sir.
March 4, 2008
Player 1 is Kevin Durant. Player 2 is, somewhat surprisingly, Lebron James during his rookie year. The numbers are very similar in field goal and three point percentage (where KD has been getting a lot of criticism). KD holds a slight edge in blocks, fouls and free throw percentage, and Lebron holding the slight edge in the rest.
Still not convinced that KD's rookie year is comparable to Lebron's? Take a look at each player's averages per 48 minutes.
When you look at it this way, Kevin actually is averaging more points per 48 than Lebron did his rookie year. You should also consider that Lebron's team in 03-04 had 4 other players averaging double-digits in points, won 35 games (the Sonics are on pace for 22), and did not have to deal with all of the shenanigans that the Sonics are currently dealing with.
Putting all of that together with the fact that KD's numbers have been gradually improving over the course of the season, we don't think it's all that crazy to say Kevin Durant is putting together a relatively solid rookie year.
The point is not to argue that KD is destined to become the next greatest player in the NBA (he will, but that's not the point) as only time will tell if he develops his game to be as complete as King James'. We are saying, however, that it's time to back the hell off KD and give him his damn rookie-of-the-year award already.
"The only reason we were in it with Shepard is because Texas coach Mack Brown was recruiting him strictly as a wide receiver. Shepard has said he does not mind switching positions but wants to get a shot at quarterback, and will switch positions if he doesn't earn playing time at QB. That's fine with me. Les Miles has said he's a quarterback and that's where he wants Shepard. I actually give Mack Brown some credit here. He didn't just tell Shepard what he wanted to hear. He told him the truth, which is that Texas wasn't going to give him a shot at quarterback. LSU will."
This is the kind of approach that is missing all too often from college football conversation, especially when it comes to recruiting. Recruiting can be a really tough business for fans, as it's a time when we hope guys with way more athletic ability than we ever dreamed of having will decide they feel the same way about our schools as we do. It's hard sometimes to avoid the temptation of feeling like a jilted lover just because an 18-year-old kid chose to attend college at a different school; similarly, it can be hard to avoid the temptation of gloating when he does choose your alma mater.
On top of that, we have often said that we love having Mack Brown as our coach for reasons beyond winning, and Geaux Tuscaloosa here points out a fine example of that. Could Brown have landed Shepard, a lifelong Horns fan, in Austin simply by promising to give him a shot at QB? Probably. Would he then have had to either back down from that promise or not truly give Shepard a fair shot? Almost certainly. Instead of choosing either of those two bad options, Mack decided to operate with his characteristic integrity and be honest with the kid. We've said it before and we'll say it again: we're lucky to have Mack representing The University.
Anyhow, while you wait on the phone to purchase your tickets for the Nationals home opener, enjoy what is arguably the greatest piece of literature to come out of Texas since, well, probably ever --
This is pretty long, but it's HYSTERICAL! If you've ever been a
die-hard fan at a sporting event, or been with someone who is,
you can relate. This is an e-mail from some guy named J.D.
Horne, who, according to the messages that were attached to
this, is not a 21 year-old frat boy, but an attorney of indeterminate
age. He sent it to his friend Brian Brice and it got forwarded
around the country. You have to give the guy kudos for being
self-deprecating...but I hope I never meet him on game day.
A chronology of events for Saturday, December 4, 1999, and the
early morning hours of Sunday, December 5, 1999:
6:00 Arise, play the Eyes of Texas and Texas Fight at
6:20 Get in car, drive to New Braunfels
7:30 Tee off (me and a buddy were the FIRST tee-time of the
8:50 Turn 9 (crack open first beer)
8:53 Crack open second beer
8:58 Crack open...(you get the idea)
10:30 Finish 18 (holes, as well as beers), sign scorecard for
10:35 Headed for San Antonio (Alamodome - NU vs Texas)
10:50 Buy three 18-packs for pre- and post-game festivities
11:10 We decide we don't have enough booze, so we
double-back to a liquor store and buy the good ol' 750 ml
plastic bottle "Traveler" Jim Beam
11:50 Arrive at the tailgate spot. Awesome day. Not a single
cloud in the sky. About 70 degrees.
11:55 I decide that we're going to kick the shit out of Nebraska.
11:56 I tell my first Nebraska fan to go fuck himself.
12:15 The UT band walks by on the way to the Alamodome.
We're on the second floor of a two-story parking garage on the
corner (a couple hundred of us). We're hooting and hollering like
wildmen. The band doubles back to the street right below us
and serenades us with Texas Fight and The Eyes of Texas.
12:25 In the post-serenade serendipity, 50-100 grown men are
bumping chests with one another, each and every one of them
now secure and certain of the fact that we are going to kick the
shit out of Nebraska.
1:00 The Nebraska band walks by on the way to the
Alamodome. Again, we hoot and holler like wildmen. Again, the
band doubles back and stops right below us to serenade us,
this time, however, with the Nebraska fight songs. Although
somewhat impressed by their spirit and verve, we remain
convinced that we are going to kick the shit out of Nebraska.
1:30 I begin the walk to the Alamodome, somehow managing to
stuff the "Traveler" and 11 cans of beer into my pants.
1:47 I am in line surrounded by Nebraska fans. They are
taunting me. I am taunting back, still certain that we are going to
kick the shit out of Nebraska. I decide to challenge a particularly
vocal Nebraska fan to play what I now call and will forever be
remembered as Cell-Phone Flop Out." Remember flop out for a
dollar? The rules are similar. I tell this Nebraska jackass that if
he's so confident in his team, he should "flop out" his cell phone
RIGHT NOW and make plane reservations to Phoenix for the
Fiesta Bowl. And then I spoke these memorable words: "And not
those damn refundable tickets, either! You request those
non-refundable, non-transferable sons-of-bitches!" He backs
down. He is unworthy. I call Southwest Airlines and buy two
tickets to Phoenix, non-refundable and non-transferable. Price:
$712. He is humbled. He lowers his head in shame. I raise my
cell phone in triumph to the cheers of hundreds of Texas fans. I
am KING and these are my subjects. I distribute the 11 beers in
my pants to the cheering masses. I RULE the pre-game
2:34 Kickoff. Brimming with confidence, I open the Traveler and
pour my first stiffy.
2:45 I notice something troubling: Nebraska is big. Nebraska is
fast. Nebraska is very pissed off at Texas.
3:01 The first quarter mercifully ends. 9 yards total offense for
Texas. Zero first downs for Texas. I'm still talking shit. I pour
another stiffy from the Traveler.
3:36 Four minutes to go in the first half: the Traveler is a dead
soldier. I buy my first $5 beer from the Alamodome merchants.
While I am standing in line, a center snap nearly decapitates
Major Applewhite and rolls out of the end zone. Safety
3:56 Halftime score: Nebraska 15, Texas 0. I wish I had another
4:11 While urinating next to a Nebraska fan in the bathroom at
halftime, I attempt to revive the classic Brice-ism from the South
Bend bathroom: "Hey, buddy, niiiiiiiiice cock." He is unamused.
4:21 I buy my 2nd and 3rd $5 beer from the Alamodome
merchants. I share my beer with two high school girls sitting
behind me. Surprisingly, they are equipped with a flask full of
vodka. I send them off to purchase Sprites, so that we may
consume their vodka. I have not lost faith. Nebraska is a bunch
4:51 No more vodka. The girls sitting behind me have fled for
their lives. I purchase two more $5 beers from the Alamodome
5:18 Score is Nebraska 22, Texas 0. I am beginning to lose
faith. This normally would trouble me, but I am too drunk to see
the football field.
5:27 I call Southwest Airlines: "I'm sorry, sir. Those tickets have
been confirmed and are non-refundable and non-transferrable."
5:37 I try to start a fight with every person behind the concession
counter. As it turns out, the Alamodome has a policy that no beer
can be sold when there is less than 10 minutes on the game
clock. I am enraged by this policy. I ask loudly: "Why the fuck
didn't you announce last call over the fucking PA system??!!"
5:49 Back in my seats, I am slumped in my chair in defeat. All of
a sudden, the Texas crowd goes absolutely nuts. "Whazzis?," I
mutter, awaking from my coma, "Iz we winnig? Did wez scort?"
Alas, the answer is no, we were not winning and we did not
score. The largest (by far) cheer of the day from the Texas
faithful occurred when the handlers were walking back to the
tunnel and Bevo (the Texas mascot) stopped to take a
gargantuan shit all over the letters "S", "K", and "A" in the
"Nebraska" spelled out in their end zone. I cheer wildly. I pick up
he empty Traveler bottle and stick my tongue in it. I am thirsty.
6:16 Nebraska fans are going berserk as I walk back to the
truck. I would taunt them with some off-color remarks about their
parentage, but I am too drunk to form complete sentences. With
my last cognitive thought of the evening, I take solace in the fact
that if we had not beaten them in October, they would be playing
Florida State for the national championship.
6:30 Back in the car. On the way back to Austin for the basketball
8:00 Texas-Arizona tip off. We can still salvage the day! I crack
open a beer. It is warm. I don't care.
7:12 We have stopped for gas. I am hungry. I go inside the
store. I walk past the beer frig. I notice a Zima. I've never had a
Zima. I wonder if it's any good. I pull a Zima from the frig. I twist
the top off and drink the Zima in three swallows. Zima sucks. I
replace the empty bottle in the frig.
7:17 There is a Blimpie Subs in the store. I walk to where the
ingredients are, where the person usually makes the sub. There
is no one there. I lean over the counter and scoop out half a
bucket of black olives. I eat them. I am still hungry. I lean further
over the counter and grab approximately two pounds of
Pastrami. I walk out of the store grunting and eating Pastrami.
The patrons in the store fear me. I don't care.
8:01 We are in South Austin. I have been drinking warm beer
and singing Brooks and Dunn tunes for over an hour. My
truck-mate is tired of my singing. He suggests that perhaps
Brooks and Dunn have written other good songs besides "You're
Going to Miss Me When I'm Gone" and "Neon Moon" and that
maybe listening to only those two songs, ten times each was a
bit excessive. Perhaps, he suggests, I could just let the CD play
on its own. I tell him to fuck off and restart "Neon Moon."
8:30 We arrive at the Erwin Center. My truck-mate, against my
loud and profane protestations, parks on the top floor of a nearby
parking garage. I tell him he's an idiot. I tell him we will never get
out. I tell him we may as well pitch a fucking tent here. He
ignores me. I think he's still pissed about the Brooks and Dunn
tunes. I whistle "Neon Moon" loudly.
8:47 I am rallying. I have 4 warm beers stuffed in my pants.
We're going to kick the shit out of Arizona.
9:11 Halftime score: Texas 31, Arizona 29. I am pleased. I go to
the bathroom to pee for the 67th time today. I giggle to myself
because of the new opportunity to do "the bathroom Brice." There
are no Arizona fans in the bathroom. I am disappointed. I tell
myself (out loud) that I have a "Niiiiiice cock." No one is amused
9:41 I walk to the bathroom while drinking Bud Light out of a can.
Needless to say, they do not sell beer at the Erwin Center, much
less Bud Light out of a can. I am stopped by an usher: "Where
did you get that, sir?" I tell him (no shit): "Oh, the cheerleaders
were throwing them up with those little plastic footballs. Would
you mind throwing this away for me?" I take the last swig and
hand it to him. He is confused. I pretend I'm going to the
bathroom, but I run away giggling instead. I duck into some
entrance to avoid the usher, who is now pursuing me. I sneak
into a large group of people and sit down. The usher walks by
harmlessly. I am giggling like a little girl. I crack open another
can of Bud Light.
9:52 I am lost. In my haste to avoid the usher, I have lost my
bearings. I have no ticket stub. I cannot find my seats. Texas is
10:09 Texas is being screwed by the refs. I am enraged. I have
cleared out the seats around me because I keep removing my
hat and beating the surrounding chairs with it. A concerned fan
asks if I'm OK and perhaps I shouldn't take it so seriously. I tell
him to fuck off.
10:15 After the fourth consecutive "worst fucking call I have
EVER seen," I attempt to remove my hat again to begin beating
inanimate objects. However, on this occasion I miscalculate and
I thumbnail myself in my left eyelid, leaving a one-quarter inch
gash over my eye. I am now bleeding into my left eye and all over
my shirt. "Perhaps," I think to myself, I'm taking this a bit
10:22 I am standing in the bathroom peeing. I'm so drunk I am
swaying and grunting. I have a bloody napkin pressed on my left
eye. My pants are bloody. I have my (formerly) white shirt
wrapped around my waist. I look like I should be in an episode of
10:43 Texas has lost. I put my bloody white shirt back on my
body and make my way for the exits. I am stopped every 20
seconds by a good samaritan/cop/security guard to ask me why I
am covered in blood, but I merely grunt incoherently and keep
10:59 With my one good eye, I have located the parking garage. I
walk up six flights of stairs, promise that when I see my friend I
will punch him in the face for making me walk up six flights of
stairs, find the truck, and collapse in a heap in the bed of the
truck. I look around and notice that traffic is lined up all the way
around the garage, six whole flights, and no one is moving. I take
11:17 I awake from my nap. I see my friend in the driver's seat. I
lift my head to look out the bed of the truck and notice that traffic
is lined up all the way around the garage, six whole flights, and
no one is moving. I am too tired to punch my friend. I call my
friend a "Stupid cocksucker."
11:31 I lift my head to look out the bed of the truck and notice that
traffic is lined up all the way around the garage, six whole flights,
and no one is moving. I call my friend a "Stupid cocksucker."
11:38 I lift my head to look out the bed of the truck and notice that
traffic is lined up all the way around the garage, six whole flights,
and no one is moving. I call my friend a "Stupid cocksucker."
11:47 I lift my head to look out the bed of the truck and notice that
traffic is lined up all the way around the garage, six whole flights,
and no one is moving. I call my friend a "Stupid cocksucker."
11:58 I am jostled. The truck is moving. I lift my head to look out
the bed of the truck and notice that traffic is beginning to move on
the second floor. I jump out of the truck, walk to the edge of the
parking facility, and pee off the sixth floor onto the street below.
My friend looks at me like I just anally violated his minor sister. I
turn around pee on the front of his truck while singing the lyrics to
12:11 We are moving. We are out of beer. I jump from the truck
and go from vehicle to vehicle until someone gives me two
beers. I am happy. I return to my vehicle
12:26 We have emerged from the parking facility. We make our
way to my apartment and find Ed sitting on the couch with a
freshly opened bottle of Glenlivet on the coffee table in front of
him. We are all going to die tonight.
12:59 We have finished three-quarters of the bottle of Glenlivet.
We decide it would be a wonderful idea to go dancing at
PollyEsther's. Ed has to pee. He walks down the hall to our
apartment and directly into he full length mirror at the end of the
hall, smashing it into hundreds of pieces. We giggle
uncontrollably and leave for PollyEsther's.
1:17 The PollyEsther's doorman laughs uncontrollably at our
efforts to enter his club. "Fellas," he says in between his fits of
spastic laughter,” I’ve been working this door for almost a year.
I've been working doors in this town for almost 5 years. And I can
honestly say that I ain't never seen three drunker mother fuckers
than you three. Sorry, can't let you in." We attempt to reason with
him. He laughs harder.
1:44 We find a bar that lets us in. We take two steps in the door
and hear "Last call for alcohol!" I turn to the group and mutter:
"See, dat wasn't that fuckin' hard. Day don't fuckin' do that at the
Awamo...the awaom...the alab...fuck it, that stadium we was at
today..." We order 6 shots of tequila and three beers.
2:15 Back on the street. We need food. We hail a cab to take us
the two and one half blocks to Katz's. The cab fare is $1.60. We
give him $10 and tell him to keep it.
2:17 There is a 20 minute wait. We give the hostess $50. We
are seated immediately.
2:25 We order two orders of fried pickles, a Cobb salad, a bowl
of soup, two orders of Blueberry blintzes, two Reuben
sandwiches, a hamburger, two cheese stuffed potatoes, an
order of fries, and an order of onion rings.
2:39 The food arrives. We are all asleep with our heads onthe
table. The waiter wakes us up. We eat every fucking bit of our
food. Most of the restaurant patrons around us are disgusted.
We don't give a fuck. The tab is $112 with tip.
2:46 I'm sleepy.
9:12 I wake up next to a strange woman. She is the bartender at
Katz's. She is not pretty.
HOOK 'EM HORNS, BABY!!! Out-
March 3, 2008
As we said yesterday, the errors are by far the most distressing aspect of the weekend. Through eight games, Texas is on pace for a startling 116 errors. We have no doubt that number will go down, and we hope the 11 errors for the weekend were an exception rather than the rule.
Kyle Russell has been in some sort of funk of late, leading him to be nearly 40 points (.296) below his 2007 batting average. Worse yet is Jordan Danks who is 60 points (.276) below his 2007 average. Assuming those two will return to form, the team is an offensively sleeping giant.
Of most concern (other than the defense) has been Kyle Walker at closer. The junior has already given up 4 runs (3 earned) and walked 3 in just 3 innings of work. The stellar play of freshman Slayton Thomas (amongst other freshman fireballers) gives us hope that the closer will be settled by at least conference play. With Brandon Workman, Thomas, and Cole Green, Texas has the chance to really get stronger as the year goes on.
This weekend Texas gets a chance to prove itself, hosting a good Stanford club. Both teams are currently 6-2, with Stanford having victories over Nebraska (series win 2-1) and Cal State Fullerton (sweep). Stanford features Friday starter junior Jeremy Bleich, a friend to one of us from the olden days.
Texas' midweek opponent is Texas A&M Corpus Christi, who at 2-5 should present a great opportunity for the youngsters to get some experience and playing time.
The games should be available on TexasSports.tv, you can probably check back here for some postgame analysis.
March 2, 2008
- Texas basketball nearly won a game in Lubbock that it had no business winning. A win would have been HUGE, all but locking up a one-seed. As we thought about it, the loss could be conceivably good for the Horns if it leads to a spot in the Houston regional. Either way, the team showed a lot of moxie in making the comeback. We feel that Texas was due a loss like this after a perfect February, so there's no reason to fret too much. With a 13-3 conference record in sight, March is still looking to be a fun month, and April play is still not out of the question.
- Texas baseball did not perform up to snuff in Houston, dropping two games to quality opposition. Early struggles are not surprising considering how green this club is. Of course the nine errors through the first two games is pretty shocking, and hopefully not a sign of things to come. Also, the disastrous play of Kyle Walker is worrisome to say the least. Encouraging signs are plentiful in Texas' 8-7 (10 innings) win over Houston. Freshmen Connor Rowe (game winning single in the 10th), Cameron Rupp (3-5 with 4 runs), Cole Green (6.2 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs), and Slayton Thomas (1.2 IP, 0 hits, 2 k's, winning pitcher) were all fantastic.
- We were busy this weekend, but we'll try to take a closer look at the Horns before their mid-week series with TAMUCC this week and weekend series against Stanford.
- The women's basketball squad beat #10 Oklahoma in Norman, but you can finish this sentence already knowing our sentiments.
- It was a GREAT weekend for Aggy bashing. They scored 10 points in the first half in Norman, Peter Bean did a guest post at EDSBS in which he nailed our most pressing question of to what extent would Mike Sherman "prefer the world be more like it was in the 1880s than it is today?" Also, Richard Justice made our day by reminding A&M fans that "Texas has a better coach and a better facility and a better city. Texas has a better tradition."
- The Saints got Gay and Jonathan Vilma in free agency, but failed to acquire what would have been the biggest catch in Lance Briggs. Either way, it was a positive weekend for the Who Dats.
- And finally, the Red Fish Grille was fantastic, but there was WAY too much food. At the end there was a plate full of jambalaya and neither of us wanted to eat it. We had become everything we have always hated.
Oh, also, there's this:
February 26, 2008
On this date in 2003 the Horns were 18-5, having played 11 non-conference (9-2) and 13 conference games (9-3). Today, the Horns are 24-4, having played 15 non-conference (13-2) and 13 conference games (11-2). A month ago we were thinking about throwing ourselves at the mercy of our reader(s?) for even thinking a comparison of the two seasons could be made. Now, though, we'd like to revisit the comparisons and see what has changed.
DJ versus TJ:
In December we gave the edge to TJ. We still feel pretty confident that TJ's 15 points and 8 assists still hold up over DJ's 19 points and 6 assists. The gap, however, is closing. Even when TJ didn't score he brought important leadership and defense to the court. During a recent cold spell DJ showed that he can do some of the same things, but there's no shame in being considered second to TJ Ford. Old Edge -- TJ...New Edge -- TJ
Damion James versus James Thomas:
Exhibit A that the '07-'08 Horns are gaining in our minds is the rise of Damion James. Damion can be a huge offensive threat for the Horns, with great defensive intensity and a very solid rebounding presence. He may never be the rebounder of JT, but his offensive versatility gives him the edge in our book. Old Edge -- Slight JT...New Edge -- Slight Damion James.
Justin Mason versus Royal Ivey:
Mason went through a stretch of bad basketball that resulted in Mason losing his starting spot. The last few games we are starting to see how much Justin Mason means to this club and how he can contribute significantly to a succesful March run. Mason does not shoot the ball well, but he does pretty much everything else very well. All things considered, the assessment from December still holds true. Old Edge -- Ivey...New Edge -- Ivey.
Connor Atchley versus Jason Klotz/Brian Boddicker:
Quick, what is your first thought whenever Connor gets an open look? Yep, it's still 'shoot it, Connor!' Atchley has become one of the most important players in Texas' success, as evidenced by last night's 14 points in 13 minutes. He combines Boddicker's outside shooting with (more than) Klotz's inside presence. Old Edge -- Connor...New Edge -- Connor.
AJ Abrams versus Brandon Mouton:
Neither player really has a comparison on the other team. Both are very important cogs in each team's success. AJ has the edge in outside shooting, Brandon in just about everything else. Old Edge -- Mouton...New Edge -- Mouton.
SexyChappyWang versus Brad Buckman/Sydmill Harris/Deginald Erskin:
We've finally landed on a nickname for the threesome that is Dexter Pittman, Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene. Together those three are capable of giving energy, defense, rebounding, and an inside presence for a few critical minutes each night. Most importantly, each are improving and could become even better by the time the tourney rolls around. The '02-'03 trio never did that. Old Edge -- N/A...New Edge -- SexyChappyWang.
Harrison Smith versus Terelle Ross/Kenton Paulino:
Nothing new here. We feel bad for Harrison Smith who was a 4* recruit but gets no minutes under Rick Barnes. We've got nothing against the kid and would like to see him transfer for more minutes elsewhere. Old Edge -- Ross/Paulino...New Edge -- Ross/Paulino.
J.D. Lewis versus Chris Ogden:
What the hell is "Stampede"? Old Edge -- O-zone...New Edge -- O-zone.
Ian Mooney versus Drew Gresset:
One of us was at the Texas-OU game last Saturday. With Texas up big at the end of the game the fans began chanting to see Mooney in the game. It felt...wrong. Old Edge -- Drew Gresset...New Edge -- Drew Gresset.
Gary Johnson versus ??????:
In December we hadn't seen what Gary Johnson could do for this club, although even then we had an idea of what he could do for this club. It's not that he adds all that much scoring or rebounding or defense. No, the key thing to know about Gary Johnson is that with him on the court Texas can do anything. He brings toughness, he brings an inside game, he brings energy, and he brings budding confidence. There was no equivalent on the 2002-2003 team. He brings a bit of Buckman, a bit of Deginald Erskin, a bit of James Thomas, and a bit of Jason Klotz. We didn't really know what it would look like when we said he might be the difference maker for this team, now we know. Old Edge -- N/A...New Edge -- Gary Johnson.
The Final Comparison:
We'll say this about the 07-08 Horns, they have achieved enough to be judged solely by their post-season performance. It may have been sacrilege to say it in December, but this team has up to this point accomplished every bit as much as the Final Four squad had. No other team since has done as much. The '05-'06 team had 3 double digit losses by this point (including a 31 point loss to #1 Duke) and no real defining wins. This team, however, has the opportunity to define its place in Texas basketball history. For now the assessment remains in favor of the '02-'03 Horns, but it's getting awfully close.
February 24, 2008
1) The biggest surprise of the weekend has to go to Kevin Keyes. This giant of a man started two games at DH and went 5-7 with 4 runs scored. The 6'4" 215 lbs freshman even stole two bases on the weekend.
2) UFCU Disch-Falk field. Wow. The newly redone stadium is awesome. Well done by the university in making the Disch into a nice, enjoyable park to watch baseball. There is a ton of open space along the right and left field lines, the concourse looks fantastic, and all the new seating makes for a beautiful setup. If only there was grass...
3) VCU was clearly overmatched, but Texas played some real nice baseball. Doing the little things right, stealing bases, playing solid defense, putting the ball in play, this is what makes Auggieball so dangerous.
4) If the starting pitching is this good, look out Omaha! We can't remember another time when so much of the pitching staff will be determined on the field. Austin Wood pitched six good innings on Friday, Kenn Kasparek did the same on Sunday in his first game in over two years, and Cole Green pitched nicely in his Longhorn debut. Throw in some nice relief work by Brandan Workman, Kyle Walker, and Chance Ruffin -- amongst others -- excites us to see how this pitching staff will develop.
5) We can't remember a year in which we a) had so many newbies in key positions, and b) felt so confident in their abilities. Michael Torres and David Hernandez are a great combination in the middle infield, Brandon Belt should do a nice job filling some big shoes at first, and Travis Tucker (new to 3b) played the position very nicely this weekend.
6) We're interested to see how the condensed schedule affects the team. Texas clearly has a quantitatively deep pitching staff, but we'll soon learn about the quality. The Horns play 8 games in the season's first 9 days, having a two-game series against always feisty UT Pan American before traveling to Houston to face Tennessee, Rice, and Houston in the Minute Maid Classic.
7) TexasSports.tv enables you to watch games live, on the internet, for free. That is awesome.
8) The next six weeks are the best of the offseason. College baseball is back, college basketball is still here. We suggest enjoying it while it lasts.
February 20, 2008
February 19, 2008
February 18, 2008
20:00 -- Digger Phelps continues to make wardrobe and "analysis" decisions that make us wonder why the person who keeps him on the air hasn't been fired.
19:00 -- On the first possession Damion got mugged with no call, then on the other end aggy gets a ticky tack call (albeit after Texas allows a ridiculous offensive board). Then they called an offensive foul on aggy. Oy.
18:21 -- Connor almost gets the steal, then delivers the Horns' 9th block of the night. This is huge to see Texas doing well down on the glass.
17:50 -- Great possession--a missed trey, an enormous number of missed layups, then a much higher-percentage shot; namely, an AJ Abrams 3. It's clicking tonight.
17:10 -- Aggy nails a 3, but it's their first of the evening.
16:41 -- Aggy saved the ball inbounds and Connor got it in the backcourt, and the refs tried to call it over-and-back. But then they corrected it. They're still stupid. Damion gets a nice easy bucket to put Texas up by 23, 44-21.
15:43 -- It's the under 16 and Texas is up 44-23. Ron tells us that AJ Abrams is one 3 pointer away from tying the Texas record. Good for him.
14:23 -- A quick shout out to Ally Pregulman who saved Texas against Baylor by putting her Horns up on free throws at the end of the game. Some strange officiating now, very tight at times and extremely loose at others. A pair of Aggy buckets sandwiched around a Texas turnover brings the farmers within 19. Connor gets another block...Peter Bean might have something to this whole Connor is a good shot blocker theory.
13:24 -- A big three by Justin Mason puts the Horns up 24. Meanwhile, as Ron Franklin tells us that Kevin Durant spent the weekend with the team, 40AS player relations coordinator Greg Kelminson tells us that Kevin Durant's screen name away message is "Chilled with my brothers...I love yall til I die man...get this dub 2night man...Texas Fight." We've scooped ESPN once again.
11:27 -- All five Longhorn starters have a three, and Basher Chapman with 2 fouls in six good minutes. We're to the under 12, 53-31 Horns. A&M with 49 points in their last 50 minutes of basketball.
10:14 -- Justin Mason called for a foul, lord knows what for. These officials officially suck, although they seem to be sucking both ways.
9:30 -- Gary Johnson is that guy who wears short shorts, a tight t-shirt, and goggles to a pickup basketball game then plays with more energy and enthusiasm than you've ever seen. He's obnoxious on the other team but great to have on yours. Just a fantastic looking young player. Texas with its largest lead of the night up 58-33.
8:06 -- Great play by Sloan to force the turnover, but couldn't score. Gary Johnson knocks down the jumper and it's 60-35. DJ has 19 points and 7 assists for the night.
7:40-- Fran Fraschilla blames the NCAA for dredging up the Kelvin Sampson issue during the season instead of waiting until after. Because he "feels bad for the kids" whom he recruited illegally. Please. Slime is slime, no matter what time of year.
6:34-- We both find it interesting that, against such a physical (read: largely unskilled but very large) team as a&m, Texas has shot single-digit free throws. And Damion James just picked up his 4th foul. Gary Johnson delivers another 2 points and then plays great D out near midcourt as part of a double-team to force aggy to take a T.O., baby!
5:59-- Sexy Dexy launches such an awful airball from 3 feet away that Justin Mason turns it into a "swinging bunt" of an alley-oop. It's been that kind of a night for Texas. This may be cruel, but we want a 30 point win.
5:25-- Fraschilla just said Justin Mason is this team's Royal Ivey. We said that yesterday.
4:30-- Damion still fighting hard for rebounds up by 25 and with 4 fouls. Awesome.
4:00-- Both of us are wondering when the last time the Horns absolutely destroyed an opponent was. We think it was St. Mary's. This is a lot better for our blood pressure (blood pressures?) than the type of games we've been seeing lately.
3:02-- Texas is showing that they know how to be front-runners; they are breaking the futile a&m press with the pass, and using most of the shot clock afterwards. Meanwhile DJ has just gone to 1,000 points in his TWO-YEAR Texas career. He's good.
2:40-- Both of us have to work in the morning and would appreciate it if the Sheeplovers would quit fouling. 1,001 for DJ.
1:30-- It looks like we may be disappointed in our quest for a 30-point win. Alexis Wangmene and other benchies are in there. We hope and believe that Wangmene will be a good one by the time he leaves the 40 acres. And as if on cue, he rattles one home.
:00-- Ricky B calls off the dogs and Texas has a 77-50 win. If you're gonna get blown out once and blow the aggies out the other time, Texs did it right. It's better to win the late-season game than the early-season game. All in all, this was a relaxing and enjoyable game to watch as the Horns led from end-to-end and it was never really close. The Longhorns are on a roll now, and now have to be a serious threat for a one- or a two-seed in the Big Dance.
This is getting fun.
- A great NBA All-Star weekend, summed up amazingly by Bill Simmons here
- Ryan Perriloux reminds the Texas fans in us of the majesty of unanswered prayers by getting suspended from the LSU football team
- Our old friend Ben Dorfman is finally back to blogging, although with significantly more hair and far fewer Little Vince's. With a business plan of "I can't promise anything terribly interesting, and I can't promise regularity, but I will try" how can you not see success in this blog's future?
- Texas played its best 37 minutes of basketball against Baylor, followed by the worst 2 1/2 minutes we've ever seen
- We're one day closer to never having to see another promo for Witless Protection
- Finally, today is President's Day, meaning one of us (the one that works for the government) was off and able to see The American President, Shawshank Redemption, and Dodgeball all in one day on basic cable.
Pregame -- We're coming to you live from the internet. We're still 90 minutes away from game time, but there are a couple of things we're looking for. We just got an e-mail from the son of the former personal assistant to the minister of mines, works and energy in Sudan asking for our help in a business proposition, so until then think about this:
1) A low scoring poorly played Big East game which comes down to the last shot and possibly overtime is taking place again on ESPN. This game will have questionable calls and make us miss several minutes of the Texas game.
2) Dickie V will (hopefully) note that they are jumping joyously in downtown Austin
3) Texas trails Aggy in the Lonestar Showdown 5-3. That is decidedly uncool.
4) The game in College Station sucked. Shooting 30% in the first half while letting a clunky poor shooting team to shoot 64% is not a good idea.
5) And finally, remember that: Baaaa Means No!
20:00 -- Shockingly (!) the Big East defensive crapfest that was Louisville-Syracuse ends 61-50 a full 8 minutes before Texas-Aggy is set to start. Digger says so crap about the Big East being good, there's a woman on the set saying something about basketball, a picture of the walking hack that is Joseph Jones, the top ten is shown (Texas at #7 with wins over #2, #5, and #6), and we're set to go.
19:30 -- A&M misses an open 3 to start the game and DJ knocks down an 18-footer. Both are great signs.
17:07 -- Connor Atchley takes out Damion James underneath who is replaced by Gary Johson. Connor then hits a big three, Justin Mason makes a block on the other end and AJ hits the three to make it 11-2 early.
14:38 -- DJ knocks down a three and then an acrobatic two following another stop. It's 16-4 Texas as we hit the under 16. Meanwhile, could there be a more idiotic feature then ESPN's Greatest Highlight with Chris Berman? Somewhere along the line somebody at ESPN thought it would be a good idea to take the greatest plays in sports history, tape over the historic calls with Chris Berman give something generic relating to the event, and let fans vote as though there's a way to determine whether the Immaculate Reception is "better" than the Miracle on Ice. Just moronic.
12:50 -- Deandre Jordan gets mugged underneath with no fould being called, then DJ is attacked with no foul. Ron Franklin mentions that Joseph Jones has fouled out every time he has played Texas... that sounds right.
11:43 -- Texas has gone cold, which is all that's keeping this game from becoming a blow out. 16-4 still at the under 12.
10:24 -- Texas remains cold but Damion James throws down a sick alley oop. Looked like damion went a foot above the rim to get that one.
8:53 -- A great move by Sexy Dexy followed by Damion James with a great block (goalkeeping?), then a terrific boxout by Sexy Dex on a Damion James bucket with the foul. It's 23-7 Texas.
7:50 -- It's 23-9. Texas A&M now has 27 points in the last 32:10 of basketball. Interesting.
7:03 -- Starting to see a tighter called game by the refs. Meanwhile Texas has missed 6 straight three pointers.
4:51 -- Offensive foul on Aggy. The refs are starting to get annoying even though many of the calls are on the Sheeplovers.
3:40 -- The Texas "D" has been just spectacular; Ricky B must have really hit that hard after the awful defensive game in College Station. Unfortunately, the shooting has not been quite good enough to totally put the bad guys away, but...WOW! DJ Augustin nails a three. We REALLY need him to pick up his scoring heading into the postseason so that's a big shot. A 31-13 lead with under 4 to go till half is lovely.
3:30 -- Franklin just reported that Texas has 7 blocks on the night. That is awesome. We believe Chapman's entire role is to be a basher, like in hockey. Just commit fouls and get back on the bench.
2:30 -- Aggies have been helping us out from the free throw line. It's 35-14 and DJ has just hit a lovely floater from the baseline--this has already been a MUCH better showing than in college station.
1:40 -- DJ again! He's 7-of-10 with 17 points. Looks to us like he's back. Sweet. Augustin's success offensively is Great Sign Number One, but a close second is the fact that agyy has FOURTEEN FREAKING POINTS with very, very little time left in the first half. they could double their point total and Texas could score no more points, and the Horns would still win.
1:36 -- Darrell Royal is in the house! Fiancee just said: "what a cutie!" Even when they know sports...
1:10 -- Meanwhile, Texas throws it away and allows an easy layup on the other end. Need to avoid getting sloppy with a big lead, a la Baylor on Saturday.
:25 -- DJ and Damion are at it again! They have been great in this half. The two of them have combined for 27 of the 39 Texas points.
:00 -- Another block for the exclamation point on a spectacular half of basketball! Wow. Nobody wants to play Texas in March.