Saturday, September 16, 2006


I have been a fan of the University of Oklahoma for 35 years. My dad and his dad were fans of OU before I was even thought of. I have watched countless games, seen 4 of 7 national championships, scads of conference championships, and numerous All-Americans and NFL draft picks. I have celebrated great wins and agonized over ugly defeats. The Sooners snatched defeat from the jaws of victory today in Eugene, Oregon, as the Oregon Ducks won on the scoreboard, 34-33. I am still disgusted. Out of all the OU losses I have seen in 35 years, only three come close: the late loss at USC in 1981 which led to a stretch of mediocrity unseen in the Switzer era; the tie against Texas in 1984, when two questionable calls gave Texas the opportunity to tie the Sooners 15-15; and last year's debacle in Lubbock, caused by questionable officiating which allowed Texas Tech to win. Today's game had more on the line, as there was still a national championship on the table this early in the season. There is also a Heisman Trophy on the line, as Adrian Peterson gained 211 yards today alone, on his way to probably becoming OU's all-time leading rusher. I'm disgusted by the whole thing.

First, on the officiating: The onside kick late in the game was obviously touched by an Oregon player before it traveled 10 yards. Even the ABC announcers agreed with that. The officials blew the call, then the replay officials screwed up the call even more. These officials were looking for the replay officials to do their jobs for them, and the replay official did not oblige.

Second, on the result: As I watched Garrett Hartley line up to try the final field goal attempt, I thought that it was great that he kicked four field goals up to that point, but I also thought: "We shouldn't put him in the position to kick four field goals". The Sooners got stuffed twice inside the Oregon 10, including the series that put us up 33-20. When we went up by 13 instead of 17, I became a little afraid, because it left a cracked window of opportunity. Sure enough, the Ducks took advantage of it. You have to knock the other team out. Oregon was down, but not out. At the end, they had one of the biggest wins in the history of their school.

Third, on the implications: Adrian Peterson is awesome. He played his tail end off, only for his team to lose. 211 yards in a winning effort does a lot more for the Heisman hopes. This team needed this win to get its swagger back, something left in Miami at the 2005 Orange Bowl after being horsewhipped by USC. All that resulted is even more doubt. This team could run the table the rest of the way, or could lose two or three more games.

There is still a lot to play for. A national championship is probably not in the cards this year. However, this team has not won a Big XII championship in two years. There is still a conference championship there for the taking, especially as mediocre as the conference is this year. I am not a "national championship or bust" fan. We have 7 national championships in 110 years of football. That would be 103 miserable seasons, for those so inclined. Sure, a National Championship would be nice, but that takes luck as well as skill. We were unlucky today, and made mistakes that put us in the position to lose the game. This team needs to play a complete game, and to let the cards fall where they may.

Friday, September 15, 2006

NFL Picks-Week 2

Last week: 9-7. Once again, it's better to pick straight up, instead of against the spread.

This week's games:

Washington at Dallas: Clinton Portis is out, according to coach Joe Gibbs. Bad for my fantasy team, and bad for the Redskins. Pick: Dallas
Buffalo at Miami: The 'Phins are improved. Buffalo's not awful, but they're not great. Pick: Miami
Carolina at Minnesota: The Vikes are coming off of perhaps the surprise of the week, winning in the Monday Night extravaganza at Washington. Carolina is a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. Tough pick. I'll take the Vikings at home.
Cleveland at Cincinnati: The Battle of Ohio, Part I. Cincinnati is good. Cleveland is not. Cincy has uglier uniforms, but a much better team. Pick: Cincinnati
Detroit at Chicago: Detroit is playing outside on grass. Da Bears whipped the Packers last week. Not a good combo for Motown. Pick: Da Bears
Houston at Indianapolis: Lock of the week. Indy is good. Houston is not. Indy wins with half their brains tied behind their back.
New Orleans at Green Bay: The Saints open with two road games, but they are against sorry teams. Only question is: Are the Saints good enough to beat two sorry teams in a row? I'm not sure about that. Give me Green Bay.
New York Giants at Philadelphia: NFC East slugfest. Philly is on the way back, as Donovan McNabb has a new best friend: Donte Stallworth. The Eagles fly. Pick: Philly.
Oakland at Baltimore: Or is this Los Angeles vs. Cleveland? The Raiders are terrible. They just plain suck. They made the Chargers look like the '85 Bears last week. The Ravens have a much better defense than the Chargers. Lock of the week #2. Pick: Baltimore
Tampa Bay at Atlanta: The Bucs laid a big goose egg last week. The Falcons at least scored against Carolina. I lean toward the home field here. Pick: Atlanta.
Arizona at Seattle: Who would have ever thought this would be one of the better games of this or any week? The Cardinals are much, much improved. That won't be enough against the Seahawks. Pick: Seattle
St. Louis at San Francisco: The Rams opened with a win last week. The Niners appear to have bottomed out, but still aren't that great. Pick: St. Louis
Kansas City at Denver: The Chiefs have quarterback issues, big time. The Broncos failed to show up last week in St. Louis. They'll show up in Denver. Pick: Denver
New England at New York Jets: The teacher (Belichick) vs. the pupil (Mangini). The Pats are slipping, but have enough to handle the Jets. Pick: New England
Tennessee at San Diego: Tennessee is still rebuilding. The Chargers are pretty decent. Pick: San Diego
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville: Monday night in Jacksonville. Sounds like a trap for the defending world champions. Pick: Jacksonville

Thursday, September 14, 2006

College Picks-Week 2

This week shapes up as the best set of games so far this year. It is the highlight of the non-conference schedule for some, and the SEC has some high-powered conference games this week.

Last Week: 18-2 Season: 34-6
There were a lot of easy games to pick last week. It'll be hard to go 18-2 again. I would have gotten creamed picking against the spread, though.

Oklahoma at Oregon: It's in the Northwest, and Oregon is a tough place to play. However, I'm going to make the homer pick of the week and pick the Sooners.
Nebraska at USC: Nebraska's not quite ready for prime time. I don't think the Trojans will embarrass them, though. USC.
Texas Tech at TCU: The Horned Frog Super Bowl. The first time two ranked teams meet in a regular season game at TCU since 1984. Give me the purple Kool-Aid, and give me the Frogs.
Kansas at Toledo: The Friday night special. The Jayhawks stunk up the field last week against Louisiana-Monroe. Toledo is a good team, as they are every year. Give me Max Klinger, and give me holy Toledo.
Iowa State at Iowa: The 'Clones have had the Hawks' number the last couple of years. Drew Tate is back for Iowa. Look for the Hawkeyes to get over the hump. Pick: Iowa.
Marshall at Kansas State: This is a tough one. Marshall got creamed by West Virginia, and beat Hofstra. K-State should have lost to Illinois State, and thumped Florida Atlantic. I'll take the home field and K-State.
Baylor vs. Washington State at Seattle: Both teams are coming off wins over inferior opponents. This is one Baylor has to have if they want to go to a bowl. However, I'll take Wazzu.
Texas at Rice: Puhleeze. Rice has been more competitive than expected, but this is Texas. Pick: Longhorns.
Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma State: Another school trying to join the Big 12? This is Howard Schnellenberger's return to Oklahoma. He was a failed bit then, and it'll be a failed bit now. Pick: OSU.
Arizona State vs. Colorado: Why don't the Buffs schedule Chadron State? Pick: Fighting Sun Devils.
Missouri at New Mexico: This is the type of game the Tigers are known to lose. New Mexico is looking for some pride and respect, as they have a loss to Portland State on their record. I'll go with Mizzou, though.
Texas A&M vs. Army at San Antonio: There will be a great halftime show, especially if Army brings their Cadet band. The game won't be so good. Army vs. Terrorists: Army. Army vs. Aggies: A&M.
LSU at Auburn: Tigers vs. Tigers. Lots of people like Auburn to do something special this year. I'll pick them this week.
Florida at Tennessee: Are the Vols back this year? I don't know. I'll take the Gators this week.
Michigan at Notre Dame: The networks love this one. If it were up to NBC and ABC, these two teams would play each other every week. Notre Dame is as good as advertised this year, unfortunately. Pick: Irish.
Miami at Louisville: We're looking at a Miami meltdown, and Louisville is the real deal. Pick: The Ville.
Clemson at Florida State: The Noles almost laid a huge egg last week against Troy. Clemson blew one at Boston College. In the latest Bowden Bowl, the old man wins. Pick: FSU
Maryland at West Virginia: Thursday night game. West Virginia rolls on. Pick: Mountaineers.
Michigan State at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh is a sleeper in the Big East. The Spartans have a coach on the hot seat. The game is in the Burgh, and I'll take the Burgh.
East Texas Baptist at Howard Payne. Battle of the Baptists. Give me Howard's Pain. Pick: Howard Payne.

Monday, September 11, 2006

NFL Comments

I watched parts of yesterday's NFL action. Actually, I watched Yahoo GameTracker and StatTracker as much as I watched the real thing. Honestly, right now I care more about my two fantasy leagues than the real-life results in the NFL. That will change later in the year, as teams become more defined, and the playoff picture becomes clearer.

I know the Colts are still pretty good, because I was beaten in a fantasy league this week by a team that had 4 Colts plus the Colts' defense. That's 5 out of 8 available positions.

I'm glad we didn't get that Seattle-Detroit snoozefest on Fox down here. 9-6. Ugh!

Perhaps I spoke too soon in calling the Buffalo Bills awful. They should have beaten the Patriots yesterday. The last team I slammed like that was in 2002, when, on a fantasy football message board, I called the Patriots putrid after week 2. They went on to win their first Super Bowl that year. I doubt if the Bills do the same thing this year, but they weren't awful yesterday.

I missed the second half of the Cowboys-Jaguars game yesterday, so I can't comment a whole lot. The Cowboys played great in the first quarter, then went in the tank. The Jags may be pretty good again this year, though.

I bet Brett Favre is wishing he hadn't come back to play this year. The Pack got sacked yesterday by their hated archrival, da Bears.

Reggie Bush looked pretty decent yesterday for the Saints. It's hard to tell if it was him or if it was the opponent, but I'm glad he's on my fantasy team.

That's it for now.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Big XII Rankings

Texas really made my job harder after their performance against The Ohio State University. As a result, no one deserves to be ranked #1 this week. No one has earned it yet. This conference is so unimpressive at this point. OU and Nebraska go to the West Coast to defend the conference's honor this week.

(tie) 2. Texas. They still have more talent than everyone else, but they have to prove themselves all over again. Just like in the old days before Vince, Mack Brown is going to have to coach. That will be dangerous for them when they hit Fair Park in October. Back to earth for Bevo.
(tie) 2. Nebraska. The moment of truth is this week as the Children of the Corn hit SoCal for their game with USC. They've whipped two teams from Louisiana so far. This is an improvement over the first two years of Bill Callahan's tenure, when they struggled against similar teams.
3. Oklahoma. They looked pathetic in the first half against Washington. They looked good in the 3rd quarter, and pulled away from the Huskies. They'll need to play well Saturday at Oregon to win.
4. Texas Tech. Shaky overtime win at UTEP, but a win is a win. They have a big trip to Fort Worth this week.
5. Missouri. They Showed Me a little bit in beating Ole Miss like a rented mule.
6. Texas A&M. Halfway through their creampuff non-conference schedule.
7. Iowa State. Not great, but not bad, either.
8. Kansas. How do you barely beat Louisiana-Monroe? Not a good night for the Fighting Manginos.
9. Baylor. Beat Northwestern State like a drum.
10. Oklahoma State. Moving through their creampuffs easier than I thought they would. They had much less trouble with Arkie State than I expected.
11. Kansas State. Skunked Florida Atlantic.
12. Colorado. Will they win a game? The proud and mighty have fallen fast.