Archive for the ‘Texas Sports’ Category

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

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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.

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“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.

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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

Rose Bowl Extra Point: You be the judge

January 22, 2006

After furth review…
The Link

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

Get Excited

August 5, 2005

My first thought when I looked at Texas 2005 home schedule was: LAME! We get Louisiana-Lafeyette, Rice, Kansas, Texas Tech, and Colorado. And while I am still not overly excited about the schedule that I do have my eye on one game. TEXAS TECH.

I really like Tech, probably my second favorite team, and aside from Texas I watch more of their games than any other team. But it wasn't until I looked at their schedule that I got excited. See everyone is all high on Tech, and Texas for that matter, because they both had huge bowl wins. On the flip side everyone is down on OU because of what happened in their bowl game. While momentum from bowl games do carry over into the offseason and even into the next season I think all the emphasis on bowls is overrated. I am not going to say that at #2 and #21 either of these teams are overrated, but I do think people are high on them for the wrong reasons. I am glad the coaches are smart enough to see that OU is still a top program.

Anyways, it wasn't until I looked at Tech's schedule that I got excited about this particular game. Tech usually starts off the year slow and in past years they have struggled with or lost to teams like SMU, New Mexico, Ole Miss, and NC State. So this year Mike Leach decided to take a different approach in his non-conference schedule. No away games, no D-1A games. Florida International(technically D-1A but you wouldn't have know that had I not told you), Sam Houston State, and Indiana State are their three preseason games. I dare to say they will start 3-0 and their newest 5th year senior quarterback will be right at 2,000 yards passing. Then they have Kansas, the worst team in the Big 12 North(thats saying a lot), AT HOME. I'm going to go with 4-0.

After that comes the test, Tech travels to Nebraska. Some people will be quick to point out that after the Red Raiders beat the Huskers by 60 last year this will be an easy win. I'm not so sure about that. That 60 pt loss is only going to be fuel for the fire for a vastly reloaded Nebraska team not to mention the game is in Lincoln which was the hardest place to play in the country for about a little over a decade. This will be the swing game that will tell how big the Texas-Texas Tech game will be. See Tech's problem is they have to be hated on to succeed. As soon as someone starts getting high on them and starts predicting their success they flop. Last year a week after they scorched Nebraska they fell flat on their face against Texas. If they want to win in Lincoln they will need to keep their nose to the grindstone after 4 straight HUGE wins. So lets say they beat Nebraska that means they will be 5-0 going to Lubbock to play KState. Starting off at #21 if they go 6-0 that should put them at the mid to low teens by the time they get to Austin. Thats a helluva matchup.

In years past the Tech offense has put up stupid numbers with undersized tooth and nail type receivers. With Jarret Hicks, possibly the best receiver playing college ball, leading the way they finally have some big body prototypical NFL caliber receivers. In this system, that is scary. Now no doubt about it I am a Texas fan first and foremost but I am not going to be delusional in thinking that Tech can't come in here and win. In the past 3 years they have beat us once and were a missed field goal at the buzzer away the second time. It would not be completely out of this world for Texas to lose to Ohio State and OU going into the Tech game. Is it possible that Texas Tech could be favored to beat Texas in Austin?

And after the Texas game the schedule gets favorable again. @Baylor, Texas A&M in Lubbock, @Oklahoma State, and to finish up OU in Lubbock. I think it's fair to say there has not been a better time in the history of the school for Tech to go undefeated. Now, I'm not saying that will happen in fact I predict they will go 8-3, but if you start discrediting this team you are feeding right into their hands bite you in the ass.

hj