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Friday, January 27, 2012
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"Have I got a deal for you!"
Well, the big showdown in Austin will be taking place in a few days. I wish I could sound more enthused, but it’s hard to. See, I have a sneaking suspicion bad things might happen. Believe me, I want to be wrong, I need to be wrong…Lord, let me be wrong. But I have this terrible sense of foreboding, and here’s why:
This week was, as we all know, originally supposed to be a bye week for Tech. It was only after some flummox occurred in UT’s schedule that DeLoss Dodds phoned up Gerald Myers and asked if Tech would be interested in moving the game up to September 19, rather than its original date in late October. Now, seeing as how I hate UT more than a Baptist preacher hates sin, I’d have told Dodds to pound sand, but that’s just me. Instead, the crafty (ahem) Myers then supposedly wrangled Tech a great deal, not only allowing Tech to take part in a nationally televised game at prime time with UT, but also securing television coverage of the U of H game thereafter. I’ve read that the rationale for agreeing to this was the television exposure, which would be good for recruiting. Effectively, UT filled up a week for one of its “buy games” with Tech’s bye week. Considering a few things, I wonder if this was such a good idea.
Most agree that Tech is a team that tends to start slow. As I watched Tech’s finely tuned machine literally dismantle Oklahoma State last November, I had a hard time reconciling that with the stumbling, sputtering Tech team I witnessed just two months prior scrape out an ugly win against Nevada. Because of its many moving parts, this is an offense that takes time to gel. I suspect practice can only go so far…true game conditions are needed to hone it to sharpness.
Consider the fact that Taylor Potts has had only two games, against opponents far inferior to UT, to experience running this offense. Having witnessed Potts against Rice, I can say he has a much stronger arm than Harrell, but is nowhere near as accurate. He seemed a little unsure at times (having to call a time out before the very first snap of the game is a bit of a “tell” I think), he didn’t check off to the run as I recall Harrell doing, and overall, he just seemed to be indecisive; all completely unstandable, given his level of experience. Don’t get me wrong; I think he has a great deal of talent, and provides weapons Harrell just didn’t have - this dude can chunk that ball a long way. I just think he would benefit from more time and experience before going up against the Number 2 team in the country, on enemy turf, no less. Tech also seemed to be playing musical chairs with its offensive linemen, indicating more fine tuning was needed. The defense looked pretty decent, allowing only one touchdown (heavily aided by flags at that), but come on, it was Rice for God’s sake. I mean, I wouldn’t want our guys to have to take them on in a slide rule contest, but face it, but this is football, and they ain’t UT. Thinking about all of this, well, I get a little squeamish.
I’ve had people who know football much better than I do tell me that Tech’s best chance of winning against UT is early in the season, rather than later. Moreover, I’ve even had UT fans tell me now is the most opportune time for a Tech win because their running game stinks, their defensive line is weak, etc. I just don’t find much solace in these beliefs. I don’t know what to say other than this arrangement just doesn’t feel right.
But, here’s the thing I have to keep in mind: how likely is it that Myers would have agreed to this deal without the countenance of Coach Leach? Not likely at all. Leach is too smart, and certainly is desirous of a win, to risk a loss for some of the exposure and extra scratch a prime time game might bring. This man has taken us a long way, so I’ll trust his judgment. I just hope Mike is as smart as I think he is…a nationally televised butt whipping sure won’t help recruiting much, at least not for Tech.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Okay ladies and gentlemen, it’s about time the most wonderful time of the year got here! After a long, hot summer that’s burned about half of Texas up, it’s time for some football!
#16 Oregon at #14 Boise State (-4) – ESPN – The college football season gets started off with a bang in this matchup. Expect Oregon to pick up right where they left off under new coach Chip Kelly, and Boise State should have their usual high flying attack. Expect a wild, high-scoring affair in this game.
LA-Monroe at #2 Texas (-40.5) – FSN PPV – Colt McCoy and the Longhorns should have no problem with LA-Monroe, but ask Alabama how that turned out a couple of years ago.
#20 BYU vs. #3 Oklahoma (-22) (Arlington) – ESPN – The first college game in JerryWorld should be a decent matchu of two teams with very good offenses. Expect OU’s defense to slow down BYU’s passing attack quite a bit, and BYU’s defense shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge to OU’s offense.
#5 Alabama (-7) vs. #7 Virginia Tech (Atlanta) – ABC – The marquee game of Week 1 should be close, although I expect that Virginia Tech’s tailback depth (or lack thereof) will be the deciding factor in this one.
Navy @ #6 Ohio State (-21.5) – ESPN – The home opener for Captain Sweatervest and his team should be pretty uneventful (aren’t most games in the Big 11?), and Navy might scare them for a quarter, but that’s about it.
#13 Georgia @ #9 Oklahoma State (-5.5) – ABC – Ah, yes…it’s finally time to figure out if Okie Lite is for real. We’ll finally get the answer to the question of whether the Cowboys are pretenders or contenders, even though Georgia has a new starting quarterback and running backs. Expect Georgia’s defense to take away Dez Bryant with no solid #2 receiver on this team and no Brandon Pettigrew to keep them honest over the middle. And as we saw last year in the Holiday Bowl, no Dez Bryant means the Cowboys’ offense sputters.
#11 LSU (-17) @ Washington – ESPN – A new coach won’t save the Huskies in this one, even if Les Miles does make a couple of boneheaded coaching moves.
Maryland @ #12 Cal (-21.5) – ESPN2 – Cal has a lot of talent returning this year…expect Maryland to hang close for the first half, but they won’t have the horses to keep up with Cal down the stretch.
Nevada @ #23 Notre Dame (-14.5) – NBC – As much as I would like to see the Irish fall flat on their faces against the Pistol Offense, it won’t happen in this one…too bad Nevada isn’t playing at home, their thug fans would enjoy taunting the Notre Dame players and fans.
Florida Atlantic @ #24 Nebraska (-21.5) – FSN PPV – Nebraska should have a fairly easy time in this one, even if they are breaking in Zac Lee at quarterback.
Northern Colorado @ #25 Kansas (NL) – FCS Central – Looks like Mark Mangino went back to the cupcake schedule philosophy that served them well in 2007.
Baylor @ Wake Forest (-2.5) – ABC/ESPN2 – Baylor gets the chance to show the country they are for real, and beating the Demon Deacons on their home field would give a tremendous boost to the Bears’ confidence early in the season.
Missouri vs. Illinois (-7) (St. Louis) – ESPN – While this game has been quite entertaining the last couple of years, expect this game to go in the Illini’s favor early and stay that way.
New Mexico @ Texas A&M (-14) – Although I don’t expect A&M to be very good again this year, the home crowd and the fact that they’re playing New Mexico should be enough to propel them to a season opening victory, unlike last year.
North Dakota @ Texas Tech (NL) – Taylor Potts introduces himself to the Big 12 and the rest of the country with a huge first game performance against the hapless Fighting Sioux.
UMass @ Kansas State (NL) – The return of Bill Snyder should be an easy W for the Wildcats.
#8 Ole Miss (-16.5) @ Memphis – ESPN – Ole Miss returns just about everybody from last year, and I don’t see any way that Memphis will hang with them in this one.
Colorado State @ Colorado (-10.5) – FSN – Colorado is the enigma of the Big 12 North….who knows how good/bad they’ll be this year? Colorado State shouldn’t put up much of a fight in the first game since the schools decided to ditch playing in Denver and going back to home-and-home.
Miami @ #18 Florida State (-5.5) – ESPN – This game isn’t what it used to be, but Miami should be improved enough to hang with the Seminoles for at least a half.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
1. Florida – With Saint Tebow himself at quarterback, there’s no reason not to have the Gators at #1 to start off the year.
2. Oklahoma – The return of Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, and Gerald McCoy, who all would’ve been top 50 picks in April’s draft, helps anchor this OU team that should pick up right where they left off last season.
3. USC – I know, I know…I hate USC as much as the next fan, but they get ranked here by virtue of playing in the Slack 10.
4. Ole Miss – Ole Miss returns most of their key guys from last year, and after the whooping they put on us in the Cotton Bowl, I’m a believer.
5. Texas – Even though the Horns have Colt McCoy and his favorite fishing buddy Jordan Shipley on offense, the lack of a dominant running back and the graduation of Quan Cosby are going to have more of an effect than most of the orangebloods think.
6. Alabama – I know they’re breaking in a new quarterback, but Bama’s still one of the best teams in the country…even if their fans are a bunch of unrealistic lunatics.
7. Ohio State – The Big 10+1 should be fairly weak again this year, so the team lead by Captain Sweatervest shouldn’t have a problem rolling up a lot of wins.
8. Penn State – See comment above about the Big 10+1…hopefully we won’t be subjected to another 13-6 pillow fight with Ohio State this year.
9. Virginia Tech – The ACC is looking nice and weak this year as well, so the Beamer Ballers shouldn’t have too much of a tough road in conference play…watch out for the game with Bama though.
10. LSU – Maybe, just maybe, the Bayou Bengals can find a decent starting quarterback somewhere on that roster. Too bad Mike Leach isn’t the coach there, or he could just go around the corner to the 7-11 and find one. Les Miles ought to look into wearing a hat that’s actually the right size instead of one that’s about 3 sizes too small, it might save him from some of his typical bonehead coaching decisions…or not.
11. Oregon – Oregon’s favorable schedule and God-awful uniforms (duck wings, anyone?) should allow them to challenge for the Slack 10 title and possibly even run the table in conference play.
12. Georgia – Although they lost Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno to the NFL, the Bulldogs and Mark Richt (who I think is one of the top 3 or 4 coaches in college football) should be able to reload.
13. Oklahoma State – Ah yes, Okie Lite is this year’s media darling, and for good reason too with everybody they have coming back. The loss of Brandon Pettigrew will hurt more than everyone expects, and without a legitimate #2 receiver to take the heat off of Dez Bryant (hope you like being double teamed for the entire game, Dez!), I think the Cowboys will stumble. If they lose that first game to Georgia, sit back and get ready for the tailspin.
14. Georgia Tech – The weak ACC coupled with Georgia Tech’s option attack should allow the Yellow Jackets to have a great year and challenge for the ACC title.
15. Cal – Somehow, Jeff Tedford does it again…but don’t be surprised if the Bears slip a little bit with USC, Oregon, and Oregon State expected to be strong this season.
16. Boise State – We’ll know what Boise’s made of in their season opener against Oregon. They’re a slam dunk to win the WAC, so they could possibly run the table if they pull off the upset against Oregon in Week 1.
17. North Carolina – Butch Davis has been quietly building a solid team in Chapel Hill, and with what should be a fairly weak ACC this year, the Tar Heels should easily put up 8 or more wins.
18. TCU – Even though the Froggies return a lot of their key guys, I still don’t think they can keep it together for a full season and bust the BCS. I just wonder if Gary “Speed Baby” Patterson will go on another press conference rampage about how they get no respect if the Froggies do manage to beat both Virginia and Clemson on the road.
19. Florida State – The ‘Noles always have talent, but putting it together (and keeping some of that talent out of jail) has been the tricky part for Bobby “Diddy” Bowden here lately.
20. Utah – Utah lost a lot of key players from last season’s Sugar Bowl champion team, but Kyle Whittingham should keep them going strong.
21. Texas Tech – I would have us ranked higher were it not for our conference road schedule. That being said, I expect Taylor Potts to have a good yea, and if the defense steps it up from the level they played at last year (minus the OU and Ole Miss games), we could easily be in the top 15.
22. Iowa – Iowa should reap the benefits of a weak Big 10+1, although the loss of Shonn Greene will sting for a bit.
23. Nebraska – Who knows what Bo Pelini’s team will do in 2009? Sure, they should have a good defense, but with the quarterback question up in the air, that could hamper Nebraska in 2009.
24. Oregon State – With the slack 10 only having 4 decent or strong teams (USC, Oregon, Cal, Oregon State), the Beavers should rack up enough wins to stay in the top 25 for most of the season.
25. Kansas – The Jayhawks are loaded on offense, but if their porous defense doesn’t improve, they won’t win the Big 12 North. Their cross-division schedule against Big 12 South foes Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech doesn’t help either.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Recently, photos of Taylor Potts surfaced with him sporting a new look. Gone is the wooly-man lumberjack look. Say "hello" to the 70's style, funk-a-matic, porn-a-riffic moustache wearing badass! This was a very good move on Potts' part, for reasons I will detail below.
I've heard many people describe Potts' lip adornment as a "Handlebar" moustache. Wrong. As a product of the 60's and a child of the 70's (when the moustache reigned supreme), I feel it is my solemn duty to straighten you youngsters out a little. In general, let me first say that the moustache is greatness. Potts' stache' is greatness. Wilfred Brimley's stache' is uber greatness; it has a mind of its own. Chuck Norris would just be a TV assclown with a bad toupee were it not for his stache', which gives him his power. Know the stache'. Respect the stache'. Fear the stache'.
But too many people are mislabeling the stache' now sported by Potts. What Potts is wearing is not a handlebar moustache. A handlebar moustache turns at the edge of the mouth and curls up, and is usually twisted into a point, and sometimes waxed. This is a handlebar moustache (and a damned fine example of one too):
Obviously, the baddest Handlebar ever was worn by the great Rollie Fingers:
What Potts is wearing is a "Fu Manchu." A Fu Manchu turns down at the end of the mouth, and, if seen fit by the wearer, continues down. How far down is discretionary, but the farther down, the more of a bad dude is its wearer. I am eminently qualified to assess and categorize this stache' due to my existence during the 1970's, when this style of moustache was at its height of popularity. Dudes sporting the Fu Manchu were badasses. It was a way to tell off "the Man" without saying a word. A Fu Manchu didn't have to spring for dinner to get laid. A Fu Manchu said to the women "Hey, baby" and it didn't sound corny. To the guys, it just said "F**k you", and, it meant it.
Some fine examples of the 70's Fu Manchu were:
Baseball pitcher Al Hrabosky, the "Mad Hungarian" was a dude you didn't jack with.
Anybody cooler than this guy? (don't bother, your answer is irrelevent):
The awesome power of the Fu' carried over into the 80's. Lemme tell ya somethin', brotha, you didn't screw with a guy sporting one of these:
See? Hogan's stache' transcended time and easily carried over into the 80's. It's not a question of keeping it too long, it's really more an issue of not getting one early enough. Timing is everything, my friends. Case in point:
C'mon...you think anybody would have given a damn about a little bong hit if he'd been sporting this bad boy in Beijing? Forget about it! Hell, those self-righteous dorks who were pulling their endorsement contracts would have been lining up for a little toke themselves if this was the guy they'd signed with.
The power of the moustache does not just pertain to sports...it crosses all fields of human endeavor. Let's consider the arts. Who would buy this guy's psychotic sketches were it not for the badness of his stache'?:
Want some more? Ok: get a load of this crap. Let's face it, my 12 year old can paint circles around this dude's primitive scribbles:
What makes it sell? Yep, the stache': (It should be noted that Neiman's badass stache' not only helps him peddle substandard art, it also got him a gig in Rocky III, along with our friend Hogan discussed above. All such fortuitous casting decisions were cleary attributable to some cool as hell facial hair).
Certainly, the world of politics is no stranger to the power of the stache'. You want examples? Well, fair enough. This guy was a bedwetting, asthmatic, nearsighted mama's boy, and, it's rumored, maybe even a closet homo (not that's there's anything wrong with that). Yet, he grew up to be President of these fine United States:
Do we even need to ask how? No, we don't. (Collar stays were optional back then).
Of course, you recognize this little teutonic troublemaker. Can you imagine how bad it could have gotten had he let that abomination under his nose actually grow into a full-fledged Fu Manchu?
Not to worry, though. Many of you don't know this, but much like the Manhatten Project, we had a team of top scientists and barbers locked away in a bunker devising a counter weapon to Hitler's formidable semi-stache' power. This was the result:Thankfully, we managed to beat the Hun conventionally before we had to unleash the awesome power of this magnificent development upon the world.
The power of the moustache transcends man, and pervades the animal kingdon as a whole. This little dude weighs only 2.3 pounds, but he could really mess you up, and he gets all the females in the troop. One guess why:
The power of the Fu or the Handlebar in sports is inarguable. Many sports badasses, across all athletic disciplines, have invoked the power of the Fu or HB to their gain: Thurmon Munson, Catfish Hunter, Randy Johnson, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley (See? They didn't need no stinkin' steroids, they had the stache'), John Newcomb, Dr. J, Dale Earnhart, Joe Namath, Randy White, Kenny Stabler, Ben Davidson (one of my all time favorite football badasses). I could go on and on, but you get the point. Potts was correct to rid himslf of the full-blown beard. Some cool QB's have had beards (Dan Fouts, for example). But the moustache is far preferable as a statement of Potts' "badassedness."
So, there you have it my friends. I was buying into all the preseason predictions that had Tech with an 8 win season, until I saw this:
Again, let me reemphasize, while UT has this:
... Tech has this:
Now I know, a National Championship is all but assured. I can't wait for the season to start.
Monday, February 9, 2009
We've all experienced things that start off being kind of amusing but then become old. Examples include that good looking girl you really want to nail but who talks non-stop, or the toddler in the airline seat in front of you who reacts in a funny way when you make the ubiquitous "a-boo" face at him. Know what I mean? After about 10 times, the kid's reaction isn't amusing enough to make you want to keep making a fool of yourself. Nevertheless, the little turd won't stop standing in his seat looking backwards at you. It gets old, real fast. Well, Mike Leach's zany antics are becoming somewhat tiresome to the Spudster.
This "negotiating" crapola has gone on far too long, and I'm leaning toward placing the blame on Leach for the delay. At first, I tended to believe the pro-Leach blather from such reliable sources of information as the Football Board on Scout (yes...that's a joke). What I've heard is that Leach's agent contacted Gerald Myers way back in April seeking to renegotiate and that Myers did not respond at first (bad move), and some time later, when he did respond, he supposedly told the agent "Sorry, but no more money. If he has a better offer elsewhere, well, bye" (worse move). Because I liked Leach, I tended to think any fault was with the administration, whom I figured was trying to be cheapshits in the situation. Now, I'm not so sure. Some of Leach's recent statements to the media, which he claims he does not want involved in the negotiations, but who he still comments to, have me doing a 180.
Right now, I'm pretty pissed at Leach. Of course, I love Tech winning more games than in the past. The fact that he didn't fit the good ol' boy mold was a big plus to me. I thought it was funny when he started the pirate thing. I guffawed (only people over 40 can "guffaw") when he did the TV weatherman bit. His off-the-wall disposition during interviews would sometimes make me cringe a little, but I still snickered. Now, I'm not quite so amused. You'd think after an 11-2 season, I'd be a little more grateful. But here's my problem: my alma mater's team got the crap beat out of them twice on national television. The OU loss, I won't necessarily lay at his feet. But Ole' Miss? That just looked like a situation where the team wasn't ready and Leach just got flat outcoached. What went wrong? I don't know, but maybe Ole' Coach Funnybritches should have been more focused on trying to beat a very good SEC team rather than placing his grill on 60 Minutes or embarking on his annual job hunt. I'm just sayin'.
It's the yearly job hunt that irks me the most. His looking around is as much a surprise as finding a boll weevil in a cotton field. If it's December, Mike's sure to be on the road, seeking another gig. I really can't blame anybody for wanting to improve his lot in life. Who is the Spud to say Mikie shouldn't reach as high as possible in getting his piece of the American dream? But hey, don't screw my school over while doing it. Tech already has to deal with the problem of being behind UT and A&M in several ways, some real and others only perceived. But Leach's yearly cheatin' heart act only serves to advance the concept that Lubbock is only a place you want to be from. It makes Tech look bad. Moreover, it can't help recruiting. At least one kid decided on another school over Tech citing his concern over whether Leach would be there next year. Assistant Coach Seth Littrell, one of Tech's best recruiters, recently announced he was leaving to go to The University of Arizona. Littrell mentioned the uncertainly of the Head Coach position as a factor. Thanks, Mike.
I'm well aware of all the arguments that can be made for him going to some bigger, fancier program. But when one considers Leach and his idiosyncrasies, the conclusion might be reached that he is in the best place possible for him. Leach is unconventional, and Tech pretty much lets him be so. Case in point: Leach reportedly hates alumni relations and fundraising. These are expected duties of a head coach at any big time program. Leach isn't required to do them. It was amusing to hear Leach's name bandied about when the job at Tennessee was open. It is difficult to imagine Leach at a Knoxville fundraiser, allowing himself to be grappled about the shoulders by some big Southern dummy while hearing "This here's gooood people!" I figure Ole' Mike would last about two years in that environment. Besides, Leach doesn't even look "corporate" enough for some big time program. Leach appears like he just got dragged behind a truck driving to the Goodwilll. Can you imagine Pete Carroll walking around his office wearing flip flops? The tobacco road bullshit artist down in Austin may have yellow teeth, but he doesn't walk around looking like a pile of dirty laundry. But Leach gets a pass. He is the King of Lubbock. Ok, there are certainly more prestigious kingdoms, but not many others where there's such a low risk of forced abdication. Leach probably never has to buy a meal, wait in line or fear a DWI. He can say what he wants, do what he wants, dress like he wants, tell the media to pound sand, blow off boosters, whatever suits him. Hell, they don't even make him play defense. Not a bad deal.
One thing that hasn't helped is that Leach employs the services of IMG as his agent. IMG is the Kimbo Slice of sports agencies. This is the same agency that represents such luminaries as Tiger Woods. And reportedly, they've been dealing with Tech as if Leach is Tiger Woods. Seems like you should have to win at least one championship before you get to retain the most obnoxious agents and have them big time people. But hey, as the old punchline goes: "Baby, the doctor say I'm impotent. Well, if you's impotent, you gotta act impotent and look impotent." IMG has done such swell things as contract Tech's Regents directly with offers and counter proposals, intentionally circumventing Hance, Myers and Guy Bailey in the process. Nice. Of course, that galled Myers to no end. The relationship between Myers and Leach has dissolved into something akin to two old ladies swatting each other with their purses in a fight over the contents of the bargain bin.
"How bad you want that buyout now, Mother *#@&er?!?!"
Of course, it's always about money. Reportedly, the school has offered in the neighborhood of $12.7 million over 5 years. The negotiations are allegedly bogged down over such terms as the buyout provision of the contract and the school's desire to terminate for cause if Leach interviews without permission during the life of the contract. The buyout provision is not abnormal, something like $300k per year for any remaining contract year...not particularly onerous. Given Leach's track record of looking around, one can hardly blame the Athletic Office for this figure. The termination for cause for interviewing is pretty harsh and not at all normal. But again, given that Leach is apparently as loyal as a tomcat, I'm not sure I can blame Myers for asking. There's supposedly also some impasse over Leach not wanting to have to answer to Myers, which of course, is downright childish; Myers is the AD for Christsakes. Similarly goofy has been Gerald's "hardball" tactics which would tend to piss off anyone with a modicum of ego. To me, all of this just stinks. What really hacks me off is that because of the delay, if Leach leaves now, our chance of getting a quality replacement is about as good as beating Mark Mangino to the last slice of pie. Thanks again, guys.
Leach has done much for Tech's program. He's brought unprecedented publicity to the school, some of it even good. But he's now doing harm. It maybe asking a little too much, but I'd like to see a little loyalty here, or at least concern from the man for what he's doing to the program and the school as a whole. If he wants to be here, great. Let's get the differences hammered out and the agreement executed. If he doesn't want to be at Tech, he should move it on down the line. Maybe his shtick will play as well elsewhere as it does in Lubbock. Maybe not.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Why the constant "keeping my options open" behavior? You have repeatedly indicated you want to stay in Lubbock, but hop the next flight to Seattle? I get the whole "I'm a lawyer and this is just part of the business of coaching and negotiations" thing, but it seems like you enjoy twisting our nips a little too much and they're starting to get a little sore and it ain't exciting like it used to be...
I'm in position number one on the bandwagon - always have been - but for all that is still holy could you please turn on your freaking cell phone?
Seems like we're always negotiating in good faith while our partner keeps jerking it to every single December issue of Hustler ever since we got married...it's not helping our already shitty self esteem one single bit.
Now, please stay.
Because we love you.
And we know you beat the shit out of us occasionally, but you make us feel safe...and the offensive explosions are out of this world - occasionally you aren't that into it - but for the most part I look forward to our Saturday nights with lustful abandon...you take us into your arms and tell us how wonderful we are and then you do that thing you do where you throw me all over the place...
Nobody does it just the way you do...
I suppose these bruises will heal just like they did last time...
(note: my frustration has led to foul language in this post, if you're up past your bedtime, call your mommy and tell them a bad man on the computer has spoken inappropriately toward you. For our regular readers who may be slightly appalled, I promise I'll go buy Hillsong's new CD right away and repent soon after)
I propose a resolution/petition - sign it if you like...
We the People of Raiderland, in order to form a more perfect fan base, establish 1st tier-e-ness, insure collegiate tranquility, provide for a better defense, promote the genital welfare, and secure the blessings of ftwinity to ourselves and our...well mostly ourselves, do ordain and establish this Petition for the United Commuter Lots of Raiderville....
A petition for Mike Leach to go freeze his balls off in Washington...where it rains all the fucking time and Grey's Anatomy isn't really filmed there.
Or to go to Mississippi State where you can smell the chicken shit all the live long day...cause I don't care what you say that is far more disgusting than the feedlots of Hereford...
And finally, if you're stupid enough to go to Auburn and risk being the next guy on their stupid gay orange and blue carousel, then go be Nick Saban's bitch because I'm sure that will taste so much better than Stoops' ass...
Aphrodisiac Jackson, Texas
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Why was I not all that surprised? Because I am a pessimist by nature. This tendency doesn't serve me well most of the time, but, when things go bad, I am usually less taken aback than the people who always walk around on happy feet. But I must admit, this one hit me hard. I had really started to buy into the hype, feeling like Tech had a legitimate shot at the Big XII title, and who knows, maybe more. I know a Big XII title shot is still theoretically possible, but c’mon: who really believes Okie State will beat the unofficial NFL franchise of Oklahoma?
Because of my pessimistic nature, I prepared for this loss by deciding to avoid watching the game in the company of others, and instead, opted to go it alone. I could tell, by the end of the first quarter, that it was not going to go well. By the middle of the second quarter, I became so distraught, I turned the TV off and retreated outside, where I cracked open a bottle of wine. I dispensed with the fancy glass and, in a scene reminiscent of a 1950’s western, where the bad guys trade whiskey with the Indians, began chugging it straight out of the bottle. But this was a pretty good cabernet, not rotgut. “Hmmm… An amusing little firewater. Presumptuous, yet eminently palatable.” I drank myself into a stupor and quickly fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning with a sense of dread and a terrible hangover. People around me acted as if somebody had died. All the sharp objects had been removed from their usual places of storage. My firearms were hidden away. People kept their distance. I avoided watching any sports-related reporting on television. I didn’t look at the newspaper. I went to the office and logged into the computer, and in a blurb on the MSN web browser, I saw the score. Holy shit.
My mind sort of went haywire. This couldn’t be. How could they blow it that badly? I ran into some doofus later, one of those “zippiddy do dah” sunshine pumpers; he is the type who, even under normal circumstances, makes me want to kick the stuffing out of him. He wanted to talk with me about the game. He tried to convince me that it wasn’t all that bad. He is now buried beneath the floor in my onion cellar.
However, time does heal all wounds. Well, at least it helps abate the hangover from drinking a full bottle of Franciscan. Discussions with people much better adjusted than I am (that covers pretty much everybody), including my fellow scribes on this blog, have helped me see that it’s not the end of the world. I’ve managed to cobble together a few seemingly healthy rationalizations why:
1. I can quit sweating it. I’ve been fretting this all season; this game I mean. At the beginning, I said if we could go 10-2, I’d be pretty happy. I always figured the game in Norman would be one of those losses, with another thrown in just to satisfy my pessimistic side. Now, I can quit worrying about it.
2. We’re 10-1, with a decent shot at going 11-1. If you’d told me that at the beginning of the season, I’d have been thrilled.
3. Just a bad day? I’m still convinced that Tech is not as bad as they looked on Saturday. This was, as I see it, one of those “perfect storm” things. There were a lot of things lining up that made this outcome occur. It was in Norman, always a tough place to play. Stoops may be a turd, but he can coach and he can damned sure motivate his players. He knew he’d need to turn Tech into a greasy spot to make a statement for the pollsters. His players were still pissed from last year. Plus, our guys just did not seem to have the intensity they had against UT or OSU. I’m not sure any level of play by Tech could have overcome the OU steamroller last Saturday, but I suspect the lopsided score wouldn’t have been quite so, well, lopsided, had Tech not been flat.
4. Hey, blowouts can happen to anybody. Tech did it to Kansas this year. To OSU too. UT got blown out by OU by 52 points just 5 years ago, and by 49 points a few years before that. The folks who dealt Tech this butt kicking got beat pretty bad by USC in the Orange Bowl a few years back. It happens. It sucks when it does, but, it happens.
5. Maybe we get to keep Cap’n Mike. One of my other things to sweat was, and is, Coach Leach leaving us for another, bigger school. Face it, before this loss, most of the talk was about him hauling ass. The humble folks from Tennessee kept posting on their Scout board that Leach was already as good as there, that they “could have him if they want him” and that nobody would choose Lubbock over Knoxville. I never really thought Leach would be a good fit there, if, for no other reason, that I don’t think he’d want to be at a school with a double negative in its fight song. Still, the talk caused such trepidation that people started websites to collect funds to bribe him to stay. I hear somebody started trying to erect a faux mountain near his home to try to combat the “flat Lubbock" vs. “we got mountains” swill the Tennessee people kept spouting. To this end, somebody managed to pile up 30 feet of cottonseed hulls in his backyard by the time of Saturday’s whuppin. Now, it’s not that I think Coach Leach isn’t going to be sought after anymore, because I know better. He’s the most innovative coach in the country, and he will surely still be wooed. However, he may not seem quite so bootylicious now. Let’s face it: all the Simonize, buffing and elbow grease in the world can’t put a shine on the turd Mike’s team laid in Norman last Saturday. Maybe he’s less of a hot commodity now. More importantly, however, maybe this will make him want to stay and prove this blowout was a fluke.
6. At least the Tech game had implications. Not all that long ago, we’d have been at 5 & 5 and coming down to the wire needing a win just to get into some crappy bowl. The fact that Tech was in a game of this magnitude means that the program is progressing. You’ve got to go through stuff like this to get to the promised land. As I’ve heard a lot of people who should know say, it takes a lot of talent and more than a little luck to get to a national championship. Any good team can have setbacks (see above). Tech now has to show it has the character to put this loss behind them and keep moving on. I think they can, and I think there is nobody better situated to do this than Coach Leach.
7. This loss can be liberating. A guy I sort of know suggested this, and he’s smarter than me (that’s damning him with faint praise, but he really does know something). He’s right: I can have my life back. I gotta be honest…I was getting a little obsessed there. As each win was amassed, I’d get more and more wound up. I kept bargaining, making all sorts of crazy deals. Heck, I even promised to get my tax returns done “early” if we could just win the Nebraska game. Tech won, and a deal is a deal-I got them in on October 14, a full day early. It was unprecedented. The cost of these bargains kept going up. At one point, I almost said “If we can just beat Texas, I’ll…I’ll, well…I’ll stop drinking!” Note that I wrote “almost.” Come, on, who are we kidding here? I love Tech and all, but let’s be reasonable. I offered up a garage cleaning instead. As the season progressed, things started getting downright scary. I even said I’d be willing to give up some somewhat unnecessary bodily appendage if Tech could just beat OU in Norman. I settled on my pinkie toe. I guess it’s a good thing we lost. I need that pinkie toe for balance on my follow through. Now that we’ve lost, life can settle down a bit. I can quit playing The Matador Song on my ipod, my dog can take off the little TT t-shirt I’ve been making him wear, and I get to keep my body parts. It’s all good.
8. There’s still some ball left to play. Tech can still make a good showing against Baylor, I hope, and maybe go to a decent bowl game and do well. It’s looking like the Cotton Bowl, which is a bit of a disappointment given our earlier ambitions. But hey, at least it’s a New Year’s Day Bowl, and moreover, I’ll save on travel costs. Sure would have liked to see Miami or Phoenix, though. However, in the back of my mind, I’m still hoping for a minor miracle in Stillwater (See? I’m not a complete pessimist.)
So, you see, it’s not the end of the world. Things could be worse. Life has its setbacks. We all have them, and this is how it goes. If these reasons aren’t good enough for you, there is always one more thing you can consider. The one thing that I always find consoling, and I bet it works for you, too: At least we’re not Aggy.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
A 6-5 week ATS last week, 11-1 straight up winners/losers. For the year now, 83-56-1 ATS and 122-33 straight up. It's a huge week in the Big 12, here's hoping we can all make it the last 48 hours to kickoff.
#23 Miami (ESPN HD) @ Georgia Tech (3') - Miami takes to the Thursday night air for the 2nd straight week in pursuit of the conference that no one really seems to want. Carolina's had the inside track in their division, but can't close the deal. Virginia Tech's faltered when they had a chance to grab control. And now there's Miami, with a loss to Carolina, but a win last week over Va. Tech, and now they hit the road to Ga. Tech, which may throw the ball 10 times a game. I think it's another low-scoring game with lots of defense, which makes covering more than a field goal tough to do. Somewhere in there, someone has to wrap up their spot in the ACC, and I think Miami can take a big step to that tonight. Miami...18-14.
#2 Texas Tech (ABC HD) @ #5 Oklahoma (7) - I heard somewhere that this game is important. Frankly, I needed the off week last week as much as either team did. Both offenses are flying, both defenses a little bit suspect, in so much as neither fan base thinks the opposing defense will stop their afore-mentioned flying offense. What Sooner fans don't want you to know is that they haven't really been able to beat Tech the way they want to. After Taurean Henderson scored to beat OU on the final play of the game in '05, SoonerFan promised that Tech would be beaten so badly in Norman the next year that they might actually be killed. Instead, OU found themselves down at the half and had to survive with a late TD to win 34-24. Hell, even the goofy Sonny Cumbie team lost 28-13 in Norman. Hardly the zillion-to-3 score that's predicted North of the Red River.
Look, bottom line is this. Both teams will move the ball, and both teams will score. Can Tech win in Norman? Sure. Could they lose by 3 TDs? Sure. That's just kinda how this football game is. But I don't see the latter happening. And if it's going to be close, as I said for the Texas game, may as well take Tech to win it outright. Tech...41-38.
Iowa State @ Kansas State (10) - Ron Prince is on his way out. Iowa State is playing better. I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Clones can find a way to win here. KState...38-30.
Syracuse (NBC HD) @ Notre Dame (20) - Greg Robinson is out at Syracuse, and Charlie Weis is on various hot seats, while others claim that's not true. Regardless, it'd better be a big seat. Notre Dame...34-10.
NC State (Raycom HD) @ #22 N. Carolina (11) - It's Rivalry Week, at least that's what ESPN keeps telling me. This is usually a good candidate for a real brawl of a game, but State's been hard to figure out this year. Carolina, home after a tough loss @ Maryland, can keep themselves in the ACC mix with a win, which I think they will. Carolina...27-17.
Michigan (ABC HD) @ #10 Ohio State (20') - Never thought I'd see this game with a 3TD line on it. Never thought I'd take it, either. Ohio State...35-14.
#15 Michigan State (ABC/ESPN2) @ #8 Penn State (14') - The Sparties are hard to figure, beating a bad Michigan team in the closing minutes, bombed by Ohio State at home, trounced Northwestern at NW. Here, they get Penn State to close Penn State's season. Penn State...31-13.
#14 BYU (The Mountain HD) @ #7 Utah (6') - Utah tries to keep their BCS hopes alive. Should be a pretty entertaining game, if you can see it. BYU...34-31.
#20 Pitt (ESPN2 HD) @ #19 Cincinnati (5') - Another Top 25 matchup here. I think it's close and decided late. Cincinnati...31-24.
Florida State (ESPN HD) @ #25 Maryland (1') - Florida State is a bit dinged on defense after losing a player after Darius McClure hurt himself while celebrating an interception. I like the speed of FSU here, even if they're not in warm Florida. FSU...23-20.
Boston College (ABC/ESPN2) @ Wake Forest (2) - The BC "D" is the difference here. Boston College...19-17.
Army (ESPN Plus) @ Rutgers (17') - Tough to like anyone by more than 3 scores against Army. Rutgers...27-20.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
ESPN, please stop it already. My stomach already churns all day. And the work is piling up on my desk because every time I turn around I get an e-mail from a Tech buddy that has a link to a story or a video that I've already read or seen about 4 times.
Did you know Leach was the subject of an article in The New York Times Magazine by Michael Lewis? And then the NYTM did a follow-up interview with Lewis and Lewis still thinks we're David and UT and OU are Goliath? And that OU is favored by 6.5 to 7 and that Bob Stoops never loses in Norman, unless you count all the times he's lost to UT in Dallas?
I'm terribly grateful for all of the great pub TTU is getting, though - for years we've strolled along in relative anonymity - and so it's cool to see Tom Rinaldi reporting from AT&T Jones Stadium like he's doing pregame for the next Indy @ New England showdown. I'm like a kid in a candy store here.
To be able to have conversations with fellow college football fans and have them congratulate me on a great season, like I did anything to contribute to it....well....there was that time I puked in the bushes outside the auditorium after the Nebraska game, but I'm betting that doesn't count.
So for all of you struggling to make time go by a little quicker, a prayer...
God grant me the serenity
to reject the fact that ESPN is attempting to control my mind and wallet;
the courage to tell that OU alumnus that he's a dickweed;
and the wisdom to go to Baylor.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time until kickoff, so I can start binge drinking again;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to onesinglesolitarybig12titleisthattoofreakingmuchtoask;
Taking as He did, this world full of Colorado fans
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to Erin Andrews;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with a BCS title
Forever and ever,
All apologies to Jesus and such...
but can we get to kickoff already?
(Lubbock, TX) Sources close to the Texas Tech Athletic Department said Wednesday that Mike Leach has been named as the replacement for Mike Leach when he inevitably leaves the program.
This news comes before the biggest game in the history of this year as the 10-0 Red Raiders get ready for a showdown with 9-1 Oklahoma in Norman Saturday.
"Well, we just want to make sure no stone is left unturned," Gerald Myers, Texas Tech Athletic Director said. "We all know Mike, and Mike is going to do what Mike is going to do. So we thought it best that he replaces himself at some point."
Speculation across the nation is that some top programs like Tennesssee, Washington, and Syracuse are all interested in the Texas Tech coach to come lead their program and not be too weird, an unnamed source said.
"Well, I'm just focused on us getting better each week and getting ready for OU," Leach said. "It's an honor to be named the head coach designate here, and I just saw in the news that a baby hippopotamus was born at a zoo in Switzerland. I was at a zoo in Switzerland this summer. You know the interesting deal about hippopotami and whales evolved from the same prehistoric animal. It's, uh, kind of a neat deal though that they just like to spend their days wallowing around in the mud, which doesn't make them much different than some other animal characters you'll find. Like a pig."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
A so-so 8-7 week against the line last week...11-4 straight up. Season totals now stand at 77-51-1 ATS and 111-32 SU. Tech gets a BYE this week and frankly, as alums and fans, we need it. Should be a great weekend for the footballs next weekend, but in the meantime, we've got your Thursday/Saturday slate ready to go.
Virginia Tech (ESPN HD) @ Miami (5) - Some Thursday night football as the wacky ACC season winds down. As of this morning, I think 2 teams are out of contention. Everyone else is still alive. Low scoring affair in Miami tonight, I'd think, and could likely swing on a big special teams play from someone. Miami...24-20.
#3 Texas (13) @ Kansas (FSN HD) - Texas has a recent history of struggling in late-season roadies...and this one is supposed to be fairly cold...at least if you listen to Austin radio this week. Muddying the picture somewhat is that Texas lost their backup center to an ill-advised Facebook posting, then lost their starting center to an ill-advised knee injury in practice. So it's a freshman at center and I think lots of shotgun snappage. Still, Kansas can't stop anyone and that doesn't bode well for them, Senior Day or not. Texas...38-20.
Texas A&M @ Baylor (8) - This one would be fun to watch, but we don't get to see it. Baylor, a TD+ favorite deep in the Big 12 season. You'd have to go back to the late 90s for some of that action. Baylor may win, but I think it's a 4th-quarter game, to go cliche on you. Baylor...34-31.
#12 Mizzou (27') @ Iowa State (FSN HD) - Mizzou roared out quick last week, then kinda went cruise control on us and shut it down and didn't cover. 4 TDs is a big number, but 'Zou has a chance to really sew up the North here. I don't think they let up this week. Mizzou...44-20.
#13 OK State (17) @ Colorado (ABC HD) - We'll see how quickly OSU can turn around after a drubbing, especially in the 2nd of 2 straight on the road. I have a sneaking suspicion this one is closer than the number. OK State...30-21.
Nebraska (7) @ Kansas State (FSN PPV) - I like the Children of the Corn here. KSU has fired their coach, recruits are switching commits, it's a full-on party in Manhattan right now. Nebraska...34-17.
Northwestern (ESPN2 HD) @ Michigan (4) - Hard to believe saying something "Man, what a big road win @ Minnesota for Michigan," but that's what it was. Michigan...23-14.
Notre Dame (3') @ NAVY (CBS HD) - Navy snapped like a forever-long losing streak to the Irish last year. I think they'll start a new one this week. Notre Dame...27-20.
SMU @ UTEP (9') - In this week's Coin Flip Pick o' the Week, I'll take Potpourri for $600. UTEP...38-34.
Mississippi State (ESPN HD) @ #1 Alabama (20) - Intriguing game here, with 'Bama coming home off the OT road win @ LSU. Miss State has won 2 straight over the Tide, and I think hasn't allowed an offensive TD in either game. Or something like that. State still can't score, and the Tide doesn't exactly score 5 TDS a game. So laying 20 is kinda tough to do. Alabama...27-10.
#25 South Carolina (CBS HD) @ #4 Florida (21) - Another great one here, with Spurrier heading back to Florida. The media wants Florida in the BCS title game so badly they can taste it. Florida wins...but closer than the experts think, as Corso would say, whatever that means, being that he's supposedly an expert or something. So does that mean if he thinks it's close, and then it's supposed to be closer than close, could it actually wind up in negatives? Florida...29-14.
#16 North Carolina (2') @ Maryland (ABC) - Interesting Maryland team, coming home of a road loss and getting a ranked Carolina team in search of a possible BCS date down the road. The line is close and the game should be close as well. Maryland...21-20.
These are the salad days my friends. Actually, they’re more like the strip steak at Ruth’s Chris days. After years of hitting the buffet at Sizzler, we finally have a shot at the big time (the theme song from The Jeffersons just popped into my head). This is uncharted territory for many of us old timers, who suffered through years of 6&6 or 7&5 seasons, just hoping for an invitation to the Odoreaters Bowl in Paducah, Ky. on Dec. 10th. ( “Hey, are you going to the bowl game?” “Naw, I gotta clean the gutters.” "Going to watch it on tv? It's going to be on channel 87 at 2:00 a.m." "Nope. Gutters." ).
These unusual times have resulted in some unusual behavior for me. I find myself lingering around the doors of my fellow office workers who are UT grads talking college football. I no longer have to endure listening to them drone on and on about their wealth of talent and the all but assured shot they will have at the National Championship, with their occasional condescending acknowledgement of Tech’s good performance on Saturday against Northbynorthwest Polytech and Tech’s “spunky little running back who we looked at but passed up for Ricky Williams/Earl Campbell/Vince Young/Superman.” Even those arrogant clowns are having to acknowledge Tech as a legitimate contender. Scoreboard, baby. I find myself buying more and more stuff with a double T on it (I even bought my schnauzer a TT t shirt-don’t worry, he smells better than most t shirt fans).
One thing that is unusual for me is the fact I am spending more time on college football message boards. It's not that I haven't spent any time on them, because I have. But I am spending much more time reading them, when I should be doing meaningful stuff like billing hours, representing my client's interests and important crap like that (“Sorry Mr. Nusbaum, that $2,200,000.00 lawsuit will have to wait.”). I can’t help myself. Since I have been reading them so much throughout this season, I have detected certain patterns in the posts from our opponents that is growing rather tiresome. As a public service and a courtesy to our opponents, I thought I might summarize and categorize the aforementioned tiresome smack, and hopefully, save the folks at OU and Baylor the trouble.
1. “Tech Sucks”: We know, we know, you hate us, don’t respect us, etc. Fine by us…we’ll live. This category of smack ranges from the incredibly astute observation that Lubbock is flat (it is), to the claim that all of our coeds have sexually transmitted diseases (they don’t, at least not before I met them). Probably the most tiresome smack of this genre involves the fiction that people only go to Tech because they couldn’t gain admission to UT or A&M. This is a waste of time, fellow opponents, because it is not the truth. In fact, most of us never even applied to UT or A&M. In fact, we didn’t even “apply” to Tech. Most of us were actually given a choice by the tribunal of the relevant jurisdiction between going to prison, joining the Merchant Marine, or enrolling at Tech. I really thought about the Merchant Marine because I wanted to “see the World,” but Tech had better weed. Seriously, though, these claims don’t bother me. Hinging your self-worth on the approval of an Aggie or Longhorn is a risky proposition, and is akin to a wino seeking the approval of a crack whore.
2. “Tech Fans Are Thugs”: I never realized I was such a badass. Sure, I’ll knock a grandmother out of her wheelchair to steal her Social Security check. Hey, let’s not get judgmental here; have you seen the price of bourbon lately? Our opponents have us doing all types of deviltry to them when they visit the Jones, what with our hurling all manner of objects at them: batteries, foodstuffs, goalposts, pit bulls, nuclear waste, etc. You name it, we throw it. I really didn’t think these claims were true, because I haven’t witnessed this kind of stuff. But that’s probably because I’m busy outside the stadium selling government secrets to terrorists or ramming my heavy toed jackboot into the ribs of a third grader. So, I looked it up, and you know what? They’re right! I found that our not-so-esteemed alumni include Al Capone, Adolph Eichmann (he was low grade Tech scum, but Hitler was able to get into UT because he was real smart and all), Jeffrey Dahmer, Pol Pot (M.Ed.), John Hinkley, Rosie Ruiz, and the guy who invented “Clackers.” Worst of all, John Denver went there too. Given this, we’ll save you OU and Baylor folks the trouble and admit that we’re trash. Just plain old trash. Plain old 10-0 trash. Go tell somebody who gives a damn.
Note the color he's wearing. He looked better in scarlet. WRECK EM'!
3. “Tech’s ‘Gimmicky’ Offense”: Ok by me. It’s different, that’s for sure. The main difference? We’re winning. Tech finally has some semblance of a running game to help balance things out. Plus, they're playing some defense, so they're not losing the games they typically would in the pure “shoot out” days. Call it gimmicky if you like, but it’s fun to watch. You know, a few weeks ago, I tried to watch Penn State play Ohio State. I thought to myself “Let me see some real football. Some of that smash mouth, 3 plays - 9 yards and a cloud of dust stuff from the leather helmet days.” I switched the TV to some shopping channel after 30 minutes. I kept getting distracted by the lint in my belly button. By the way, I got a great deal on a blackjack and a pair of brass knuckles on QVC.
4. “Tech has no National Championships.” Our opponents like to remind us of this. A lot. Well, the UT folks like to, because they have several. I figure the OU folks might be laying this one on us soon, because they have a stinkload of them. Acknowledged. But don’t waste your time. This is a little like telling me your triple great grandmother came over on the Mayflower. What good is that going to do you now? I will admit, however, the Aggie smack in this regard is amusing, because they like to tell us about their National Championship. Note the singular, not plural, word at the end of the preceding sentence. It happened a long time ago. A very long time ago. Given the lack of temporal relevancy, this reminds me of my grandfather telling me about how, in his day, for just a nickel, you could get a hamburger, a “malted milk,” and a big house in Highland Park.
So, there you have it. Look what I’ve done for you! I’ve saved you time and innumerable keystrokes. We’ve heard it all, so don’t bother. Is there a way I can bill for this? I thought not.