Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 4 College Football Pick 'Em

Next week is the week when I think the first College Football Polls should be released. Almost all teams have played four games, some have played conference match ups and almost everyone has played someone that matters (Yes, I'm looking at you Cornhuskers).

The season is well and truly under way. To mark that milestone I'm bringing back the totally worthless, you get what you paid for, guaranteed to not win you a single, damn thing 3CB College Football picks.

Here we go:

Nebraska v. Kansas State. - Since Nebraska has decided to start the season playing Our Lady of the perpetually lame and Washington....Yup, Washington is their marquee game, we really don't know much about the team from Lincoln. K-State has a win over what's looking to be a pretty good UCLA team and then they've looked pretty bad overall. Daniel Thomas is the real deal, but I'm guessing the renewed blackshirts will shut him down and Nebraska will get a good conference win on the road.
NEB 24 KSU 10

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State - The thought here is that aTm, if they're ever going to make a run, will have to start it with this game. The problem is Okie St. seems to be a little bit better than the pundits (including me) thought this year. Dana Holgerson always gets the most out of the offense, and the defense (although they haven't played anyone of note yet) seems to be a little stiffer than last year's version. I'm not a believer in the resurgence of aTm, but I'm not a believer in T. Boone Pickens U either.
aTm 37 OSU 35

Red River Shoot Out - Normally this would be the big game of the week, but Texas' humiliation last week against UCLA and Oklahoma's lackluster performances against everyone not from Tallahassee has taken the shine off of one of the best rivalries in the country. (At least this year) Nevertheless, I'm expecting a hard-hitting, low-scoring game in which turnovers and a huge special teams play make the difference. I also expect DeMarco Murray to run wild.
OU 17 UT 3

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State - The top 25 match up that no-one is talking about this week. Partially because of the other great games on the schedule but mostly because of Spartan Coach Mark Dantonio's health. Sparty is faster, Wisky is bigger. Sparty has the emotion and home-field advantage, which is a LOT in College Football. Not enough though.
Wisc 24 Mich St 17

Southern Methodist University vs. Rice - For the local crowd....Under June Jones SMU is much improved, running the Run n' shoot offense well but.....Oh that terrible defense. Much like Houston the Ponies can't stop a stiff Jr. High marching band. Rice could make some hay with their running game against that defense, but I'm guessing they won't.
SMU 42 Rice 17

Penn State vs. Iowa - Another Top 25 match up that's flying under the radar. In this case it's probably because the two teams that are playing are just not all that good. The fighting Paternos have a Freshman QB and just aren't all that interesting when they don't play in Happy Valley, and Iowa's most defining characteristic is their pink visitor's locker rooms. Snorrrre..........
Penn St. 20 Iowa 17

Stanford Vs. Oregon - Mea Culpa time....When the season started I said Oregon, Texas, Florida and Pitt were the four most overrated teams in the Country. Hey, three out of four ain't all that bad right? Stanford has a great QB in Andrew Luck, a good coach, a suspect defense and a silly mascot. Oregon has one of the most explosive offenses in College Football, always entertaining uniforms, a fast, dangerous defense and a mascot that will tea-bag your ass if you don't agree. Advantage Oregon.
Stan 24 Ore 52

Florida Vs. Alabama - Leave it to the SEC to suck up all the oxygen for the rest of the College Football World but c'est la vie. Until they're beaten Alabama is the #1 team in the Country and I don't think Florida's re-building offense can score enough points to beat them here. Arkansas exposed 'Bama's defense, but the Gator's passing game is suck. The Tide's style of play might make this seem closer than it really is.
Fla 10 Bama 31

And you thought overtrained athlete's syndrome was a bad excuse....

.......try "it was the steak" defense on for size....

(Contador blames bad meat for positive doping test, Ciaran Giles and John Leicester, AP via ChronBlog Sports)
Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador blamed contaminated steak for his positive doping test, vowing Thursday to clear his name so that cycling's latest drug scandal doesn't "destroy everything that I have done."

The Spanish rider was provisionally suspended after a World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Germany found a "very small concentration" of the banned substance clenbuterol in his urine sample on July 21 at the Tour, according the International Cycling Union, the sport's governing body.

Amazingly, unlike overtrained athlete's syndrome, there is some scientific evidence that this type of drug contamination is possible.

However, the hurdle that Contador must still climb is why none of his teammates tested positive for the same substance. Especially Alexsander Vinikorov, who was coming back from a drug ban and is, behind Lance Armstrong, one of the most tested riders in the peleton.

When evaluating drug cheat accusations the simplest explenation is often the most likely.....they took the drug. That's why so many suspensions are upheld upon appeal.

Even Floyd Landis, who had some solid science behind him explaining his reults, turned out to be a drug cheat. Will Contador? Time will tell, but don't be surprised if his Tour win is vacated in the near future.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Big XII (-II) Running backs

If last year was the year of the quarterback....

Then this year should be the year of the running back.

Daniel Thomas, Kansas State University 552 yds rushing through three games.

Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State University 473 yards through three games.

DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma 369 yds rushing and 6 td's through three games.

Christine Michael, aTm 331 yds rushing through three games.

With a group of young quarterbacks expect these stats to continue.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Your College football most overrated list......

TCU - #4 in the Nation? (AP Top 25 edition) With that schedule? The most overrated team in the land.

Texas - #4 in the Nation? (USA SID coaches' poll edition) With that offense?

Florida - Not a top ten team. A shadow of their former self until they get the offense sorted.

Wisconsin - Play somebody....anybody that's relevant. Please.

LSU - #15(AP) or #12(USA Today) in the Nation? With that offense?

Michigan - With that defense they won't finish the season in the top 25.

Pittsburgh - How in the world is this sorry team still among "others receiving votes?"

Houston - Ditto.

James Madison - Great win against a terrible Ole Miss team. Would lose to every other team in the top 25. (Or the SEC for that matter) Whichever 8 idiots voted for them should lose their AP vote for life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two things UH must change...

It was uglier than the score suggested. Last night's 31-13 humbling by UCLA wasn't just a loss that will knock Houston out of the Top 25, it was an egg-laying on a National stage that will set an image of the Cougars in the minds of the national media that's going to linger for a long time.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. This was the year that the Cougars were supposed to ARRIVE, the year that they joined TCU and Boise St. as the "B(C)S busters" fans feel they should be. Unfortunately they're missing two key ingredients, things that must change if they want to have long-standing success going forward.

Defense - It was bad enough that the Bruins running back was running over Cougar defensive linemen like they were unanchored tackling dummies, then you had to suffer the indignity of the quarterback carrying a Cougar cornerback five yards into the end-zone for a score.

The Cougars need to find, and develop, a defensive identity in the worst way. The "hot knife through butter" strategy they're currently using isn't going to cut it when real teams are on the schedule. UCLA was a bad Pac-10 team, and they physically dominated the Baby Cougar defense. Mad Dogs? Try whipped puppies. The Cougar defense was too slow, too weak, and in too poor of position on several plays to have any credibility. How many times did UCLA QB Prince fake the hand-off and run around an abandoned edge for a big gain? Too many. The line can't stop the run, the linebackers are out of position and the secondary couldn't cover if you gave them a blanket.

What people often forget is that TCU and Boise St. both have violent defenses that play with discipline, speed and reckless abandon. UH has none of that. That needs to change.

Referendum - Yesterday's loss didn't mean that UH football is dead in the water, it didn't mean that the Cougars are not a good team, and it wasn't a referendum on the future of UH football. These are all things that UT-Austin and aTm fans are clogging up the comments of newspapers and message boards all over Houston. Cougar fans need to learn to ignore this. Last night's game was only a referendum on the program if Robertson Stadium is half-full next Saturday. If Cougar fans give up, if the nay-sayers convince people to quit on the team, if the "fire Kevin Sumlin" idiots are allowed to hold sway? Then yes, UH football is in trouble. If one loss is enough to shut-down Cougar Nation then perhaps a move to D1-AA should be examined.

A loss is a loss it sucks, but it doesn't have to mean that the program is lost for good. The best way to ensure the continued success of Cougar football is to fill Robertson Stadium on Saturday, and then ignore the screams of fans from other schools. While I'm not a Cougar fan, I do pull for them. Mostly because I attended a school in their system and they're the 'home town' school The Cougars have a chance to do some good things this year still. Maybe not as much as they wanted too, but some good things. Fan support will be key.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Aaaaand....They're Off!

So now it appears there will be racing at Sam Houston Race Park this year. Albeit with a reduced schedule.

I still hold by the position that none of this is going to matter one iota unless they bring in a competent management team that understands how to structure wagers in the modern racing environment. Yes, SHRP has issues with location, being overbuilt and the general malaise felt toward the racing industry by just about everyone.

But that overshadows the fact that there ARE tracks in America that are making a good go of it, and they're doing it through creative marketing and wagering. New wagering options like multi-track Pick 4's, guaranteed exotics with carry-overs and promotions designed around certain bets are working, and they're working well.

Horse track owners need to get back to the basics of making a night at the races fun. And even MORE fun if you throw some money down on a race. I lost count of the people I saw at the track for a concert etc. that weren't laying down a single bet on a single race. That's a recipe for disaster.

More betting = bigger payouts = more betting = bigger purses for races = better quality of horses = bigger crowds etc....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good win by the Texans....

...good running game, good defense and they FINALLY closed out a win.

But no, Mr. Zierlein....I'm still not a "fan" of the Texans.

I pull for the Texans b/c they're from Houston and I have a lot of friends that are Texans fans, but I root for the 49'ers. Always will, no matter how bad they are.

Assuming the entire town to be front runners is a little presumptuous. Maybe you should go back to cracking on Barry Warner and SportsRadio 610?

Also: Arrian Foster was a beast today, an absolute beast.

The (totally meaningless) Texans Prediction

Taking a look at this schedule and after watching pre-season....

My prediction for the 2010 Houston Texans is 8-8.

This includes a win against the Colts in Week One.

The defensive backfield is just too questionable as is the defensive line.

Maybe next year.

Monday, September 06, 2010

College Football Week One:

What we still don't know.....

1. Who's the best team in the land?

- Alabama and Ohio State rolled, but against inferior competition.

- Florida, Texas and Oklahoma all struggled mightily against teams they should have hung half-a-hundred on by halftime.

- TCU (and their weak-assed schedule) hung in there, but I don't see them vaulting over the teams in front of them, if two or more go undefeated.

- Yes, New Mexico is terrible, but Oregon looked every bit the Pac-10 champion to be.

- We'll find out a little bit about Boise St. tonight.

2. How good is Michigan?

- Local coverage is glowing (poorly written, but glowing). However, eventually the Wolverines are going to face a team that can catch the ball down the field. When they do that defense is going to be exposed. Next week is a good test against Notre Dame.

3. How bad are these teams?

- Ole Miss and Kansas both lost to D-1AA schools. Leading pundits across the land to declare them dead for the season. No only is this short-sighted, but it reveals an ignorance about the quality of football being played in College Football's 2nd Division.

- Pitt...Is there a worse coach in a D-1 automatic qualifying conference than Dave Wannstadt?

Game capsules:

ECU 51 Tulsa 49 - This year's CUSA could remind fans of the 80's Wacky WAC Conference where offense was king and defense didn't matter. If you watch one replay this week make sure it's the last minute Hail Mary from this game.

UH 68 Tx State 28 - Houston could be pretty good this year, but this week's game is not an indicator. Next week will be far more telling.

Baylor 34 Sam Houston St 3 - Well....Griffin looked healthy, and that's about all we saw out of Baylor in this game.

Kansas St. 31 UCLA 22 - My feeling is that K-State is going to be over-matched this year against Nebraska, but Daniel Thomas is probably the best back in the Conference.

Ok State 65 Wa St 17 - The Ok State Baylor game for the bottom of the Big XII (-II) South cellar) could be among the more entertaining games of the year.

Nebraska 49 W Kentucky 10 - My feeling is that Nebraska could have the best team in the Big XII (-II) this year, but I'm not using a win over this terrible MAC team as evidence of that.

UGA 55 ULaLa 7 - The secret here is that, for a Sun Belt conference team, ULaLa isn't that bad. Keep in mind they're still a SunBelt Conference team however.

aTm 48 SFA 7 - Meh. There's no glory in beating a team one division below you.

Mizzou 23 Illinois 13 - Possibly the 2nd best win by a Big XII (-II) team this week behind K-State's win over UCLA.

Colorado 24 CSU 3 - Waiting to make the jump to the Pac 10 (+2).

Ole Miss 48 Jack St49 - The game of the week bar none.

TTU 35 SMU 27 - An inauspicious start for the the Tommy Tuberville era. Now what the faithful were expecting to be sure.

ND 23 Pur 12 - Didn't see any evidence that NBC's new commercial policy did anything to help the vaunted hurry up offense of Kelly. Next week is key for the Irish.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

It's College Football Season....

....and all is good.

Go Michigan & Fire Coach Rod! (just wanted to get that in early)