Saturday, October 11, 2014

Growing Pains

Even though I'm writing this on a Friday night, I still feel compelled to say - Uuuuggggghhh! Look, I knew we were going to experience quite a few transition/growing pains, and the injuries/suspensions sure as hell don't help. But man, when the little things are so apparent it's maddening.

No one thought Texas would hold Baylor's offense scoreless for 2+ quarters. But sadly, I figured our offense would score at least some points. Again, Uuuuuugggggghhh. It's never good when I'm the second caller on the post-game call in show (which I was and have been more than once).

It's silly to try and dissect this too much because it's pretty simple: Almost everyone on our offense not name Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown are backups, or youngsters with dick for experience. Obviously that's a tough haul for anyone, but shit man, these guys are supposed to be good, 2-3 deep. Right??? This explains why I was cursing Mack's name during that game. I'm sorry, but he was stealing money in that last year and a half of his contract. He didn't do dick.

With all of that said, we can't avoid the Red River Shootout/Rivalry/etc.

Texas vs. OU
I don't know what to say here. See last week. The only thing that's different is that...'s Texas/OU. But that doesn't bode well for this offense. I'll be the first to say that I was praising Swoopes' progress early, but I think the ceiling is close, if not right there. His throws to open receivers, on short routes, with no pressure were ridiculous. If he was rattled by Baylor, how the hell is he going to respond in this environment? I know legends are made here at the Cotton Bowl, but I can't say I'm optimistic right now. Not at all.

Defensively, I think you keep doing what you're doing. Come out very aggressive - stack that box and keep Perine and that running attack in check. Make Knight beat you throwing the ball. This means a lot of man coverage in the slot and on the outside, but we've got the horses to do it...within reason. What gets masked in the fog of frustration is that this defense is spectacular. Reminds of the years when Muschamp was D-Coordinator and he'd get so mad at the offensive staff (rightfully so). If the offense can manufacture some points some how (rrriiight), it's a whole other story. Either way, my heart says "this is the week Texas puts it together and executes the details and pulls the upset". My brain says "don't even watch this shit dude".  Yet again, Texas gives up a bunch of points late in 3rd, and most of 4th quarters.

OU - 26
Texas - 13

Around the Nation - Point/Counter Point
This little schtick allows me to argue why both teams could either way I'm right!

Ole Miss at Texas A&M:
Why the Aggies will win - First and foremost, this just feels like a game where the Aggies will come out on fire and run away with it. But, Ole Miss is a really good team and will put up a fight. But damn, you have to think the Aggie's aren't going to drop all those passes. Right? I'm not saying they win that game last week, but it's a different story of half of those were caught/converted. Plus, can Ole Miss handle  and sustain this kind of success? They got their huge win and were impressive, but how long did they celebrate that?

Why the Rebels will win - Ole Miss' victory was undeniably impressive. It wasn't like they got a bunch of breaks. They hung tough the entire game - they had to come back a couple of times if memory serves. This looked like a different Ole Miss team. This will be a challenge indeed for both teams, but I'll take Sumlin coming off of a loss, at home, at night. I'm going with Aggie's by 10 points. Side note (and slight jab at the Aggie's) - aren't you guys an agricultural school? What are the chances you'll have to replace the turf AGAIN after the rain and then the game this weekend? As Chris Carter would say, C'mon Man...

Auburn at Mississippi State:
Why the Tigers will win - Nick Marshall is a better passer this year and still just as dangerous with his feet. Everyone knows he's a great runner, but his passing skills and confidence have improved and the Bulldogs have to respect that now. This Auburn team is still very tough. Yes they had that nail biter in Manhattan, Kansas that they should have frankly lost. But I can tell you first hand that that is a tough son-of-a-bitch place to play. The Tigers still have a prolific offense and can move the ball at will more times than not.

Why the Bulldogs will win - 2 words: Dak Presscot. He can give this Auburn defense some fits. He can take over this game and I'm not sure Auburn has what it takes to stop him. If the Bulldogs can come out with the same level of physical play and confidence they had against the Aggies, they can most certainly win this game.

TCU at Baylor:
Why Baylor will win - The million dollar question is this; did Texas (wait for it...) expose some kinks with the Bears? Or did the Bears simply have a down day? If TCU can dial up defensive play like Texas did (no tall order, remember, Texas is really good on that side of the ball), they have a real shot here. But like I said when Texas played Baylor, if the Bears can get into rhythm, it's over very quick and I would expect they could get into a rhythm in their own house. Based on what we know, it's hard to envision Bryce Petty having another poor throwing performance like he did in Austin. I'm playing the averages here, but after last week I can see Baylor turning the dial back to computer game mode.

Why TCU will win - I'll be the first one to admit, I had TCU as a bottom dweller in the conference this year. Obviously that is not the case. And much like Ole Miss over Alabama, that win against the Sooners was damn impressive. They tried, tried and tried again to hand the game to Oklahoma, but they kept clawing back. Very impressive win and if they can sustain that focus and intensity they most certainly have a shot here. Boykin is playing very well and although that dual-threat QB thing is great, it's also a little nerve racking when your QB is your leading rusher as well. I like the Horned Frogs' chances here, but I don't see Baylor being held down like they were last week for most of the game.

LSU at Florida:
Why LSU will win - I have no idea. This is a match up of "hey, we're in the SEC and are historic programs, but we are pretty damn bad this year" teams. Let's be honest, neither of these teams have the horses they once had. It's a toss up.

Why Florida will win - See above.

Oregon at UCLA:
Why Oregon will win - UCLA has an abysmal defense. They gave up over 600 yards to Arizona State (with their backup QB) and we saw what happened against Utah. Just think what the best QB in the country will do. I don't think this is close. Plus, neither of these teams has an O-line worth a shit, but because the Bruins have no defense, it won't affect Oregon as much as it will UCLA.

Why UCLA will win - If Oregon shits they bed as they did against Arizona, maybe, there's a chance. UCLA is going to have play flawless football, and they are at home which is in advantage. Although teams like this tend to play better coming off of a loss, remember Oregon is coming off of a loss too. I just honestly don't see it, but hey, it's college football and anything can happen.

Other Random Musings, Thoughts and General Shenanigans Around the Country
  • You all know how much I hate polls in college sports, especially football, but this past weekend has taken it to new heights. And, the SEC bias/love fest/homer-ism, whatever you want to call it is stronger than it's been in a while, even with the league being down. Indulge me with just a few examples: Last week Ole Miss was ranked 14th (or somewhere around there). They get a home win (impressive as it may be) over an Alabama team that has proven to be clearly down compared with recent years, and now they are number 3? Really? They are the third best team in the country? What if they lose to the Aggies by double digits (which is highly possible)? You know what, they won't be the third best team in the country now will they? Let's take another example: Arizona was UN-FREAKING-RANKED last week, they go in and beat Oregon by a touch down and now they are a top 10 team? Really? So here's my question: isn't this an indictment on the voters and process? What if Arizona gets beaten badly by a not-so-good USC team, will they then be unranked again? Can we PLEASE just do away with these things? At least until after the teams are 1 game past the midway point? Saying this team or that team is the second best team in the country at any point before mid October is a complete joke and general guessing game. Teams can't be the second or third best team in the country if they aren't consistent, right? 
  • The point is this - there's too much good product and parity on the fields to continuously muddy it up with these stupid polls. It's time for them to go away altogether, or be completely revamped. Here's what we know about the vast majority of teams in the country in any given season: they are going to have ups and downs. And guess what, just because a team loses a game doesn't mean they suck. Winning all of your games is hard to do. Teams with 1, 2 and sometimes even 3 losses in a season can still be very, very good teams. So please, for the love of everything Holy, can we sprinkle in some intelligence into this thing? Please? 
  • And do we really, truly believe that the second, third and fourth best teams in the country are Auburn, Ole Miss and MSU? Hey guess what ESPN, Sports Illustrated and everyone else, there are whole lot of other really good teams across the country that aren't in the gulf-coast states. Take this to the bank: Ole Miss, Auburn, MSU will each have at least 1 loss if not 2. Bet the house on it. 
  • And while I'm bitching about everything wrong with College Football, let's take a little look at the Todd Gurly situation in Georgia. Guess who, deep down inside, doesn't give 2 shits about being suspended 2, 3 or even more games this year? Todd Gurly. And you know why? Because there's plenty of film on him and what he can do for NFL teams to know he can be successful at the next level. The NCAA needs Gurly a hell of a lot more than Gurly needs the NCAA and therein lies the wrinkle. Is Gurly a victim? Hell no, but it would appear he's a selfish guy who lacks respect for the rules and has questionable judgement and decision making skills. Is the rule stupid? Yes. Should the rule go away or be changed? Yes. But until then, it's still the rules. Until either the NCAA changes their rules/stance on this, or until the NFL will start punishing these kinds of acts at the next level, this will continue to be a frustrating and mind numbing circle of stupidity. 
  • Georgia at Missouri - the "someone has to win the SEC east" bowl. 
  • We'll see how long Fedora gets in Chapel Hill, but here's one for you: After a year or two in the studio, don't be surprised to see Mack Brown get some consideration to return to the Tar Heels. Of course assuming Fedora can't turn this thing around. They are...underachieving this year to say the least. 
  • Speaking of Mack Brown - thanks a pant load for leaving the cupboard full of a bunch of entitled, under developed stoners here in Austin. Appreciate that. And I don't care how "sick and tired you are of hearing how soft Texas is" - you created this. This is on YOUR legacy. Guess who else doesn't like hearing it? EVERY F'NG FAN HERE IN AUSTIN! But alas, this is what we are left with. 30 minutes after Vance Bedford got a hold of this defense they were immensely better than the last few years under Mack. 
  • Geez, you think I'm a little bitter this week??? 
NFL Matchups and Predictions
  • Oh, so I guess the Patriots don't suck now? That was a pretty convincing win over the Bengals who clearly did not come in prepared. Look for the Pats to continue their run against Buffalo this weekend. Pats by a touchdown.
  • The Titans appear to be one of those teams that in a free fall with no clue how to climb out of it. Couple that with just about zero explosive players, and the starting QB out and that spells Jacksonville getting their first win of the year in Nashville. Look for Tennessee to say f'k it and play Mettenberger to see what they got in the rookie. I can assure you Charlie Whitehurst cannot get 'er done. 
  • Hey Denver - this is one of those days where you can get Peyton some rest. I'm just saying. I's the Jets.
  • Carolina gets the unfortunate job of getting the Bengals in bounce back mode. Give the Panthers credit, even with the loss of some key pieces they are still playing at a pretty high level. Although Cincy won't have AJ Green, I think they have the pieces and focus to get the job done. 
  • The stealthiest team in the league has to be San Diego right now. Phillip Rivers continues to defy the age thing and seems to be getting better. They'll continue to be stealthy this weekend as they get the Raiders. They'll destroy them in this game, but no one will pay much attention because, well, it's the Raiders. 
  • Dallas is over achieving. They are proving the critics wrong so far (including this one). But in Seattle? With the Seahawks coming off of a pretty lame performance in Washington? I smell an ass whoopin' here. 
That's all I got gang - enjoy the weekend. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The NFL Puppet Show

Let's start with this - when TMZ can make the NFL Commissioner look and sound like a complete buffoon you know things are bad. I mean.....TMZ?? Really?

With Goodell's loooong overdue press conference, the most important of his career mind you, you'd think he would have his facts sorted and his story straight. On the contrary. Goodell seemed to approach this press conference like someone who has been procrastinating yard work for weeks, and when they finally get to it, they take half assing it to whole new levels. All in all, I would say that this press conference led to far more questions than answers.

I won't rehash the countless recaps and sound bites, but I will say this: Roger Goodell may be the most incompetent and spineless commissioner in the history of professional sports. What I feel very sure about on this fine Saturday morning is this: Goodell damn well saw the video; The Ravens damn well saw the video; and both (in their own way) damn well did everything they could to keep it under wraps. As far as I'm concerned, the Ravens and the Commissioner are clear pieces of shit. And make no mistake, firings, fines, and possibly even the stripping of ownership in Baltimore are coming. Ozzie Newsome - congratulations as you're likely to be the first casualty.

I can't wait to see what happens here because trust me on this - this ain't over. And hiring a few women to help "shape your policy" does nothing but show how incompetent you really are Commissioner.

Now on to real football...

Licking the Longhorn Wounds
That loss STILL stings. Not because I thought they would win, but because they were in a position to and SHOULD have won. I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I (and many MANY fans) have grossly overestimated this team's chances this year. The good news is now we know so we can accept it - something Texas fans are no good at by the way. As we head into the most needed bye week in the history of sports, let's examine the good, the bad and the ugly of this team after one quarter of the season.

The Good - Believe it or not, there are some good points we can look at with this team. Number one, they actually came out pumped up, aggressive and ready to play against UCLA. That was great to see. Also, NO TURNOVERS. That was great to see. And finally, Swoopes is looking better and better each week - and starting both games completing his first 8-10 passes is a great way to build his confidence.  I'm looking forward to see how he develops throughout the rest of the season.

The Bad - Mental errors, mental errors, mental errors. Losing containment in that long punt return against UCLA, running into the punter on consecutive Bruin punts, kicking the kickoff out of bounds and of course, the great coin toss incident of '14. Another thing that's concerning to me is the consistency of the defense. While they have some really great moments, there are times when they seem to have lapses, giving up 10-12 play drives - the kind that demoralizes the defense and of course keeps the offense off the field.

The Ugly - Between the New York Giants and the Texas Longhorns, we're looking at some record-breaking injury bugs. Between injuries and suspensions, this Texas team is THIN. This will not bode well against the Baylors and OUs of the world. I don't necessarily blame the team/coaches for this, but the injury report each week is starting to look ugly. One other thing that deserves to be in the ugly bucket was the offensive series immediately following UCLA's turnover. 5+ minutes to go, Texas has the lead and just forced the only turnover of the game. First play was a Malcolm Brown run up the middle for 6 yards. At this point, Texas coaches decided we need to get into hurry up offense. On the next play, the ball was snapped with 18 seconds on the play clock and went for no gain, and the next play was snapped with 24 seconds on the clock and was an incomplete pass, stopping the clock. All in all, the Horns ran off a mind blowing 40 seconds, gained 6 yards and punted giving UCLA PLENTY of time to go down to take the lead (by the way, it only took 1 play). The coaches and players grossly mishandled that series and that, to me, was the game.

We'll see what Strong and company can do with this bye week, followed by a trip to Lawrence, KS (another bye week of sorts). After that it's Baylor and OU back-to-back. Shit's going to get real starting in 3 weeks.

Random Thoughts
  • Looks as if Florida State administrators and the Tallahassee PD have been reading the NFL Book on Handling Troubled Players. Here's a quick hint guys: If you continue to allow Winston to get away with this kind of crap, he'll continue to do this kind of crap. I'm sorry, going from one half of a game to one game is a joke. 
  • The FSU/Clemson game just got a little more interesting...
  • We are going to learn a hell of a lot more about Oklahoma tonight than we will about W. Virginia. I think the Mountaineers can make it interesting, at least for 2-3 quarters. 
  • While I don't think Seattle is going to beat Denver like they did in the Super Bowl, I do think they just have too much, especially at home. Until I see someone take them down at home, I have to go Seahawks. 
  • Demarcus Ware is looking like a good signing for Denver. He's having a nice season thus far. 
  • I realize Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice are big stars, but where the NFL really missed the boat was not being decisive and severe with those guys - had they done that, the good will feeling towards the NFL, and thus the opportunity to create more loyal fans, would have been measurable. 
  • Adrian Peterson is a f'ng coward and I hope he never plays another down again. I used to like him (even though he was a Sooner), but after hearing the details of his ordeal. F'k that guy. I would love to see someone do that same shit to him. 
  • Still makes me laugh though when he spurned Texas for OU because, as he said, "I want to win a national title and that's just not in the cards at Texas". Hmm.....who won a title while you were in college, Texas or OU? Dumbass. 
  • Roger Goodell makes $44 million per year. Let that sink in. 
That's what I got gang - enjoy the weekend.