Wednesday, December 21, 2005

kobe, part ii

So it was less than two weeks ago that I was blogging about how Kobe had just ripped the Mavs a new one. Last night in LA, he utterly destroyed them. Blowing up huge is an understatement. Through 3 quarters, Kobe Bryant outscored the whole Dallas Mavericks team, 62-61. Not often do coaches care to acknowledge individual accomplishments in team sports, let alone do it during the game, but at the time out before the 4th qtr Phil Jackson wrote on the white board during the Laker team huddle 'Bryant 62, Mavs 61'. It was that spectacular to watch.

Before the game, Coach Avery Johnson stated that the Mavs would 'use the whole team to defend him' based on his 43 point output 10 days ago in Dallas. Well it was quite apparent that no one on the Mavs could even get close enough to Kobe to smell his cologne. He torched everyone that tried to guard him. Sixty-two points in 33 minutes. Not a bad nights work. If only the Mavs could have kept themselves in the game, Kobe might have made even more history by playing in the 4th qtr. To not play Kobe up by 33 points was really a no win situation for Phil Jackson. He sits him and everyone says he should have played him to see what might have been, Kobe was only 9 points from setting the all time Lakers scoring record. And quite possibly, he could have hit 80 points, which only has been done once, by Wilt Chamberlain. If he had played Kobe with the big lead, he would have been second-guessed for sure for putting him at risk and letting him go for personal records. Hey, Kobe didn't seem to mind so what’s the big deal?

One thing is for sure, the Mavs, who don’t play much defense to begin with, have no idea how to stop Kobe Bryant. He's scored 105 points in the last two games against the Mavs while sitting out a whole quarter. Many teams have had trouble stopping Kobe, he's one of the best players in the league. He may be the best player in the league. If he can carry this Lakers team into the playoffs, it will take an MVP type performance from Kobe. Maybe the Lakers can request to play the Mavs every other night? And for the Mavs to get anyone to seriously consider that they are a threat to win the West, they better learn to play some D.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

the dragons are back to back national champs

Southlake Carroll avenged its only loss as a Class 5A program to claim its third state title in the last four seasons. Carroll defeated Katy, 34-20, in the 5A Division II final Saturday at Texas Stadium. Katy beat Carroll, 16-15, in the 2003 final, a game that most say Carroll let slip away after getting an early lead and then taking Katy lightly. Carroll again got an early lead but this time they went for the jugular. Carroll led by 21 points most of the fourth quarter until a Katy touchdown on the next to last play of the game.

Quarterback Greg McElroy earned MVP honors by completing 21 of 31 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He finished the season with 56 touchdown passes, breaking the 5A record set by Carroll’s Chase Wasson in 2002. Carroll receiver Corbin Smiter had eight catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. Receiver McKay Jacobson had six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Jacobson’s touchdown came after Katy scored 13 consecutive points to trim Carroll’s lead to four early in the third quarter.

It was the second straight Division II state title and mythical national championship for Carroll, which went 16-0 for the third time in four seasons and improved to 63-1 as a 5A school. Katy (14-1) defeated Carroll 16-15 in the 2003 championship game.

Dragons capture state title over Katy at Texas Stadium

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

kobe the mav killer

This wasn't the first time Kobe Bryant has blown up huge against the Mavericks. Nor will it probably be the last. Kobe is arguably the best scorer in the NBA and can create his a shot (though not always the best shot) from anywhere on the floor. Last night he single-handedly took down the Mavs. Interestingly enough, there wasn't much talk of his performance of the Mavs game in general on sports radio this morning. No talk of scoring at will against the Mavs or of his 43 points or of his beat the shot clock 30' 3-pointer. What Kobe displayed last night is exactly what the Mavs are missing and needing to become a championship contender - a go to guy. Well that and a little defense now and then but Avery Johnson is working on that. Defense can be taught, wanting the ball in the clutch cannot. The Mavs have plenty of scorers but no go-to guy. Yeah Dirk can put up points, but he's never proven to be clutch at the end of the game. Kobe's 30' three as the shot clock wound down shouldn't be seen as luck or shocking to anyone. He's been doing that to teams his entire career and when it went up, you know he was thinking 'money'. The Mavs need someone with that mentality if they ever want to win it all. Kobe has it, along with three championship rings to go with.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

soriano for wilkerson... wtf???

Anyone else think the Rangers should have been able to get more for Soriano? He’s statistically in the top 10-15 players in the majors and by far the best second baseman. Sure he can misplay a ball now and then, but his defense has improved and his offense ranks with baseballs best. He's a 5-tool player for crying out loud. Yeah he's eligible for arbitration and it's the last year of his contract, but c'mon... Brad Wilkerson and some spare named Sledge? Jon Daniels has to do better than that... Washington pulled the wool over his eyes on this one.

Rumor is that this was a trade to free up cash and to set up a trade of the surplus the Rangers have in the outfield for some quality starting pitching that the Rangers sorely lack. That begs the question, if Soriano can’t bring you quality pitching, how do you get it with Kevin Mench, Gary Mathews Jr. or Wilkerson? The answer most likely is that you don't. The opinion here is that this is a very reactionary move based on first missing out on landing Josh Beckett and then yesterday getting scooped by the Cubs for Juan Pierre, who would have been a very nice addition both in center field and in the leadoff spot. As shown last year, Wilkerson is not a leadoff hitter so now the Rangers still don’t have a leadoff hitter, they don't have an everyday centerfielder and now they don't have a second baseman either. And seriously, how do you let the Cubs beat you out? Not a good start Jon.

Friday, December 2, 2005

its not mine

So Michael Irvin gets pulled over for speeding and lo and behold he has an outstanding warrant for another speeding ticket. I'm guessing 'oops' is an understatement. So he claims it’s not his, did so from the start saying it was a friends. Unfortunately for Irvin he has a checkered past so whether it his or not, many aren't going to believe him. What's even worse for Michael is the timing as he is once again up for vote for the Hall of Fame. He deserves to be in, should have made it last year. The football HOF is unique as the guidelines specifically state the candidates are to be judged solely from their on the field performance. If that were true though, Irvin would be a lock. Some though will see this as another reason not to vote him in. Add to that Troy Aikman is in his first year of eligibility and sure to be voted in with Rayfield Wright and three Cowboys will seem like too many for the anti-Cowboy HOF voters. He should get in. He deserves to get in. Unfortunately this year he probably won’t.

So now almost a week after the fact ESPN decides to suspend Irvin for one weekend of telecasts for not divulging the incident to ESPN quickly enough. Quite honestly, I don’t see the point in suspending Irvin for a week. What purpose does it really serve? Sounds like a typical CYA. Not sure if he did it but we cant just sit by and do nothing because we look stupid already so lets do something even if it makes us look even dumber. The corporate world at its best! I don’t necessarily think he needs to be suspended at all unless its proven that he lied about the whole thing. And if he had been guilty and said so from the start, I don’t see a need to suspend him then either. It wasn't on the job and if he wasn't Michael Irvin, none of us would have known or cared.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

why i hate the irish

Notre Dame is probably going to the Fiesta Bowl, and that’s not fair. Yes, Charlie Weis’ team was 9-2 and is ranked seventh in the country. They came within a yard of beating USC, produced a quarterback, Brady Quinn, who will probably finish no lower than fourth in the Heisman race, set school records for passing offense, and showed a lot of grit when games were on the line.

But the Irish schedule that was supposed to be one of the toughest in the country when the season began turned out to be as soft as a spring breeze. Pitt wasn’t even ordinary, Michigan State, which beat Notre Dame, couldn’t beat anyone else, Michigan, a pre-season Top 10 pick, lost four games, Tennessee, another alleged Top 10 team, didn’t even qualify for a bowl game, Syracuse would have had to play Buffalo 10 times to have a hope of winning five games, Stanford finished 5-6 — you get the idea; other than USC, the Irish didn’t play anyone who ended up being any good. Only three of Notre Dame’s victims are going to bowl games. Doesn't matter. Notre Dame is going to the Fiesta Bowl and, unless you’re Ohio State or maybe Penn State, you’re not.

Philip Marshall of makes a very good case for why his team, 9-2 Auburn, should get the Fiesta Bowl bid instead. And Pac-10 fans are saying that Oregon deserves the bid, seeing as how the Ducks are ranked ahead of Notre Dame in the BCS and have one fewer loss. Once again, it may not be fair, but fair has nothing to do with it.

The reality is that the BcS itself is not fair. If you’re going to accept that you can choose a champion by letting voters and computers pick the two best teams in the nation and let everyone else play for third place, you have to accept that Notre Dame is always going to get the best and richest game it qualifies for according to the unfair rules.

The rules say Notre Dame can go to the Fiesta Bowl and collect $14.5 million, so that’s what’s going to happen. It will happen because Notre Dame will bring bigger television ratings (which equal dollars), and fan interest, than just about any other team. Put the Irish in with Ohio State, another legendary program, or Penn State and the renascent Joe Paterno, and you have a game that will be outdrawn only by USC-Texas.

Until there’s a playoff, it’s always going to be this way. The BcS says Notre Dame can go to one of the big four bowls as long as it’s no lower than 12th in the BcS rankings. Notre Dame meets that criteria. Oregon and Auburn can scream all they want about the injustice, but they’d be better off screaming for a playoff system.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

southlake carroll qb is passing inspection

McElroy holds up under pressure of marquee position

By DAMON L. SAYLES / The Dallas Morning News - Thursday, November 24, 2005

SOUTHLAKE – Greg McElroy knew from his first snap as Southlake Carroll's quarterback that he would be praised heavily or scrutinized mercilessly depending on his play.

The spotlight he has been in might have shined brightest Nov. 12 in a Class 5A Division II Region I bi-district playoff at Texas Stadium. In his first postseason start, McElroy delivered an MVP-type performance.

"He didn't let the big stage intimidate him," Carroll coach Todd Dodge said of McElroy, who threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another score – all in the first half – to help beat Irving MacArthur, 48-21.

"Pressure is however you handle it, and with Greg and all our quarterbacks, you go into a big game with a gunslinger's mentality."

McElroy followed that performance with a 355-yard, three-touchdown show in a 45-15 win against Allen in last Saturday's area-round playoff. McElroy completed 25 of 34 passes and threw no interceptions and helped Carroll (12-0) win its 28th consecutive game and 59th in 60 games dating to 2002.

"There's pressure, absolutely. But playing for Southlake and the town, what it does is it fuels my fire," McElroy said. "I think pressure brings out the best in me. I love the big-time games."

McElroy said being a backup to Chase Daniel and Chase Wasson, two former 5A players of the year, had its good and bad moments.

"For anyone, it would be extremely difficult to wait, but you have to take into consideration the people I was behind," McElroy said. "They were both tremendous quarterbacks. You can't find any two better who have won more games.

"I had a chance to transfer, but I wanted to stay and be a Carroll Dragon. One year at Southlake is as good as three at another school."

Despite not starting a single game, McElroy has been on college scouts' radars since he was a sophomore. Recruiters scouted Daniel in spring football workouts but were pleasantly surprised when they saw the other Carroll quarterback showcase his accuracy and arm strength.

"Chase [Daniel] was our returning starter, but we held him out of a lot of drills. We knew what he could do," Dodge said. "Greg got a ton of reps that spring. They would come to see Chase, and they'd leave saying, 'Who's that kid?' "

Receiver McKay Jacobson, who has committed to BYU, has watched and helped McElroy develop into one of the state's top quarterbacks. McElroy has thrown for 3,394 yards and 44 touchdowns with only six interceptions in 328 attempts. Jacobson, McElroy's top target, has 73 catches for 1,230 yards and 14 scores.

McElroy, in addition, has led Carroll to No. 1 rankings in both the National Prep Football Poll and the Student Sports Fab 50 national poll and a national No. 3 ranking in the USA Today Super 25.
[Click image for a larger version] BRAD LOPER / DMN
Greg McElroy and Southlake Carroll are riding a 28-game winning streak.

"Going in your senior year and your first year to start, it's tough for anyone," Jacobson said, "but he's done a great job behind a two-time 5A player of the year [Daniel] and another 5A player of the year [Wasson]. He's gotten better from learning from Chase Daniel and being behind him."

Linebacker Patrick Benoist, one of McElroy's closest friends since fifth grade, said McElroy has helped Carroll's defense improve. Benoist and the defense have had to make plays in practice or get embarrassed by the offense's potent attack.

"Greg's a great quarterback, and we get to play against a great corps of receivers every day," Benoist said. "Their offense is so efficient, and we learn a lot from them. It's good to get to see the best because it helps out for game time."

As the team faces unbeaten and state-ranked Abilene on Saturday, it will expect McElroy to continue making the plays necessary to reach the state championship game once again.

It's all about a little perseverance for Carroll, something McElroy has lived on.

"He's dedicated himself to being the best player he could possibly be," Dodge said. "You look at his work going all the way back to when he was a freshman. You look at his work in off-season and in the quarterback training programs. He's just gotten better and better."

Statistics for Southlake Carroll's last three quarterbacks during their senior seasons:
Name Year Stats Comment
Chase Wasson 2002 4,822 yards, 54 TDs Threw for 5A record 512
yards in state title game
Chase Daniel 2004 4,582 yards, 48 TDs Also ran for 1,400
yards and 21 touchdowns
Greg McElroy 2005 3,394 yards, 44 TDs Broke the team's
regular-season passing
TD record
Note: Wasson and Daniel both played in 16 games and won state championships during their senior seasons. McElroy has played in 12 games and is looking to win a state title.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

how bout them cowboys

some musings from MNF...

• Had Roy Williams not made the pick and the Cowboys not won, Bledsoe would not have been the reason for the loss. Both the offensive and defensive lines got their butts kicked all game long... with maybe the exception of the late TD drive.

• The Cowboys play calling looked very predictable. Run on first down - get stuffed. Pass on second and third down.

• Give Keyshawn the damn ball 8-10 times. He knows what to do with it, and I don't think anyone can question his ability to go over the middle and take a hit...a la Michael Irvin.

• Some props to John Madden for hearing "look for the shovel [pass]" from the Cowboys' linebacker prior to the Eagles running it and the Cowboys stuffing it.

• McNabb didn't look like he was hit that hard trying to make the tackle on Roy Williams, though his pride probably took a big hit. Yeah, I know he's got a sports hernia, but he took bigger hits while scrambling during the game.

• Despite the pick, McNabb is not the goat. He played well most of the game until getting hurt. His INT and Bledsoe's cancel each other out. If the Eagles' WRs don't drop eight balls, there may have been a different outcome and the Eagles may not have been needing to throw at that point.

• The Cowboys deserve to win a game like that after the Redskins and Seahawk debacles.

• Marion Barber getting the lion share of carries scares me. I’m perplexed as to why Julius didn't start or get more carries as he seemed not to be hampered by the ankle and Bill himself has pointed out, Jones is "a more elusive back" than is Barber. But most importantly, Jones doesn't put the ball on the ground. Barber fumbled twice that I saw along with bobbling an exchange from Bledsoe. Barber's fumble on the last drive when they were trying to run out the clock could have been huge in two ways. First, if the Eagles recover, they're already in FG range and most likely win. Second, Barber was on his was to a first down that would have basically ended the game until a weak arm tackle knocked the ball loose. That's something you can’t have on a team looking to advance into the playoffs.

Monday, November 14, 2005

of condoms and cows

Just scattershooting some here, but what would happen if Texas or USC loses one of their last two games? There would be a bunch of one-loss teams that would be trying to lay claim to that coveted BcS Rose Bowl spot.

The contenders are:
• Miami (8-1): The Hurricanes have won eight in a row since an opening-night loss to Florida State (10-7) on Sept. 5, a game in which they were the better team but managed to lose. After their beat down of Virginia Tech on Nov. 5, it's hard to see anybody playing better.
• LSU (8-1): If not for one regrettable 4th quarter against Tennessee, the Tigers would be 9-0 and right in the middle of a big BcS argument.
• Penn State (9-1): Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions are one play away (a last-second touchdown pass by Michigan) from also being undefeated. Could you see the BcS formula leaving an undefeated Joe Pa out of the Rose Bowl?
• Virginia Tech (8-1): Despite getting thrashed by Miami, this team can beat anybody on a given day. Alabama (9-1), Oregon (9-1), UCLA (9-1), West Virginia (8-1) and a one-loss Texas/USC could all make arguments, but not as compelling as the other four.
Clip and save this. If USC or Texas loses in the next three weeks, it just might come in handy.

So projecting the bowls as things stand now…
• Rose Bowl (BcS Championship), Jan. 4: With Alabama suffering its first loss, the BcS championship game looks like an undisputed No. 1 USC (10-0) vs. No. 2 Texas (10-0). The Trojans do not have a gimme in No. 16 Fresno State (8-1) on Saturday while Texas gets the week off before hosting Texas A&M on Nov. 25. If either stumbles, surging Miami (8-1) is there to step into the BcS championship game.
Projected game: No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Texas Two words - Go Trojans!
• Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: Miami (8-1), which is No. 3 in today's BcS standings, looks pretty untouchable right now with regular-season games remaining against Georgia Tech and Virginia. If the Hurricanes win out and beat Florida State in the ACC championship game, they likely would host the Big Ten champion in the Orange. That will be Penn State (9-1) if the Nittany Lions can win at Michigan State (5-5) on Saturday.
Projected game: Miami vs. Penn State
• Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 2: The Fiesta still likes Notre Dame (7-2) if the Irish can win their final two games, against Syracuse and Stanford. If Alabama (9-1) beats Auburn on Saturday but does not reach the SEC championship game, the Fiesta could lean heavily toward a Notre Dame-Alabama matchup. If Alabama stumbles on Saturday, don't be surprised if Ohio State (8-2) gets in the mix if the Buckeyes beat Michigan.
Projected game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
• Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2: LSU (8-1) looks like the team to beat in the SEC right now. Wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas would put the Tigers into the SEC championship game, probably against Georgia. The winner of that game will go to the Sugar to host the Big East champion, probably West Virginia (8-1).
Projected game: LSU vs. West Virginia

Saturday, November 12, 2005

#1 Carroll blows away MacArthur

By TIM MacMAHON / The Dallas Morning News, November 13, 2005

IRVING – Playoff performances don't get much more dominant than Southlake Carroll's against Irving MacArthur. Or so the rest of the teams in Class 5A Division II hope. Defending state and national champion Carroll cruised to a 48-21 victory over Irving MacArthur in a Region I bi-district game that was the nightcap of Saturday's Texas Stadium tripleheader.
High Schools

Imagine how bad it would have been if Carroll's starting quarterback played in the second half. Greg McElroy did plenty of damage before halftime, passing for 278 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for another score. "Let's bottle this up and pour it out every week," Carroll coach Todd Dodge said. Carroll (11-0), the No. 1 team in the nation, has eliminated MacArthur (9-2) in the first round three of the last four seasons. Carroll has recorded the three highest-scoring games against MacArthur during fourth-year coach David Beaty's tenure.

Carroll, which has won 58 of 59 games since its promotion to 5A, advances to play Allen in the area round at noon Saturday at Texas Stadium. Here's how lopsided this game was: Carroll had almost as many points (41) as MacArthur did yards (43) at halftime.

MacArthur, No. 7 in SportsDay's 5A area rankings, didn't pick up a first down until a Carroll offsides penalty with two minutes remaining in the half. MacArthur was scoreless at the half despite linebacker Justin Gent's interception return to the Carroll 7-yard line. That interception might have been McElroy's only mistake. He completed 20 of 24 passes. He had a 1-yard rushing touchdown to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive on the opening possession.

Carroll's second and third possessions ended with touchdown catches by McKay Jacobson, who had nine catches for 181 yards in the half. Corbin Smiter also had two first-half touchdown catches. Tre' Newton, who gained 90 yards on 15 carries, finished the first-half scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run. Backup Riley Dodge added a 14-yard touchdown pass to James Allen in the third quarter.

MacArthur made the score a bit more respectable because of Ron Brooks' big-play trifecta in the second half. Brooks threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Smith, caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Matt Percle and scored on a 76-yard touchdown run.
McKay Jacobson pulls away from a MacArthur defender

Sunday, October 30, 2005

weekend musings

Ever get that feeling that you should post something but you're not quite sure what? Well thats me right now. So here are some random thoughts from the weekend...

*USC is unargueably the best team in the country until someone beats them.

*Georgia misses DJ Shockley... a lot.

*How many times can UCLA come back?

*LSU should be undefeated.

*How do the Redskins score 52 points one week and none the next?

*And if the answer is that the 49ers suck so bad, how did they beat Tampa Bay? Because Chris Simms is just that much worse than Brian Griese.

*Its time for Brett Favre to retire.

*Houston finally won a game, and it may be their only win all year.

*The Cowboys could easily be 8-0.

*The NFC North is the worst division in NFL history.

*It doesn't appear to matter where the Saints play when they're that bad.

*Tedy Bruschi is an amazing athlete.

Talk about your classic break up letters... this is a great read.

National #1 Prep team, the Carroll Dragons beat Grapevine Friday to move to 9-0.

Riley Dodge of Carroll

Friday, October 28, 2005

more BcS

Just for the record, I really cant stand Skip Bayless. Not back in the day when he was with the Times Herald and not now with ESPN. But as much as the flaming Bayless gets on my nerves, when he puts the shorthorns in their place, I have to give him some props.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

clean sweep

So I was going to title this post 'Lidge the goat'. But was he really? Probably not. Sure he and Ensberg, Bagwell, Clemens and others performed well below their abilities, but if your assigning blame for the Astros getting swept, look right at the top of the dugout stairs to Manager Phil Garner. You can't blame the Game 4 loss on Lidge when your offense manages just 5 hits and cant score a single run. But you have to question why Garner pulls Backe after 7 when he was still going strong throwing a shutout, only giving up 5 hits while striking out 7. But the White Sox played the NL version of small ball to manufacture a run off Lidge in the top of the 8th and you could just see it in the Astros' eyes that it was all over. They left runner after runner on base and in scoring position and nothing was going to change that now. Another questionable move by Garner was why he used Bagwell to pinch hit with no one on in the 7th instead of saving him for later when there could be a runner on, say like in the 9th? The Astros, including their manager, just seemed happy to be there.

The White Sox made all the big plays and had the big hits when they needed them. How about the defensive play of Juan Uribe? That guy has an absolute gun! The last out two outs in the 9th and the last out of the 8th were all spectacular plays. His catch of Burke’s foul ball going into the stands was, dare I say, Jeter-esk. And MVP Jermaine Dye hit a robust .440 for the series, including the game winning RBI in Game 4.

The games were close, but the series wasn’t. The Astros rarely looked to be in control, even when they had the lead. And the somewhat unentertaining series not surprisingly became the lowest rated ever series ever. So the ChiSox break their ‘curse’ of 88 years since last winning it all while the Astros hope it doesn’t take them 44 more years to get back to the Series. At least Biggio and Bagwell finally got to the series though they are long past their prime when their production could have helped make a difference.

Here’s one last rendition of World Series second-guessing.

party time

over and out

What can you say? How many unlikely heroes can one team have? First Pods and now former Astro Geoff Blum? Aside from Roof-gate which didn’t seem to impact the game at all, the Astros even got the close calls to go their way this time, like Jason Lane’s should be double that was called a HR in the fourth. Even with the roof open, the crowd sounded as loud as ever until the White Sox took the lead in the 5th. It was loud, very loud early when the Astros were leading and very quiet when they got behind. Every pan into the stands from the 9th inning on was of Astro fans quietly praying that they didn't lose, not cheering for a win. And just when it looked like Ezequiel Astacio had gotten out of a potential jam with Ensberg snagging Konerko’s screamer down the 3rd base line and turning two, up steps light hitting Geoff Blum. Astacio actually looked like he made a pretty decent pitch, very low and in, and it took quite a swing for Blum just to get the ball elevated enough to clear the right field fence, but clear it he did. And so went the hopes of all Astros fans. I was hoping Houston could at least win last night to make the series interesting. Its now over after tonight, probably in blow-out fashion, you heard it here first... and even with all the fuss made during the day, the roof had nothing to do with it.

Of significant note, Phil Garner's demeanor during the whole game looked as if he was uncomfortable and unsure if his team could win that game. He didn't seem confident about anything, whereas Ozzie Guillen seemed to have faith in his team throughout. And then after the game, he rips his team for its lack of hitting. Umm, Phil, newsflash here, you're team hasn't hit all year!

What would the day after be without a little more second-guessing from our friends at ESPN Page 2? My biggest question to Phil Garner is, how many batters and how many runs do you give up in a ‘must win’ game before taking a non-sharp Oswalt out of the game, even if it is the 5th inning.

Some interesting facts from Game 3...
-Geoff Blum was traded from the Astros for Game 4 starter Brandon Backe.
-Both teams stranded 15 runners on base.
-Houston had only 1 hit after the 4th inning.
-The Astros had 10 base runners from the 8th inning thru the 14th and only scored 1 run.

Blum's HR

It seems that Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry has just figured out something the rest of the world has known for quite some time now. While expressing frustration Tuesday with the Falcons' dismal performance, DeBerry attributed the latest loss in part to TCU's having more black players who "can run very, very well.” “It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well," said DeBerry. Not that anyone can really argue that point, but in this overly politically correct world, comments like that, as true as they may be, will get you in trouble.

Could the BcS be any more of a sham than it already is? Dropping USC from the top spot proves its unworthiness and lack of credibility as Kevin Blackistone points out.

A small footnote in the headlines today, Sheryl Swoops has ‘freed herself’ by coming out of the closet, meaning she’s a lesbo, greeeeat.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

roof gate, part 2

This just in from the DMN, the roof at the Juice Box, aka Minute Maid Park, is currently open and will remain open tonight for World Series Game 3. And here's how they feel about the roof down in Houston, unscientifically speaking, of course.

its open...

'roof gate'

The roof issue in Houston is becoming a big story leading up to Game 3. The Astros are pissed that MLB is wanting it open and one would think they should be able to choose, being it is their home field and all. I think this is more of a power struggle than anything though as I dont see the roof, open or closed, having an impact on the outcome of the game. As it appears MLB has jurisdiction here (why, I dont know), my money is on the roof being open tonight.

This isn't the first time a retractable roof has come under scrutiny. Sandy Alderson created a precedent on World Series roof issues by ordering Arizona to have its roof open for all four games during the World Series of 2001. The Diamondbacks were coming home after two crushing defeats down 3-2 in the series. But I dont recall Schilling, Johnson or Luis González whining about the roof. The Astros should stop making an issue of the roof and realize they can get back in the series if they start concentrating on the game instead.

Monday, October 24, 2005

some monday musings...

* Does anybody else find it annoying that Seahawks kicker Josh Brown can nail field goals of 55 and 50 yards (the latter being a game-winner as time expired, no less) but that Jose Cortez missed a 29-yarder for the Cowboys?

* Who didn't predict that Cortez would be cut today?

* You can't blame Dallas’ defense for this loss, they played a great game.

* Cows quarterback Vince Young is good. He's just not as good as the other Heisman Trophy candidates – USC’s Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.

* Is it just me or does Texas’ band look like greeters at Sizzler?

* Texas Tech was indeed a very over-rated football team.

* What did the White Sox do with reliever Bobby Jenks? That sure didn't look like the same guy on the mound as in Game 1.

* What was Lou Rawls’ singing during his 'rendition' of The Star-Spangled Banner before Game 2 of the World Series, haven't heard it that bad since Rosanne.

is the rocket grounded

Phil Garner isn't sure if Roger Clemens will be available for Game 5, assuming of course, there is a Game 5. Here's an interesting read from Keith Olbermann. Not sure if he's insinuating that the Rocket isn't really that hurt or that he's not the stud post-season pitcher he's made out to be... maybe both.

And some more fun second guessing from David Schoenfield and Rob Neyer on ESPN Page2.

Apparantly the roof is now part of the home field advanatage. MLB wants it open but the Astros prefer it closed.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

houston, we have a problem

First Pujols, now Podsednik? No, really, Scott Podsednik? Possibly the most unlikely player on the White Sox to hit a walk off HR, Podsednik took Brad Lidge deep on a 2-1 fastball and just like that Houston is down 0-2. Ironically, just before the pitch that Pods, as his teammate call him, deposited in the right-center field bleachers, the Fox announcing crew asked hypothetically if Lidge would still be thinking about the bomb Pujols jacked off him in Game 5 of the NLCS. The banter went something like this: ‘So, many wondered why Garner didn’t bring Lidge in to pitch in Game 6 against St. Louis to get him back on the mound right away even though Houston was up big in the game. Do you think Lidge still has a bad taste in his mouth from that Pujols homer? Nah, he doesn’t have any taste right now ‘ Then bang, there she went. Game over.

There were plenty of storylines and momentum shifts in this game; the Astros fielding problems in the 2nd, the Dye HBP, the Sox 0-8 hitting with runners in scoring position prior to the Konerko at-bat (coincidentally, they showed the stat right before the at-bat), then his dramatic grand slam (only the 5th in W.S. history coming in the 7th inning or later), the 9th inning, 2 out, 2 RBI slap base hit by Vizcaino and finally Podsednik’s walk-off shot, only the 14th game winning HR in series history.

Now only elimination games are truly ‘must win’ games but for all practical purposes, Game 3 in Houston is a must win game for the Astros. Go down 0-3 and its time to dust off the golf clubs. Fortunately for the Astros, they will have their ace on the mound in Roy Oswalt. The bad news is, Jon Garland has been clutch for Chicago in the playoffs and now Houston has to be wondering if they get a 1 or 2 run lead late in a game, can they close it out? Is Lidge still the guy you bring in? It will be a long flight home to Houston tonight.

Konerko's slam

Pods game winner

deja vu?

game on

Even though Joe Crede had the game winning RBI with his HR in the fourth, the game was won by the White Sox pitching. Contreras did an outstanding job through 7 with Cotts and Jenks nailing it down. The 'Stros had runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs in the 8th and not only could they not get a ball in the outfield to tie the game, they didn't even put one in play as Ensberg, Lamb (why isn't Burke pinch hitting here?) and Bagwell all struck out swinging, blown away by fastballs. After adding an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, Houston went down easily in order in the 9th.

Its always fun to second guess when a team loses. Here’s an article from ESPN with some questionable calls made by Phil Garner during Game 1 of the World Series. Game 2 pits Buehrle against Pettitte in some cold rainy weather in Chicago. Look for another low scoring game.

Crede's Game 1 winner

Saturday, October 22, 2005

world series prediction

So here’s my World Series breakdown and prediction:
Starting Pitching: White Sox
Bullpen: Astros
Closer: Even
Offense: Slight Edge White Sox
Bench: White Sox
Manager: Slight Edge Astros
Intangibles: White Sox

Look for several close games as both teams will look to manufactur runs and hope their pitching can hold the lead. I see Chicago holding serve at home for the first two games and then taking game four on the road before closing it out at home in game 6.

Keith Olbermann's view.

Friday, October 21, 2005

high school football roundup

A quick look at the top local area h/s football matchups:

*Keller (3-4) at Carroll (7-0) – the #1 team in the nation should have this put away before halftime (5 of Carroll’s last 24 games have been televised either regionally or nationally)
*Highland Park (7-0) at Wylie (6-1) – would be a big upset to see Wylie pull off a win
*Woodrow Wilson (7-0) at Hillcrest (5-2) – could be closer than some may think
*Trinity (7-0) at Irving (4-3) – should be another run away for the Trojans
*Hebron (7-0) at Frisco (5-2) – Hebron wins easy here

Tre' Newton of SL Carroll

In action last night…
Undefeated SGP took on undefeated MacArthur in Irving as both teams put on quite a defensive show. Three turnovers doomed SGP who eventually lost 3-0. Worth noting are the 3 missed field goals by SGP, one a 20 yarder that was blocked. Lots of missed chances there.

Newman Smith lost another close game, this time to Richardson Pearce. NS lead or was tied for the lead throughout until Pearce RB Zach Plinario scored with 3:03 left in the game to put Pearce up for good 30-23. Smith QB Adam Jones threw for 280 yds and 2 TDs.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

houston, we have liftoff

After 44 years of existence, the Astros have finally made the World Series. That leaves only 5 teams that have not made an appearance, one of which being the Texas Rangers. So looking at the teams that were ousted from the playoffs, its become obvious that pitching has won out over hitting (see Boston, New York, St. Louis). The White Sox/Astros match up appears pretty even with probably a slight edge in offense and starting pitching to Chitown and the bullpen/closer advantage going to Houston. I see a low scoring series throughout going six games… I’ll wait to divulge who I think will win. Who would have thought that this team which got swept in Arlington by the Rangers in late May would find itself in the World Series.

Oswalt was unhittable most of the night.

Zam, are you in there somewhere? ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

some minor rants

Lots of grumbling about the SI reporter, Michael Bamberger, who turned in Michelle Wie’s infraction last weekend. You do the crime, you do the time as they say. Whether it was intentional or not isn’t a factor. Some say Bamberger should have said something sooner, as in that day. Yeah, maybe so. There could be numerous reasons why he didn’t though. Maybe he wasn’t really sure there was a violation, just a possibility at first so he wasn’t sure what to do. Maybe he had a deadline to meet? Maybe he just plain forgot for a bit? In any case, even if he brings it up later that same day, if Wie has signed her card already, she’s DQ’d. You live and learn. She should have called a rules official over and then this is all moot. In any case, blaming Bamberger for Wie’s mistake is wrong. Is it the radar gun’s fault when an officer is writing you that speeding ticket?

How does an intelligent person come to the conclusion that David Stern’s dress code policy is a racial thing? Its not like he’s only enforcing it only on the non-white athletes. Granted there are more minorities in the No Bling Allowed League than whites, but neither the policy nor the league is discriminating in any way. I don’t understand why such trivial things cause people to play the race card. Some of the players are saying they should get stipends to pay for the required clothes. Are you serious? You make millions in a year and you can’t afford a $50 pair of pants and a shirt without gang signs? Give me a couple grand and I’ll take care of it for ya.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

feast or famine

They've had a day to think about it. A day for it to soak in. And also a day to be asked repeatedly by the media all about the 9th inning collapse. Do Brad Lidge and the Astros bounce back and buck history, which tells us devistating losses tend to linger, or do they cave and watch the Cards win two at home just like last year? Oswalt is the better pitcher in his matchup with Mulder though both pitched well in game 2. The question will be have the Cards bats woken up. I think Houston needs to score first and early to avoid a hangover from Monday. If the Cards get the lead, look for a game 7 with the pressure shifting squarely on Houston.

yep Brad, its gone

wishing he'd pitched to Edmonds?

Monday, October 17, 2005

zam, i feel your pain...

I’m not an Astro fan. Never have been. Not a fan of any Houston team. But I was rooting for the Astros tonight, rooting for a Texas team to finally reach the World Series. Lord knows the Rangers never have, never been that close either. But being a Dallasite causes one to root for our teams and against those in Houston and San Antonio. So to say the least, I’m not a big fan and don’t really know many of the players. But tonight things were different.

I had already typed most of the post, a comment to Zam, a die-hard Astro fan, congratulating her and the Astros for finally making the Series. For she had called it earlier in the day. When Lance Berkman hit his 3-run job in the 7th, I thought to myself, must be women’s intuition. Then it happened and a sudden hush came over Astro-nation.

Needing just one strike to get that last out, suddenly things changed. I was ready to publish my comment as Eckstein batted. There were two outs, no one on and David Eckstein was in a 1-2 hole and I thought it was over. Eckstein’s a good contact hitter, so I wasn’t thinking strikeout here, but probably a defensive swing resulting in a ground out somewhere… except the ground out found a hole on the left side. No biggie right? Then Jim Edmonds almost gets plunked and I’m thinking you really don’t wanna face Albert Pujols as the go ahead run. You had to know Edmonds might be taking at 2-1 and then for sure at 3-1 and Brad Lidge just couldn’t throw the strike he needed. He really hadn’t look that sharp even in getting the first two outs. Jimmy takes the walk and the raucous crowd quieted a little, almost as if they new something bad was going to happen.

So here comes Fat Albert. The man you don’t want to face in this situation if you’re the Astros. Pujols is going to be the NL MVP, probably should have already won it at least once before. He’s batting .429 in the series entering the game but was 0-4 on the night. Hmm, think he’s due? Lidge makes a good first pitch and gets Albert to miss on a very good splitter in the dirt to get ahead 0-1. Maybe the best pitch he threw all night… followed by the worst pitch. Lidge hung one right in the wheelhouse and Pujols hit it as far as I’ve seen a ball hit in Minute Maid Park. I swear that ball was still going up when it hit up in the rafters above the tracks in left field. Talk about hushing a stadium. They were ready to celebrate, time to pop the corks. Then everything changed. Jason Isringhausen closed out the ninth in easy fashion, and you have to wonder if in the back of Houston’s mind they are thinking about last year when they went back to St. Louis in need of just one win and came up empty as the Cards went on to the Series. Are the Astros thinking here we go again? For Zam and all of Astro-nation’s sake, lets hope not.

Quite a shot by Pujols. (is Ausmus grabbing his ass?)

weekend roundup

USC/ND – What can you say, probably one of the best college football games in my generation, maybe ever. Too bad I had to miss the 4th quarter and had to see it in just highlights. :/

So what will the BcS come out with today? When speaking of the insane college football championship game process, its best to just call it the BS system, as it is more apt to apply. USC obviously deserves to be #1 and should stay there unless beaten. As for who’s next, well pick a team from Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Alabama, though personally I feel that the Hokies and the Shorthorns probably should be given the most consideration for that second spot. But how do you separate them if they both finish undefeated? Well in the BS world, you don’t. Its called a playoff, something every other major college sport has except Division I-A football. As always, the reasons for not having one revolve solely around money, college football pays the bills.

Ok, it’s out now… and Texas Tech is #7… wow! There’s an endorsement for scheduling all cream puffs for pre-conference if I’ve ever seen one. It makes me laugh to even think that some poll believes Tech is the 7th best team in the country, let alone, the 'great' BcS. With whom they've played, Tech shouldn’t be even sniffing a BCS bowl.

More to come… some pro action.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

christmas comes early for tech

Bonehead play of the week goes to: Le Kevin Smith of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Smith, the Huskers nose tackle, intercepted a tipped Cody Hodges pass inside the 10 yd line with 1:11 left in the game and Nebraska up 31-27 over Texas Tech. Instead of just going down, guaranteeing the win, Smith decided to run with the ball, immediately fumbling as soon as he was hit. Tech then recovered the fumble and converted a subsequent 4th and 2 for the game winning TD. Congrats Smith, on quite possibly the stupidest play of the year and earning the Huskers not only their first loss of the year but also their first homecoming loss since 1968!

On a separate note, Texas Tech has to be one of the most over-rated ranked teams in the nation. 13th best in the country? No way, not even close! Until the game in Lincoln, which they should have lost, Tech had yet to play a quality opponent. It wont be long before the real Tech is made apparent.

pro picks

Tough games to pick today with injuries and all. After a good Saturday (13-8), the early games are slim pickings, but for entertainment purposes only, we’ll go with:

Tenn +3 over Houston
Cleve/Chi Under 35
TB -3 over Jets
Miami +3 over Buffalo
Miami/Buff Under 35
St. Louis -3 over Seattle
Cleveland -3 over Chicago

and for the late games:
Indy -15 over SF
Dallas +3 over Phily (a homer pick I know)
Carolina +2' over Arizona
Indy/SF Over 45

Saturday, October 8, 2005

friday night wrap up

As expected, the Dragons took it to Haltom, 69-7, with just a missed extra point keeping them from cracking 70 points. Haltom’s only score was on a 50 yd interception return in the 4th quarter. Denton Ryan is up next.

The over-achieving Mac Cardinals escaped with another close victory over Irving 21-14, intercepting a pass in the end zone to preserve the win. MacArthur is an over-rated team which will become apparent when the face Trinity and SGP in the upcoming weeks.

Plano is looking like the Plano of old, beating up Allen 45-7.

And last but not least, the Newman Smith Trojans opened up a can of whoop-ass on the RL Turner Lions, 56-31. The game wasn’t close the whole way as the Trojans opened up a 3 TD lead in the first quarter. Three of the Lions TDs came in the 4th quarter, the last of which came on the last play of the game.

As a side note, there was some serious t p-ing going on Friday night, with cheerleaders being the main targets... not that I know anything about that. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2005

high school football

A little high school football as the week winds down. The 5-0 Southlake Carroll Dragons, ranked No.1 in the state and No. 2 in the nation, play 4-1 Haltom Friday night at Dragon Stadium. The Buffalos only loss was a 24-21 setback on the road at Grapevine where the Buffs missed a game tying 27 yd field goal as time expired.  The Dragons are averaging 50 points per game on offense, but look for Southlake to surpass that and run it up some in preparation for rival Denton Ryan next week, where they will want to be firing on all cylinders.

Other games of note include:
4-1 Irving at 5-0 MacArthur
5-0 Plano at 4-1 Allen
1-4 RL Turner at 1-4 Newman Smith (battle for the cellar in 10-5A)

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

random musings from the baseball playoffs…

* The Redsox let one slip away today and are now must win 3 straight from the Palehose, doable, though unlikely with the current state of Bosox pitching… you could hear a collective sigh from Redsox Nation when Graffanino let the ball trickle under his glove.

* The Braves could do nothing against Pettitte today and now must face Clemens tomorrow in a virtual must win game or go to Houston down 0-2.

* Did Atlanta look old today against the ‘Stros, or was it just me?

* Morgan Ensberg had a great game with 5 RBI.

* The Angels blew several chances on Tuesday but made amends tonight with a big win. And they’ve got a good shot to be Randy Johnson on Friday to go up 2-1.

* The Padres are in the process of getting swept in easy fashion by the Cards.

* One hockey note, talk about opening up the game! The Kings had a 3-0 lead on the Stars barely 5 minutes into the game and were up 4-0 after the 1st. In years past, that’s game over, but it was 4-3 after the 2nd and then in the 3rd the Stars pulled out a wild comeback with 2 goals for the 5-4 win.

Monday, October 3, 2005

window or aisle seat

So Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees aren’t happy with Buck Showalter and the Rangers… isn’t that just too damn bad! Now A-Rod is really just about the only Yankee I like, but many of the New York Yankees, led by the whining of Rodriguez, are upset that Buck took out Michael Young, Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock in the 3rd inning of Sunday’s game against Anaheim. Showalter pulled each in succession after they reached base to recognize each and allow the fans to acknowledge their great year of all three. The Rangers loss to the Angels combined with the Yankees being blown out by Boston allowed Anaheim to have home field advantage in the first round match-up between New York and Anaheim. Just a thought here, but if New York starts Mike Mussina instead of Jaret Wright on Sunday as originally planned, maybe they don’t get blasted out of Fenway Park in the first inning causing them to totally give up the rest of the game. Don’t blame the Rangers when you can’t even take care of your own business! Another thought for Torre and his Spankees, how bout winning a few more games against Tampa Bay?!?! They went 8-11 vs. the second worst team in the AL. All that with a $200M payroll, more than double any other teams… Cry me a river A-Rod, just try not to let it ruin your MVP year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

i cant stand the yankees

The Cleveland Indians have picked a bad time for a 3-game losing streak. Within a game a few days ago, the Tribe is now 3 back of the White Sox with 4 games left. Now tied with the BoSox for the wild card, Cleveland finishes the year hosting a 3-game series with Chicago. While they battle for the AL Central, the Red Sox will host the Yankees this weekend to determine the AL East champion. If both the Indians and Red Sox can get hot, its possible the over-paid Yankees could be the odd team out when the playoffs start next week.

How over-paid are the Yankees you might ask? New York has by far the top payroll in MLB at $208-million. Lets put that in perspective to appreciate how badly the Yankees are at judging talent by comparing their payroll to what other teams are paying. The Red Sox are second on the list, and they’re $85 million behind. Then come the Mets at $101 million, which isn’t even half of what George Steinbrenner spends. So, of the 30 major league teams, only one spends at least half of New York’s investment, and 16 spend less than a third of the Yanks’ tab. $208M is quite an impressive amount, and to think it might not even be enough to have bought them a playoff spot this year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

my top 25...

1. USC (3-0) – simply unbeatable
2. FLORIDA (4-0) – will meet USC in Pasadena
3. VIRGINIA TECH (4-0) – favorite to win the ACC
4. TEXAS (3-0) – can they live up to the hype
5. OHIO ST (3-1) – probably the second best team
6. GEORGIA (4-0) – DJ Shockley can flat out play
7. TENNESSEE (2-1) – lucky to not be 1-2
8. LSU (1-1) – blew 21pt halftime lead
9. FLORIDA ST (3-0) – need a QB
10. MIAMI FLA (2-1) – should have beat FSU
11. MICHIGAN ST (4-0) – surprise of the big 10 and a top 10 team
12. ARIZONA ST (3-1)
13. CALIFORNIA (4-0)
14. ALABAMA (4-0)
15. NOTRE DAME (3-1)
16. WISCONSIN (4-0)
17. VIRGINIA (3-0)
19. UCLA (3-0)
20. MINNESOTA (4-0)
21. LOUISVILLE (2-1)
22. GEORGIA TECH (3-1)
23. TEXAS TECH (3-0)
24. PURDUE (2-1)
25. TEXAS A&M (2-1)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

random college football thoughts

Some random thoughts about college football… Watched some of the USC/Arkansas game Saturday night and the Trojans scored at will and made it look easy. Quite possibly the best team I’ve ever seen. Who’s gonna beat them? Texas? No chance! LSU? Nope. The only way USC doesn’t 3-peat is if they beat themselves.

Now for some rants… how does Ohio St. lose a close game to a higher ranked team and drop 8 spots in the polls??? In what universe does that sound logical? The Buckeyes lose by less than a field goal, a field goal that should have been made in the 4th, to a team the pollsters thought they would lose anyway and all the sudden they are a worse team? Forgive me if I’m a bit confused. Now I’ll admit I’m biased, I’m not a Vince Young supporter nor do I care for anything resembling orange that resides in the state capitol. My anti-cow sentiments is probably a separate rant in itself but I’ll give Vince his due, he played better than I thought he would and they won the game even though they probably shouldn’t have. Missed field goals, conservative play calling, alternating QBs and a dropped 4th quarter touchdown (the TE had the ball hit him in the hands, pop up and then in his hands again before he watched it finally hit the ground) eventually doomed the Buckeyes. But getting back to the polls… Iowa State drubs Iowa but the voters still rank them lower and Notre Dame beats a horrible Pitt team and then an over-ranked Michigan team and all the sudden a team that couldn’t beat an Indiana high school team last year is all the sudden one of the top 10 in the nation? Only Notre Dame could pull that off. Well that lasted all of one week as previously unranked Michigan State strolled into the golden dome and threatened to blow out the Irish of their own stadium. The new rankings are out and guess what… yep the Spartans are ranked now, but still below the Irish! Go figure. All the more reason polls should never decide championships.

Here’s hoping that the Indians keep winning and finish above the Yankees in the wild card race. Nothing would be better than seeing the most over-paid team in baseball miss the playoffs! What now George?

I’ll be at the Monday night Cowboy game tomorrow night watching a Dallas victory and 3 future hall of famers get inducted into the Ring of Honor.

Up next… The Stars are back!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

the triplets...

Long time, no post… so there’s more to talk about than I’ll probably get to.

Lets start with the Cowboys! I’ll be attending Monday night’s game against the Redskins which should be quite an event. The Triplets (Aikman, Emmitt and Irvin) are being inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime. They are arguably the best trio that’s ever played the game together. They may not have the most gaudy stats (Emmitt excluded), but in terms of overall performance, wins/losses and winning Super Bowls, no one did it better than The Triplets. Three Championships in four years that probably should have and easily could have been four in a row had Jerry Jones kept his ego in check and kept Jimmy Johnson as coach. It should be a great game and probably an easy win over the hapless Redskins.

While on the topic of the ‘Boys, the win Sunday over the Chargers was a nice surprise to most. Not that anyone thought the game wasn’t going to be competitive, but last year’s team doesn’t win that game. Bledsoe and company had every chance to quit but didn’t and came back to win with an impressive touchdown drive and big defensive stand, with San Diego knocking on the door at the 7 yd line.

Rayfield Wright is on a path to be a Hall of Fame finalist for the second time in three years and most expect him to get inducted this year. This poses an interesting question. This year will be the first year that Troy Aikman will be eligible for the Hall and with Michael Irvin’s snub last year, there is the potential for 3 Cowboys up for the final vote for entry into the Hall. This could be bad news for Irvin. After all of the conspiracy theories involving the Cowboys and the Hall of Fame, is it conceivable to really think the voters are going to put three Cowboys - Irvin, Wright and Aikman - in the Hall of Fame in the same year? Here’s hoping so, as they all deserve it!

More to come tomorrow including some good rants on college football.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

dragons start season right were they left off

It’s a new season with some new faces, but the results are the same. Defending Class 5A state champion and national champion Southlake Carroll opened its season with an impressive 48-25 victory Saturday afternoon over Midland Lee in the Champions Classic at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene.

Led by quarterback Greg McElroy, making his first varsity start, the Dragons rolled up 536 yards of offense in winning the 48th game in their last 49 outings over four seasons. McElroy completed 20 of 33 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns. McKay Jacobson caught eight passes for 148 yards and two scores.

Midland Lee led, 3-0, after one quarter, thanks to Aaron Esikhati's 39-yard field goal and two key miscues by the Dragons after getting to the Raider’s one-yard line on consecutive drives without putting a single point on the board. But Southlake Carroll responded with 28 second-quarter points before putting it on cruise control.

McElroy started the scoring with a 1-yard sneak with 8:41 to go. He then hit Jacobson with a 29-yard touchdown pass on their next possession. The Dragons recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and McElroy and Jacobson hooked up on a 17-yard touchdown strike on the next play to make it 21-3. Corbin Smiter caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from McElroy with 49 seconds to go before halftime to stretch the lead to 28-10.

Matt Moorefield had a 33-yard touchdown run and Tre Newton an 88-yard scoring scamper in the second half for Carroll who played mostly reserves after the opening drive.

Monday, August 22, 2005

ags lose a wr

Aggies lose WR Riley for season By RACHEL COHEN / The Dallas Morning News

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Senior WR L’Tydrick Riley will miss the season after tearing his left ACL Saturday, coach Dennis Franchione said. Riley did not redshirt as a freshman, so he will have another season of eligibility. Riley was A&M’s fourth-leading receiver last year with 20 catches for 285 yards and a touchdown. At 6-2, 238 pounds with excellent hands, Riley was especially effective at converting third downs.

Riley is the second Aggies WR to suffer a season-ending knee injury this month. Redshirt freshman Keith Dickerson tore his ACL Aug. 11. The position, though, is still one of the Aggies’ deepest.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

college football preview

The Best
1. USC - They've won 33 of 34. They're favored to three-peat. Matt Leinart remained at USC rather than become the 49ers starting QB as their #1 draft pick because he wanted to stay with the better team. The biggest potholes in the USC road come in the first half of the schedule. Five of their first seven are away from home including tests at Oregon, Arizona St. and Notre Dame. Danger lurks in all three spots, especially the latter pair. If they're unbeaten after six games, it's downhill to the title game.
2. LSU - Tigers return 18 starters from a 9-3 club. Their three toughest opponents--Tennessee, Florida and Auburn--all must visit Baton Rouge. Their schedule is rough enough and the SEC is so respected that if they're one of a handful of one-loss teams they could still get in the title game.
3. Ohio State - 18 lettermen return from a club that roared down the stretch winning five of six. Unlike a lot of their Big (slow) Ten brethren this club has real speed. Huge early season tests with Iowa and Texas both come at home in Columbus.

The Next
4. Florida - Were Gator boo-birds correct that this talented group was "coached down" by Ron Zook. Wonderkid Urban Meyer has immediately upgraded the two previous programs he's taken over. A mid-season date at LSU looms as their toughest test. In QB Chris Leak, Coach Meyer inherits perhaps the perfect triggerman for his spread offense.
5. Texas - Horns suffered sizable losses to the NFL but there seems to be huge faith in athletic QB Vince Young. Young dazzled versus lead-footed Michigan in the Rose Bowl. But will rugged foes on the UT schedule focus on him daring inexperience runners and wide receivers to beat them. Texas seems to be the "public" go-with club. That's always dangerous given that the public is usually wrong. One huge problem-the schedule. Games against Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M all come away from home.
6. Iowa - Kirk Ferentz may be the best coach in college football. This once struggling program is 31-7 the last three years. If...that's IF...this club could win at Ohio State, the rest of the schedule's not all that rugged. Tons of injuries last season means more experienced depth this year. Look out.
7. Louisville - Who's gonna beat them? They'll be favored in every game. Unlike last season they'll begin '05 in the Top 15 and maybe in the Top 10 by the time the first polls are released. And if they're one of only two unbeatens at season's end, what keeps them out of the title game?

The Sleepers
1. Arizona State - Went 9-3 last season with two losses coming to USC and top 5 rated Cal. Their defense improved nearly 50 yards per game last year while the offense was +58 yards per game. Early season games against LSU and USC could be their only losses. But what if they should pull an upset in one of them?
2. Alabama - Nine defensive starters return from a unit that permitted a miniscule 245 yards per game in the rugged SEC last year. If their staggering offense can be jacked up a bit that "D" gives them a chance to win any Saturday. They catch Florida, Tennessee and LSU at home. Count on it-they'll upset at least one of them.
3. Fresno State - Does anyone realize Pat Hill's Bulldogs have won 38 games the last four years including three bowl victories? Since 2001 they've pulled upsets over Colorado, Oregon St., Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Kansas St and Virginia. WHEW! Sixteen starters return. And they'll again take their best shots at higher profile opponents like Oregon, Boise State and USC.
4. Texas A&M - Could be 8-0 entering November. Enough said. Whoop!

road to the rose bowl...

Top Games That Will Help Decide the National Championship Match-up
September 3
* Texas A&M at Clemson
September 10
* Arizona State at LSU
* Texas at Ohio State
September 17
* Tennessee at Florida
September 24
* Tennessee at LSU
* Iowa at Ohio State
October 1
* USC at Arizona St
October 8
* Oklahoma/Texas
October 15
* Florida at LSU
* Louisville at West Virginia
* USC at Notre Dame
October 29
* Texas at Oklahoma St
November 12
* Texas A&M at Oklahoma
* LSU at Alabama
November 19
* Ohio State at Michigan
November 25
* Texas at Texas A&M

Monday, August 15, 2005

thanks for the memories

The Mavs released Michael Finley just before the amnesty deadline tonight, formally ending his 9 year career as a Maverick. The luxury tax saved by waiving Fin makes smart business sense but was a hard thing for the Mavs to pull the trigger on. Finley became a cornerstone as the Mavericks improved from 19 wins in 1998-99 to 60 wins and a berth in the Western Conference finals in 2002-03. Doug Christie is expected to be signed next week to take Finley's place.

The Kansas City Royals lost their 16th game in a row on Monday, making it the third longest losing streak ever in MLB behind only the 75 Tigers who dropped 19 straight, and the 88 Orioles who lost an amazing 21 games in a row.

The Dallas Stars signed C Jason Arnott to a one-year qualifying offer on Monday. Arnott will man the Stars second line. Just 30 years old, he
appeared in 73 games with the Stars in 2003-04, registering 21 goals and 36 assists.

an aggie update

Aggies kicking bad habits - To reduce mistakes, A&M using starters on special teams

By RACHEL COHEN / The Dallas Morning News / Sunday, August 14, 2005

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M coaches would have been happy two years ago to see a punt returner field the ball cleanly and fall forward. That's not far off from what happened last season. The Aggies reduced the special teams mistakes that plagued them in 2003 but rarely helped themselves in the battle for field position.

A&M ranked in the bottom four of the Big 12 in punt and kickoff returns, net punting and kickoff coverage a year ago. So it's no surprise coaches have made improving special-teams play a priority this preseason. Senior receiver Jason Carter has noticed the emphasis reflected in their intensity level.

"They've made it a point," said Carter, who has added punt-blocking duties to his kickoff returning. "In meetings, they've said they put it on themselves that we were ranked so low."

Coach Dennis Franchione would like to see those numbers improve, but his greatest concern is minimizing major mistakes. Despite the progress the Aggies made last season, they committed significant special-teams miscues in each of their four late-season losses.

Still, even a slight improvement in net yardage can yield significant results. Special teams coach Mark Tommerdahl said that if a team gets the ball past its 20-yard line, its chances of scoring double. Past the 40-yard line, they quadruple.

Franchione plans to use more starters on special-teams units. He wants excellent athletes who can play physical and take their duties seriously. Veterans Jaxson Appel and Justin Warren are among the starters seeing more action on special teams.

"Three years ago when we started, there was a little bit of an attitude here that, well, that was for the backups," Franchione said, adding, "It's taken awhile to get that message into their heads."

Here's how A&M looks to improve in key areas:


The Aggies need a new punter after Jacob Young graduated. Coaches are pleased with the progress of redshirt freshman Richie Bean, whose inconsistency kept him off the field last year. His main competition, Justin Brantly, is an impressive athlete at 6-3, 218 pounds, but just a freshman. Franchione doesn't expect to pick a starter for a while.

Punt returns

Options include safeties Jordan Chambless and Japhus Brown, receiver L'Tydrick Riley, cornerback Marquis Carpenter and several freshman defensive backs. None returned punts last year. At 238 pounds, Riley is not a prototypical returner, but he has great hands and Franchione figures he'll be tough to tackle.

Kickoff returns

Running back Courtney Lewis, an electric returner in high school, has volunteered his services. But putting an elusive athlete back there hasn't been the problem for A&M. Franchione blames a lack of execution and physical blocking for the Aggies plummeting from 10th to 116th in the nation from 2003 to '04 in this area.

Kickoff coverage

Tommerdahl said incumbent kickoff specialist Layne Neumann has always had good hang time, but coaches asked him to add 5 yards of length. "So far, so good," Tommerdahl said.