Big D

Big D

Friday, December 30, 2005

Back Against the Wall Time

Okay, This bowl season has been crazy. Nothing standard about the way this entire bowl season has played out and tonight's LSU-Miami outcome just continued the odd string of games that have played out the last week or so.

Don't get me wrong, it has been a great and exciting bowl season, but this is crazy. One thing I have to give credit it to is the Big 12. The conference is doing a hell of a a job. OU and Kansas both had great wins and even Mizzou snuck one out against South Carolina. The only dud was Colorado who just was in disarray without their head coach going into bowl season. Pretty dang impressive.

I don't know how the rest of the bettors out there have been doing, but I've been on a roller coaster. Won my first three out of the gate (Toledo, BYU, and NAVY - BIG), and I have been in a tailspin ever since including heartbreakers in Nevada (1 pt. win but didn't cover the -2.5 on Christmas EVE), Clemson (DAMN JAD Dean got his PAT blocked and the final score ended up being 19-10, and I had Clemson -9.5, OUCH), and Minnesota's meltdown today after leading 21-10 at half.

I guess it isn't all bad since Dave had South Carolina -4 today and was up 21-0 going into for another touchdown and Mizzou intrecepts the pass and returns 99 yards for a touchdown. From there, Mizzou never looked back and end up winning going away.

It's been a rough ride. This is my last stand tomorrow. Well, until January 2nd of course:

TCU -3 against Iowa St. in the EVI.Net bowl -- Medium

Despite a 49 day layoff, I still think TCU will win this one. I don't what it is but I just have never been on the TCU bandwagon this year. And since nothing is going right this year, I might as well ride them in the bowl game. They have a chip on their shoulder and would love nothing more than to knock off one of the big boys. And if you are in TCU's world, beating Iowa St. is knocking off one of the big boys. All I got at this point is emotional angles since my gut instincts this year have been totally wrong for the most part.

TCU has had a huge turnover differential edge this year, but so has Iowa St. so who knows who has been the luckier team.

I think for whatever reason the way Iowa St. finished their regular season (2nd blown chance to win the Big 12 North) is a huge negative way to end the season. Tough to get up for this bowl game. But the Big 12 has been the best conference in bowl season so far so this is a risky play. Hell, I just want to win a game at this point.

Tulsa +7.5 over Fresno St. in the Liberty Bowl -- Small

I have been riding Fresno all year so I figure why not go the other way with the way my luck is going . I really don't have a lot else other than a lot of these games seem to be fairly close for the most part. Tulsa has relished the role of underdog to this point and I expect them to at least match Pat Hill's gameplan. Steve Kragthrope seems like a good bright young mind and they should give Pat hill a good game. I just hope they are physical enough to play with Fresno's lines. That's what this game will come down to and turnovers of course. I think Tulsa makes this close and could even win outright. That's the hope anyway.

Tulsa / Fresno over 61

Yes, I've resorted to betting totals this bowl season. I might as well at this point. Nothing else is working. Both these teams have some pretty potent offenses and okay defenses. I expect this game to go like many of the other bowl games already have, hopefully a high scoring affair. Anyways, wish I had better logic, but I'm just looking for a W.

Good luck to everyone this weekend. I will be back Monday, assuming tomorrow is not another bloodbath. Okay, I'll be back...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Forget the Cowboys: Stars, Rangers, and Mavs All Making Noise

I know that Dallas traditionally and especially with the media is a Cowboys town. I've come to accept that fact. Hell, I will freely admit that I despised the Cowboys when I first moved here. I grew up an ND fan and hated the University of Miami with a passion during my childhood. So when Jimmy Johnson left Miami for the Cowboys right about the time I moved to town, it was bad timing.

While I accepted the Rangers and Mavericks as my own upon arriving in the Metroplex circa 1989, I refused to root for the Cowboys because their new head coach was Jimmy Johnson. In hindsight, that decision was probably a huge mistake. Instead of letting bygones be bygones and forgetting JJ's college allegiance, I continued to root against the cowboys all during their championship runs of the 90s. I was the guy at the Super Bowl parties in this area rooting for the Bills while the Cowboys won 3 super bowls in 4 years. It was not a pleasant experience. Even now, the Cowboys are #4 on my Dallas sports pecking order because of that history.

While I may have missed out on some glorius times to be a Cowboys fan, I stayed true to my allegiances and feel like I am a better fan because of it.

Which brings me to my main point, you could argue right now that the other three DAllas franchises (Stars, Mavs, Rangers) who have always played 2nd fiddle to the Cowboys are all in better shape in terms of competing for a Championship than the city's #1 team.


21-7 T-1st with San Antonio for best record in the West

The Mavericks look to be in better shape than ever before to make a run at a championship. Even the 2002-2003 team which had a magical run all the way to game 6 of the Western Conference Finals probably isn't as well equipped as this Mavericks team to win a championship. Avery Johnson after going through some growing pains last year has assembled along with Cuban a team that has a legitimate shot to knock off San Anotonio in the west.

Dirk is the superstar and has really picked up all aspects of his game this season and is looking again like one of the top 5 or 10 best guys in the league.

The backcourt is shaping up nicely with Jason Terry, Devin Harris, and Darrell Armstrong all doing a good job handling the point guard duties.

If Josh Howard and Marquise Daniels can ever be healthy at the same time, they can provide a pretty formidable 1-2 punch at the small forward position.

Jerry STackhouse looks to be rounding into form especially after that posterized dunk on Jermaine O'Neal last night.

Desagana Diop has exceeded anyone's expectations in providing a formidable defensive presence around the basket

This team has everything it needs to make a deep run in the playoffs and the future is very bright indeed for the Mavs


23-10-1 47 pts. T-1st in Pacific Divison

After a very slow start to the season (especially from their goalie), the Stars quitely have been on a tear recently and have put themselves in good position to make a run this year hopefully deep into the playoffs.

The Stars have been able to find a good mix of veterans with up and coming young players to put together 2 or 3 good lines of scoring punch on their lines. Modano has had a renaissance of sorts teamed up with the always underrated Jeri Lehtinen.

If Turco can get that monkey off the back in the playoffs, look out. If anyone remember the Stars cup run in '99, you really can't beat playoff hockey. It should be a fun April/May/June around DFW if the STars and Mavs play up to capabilities this Spring.


"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies"

-- Letter from Andy Dufresne to Red in the movie Shawshank Redemption

I know readers around here get sick of me talking about the Rangers. Well, there is plenty of room on the Rangers bandwagon and I think 2006 could be the season the Rangers become relevant in this area again. The Rangers have been stuck in mud ever since their last division title in 1999 and have never won a playoff series in their franchise's history.

From the A-Rod trade debacle to the Chan Ho Park signing, this franchise has done almost nothing right (well, that's probably overly harsh but you get my point) in the last 5 years.

As hard as it has been to root for this team during the last few seasons, 2006 should be the year where all that pain and suffering pays off. The young, wonderkid GM Jon Daniels has basically done everything right this offseason short of bringing a 21 year old Roger Clemens in here. He has made all the right moves (Chris Young trade makes sense after the Millwood signing) and has not given away any major pieces of our farm system (Adrian Gonzalez would never have a role on this team as long as Tex is here) in the process.

The future has never looked brighter for the 3 "other" teams in Dallas sports.

So while everyone around the area (most especially the media) worries about the Cowboys playoff lives and how they are going to make it in, I will be waiting for the Stars, Rangers, or Mavs to bring Dallas its next championship.

And oh yea, the Horns are in the rose bowl too so we may be talking about that as well..

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas comes late in Arlington: Millwood to Texas.....

Oh my god, Tom Hicks shocks the world and gets Millwood away from Boston and a host of other teams.

I am speechless.

I started to question Jon Daniels plan after the Young for Eaton swap, but this signing makes that deal make sense.

Your 2006 starting rotation in Arlington:

Millwood -- 5 years 60 million dollar deal (5th year option based on number of innings pitched)

Eaton -- Arbitration year but will most likely be resigned if he pitches well (at home especially)

Padilla -- Another arbitration guy who will want to rebound from a shaky '05. Former all-star so asking for a decent season is not unreasonable. Will be interesting to see how he handles AL hitters.

Loe -- I love this guy and I think he proved late in '05 that he can be an effective starter for us. Expecting big things....

Dominguez -- Obviously has had some shaky streaks, but not too much pressure as a definite #5 guy.

Offensive outlook tomorrow.

Update coming tomorrow about Stars, Mavs, and of course more Rangers talk.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Glendon's BACK!!!!! and other Random Stuff

Dave -- This post is certainly relevant to you and should bring back some fond memories of our Bent Tree West days. Anyone from the DFW area during our high school years (well at least if you were following high school sports like us nerds), will most likely remember Glendon Alexander.

Glendon of Newman Smith fame is still the leading point scorer in Texas 5A history and averaged something like 33 points a game during his high school career.

Dave and I and maybe Cuyler, Zach? saw him play in person many times. The guy's pregame dunks were stuff of legends. Good times.

Anyways, Glendon's on his way out of jail after getting in trouble for among many things

stealing $46,500 from a Carrollton dentist, $1.5 million from a California adult entertainment executive, and cash, jewelry and shoes from former major league outfielder Derek Bell

Free Glendon!

Bet you can't guess where this shot ended up?

Rangers Pick Up Pitcher, Give Up Pitcher???

The Rangers pick up Padres starter, Adam Eaton (28) and a pretty darn good setup guy, rightanded Akinori Otsuka (33) who was a great closer in Japan and has peformed in his first two major league seasons as a 7th and 8th inning guy.

He is exactly what Jon Daniels was looking when he mentioned top priority for this offseason along with starting pitching (new rotation now most likely Eaton/Padilla/Loe/Dominguez/5th?) and I'm glad he picked Otsuka up. I'd say the bullpen and starting pitching are at least somewhat upgraded going into 2006.

Offense looks at least to be somewhat more productive with additions of Jiminez/Kinsler at 2B and Wilkerson in the outfield to replace Soriano and Hidalgo. This team will be better in '06 but probably won't win the West without a few more moves at some point.

Giving up Adrian Gonzalez (great prospect at 1B but is blocked by Tex and needs to play now) and Termel Sledge (would have fought for a 4th or 5th outfield slot) is not a huge price.

But Chris Young being added to the deal baffles me. This is a guy who is signed through 2009 at a reasonable price and is hometown, Highland Park product. I'm really surprised Daniels made this deal but he must really have a feeling about Eaton. It's a magnified risky move because Eaton is a potential free agent after the 2006 season and has already stated publicly before this trade that he would need "crazy money" to sign with Texas when he was rumored to be coming here.

You never know, maybe Eaton is lights out and Otsuka leads the Rangers bullpen to a playoff run and both sign long term deals this offseason.

I sure hope so, because losing Chris Young is really confusing for an organizaiton supposedly hell bent on growing home grown pitching. DVD can't get here soon enough after this deal.

I'm still optmistic about 2006 and this hopefully is just a speed bump in the already wild Ranger offseason.

One name to look for: Chad Bradford who was not offered arbitration by the Red Sox. He is a right-handed bullpen submarine style pitcher who spent some successful seasons with the A's in the AL West. He would be another nice bullpen piece to throw at rivals. He is only 30...

More randomness to follow later this week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Leinart Living it Up -- BRAVO

After the heisman cermony Saturday in NYC, these photos would probably be much funnier if this chick was a cow...

Check out the chick in the background's face -- somebody's jealous!!!

And the accompanying email:

>quick story you guys might enjoy. went to a party at laurens on
>saturday night. about 20 people. half of us went to some random bar,
the other half went to this upscale place called Marquee (davedigital
would definitely know this place). anyways, these 2 pretty girls who
were visiting lauren from texas went to
Marquee, i didn't of course opting for the hole in the wall with $3
>So yesterday morning, lauren calls me and says "Do you know some guy
>named Matt Line Hart?" i laugh and say yeah and don't bother to
correct her. she says, well he was at Marquee last night, and hit on
one of the girls from texas all night, danced with her, and then was so
drunk he groped her....she turned around and slapped him, and left.
>i said yea yea, i doubt it even though it kinda made sense that he
would be in an upscale club getting trashed after losing the heisman. i
told her i'd believe the story when i saw pictures. wellll, here they
>joby west coast trash

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sori Traded !!! Rangers get Wilkerson from Nats

The Rangers FINALLY make a move dealing one of my personal favorites, Soriano, but the the Rangers need to free up payroll (Sori would have made $10 Mil in 2006 with arbitration) and this deal makes sense becauase you can plus Wilkerson in center and bring up minor league stud Kinsler to play 2nd. Getting Sledge (should be a 4th outfielder) and a PTBNL is a good return for Jon Daniels first trade.

I give this a thumbs up. Now let's go get some pitching...

I will always be a fan of Soriano. I hope he does well in Washington. He might not enjoy being moved to left field with Vidro entrenched at 2B.

More to come tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cuyler's Fleeting Moment of Fame

Not sure if I've known anyone to actually get a question answered on one of these nationwide chats.

Well our good buddy Cuyler practically batted leadoff on Ivan Maisel's ESPN chat today.

Shockingly it was a decent question. Here is the full transcript of the chat with Cuyler's portion pulled out below:

Cuyler, Atlanta, GA: Ivan: What is your take on conference championship games? On one hand, it hardly seems right that conference championships can be held by teams with the same record that did not play eachother (Big 10). On the other hand, why should teams like Va. Tech and Texas play teams that do not deserve to be in the position to make it to a BCS game? thanks for your thoughts.

Ivan Maisel: (4:02 PM ET ) Look, we don't have a playoff, and the cnoference championship games shouldn't be seen as a replacement. You have to view them the way you view conference hoop tournaments. They are a blatant money grab. Fair, unfair, who knows? The bottom line is that the conferences are willing to expose their regular-season champion to one extra game in order to make a few million bucks. That is your "system" right there.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Nice, LONG Thanksgiving weekend to review with various links and commentary.

Irvin in Trouble Again

While possession of drug parapenelia alone is hardly a serious offense, a Class C misdemeanor -- punishable by a fine of up to $500, it is Irvin's prior track record of serious drug use (crack, cocaine) and other run ins with the law that seems to be fueling the fire in this situation. I'm not exactly a huge Michael Irvin fan myself and I hardly want people to feel sorry for the guy. But let's not crucify him over this. He shouldn't be fired from ESPN. He's not Leonard Little. He's not Rae Carruth. He's not Dwayne Goodrich. I'm certainly not trying to call Michael Irvin a model citizen, but let's not blow this out of proportion like the media always tries to do. Luckily for Irvin, he IS the media as long as he is working for ESPN and it looks like they are going to stick behind him through this ordeal. Hell, they might get a bump in ratings as a result of this mess. I just hope this latest police blotter report is not going to be the tipping point for his critics to keep him out of the hall of fame. His critics were already calling his questionable character one of the main knocks against his hall of fame chances.

Moving on to college football, A WACKY final regular season of college football was full of close games, wild finishes and just bizarre outcomes. Let's recap:

An Ugly Win is Still a Win
I was in attendance on Friday when Texas was able to hang out to beat A&M in College Station, 40-29. Texas played it very vanilla on defense. Gene Chizik elected to play a base defense against the A&M option attack led by Mcneal replacement, Stephen McGee. The vanilla defensive game plan by Chizik almost proved costly as A&M shocking was able to move the ball with ease against the previously stout Texas defense. I tend to think this was just a flat performance (especially from the front 7), and once Texas finally started blitzing late in the 4th quarter, A&M finally was shut down.

Probably less alarming was the performance by VY at the quarterback position. He didn't have his best day throwing and was basically shut down completely with his running game, netting only 19 yards on 11 carries. Rumors have been rampant (Texas fans of course) that much of the team including VY was sick before and during the game on Friday. Kasey Studdard supposedly had a 103 fever during the game. Whatever the case, this was one uninspired performance against a fired up, nothing to lose Aggie team. As long as Texas stayes focused this week, I really see no reason to be alarmed about Friday's perforamnce against A&M.

Speaking of alarming, let's move topics to the rest of the big 12.

Biggest Choke -- Part I

Colorado needing a win to cline the big 12 north and playing as a 16 point favorite at home against a seemingly lifeless Nebraska team gets pummeled 30-3 in what can only be described as an outcome that further disgraces the pitiful big 12 north. After Colorado's loss, Iowa St. had a golden opporunity on Saturday to clinch the North with a win over Kansas, but the result was .....

Biggest Choke -- Part II

Iowa St. for the 2nd Straight year fails to finish the deal with a loss to Kansas in overtime 24-21. Look, I don't mean to pick on the teams in the North. But the credibility of the conference is really starting to wane as the North continues to fall further and further into mediocrity. Until Nebraska turns their program around, I really see no change to the trend we have been seeing the last few years. Kansas St. is never going to be as dominant as they were when the conference was in its infancy. Colorado will always be good but never great unless somehow magically Barnett is able to find out of state recruits to spurn regional ties to hometown schools. Mizzou is mizzou. They consider their season a succes if they get to a bowl game. Kansas is doing good for a basketball school but will never aspire to be much more than that. Iowa St. has a nice little program but Iowa will always be the dominant program in a state not blessed with enough talent to support two big time teams.

Because of the obviously problems created with such a talent gap between North/South, the big 12 needs to start evaluating itself and thinking about ways to improve its current situation or the conference may start to see a serious decline in the next 5-10 years.

Simmons discusses Karate Kid . This is a good read..... And while I've been on Sports Guy overload reaching new levels of weird when Z and Defee went to his book signing. I'd like to see a see review of his book by the way....

How good is Brady Quinn?
Notre Dame has had a rennaisance type season under head coach Charlie Weis. Dunn's dad (an ND alum) is predicting multiple MNCs. Supposedly, recruiting is just taking off right now for ND. Whatever the future holds, Brady Quinn sticking around for next season would be a good place to start. Another season under Weis couldn't hurt Quinn, who I would proj ect as a 1st rounder, probably top 15 pick right now. Of course,Jeff Samardzija may be the best athlete in college athletics right now. A first round type baseball talent at pitcher, Samardzija will have his choice of football or baseball at the next level. I'm not going to rule out him doing both at this point. He's that good.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Beckett to BO SOX!!!!!!!

Well, apparently Blalock and Danks or Diamond were not enough for the Marlins. According to DMN's Evan Grant
and ESPN.COM's Jayson Stark and Peter "I suck off the Red Sox given every opportunity" Gammons, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell are going to Boston for three prospects. Most notably Hanley Ramirez who is Boston's best SS and position player in the minor league system, Annibal Sanchez who is an age-unknown Undrafted Free Agent pitcher who pitched decently at High A and Double AA ball along with a Player to be named later. Always, an intergral part of any deal. And oh yea, Florida is supposedly picking up some of Lowell's contract. Can Hicks ever get a deal done without getting taken to the cleaners? Still waiting.... Whatever the deal is, the Marlins are making a mistake not taking the Rangers deal.

Blalock just needs to not swing for the fences every AB. Ironically, his 25th birthday is the day he was almost shipped out of town. He has already played 3 full seasons in the big leagues and has the potential to be a perennial all star at 3rd. That alone makes him better than anything the Red Sox have to offer. I commend our GM, Jon Daniels, for his handling of this deal. Hicks obviously had a very close hand in the negotiating with Marlins Owner Jeff Lohria. The Marlins had the upper hand in this deal because everyone knows Hicks is desperate for an Ace. I just hope we aren't kicking ourselves in 5 years when Beckett is on the way to the Hall of Fame and Danks has thrown out his rotator cuff. Chances are the Rangers have to be right one of these times when it comes to pitching. I just hope the Rangers offered enough (and I think they did) to the Marlins to pick up a great pitcher in Josh Beckett but an increasingly older Mike Lowell would have been a big albatross of a contract. Owed 18 million over the next 2 years. But would Arias (shortstop acquired in deal with Yanks for Soriano) made the deal go?

Guess we'll never know now. Get back to work Jon...

Trust me, I was salivating at the thought of a healthy Josh Beckett pitching for the Rangers. Josh Beckett has stuff that Rangers fans have never seen in our uniform. For that reason alone, I was reluctantly going to be positive if the Blalock/Danks deal was finished. A true #1 starter (Beckett) with a FA signing (Tomko/Byrd/Morris), Chris Young, Dominguez would have been a great place to start your rotation. For that reason, I am sad this deal doesn't get done.

But assuming Blalock learns some patience, he will be a cornerstone player of this franchise with Mike Young and Tex (Boras willing). John Danks will hopefully be in the big leagues by 2007 at the latest and the Rangers will compete in 2006. We just need to find some pitching...

And that's always a nervous time for Ranger fans. I trust Jon Daniels in this offseason until proven otherwsise....

Weekend Review

What a fantastic rivalry Saturday of football. Well, many of the games were blowouts, but the Fresno/SC and Tech/OU games lived up to their hype.

Game of the Day - USC/Fresno

And not just because I had my biggest bet of the year on the Bulldogs, the USC/Fresno St. matchup lived up to the hype and then some Saturday night with the Trojans eventually prevailing 50-42 .in a 4 hour long shootout that lasted late into the night on Saturday. More to the point, Reggie Bush put on an absolute show in the Coliseum or we might be talking about one of the biggest upsets in College football history this morning.

USC's defense had its hands full with a physical Fresno St. offesnive line which gave their talented tailback Wendell Mathis some running room en route to 109 yards on 23 carries. Fresno St. was able to roll up 427 yards total offense but in the end it was 4 costly 2nd half turnovers and too much Reggie Bush that did Fresno St. in on Saturday night. Unfortunately for UT fans, Bush may have won the Heisman on Saturday night for the Trojans. You have to give USC credit. They keep suriving these tough tests and the collision with Texas in the Rose Bowl seems all but certain right now. You also have to tip your hat to Fresno coach Pat Hill and his team. They didn't flinch (thank god for us bettors on Fresno at +24) even duyring the USC 28 point onslaught during the 3rd quarter, and his guys had a chance to push one of the best teams ever to overtime in their house. Pretty damn impressive for a Non-BCS school. I hope this perforamnce shows that some teams outside the BCS can play some good football.

No offense to UCLA, A&M, or Colorado, but Fresno St. was the last real test before Texas and USC meet in Pasadena.

Rangers to acquire Beckett from Marlins?

Rumors are all over the internet that the Rangers are imminently close to dealing Hank Blalock and stud young pitching prospect John Danks to the Marlins for super talented but often blistered Josh Beckett and very overpriced 3B Mike Lowell. This deal is very intriguing but does come at quite a cost for the Rangers. It's a deal the Rangers have to seriously considering making because you very rarely have the chance to get a pitcher with the ability of a Josh Beckett.

No offense to Hank Blalock, but replacing his offense will not be nearly as difficult as finding a pitcher who has #1 starter stuff like Josh Beckett posseses. I love Blalock and would hate to see John Danks go but I think the Rangers have to pull the trigger on this deal. Despite his ability, Danks is definitely not a sure thing at this point and you still have Volquez and Diamond on the farm. You are hoping that 1 out of those 3 turn into a Josh Beckett anyways so I why not go ahead and get Josh Beckett now while he still has 2 years left on his current contract. Obviously, you would love to keep Blalock (just turned 25 today), but the Marlins need to dump Lowell's contract and this is the only way you can obtain Beckett is by taking on Lowell and his contract. At least short term Lowell (assuming he can revert back to pre-2005 form) would not be too much of a downgrade from Blalock over the next copule years. This is the deal you have to make if you are the Rangers because you need pitching that despeartely. I would hate to see the Young/Blalock/Tex triumverate broken up, but I want Josh Beckett in here assuming he can stay healthy. It will do wonders for this fan base knowing you have a Josh Beckett on your roster. I just wonder what's going to happen to Hank's Homies if he gets shipped out of town. That will be a sad day for everyone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

11/19 Picks

Well, it has been a very productive college football season from both a gambling standpoint and from UT fan standpoint. Everything has seemingly gone right this year and I'm hoping that these last couple weeks play out like it has all season.

I'm up +86 units or so for the year and I am hoping to add to that total this week. It's a smaller card with sharper lines so my plays are limited this week.

I guess all the work you've done this season don't mean jack if you can't finish the season strong.


@BYU -11 over Utah -- I had this game circled due to BYU being at home and playing very well the last few weeks in wins over 3 mediocre teams (Air Force, @UNLV, @Wyoming). But I like the way they are playing on both sides of the ball even if they are beating up on MWC mediocrity. Utah is part of that medicority this season unfortunately for utes fans who saw urban meyer turn their program into a powerhouse.

Not so much this season, 5-5 and needing a win to get bowl eligible.

I'm not a big follower of Utah but I knew a chick who went to BYU and those two schools hate each other. I didn't think mormons hated anyone but this rivalry is fierce.

BYU has been beaten up the last few years against Utah and haven't won this game since 2001. It turns around this weekend. I see BYU winning big in this game and the news regarding Utah losing their starter at QB (Brian Johnson) and their main playmaker at WR (John Madsen) solidified this play. No offense to Brett Ratliff who will replacing Johnson at started but the kid has thrown 4 snaps all season.

It's like Simms in Kyle back in 1999. He was a little intimidated. The fans in Provo aren't Kyle field but they are just about as cultish and loud. And thus, I'm on BYU this weekend.

Fresno St. +24 over USC -- Check out USC's injury report this week. I know Pete Carroll can recruit talent but their depleting numbers on defense are frightening.

The one team all season (besides Texas in the Rose Bowl) that can at least try to match USC on both the defensive and offensive lines is Fresno St. They play a physical brand of football and are not going to be intmidated by the USC players. I love the decision making of their senior QB, Paul Pinegar. I trust him to run Fresno's offense in the somewhat hostile environment of the coliseum. Plus, Fresno has the powerful running game led by Bryson Sumlin and Dwayne Mathis, both very good backs. They will need to score some points to keep up with SC but I don't think SC will come anywhere close to their average of 50+ a game.

Fresno has played (Autzen stadium) and won in previous years in very hostile enviornments.

Fresno is also coming off that big win against Boise. How will they react? Do they deserve to be on this big stage?

I think they respond this week and give a hell of an effort. I don't know if they will win, most likely USC has way too many playmakers on offense to not eventually get past a Fresno St.

But I am betting Pat Hill has his guys ready to play. I see the score somwhere in the 35 - 24 range with an outside chance at the outright upset.

And I'm not just taking this game because I want Rose bowl tickets to be cheaper but I don't think a moneyline play is such a dumb bet either.

Other Pays

@Auburn -7 over Bama -- NO offense to Bama, but Auburn is playing better football right now. And getting Bama in Jordan-Hare does not bode well for Bama. This game is close for awhile but Auburn pulls away late.

Nevada -9.5 over Utah St. -- Nevada is playing decent and Utah St. stinks. More of a fade of Utah St. than an endorsement for Nevada.

Tulsa -14 over Tulane -- Fade the poor Tulane team. They just need to get this season over with and figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.

@USF -19 over Cincy -- Cincy disappointed me against W. Virginia and it will not get any easier with a USF team that has been on the road seemingly forever. They enjoy coming home this weekend with a nice, easy win over a young Cincy team.

Good luck everyone this week...

Monday, November 14, 2005

What a Great Weekend ..... Rivalry Week Ahead....

First off, Nice work by Dave with his 5-1 Record last week. He is really starting to get a hang of this degenerate college football betting thing. I couldn't be prouder if he was my own son.

Also, big news with Z-man moving in to a new place in Scottsdale. Z got himself a nice one bedroom apartment right by the pool. Watch out ladies and by ladies I mean 65 year old AARP Grandmas, Z man is on the prowl. Seriosuly though, very cool and I expect Z's golf game to improve greatly.

Defee is just being Defee as far as I can tell. Had that good night with the Make-A-Wish kid. Good stuff Defee.

Cuyler is still busy with the dogs. Maybe he can board those damn things and get out to Pasadena for a once in a lifetime game. But that's just me.

Anyways, I figured I'd recap a newsworthy weekend of sports and a promising week ahead.

Simms and Vasher -- Does it get any better for UT and their fans right now?

I don't know if anyone watched it. I was playing the longest round of golf of my life with Polarek and two old Korea/WWII vets named Larry and Ralph. These guys were old and slow and not really very good. Polarek was almost lecturing these guys right after the first hole about pace of play. I sat back and tried to enjoy the round as much as possible. Ended up with an 84 which ain't too bad for me. It probably would have gotten real ugly but one of them told us the other guy was in his second round of chemo. We both were very courteous the rest of the round. Well Polarek mouthed off a few times, but not me.

Anyways, the Vasher TD was I guess the longest TD in NFL history.
Like the recordkeepers back in 1945 really were that concerned about a touchdown being a 105 or 107 yards. Well now this shit matters, because ESPN says so. HOw windy was that game? Seriously, that was just ridiculous. I guess Pickett went like 1 for 13 or something just stupid. I didn't get to watch any of this game but the entertainment of seeing the ball do insane things would have been fun. I saw one of the kicks do basically a right hand turn before dying to the turf. Just to give you an idea how windy it was at this game, the kicker and holder for the bears get this fired up about a 37-yard field goal.

Regardless, this was a badass return by Nate Dog Vasher (marcus had 10 nicknames for the guy) play right before half. Vasher was most remebered at UT for the gaffe in the much maligned 14-3 loss to Oklahoma in 2001 or the Roy Williams "superman" play. Whatever you want to call it, the Vasher decision to field that pooch punt set up the play that defined Simms and Roy Williams (OU) college careers. And to even an greater extent that game defined those Oklahoma and Texas teams. The Big 3 never lived up to the hype especially when they played OU. I think it was some ridiculous stat that the Big 3 never caught a TD pass against OU. Those kind of things are mind boggling. Now, Texas is the highest they have ever been in athletics and those things are all a distant memory.

Simms also had a good game against Washington I have always been hesitant to comment on Simms, mainly because of how closely I followed the team during those 1999-2000-2001. He really has the potential to be a good NFL QB and this week's game hopefully will help jumpstart a long NFL career. He deserves it after all the bullshit he took from a lot of Texas fans (I was very critical of the guy at times as well), and I hope this works out for him. It will only help UT in the long run.

This weekend brought back a lot of good and not so good of course (GD!!!!!!!!, Mack's propensity to lay an egg in big games, Simms STOP throwing it to the Colorado linebackers, I could go on....) memories of following those Texas teams and it makes this year's run that much sweeter.

AROD wins 2nd MVP Narrowly over Ortiz.

Great for AROD but the MVP award in baseball is really a meaningless award that is only fun for the fans and media types who get to go on PTI and blather incessantly about who deserves the award. Baseball is ultimately a team game where indvidiual statistics are nice but in the end wins and losses are what really matters. Okay, I'm probably just bitter about the anti-christ winning, but it still puts a smile on my face knowing him and I both have the same number of championship rings.

UT Basketball opens season tonight against perennial powerhouse Southern.
If UT fans weren't spoiled enough already, UT basketball opens the season #2 in the AP basketball poll. With Aldridge and Tucker returning to an already pretty talented team, this could be a speical year for Rick Barnes team.

This game against southern opens up a 16 team mini-tournament where we most likely will match up with Kentucky, Iowa, or W. Virginia in the semi finals next week. A matchup with any of those teams will be a good way to get this season started. Duke (#1) looms ahead as a huge early season matchup on December 10th. Let's get it started!

Friday, November 11, 2005

11/12 Plays

Great start to the weekend last night with the Fresno cover against Boise. I had that game circled for awhile now so it was nice to see the game play out like I expected. Coming off my best weekend of the season (+29 Units for the week and +79 Units YTD), I'm looking to carry all this positive momentum over to the weekend. When I first looked at this card on Sunday night, I thought it may have the most potential out of any weekend this season. Let's hope it plays out that way.

Onto the picks.


Navy +24 over Notre Dame -- Navy always plays ND tough and they have a lot of fight. Besides a hiccup against Rutgers, Navy has really played every team tough and I fully expect them to play the full 60 minutes here. ND's defense is not good enough to completely shut Navy down. The score should be somewhere in the 42-24, 42-28 range with Navy having an outside shot of making it even closer with a few breaks.

@Minny -5.5 over Michigan St. -- Michigan St. put a hurting on MInny last year and has historically dominated this series recently. I expect Minny to really play hard this game and Michigan St. is reeling. Maroney is slightly banged up but Russell has been very good in playing the role of Barber the last two years. Cupito is healthy again and Minnesota should finish up their home schedule with a nice win.

BYU -4.5 over Wyoming -- Two teams going in completely different directions. Take the hot team.

@Oregon St. -6 over Stanford -- Oregon St. seems to always do well in their home finale. While Stanford always seems to play hard, this week it won't be enough.

Other Plays

@OU -13 over Aggy -- Keep fading Aggy.

Northwestern +19 over OHio ST. -- I'll take my chances getting 19 points with this offense even against the stout Ohio St. D. Small play.

Central Florida +8 over UAB -- Remarkable turnaround for O'Leary's team this year and I expect them to at least keep this close.

Ball St. +6 over Eastern Michigan -- Token MAC play.

@Iowa St. +2.5 over Colorado -- This should be a great game but I'll take the home team in a toss up. Small play.

@UNC -3 over Maryland -- UNC's D will smother Maryland and UNC should win in a close one.

Good luck to everyone this weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It's really about the kids, anyway...

I think I would consider myself completely void of any soul if I didn’t start this blog by talking about Dez, his older brother Devan, and his mom Tia. Dez is a 12 year-old African-American boy from Philadelphia who has a life-threatening medical condition. (I never found out more than that about his condition, mainly because I’m just not exactly sure how to ask such a question.) Dez’s wish was to meet and hang out with Carmelo Anthony, so Make-A-Wish flew his family to Denver for the experience. Dez is one of those fans that reads the program and player stats cover to cover. It was pretty cool to hang out and talk to him during the game, because in the end it’s really about the kids, anyway…

At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself ever since the middle of the second quarter when I found out that due to the 8:30 PM local time tip-off, Dez and his family was invited to spend the afternoon with the team instead of the original plan of meeting Carmelo after the game. It was a brutal blow; stupid Sacramento and their larger West Coast viewing audience. On the outside I sat there and listened to Dez’s story of how great his day had been having a limo pick him up, meet the team and shooting hoops with them during practice and playing play-station with ‘Melo, while on the inside I grew more and more jealous. But, I decided to stay because the suite was nice and at halftime it was still an interesting game. However, it did take me until the end of halftime before I was able to engage in any type of meaningful conversation again. So as I still try to recover from this turn of events, let me run down my favorite parts of the evening:

  • · Marcus Camby being announced as Marcus “yes you Cam” by. Hopefully, his 20 points and 11 rebounds last night will earn him a much cooler nickname; actually just another nickname would be better.
    · At halftime, trying to answer Dez’s question of why The Dukes of Hazzard was so popular. This was spurred by the Nugget cheerleaders doing a halftime dance to Waylon Jennings “Just the Good Ole’ Boys” and having clips from the original show flash on the jumbo-tron. God, Denver is such a white town.
    · The young business protégé in the suite next to us, out for the night to impress some clients, getting so drunk by the end of the third quarter that he falls over the rows of seats in front of him. It was perfect. It took his boss and their clients about two solid minutes to pull him back up by his slacks. Later he was asked to leave the suite.
    · Rocky, the Nuggets unidentified feline mascot, making a half-court shot over his head, and then some strange man coming into our suite and asking Dez if he saw Rocky point to him after making the shot. I was watching the whole thing; there was no point. But I understand Rocky was elated by his nearly impossible feat, actually it took 22 attempts spread out over three commercial timeouts.

I truly am happy for Dez getting his wish fulfilled, I’m just also shallow enough to hold a grudge against him for getting to meet 'Melo. At least the Nugs got their second win of the season, even if it was over a 1-4 Kings team.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Links and more.....

Since I don't join the work force for almost another month I have decided to rededicate myself to this blog in an attempt to not go insane. Kudos to Trampe for keeping everyone updated on DFW and UT sports. That leaves the rest of the world of sports for me to cull through and find interesting links and stories that may have gone overlooked by the national media. Some may say that the national media didn't cover these stories in more depth because they weren't "newsworthy", but I believe that lesser covered stories deserve as much attention as anything else.

Even though I just went on a mini-rant about being able to cover stories other than those that involve the DFW area, I just can't help myself. Looks like a former Cowboy running back has found a new home. It seems the A-train drew the short stick and has agreed to play for the Saints .

World Baseball Classic is in full swing and looks like any player can play for any country as long as he has at least visited the country in his lifetime. One of my favorite quotes from this article has to do with Mike Piazza's eligibility to play for Italy, "The union told us they determined that Mike could play for the Italian team," said Piazza's agent, Dan Lozano. He was unsure of the specific reason why Piazza, who was born in Norristown, Pa., was eligible.

The PGA playoff system is another example on how ideas can be announced (with sponsors already on board) with no idea on how they are going to work. Apparently they got that idea from the Democrats.

Dick Bruise Face, that is going to be the tragic nickname that this kid is going to have to endure the rest of his high school life.

The Worm's return to basketball wasn't as big of a splash as the the former NBA rebounding champion might have hoped. However, this blurb from the story tells why Rodman may not have been on top of his game..."Nobody will ever know whether the end result might have been different, had Rodman not partied until 5 a.m. in a Helsinki nightclub the night before. The star even showed up at the Helsinki Ice Hall, the venue of the game, at the wrong time, three hours before the game was due to start. "F*ck. Sh*t", was Rodman's comment, before he sat down in the Ice Hall café to enjoy a portion of meatballs and mashed potatoes."

Tupac's life and death does need to be investigated by Congress. Congress needs to get their head out the sand and finally start investigating things that really matter, like Tupac's death.

Texas voted to ban gay marriage yesterday, it's usually not a great idea to align yourself with something the Klu Klux Klan supports.....but that's just me.


A Few Links Regarding Dallas Teams and UT

First off, I wanted to give props to Dave and Z for the contributions the last few days to the blog. I think it's safe to say everyone was sick of reading my updates only and it's nice to see some other contributors to bring some different perspectives. Thanks fellas.

With that out of the way, this update will go back to what this blog was intended for: Dallas sports and UT talk.

The major league baseball GM meetings have been taking place out in California and some positive news has been coming all week about the Rangers. Apparently the new GM, wonderkid John Daniels, is actually talking about making some moves this offseason. That along is a huge improvement over John Hart's tenure in Arlington. But wait, there's more. The talks have centered around the Rangers upgrading pitching in the form of trade AND free agency. We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out (payroll has been rumored for '06 to be between $60 and 70 million), but I am very optimistic about the news that will come out over the next couple months in Ranger land.

Mench center of today's talks

Soriano being discussed in NY about trade with Mets for possibly CF Mike Cameron

Other trade rumors involving Sori to the Padres

After a dismal start to the season resulting in a very critical post on this blog, the stars have turned it around the last three games. Today's DMN article explains the reasons behind the Stars resurgence and what it means for the rest of the season.

With UT football essentially on cruise control (thanks to the downward spiral of A&M posing almost zero threat of an upset in Kyle field) until the Big 12 championship game in Houston, not much too worry about in UT land while we all wait for the collassal matchup in the Rose bowl with the trojans. Another DMN article (sue me) discusses last year's Kansas game and the now famous 3rd and 18 scramble by VY past KU's star LB Nick Reid. It's worth checking out.

Flying under the radar right now because of football season, the UT basketball team is slowly becoming a sleeping giant. While we disappointed last season thanks to PJ Tucker's grade troubles and Lamarcus Aldridge's season ending knee surgery, UT basketball opens this season ranked #2 in the AP preseason poll. We will find out very early if UT is for real, because we got a matchup with #1 Duke at Madison Square Garden right around Christmas time. As good as things look for UT basketball, it should only get beter thanks Rick Barnes becoming a god in recruiting.

We already have the #2 player in the '06 class committed for next season along with 4 other studs. Now, news of a 6th commitment
from one of the top point guards in the country, D.J. Augustin, out of Missouri City, Texas.

It really is embarrassing how good Texas fans have it right now. Enjoy it while you can because you never know what the future will bring. ON that note, we need an update from Defee on here sometime soon about his trip to the Nuggets/Kings game tonight in Denver. Defee will be going with make a wish foundation (no he is not the one making the wish) to help make one kid's wish come true by playing video games with Carmelo Anthony. Defee will be in the locker room as well as courtside seats with this kid and get a chance to kick it with Melo man. Pretty cool defee.

That's all I got for now. Look for this week's picks which should be up sometime tomorrow hopefully.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My Ultimate Dream

Not sure if anyone noticed this story on this morning, but please read below:

TAMPA, Fla. -- A Carolina Panthers cheerleader was charged Monday with giving police a false name when she and another cheerleader were arrested at a bar where witnesses told police the women had sex in a restroom.

Renee Thomas, 20, of Pittsboro, N.C., and Angela Keathley, 26, of Belmont, N.C., were taken to Hillsborough County Jail early Sunday after an incident at a club in Tampa's Channelside district.

Thomas was charged with battery after allegedly striking a bar patron when she was leaving the restroom, then landed in even more trouble after police said she gave officers a driver's license belonging to another Panthers cheerleader who was not in Tampa.

Providing police with a false name is a misdemeanor. However, Thomas was charged with giving a false name and causing harm to another -- a third-degree felony punishable by probation or a jail term of 1 to 5 years, said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Meanwhile, detectives are trying to determine how Thomas gained possession of the driver's license of the third cheerleader.

Keathley, charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, was released on $750 bail about an hour before the Panthers played the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium. The cheerleaders were not in town to perform at the game.

Witnesses told police the women were having sex in a stall, angering other patrons waiting in line to get into the restroom.

I don't know about you guys, but this makes me want to either be a Panthers fan, or a janitor at a bar.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Da Da Da, Da Da Da

Did anyone else happen to catch the Sportscenter segment where Steve Phillips played the role of the Red Sox general manager? I just got done watching it and I am utterly speechless (speechless except for this post). After it happened I just stared at the TV trying to make sense of what I just saw. In case you missed it, ESPN's baseball analyst and former Mets GM, Steve Phillips held a fake press conference as if he was the actual Red Sox GM. They actually set up a background with the Red Sox logo a bunch of random people acting like they were trying to take Phillips picture. Then he began taking questions. Guys like Jeremy Schaap and Buster Olney were the ones asking the questions. I had a feeling that they didn't ask Peter Gammons to take a part in this because they were scared that he would quit after they explained the concept.
While Phillips was answering these questions it hit me that maybe this was a very elaborate joke. I kept waiting for Adam Sandler or David Spade to stand up and ask a ridiculous question like they used to when they were just starting out on SNL and were only role players. I also thought that maybe Ashton Kutchar was trying to pull the ultimate Punk'd and he was going to run on screen and announce that we all in the audience had been fooled.
But none of that happened, in fact what really happened was much funnier than what my feeble brain was concoct. All of a sudden the screen started going fuzzy and the volume slowly started to fade. The next thing I know I see Stu Scott and the other Sportscenter anchor staring at each other trying not to laugh until Scott looks at the camera and said that they were experiencing "technical difficulties." What I think really happened is that someone in the booth realized how terrible the idea was to have a fake press conference and literally pulled the plug on the failed experiment.
I don't know how they will play this off in the morning Sportscenter, if they replay it as I saw it or start over from scratch. But apparently this is going to be a running joke, or segment, on sportscenter all week with Phillips playing the role of different GMs throughout the league so you will have plenty of opportunities to catch the overall joke that Sportscenter has become.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Don't Call it a Comeback.....

It has been a while since I made a post on this blog, but after my long absence I have returned by unpopular demand. I am sure the few to dozens of people that read this blog have been happy with Trampe's continuous and insightful posts on Dallas area sports and how he met his girlfriend, but it's time for some new blood and I am just the person to provide that, er, blood.

Nothing against Trampe's recent picks, but his gambling season has eerily followed the storyline of "Two for the Money", even to the point where Trampe was slicking his hair back and driving a Mercedes. So following that storyline, Trampe will begin a losing streak that will drive him to near insanity where he is picking games by flipping a coin.

All that being said, here are my picks with the following disclaimer: These picks are for entertainment purposes only (especially since I haven't started my job and therefore have no money)

BC -6 over NC: Both teams are coming off tough loses and it will be interesting to see how they respond, but NC's QB is banged up and NC's run defense is one of the worst in the ACC.

Cal +3 over Oregon: As tough as it is to go to Autzen and come away with a win, Cal is coming off a bye week which allowed them to get healthy and Oregon is having to replace their starting QB which should allow Cal to get the win.

ND -9.5 over Tennessee: ND is playing with confidence (something they never really had since Sweet Lou was their coach) and Tennessee is a team that is falling faster than Bush's approval rating (ZING!) as evidenced by their OC resignign this week. Look for ND to run away with this one.

Texas Tech -17 over Texas A&M: A&M sucks, what more do you want.

That is all for now, if I go 0-4 this week I promise to crawl back under the rock I have been hiding under the past few months.


11/5 Plays

Before I get to this week's plays, I want to reiterate the point I made last week to take this advice for what it's worth, which is nothing. I am putting these picks on the site for people to read, digest and incorporate into their own picks if they so choose.

I'm not guaranteeing winners here, and I'm certianly not putting every pick I make on this site. So with that disclaimer being said, I hope the haters will keep their mouths shut this week regardless of the outcome.

Got the weekend off to a good start last night with a Louisville (-21) cover over Pitt at the last minute for a 42-20 win. Sorry Dave for not getting your over bet (around 65) when it looked like a sure thing in the first half. This game had one of the wildest starts you'll ever see with a fumble recovery for a TD by Louisville on the opening kickoff. Followed by a Kickoff a return TD on the ensuing kickoff by Pitt to make the score 7-7 25 seconds in the game. Wild Stuff. You'll get it back this weekend buddy!

I'm headed to the Baylor game hopefully tomorrow, but I will be back in Dallas tomorrow to check out the solid slate of 2:30 games (Penn St. / Wisconsin, Mizzou/Colorado, ND/Tenn) as well as the marquee matchup tomorrow night between V-tech and Miami. It should be a fun day.

Here are this week's picks:

Top Play
@Tech -17 against Texas A&M -- I have been waiting for this game all season. There are two reasons I'm not betting everything I own on this game.

1) You could have bet this game two weeks ago at Tech -7 or -8 on various sites so a 10 point swing in the span of a few days is pretty dramatic regardless of how pitiful A&M has been playing. I was very frustrated to see A&M screw up against Iowa St. last week because the linesmakers have adjusted for the suckiness of A&M now. If A&M takes care of buisness against Iowa St., then this spread is probably somewhere around Tech -10.

2) I have never seen the public (obviously Texas fans and people around this area) so universally convinced of a pick like Tech this week. I have seen various people on the internet talking about betting the biggest sum of their life, selling their kidneys, etc., etc. to bet against A&M this week. Most of the time I try not to let public perception bother me, but this activity definitely sends up red flags to a guy who has seen the popular public play get burned too many times.

With all that being said, I still have a solid medium sized play on TEch and I think they will absolutely destroy A&M for a host of reasons. I could get into the details behind the play (A&M's horrible defense, A&M "quit factor", Tech's home dominance in Lubbock, Tech's dominance over A&M), but to get to the point, Tech should win this game by at least 3 TDs. I am pretty confident in this play but I would recommend against betting a disproportionately large portion of your bankroll in this game for the reasons outlined above.

Other Plays
Wake Forest +8.5 over Georgia Tech -- Wake has been playing good football as of late and I see them hanging tough with an up and down georgia tech team. Many of Georgia Tech's gams (see last week) are nail biters and I fully expect Wake to push GT to their limits if not win this game outright.

Oregon St. -3.5 over Washington -- Oregon St. blew my undefeated TOP PLAY record last week when they outgained Arizona by around 300 yards but had a -6 TO differential. I am hoping to recoup some of the losses from last week with this play against a pretty lousy U-Dub team. They are waiting for basketball season as sad as that sounds up in Seattle. I expect Mike Riley to get Oregon ST. to bounce back this week.

@Iowa St. -7 over Kansas ST. -- Remember the name Todd Blythe . He was the Wide receiver who torched A&M last week in a 42-14 win in College station and Iowa St. should still riding high after that win. I don't see a letdown this week. Poor Kansas St. just is having a tough go at it this year and it won't get any better this week. Iowa St. should cruise in this one.

@ND -8 over Tennessee -- For all the talk this week about Tennessee circling the wagons, I just don't see it. Phil Fulmer has taken over play calling duties after the dismissal of Randy Sanders (former offensive coordinator). A lot of adversity to handle for a team already questioning itself with the #108th ranked scoring offense due in large part to a rash of injuries at the RB position, including future NFLer Gerald Riggs who is out for the season. ND is well rested after a bye week and I expect Weis to have his guys ready to take on a wounded Tennessee team.

Rice +8 over SMU -- Rice is a very bad team but so is SMU. As bad as Rice has played, they do usually play well against SMU (44-10 in their last win back in Houston). I expect this game to be close as Rice desperately needs a win before this season is over.

Good luck to all this week...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Okay.... I'm worried

When was the last year both the Mavs and Stars missed the playoffs?

I knew it had a been awhile but the answer to the above question is 1996.

Now, I'm definitely not saying that both the Mavs and the Stars are going to miss the playoffs. In fact, I still think both teams will make it once it's all said and done. Right now, however, things are not very rosy for the Stars. The Mavs have only played two games (both on the road0, so it's tough to get a read on them this early. I think we have plenty of talent. While the West is very loaded, I fully expect the Mavs to make the playoffs with improved defense under Avery Johnson. I'm not 100% confident in Avery yet. In fact, his demeanor on the sidelines scares me. But I do like his approach in all other respects. And while I'm not completely convinced that he is going to put us over the top, he definitely will get maximum effort out of team full of young, hungry players and wily veterans. The main concern on the court is our point guard. I think JT is a nice player and have been a fan of Devin Harris since day one. You know Avery will be very hard on both guys and he will need maximum effort out of both for the Mavs to be able to compete in the West this year.

The Stars are in a much more tenuous predicament. They currently sit at 6-5-1 (4th out of 5 teams in the Pacific division), but they haven't looked even as good as that record would indicate. Their power play has been atrocius and worse their goaltending has been downright awful. Hedberg has been an upgrade over previous years as a backup, but Turco has looked nothing like the old regular season Turco of years past. His GAA Avg is a putrid 3.64 (31st in NHL) and a Save % of .872 (34th in NHL). Now, I'm no hockey expert, but that is downright terrible. Turco has almost always been rock solid during the regular season and terrible when the playoffs roll around. I hope this bad start is just a different approach and he won't peak early like years' past. Of course, that is the optimistic outlook. Realistically, this is a bad situation that needs to fix itself in a hurry. Something to look out for as this Stars season continues to roll along.

Picks should be out this afternoon or tomorrow....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Plano Wildcats on a Roll

For anyone who hasn't noticed, the Plano Wildcats are back! They are 9-0 and rated #3 in the Dallas Morning News Area Football Poll. They are coming off a 24-7 victory of hated rival Plano East in front of 13,000 fans at Clark Stadium. This is the first victory of their rival since 1996.

What's even more impressive is they are only two years removed from an 0-10 Season. They had only won 7 games over the previous 3 seasons. What is the cause for the turnaround? Not really sure, but they returned 16 starters this season and most importantly their RB Justin Jordan, who rushed for 1,049 yards and 13 TDs as a Junior, is a Stud. Not sure what schools are looking at him, but don't be surprised if you see him playing in the Big 12 maybe at Baylor or Tech.

So keep your eye out for the Plano Wildcats as the playoffs loom. They will be figthing for the Schools record 8th State Title and to restore the Pride of Plano Wildcat Football.

NBA Season Starts

First off, I wanted to mention my girlfriend, Sarah to start off today's blog entry. Most people that know me and read this site probably thought I'd never get a girlfriend with all my time seemingly devoted to sports. Well sometimes weird things happen in life, and I was fortunate enough to cross paths with her a few years back. After initially thinking I was a jerk (met her at a bar with Berger and Z), she later realized I wasn't such a jerk after all and we had a lot in common. I asked her out a short while later and shockingly she said yes and we have been together ever since. She wanted a shout out on this site and I'm still not really sure why since the only people who read it are my idiot friends and degenerate gamblers. Hope you are happy honey. I'm probably going to get beat up now.

Well, another NBA season is upon us. Outside of Jeff Hurst and San Antonio fans, I imagine it will be really tough to find anyone else all that excited about it. Especially from a Mavs fan (hopefully most of my readers) perspective, the start of the NBA season means very little. This team certainly has enough talent to make the playoffs and most Mavs fans will start caring once the playoffs roll around. Me, I am going to try and get behind the Mavs team better than I did last season(girlfriend permitting of course).

I had a tough time with last year's team probably because of the turmoil with Don Nelson and knowing that Avery was going to be overmatched trying to coach a team to a championship when taking over midseason. It was a doomed proposition last year. You have to admit the Dallas franchise has come a long way from the misery that was the early 90s Mavericks. We used to just think the playoffs were a pipe dream, pie in the sky type proposition back in the dark ages of the Mavericks. Now, we just expect to make the playoffs and only seem interested if the team has enough to make a run for the champoionship. I really like Avery Johnson, and I think he is going to do a good job with this team. I am going to really miss the Fin-dog, but we have enough talent place to make a run in the West, which is loaded as usual.

Here is a quick rundown of the roster from the DMN

Below is additional analysis of the Mavs roster from Ticket personality Bob Sturm's blog today

Since I'm too lazy and don't really have much to add, this anlaysis should suffice:

Dirk: For the 27th season in a row, let us ask Dirk to impress us with his new approach to his craft. Clearly, being outplayed by his opponents in the playoffs and then turning on his teammates a time or two during the Phoenix series did not encourage many. He may be what we have always known him to be. Bordering on great, but not as great as we have always hoped. If he finds another level, we can resume discussions about his place amongst the top 10 players in the sport, but I am done talking about that for now.

Josh Howard: During those playoffs last year, he demonstrated that he is continuing to improve to a point where you now clearly know who is the 2nd best player on this team. Added responsibility and soon added cash will raise the bar for Howard, but I think he is surely up for it. I am a big fan.

Jason Terry: Surely not a point guard, but the closest thing that the Mavs have right now. Made huge shot after huge shot but never found the assist to be his strength. Is a free agent next summer, so the team would be wise to decide quickly where he fits (if he does) in the big picture. Look for him to play the point, but not to play on the ball with Doug Christie in the game. Christie will distribute and Terry will basically play the #2 guard.

Erick Dampier: I am not nearly as down on him as most are. Yes, he annoys me, but he is being compared by most to top centers in this league. Those teams build everything around their center, and can afford to do so. The Mavs are built around Dirk, and in doing so, Dampier’s job is to be a presence on defense, and rebound. I have a bar that is not very high for him, and in that setting, I find his play acceptable more often than not. I base this on looking around the league. Sure you can do a lot better, but you can also do worse. He is what he is.

Doug Christie: I have no idea what to expect. But, I do remember two things about his days in Sacto besides his wife. #1 his defense, which certainly is in decline. #2 is his ability to not need shots for long stretches, and then he would stick a dagger in your heart. He has a knack for the big moment, and I think will be a valuable piece if he can stay healthy.

Devin Harris: Sadly, in a season of injuries, I am not optimistic that he took the necessary strides in his development. I hope he gets his minutes, and I hope he looks more comfortable with the ball, but honestly, I am wondering if his upside is a decent back-up point guard with a small body that could not hold up to more work than 20 minutes a night.

Jerry Stackhouse: I say let him play as long as he wants and take any shots he needs. He has proven to not be selfish, and he has proven to have that “F-em” attitude that is so rare in this organization. His knees may not be ready to roll, but his spirit is important to this team.

Marquis Daniels: No one has milked 2 good months as well as Marquis has milked March and April of 2004. To call his play in 2004-05 awful is unfair to other awful things in this world. I was ready to cut him loose in a trade, but the Mavs want to roll with him again, blaming all of his poor play on that August 2004 ankle sprain. Much like the $5 milk shake in Pulp Fiction, while that sprain may have been good, I am just not sure it was THAT good that it would render an otherwise fine player worthless. Amputation? OK. But not a sprain, right? Anyway, they think he is great, and are convinced that I will be sorry I ever said anything bad about the kid. All I know is he is a shooting guard that can’t shoot or pass. Count me among the doubters, but his preseason accolades are numerous.

Desagana Diop: Hearing he lost 30 pounds would really mean something to me if I had ever seen him do anything that qualified as a memory. Sadly, despite 4 years in the NBA, he has not made even the slightest impression on me. The good news is that the Mavericks center position has been so un-athletic over the years that he cannot help but be a shot-blocking upgrade. But, shooting 28% from the field in the preseason for a 7-footer was previously thought impossible, and therefore he should not shoot for any reason.

Keith Van Horn: The other member of the team who is a free agent next summer (Jason Terry), Van Horn is the player most likely to be traded at mid-season if things are not going well. But, he is quite an insurance policy for the inevitable Dirk Ankle sprain that causes him to miss 10 days. Does nothing to help the defense, but certainly provides instant offense.

Others; Mbenga, Pavel, Josh Powell, Erick Strickland all will be wearing warm-ups. And, just in case you think my opinion of him has changed, Pavel remains the biggest waste of a roster spot since Shawn Bradley. Of course, that is a huge insult to Bradley, because Pavel will never be 10% of the player Shawn was. Digest that for a moment.

In closing, Mavericks season is here, and I am ready to roll. This is a very cluttered sports season with football, football, football, hockey and now, hoops, but there is always room for Mark Cuban and his fighting Mavericks.

That's all for today. My picks for this week (if anyone cares anymore) will be up later this week.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

10/29 Picks

Well, I guess this blog finally has some momentum now that people have a reason to read. Hey, whatever works. I'm just happy to have some readers. We'll see how many stick around after football season is over. I plan on posting my college basketball plays here as well once that season gets rolling so hopefully people will keep reading.

I know I'm on pretty torrid stretch right now but keep in mind it can end at anytime so please don't bet beyond your means. I actually don't have any single game that sticks out over the others this week, so I will probably have a pretty consistent unit value on all of these picks (obviously the top plays may get a little more units than the others).

Enough with the public service announcement, here are this week's plays:

Top Plays
@Oregon St. -9.5 over Arizona - A decent Oregon St. team at home against a struggling Arizona team that seems to have a lot of infighting going on with their coaching staff under hothead Mike Stoops. Arizona replaced their starter last week and is going with a true freshman at QB. Arizona actually has played a lot better, especially on D, than their record (1-6) but this week doesn't seem to be the spot where they get back on track. Take the better team playing at home in this one.

@W. Michigan -7 over Kent St. - I'm not usuallly a fan of betting on teams I don't get to see all that often, but this game sticks out. Kent St. is dead last (#117) in rushing offense and 2nd to last (#116) in Rushing defense. Not a good combo, especially when your stud MLB just tore his ACL and you laid an egg at home against No. Illinois 3-34 last weekend. Also, I need to confirm this but W. Michigan has some sort of ridiculous streak of covers against Kent St. as well. I am not usually a big trend guy, but this game looks very tasty.

Smaller Plays
@Stanford +7.5 over UCLA - People continue to criticize Stanford because of their horrid start (loss against 1-AA UC Davis), but they are 3-0 in their last 3 games including 2 road wins (@ Zona, @ WAZZU) and a good win last week against a much respected AZ St. team. Stanford has a pretty salty defense and while UCLA has loads of talent on offense, their defense is atrocius. UCLA has not been a great road team this season and I expect another struggle in this one. I would not be shocked to see the upset either and thus take the 7.5 with the home dog.

Wazzu +30 over USC - I understand why this line is so high, because of the USC "pissed off" factor with being #2 in the BCS. While this game could potentially turn very ugly, USC has not crushed any teams this year with the talent of a WAZZU. A little hesitant about this play because of WAZZU's heartbreaking loss last week against CAL, but this is simply too many points. I like WAZZU getting the 30 and expect them to only lose somewhere in the 21 point range. Small play.

Navy +6 over Rutgers - Two very even teams matching up in a game both teams desperately would like to win. Rutgers needs this game to secure a bowl bid but I expect it to come right down to the wire like most Navy games. I'll take my chances with the Middies getting six points.

@Northwestern +3 over Michigan - I'll ride the Northwestern gravy train one more week but I don't like this spot nearly as much as the last two weeks. Still worth a try since they are getting points at home to an up and down Michigan team.

@No. Illinois -28 over Ball ST.
- Ball St. is one of the worst teams and run defenses in the country against a team that loves to run the ball. Don't usually lay this many points but No. Illinois should cruise in this one.

@Minnesota +4 over Ohio St. - I just think this Minnesota team has more character than in years' past and will not go quietly into the night after their Wisconsin collapse. I think the week off will give them time to get ready for a very stout Ohio St. team. I expect this one to come down to the 4th quarter and I think Minnesota may just shock the world here.

Good luck to all this week... I may add some more later so keep checking for updates...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Too good to be true

Do you ever have one of those days when everything goes right? Well in the world of college football betting, I had one of those days where I could do no wrong. With the exception of the Kent St. game (dropped it to 1 unit after I knew Kent's star MLB was out) and San Diego St. (stupid late game adds), I won my other 10 bets on the day. 10-2 is just ridiculous and I know I can't keep this up, but right now I am feeling pretty good about my chances the rest of the season. Up +26 units on the day and +58 units for the year. Let's just hope I can keep it positive until bowl season.

Also wanted to send my regards to Hammond who appranetly tailed my selections to a nice payoff yesterday. Hopefully, my advice will be good or I know the masses can turn against you in a hurry. Regardless of who is following this site (most likely 2 people), it's nice to see at least one person gaining something out of reading this garbage.

With that being said, I wanted to post a few links from this past weekend's action that may pique your interest or most likely not:

Sign I'm Getting Too Old Game

Fox sports net's Pac-10 Midnight special that I always end up falling asleep by the end had one of the most improbable comebacks in recent history. Of course, the last thing thing I remember before hitting the pillow was WAZZU's TD with about 11:00 remaining to take the lead 38-28. Well, CAl ends up scoring twice in the last 4 minutes to win 42-38. Unbelievable game in an already wild, wild season.

Kicker Most Likely to Get Fredo Corleone Treatment AUBURN KICKER JON VAUGHN

Auburn's kicker was 1 FOR 6 against LSU in a heartbreaking loss for Auburn in Death Valley. Auburn out played LSU in Baton Rouge and would have won in regulation with a decent kicker. INstead, they end up losing 20-17 in overtime with Vaughn hitting the left upright trying to get the game into 2nd overtime. You really have to feel for the kid, but that is just downright terrible. I still think Auburn is a team to watch in the SEC. Their tailback (#23), Kenny Irons, is a nice powerful, punishing back and their defense still is one of the best in the SEC. Great win for LSU. The SEC is still up for grabs right now with GEorgia and Alabama obviously in the driver seat in both divisions. Watch out for Georgia this week against Florida without their QB Shockley in the lineup. Could be a scary game for Georgia

Worst game in the history of college football award To the epic 3-0 overtime contest played between perennial powerhouses Florida Atlantic and Arkansas St. I'm not sure if a game has ever finished regulation scoreless since OT was put into place back in the mid 90s. I know this game certainly will not be mistaken for the epic 0-0 scoreless tie between Army and ND back in 1945 many consider the best game ever played. Somehow I bet this game had a tad less excitement in the stadium, and they may have embellished the announced official attendance of 20,367.

More to come....

Friday, October 21, 2005

10/22 Picks and Glover

Is it really already the end of October? It seems like just yesterday the season started. Maybe the Texas season has been so good and the weather in Texas so hot that time is just flying by this season. I am going to savor the rest of this college football season which has been great thus far. Before I get to my picks, let me post what Glover wanted me to put on the blog after the Astros near collapse turned to ecstasy with their Game 6 win in St. Louis to get them into the World Series --

"Mike Scott, Dickie Thon, Alan Ashby, Jim DeShaise, Billy Hatcher, Bob Knepper……..the list goes on and on like Trampe’s johnson but those are the names I grew up cheering for. They are the ghosts of Astros past and finally they can be put to rest. The Stros are going to the series. The Houston Astros are going to the gosh damn World Series. Stros in 5. MVP – Lance “Fat Elvis” Berkman"

Amen Glover, AMEN. One of these years the Rangers may actually win a playoff series let alone the pennant. Yea, right....

Onto the picks....


Navy -7 over Rice -- Another team (Navy) that I've made good money on thanks to Dave should handle the #1 team in ESPN's infamous bottom 10 poll. Navy should be too much for just a really poor rice team. Expect a win by two TDs.

Auburn +6.5 over LSU -- This might be my favorite play of the week. For whatever reason (probably lack of star power with Cadillac, Ronnie Brown and Campbell all gone), Auburn is not getting much respect this year. They are playing well and this game should be very tight. Last year's game was a 10-9 win for Auburn and I expect this year to be a defensive type game. Take the points and be happy about it.

Northwestern +12.5 Over Michigan St. -- Two of the nation's best offenses square off in a big 10 elimination game. While I like MSU's defense better, I still think NOrthwestern's moves the ball with their unbelievably hot QB Brett Basanez (wins over Purdue and Wisconsin) and will gladly take the points in this spot.

@Wisconsin -8 over Purdue -- You could pay for your kid's college tuition with the money made betting against Purdue this season. Their defense can stop no one and their once promising season is now officially in the toilet. A trip to an all of sudden rocking Camp Randall Stadium after their magical win over Minnesota last week is not what they need to get on track. Call this a momentum play plus I just love betting against Purdue.

Smaller Plays

@Texas over Tech -16 -- I'm always hesitant to play the horns, but this year is different. Barring turnover issues, we are going to pound Tech into submission. Kansas St. and Nebraska are not quite Texas. Tech's early season cake walk is going to bite them in the ass in this week.

@UTEP -14 over Marshall -- UTEP always good at home against a pretty piss poor Marshall team.

East CArolina +7.5 over Memphis -- EAST Carolina have been the road warriors this season and I'm hoping they can keep it close against an avg. Memphis team.

@San Diego St. -2.5 over New Mexico -- If the day is going well, I will put a small play on the better team at home.

@Stanford +9.5 over Arizona St. -- Not much for AZ st. to be motivated against an uninspiring but improving Stanford. Will take the points at home.

As for the world series, I think it is going to be a great series but have to give the edge to the White Sox because of their slightly better offense and Ozzie Guillen. White Sox in 7.

Good luck to all this weekend....

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Simmons Actually Talks College Football

In a turn of events about as likely as Tech pulling off the upset this weekend in Austin, Bill Simmons of sports guy fame actually discusses some college football in his lastest update. At least he admits beforehand that he is not exactly the biggest college football fan in the world.

Also note his discussion about Matt Leinart's celebrity status in LA right now. Is there anyone who you would rather trade places with than Matt Leinart. The guy is bigger than God in LA right now. Anyways, check it out:

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not Dead Yet

Houston fans (we know who you are) have to be nervous right about now. Last night was about to be one of the best moments in Houston sports history. Their proud franchise was FINALLY about to make the world series. I can only imagine what that feels like as a Rangers fan whose franchise as only won 1 game in its entire postseason history. Minute Maid park was absolutely electric from Berkman's 3 run shot all the way until the air got sucked out of that place after the Pujols home run.

I have seen quite a bit of knee jerking in the media today about the Astros being finished and how they aren't going to recover from last night's hearbreaking defeat. While I do admit going back to St. Louis in this fashion isn't an ideal scenario, they do have Oswalt and Clemens going game 6 and 7. St. louis still is severely lacking in the hitting department even with rejuvenated life after game 5. The cards need Pujols and Edmonds to carry them to this improbably series comeback and unfortunately they probably need a healthy Scott Rolen to pull of such a feat.

So worry not Houston fans, I think your dream still will come true. You just might have to wait 2 or 3 days for it to happen.

With that being said, Go CARDS and you know the white sox pitching staff is enjoying the next few days waiting see who they will face in the Fall Classic.

What a great time of year...

Monday, October 17, 2005


First off, I'd like to apologize to the gamblers who read this blog for not updating my picks for this past weekend's games. I have been on a roll recently and Hammond informs me that people seem to be relying on my picks. For what it's worth, I had an average weekend (up 3 units). Hopefully, I will be back this week better than ever.

With that being said, hat an unforgettable weekend of college football. The USC - ND game is easily the best game of the season (only topped by a potential USC/Texas matchup) and it would not be a stretch to call this game the best of this century so far. This game had it all. A great champion (USC) with an offense for the ages against an resurgent ND program led by a coach who has done unthinkable this season and led ND right to the doorstep of ending USC's long winning streak. Alas, the Irish came up one QB sneak and one 4th and 9 play from pulling off the miracle upset.

Whatever your feelings on this past weekend game, you would be foolish to discount what an unbelievable job Charlie Weis has done at Notre Dame so far. No one in their wildest dreams could imagine anyone taking this Notre Dame from last season and taking pretty much the exact same talent to within a few inches of beating one of the greatest college football teams of all time. This win would have surpassed some of the greatest wins in Notre Stadium History including '88 Miami and '93 Fla St. Despite coming up short, Weis and the irish have nothing to hang their heads about. Notre Dame is officially back and it is just a matter of time before Weis turns ND into a perennial top 10 program again. And despite what Notre Dame haters may tell you, ND being good is also good for college football as a whole.

One silver lining from this weekend is the possibility of a dream USC - Texas Rose Bowl matchup is still in tact. Texas has one of its toughest challenges left this weekend against a #10 Texas Tech team in Austin. USC has games against Fresno (I still think a dangerous game) and UCLA left on their schedule. USC-TEXAS is what the whole nation wants to see and they just might get it.

I'll try to post more thoughts on the rest of the weekend tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Plea to Longhorn Fans

Kevin Sherrington's article in today's Dallas Morning News was the impetus behind today's post on the blog.

Any college football fan today can tell you all about the BCS and how screwed up the current system in place is for everyone involved from the coaches to the media to the players and most importantly the fans. No one has been a bigger proponent for a playoff than myself over the years. Hell, I wrote a paper in middle school about how college football should go to playoff and I think anyone with half a brain would agree that playoff is a far more effective way to determine a champion than anything the powers that be in college football have come up with to this point.

With that being said, my plea to longhorn fans is to not bitch and moan about the BCS. Is Texas being hurt by weak big 12 this year? Most definitely. Will we get screwed out of the Rose Bowl because 3 teams finish undefeated (USC, Texas and any possible combination of V-tech , Georgia, Florida St., Penn St., or Alabama, etc.)? The chance is definitely there that TExas could finish #3 in the BCS if 2 of the above teams go undefeated.

It has happened before (last year) and it will certainly happen again under our current system. Now that we got that out of the way, we must also realize a few things. There are ton of games left to be played in this season. Conference play is just getting started and many of the top teams have only played 1 if not zero big games on the road. So my advice to any longhorn fan out there is to enjoy the ride.

I have been saying all year that I thought only 2 teams might go undefeated and I still stick by that. I think when it's all said and done this season only one undefeated team is going to be left after the regular season. And I may sound like a homer when I say this, but I think Texas is going to be the only undefeated team left after the regular season and there will be a mad scramble as to who will fill the other slot in the rose bowl. Call it a crazy hunch but crazier things have happened in this game.

Enjoy the ride longhorn fans. We may not have another season like '05 for a very long time.