the tunnel tells all…the game before the game

October 11th, 2011 at 3:32 pm by under Photo/Video, Sports

Everyone has their own pregame ritual. Walk thru any parking lot on the way tot the way to the stadium and you will run the gamete of everyone’s own idea of what makes a great pregame. The smell of brats, steaks with that special seasoning…martinis, margarita’s and beer…or iced tea…horse shoes, throwing the ball around….it’s just makes for a great time. My pregame ritual is simple….get into the stadium with the least amount of headaches and traffic even if it means getting to the game 3 hours early. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you it is best I don’t deal with traffic.

Nothing compares to the traffic inside the tunnel at the Cotton Bowl. The players, band, Bevo and Boomer Sooner all make for a busy place where a lot of things you don’t realize happen — happen. It’s one of my favorite things, just to sit in the tunnel and watch the game before the game. This week the Freshmen played like Freshmen for the first time this year and having seen the Oklahoma tactics before the game, I can see why. All things being equal — isn’t as much fun as when Stoops and Co. try to intimidate the younger horns. It’s really fun to watch because both teams do it depending on the year and the mojo they have going. Guys like Blake Gideon aren’t affected but others have to be like wow.

First, Bob Stoops comes out early to the field and that’s not normal in most years but I feel like he was trying to win pregame this year as well. The Longhorns all came out to the field after arriving in two’s and three’s….just to walk around the field like they do for every game. The Sooners all came out together like a band of intimidators in full uniform without the shoulder pads and it looked like a remake of the movie 300. They were jumping around and I could just tell by the body language of the other players that they had taken note of the situation and were tip toeing back to the locker room. Stoops made more field appearances this year than in the past three years. The Sooners definately had a plan to intimidate the FReshmen and this year it worked. It’s the game before the game and it happens every year. You can count on the Oklahoma band to stop in front of the Texas locker room and play boomer sooner loudly and Texas does the same thing. the only one who gets everyone out of the way is Bevo. By the time the teams come out of the tunnel to start the game their has already been the pregame contest.

I’d just tell Oklahoma one thing — it might have worked this year but looking into David Ash’s eyes there in the fourth quarter — he will remember it all and next year the same tactics will not work and you can bet Bob Stoops won’t be on the field near as much next year. Next year maybe you might want to get there early like I do and watch the pregame for the game that is the infamous Cotton Bowl Tunnel.

Pac 16 Schedule Plan

September 19th, 2011 at 12:05 am by under Sports


If Texas is in fact headed to the Pac 16, then how do you schedule where it still feels like  a conference and not just a league?  

Forget the 2 eight team division idea. That amounts to two conferences.  In that format you would play 7 games against your division and then, what 2 games against teams from the other division?  That would mean you could go six  years without playing any one school from the opposite division.

So here’s my solution.  Four 4 team pods, not  ground breaking idea, but there’s more.  Let’s take Texas and say that this all this shakes out like it’s being reported, Texas would be with Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.  Boom, three great rival/regional games every year.  To fill out the conference schedule, within those pods schools would be paired.  Texas/Texas Tech, OU/OSU in that pod.  The rest of the pairings are pretty obvious.   The Arizona schools with Colorado and Utah,  four California schools and the four Pacific Northwest schools, with pairings within those pods pretty geographically obvious as well.

So then all you do is schedule a game with one of the two schools from all 6 pairings outside your pod and then flip it the next year.  In this format you would play each team in the conference outside your pod every other year.  Schools would also host and play at every school outside their pod every four years.  So a recruit knows that if he stays for four years he’s going everywhere in e league at least once.
As for the championship  game, just take the two best records.  How many times have two teams from the Big 12 South been the two best teams but couldn’t meet in the title game?  In the event of a tie, there are plenty of ways to break that.

So here’s a potential Texas schedule in this format.

2012. 3 Non Conference games
OU, keep it in Dallas
Oklahoma St.
@Washington St.

@Oklahoma St
Arizona St.
@Oregon St.

2014, flip the 2012 and in 2015, flip 2013 schedule.

scrambled eggs and roses

September 13th, 2011 at 10:33 pm by under Photo/Video, Sports

I remember everything being the same walking down the tunnel at the Rose Bowl as the Longhorns were preparing to play their 2nd National Championship game on this Hollywood Stage against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The lights, splendor and it was like walking onto a Hollywood set. Roger Clemens and all of the usual former greats were there on the sidelines and then I stopped and realized something was different. Different than the Michigan game, the USC National Championship game…standing amongst the Vince Young’s and Selvin Young’s and Bo Scaife’s –was Chris Simms. I went up to him and he gave me a big hug and I told him how great it was to see him wearing burnt orange and he told me it was good to be back amongst the teammates he helped build a powerhouse program with. He said it was the first time he felt comfortable coming back to Texas. I’m sure he remembers the things that fans were saying and I’m sure if Greg Davis and Mack Brown were to visit about the whole situation, they’d tell you it was all wrong and so it really wasn’t Simm’s fault — blame it on the jail break screen. I haven’t seen Chris since that game.

Fast forward to last Saturday night and I get the feeling Texas fans are up to their old tricks. Garrett Gilbert ran off the field to an echo of boo’s –Coach Brown would later reference the boo’s and say they were for him and people can boo if they want since they paid for the ticket — only problem is, they weren’t booing Coach Brown, They were booing a great young man who lead his High School team to 2 consecutive State Titles and was a Gatorade All American. He didn’t deserve that and I could go all radical and state a case for how Texas fans sometimes don’t deserve the successful programs they have but I won’t because I know there are a ton of fans who support and realize that you don’t have to boo and hate Garrett to want to see a quarterback change. Heck, they should’ve let Case play more last year and David Ash is the real deal, but so can Garrett. Too bad you can’t take all of the fans who booed that night and visit them on their job site and see what kind of performer they are. Sure you paid for the ticket but are the same people who only boo at the politicians and never vote? I’ll bet Garrett is ready for a break from the pressure and naysayers. I wonder why they continue to call out routes for GG and not for Case? How does Jaxson all of a sudden get found with Case and not GG. I think ti’s just an interesting set of play calling. I think they all get a chance to play again and this team will need all three quarterbacks to be successful this year. I just hope the next time you see GG coming onto the field you can support him at least a little bit. Learn a lesson and stop hating which is bullying which is in my opinion unacceptable.

I mean you have to wonder what plan God has for GG going thru all of this and the criticism and booing and downright hateful things people have said. There’s got to be a plan for what will be something great for such a super person. The same can be said for Case and David. I think this intrigues me to see where this all winds up knowing what I know about how the pendulum swings…and having spent many a day with Augie Garrido….it will reveal itself at the most unexpected time and I hope that each of them are ready for whatever happens.

So I wonder a lot of things. Why highly touted Quarterbacks never seem to do well at Texas — Case and David weren’t all americans like Garrett and Chris — why does a school who is one of the winning-est programs in the history of college football always love the underdog QB. I see into the eyes of each quarterback because I’m shooting tight on them at the start of every play — I can tell you that all QB’s telegraph their plays and if they off look, they usually go opposite — even Harsin is becoming predictable in the first series of downs. There’s a reason they start off slow and it’s the predictability of it all. The reason everyone loves the back up quarterback is that if they come in and do well, all of the other players can say “see it wasn’t me” …when indeed it might very well have been.

I usually try to have scrambled eggs and jalapeno’s along with Bacon on game day. I wonder what this trip Saturday down the tunnel at the Rose Bowl for Texas’s game against UCLA will bring…will I see Chris Simms again — will it feel like that magical Hollywood set — will all of the other UT greats blanket the sidelines — or will I just look at number 7 and think — glad your still wearing the burnt orange.

what is going on here……is how good it is get back home ..for the lucky ones

September 7th, 2011 at 11:12 am by under Photo/Video, Sports

First, I hope everyone is doing theri part to give donations, supplies and whatever is needed to help the fire victims all over Central Texas. I’ve been out in it for the past 3 days and I can tell you families are devastated and the fire has swept a path of distruction like I’ve never seen. The great thing is seeing the smiles on the faces of folks yesterday as they went back into Steiner Ranch. You could see tears of joy and lots of waving from folks passing me on their way back home. I can’t imagine the feeling of those who had no home to go back to. The most rewarding thing is how strong the folks who have lost everything are. We could all learn a lesson from the folks who are resolved to build back, to keep going, a lesson for all American’s during this economic time as well.

I haven’t had a chance to keep up with news on the Big 12 but there is plenty of blame to go around. I’d like to see the Big 12 be strong and go after good teams of their own but that’s unlikely to happen. Now Baylor want’s to throw a wrench into the whole deal and I’m not sure that’s necessary. The end is here for the Big 12 and maybe the commissioner shoud’ve been stronger and the schools involved not be driven by money but the strenght of the conference.

It’s all trivial when i’m watching TV and looking at folks who are going up to a piece of paper taped on the wall in Bastrop to see if they even have a home left. It seems like greed has taken over College football and the folks all over Central Texas need our help. It’s an emotional roller coaster for all of these folks and many high school football games are postponed due to the fires.

three salutes to the firefighters, the fighters and the folks helping them fight.

More conference dominoes ready to fall

September 6th, 2011 at 9:32 pm by under Sports


There are reports out of College Station that Texas A&M has received the invitation from the SEC and will accept it on Wednesday.  So whats next?  Oklahoma appears ready to lead a charge to the Pac 12 with Oklahoma State.  Wednesday Bob Stoops said if Texas and OU were to somehow split up that he can live without the Texas-OU rivalry.  So in the span of a few weeks UT could lose rivalries with A&M and Oklahoma, assuming Texas and A&M do not agree to a non-conference series?  A lot still has to happen for that to happen, but its pretty obvious that when Texas A.D. DeLoss Dodds said nothing was off the table when it comes to the future of UT Athletics, he meant it.  While the Pac 12 has to decide if they want to expand, the SEC has to decide how long they want a 13 team league.  If they go for a 14th, seems like there is momentum for Missouri or West Virginia.

Mack Brown said on Monday that Texas will be fine but probably never imagined this might go down.

When a Superhero Has to be Human

August 23rd, 2011 at 3:26 pm by under Sports

It would be a monumental task to be a woman who covers college athletics and to not appreciate Pat Summit.

What she has done for women’s athletics, the women who cover athletics and college athletics as a whole is insurmountable. Women like her, like Texas’ Jody Conradt and Chris Plonsky, Texas Tech’s Marsha Sharp and North Carolina State’s Kay Yao also built foundations for not just their schools. They have changed the culture of college women’s sports.

I would be lying if I said they haven’t made my job easier. To be who they are, to be respected, to have to deal with being “the woman” in a previously man’s world, and most importantly, to assimilate a co-ed culture in the previously un-co-ed athletic world has helped us all. These women inspired our respect and our appreciation.

So what happens when the resident rock of women’s basketball, the dean, one of the most visible faces of women’s college athletics tells the world she isn’t made of steel?

Women’s basketball’s Superwoman, Pat Summit, has early onset dementia.

Sympathy, support and prayers came from all over the country today, from fans, colleagues and media. Sadness crossed my mind when I saw her statement and read the news.

You never want to hear someone you look up to, someone who you only caught a few glimpses of in person, but still understood her fight and her presence, isn’t at least almost perfect. But then I realized, that if Summitt, who can sit atop the list of most wins in college basketball history, who made college basketball fans all around the country either love her or hate her, and gave us a face when you think of women’s basketball, can do all of those things, then she can likely prove conventional thought wrong again.

Because Summitt may not be made of steel. She may be made of something more durable. And as she enters a battle that is far more complex than a game, she has the support of people across the country. Except this time we can all cheer on her, regardless of what team we may root for.

it’s time little brother….i’ll go this way and you go that way.

August 12th, 2011 at 4:38 pm by under Photo/Video, Sports

Enough already. This ongoing spitting match between the Texas Aggies and Texas Longhorns about the Longhorn Network amongs other things — has gotten old. I think the SEC is a good fit for the Aggies and that they would be successful in all sports. The fan base would love seeing other schools visit Kyle Field and well the other sports teams do rather well having won more National Championships than Texas the last four or five years in track, golf, tennis, etc. The Aggies need to do their thing and the Longhorns need to do their thing.

Texas doesn’t need to apologize for their network and where they have placed their athletic program financially. Everyone had a shot at their own network and quite frankly couldn’t make it happen like Texas could make it happen. BTW I’m following Mack Brown’s lead and not mentioning any names in my report until they earn a spot on my blog….The real questions is whether or not the SEC wants to grease the squeeky wheels of the Aggies?

The Aggies are a little over an hour away from a top 10 marktet in Houston. What have they done to capitalize on that? Can they say we are worth the 20 million a year to the SEC that we would demand? I think they would if they cut ties from Texas and go their own way and stop this jealousy act that no one likes. If that is where your fans want to go…then put the pedal to the metal and get after it…just don’t come crawling back.

Trust me, Texas coaches must be tired of the network cameras in their face ALL DAY LONG. Mack Brown (he’s earned a name mention on my blog btw) said it was like a SECOND JOB. that extra 15 million a year is not going to be free and the only area Texas hasn’t taken care of is the SID department. they have doubled Mack’s job load and their job load, which btw makes it hard on us.

I’m glad Texas has their own network but then again I like the Yankees, Notre Dame and USC and i’m also glad the Aggies are finally going to either put up or shut up. They have a great school (my brother and many family memebers graduated from there) so stop this inferority complex you got going on.

The Longhorns will also be fine, maybe even better. the Big 12 can bring in schools like Arkansas, LSU, Notre Dame — think big I say. I wouldn’t even be excited for the game I don’t think — well maybe cause it is fun to see Kyle Field every 2 years. Texas has set their program up for financial success for years to come and really the Network think had to have issues because it’s really the first time anyone has tried it. Blazing new trails never came easy and being the irst at something means you have the good with the bad.

so Congrats to Texas for blazing this new bold territory — now they can clean up the bad parts. Congrats to the Aggies if they go to the SEC or stay in the Big 12. the Texas Aggie borad of regents will hopefully decide this monday in a special telephone meeting which way they will go. go big and go in peach.

the only real quesiton I have is why on earth the Texas Legislature feels like they need to snif around. I think maybe some folks are best served on the sidelines and or in the stands as a spectator — so it will be a fun couple of more days.

Feelin’ the love (and the heat) at football practices

August 9th, 2011 at 1:29 pm by under Sports

Good times all around Central Texas these days as high school football teams are underway and practicing. Not just football by the way. The familiar tick of the band metronome was in the background of many of our trips around town. Cross country teams were braving the heat to get in shape. And I saw cheerleaders and drill teams all preparing for the fall as well.

Today our travels took us to Westwood and to Austin High. At Westwood we caught up with the team who went the farthest in 7-on-7 this summer out of our Central Texas schools. Just a few weeks ago they told me about how playing well in that tournament can help momentum into fall practice. Senior Ben Johnson said it’s still true. He discussed the need to focus on trying to go to the State Championship and “anything less would be a failure.” Johnson was also recognized as part of the Austin American-Statesman‘s “All CenTex Preseason Team.”

At Austin High the overwhelming sense we got from the seniors we spoke with was not only how much they were looking forward to the season, but also, the excitement of reuniting with friends. Coach L.D. Williams said this is a team who enjoys spending time with each other, and out of four players we spoke with, each one said something about the opportunity of enjoying the year with each other.

That included senior WR Cayleb Jones, who said he was looking forward to playing with his brother, junior WR Isaiah Jones. It was fun to watch those two in a formation at practice and then create some new handshakes along the way. Cayleb is a Texas commit, and said he got to go to the Longhorns’ practice yesterday. He mentioned how much he liked the new offense, and mentioned the speed and the motion he saw.

Hansen comeback on track

August 2nd, 2011 at 10:44 pm by under Sports

Brendan Hansen went cold turkey after the 2008 Olympics.  The Austin based swimmer quit for 2 1/2 years.  Now Hansen is back in the water and looking to get to London and his 3rd Olympics.  Good start, on Tuesday night Hansen won the 100 Breaststroke at the U.S. Nationals in Palo Alto, California.  Hansen finished 4th in that event in Beijing after winning Silver in 2004.  Hansen’s time of 1:00.08 which was not far off 59:57   time in China.

Let’s hear it from the Olympians

July 29th, 2011 at 2:42 pm by under Photo/Video, Sports

I thought it would be good to let Trey and Brendan tell you their story instead of me going on and on when they can do a great job.

both are set for a return to the Olympic games in London. both are former athletes from Texas and yet both have had different lives the past 4 years. Trey hasn’t stopped training and feels like the best is yet to come for him in the decathlon…much like 4 time Olympic medalist Brendan Hansen feels his best days are ahead of him — all after taking almost 3 years off from competitive swimming.