Dallas Sports Powerhouse

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rangers Chance at Black Gold...Texas Tea

For all the praise Jon Daniels received last offseason for his aggressive moves in the pitching department, the most recent defections make his first 13 months as general manager look diasterous. Take a look at the comings and the goings:

Subtractions:

Carlos Almanzar, Alfonso Soriano, Ricardo Rodriguez, Adam Eaton, Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews, Jr., Mark DeRosa, Juan Dominguez, Antonio Alfonseca, David Dellucci, Brian Shouse, Adrian Brown, D'Angelo Jimenez, Phil Nevin, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Fabio Castro, Bryan Corey, Kip Wells, Matt Stairs, Kenny Rogers, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Francisco Cordero, Adrian Brown.

Additions:

Kevin Millwood, Brad Wilkerson, Akinori Otsuka, John Rheinecker, John Koronka, Robinson Tejeda, Freddie Guzman, Miguel Ojeda, Nelson Cruz, Rick Bauer, Frank Catalanotto.

To Be Determined:

Vicente Padilla, Rod Barajas, Eric Young.

Now, there is clearly a flow of talent out of Arlington at this point without as much coming back to Texas. To be fair, one of the best moves a general manager can make is infuse his minor league system with young arms, which Daniels has shown a commitment to since his hire. Here's a look at pitchers acquired through trade that have not yet pitched for the major league club:

Jon Leicester, Armando Galarraga, Cesar Rojas, Daniel Haigwood, Luis Mendoza.

Daniels looks horrible at his craft, but has golden opportunities to strike offseason oil. Reportedly, Barry Zito, the Rangers acknowledged number one free agent target, and agent Scott Boras sat down with the Rangers brass Thursday to begin talks. Two things are in the Rangers favor despite Zito's assurances he didn't want to play in Texas in the years before his free agency. First,the Rangers hire of Ron Washington has changed Zito's mind. Zito has a great respect for the former A's third base coach and wants to play for him, assuming the price is right. Second, the Rangers signed Boras' client Kevin Millwood last offseason so the Rangers have re-established a vital, if very expensive working relationship.

Daniels also approaches a potential opportunity with baseball's second round of winter meetings next week. This is where major offseason trades and free agent pickups can be made. After the first round of meetings, Daniels came away empty handed but assured the groundwork had been laid for deals. Starting Monday, he has the chance to prove his point.

Come away from these two opportunties empty handed and Daniels will not have struck oil. He will have struck out.

Gator or Alamo?

Considering the luck of this season, it pretty much has the same relevance as "paper or plastic?" But, there are advantages and disadvantages to either choice.

The Gator Bowl

Advantages:

-This would be the first appearance for Texas in the Gator Bowl since 1974. We don't really get much opportunity for return visits so it is a novelty. Anything that doesn't start with "Cotton" or "Holiday" is a bonus.

-Jacksonville is a relatively warm winter spot. Horn fans with lots of post-Christmas money get a chance to visit the east coast as a change from our back-to-back west coast visits.

-Probable matchup would be against Virgina Tech. We owe them some payback from our last meeting in the Sugar Bowl. Beating a 10-2 team is a good note to go out on.

-Ocala, Florida is not terribly far from the bowl site. Jonathan Brantley, Texas' verbally committed blue chip QB, may be able to see the Horns live. Rumor has it that Steve Spurrier and Bob Stoops, friends of the Brantley family, are throwing the kitchen sink at the Brantleys' for a commitment. While Jonathan has stated that he is firmly committed, it's never a bad idea to assert your presence. That's a lesson learned courtesy of Ryan Perriloux.

Disadvantages:

-Obviously travel is a factor. It's much easier to go to take a road trip to San Antonio than it is to journey out to Jacksonville. The argument could be made that Texas had an outstanding bowl presence in Pasadena which is roughly equi-distant. But, the stakes for those games were much higher than this year.

-Furthering the above, this isn't for any sort of title. The smart move would be to sit out Colt and not risk further injury. Snead is a question mark for eligibility should he register at another school. That leaves Matt McCoy...or Quan Cosby. While somewhat entertaining to see this spectacle, it will be a turn off considering the financial commitment entailing hotels, food, transportation and tickets. (Which are currently sold out)

-The Gator Bowl is a New Year's day event. While the bowl schedules have not been finalized, chances are that one or two other teams may draw attention away from the Horns. The Alamo Bowl is pre-bowl rush and probably would draw a larger audience nationally.

The Alamo Bowl

Advantages:

-Travel and cost as covered above.

-Opponent will be Iowa so it is basically a home game.

-Allows you to spend New Year's eve with friends and family. (Or Dick Clark for that matter)

-A lot to do in San Antonio and the Tex-Mex is outstanding.

Disadvantages:

-Going from the Fiesta Bowl to the Alamo Bowl is a pretty hefty drop. While we will end up #3 in the conference, it's still a pride thing. Speaking of, someone needs to explain to me how we are #3 if NU beats ou in the Big 12 championship game. We would have beaten both head-to-head and posses the same conference record. Yes, I get the idea of divisions, ou would have a better conference record than Texas if they didn't have to play the championship game, etc. But, it's good debate fodder none the less.

-Part of the distaste for the Cotton Bowl is because Texas plays there annually anyway and it's nice to get away from the norm. San Antonio is only an hour south of Austin and 5 hours from Dallas. The Alamo is only interesting once...except for the basement.

Example

-Iowa isn't much this year. Texas has nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing them. Win, and we beat a 6-6 Iowa team. Lose and it gives the internet more fodder to carry into the offseason and some worry with recruitment. Basically, it's the same scenario as playing Boise St. without a Big 12 title and BCS win to hang on the wall.

There really isn't an answer out there that can completely satisfy everyone. If the Horns play in San Antonio...I will go. If they play in Jacksonville...I won't be able to go but the matchup is much better. It's a real pick-your-poison scenario.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh, Those Unfortunate Ba-Star-ds

Watched much Dallas hockey lately? Well, if so, you've seen a disturbingly familiar trend reemerge.

After the Stars suprising 6-0 start and 9-2 October, the Stars have cooled off needing a win against the Capitals on Thursday to finish the month over .500. The refrain goes like this. Poor puck handling. Trouble scoring, especially on the power play. Small defensemen getting outmuscled for the puck. Blow third period lead and lose.

That is how Wednesday's loss to the lowly Blackhawks went. The stars were outhustled and outfought all game. Marty Turco stood on his head most of the night to keep them in the lead but eventually cracked. The game is tied. Mike Modano, fighting hard to win the game, forgets he has teammates on the ice and turns the puck over trying to skate the puck to the goal. Breakaway. Turco five-hole. Blawkhawks win.

It's a refrain we got use to in the last regular season. We would have heard it more often last year if not for the advent of the shootout helping the Stars mask their defencicies. It was one that hit a crescendo in the postseason. So get use to it. The second verse is the same as the first.

No longer Snead-ed

Example

Per the Dallas Morning News, freshman Jevan Snead has requested a transfer. The announcement may put Snead's bowl eligibility in question leaving Texas with an injured Colt McCoy and backup Matt McCoy (no relation) for gunslinger duties.

While disappointed, I can't say that the move is much of a surprise. Had McCoy been firmly placed on the Texas roster before the season, Snead probably would not have signed a letter of intent with the Horns. With incoming commodities Jonathan Brantley and Jonathan Chiles riding into Austin, and duel threat QB Sherrod Harris already redshirting, playing time would be very scarce. Snead originally offered a verbal to Florida but decommited after it became clear that Tim Tebow would be signed. His saga has become the college version of Kurt Warner. (Post St. Louis Rams days)

Good luck to you young sir...and thanks for the loss(es).

Perhaps you can gear up for a lesser known rivalry?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Vander-Doink!!!!! Doh!!!!!!

Let's first say the failure of Vanderjagt was hard to see coming. We knew he had the attitude. We knew he missed a big kick in the AFC Championship last year. But this was the most accurate kicker in NFL history. His website will tell you that fact.

But I thought it was a decent, if flawed, signing for a team in need of a reliable kicker. Besides, Dallas' first concern was making the playoffs and Vanderjagt had never had trouble in the regular season. Just that shank of a kick against Pittsburgh.

Evidently, that kick and the glow of the Star was too much pressure for the greatest idiot kicker ever.

But it was a flawed signing from the beginning. Recall that Adam Vinateiri was also available. He may not have had Vander-Doink's stats, but he's proved to be the most clutch kicker of the aughts. Without Vinateiri, the Tuck Rule is but a footnote. New England's dynasty likely never begins. Tom Brady likely becomes Peyton Manning's brethren as a very good QB who just couldn't win the big game. He was the guy to pursue. But the Cowboys decided clutch cost too much and took what appeared to be the second best option. Meanwhile, Vinateiri is in Indy looking to make Manning a big game winner.

And this is a risky cut. Vanderjagt's struggling like Joe Namath stumbling around on the sidelines asking Bill Cowher if he can kiss him. And now the Cowboys kicking hopes lie in the foot of the kicker once known as Automatica. Martin Gramatica is his name and flaming out was his game. Gramatica was poised to be a legendary kicker his first few years in the league. That is if any kicker can be called legendary. Next thing you know his brother Bill tears his ACL celebrating a field goal and he must have felt the pain too because he also was plagued by leg injuries over the last couple of years when he went in the tank. So why feel good about this guy?

Well, he kicks with a strong leg that will at least prevent kick returns, although the Cowboys coverage has been stellar this season. And Parcells said he talked with the team Gramatica trained with in camp and got glowing reports. That's right. He had such a great camp he was sitting at home when Parcells decided to cut his kicker. So we all should be brimming over with confidence as the Cowboys forge on toward the playoffs.

Good thing with Romo we don't need no stinking kicker.

Bad Bull For Aggy

We here at DSP like to have fun with our in-state breathen from College Station. A lot of our material comes from watching aggy squirm around their ant farm while trying to regain an identity they once achieved. But, in the end, it's merely a sibling rivalry.

Apparently for some the feelings aren't mutual.

The Battalion, the only source of student run "journalism", has printed a nice little story about McGee's toughness and McCoy's...shall we say deficiencies?

I'm all for smack talk and gloating after a big win. (We've come to expect this at Texas) But, taking jabs at a 20 year old's injury? Cheering a hit that got a known trouble maker ejected? That's a little below the belt for a blog...much less a newspaper. As a journalism graduate I've come to expect an obvious slant dependent on what side of the issue you are reading. But, for this to passed off as reporting is complete and utter crap.

I can stomach the 1 in 7 years loss. We can't win them all and aggy deserves a pat on the back for beating us in our own house. But, show a little class. You don't see the Daily Texan writing headlines that say "Aggy season tumbles like a pile of logs" after their annual loss. There is a line that should not be crossed when debating sports. While McCoy is expected to recover, injuries dealing with a spine and nerves are no laughing matter. Leave the "school girl " and "vagina" remarks to the message board trolls.

And keep the gloves up gentlemen.

Kicked Out

Example

The Cowboys have released the self-proclaimed "greatest kicker of all time" (aka G-Koat) Mike Vanderjagt. Personally, I am at a loss for words.

I mean ok...so he doesn't like to kick off, his teamates hate him and his ego rivals a 20-something that just finished taping a season of the Real World. But, I don't see what's wrong with him. You could make an arguement with all the missed FGs, but banking extra points off the crossbars still counts the last time I checked. (Provided they cross it...)

I don't see why he couldn't be used as a utility man. If you are just going to bench Drew Bledsoe anyway, why not let Vandershank handle mop up duty in the 4th quarter?

I don't understand this move Tuna. First, you put in the Rib guy at QB...and now this? The Boys must be playing for next year.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Cyclone Out of Austin

Example

Reports have surfaced that Gene Chizik, Texas' defensive coordinator, has accepted the head coaching job at Iowa State. Somewhere in aggieland, Stephen McGee, J-train and Michael Goodson must be shedding a tear. In Norman, trailer homes have been set ablaze.

Good luck to coach Chizik. Although, I am dissappointed that Greg Davis wasn't part of the deal. Apparently, Texas is wasting no time in hiring a replacement for the vacancy. The early rumor is that Miami's DC, Randy Shannon, is the leading candiate for the position. The short list also includes Joe Kines from Alabama. Either selection would be pretty stellar.

At least something positive came out of losing to aggy. I bought my Big 12 championship game tickets in March to avoid paying the scalper prices JD and I did last year. They have sold on Ebay to a sooner fan for a cool $375. Net profit: $257. Before you preach to me about selling out to the enemy consider this: I just had Christmas paid for by an Okie.

There I go again with my moral victories...

With all the attention the state of our football program has been receiving lately, it could be worse. We could have Arkansas' headlines. Imagine Nutt sticking with that "package".

(Yes, I realize that I am stuck in the 6th grade.)

And finally, the legend of Vince Young continues...



Which reminds me, is Reggie Bush still playing in the NFL? Those fantasy football commercials seemed to have disapeared. If you see him, please email us.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

My "Romosexual" tendacies

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I was wrong.

The pieces of the drama puzzle started to fit as a man on an exercise bike waved for the cameras. The over-the-hill gunslinger had been reduced to a BB gun within the first few games of the season. A "suicide attempt", a standoff-ish coach and a kicker who would miss the chair if he attempted to hang himself all spelled disaster for the Silver and Blue. I was counting the days until Sportscenter led off with TO's negatory comments on how we don't love him some him.

But, a few weeks ago I saw something that softened my stance. I saw a team out there, cohesive and full of chemistry.

Don't misunderstand me, I still haven't seen an upside to TO that has made me giggle like a school girl. But, admittingly, I haven't seen the once-weekly media circus that follows his every ploy for attention.

The key? Tony Romo.

When I heard Romo was coming in, I thought my case would pick up steam. Here's a guy that went to some podunk university, was not even sniffed in the draft and basically signed for beer money. And now he's the starting QB for America's team? My saliva glands moistened as I anxiously awaited the atomic bomb that would inevitably drop on the metroplex.

What I've seen is nothing short of brilliance.

The first few times, I thought it was a fluke. Beating the likes of Carolina and Arizona doesn't exactly exhude HOF material. The Washington loss can't be pinned on the QB play either. But, beating Peyton Manning and halting an undefeated season is a nice feather to put in your cap. While he did not control the defense, he has ignited a spark that has permiated to the rest of the team. It's too early to label Romo as the best steal in NFL history...but he is well on his way to creating a supportive arguement.

I am stubborn...so I will not reneg on my vow to swear off the Cowboys' betrayal. But, they are my dumped ex-girlfriend. Sure, she's moved on and is seeing someone new. But, that doesn't stop you from calling her house just to hear her voice and quickly hanging up.

Here's to you T-Ro...

Jon Daniels Takes the Body Shots

If the Major League Baseball offseason were a heavyweight fight, Texas Rangers general manager would be a world of hurt right now. The defections of Gary Matthews, Jr., Carlos Lee, and Mark DeRosa, would be like shots to the kidney that would have him pissing blood at the end of the night.

I've already acknowledged that I think it's a mistake to let the guy whose been perhaps your best center fielder in years walk, even if you had to overpay to keep him. I've also admitted that DeRosa was not worth the money the Cubs paid him since the Rangers didn't have an everyday position to offer him. And it is clear that Carlos Lee, as good a hitter as he is, is not worth $100 million over six years.

So, the decisions were solid with two of the three players. Regardless, it creates a lot of uncertainty in your outfield. Who plays center field? LF bust Brad Wilkerson and/or unproven Freddy Guzman? That's iffy. Who plays left? Wilkerson and/or Fran Catalanotto, both of whom we know don't hit lefties particularly well? Ouch. And in RF the Rangers have a potential star in Nelson Cruz. He was the other part of the Lee trade that's supposed to make us forget Lee was a rental but next year will be his first prolonged MLB action. I'm confident in the guy. He can hit to the gaps, hit for power, , draw walks, steal bases, and play defense. But can he do it at a high level for an entire season.

The question is out there. Is Daniels beat down and on the ropes or he is giving the ole Rope-a-Dope? Is he running scared ot hamstrung by a tightwad boss or is he working a long term plan?

We know he's actively pursuing some of the top pitchers available both on the free agent market and through trades. We also know there are veteran stop gap centerfielders, such as Kenny Lofton, available this year with All Star centerfielders, such as Vernon Wells, entering free agency next offseason. So we sit back anxiously, hoping...pleading that Daniels has a plan to make Ron Washington's teams a contender this year and into the future.

Just Who Is Mack Brown?

So now the speculation begins anew regarding Mack Brown and just how good a coach he is. I don't believe it is always warranted, but it makes for great water cooler talk.

We have to give credit to Brown for being a great coach. Look at his overall record. Look at his record in all his Texas Novembers. Notice he's one of two Texas coaches to ever win a national title.

But we almost have to ask: how great is he? Barry Switzer? The kind of coach whose team is hated nationwide because they are a perennial top 5 for decades.

Jim Tressel? A coach whose team will return to the title game every few years. This one was indirectly presented by Scott in his earlier post.

Tom Osborne? A coach who always fielded elite teams but took a number of years to to take it to the top.

Or Phil Fulmer? The coach who always fields a squad no one looks forward to playing, won a national title, but hasn't really had a sniff at a national or conference title since.

My bet is Brown falls somewhere between Osborne and Tressel. I don't know that Brown and his staff have quite the savvy of Tressel and his underlings, but Brown can flat out recruit and spends his days in one of the nation's most fertile fields for football talent.

So I don't know if Texas fans should expect to play for the title every three or four years, but this won't be the last.

The Stages of Being a Horn Fan

"Replacing Vince is impossible. Our biggest question mark this year is QB. But, Charles is going to be a beast, Sweed is gonna tear it up and Ross is going to be a Butkus finalist. If Colt can just get the ball from point A to point B until Snead is ready to play, we'll have a decent season."

"Colt looked pretty good against North Texas. Ohio State lost its entire defense and we are returning a lot of starters from a national championship team. Plus, the game is at DKR."

"Colt "effin" McCoy and Aaron Ross just got us past ou! A lot of other teams have lost too. We may be able to stay in the hunt. After all, our only loss was to the #1 team in the country."

"Wow! Colt is a god! Close wins over Nebraska AND Texas Tech? The SEC is getting too much love for what they are doing. And why are 2 Big East teams ahead of us? We would smoke them!"

"Louisville beat WVU and just lost to Rutgers...OMG! Our strength of schedule is SO much better than Florida, Auburn or Michigan's. I wonder if Southwest has any airfare specials?"

"Well, KSU caught lightning in a bottle. Colt got hurt and our defense let us down. All the pieces fell in to place and we choked it. Oh well. So we'll just be going to Glendale a week earlier than we had hoped. A Big 12 title is still pretty stellar. I just hope we don't have to play Boise St. I want an actual challenge."

"If Snead plays a&m, we won't win by 3 TDs. Good thing Colt is 100% or we won't cover the spread."

"F*ck! 7-12?!? 7 to motherf*cking 12?!? Now I have to watch the ou/OSU game instead of enjoying my Saturday? Aggy is horrible!"

"I hear San Antonio is lovely in December."

*click*
*bang*

If this season has taught me anything...it is this: Never buy non-refundable airline tickets before the last 2 games are played. It's a bad idea.

It's sort of funny in a way. I mentioned this in another post, but I would have been happy with a 2-3 loss season this year with VY and Huff departing. I just envisioned Ohio St., Nebraska and Tech/ou would be the culprits. Now, 10-3 doesn't feel so fancy. Had we not beaten ou it would be downright depressing.

However...

After winning the 2002 title, Ohio St. put up a 7-4 season for an encore. Right now, they are awaiting the identity of their opponent with a guarenteed spot in the title game. While 4 years is a ways off...it's a lot shorter than the 35 years we waited for the last one. Just look at the state of the Miami program and be thankful that we are at least heading in the right direction. We have a ton of returning talent and a seemingly stellar amount of commitments for next year's team. As hurtful as the reality of this year's squad is, it isn't the beginning of a downward spiral.

I'd much rather take a month off to prepare for a bowl game then send a bruised and battered squad into the Big 12 championship game to lose. We still have pride left on the schedule.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ready for Leftovers?

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The smell of sweet Thanksgiving bliss has long since faded from the hot oven. The fat has been trimmed and the bones have been picked of every edible morsel left on the bird. For weeks you will be left with turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie and even turkey cheesecake. All that's left is a big belly, a half empty bottle of Pepto and the need to buy some bigger pants.

This season Texas fans have been feasting on the nectar of Thanksgiving goodness. But, Ohio St. and Kansas State served us some of the dark meat. We covered it up with brown gravy and struggled to get that last bite in our mouth. But, a&m made sure that it was still frozen. And, it did not taste good.

This loss has made me feel like I did after the second helping of pumpkin pie: Why the hell did I keep eating when I wasn't even hungry?

Was Mack forcing Colt or was it the other way around? Do we hypocritically blame the refs? Do we blame the "untouchable" Chizik for not properly preparing our defense against the option? I'm not so sure that there's a wrong answer.

But, it's time to show the cards. I think this loss was for the best.

In places Horn fans don't like to talk about we knew that we weren't national championship caliber. We even questioned whether or not we could beat Nebraska a second time around. Colt has made outstanding strides for the pressure he has endured and he receives major credit for his toughness. But, the rest of the team has been a rollercoaster with nice highs, a few loops and a lot of whiplash. The comfort blanket of #10 hasn't been there to keep everyone warm. Quick...name me a breakout run for any of our running backs. Name the opponent in which "Hank the Tank" rumbled into the endzone on short yardage situation. Name me a Div 1A QB that didn't have a career day against the incumbent national championship defense.

I can't either.

But, our boys made us believe that we could do it. Anything less than a national championship would have been a let down. We knew that we were replacing an invaluable cog...but damnit, we're Texas. We do not rebuild, we reload. Our expectations were hypothetically set too low but we methodically gave each other a wink and a nudge. At the beginning of the season, I stated that 2 or 3 losses would be a success considering the departure of 2 Top 10 draft picks. Now that it has happened, I am left unsatisfied and questioning whether or not this season is a success or a failure.

But, when I step back, I can see the bigger picture.

We beat a great ou team in Dallas. We beat a very good Nebraska team on the road. We broke in a QB who challenged for a spot in this year's Heisman race as a redshirt freshman.

This is what we have been reduced to...the aggie trimmings of moral victories. And it makes me wonder why I loaded up so much on the Horn turkey.

Texas does not lose...we just run out of quarterback.

A Horrendous Decision, Mack!

You can talk about this game and how it played out. Yet another piss poor game plan by Greg Davis. The inabilty of Chizik and Akina to fail and prepare the defense for an option attack for the second straight year. The Aggies executing beautifully what I believe was an ill-advised game plan.

Let's just say Fran narrowly abvoided being skewered again for poor coaching by not using what has been the nation's most balanced offense to take advantage of Texas' suspect pass defense. His team's heart, and Davis' idiocy, bailed him out.

By with the turn of events at the end of the game, everything else pales in comparison. I'm sure you saw Colt McCoy get carted off in the game's final minute. But, rest assured, his injury status is not the reason for the loss, or the K-State loss. But it is the reason Mack Brown and the Texas medical staff deserve to be second guessed severely for playing the Freshman-turning-legend today.

Again, this is not an excuse. The team did not play well enough to win and McCoy made the freshman mistakes we expected when the season began.

But three huge mistakes were made leading to his trip on his back, with his head in a harness, on the back of the golf cart.

The first mistake was playing McCoy. Two hard hits late in the game debilitized McCoy proving he should not have been on the field. Who knows where the blame lies. Is it the team doctors who misdiagnosed McCoy? Or is it Brown and the coaching staff who may have heard what they wanted to hear to get their star freshman QB back on the field for a potentially division clinching game? Whoever it was put the kid in danger. You just don't take chances with head, neck, and back injuries, because they can alter a young man's life permanently.

The second huge mistake, or let's call it a malicious cheap shot, was committed by Kellen Heard of the Aggies who blindsided McCoy after the whistle on the interception thrown to Mark Dodge on Texas' next to last offensive possession. The hit is beyond belief. Heard should, at the very least, be suspended from the postseason. Perhaps even into the next season. Coach Fran needs to lay down the law and make sure his players know that is not Aggies football.

The third mistake lays at the feet clearly of Mack Brown. With just one shot left to play for consectutive Big 12 titles, he ignored the facts. He ignored the fact his QB had suffered a stinger in his back and neck less than two weeks ago. He ignored the fact Heard's head hunting reaggravated McCoy's injury. Instead, I'm sure he listened to McCoy tell him he was okay instead of allowing wisdom, and McCoy's best interests for football and life, to prevail.

So this one's on Mack. Any guilt he feels is warranted. Any recourse DeLoss Doods hands down, and there should be recourse, should be humbly accepted.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

It's Turducken Day!

I woke up this morning and began to reflect on all I have to be thankful on this day of celebration.

A big smile came across my face as I thought about QB's. That's right. It's plural. I'm thankful Colt McCoy is known by the nation and helped fill the shoes of the largest figure in Texas football history. I'm thankful he's played with such heart as to overcome his teammates' mistakes and had his team in a position to maybe defend their title before getting hurt against K-State.

I'm thankful Tony "The Terrific" Romo seized the reigns in Dallas. I'm thankful his play made the offensive line less of a factor. I'm thankful he made T.O. and Jason Witten larger parts of the offense. I'm thankful his success overshadowed the T.O./Mike Vanderjagt circus. I'm thankful the Cowboys are 3-1 with Romo starting, should be 4-0, and are now poised as a contender in the NFL.

I then thought about basketball. I'm thankful the Mavs recovered from their worst start in years to win the next seven games. I'm thankful they are now a deep enough team to win with Josh Howard on the shelf. I'm thankful centers Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop, adequate last season, seem to be molding into a near dominant tandem, and this without D.J. Mbenga healthy to provide a few minutes of explosive energy each game.

I'm thankful the Dallas Stars, for all their inadequacies, still perform at an lite level. I'm thankful the acquisitions of Eric Lindros, Mikle Ribeiro, and Patrik Stefan are paying off offensively. I'm thankful rookie goalie Mike Smith gives the Stars an alternative for those time Marty Turco is not quite himself.

So be thankful sports fans. There's plenty to celebrate today. And here's hoping next November Ron Washington and Barry Zito top the list.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

In Honor of T+1

In the tradition of Thanksgiving, I am offering my thanks for the number 1. The number 1 has several meanings for Horn fans: The 4 times we have ended the season as #1, our current Big 12 ranking and the state of next year's recruiting class...to name a few.

To aggy, the number 1 represents the amount of time they have beaten Texas on the road the last 15 years. It represents the amount of time they have beaten the Horns since Mack Brown saddled up in Austin. It also represents the amount of time Dennis Franchione has beaten Texas, ou, Tech and Nebraska combined.

This season, aggy has given the number one a new meaning: The margin of loss sustained in their last few games.

But, perhaps no "number one" has been more endearing than that faithful Halloween weekend in 2003. This was the night aggy showed us the TRUE meaning of the number 1.



That reminds me...I am also thankful for aggy.

Buckle up Texas fans...Here Come the Horns!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Cat is Back

The Rangers are waffling this offseason. Having been aggressive last offseason and regular season only to post another third place finish, it seems the Rangers refuse to man up despite hiring a new manager.

Perhaps you saw little effort was made to resign Mark DeRosa. Now, he had his first great season and those aren't always followed with a second. Also, he wanted a permanent position which the Rangers couldn't grant but the Cubs were more happy to provide. And $13 million over four years is a little much for a utility player.

Except, then, the Rangers turn around and sign Frank Catalanotto to a three year deal worth $13.5 million. That's right. A utility player. But it is almost the righting of a wrong.

Perhaps you recall a few years ago when the Cat came within thousandths of winning the batting title over the unstoppable Ichiro. Yet, the Rangers let him walk, much like DeRosa, without a fight. Now, he's proven that breakout year wasn't a fluke and he's back. Only, now, Texas will be paying more than if they had kept him in the first place.

So why am I okay with DeRosa walking but not Cat that offseason? Simple. DeRosa slowed the last month or so suggesting maybe he was a one year wonder. Cat, in contrast, got better as the year progressed, suggesting he had staying power. Instead of pitchers figuring him out, he was unlocking their secrets.

The problem with this signing is it is viewed as part of the solution of filling the leadoff hole Gary Matthews, Jr., is about to vacate. That's right. The Rangers have resigned themselves to not being in Matthews', or Carlos Lee's, market. Okay. Matthews could have been a one-hit wonder at the plate. But the Rangers know how few guys there are that can play center in the Ballpark. It's a huge position for this team. One worth the $10 million annually Matthews is being offered.

So if this is the tack the Rangers are going to claim to be taking, they better back it with big moves. Supposedly, they want dollars to aggresively invest in pitching again this offseason. Well, they are leaving potential holes in center and at LF/DH, of which the Cat only fills a small part.

So they better make this offseason count. It better include the likes of Zito and a second-tier free agent pitcher and a trade for the likes of Javier Vasquez or Tim Hudson. It better include committing serious at bats to young guys full of potential like RF Nelson Cruz and LF/DH Jason Botts, while sparing us the veteran spares this team has historically flopped with season after season. Let's face it. The fans don't want guys with potential to be like the Rangers' Drew Bledsoe. We want guys with the potential to be like Tony Romo.

So Tom Hicks needs to show he is allowing his employees to work a plan. He needs to realize that failure to participate in a seller's market in pro sports leaves one in mediocrity. He needs to realize he must be aggressive because with the Mavs once again poised to play deep into the summer and with the Stars showing potential to do the same the Rangers may finally have to be a legitimate product to draw fans. And failure to field a winner now means guys like Michael Young ansd Mark Teixiera may start to look elsewhere come 2008.

So the time is now. It's time for the Rangers to quit dipping their toes into the market and dive in to play.

Inside the Aggie Camp

At the risk of peril, I have posed as an aggy A/V student to see what secrets I can pass over to Mack and the boys. Hopefully, this video tape can be of use.



Now, I'm not versed in aggy speak, but I believe that "Chicken Ranch" means DKR Stadium. The "heaven" portion gave it away.

Aggy should be flying into Austin with emotion after their recent national title. Score one for the boys in Maroon!

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hello, East. Here Come the 'Boys!

As mediocre as the Dallas Cowboys have been at times, they pull out a huge win against the Colts and, if the Jags can upset the Giants Monday night, they'll be in a virtual tie for first.

Of course, I say virtual tie for first because, with a head-to-head win and better division and conference records, the Giants own the tiebreaker. Makes the Washington fiasco look all the worse, doesn't it? I personally started to be upset with the blockers on that last second field goal again. But, then, I realized with the way the self-proclaimed Best Kicker Ever has been performing that field goal was no guarantee. That game may very well have been decided in overtime, which is a fluky enterprise at best.

Despite all that, with the play of Tony the Terrific and the suddenly inspired play of the defense, the Cowboys would be a playoff team if the season ended today.

I know. Mr. Romo was erratic early. Actually, he has a habit of that. There was the one interception. The other near interception. The other interception late people will want to say Dallas was lucky to have brought back by a penalty. Except, if Terry Glenn isn't held, the ball isn't picked off. There's also the early fumble, but QB's don't often get blindsided on step two and a half of a three step drop. But very few close a game the way he does.

And if you've watched the remaining teams on the schedule recently and know the Giants are battling injuries, you know the playoffs, and quite possibly a division title, are on the way. Now, if they can only win once they're there.

In closing, let's be real positive here. The only other teams I've seen make the Colts look like that in recent years have been the Patriots and the Steelers. That seems to be a promising trend.

Could B_S Be Spared

Well, as bad as this system is, some years things just work themselves out...sorta.

I was all ready to complain a Texas team who was a defending champ and whose only loss was to the Number One team in the land could be shut out of its rightful defense.

I was prepared to gripe that an undefeated Rutgers team that beat two teams that were considered B_S title game worthy was going to get the same credit as West Virginia and Louisville.

But, now, this incredibly stupid, stupendously flawed system is spared some of the controversy. There's no undefeated Auburn team here. Let's face it. Boise State doesn't count. I'm sure they have a huge homefield advantage on that crazy blue turf. But on a neutral green field? Not a chance.

Hell, it even seems unlikely Notre Dame passes Michigan with a win over USC which would be a scandalous scenario. There will be some fodder to discuss if USC wins out and passes Michigan, who is now the team with their only loss to the nation's number one team. Or should Florida or Arkansas close the deal. But it just won't be the same.

NCAA Division I football desparately needs a playoff. And that VY wins a title even in a playoff. But we need teams to continue to provide evidence to support the argument for a bracket. Otherwise, I'll sound like Boswell fishing for blind stats while claiming the Big 12 is equal to the SEC.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This Week Promises to be Frantastic!

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God help 'em...



Yes, I too wonder what "Red Ass" is.

Avery Johnson Reads the Powerhouse

That's right. We knew Texas Rangers general manager and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells read the Powerhouse. They've proven it by taking my advice.

Now, we can add Avery Johnson to the list. You may recall the Mavs opened the season with four consecutive losses. The first two games, Greg Buckner started alongside Jason Terry at guard over Devin Harris. The offense struggled, as has the defense minus Josh Howard. Harris started game three and the offense instantly improved, though they played horrendous defense and lost that game as well.

Harris struggled in the next game, but I called for him to not only start but play more minutes. It was clear he was developing as a point guard and developed into the team's best playmaker and one of its best defenders. Johnson listened, Harris got more minutes and now the Mavs are back at .500. The offense is definitely better, though the team seems to have forgotten the defense that took them so far last season. And Avery is now beginning to give Harris some credit. This after offseason rumors the Mavs looked to trade their former No. 5 pick.

Now, Johnson clearly reads this blog, but doesn't accept all my advice. You may have noticed Jerry Stackhouse continues to get big minutes and play in the fourth quarter with Josh Howard. Well, I can't always be right. It seems Stack has really stepped up the last few games and, like the rest of the team, shows vast improvement in dishing the dime.

So, Avery, it's good to know you're a reader. Call me and we'll do an interview.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Passing of a Legend

Example

From all of us at DSP, deepest sympathies to the Michigan family on their loss. Today college football lost one of its finest coaches to ever grace the field.

R.I.P. Bo

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Support the 'Stangs

Example

Do you ever wonder what could have been?

What if I stayed in London during college like I had always planned? What if I deleted that "Hot Russian women...everything must go" link from my email and never put a down payment on my future wife?

That's what this Saturday brings: What if?

It seems like everywhere you turn the Michigan vs. Ohio St. game dominates the headlines. It's heartbreaking to think that just one week ago we were going to intently watch the game to potentially scout a future opponent. Now it is "just another game". To steal a quote from Ron White "I'm a dog lover...actually I love my dog. I could care less about yours." We don't have a dog in this fight. Ours is wounded and whimpering. We're just hoping that we don't have to put it down.

But, SMU has a cure for the college football ails.

Apparently, SMU is one win away from becoming bowl eligible since the death penalty was imposed in the late eighties. In spite of this, they are still having trouble selling out the stadium. As a marketing ploy, the SMU athletic department is offering tickets for $1 a piece to put bodies in the seats and ignite some spirit for a once dominate program. As a resident of Dallas, and a fan of college football, this is a wonderful opportunity to see a football game in a beautiful stadium for less than the cost of gas to get you there. There will be a noticeable Horn presence at the game and a tailgate will be setup for pre-game festivities. (Including some of your favorite posters from Hornfans.com) In this age of Tivo, and the fact the "The Rivalry" no longer impacts us, I think that it's a pretty fair tradeoff.

As an added bonus, SMU's opponent is the University of Tulsa. So, once again, Texans must defend Dallas from an Oklahoma influx.

So come on out and support your fellow Dallasites as they attempt to nudge themselves back in the college football landscape. I hear that chili, and perhaps coeds, will be available.

Over-Competitive Lance Armstrong Challenges Cancer to a Rematch

Example

AUSTIN,TX- Lance Armstrong, the ultra-competitive seven-time Tour de France champion who recently ran the New York Marathon in under three hours, held a press conference Thursday to announce that he will be taking the next three months to prepare for a rematch against the opponent with whom he is most often identified: cancer.

"I owe it to myself, to my fans, and to cancer's opponents around the world to prove that I can beat this deadly disease once again," said Armstrong, who says he has nothing to fear from once again facing the nemesis that defined him as an athlete. "We took each other to the edge the last time we met in 1996, and you almost ended my career. Even if you have what it takes to face me again, I'm willing to bet everything you still don't have what it takes to bring me down."

Armstrong added that, with all the free time he has had as of late, he has been seeking out cancer everywhere, including the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic, the oncology ward at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and most recently, on the streets of New York City.

"I can't deny that cancer got a piece of me last time," Armstrong said. "A big piece of me. I think about it every day. But once I got done with cancer, it was nowhere to be found. It disappeared. Well, cancer, you know where to find me. I can beat you again in six-no, in three months."

"I want cancer," Armstrong added. "I want cancer so bad I can almost taste it."

Cancer, the much-feared disease that has defeated legendary athletes such as Floyd Patterson, Lyle Alzado, and Walter Payton, is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, and is 0-1 when battling Lance Armstrong. However, Armstrong said he would like to beat cancer more convincingly, saying that the first time he faced off against cancer's flurry of histological attacks, the disease dealt him a "cheap blow below the belt."

"You have to hand it to cancer," Armstrong said. "It snuck up on me and certainly changed my life forever. But this time, through intense physical and mental preparation, I am going to show it what Lance Armstrong is all about."

"It will take dedication, no doubt about it," Armstrong added, noting that he is also committed to sleeping 17 hours a day. "But I live for competition. And everyone who knows me knows that the physical and emotional ordeals I endure are what I thrive on."

The world-class athlete claims he is open to any sort of challenge the disease can offer him, although he hopes this time cancer comes at him in a way that will "really push [him] to the brink."

"I wouldn't mind something like brain or lung [cancer], but I think cancer is going to surprise me with something different like a case of acute lymphocytic leukemia or even something in my pancreas," Armstrong said. "It never hits the same way twice. Either way, I give myself a 100 percent chance of survival."

"I got cancer once," Armstrong added, gesturing defiantly towards the cameras. "I bet I can get it twice as good this time."

Armstrong has already come under criticism from sportswriters and epidemiologists who say that Armstrong is attempting to relive his glory days.

"Lance is a proud man, and no one doubts him for a second, but this cancer thing is just eating away at his insides," said University of Texas epidemiologist Graham Heatherington, who trained Armstrong for his first bout with cancer in 1996. "I think by taking on cancer again, he's trying to tell the world he's not ready to lie down and die just yet."

"What, do you think he's afraid to do what he has to do?" said Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, a longtime Armstrong supporter. "Go on a strict daily regimen of diet and exercise? Shave his head? Get chemotherapy till he throws up and can no longer stand? He's done it once, and we love him for it. You know what? I for one hope he gets cancer again. I hope he gets it good this time."

"It'll be good for the sport," Reilly added.

Although Armstrong's friends and family, especially his mother Linda Armstrong Kelly, wish he would reconsider his decision to battle cancer again, they nonetheless say that they will be there to support him and stick by his bedside until the bitter end.

"Frankly, I don't think he has anything to prove," Kelly said. "I should have known years ago that he would eventually try to get cancer again."

"Hopefully, he beats it," she added.

Armstrong, who has not ruled out injecting himself with known carcinogens if the disease fails to accept his challenge within the next two weeks, denied that he was doing it for publicity.

"My only hope," Armstrong said before concluding the press conference, "is that by once again beating cancer, I can help raise awareness for cancer."

(HT: TO)

P.S. This is a parody. Much love to Lance who I believe is one of only 2 people who could beat Chuck Norris in a fair fight.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You are the Dancing Queen...

Example

I'm convinced that I have the greatest boss ever. (He reads this...so I HAVE to say that) Between bouts of work, two topics dominate our conversations: Politics and Sports. I admit, I have caved on some of my political views after hearing the other side of the story and having no systematic or factual way to oppose the argument. (Other than "what I've heard somewhere") I am a man of research and I do not fully trust the manner in which the liberal media presents its information. But, I also don't conform my views to what Rush Limbaugh's opinions are on the matter are as presented by most liberal thinking individuals. My boss, while a Rush enthusiast, also does not cater to this bridge of conform. He is also able to give well explained non-homeristic discussions with regards to college sports. All-in-all, he is one of the smartest people I know.

But, then I came into the office today...

I went on hiatus to Houston yesterday for training purposes. We exchanged our how-to-do's and the conversation quickly shifted to sports. "Why haven't you covered the most significant local sports story in the past two years?" he said. Not wanting to look the fool, I stammered while I tried to think of any accomplishments that I may have missed while down in H-town. I finally admitted that I perhaps missed the BIG announcement and pressed him for more information. "Emmitt Smith is in the finals for Dancing with the Stars" he said matter-of-factly.

Oh really now?

I remember hearing that Smith was on the show but I didn't pay any attention to it. I think the whole premise of the show is cheesy, boring and most importantly...I wouldn't know a good dance if Baryshnikov himself did the funky chicken. After jabbing him about actually knowing the information, I got the standard "my wife watches it so I watch it" excuse.

Frankly, I don't buy it. He's hiding something.

Just because I can name the winners of the last three seasons of Project Runway doesn't mean that the wife dominates my remote. Just because one never wears corduroys with striped shirts because the Fab 5 from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy say it's faux pas doesn't make them less of a man. No sir. I wanted to watch those shows because I am trying to culturally diversify my life. The newest trends and lessons on "manscaping" are important areas so often overlooked by a sports-dominated society. If wanting to make the perfect creme brule makes me wrong, I don't want to be right.

So, with that, good luck to Emmitt Smith as he tries to bring yet another title to the Dallas area. I'll be rooting for him right outside the dressing room of Dillards.

Purse in tow.

Update: It seems that Emmitt has danced his way into the winner's circle. A national championship...and now this?

Example

Monday, November 13, 2006

Chin Up

Mondays after a loss are always tough. This is especially true living in Dallas where a high conglomerate of Big 12 alumns reside. It seems that everyone wants to talk to you about the game when all you really want to do is crawl into the fetal position under your desk. You can almost see heads held a little higher as they walk out of your office with the slightest of smirks on their face. When you look close enough, that Vince Young picture on your wall seems to be frowning at you. And, for whatever reason, you can't seem to get it out of your head:

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don't lie
You're coming back down and you really don't mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

But, then something reminds you "It's not that bad."

In 1994, Plano East played John Tyler for the 5A high school state championship in Texas stadium. Trailing by 25 points in the 4th quarter, with a little over 2 minutes left, Plano East scored and successfully recovered 3 consecutive onside kicks to take a 4 point lead with 24 seconds left in the game. The radio announcers were beside themselves as the Plano East Panthers lined up for the final kickoff having witnessed the impossible.

Then, the plot thickened...



Good Gawrsh ah-mighty...

So, the next time I am down about how the Longhorns played, I can remember that some people have had it worse.

At least our boys have the courtesy of giving those up in the 3rd quarter.

The Ron Washington Attraction

In case you haven't heard, The Texas Rangers tried to go Far Eastern last week. Reportedly, the club put in a bid of $27 million for posted Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The righthander supposedly has five pitches and is expected to be an ace immediately in American baseball.

Local columnists have suggested general manager Jon Daniels had no choice but to get Matzusaka to Texas, no matter what it took.

Well, it's not to be. The Red Sox reportedly bid at least $42 million for his services. That amount is just for the rights to negotiate with the phenom. All told, once the negotiating is said and done, Boston will likely have committed $100 million to acquire the Japanese righty for three to five years. Thank God it's them and not the Rangers.

The Rangers have numerous rotation holes to fill and can't afford to commit that amount to one guy. Hell, they're still paying part of A-Fraud's salary. And this is a pitcher who has never pitched in the major leagues. The history of such pitchers has not been grand with guys like Hideo Nomo and Hideki Irabu. It's a classic case of buyer beware.

Besides, with Ron Washington holding down the managerial office, the Rangers don't have to be stupid. Glamourous players now want to be in Arlington. Need an ace? Who needs a Japanese question mark with Barry Zito available. Sure, Zito has said for years he would never play for Texas. Well, never say never. Washington was popular with the players in Oakland. Now Zito wants to come here. I say whatever money it takes, get him here. His ace to Kevin Millwood's second fiddle would be a deadly combo for opponents next season.

And you have to think if Zito is interested, his former teammate Mark Mulder would be interested as well. Now he had a very bad, injury riddled year last season. So there is risk. But this is a former Cy Young contender who may come at a lower cost.

Then, think forward to next year. Say Gary Mathews, Jr., signs elsewhere. No problem. Seems former Athletic Tori Hunter wants to play for Ron Washington again as well.

So why throw your money into the unknown when Washington is attracting known acheivers to your team? And that's not the only way he could help.

Washington comes from a baseball club that learned to thrive with young players, giving them every opportunity to succeed, especially if they could play great defense while learning to hit at the major league level. Committing to young hitters frees up money to go after Zito and Mulder and spend the tens of millions a year it would cost.

This allows you to take a long look at hitters like RF Nelson Cruz and DH/LF Jason Botts knowing your pitchers can't help cover any offensive deficiencies. This would keep the Rangers from making another Travis Hafner-type gaffe in trades in the interest of giving at bats to a veteran hitter.

It also enables to team to commit to guys like John Danks and Robinson Tejeda at the rotation's back end and let them develop.

So why chuck millions at a unknown import with the magnetic personality of Ron Washington on your side.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Door to the East is Open

Well, you think maybe you should write more about the Longhorns season-ending loss Saturday then realize it's only football so the five stages of grief were complete in about 12 hours. I've accepted the run is over.

Then, you consider writing about the Cowboys game and realize there's a consistent script taking shape with only two options each week: 1)Romo is great and the team screwed it up, or 2)Romo is great and carried the team to victory. That'd get boring every week.

So we take a look at the NFC East and consider the Cowboys chances of winning the thing. Sitting at 5-4 with a game against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts appears to be too big an obstacle to overcome. But take another look.

Indianapolis has found itself playing close games every week against teams that over the long run don't appear much better than the Cowboys. Seriously, other than the Broncos, none of their opponents really strike a fear in me. But the Colts receivers against the Dallas secondary may be painful to watch.

Also, consider the Cowboys have posted a better than .500 record while playing six of the first nine games on the road. Take into account that Drew Bledsoe started the first three of the road games and that Romo is a much better road QB, and things could have been even better. Do the math. The Cowboys now play 5 of 7 at home to close the season. The schedule isn't a gimme, but it is a recipe for success.

Finally, consider the opportunity the other teams have had to put distance between themselves and Dallas. Philadelphia defeated Dallas in the Linc to post a two game lead in the East only to lose the next three. Washington stole a game from Dallas to get within a game of da' Boys only to get blown out by the Eagles. The Giants took a mauling at the paws of the overrated Chicago Bears to allow Dallas to get back within a game of the East. The Giants are battling a swath of injuries have 4 of 7 on the road and a tough remaining home schedule. In short, Dallas' NFC Eastern opponents have opened the door to the division the way John Hay did the door to China.

But enough cheerleader talk. Remember this is a team embattled by penalties and other mental miscues. A team that posted a record of just one game above even despite being one of the NFL's healthiest clubs. Remember that label took a shot when Terry Glenn was unable to play today and Greg Ellis went down with ana chilles injury. Remember that Romo, as great as he is, has never played football in December with the playoffs on the line.

So the door is open, but the journey through it will be daunting.

Hook 'em Wolverines

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

You Sunk Our Battleship

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What a weekend.

Friday night was spent at an all night vet after the family dog started having breathing problems. Long story short, we had to do the "humane" thing after it was determined that she had lung cancer. She was 14 years old and a hell of a dog. Needless to say, I haven't been in the best of moods.

Looking back, I realize that all good things must come to an end. (Cue foreshadowing music)

Depressed, but still football minded, I saw a barrage of opportunity knock on our doorstep as 2 one-loss teams tumbled and another needed a blocked FG to still tread water. I watched the Huskers defeat a&m which has its advantages no matter what the outcome. (But, I can't say that I wasn't thrilled to see a&m drop another close one)

Then, Texas started playing. I say the word "playing" in the loosest sense.

McCoy drives, gets the TD and gets injured. Enter in blue chipper Jevan Snead. At the end of the 1st quarter, I promised myself that I would never doubt Mack Brown's QB assessment again. To his credit, Snead has not done more than mop up duty the entire season. Our defense certainly didn't do him any favors. This loss was a team effort and we were lucky to have it close. If not for a botched fake punt and a block...it could have been a lot worse. Poor execution on our part.

Hats off to K-State for the win. After Colt went to the locker room, so did the fire in our team. I'm proud that we battled to the end, but I'm not going to enjoy moral victories. I'll leave that to another Texas school. In the back of my mind I knew this was possible. Oklahoma suffered a loss to K-State in 2003...and they were undefeated. I don't think that our team looked past the men in purple. (Although I cannot say the same thing for our fans) I think that injuries and fatigue finally caught up with this year's squad. After all, 11 games without a bye week is tough for ANYONE.

But, there is still a silver lining. Yes, it's disappointing that we won't be defending our title. But, 3 years ago we were in the same position with one less loss and that season ended up pretty well for us. The sky isn't exactly falling in Austin. We still have a chance to have a 12-2 season with a Big 12 title on the wall and a BCS bowl win. That's still a banner year for life after Vince. Hopefully, these two weeks before the Lonestar Showdown will give our boys time to heal and regain the fire that brought them 21 straight conference wins. We may not have the end result that we hoped, but there is still a lot to play for.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

Late night edit: The initial shock has died down and I can't help but think of Colt's injury. On the sidelines, he had no cast/sling, ice or medical staff attending to his every need. Obviously, we are still unclear as to the extent, but it doesn't seem to be too serious. (Mack has since confirmed this in his post-game conference) That got me thinking to what Mack's reason for leaving him out was.

On one hand, the kid could truly be too sore to play. I've had a "stinger" before and it feels like someone whacked your funny bone internally. The effects could potentially render your problem area "soft" for a few hours, days or weeks. If it was his throwing arm that got the brunt, he may not have been able to be effective. Jell-o provides no fluid motion.

On the other hand, it may be a coaching move that I somewhat understand. After Snead's first series, Colt was up throwing the ball on the sidelines without the slightest wince. But, he ended up going to the locker room for further evaluation. Getting to #3 in the BCS rankings does nothing for us. We'd end up in the same place whether we were #3 or #20 and won our conference. Obviously there are a lot of factors that worked in our favor with the one-loss teams going down. But, the threat was not eliminated and nothing was a given.

With that in mind...why risk the season?

A shot at the title would have been nice, but there are smaller goals that are obtainable. We still have a huge game against Aggy which could lead to a showdown with Nebraska which could lead to a date in Glendale. If Colt's was injured, why risk ending his season when losing this game doesn't dash our Big 12 title hopes? Plus, you get some real game experience for Snead in case he is needed further down the line. While Snead wasn't perfect, he at least led the team when we were down by 21. And the coaching staff now has a marker as to what he can do in case a gameplan needs to be altered.

My conspiracy theory: Mack didn't want to risk the season by letting Colt get further injured because a loss doesn't count us out to win the conference. Mack knows that a win certainly helped our National title chances but did not guarantee it...so he took the lesser of two evils. If we beat K-State, and Colt sustained a more serious injury, the win essentially does nothing for us. We also could have ended up with a lost game, quarterback and season. To go to the Big 12 title game, we STILL needed to beat Aggy and to win it we STILL need to beat Nebraska. We have a much better chance of this with Colt taking the snaps. So the risk involved is calculated. I'm sure it wasn't the result he was hoping for, and I have no doubt he was playing to win with Snead, but I can understand the logic.

My non-homer angel tells me that we have been making mistakes all season and it finally caught up with us. This is a great team, but the chances of us repeating where realistically small...even if we made it into the title game. (Just throw the ball on our defense and watch the points pile on) In the end, Snead staying in was what was best for the team. But, I can't help but feel like Indiana Jones having the Holy Grail just beyond his finger tips.

"Indiana, let it go."

No Excuses For This Meltdown, Horns!

Needed a blocked punt early in the second half to tie the game at 21-21? That's Texas football. They lead in nation in blocked kicks since 2000. It's to be expected.

Being on top of the fake punt getting a sack instead of giving up the punt. If K-State punts, it is blocked. Once again, Texas Football. It's expected.

Colt McCoy getting hurt in the first quarter. Two reasons this is no excuse. First, It took Texas, with its supposedly All-American offensive line, four tries to get the ball in the end zone from the half yard line. They were forced to go with the QB keeper which led to the injury. Second, Jevan Snead found a major groove late in the third quarter but his receivers started dropping balls and the defense folded in the clutch. This was not about the quarterback. Not as much as I'd thought it'd be anyway.

This was about piss poor play. I think the Horns got cocky. They'd lost Vince Young. Lost Ramonce Taylor. Lost to Ohio State. But saw the teams in front of them falling like flies and Colt McCoy emerge as a real threat. I don't know if it is looking past the opponent, but it very well could have been. It, however, may also have been reacting poorly to losing your team leader early in the game. This was a team that leaned heavily on Vince Young for two years, then found it could count on Colt in the clutch. When he was out, who knew who to turn to in that moment. But no excuse. Winners rally together.

Losers do the things Texas did throughout this game. They do things like allowing a long kick return inside your own 5-yard line after posting the go-ahead TD in the first quarter. Do things like getting completely outworked in the trenches all game. Do things like biting on back-to-back tailback passes to allow a score after tying the game early in the third. They fumble, fumble, and allow a blocked kick on consectutive drives resulting in three unanswered TD's by the opponent. They do things like allow the drive for the game-clinching field goal just after your backup QB led the charge down the field to pull you within one touchdown.

Now, I can't say I didn't see a game like this coming. We've seen Texas put the ball on the ground with regularity. They have lacked serious disciplne in this area. The main culprits are the sorry excuses for tailbacks Texas runs out there every week. Don't get me wrong. Jamal Charles and Selvin Young are great athletes. But when you put the ball on the ground that often, you make yourself worthless. You create a situation where a team can't lean on you with the backup QB thrust into the game because you can't be trusted. Instead of controling the clock and keeping the game close, you are having to come back from 21-down.

So I can't accept this season simply based on preseason expectations. Those tempered expectations were due to QB uncertainty. Once that question was answered, we should have expected to at least be in the championship game. Instead, the Horns secondary has come up way short this season. Even tonight, Snead was not the reason for the loss. He didn't play great until late. But he did what any QB seeing his first meaningful action has to do. Avoid the critical error. Something his mates made up for tonight. I could accept another loss against a team that deserved it or just proved it was a better team. But K-State, despite mostly great play from freshman QB Josh Freeman, littered the field with their own mistakes. And Texas still managed to give the game away.

So no acceptance here. No pat on the back for the players. They failed. Had a golden opportunity fall in their lap and gave it away like it was 2001 all over again.

Give me tailbacks that hold onto the ball. Give me receivers that can hold onto a pass. Give me safeties that can cover a damn receiver. (Who are they, the Dallas Cowboys?)Give me a line that can punt block. And I'll take McCoy or Snead against anyone anyday. (Okay, maybe not Ohio State)

F*CK. Just....F*CK

I know this is supposed to be a family show, but geez....

The Longhorns not repeating as National Champions shouldn't really surprise anyone...but then, it's all about perspective now isn't it?

Prior to the 1st game, no one but the most orange of sunshine pumpers was realistically picking the Horns to repeat. Yes, there were the the rationalizations of "well, IF this happens, and THAT happens, and the stars align in such-and-such way...", THEN and ONLY then could we repeat.

Well, fast forward to the middle of the season. All of the if's and then's were falling into place...the defense was giving up some big plays, but the Staff was making some good adjustments. The Big 12 was down. Hell, even OU helped us out by dismissing it's starting QB, just to give us an easier road.

But one thing was working out in a way that no one heretofore had considered. Our quarterback was actually GOOD. He wasn't the caretaker that everyone thought he'd be. He was not a weak spot to be compensated for. Nay, he was instead a great game manager, a great decision maker, and a definite playmaker. What he trails VY in raw skills, he recovers in mystique. Our redshirt freshman quarterback turned out to be a LEADER.

All of a sudden, in a season where "winning big" (BCS bowl, much less NC) would be gravy, and we were all really just hoping not to embarrass ourselves while our kids got themselves some seasoning in preparation for our next REAL championship run in 2007-8...instead we were seriously counting up Strength of Schedule calculations, hoping that the right teams lost by the right margins, and scolding our Big 12 conference-mates for not being good enough to help us out.

That made the results of today that much more painful.

Colt McCoy had showed us his magic. 21 point come from behind victory...vanquishing OU...making plays with his arm, legs and head...AND did you hear that he once saved a guy's life?

Given all that, the story started out as usual...Colt was supposed to lead the opening drive...he was supposed to get hurt...he was supposed to leave the game...we were supposed to fall behind. But then he got off the script a little bit. Colt was supposed to glance mournfully at the crowd in the 4th qtr....shift his gaze toward the scoreboard as is comes into focus...his expression changes to anger and grit...he yanks his helmet back from Mack and says "I'm going out to win this thing, coach". And then he does. But in the REAL world...Colt really is mortal...his injury keeps him out of the game...Jevan (like Kevin, not "Je-VON" like the fricking ESPN announcers all night) looked like Colt did against tOSU, and didn't get any help from his receivers...aaaaaand we lost.

The end is the same: an end of the season that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't really matter. But with the 1st draft of a new national championship legend now laying crumpled next the the wastebasket, it sure feels different than I thought it would.

C'mon boys...sack up and make a halftime prediction

It's halftime and the Longhorns are sucking. Who's worried?

I am.

Not that I think we'll lose....I think that our staff will make the halftime adjustments they always do against lesser teams, we'll figure out how to cover for our lack of linebacker pass coverage, and everyone will suddenly remember how to tackle, which will be enough for a 10+ pt win.

But I AM worried that the country is seeing us struggle, which will diminish the impact of a 1 pt Florida win.

McCoy is hurt, Jevan is looking like Colt did against tOSU...but we are TEXAS and will simply overcome ourselves against KState. I just hope we can overcome the BCS rankings.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rutgers paves the way for Longhorn repeat/next chapter in the McCoy legend

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If Rutgers' defeat of Louisville tonight came as a shocker to some, it wasn't for lack of prayers from Texas fans. We usually leave the half-hearted hex stuff to aggy, but there was more Longhorn bad-vibing attention on this game than has ever been paid to such a mid-season Big East tussle.

As most Longhorns recognized, this was the 2nd to last major out-of-our-hands hurdle between us and a chance to return to the National Championship game. The 1st of course being that Michigan has to lose convincingly enough to fall past Texas in the BCS standings. This has been made a little more likely now that Texas is only 2 behind Michigan.

Strength of schedule is still a concern, but I do not anticipate anyone jumping Texas. Auburn and Florida's loses were to weaker teams, and Florida is just inconsistent enough for it not to be shocking if they lose to Florida State. Not to mention that they could meet in the SEC Championship game, if Arkansas drops games to Tennessee and LSU.

And no, no one should be worried about Rutgers claim to the title game, even if they remain undefeated. They are, after all, freakin' Rutgers.

So, now Texas just has to hold serve against K-State, Texas A&M, and the Big 12 Championship (Nebraska?), and hope the Michigan Scenario plays out.

The CBSSportsline.com website has a countdown clock to tOSU/Mich...overlooking the fact that both teams play this weekend. Hmmm...I'm not saying...I'm just saying...

Fran Goes Hollywood

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(Ok, I couldn't find a decent quality Jack Nicholson shot to doctor...so I improvised)

Coach Fran: You want answers?

TexAgs Poster: I think I'm entitled.

Coach Fran: You want answers?!

TexAgs Poster: I want the truth!

Coach Fran: You can't handle the truth!

Coach Fran: Son, we live in a world that has end zones, and those end zones have to be guarded by men with guts. Who's gonna do it? You?! You, TexAgs Windbag?! I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for 3rd and 2, and you curse the sidelines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that a pass on 3rd and 2, while tragic, probably should have won the game. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, wins games! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at tailgates, you want me making that call! You need me making that call! We use words like honor, mental toughness, leadership council. We use these words as the backbone of a career spent defending our play calling. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a internet junkie who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very alternating-year winning seasons that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide them! I would rather you just said, "Thank you," and went on your virtual way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a headset and stand for a game on the sideline. Either way, I don't give a (censored) what you think you are entitled to!

TexAgs Poster: Did you order the Field Goal?

Coach Fran: I did the job I was sent to do--

TexAgs Poster: Did you order the Field Goal?!

Coach Fran: (shouting) You're gawldarned right I did!!

[stunned silence]

TexAgs Poster: WatchOle, keeper of the message board, I suggest the lurkers be dismissed, so that we can move to an immediate Board of Regents session. The coach has got to go.

WatchOle: Dr. Gates?

TexAgs Poster: Bob?

Gates: [nods head]

WatchOle: The Board of Regents will retire to an anteroom until further instructions are received.

Random CT: All rise!

Coach Fran: What is this? Dr. Gates, what's going on? I did my job, I'd do it again. I'm gonna get in my limo and go back to my mansion.

WatchOle: You're not going anywhere, Fran. CT's, guard the Coach.

Random CT: Yes, sir!

WatchOle: Dr. Gates?

Gates: Coach Fran, you have the right to a generous severance package --

Coach Fran: What is this? I'm being charged with losing the game? Is that what this is? I'm responsible for losing the game? This is funny. That's what this is. Half the teams lose every Saturday. This is - -

[leaps towards TexAgs poster, CT's restrain him] I'm gonna rip the eyes out of your smiley face icon and photoshop your dead skull! You messed with the wrong coach!

WatchOle: Coach Fran, do you understand these posting guidelines as I have just read them to you?

Fran: You flippin' people. You have no idea how to defend an end zone. All you did was weaken a team today, TexAgs. That's all you did. You put the 12th Man's record in danger. Sweet dreams, nerd.

TexAgs Poster: Don't call me a nerd. I'm a rookie poster and an wannabe internet Sunday morning quarterback. And you're terminated, you son of a beach. The coach is excused

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

Example

I wish I knew how to quit you Tony Romo.

I am a self-proclaimed temporary Cowboys hater. My new fandom, the Tennessee Titans, are a tough act to cheer for. While they have Superman at QB, they can't escape the truth: They stink. The fact that I am too cheap to spend $150 to actually see them play every Sunday further compounds my ill feelings. If the Republicans remained in control of the House and Senate, I was assured that things wouldn't be this way.

But, I must admit that seeing the Cowboys struggle brings a bevy of emotions. On one hand, this is the team that made me passionate about football. 3 out of my 7 high school years the Cowboys won the Super Bowl. America's team, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, the triplets...the list goes on and on. But, on the other hand, with every loss Dallas is one step closer to getting rid of "the player who wears #81." And that makes me happy.

But, apparently I am not the only person bitter about the Cowboys this season. My sorrow pales in comparison of what Drew Bledsoe must be feeling right now.

In fact, it pains him so much that he decided to buy a website and blog his thoughts.

As a precursor, Drew can get emotional at times and use naughty words, slang and bad sentence structure. But, how can you blame the guy? Losing his job to a can't miss Hall of Famer like Romo must sting.

Let's Play Some Durant, Durant

In case you've been distracted by Colt McCoy bucking all odds in Austin, here's a friendly reminder: Rick Barnes' basketball team tips off the '06-'07 season in the Coaches v. Cancer Classic Thursday.

(Now there's a thought: acute lymphoma versus Ditka. Ditka 103. Cancer 3. Now give me some Polish Sausage.)

But the beginning of this basketball season is strange. Did you notice Texas A&M ranks higher than Texas in preseason basketball polls? Now, that's an inconceivable thought in football. It's a mere myth in basketball, or so I thought.

It makes sense, though. With Texas' mass NBA exodus, this is a very young team. The roster sports only two juniors and one senior and only one of those guys has logged significant minutes in previous years. A&M, meanwhile, returns their entire core. Barnes faces a stiff Big 12 South test.

What will Barnes experience with lack of experience be? Has he established a program like Kansas or Duke, where it might take a few weeks for the youngsters to acclimate but come tourney time they're ready to make a run at the Final Four? Or does Barnes have a program that has to rebuild?

I vote for the first one, better known as reloading. Why? Well, Sophomore point guard A. J. Abrams' shot has developed as evidenced by his 25 points in an exhibition. Connor Atchley will, at the very least be adequate, and has 6'11", 315 pound Dexter Pittman behind him. Bring on LSU's Baby Shaq. And D. J. Augustin is primed to step in at shooting guard full time. And these guys aren't the number one reason.

For UT Bball salvation, look no further than Kevin Durant. One report said he packs point guard skills in a 6'9" body with a 7'5" wingspan. Sounds impressive. If the hype is accurate this guard/forward Barnes managed to recruit out from under Coach K and Roy Williams will help this team transition. He will be better than P. J. Tucker. Will make us forget C. J. Miles chose life as an NBA second round pick over playing for the Horns. Should put Texas back in the Final Four.

So don't worry. By the time Colt finishes his National Championship run and you remember Texas plays basketball, too, everything will be just fine.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mavs: From Finals to Lottery

Well, that's a bit of an overreaction, but at 0-3, this team is on pace to be the worst team in the league. Not only are they winless this year but hold a seven-game losing streak dating to last year's NBA Finals. But instead of assuming the worst, let's take a look at what can be fixed.

The Mavs new players need to acclimate quickly. Devean George has been sick. Austin Croshere, Greg Buckner, and Anthony Johnson have been pitiful. Buckner has at least been solidly defensively. Croshere shot well in the opener but has since reverting back to his preseason Keith Van Horn imitation. If that continues, he has at least shown he is lot more skilled than Van Horn on defense and on the glass, but is that saying much? In the meantime, it took "true point guard" Anthony Johnson three games to post his first assist. These guys need to get it together or Avery Johnson needs to find ways to get rookies Maurice Ager and Pops Mensah-Bonsu on the floor.

Devin Harris needs more minutes. Three games in, Harris gets the start. The offense was much better and Harris plays bigger than he is on defense. He'll make his mistakes, but those will decrease with more playing time, something Mavericks coaches have been unwilling to give him at this time. Do not forget how important he was in the playoffs last year. First, there was the Spurs series which he took over with his speed. But people forget he displayed a clutch shot late in games. Three times in the playoffs he hit jump shots to tie games with seconds to play, though the opponent followed with a clock beating hoop. If you saw the final minute of the Golden State game, you know that was on display again.

Kick Jason Terry in the backside. The Mavs "shooter" has done very little of that while playing tentatively. This may be partially due to playing limited minutes in the preseason, but The Little General needs to get him going and quick.

Sit Jerry Stackhouse in the Fourth Period. In the middle part of the game, Stack will give you important points. Late in games, he plays an individual game and forces shots rather than finding teammates. Let him watch the final minutes from the bench. It's best for the team.

Drive! Drive! Drive the lane! The Mavs continue to refuse to attack the basket. It was a nasty habit that reared it's ugly head on occassion last season and was the primary reason (D-Wade who?) the Mavs championship hopes unrivaled form the six munte mark of the fourth period of game three in the finals. This makes for easy defensive rebounds for your opponent and low shooting percentages putting the wrong team in transition. Go to the Hole.

So there you have it. It may get worse before it gets better with Josh Howard out at least two weeks with his ankle sprain, but my guess is the lottery is not in the cards for this team. But a low seed will be if the Mavs don't get it right soon.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rangers Hire No Big Splash

So the Rangers new manager is no other than.....Lou Pinella? No. Dusty Baker? No. Joe Girardi? No. Don Wakamatsu? No. It is none other than Ron Washington.

He has been the Oakland A's third base coach for the last ten years and is now the Texas Rangers manager. He doesn't have a big name. He doesn't have experience. But it doesn't really matter.

I have no idea if he can manage. And freakin' Tom Hicks wouldn't allow to me sit in on the interviews to find out if this guy knows baseball. But he's worth giving a chance. After all, he can't be worse than most his Rangers predecessors, including Buck Showalter. The Rangers managing pantheon is pretty much Johnny Oates and...well...Johnny Oates.

Showalter's biggest weakness that the team aired publicly was communication and lack of optimism. Hicks and GM Jon Daniels seem to think this Washington's strength. My personal opinion of Showalter's biggest weakness is he never gave young players enough of a chance before giving up on them. A few at bats every week or so does not lead to development. The growth of players like Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, Gerald Laird, and Hank Blalock was stunted by this anti-youth attitude.

Washington, on the other hand, comes from a team that has thrived, at least within the AL West while leaning on young players and giving them every chance to learn. Hopefully he brings that to Texas with him.

So, come April, let the scrutiny begin. Until then, who knows if this guy can manage.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12

To Coach Fran...just trying to help a brotha out.

Actually, I'm just dogpiling aggy.

I don't follow aggy football enough to intelligently participate in the debate re: firefran.com, but this game has to put even the most loyal aggy to the test. Like I tell my kids on the soccer field..."I don't care if you lose to a better team, but I don't want you to lose by making bad decisions". That's exactly what OU was (a better team), and exactly what Fran did (bad decisions).

The decisions were not only bad because they lost aggy the game, but also because of what they said about his feelings about his team. He basically told his team that they don't have the heart to get 2 yds in the shadow of the opponents goalposts, late in the game when you weren't sure of how many more possessions you might have. The second one was longer to get a 1st down, but you had even less time on the clock, so again - no brainer - go for the win. After the game, Fran even had the audacity to imply that the defense factored into the decision...in a game where 17 pts won it....by saying "we just need one more little stop there and we might have...had a chance to win the football game." Incredible.

Then, just to rub it in, Bob Stoops had a chance in his own end, to punt to an anemic aggy offense. But instead, he goes for it...showing the confidence that he has in his offense. Leading to the clip above because Fran doesn't have his kids disciplined enough to know when to be on the field.

Time to set the clock on firing fran. I would not be surprised if it happened before the end of the season. Drastic, I know, but you heard it here 1st.

Romo's a Winner...Cowboys Aren't

Check out the Dallas Cowboys new franchise quarterback's stats: 24 of 36, 284 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT. So the Cowboys won. Well, not exactly. Romo did everything he needed to do for Dallas to win, including completing a 28-yard pass to Jason Witten inside the Washington 20-yard line with six seconds to play, but he had his gremlins sabotaging victory today. Here's the list:

Public Enemy #1: Special Teams. This group gave up big returns to the 'Skins all day providing a struggling offense good field position to work from in the game. They capped it all off by allowing a block of what would have been the game winning field goal and allowed Washington to get in position for their winner. There's the fact that the referees awarded 15 yards on a clearly incidental facemask on the return, but don't get it blocked and it doesn't matter.

Public Enemy #2: Terrell Owens. Stone hands strikes again. I won't make him #1 because that could be overstating it considering the total failure of the special teams. But Romo makes a beautiful play action fake followed by a gorgeous bomb to Owens that should have been a back breaking 74-yard touchdown to make the score 26-12. Instaed, the lead remained seven setting the stage for the upset.

Public Enemy #3: Roy Williams and Anthony Henry. They are considered one for being guilty of the same sin: failure in coverage. We knew Roy Williams is bad in coverage. Now, it's become a theme with Henry. The pair combined for two major pass interference penalties. Williams dropped an interception in Washington's end of the field. Henry is racking up interference penalties like Mario Edawrds did. Oh, and Henry got blocked by little man Brandon Lloyd on Clinton Portis's 38-yard TD run around Henry's corner. If I am a Dallas opponent, I know where I'm throwing the ball. Perhaps next year Dallas should move Henry to free safety, Keith Davis to strong safety, Williams to linebacker, and find another cornerback.

Public Enemy #4: Bill Parcells. He's listed this low because the decision he's made at quarterback has been golden. If Romo is the reason the Cowboys have not pursued quality QB's aggressively, maybe we owe him an apology for the criticism of the last couple of seasons. Nonetheless, if he doesn't go for two with a 6-5 lead early in the second quarter, all you have to do is take a knee, run out the clock, and celebrate another road victory. That is two early in the game to risk taking points off the board. Screw the chart and coach the game. Seems he asked Coach Fran for help on that call.

Now, let's get back to Romo. This guy has unbelievable poise, can make throws, and get out of trouble. Washington sent pressure nearly every play and, if not for Owens' drop, he has well over 300 yards, 3 TD's, and a 2nd straight road win. Bluer skies are ahead Cowboys fans. Tolerate the occasional gunslinger 3-INT game and watch as Romo makes this team the contender we expect it to be. (I'm holding off on proclaiming Romo as chapionship caliber because that is not determined by two games.)

We're #3!

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This picture pretty much sums up the weekend: Shock and disbelief.

On Thursday, Louisville defeated...check that...ass-whooped West Virginia. The good news? West Virginia is out of the national championship talk and Louisville still has to play undefeated Rutgers and a hot Pitt team. As polls indicate, Louisville isn't getting a lot of love from the coaches. But, Louisville will most likely need to lose a game for Texas to overtake them in the BCS rankings.

Ball State, a bad MAC team, came within 2 yards of potentially upsetting Michigan. This was with Mario Manningham, Michigan's best WR, back on the field from an injury. Ohio St. had a 7 point victory against a dismal Illinois team. The game wasn't as close as the score indicated, but Troy Smith showed signs of being human. While neither team lost, it shows that the field is starting to get on par this late in the season. The last thing Texas needs is for Ohio State to lose. But, a close call with Ball State does not bode well this late in the season for a Michigan team that loses to Ohio St. and joins the 1-loss fray. Unless Michigan beats Ohio St., there will not be a repeat game for the NC.

Florida also had a close call this weekend against an upset prone Vandy team. With South Carolina and Florida State still left on the schedule, there is plenty of reasons to pay attention to Florida's play. This isn't your older brother's FSU team...but never discount a rivalry game on the road. The SEC championship certainly isn't a given either.

Arkansas survived South Carolina but still has showdowns with LSU and Tennessee. If they win 1 of 2 of these matchups, Arkansas will shut out Auburn from the SEC championship game which hurts the Tiger's NC berth hopes. Arkansas is too far back in the pack to be a serious contender. (Although I am impressed with their play thus far)

LSU came from behind to beat Tenn. in a thriller to provide a little breathing room for Texas. Cal is the other team breathing down Texas' neck right now. But, a game against USC may prove to be the downfall. Texas fans want either Stanford or Arizona to do the deed as USC's strength of schedule will increase with wins over Oregon, ND and Cal. USC may not get the voter's love, but the computers may not see it the same way.

Now to the Big 12...

First up, the "go to hell" Bowl. a&m loses to ou by 1 point. The way they lose? Coaching. The a&m team showed heart and pride on their home turf. But, in typical fashion. Coach Fran lost them the game. Instead of handing the ball to J-Train on a 3rd and 2, he elects to pass and kick a FG...which still put them one point behind. Stoops showed some guts by going for it on 4th and inches. They would have made it...but the yellow flag came out. The self proclaimed Home of the 12th man had 12 men on the field giving ou an automatic first down. (You just can make this stuff up folks)

Texas needed a big win...and they got it. McCoy looked phenominal and for the first time this season, Texas looked like a complete TEAM. It would be a crime for McCoy to not take newcomer of the year and Big 12 offensive player of the year awards while Aaron Ross takes home the defensive player of the year.

The biggest news is that a&m's loss virtually ensures that Texas will represent the south in the Big 12 championship game. Texas can lock it up this Saturday with a victory over struggling K-State. Nebraska's win over Mizzou also virtually locks up the north spot setting up a revenge game in Kansas City.

The coach's polls are out and Texas has the #3 spot. We already know that #1 and #2 will be altered in a few weeks...so Texas could potentially move up into the #2 spot. But, the BCS is subjective and there is no guarentee that we will be in a position to defend our title. I refuse to drink the NC Kool-aid yet...but it sure is fun to watch it all unfold.

Update: Texas has moved up 2 more spots to #5 in the BCS. Ohio St./Mich will take care of itself, but we need help from Louisville and Florida. However, the gap for #6 and #7 is pretty thin. Texas needs Arkansas to remain strong so that Auburn gets shut out of the SEC conference game. We also need ou to win out and a&m to have no more losses before they face us.

Imagine that...Texas fans having to cheer for Arkansas, ou and a&m. This is why the BCS should be scrapped.

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