Big D

Big D

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.