Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

The Ultimate Guide to Fantasy Football

July 25, 2006

We are entering the dog days of summer which means two things: NFL Training Camps are about to start and Fantasy Football drafts are right around the corner. I had been making some notes for a FF blog but Bill Simmon’s latest article inspired me to bite the bullet and crank one out. Seriously, who has a cooler job than this guy? His proclamation that we are “not allowed to complain about four things in life: nudity, free food, free drinks and fantasy football” literally had me laughing out loud alone in an empty house.

I have one caveat with this post, if you compete in ANY of my fantasy leagues this Blog is NOT for your eyes. Divert your eyes immediately and if you read this just know that you can forget about Purgatory your soul is going straight to Hell. Good, now that that’s out there lets lighten the mood and get on with it.

My first year playing FF was my senior year of high school during the 2001 season. I finished 3rd that year in a season scared by a scandal in which the best players on one guy’s team were systemically distributed to two other player’s teams. That’s my side of the story anyways. Scandals like this, one-sided trades, and message board boasts are what makes FF so exciting. These things are inevitable. If you are thinking about taking up FF know this: Nobody makes friends playing FF.

So why in the hell would I be any kind of authority on FF? I, aka Cowboys4Ever, have had my fair share of success in the FF world. My first year I finished 3rd. Then I went three straight years winning FF championships. According to Yahoo I have earned trophies in 7 of my 10 seasons in various leagues. My streak ended last year with another 3rd place finish. I decided to give everyone else a break to keep them interested. Yes that is me talking smack, more on this later.

If you are going to play FF do it right. First things first, a live draft is crucial. The draft is the most exciting thing in fantasy football and a computer automated draft of preselected draft sheets takes away all the fun. If you absolutely cannot get everyone together because of geographic reasons instant messaging is a good substitutde. Absolute worst case scenario email but this is very slow and I’ve only done this once. No Individual Defensive Players(IDPs). Definetely go with Team Defenses but if you must go with IDPs IDPBlitz.com is what you are looking for. Play your championship in Week 16. There is nothing worse than riding Curtis Martin to a breakout season only to have him sit in Week 17 because it is a meaningless game for the Jets. People who don’t keep up with their teams make no fun and are usually the source of scandal bc they don’t take it seriously. I suggest not inviting these people back or employing a 3 Strikes and You’re Out rule.
The two league setups that I like break down like this. The best setup is to have 8 teams, you play everybody exactly twice, no byes, top 4 make the playoffs which you play in Weeks 15 and 16. The next best setup is to have 14 teams, you play everybody exactly once, top 6 make the playoffs, top two get first round byes, the playoffs last Weeks 14-16.

Okay now that you have your league set up for a great season here is a guide to the Top 10 things to do to win your league.

10 Dont draft a kicker. Every year I see people draft Venatari, Vanderjagt, or Elam is the 10th round and you want to say something but you don’t. Kicker is the most unusual position because the best player rarely gets the most points. How do you predict if a team is going to be settling for a ton of FGs instead of TDs? Last year the top 3 kickers in our league were Neil Rackers, Jay Feely, and Shayne Graham. How many of you drafted them? How many had even heard of Rackers of Graham? They are too unpredictable and the point differential, atleast in our league ,is too narrow to waste a draft pick.

9 Be conscience of bye weeks but dont let it make your decision. If you can pick up Drew Brees as a starter regardless if he has the same bye week as your starter you never know when your starter is going to go down and worst case scenario you have some good trade bait.

8 Look for reasons why a player can be stopped and leave yourself outs. In poker they always talk about leaving yourself outs i.e. don’t put all your stock in one idea that has a possibility of failig. Here is a freebie that breaks Rule #7 but hey I am a nice guy. Most people are trying to decide who is the top 2006 FF player between Shaun Alexander, Ladanian Tomlinson, and Larry Johnson with about 90% going the way of Larry Johnson. LJ will fall off in his encore to maybe the most amazing 7 game stretch in history. You will realize this when you ask what is preventing a defense from stacking up and taking him out of the game? Gonzo coming off the worst season of his career? If KC picks up Ashley Lelie then maybe but until then I want a guy with some outs.

7 Don’t tip your hand on anything. Draft and free agent pickups are a chess game. The more you talk about who you like and who you are watching the more you show. (Unless of course you are using reverse psychology and you intentionally put info out there bc you have the #3 pick and you want Larry Johnson to fall to you at #3 ;-).)

6 Talk trash. Talk lots of trash. This will make things much more fun and interesting. Even if you are playing for a pot, in the end bragging rights are what matters most. FF will be more enjoyable if you don’t let yourself realize that there is a significant amont of luck involved and this is actually probably a huge waste of time. Don’t be that guy who rationalizes his failures with “Hey I have a life” or “Some of us have a job”. Just take it on the chin and fire back on the message board.    

5 Contract year players. “Rule #1 Never underestimate the other guys greed”. Last year the discussion for the #1 pick was between Shaun Alexander and LT. The deciding factor for me in putting Alexander at the top of my board was that he was in the last year of his contract and he was teething to get paid. The result? An NFL record 27 TDs and a throw back FF type season ala Priest Holmes and Marshall Faulk of yesteryear. Contract year guys can backfire if you end up with a weenie who is more concerned with staying healthy then putting up sic numbers. The magic formula is a cocksure blinged out ex-Miami player. These guys are the Tony Montanas of the FF world. Two Scarface references in one bullet, wow.

4 Build with Running Backs, Running Backs, and more Running Backs. They are the most consistent, most predictable, and in 90% of leagues they will score the most points.

3 Draft and build your team for the FF playoffs. Last year was the first year I looked at a player’s schedule for Weeks 14, 15, and 16. If you are thinking about gearing your team around Peyton Manning and in December he is playing on the road, in the cold, against hard-nosed, rough-and-tumble, 3-4 blitz-crazy defenses like Pittsburgh or New England then stop.

2 Don’t take advice 99% of the guys on TV and the magazines are trash. They either are toeing the line and not providing any value that differentiates them or they are making wreckless predictions with no rhyme or reason to get their name out there. How can you advise me if you don’t know A) How points are allotted in my league B) How many teams are in my league and C) What depth I already have at that position.

1 Understand the concept of value When I started using this philsophy is when I started drafting smart and winning. Lets say you are ready to pick Peyton #1 and you predict he will pull down 100 pts this year. LT is second on your list but you only expect him to pull down 85 pts. Do not make a decision based on this alone! Numerically determine every player’s value. Lets say there are 8 people in your league. You expect the 8th best QB to be Michael Vick with 90 pts. You expect the 8th best RB to be Warrick Dunn with 45 pts. Passing on Manning you potentially give up 10 points of value but passing on LT you potentially give up 40 points of value. In short if a position has depth fill another position before there is that huge drop off.

-hj

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I really like this team

June 21, 2006

I have always considered myself a Mavs fan. Most of my allegiances in the sports world are based on geography. Cowboys, Stars, Mavs, Rangers, etc. But with the Mavs it was more so the only reasons I liked them were because of Mark Cuban and because their first name was Dallas. At least that’s how it was, until this season.

I don’t have many favorite teams that aren’t any Dallas but my second favorite NFL and NBA teams are the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Pistons. I love teams like that because of their attitude and style of play with an extreme focus on defense. The attitude part is huge though. A tough-nosed, chip-on-your-shoulder, workman-like, prima-donna-free, gritty attitude. The Dallas Stars during the Ken Hitchcock days were a perfect fit for me as a fan because they both embraced this attitude more than any team in the NHL and they were from Dallas.

When Don Nelson was here coaching the Mavs it was tough for me to like them because they were the antithesis of that attitude. His plan surrounded trying to win through gimmicks and changing the game rather than through an attitude. He created this freak show circus team with people from 6 continents that tried to change the game by outscoring people in the hundreds using their one trick pony in the form of a seven foot German whose specialty was the fade away jumper. How’s that for a run-on sentence?

Some people think scoring alone is exciting. Don’t count me among those people. See teams that rely on scoring and strategy don’t when championships because it takes attitude and heart to win a championship. You see this all across the sports world. The Indianapolis Colts and Texas Tech set a ton of records and win a bunch of games but they aren’t championship teams. They are gimmick teams. One thing about gimmick teams is that they lack the toughness to win championship type games. Look at the Colts games the past few years in the playoffs against the Steelers and the Patriots, two teams that had that attitude. Look at Texas Tech’s games last year against Texas and Alabama, two teams that had that attitude.

Then Avery Johnson came around and now I love this team. Its not even because they’re winning its because I can feel good about cheering for them. Avery came in and said forget trying to have the first Mexican (Eduardo Najera) and Chinese(Wang Zhizhi) born players. Forget scoring 100 points and all the free Chalupas. Forget offenses based on 7 footers taking fall away jumpers. We’re going to be a tough team. We’re going to be a team with a focus on defense. We’re going to be a team that slashes and gets guys to the free throw line. We’re going to be a team of good ol’ American-born black guys. The result? A 60 win season and the first trip to the finals.

Now it didn’t work out this year as far as a championship and there is a laundry list of reasons why. Dwayne Wade blew up, Dirk got shut down, free throws down the stretch, the temptations of South Beach, suspensions, and the fact that the NBA officials are determined to prove that they are the worst officials of any sport during any era. The NBA definitely did their share suspending 3 Mavs players for 8 games and handing out half a million dollars in fines. Since when has the NBA suspended players in the playoffs for anything short of murder? All these DWade-MJ comparisons make me laugh. You can’t compare the two. Jordan got a ton of calls but he never got the calls that Wade gets. Wade is a super star and I really like him but he's got to put in mor than three years before the refs start rolling out the red carpet for him like they have previous stars.

I couldn’t be more satisfied with the makeup of this team. What scares me is the potential disaster that lies ahead. Mark Cuban is not going to max out Jason Terry and he will opt out in free agency to another team that will. He had a hell of a run this playoffs and probably increased the value of that deal by $40 million. I’m not saying increased the value of the deal TO $40 million but BY $40 million. He is definitely going to get paid. I guess some of that will depend on what teams have salary cap room and all that but it’ll work itself out for him.

The second thing I fear is that Cuban is going to bolt. It is hard to deny that he is incredibly frustrated with this league and it seems that the league is absolutely determined to deny him a championship. The past couple of months talks of Cuban buying the Cubs, Penguins, and Pirates have started blowing up. He has talked about how he is both interested in owning those teams but not interested in owning multiple teams. The one good thing is that as much corruption as there is in the NBA front office, baseball and hockey aren’t exactly in the middle of blooming times right now either.

But hey it was a helluva run and a good time. If nothing else it gave me an excuse to get out of the house and frequent the bar at Hooters where I sampled nasty Canadian beers.

 -hj

I have to admit…(World Cup)

June 17, 2006

Alright I have a confession to make. I watched the entire US World Cup soccer game today and I did it out of choice. Now granted it was an incredibly boring day and I had absolutely no other options that is no excuse. That being said I was expecting to watch a game that would make me think twice about all the harsh things I have said about the game of soccer over the years. That was hardly the case. The game lived up to my lowest of expectations.

The one bright point (I'm trying to be optimistic I really am) I found in the game of soccer is that there are no commercials. From a fans point of view this is great. Why a network would pick up a sporting event where they can only sell advertising during halftime, while people are away from the tv making trips to the kitchen and the bathroom, is beyond me. The sad part is the one bright side of the sport has nothing actually to do with the sport and everything to do with the way it is broadcasted.

As far as the game was concerned the amount of diving that goes on is incredible. I thought about feeling bad for how badly I ripped the way Manu flops but I let that thought come and go. I still don't like him. When people talked about how soccer players dive I thought it was on par with how Manu dives i.e. three or four dives a game. In that 90 minute game, of which about 70 minutes was walking around or fetching balls there had to have been 30+ dives.

My next thought was how weenie are those Italian players? I had heard of the magic spray that is supposed to cure all ills. Thats goofy and it was definetely used multiple times in this game. But the spray was nothing compared to what I saw next. A guy gets slide tackled and takes a dive. He stays down and gets the call and the trainers run on the field. The camera pans back to the scene and they are straping this guy to a FREAKING STRETCHER on which they carry him off the field. This man was not paralyzed he hurt his ankle. Upon reaching the sideline he got up and started jogging off the "injury". He was back in play in a matter of minutes. Do these people have no shame? Give me a freaking break. Three Italians were taken off the field on stretchers, none with neck injuries. The first American who gets slidetackled and taken off the field on a stretcher can stay over in Europe.

Btw the way is there such thing as a legal slide tackle? The announcers kept mentioning how poorly officiated this game was and it was to the point where I wasn't even sure how it was supposed to be. Speaking of announcers the reason I got sucked into this whole debacle in the first place is because the lady on SportsCenter this morning told me that the Americans had to win this game, the biggest game in this country's history, to have a chance to move on to the next round. Then during the game the announcer twice told me that the Americans did not have to win the game, that a tie would keep the window of possibility open as well. Okay, so whats the story here? Your job as an announcer is to tell me what I am watching and why I am watching it. I was promised this monumental soccer game but what I got was a couple hours of flopping that resulted in a 1-1 tie.

While watching the game I came up with three things that would drastically improve this sport. The first and most obvious is do what you have to do but eliminate the tie. This has its obvious reasons. The second thing is allow a player in possession of the ball to be body checked i.e. hockey. This would make for great entertainment and it would help to change the mindset of the players on the whole. I would pay money to see a streaking forward get put on his back by a defender. My first thought was that this change would mostly benefit the defense and would reduce scoring. I then came to the conclusion that in this game it may be impossible to reduce scoring. The last rule change would be to make the field 40% smaller. This would increase the action and the amount of physical play.

-hj

NBA Finals, Internet Gambling, Lake Charles, and Vegas

June 8, 2006

The NBA Finals start Thursday and my Dallas Mavs are in it so I'm sure you expecting that I have money on the line. I do, Mavs win I walk away $46.50 richer. What you probably didn't expect is that is if the Heat win I still walk away up $10.50. I've found my gambling specialty, betting on championships.

Two summers ago I read Bringing Down the House. I have never been a big reader and I definitely have never had a book that I could claim to not be able to put down. The book is about a team of MIT engineers who learn to play blackjack and take Vegas for a ride. I was hooked. I ran simulations on my computer, dealt myself hands, I couldn't wait to turn 21 for a reason totally opposite of the normal college student.

My first gambling experiences were at the lovely casinos on Lake Charles in Louisiana on Thursday night trips last summer while I was working in Houston. Since those Louisiana trips I found my new favorite city in the world. I've been to Vegas twice in the past year. On these trips I played mostly blackjack, craps, and roulette and the success has been up and down.

With the school starting I realized that my casino trips were coming to an end. The upside was football season was starting up and I discovered the greatness of the offshore sportsbook that is Intertops.com. I started off hot. I was doing tons of research into betting strategies and college football and I was developing strategies of my own.

I had two faults that severely hit my bankroll. The first fault was not staying disciplined with a 1-3 unit betting system and randomly placing large bets on games I was sure on. The second fault was betting on OU. I just looked it up, I put money on OU 7 times and I lost 7 times. Half the time I picked them to cover, other times I picked against them, didn't matter. The eighth time it hurt the worst. Oklahoma was a four point favorite on Big Monday against a very bad Texas Tech team. A four point spread was solid money so I smartly put down thirty-five large. I tune in with less than 5 minutes and OU has a solid double digit lead which they promptly piss away to a one point win. This is why rivalries and school hatred exists.

I finally found my groove betting on extras, in particular futures bets. My first project was the NFL East right before Thanksgiving. The Redskins were favored to win the division so utilizing Excel's Goal Seek function (if you don't know how to use it, learn to) I put my money so that if Washington won I would break even but if Dallas or New York won I'd be up. If the Eagles won I'd be very screwed.

This streak continued when I put money on Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Denver early in the playoffs, although most of my profits dwindled when I hedged my majority position with Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl with a lot of prop bets on Seattle.

I really knew I was on to something when I put money on five different College Basketball Teams to win the National Championship on February 6th. The earlier in the season you put money on a championship the better odds you get. Those five teams (Texas, Florida, UConn, Memphis, and West Virginia) included Florida who went on to win the whole thing.
But those were little victories compared to how hard I whipped them in the NBA. On January 23rd I placed bets on Miami(6.5:1) and Dallas(14:1). Two weeks later I piled more on Dallas and Miami and put some on Phoenix and hedged my bets by putting a small bet on San Antonio. I started to get cold feet at my bold feeling that neither the Spurs nor the Pistons would make it back to the Finals.

If I had half an instinct about baseball I'd be placing futures for the World Series now. College Football futures are already out and I have to be honest Ohio State(5.5:1), Notre Dame(6.5:1), Florida(11:1), and LSU(14:1) look awfully appealing.

Go Mavs, MFFL!

-hj

Texas is the new brand

June 6, 2006

I had previously blogged about the profitability of Texas' football program and I ran across an article recently predicting merchandise revenues would double this year. I attributed all this to three things. First and foremost the national championship win. Second, the fact that Texas has nearly half a million living alumni, more than any other university. And third, biggest Texas has one of the largest student populations in the country. Well I recently moved to New York and now I have to add a fourth reason that may come ahead of the previous three. 

I have a buddy from Northern California who goes to school with me at Texas. The question often comes up why he decided to come to school here and he always talks about how he thought Austin was a cool city and he thought it'd be different. But he also mentions how it wasn't as out of the blue as you might think and that his friends from high school always wore Texas stuff and after they started college they would always ask him to bring home hats and shirts.

With that in the back of my head, fast forward to last weekend when I was walking through a mall in Albany, New York and I passed by a Lids hat store. I was suprised that a stack of burnt orange Texas hats caught my eye. I was amazed at how decked out the college section of the store was with Texas hats. I counted 17 unique styles of Texas hats at a Lids in Albany, NY. Burnt Orange on White, White on Burnt Orange, White on Black, Burnt Orange on Black, White on White, etc. And it wasn't as if they just had a wide array of hats from every school. Notre Dame and Michigan were basically the only other schools in between the coasts with hats. Not a single Ohio State or Oklahoma hat which surprised me because both were big state schools whose sports programs have been successful. And in case you're wondering no other Texas school was represented.

This is when I realized what the real reason was for the boom in revenue. It wasn't as much the population of fans or the success on the field, Ohio State and Oklahoma has both. It was THE BRAND.

Just like people all over the country for the past decade have sported Michigan and North Carolina gear not because they were fans necessarily but more because it was a brand. The fact that those universities are popular and successful are part of what makes that brand so they aren't totally independent but just because you have the numbers and the success doesn't make it a given that the brand will sell.

The Collegiate Licensing Company which enforces the merchandising licenses for colleges puts out a ranking of the Top 50 selling universities. How did that list pan out for the 2004-2005 school year? #1 UNC, #2 Michigan, #3 Texas. If the forecasts are right that Texas' merchandise sales will double this year I can't imagine that list staying as it is.

This past Saturday night I watched the Mavs take Game 6 from the Suns at the ESPNZone in Times Square. Again, people all over the place with the Texas brand. And I'm really not delusional in the way of thinking that these people were even Texas fans. My point is they wear the brand just as I used to wear a red UNC hat. I never cheered for UNC a day in my life (well, okay I almost wet my pants when they won they NC last year resulting in a huge payday for me).

This sporting of a brand solely for the sake of the brand would annoy some people. Aggies in particular seem to get annoyed when people root on a college program with which they are in no way affiliated. To me gettin angry over that is just plain ignorant. Support is support, am I wrong?

I think what I am more excited about than anything is that for the first time in my life I have a wardrobe full of the new, hottest brand. 😉

-hj

NBA Officials are ridiculous

May 22, 2006

I wanted to get this blog in before game 7 of Spurs-Mavs so in the extraordinary event that the Spurs do pull it off my points won't be labeled sore-loser. In fact I first decided to point out the deficiencies in the NBA's officiating after the Mavs went up 3-1. The fact is NBA officials are the worst officials of any league in any sport. They are taking the focus away from the players and I don't remember the NBA being like that growing up.

My man Mark Cuban has been fined numerous times for hundreds of thousands of dollars for pointing out how bad these guys suck and I can't blame him. If I invested a few hundred million dollars and officials weren't making the game fair I would be paranoid as well. Cuban decided to study and scout the refs and find tendencies in the way they operated. He breaks down their win-loss records and their tendencies to call offensive 3 seconds, defensive 3 seconds, offensive fouls, technical fouls, etc. Vegas has caught on. Sports handicappers have made the NBA the one and only league where the refs are taken into consider when making picks. Covers.com has a database compiling NBA ref tendencies and how they do against the spread and the over/under.

Cuban recently got hammered for $200,000 in part for his blog on how the NBA could improve playoff officiating. In my opinion he didn't even get his moneys worth because his arguments are flawed. He frequently states that the game has made changes in the way it is officiated and is much better now than when he came into the league six years ago. I disagree, I don't remember the game ever being so horrible although I don't think that is a direct result of Cuban at all. Also in his plan for better playoff officiating he suggests using only the best refs. Well in this Mavs-Spurs series we've had some of the better refs Dick Bavetta, Joey Crawford and every game has still been horrible. Its pathetic that the game has gotten to the point that officials are such a focus.

The fans are noticing too its not just crazy owners and degenerate gamblers. This round in games at both San Antonio and Miami the refs have chanted "Refs You Suck" to the point where you could here it on the telecast. The game is so inconsistently officiated that I feel like I know so little about sport when I watch it. Don't anger yourself as I do and slow motion replay drives to the basket because its travelling every time and they never are going to call it. Contact going to the basket is called so inconsistently. One time a guy will go to the rack and get slammed to the floor and nothing is called and the next trip down the court Duncan will get a three point play because Diop breathed on him. But it goes both ways, the Mavs got one on Bowen's phantom foul that sent Dirk to the line at the end of the game.

I don't know what the solution is. Hockey had a problem with officiating when they had 3 refs and they tried to solve it by adding a fourth. Maybe the NBA should add a fourth ref. Would that solve the problem? I don't know. But obviously something must be done.

-hj

Manu Ginobli is a chump

May 17, 2006

Off the top of my head I can not think of a player that annoys me more than Manu Ginobili. Watching him play makes me genuinely angry. The Spurs-Mavs rivalry is really coming to blossom in this playoff series but Ginobili ruins it for me. See I respect the Spurs, their coach, their players, and their three championships but I have absolutely no respect for Manu Ginobili. Players like Ginobili will ruin the NBA and American sports in general.

There are athletes in sports I don't/haven't liked: Terrell Owens, Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, but Manu Ginobili takes the cake. Other athletes may involve themselves in antics or allow themselves to be coaxed into making cocky statements in the media. For those reasons I dislike certain players but for me with Ginobili its more than dislike its a loss of respect. Before I wrote this blog I did a quick Ice Rocket search to take the temperature of the Blogosphere on this specific topic and I found that I'm not the only one who feels this way. (1,2,3,4)

For some reason a lot of international sports (read soccer) feel that flopping has a place in the sports world. In my opinion its horrible sportsmanship but I'll admit that excuse sounds kind of weenie. Its more than that, its the fact that you are trying to manipulate officials which is especially easy to do in the NBA (more to come on this in a future blog) because you can't get it done . In a pick up game Manu Ginobili would be last picked because his secret weapon would be nullified.

Early this year the Sun's Barbosa was out 3 weeks with a grade 2 knee sprain because he got tripped up after Ginobili flailed when there was absolutely no contact. Barbosa complained to the media after the game but how he resisted losing his temper and going nuts of Manu right there on the court I don't know. It's one thing to manipulate the situation to get a call but its something else to hurt somebody because of it. Sooner or later Ginobili is going to get what's coming to him. I found that karma caught up with him when he was called for a foul when his lip was busted in Game 3 drawing blood.

Now Ginobili has this commercial out that is one of the I Love This Game NBA commercials. Notice three things. First when he is driving Wallace jumps up to contend the take to the hoop but what he doesn't know is that Ginobili has no intention of putting up a shot. Ginobili pushes off Wallace with his right arm forcing his own body to the floor. This is a six foot six inch man who can dunk but does not clear 6 inches on this peculiar jump. The second thing to notice is that at the end of the clip all the players seem to be walking to the other end of the court as if the play was ruled an offensive foul on Ginobili. Third a quote from Confuscious is read and then flashed on the screen that says "Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall". I think that is a misquote. What Confuscious meant to say is "Manu's greatest hypocrisy is not in always flopping but in rising every time he flops."

The NBA refs have grown a little bit smarter, I know shocking, but now when they see it there is sometimes just a no call. The NHL had this problem about ten years ago when all of the Euros started coming over taking dives left and right. The way they corrected it was they started making it a major penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and two in one game gets you ejected. The NBA ought to start accessing a Technical Foul to Ginobli for this nonsense.

-hj

NFL Draft and VY

April 20, 2006

Dear NFL GMs,

With the NFL draft a little over a week away I have some thoughts. I will focus mostly on my thoughts around Vince Young. This year’s criticism of Vince Young is not unique to Vince Young. Every year before the draft people totally forget about how a player performed on the football field and they start making crazy decisions based on crazy criteria. I’ve always thought if you are an NFL GM you should make up your mind on football players on January 4th because by the time April rolls around you will have been distracted by a bunch of nonsense and you will have forgotten how a player performs on the field. (more…)

Explosion of wannabe Longhorns

April 14, 2006

To continue on my list of blogs attempting to prove that Mack Brown is worth every penny he gets and deserves more, the Dallas Morning News ran an article this week about the explosion in high school applications that followed the Rose Bowl win over USC. Applications rose 14% to over 27,000. Even Texas A&M's assistant provost for enrollment claims the explosion in applicants was "definetely a Rose Bowl effect." I am still craving the numbers for increases in alumni giving and merchandise sales. All these millions he brings in, all these great students, yet people are going to bitch about a $300,000 raise.

-hj

Texas Football Program Revenue

February 21, 2006

Ironically enough after I wrote that blog about Mack Brown's salary bump ESPN The Magazine ran a story detailing the amount of money college athletic programs bring. My claim that the athletic department brings in over $80 million is probably a bit high. According to the story last year the Texas football program brought in the most revenue and was also the most profitable bringing in $53.2 million in revenue of which $38.7 million was profit. While I knew the revenue was in that ballpark I didn't think the profit was anywhere near that high. Again, going back to Mack's salary of less than $3 million dollars. The greatest ambassador to our university comes in and turns a profit of $38.7 million dollars and people bitch that he gets $2.5 million. I find that humorous.

(more…)

“Way over Paid” Mack Brown

February 6, 2006

After some bad headlines I want to set the record straight and voice some of my opinions. The Daily Texan's headline read 'Mack Brown gets $2.5 million dollar raise'. That is not accurate and this may seem tedious but I think that is very misleading. He received a raise and NOW his salary is $2.5 million. Getting a $300,000 raise to increase your salary from $2.2 million to $2.5 million is much different then getting a $2.5 million dollar raise. If that were the case he would now make $4.7 million and he would be the highest paid coach at the college level.

(more…)

12th Man Garbage

January 31, 2006

PTI is probably my favorite show and arguably the best sports show ever. I've been watching for years and to my knowledge they have never discussed Texas A&M or any of the ignorance, until now. This whole situation claiming they have a trademark on the 12th man is ridiculous. Wilbon went on a rant calling the Aggies insufferable, arrogant, and stupid and said that someone needs to go down to ATM and tell them all to shut up. Way to make your way into the news Texas A&M.

(more…)

Bush links

January 24, 2006

Here are links to the two instances I talked about where Reggie Bush loses his cool.

Fresno State Swing

Rose Bowl Swing

I was wrong Bush actually swung at Cedric Griffin who I'd probably mess with after Larry Dibbles because you never know… the guy could be packing heat.

-hj

Hey Slovenia

January 23, 2006

There is a feature you can enable that allows people to comment on your blogs. I left it on not thinking it would ever be used. Well it has been used in response to my blog about kickers:

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Rose Bowl Extra Point: You be the judge

January 22, 2006

After furth review…
The Link

Kick in the Ass

January 18, 2006

That’s it. I am convinced. There is no way you can convince me otherwise. Kickers are the most mentally weak athletes on the planet. I came to this conclusion Sunday when Mike Vanderjagt, the NFL’s all time best kicker, missed the game winning kick wide right. It wasn’t just that he didn’t put it through the uprights; he didn’t even hit the back net. It wasn’t even slightly close. (more…)

Greg Davis

December 26, 2005

I haven’t blogged in over 3 months, mostly because school got real busy down the stretch but I told myself I’d get back at it during the break. This blog is to vindicate the rumors about University of Texas Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis. Darrell Royal always jokes that students graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in their major and a degree in offensive coordinating. I am here to say play calling is about one hundred times harder than most people think it is.

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Rose Bowl breakdown

December 26, 2005

January 4th 2006 I realized that reality produces the most intriguing stories possible. If a movie came out where: two teams ranked #1 and #2 for the duration of the season, the Heisman winner came from the favorite and the runner up came from the underdog, the game was played in the most famous bowl in the country in the backyard of the favorite, the underdog and Heisman runner-up overcame a 12 point deficit in the final 6 minutes of the fourth quarter on a touchdown run on 4th and 5 with 19 seconds to play the movie would be ripped by the critics for being too unbelievable. That movie would be ridiculous but the reality of the situation is you can purchase that movie right now.

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It’s all starting to make sense

September 6, 2005

It's all starting to make sense. The pieces are starting to fall into place.

In the past few months I have asked the following questions: Why would Gene Chizik leave Auburn and come to Texas? Why would Michael Huff chose to run track over spring football and why would Mack allow and encourage this? Why are we playing a strong safety(Drew Kelson) at linebacker? And lastly, as of this past Saturday, why was one of our starting safeties(Michael Huff) playing cornerback? And as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep Monday night it all clicked.

Texas vs Ohio State is a statement game. It's the biggest nonconference college football game in over 15 years. The history is right, the stage is right, the cast is right, the timing is right.

This game was on the schedule before Mack Brown accepted the job here 7 years ago yet he continued to use it as a recruiting tool which resulted in the #1 recruiting class and one of the best of alltime. Not coincidently Ohio State had the #2 class that year for much the same reason. All those recruits are now seniors, or redshirt juniors in VY's case, and it's finally time to play the game. It's been a long time coming.

See in the past Mack Brown has done and said all the right things. He keeps the team focused at the task at hand and seldom do his teams ever overlook an opponent. A couple years ago after the game before OU a reporter asked about the upcoming OU game and he said he wasn't going to talk about it yet he was just going to enjoy their win until Monday. Later that day after Stoops' win they asked him about the game with UT and he answered exactly the opposite. He said it was a relief to have the other games out of the way and he was excited and couldn't wait until Saturday. That was Mack's problem with big games, he didn't circle them on the schedule. Until now. Ever since Dusty Mangum's field goal cleared the uprights in Pasadena the focus has been on this Ohio State game.

It is no secret new Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik has his goals set on higher coaching positions and he won't be here long. Mack has the recent history of sending coaches in boat loads to the NFL that Chizik was looking for. But more than that was the opportunity to show what he can do. And with games like Ohio State, OU, and Texas Tech on the schedule there is plenty of opportunity to show that he can coach defenses to shut down big time offenses.

My second question was why would Michael Huff chose to run track over spring football and why would Mack allow and encourage this? Every time you here someone talk about Texas-Ohio State what two players are mentioned? Vince Young and Ted Ginn. Ted Ginn tore through the Big 10 last year as a freshman and his speed gave defensive coordinators nightmares. The answer… sick track star Michael Huff on him. Huff played corner his first two seasons at Texas and it was mostly at that position that he tied the NCAA record for interceptions returned for TDs. He has blazing speed and last year in our nickel on third downs he would usually man up on the slot receiver so its not like he hasn't done it in a while. Running on a track relay team last year that went to the national championship will provide the speed needed to shut down Ted Ginn. Saturday I was confused as hell when Huff slid over to corner and Cedric Griffin lined up at safety, a position to my knowledge that he has never played atleast at the collegiate level. But it makes sense now and I would expect to see a #7 vs #7 battle about 60-70% of the plays Saturday.

At the beginning of camp Mack announced they were moving highly touted recruit Drew Kelson from strong safety to linebacker. I did not understand this move either until I considered the Ohio State game. To stop Ohio State's playmakers, Ted Ginn, Santonio Holmes, and Troy Smith, you need good cover guys and speed. Playing Kelson at linebacker essentially makes our base defense a nickel and geared to stop the pass. Ohio State has a very unproven running game but should they chose to go that right we still will have the personell on the field (Wright, Dibbles, Okam, Harris, Bobino) to smash people in the mouth.

If Ohio State gets pinned inside their 30 or 35 I would expect Jim Tressel to go extra conservative and I'd expect us to counter that by moving Huff back to safety and Eric Hall back to strongside backer to help support the run. But from there on heads up because there are going to be some playmakers on the field on both sides of the ball.

One of the most interesting storyline for this game that I think seldom gets mentioned is that both Mack Brown and Jim Tressel are very conservative coaches that believe in running the ball, ball control, and good defense. However, both teams offenses are geared around playmakers that you just have to trust and let make plays. The coach he does a better job of trusting his guys on offense will have the upper hand in this game.

Another big thing Mack needs to do is play Jamaal Charles and Henry Melton. I felt good about Selvin Young on Saturday until I watched the game again and saw his two fumbles and his constant trips to the sideline to tape and ice that ankle that he broke and had 11 screws inserted in. Charles had the best opening day of any back in Texas history and Melton showed he has the toughness to get it done. In 2001 Mack didn't play Cedric against OU and last year he didn't play Romance Taylor against OU because of the stage and what that can do to freshman. Forget that. It's not like Selvin protected the ball any better than the freshmen did on Saturday, turn 'em lose.

In the end Texas will win because they are geared around winning this game and they have Vince Young's leadership to execute on gameday. And the most beautiful thing of all is that I will witness every play from Sec 8AA Row G Seat 1.

hj

Week 1 Games and Non Conference Scheduling

September 1, 2005

Quick Notes:
I am glad that things are going to get going in a hurry this season. It seems that in years past the first month of games college football serves nothing but appetizers. This year we get to the real meet from the get go.

Florida St vs Miami
Miami at #8 preseason? You must be kidding me. Quick whoever can name Miami's QB gets $1,000. Nobody? Come on… $2,000! Okay… Exactly what I mean, who the hell is Scott Wright . I follow a lot of recruiting and watch a lot of games but I have never even heard of this guy. Yet they are a top 10 team? Give me Ohio State, Iowa, and both Florida teams before Miami. FSU will set Miami in their place from Day 1.

Boise State at Georgia
Quite possibly the second biggest non-conference game of the year that is not played annually. Throw out the bowl games, the Louisville-Miami matchups, and whatever else. This game will be a telltale sign that shows if the top midmajors can hang with the big guys. Last year all the controversy about Utah and Boise State being undefeated yet deserving of BCS bowl games will be settled here. I am sick of midmajors walking through their bogus schedules and then wanting to compare themselves against the top teams in the country. If Boise State can go into Athens and beat Georgia between the hedges, I will give them their due credit. My biggest thing is nonconference schedule.

The one thing you can control in you schedule is who you sign up to play you nonconference games. If you play in a tough conference and a handful of your conference games are solid opponents, congratulations you had no control over that. This is exactly what happened to Auburn last year. They scheduled cupcake teams and then at the end of the year they tried to claim they did all they could do.

If you are a midmajor TCU, Utah, Boise State, whoever, don't even try to talk big unless you have a top team on your nonconference schedule. Last year I had more respect for Louisville than I did for Boise State or Utah. They went down and played Miami IN Miami and took them to the brink. That was the only game they lost and they went on to beat Boise State in their bowl game. Thats the way to prove something. Fresno State is the other. They'll jump at the chance to play any of the big guys. This year they play at USC. In the past two years they have played Kansas State, Washington, Tennessee, Oregon, and Oklahoma in non conference games.

I am glad to see that some of these teams are doing what they need to do to prove themselves while I am getting sick of the others who do nothing and sit around and whine about it.

hj