Showing posts with label football. Show all posts
Showing posts with label football. Show all posts

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sports Watch: Chicago Cubs and UT Longhorns

Well, this weekend and today have turned out to be just an amazing few days in sports-watching.

This is the first time I have seen Coach Strong smile in a calendar year.

Cubs Win!

I didn't grow up watching baseball.  I started watching it with Jamie's mom.  I think we started watching ball when Jamie was in the hospital and then just because, hey, baseball.  It wasn't my Old Man who taught me the rules of baseball, it was Jamie's mom when I was 20.  They were kind of the team I liked, anyway, because as a kid I'd watch them on WGN mostly because I thought Harry Caray was hilarious.  I was an adult before I found out - literally everyone thinks Harry Caray is hilarious.

Later, when the Cubs played the Diamondbacks when we lived in Phoenix, we'd always go to at least one game, and I really regret only ever making one Spring Training game, because it wasn't all that far from our house.  And, we did make it to a Cubs game or two at Minute Maid Park before the Astros changed leagues.  I'm still trying to plan a vaycay in Chicago next year to make it to a couple of games.  I've only been to Wrigley once, but it was incredible.  I like the new mega-stadiums, too, but seeing the Cubbies at Wrigley was just a blast.

Anyway, the Cubs have been just entirely terrible for most of the last 100 years.  The fanbase, as near as I can tell, has some weird, masochistic thing going on where you learn the virtues of patience and eternal hope, because you never know when this year might be your year.  And, for Cubs fans, it just never is.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Univ. of Texas Longhorns Lose another heartbreaker (to Oklahoma State)

There's really no other way to say it.

This game was an exercise in frustration from all sides.  UT's offense was held to field goals and not much else.  The defense's secondary did much better than last week, eventually, and Vance Bedford's defensive squad also put two touchdowns on the board.

But the reffing was simply awful all around, impacting both teams, the mystery moving puzzle of last week's offense that seemed like the start of a bold new era was stopped at every turn by OSU's defense.  Jerrod Heard had some good plays, but the offensive line support he enjoyed last week seemed to evaporate and he showed he doesn't really see the defense all that well when he's in the pocket.

Nick Rose was actually really fine this week.  Did great.  Kudos to that kid for bouncing back when a lesser kicker would have been a mess.  Nope, that we left to our punter who, apparently, was thinking about a final, his date the night before, chicken nuggets, something, anything other than taking the snap on the 4th down and getting rid of the f'ing ball.

We'd been up for most of the game, a position no Texas fan really expected to find the team in, so the crappy way in which we lost the game was more than a smidge painful.  Especially as the refs called back two big TD plays on ticky-tacky penalties, called a nonsensical defensive holding call that impacted the 4th quarter play like no one's business (and was clearly offensive holding, you dumb zebra), called a penalty on Charlie Strong for protesting the shitty reffing.  Oh, and called a fumble for OSU when it was pretty clear that it was recovered by UT.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Heartbreak, thy Name is a Missed Extra Point - Cal beats Texas 45-44

This was a great game.  Go to hell, anyone who says otherwise, because for the first time in a long time I saw a Texas team that showed up all game long and didn't require crazy luck in order to win games.  No, we didn't win, and the defense gave up a lot of points, particularly going weak for some reason in the 3rd quarter.

But Texas put 44 points on the board against Cal, and if you'd asked me two weeks ago about the score for tonight's game, I don't know if I'd have put us past 24 points.  Amazing what a few coaching changes can do.  The offensive line seems (and this may be an optical illusion, but I'll take it) to be able to hold a bit longer, giving Heard more time in the pocket.  The offense also seems more confident, perhaps because the offense has been simplified, something I have no eye for, but I do notice when plays succeed far more often.  And, holy cow, does Jerrod Heard look fantastic.  Our redshirt Freshman quarterback was playing at a level we haven't seen in a long, long time, a level that, when I'd watch other teams and then watch UT, you were kind of forced to ask "now, why don't we have a quarterback that can do that?  How is that so?".

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Rice at Texas Home Opener - UT wins 42-28

After last week's disastrous performance against Notre Dame in South Bend, Texas fans were wondering how Charlie Strong would answer the challenges facing the team with the tools he's got on hand.  The reality of it is that, once that first game starts, it's not like he can go get new players or coaches until the end of the season.  It's a sane situation made crazy by the magical thinking of the sports press who still act as if coaches are grown ups, we're all kids and they will somehow produce magical results to kiss away our fears.

Jerrod Heard freaks us all out by actually adjusting to the situation on the field

Look, UT won this game 42-28.  But, as much of an academic and scholarly powerhouse as Rice University might be, no one has ever accused Rice of being in contention of a national football title.  They're on the schedule out of habit on both sides, because UT needs a team to play to work out some kinks, and because Rice gets some TV dollars out of the deal.

For once, I really do think UT was able to use the Rice game to sort some things out and to get a better feel for where we need to do some work.  The Notre Dame game was only a chance to witness the obvious lesson of "you need to work on looking like a Division I team."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Slaughter in South Bend: The Longhorns Go Down in Flames 38-3 to Notre Dame

UT Football has been having a rough patch the past few years.  It was bad enough two seasons ago that we saw the dismissal of Coach Mack Brown, the same Coach who took UT to two National Championship games, one of which we won!  It was a good night, I promise you.

We played our second National Championship game under Brown as recently as 2010, but that didn't go super well.  Alabama.  What are you gonna do?

But after that, the steam went out of the UT program, and even before the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season, it was clear Brown was on his way out.  We recruited Coach Charlie Strong from Louisville, a place where Strong - in 3 seasons - had found tremendous success.  Thus far, none of that has rubbed off on Texas football.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

UT Football Begins

Normally I spend a lot of time after July reading up on UT football and watching and reading local sports news to get caught up in order to be ready for the season.  Not this year.  Work and other factors came into play, and I just didn't think about football too much until now, as we roll into the first week of NCAA football.

I am reminded of Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, who did not play the drums unless he was on tour or recording, and reportedly had to remember how to play every time The Who decided it was time to go back to work.  Also, he put explosives in his drums on The Smothers Brothers.  Hilarious.

Anyway, while I am not putting explosives anywhere (that you know about) I am also in need of my annual "oh, yeah.  Football." relearning of everything I usually know by week two or three of the previous year.  This year I didn't even get a chance to pick up my usual Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine and do some reading as we head toward hot dog roasting and a lot of excuse making for our running game.

Coach Brown sacrifices a freshman to appease the football gods in hopes of a winning season

I was talking to Jake, who is a huuuuuge Oregon Ducks fan, and realized...  man, I have no idea what's going on just at UT, but anywhere.  I really need to catch up.  BTW, I have high hopes for Jake's Ducks again this year, if USC isn't too much of a problem.

And, of course, everyone in the SEC (but TAMU) looks pretty spooky once again.

All that to say, I am thrilled it's once again time for College Football, and especially UT Football.

Tonight my mighty Longhorns go up against the Cowboys of Wyoming.  It's a bit rougher than a match-up against Rice or other teams we've played in the past, but it'll also tell us where we're at a whole lot earlier this year than in past seasons.

Looking at the UT depth chart puts a smile on my face as familiar names populate the starting line-up, and we have a chance to see what all three of our quarterbacks can do this year.  Jeffcoat and Okafor are back on defense, so that's always a good thing.

I can read.  I can try to catch up!  I CAN KNOW THINGS.

This year its pretty clear my team went to go see the Chris Nolan Batman flick, as our slogan this year is "Rise".

Also, I need a video this inspirational to watch about showing up for work at the library. It would certainly make it seems like pushing papers and making presentations was a lot more important.

Anyway, Longhorns...  get your horns up!  It's going to be a great year.

Now let's get out there and eat too many hotdogs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Friday Night Lights Wraps It Up

The saddest thing about Friday Night Lights will always be the millions of people who didn't tune in to FNL. and missed one of the last great hour-long dramas on network television.  And, of course, there were the many folks who quizzically pondered why they should care about a show about high school football.

Was Friday Night Lights about football?  Oh, most absolutely.  But for some reason that seems to be an issue where watching shows about cops and lawyers and doctors (folks none of us really want to deal with), are prime-time gold.  Maybe its telling that Glee cannot be stopped no matter how been at a dead sprint to reach far past mediocre since its initial brilliant pilot.

Heather Havrilesky writes about it better than I ever will over at the NYT

At Dillon High, no student ever had a single zit (well, maybe Landry)

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Friday Night Lights had the single best pilot of a TV show I can think of.  It was also one of the best acted shows on TV for 4 of its 5 seasons (that second season they actually veered towards becoming a standard-issue prime-time soap, and it made the show mostly unwatchable).  I was in high school drama, not football*, but FNL always felt more like high school than anything I saw elsewhere.  And the characters- high schoolers, teachers, coaches and parents - always felt grounded and real enough, and not the absent parents of teen-shows, the cartoonish teachers of most high-school shows, etc...  When you guys were recommending me a thousand different shows, this was the one I was psychically recommending to you, but I figured if you weren't watching now, you weren't going to start.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Go Ducks!

I am rooting for the Oregon Ducks in the 2010-2011 BCS  Championship Game.  That's just how I roll.

That two-point conversion was just kind of awesome, btw.

Just wanted to make that clear here before the end of the game.

For historical purposes, when I'm looking back at posts, they were playing Auburn, about which I have no particular feelings, positive or negative.

post game edit:   You can't say Oregon didn't give Auburn a good game or that they didn't have a great season.  Way to go, Ducks! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

In 1940, you could look hungover and still be Super
JimD sent me this picture from The Retroist.  Absolutely great picture of the first Superman float, debuting just a year and a half after Superman's first appearance in comics.  I absolutely love this picture, partially because I'd never seen this balloon before, and partially because, well...  20th Century America.  She had her moments.

I am unsure of the frequency of posting as we move into the US's Thanksgiving Week.  I hope that you find a table with friends and family.  Give thanks for what you've got.  Eat some appropriate meal (I am getting hungry just thinking about turkey and cranberries), and try not to get into a full-blown political debate with the in-laws.

For more on the TRUTH behind Thanksgiving, you can read Sunday's column.

And, of course, on Thanksgiving night I'll be watching the mighty UT Longhorns battle the lowly Aggies of Texas A&M on television while they duke it out a few miles up the road from us at League HQ at UT Austin's Memorial Stadium.

Who knows, we could win a game...

Because elsewhere in 1940:

Behind this lovely/aggressive co-ed, you can see my family's coat of arms.
As per the traditional Thanksgiving match-up in 1940 the UT Longhorns went up against the Texas A&M Aggies, the reigning National Champions.  Knowing the task before his team, the legendary Coach Bible distributed the following poem to his team:

"It Couldn't Be Done" by Edgar Guest

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That 'cannot be done,' and you'll do it.

And thus:
Noble Doss and the Impossible Catch
Thanks to a nigh-magical pass and catch, UT beat Texas A&M 7-0, upsetting their feared rivals.

From the Statesman:
Less than one minute into the game, Texas halfback Noble Doss made an over-the-shoulder, eyes-shut grab that put the ball on the Aggies 1-yard-line, setting up Pete Layden's touchdown plunge. Texas then grimly held on for a 7-0 win.
That's roughly 59 minutes of a defense deciding that they were going to hold the line.  And that is awesome.  And something, surely, UT's 2010 squad could learn from.

But, you know, no matter how tough it looks, I have to have faith that by miracle, mistake, hook or by crook, the Longhorns could take the day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oh, also in September - UT FOOTBALL

We now interrupt the ceaseless line of pop-culture and comics non-sense to divert to one of my favorite topics: College Football is coming!

While I am not disappointed that the Big 12 did not get cracked up and bought and sold (and it seems that, really, the Big 12 Illuminati pulled everyone's strings to get what they wanted all along), we don't know what's going to happen with the Big 12 over the next couple of years.

It's a new year for UT football. The team of Shipley and McCoy has graduated, and we lost some great defensive talent. On local TV here in Austin, I think coach Mack Brown looks a little stressed. He seems to be trying to remind the press that he doesn't have a magical winning machine, and that the players are not the same crew we had and they're going to grow, just like McCoy's squad did over their tenure.

Last year we saw QB Garrett Gilbert as a freshman have to fill in for McCoy in the Championship, and he actually performed pretty darn well. If he plays like that (and continues to improve), and he has some receivers who won't drop the ball...

Honestly, I've no predictions, but maybe you do? SHARE.

I realized that as I was re-reading my note about Intergalactic Nemesis , September 4th sounded like a familiar date. Well, UT kicks off at 2:30pm against the Mighty Rice Owls on September 4th. If you're a fan of football, you're more than welcome to come on over, help me cook up a hot dog and we can drink a cocktail or three.

That may mean I don't make the show, by the way.

Anyhow, Longhorns... Get your horns up!