Friday, June 6, 2014

American Links - Following the AAC

Been a while since I posted anything.  I try to stay on top of things going on in the American Athletic Conference. 

Big weekend ahead for the AAC as Houston and Louisville play in NCAA baseball super regionals.  Houston travels to Austin to play the Texas Longhorns and Louisville hosts Kennesaw St. for berths in the College World Series.

Even though Navy doesn't join for football until 2015, it's never to soon to get acquainted with a future foe.  Eleven Warriors brings an interview with Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo.

For what it's worth Fan IQ is putting out game by game predictions.  They predict a 4-8 season for Temple.

 South Florida has a new baseball coach.

UConn lost it's leading rusher for the year due to team rule violations.

Football.com lists the Top 5 AAC Linebackers and Top 5 AAC Coaches.

From the BCSNN, a list of Fifteen UC Bearcats Land on National Preseason Lists.

Tulsa starting CB Darnell Walker is dismissed from team for undisclosed reasons.

 

Friday, May 2, 2014

New American Frontier - Way To Early Opening Week Spreads

Yes, I know it's a little to early for football spreads but it's a slow week and I want content for the blog.  I didn't say anything about quality right now...there will be time enough for that as we get closer to football season.

Courtesy of Jim and Sherri's Home Page (a less than inspiring website name), comes the document containing odds for the opening weekend of college football.  I couldn't find it on the website when I looked for an actual link.  I took it from C-USA message board over at NCAABBS.  I told you I scour message boards for AAC news....I'm AAC news starved.

For opening week, listed below are the AAC spreads:
  • Vanderbilt (-17) vs. Temple
  • Brigham Young (-11.5) @ Connecticut
  • Ohio State (-9.5) vs. Navy (I included Navy as a future member)
  • Central Florida (-4) vs. Penn State
  • Houston (-12.5) vs. Texas-San Antonio
  • Tulsa (-10) vs. Tulane
  • Baylor (-23.5) vs. Southern Methodist
Only one conference game on the opening weekend with Tulsa and Tulane playing their first game as AAC teams.  Tulane beat Tulsa 14-7 in New Orleans last season.  Interesting to see Tulsa is a ten point favorite this year considering Tulsa was really bad last year and Tulane is on the upswing.

There is real opportunity for AAC teams to make some noise opening weekend.  Unfortunately I don't see any upsets happening week one.  You can't say AAC teams don't back down from a challenge with Vandy, BYU, Ohio St, Penn St. and Baylor on the first week. 

If I were a betting man, on this slate, I'd take Vandy, BYU, Ohio St., UCF, UH, Tulane and Baylor.





Thursday, May 1, 2014

New American Frontier - Tulane to Big 12, SB Nation AAC Count Up, Orlando Sentinel Count Up, Houston vs Central Florda baseball, AAC Blogs

Tulane to Big 12
I came across an interesting blog entry on the College Expansion blog I follow.  Under the entry titled Neaux Tigers, blogger kclifton makes out a very hypothetical situation where LSU leaves the SEC for the Big 12.  kclifton even states it is a highly unlikely scenario.

LSU feels slighted that the SEC will establish permanent cross division games.  LSU is stuck with Florida.  LSU's AD Joe Alleva feels that set up is unfair and biased.

Alleva has a valid point.  To be fair, the SEC, like other conferences, should rotate cross division games.  It makes no sense to tie two teams together.  It already happens with in division.  Mix up the competition with the other division. 

How does this relate the AAC?  In the article, kclifton writes that the Big 12 should go ahead and sweep up Tulane also just to lock up the state of Louisiana.  In case he hasn't notice, LSU has the state of Louisiana locked already.  They don't fear Tulane. Nor should they.

SB Nation Count Up
SB Nation continues its count up of college football by conference.  Right now they are on the AAC.  So far previewed are
Orlando Sentinel Count Up
The Orlando Sentinel does a count up ranking all FBS teams from 128-1.  Currently the count is on #120 Purdue.  So far only one AAC team has cracked the list:
Another big series in AAC baseball as Houston hosts UCF for a three game series.  The Coogs were a top ten team flirting with a national seed but a sweep at the hands of Louisville and a few losses along the way have brought down the Cougars.  Houston is still looking at hosting regional and a win in this series will go a long way in bolstering their chances.
 
UCF comes in leading the AAC standings and as the hottest team, in my opinion, in the Conference. 
 
AAC Blogs
One of the reasons I started the New American Frontier blog is that I'm AAC news starved.  ESPN.com gave pretty good coverage of Big East football in its College Football Nation Big East blog.  With the death of Big East football, ESPN let coverage of the remaining teams die.  Gone were correspondents dedicated to AAC football or the lunch time links. 
 
Aside from ESPN, SB Nation had a pretty active Big East page called Big East Coast Bias.  Obviously it is no longer covering the remnants of Big East football or the additions.
 
So I've been scouring the web for dedicated AAC coverage. Right now about my only good source for gathering AAC news is on various message boards.  I finally book marked several message boards dedicated to either the conference or schools.  My hope is to go through them and when I find links and news, to post here.
 
Eventually I'd love to have more people from other schools involved to write articles, previews and opinion pieces.  My dream is to get coverage on SB Nation and have a place where all AAC fans can congregate for news and opinions.
 
While not on the level of ESPN or SB Nation for resources, the one consistent blog for AAC coverage I enjoy is from The Best College Sports Network aka BCSNN.  BCSNN's AAC Blog is actually updated unlike other websites that contain a dedicated AAC blog.  It is run by C. Austin Cox and he appears to enjoy covering the AAC.  He's also quiet witty and funny.  The blog is worth a follow.
 
Another good follow is Sean OLeary over at Quora.  While not a dedicated AAC blog, OLeary is a UConn fan, I believe he is, and a general supporter of the AAC.  He also writes good insightful articles on other sports too.  He writes good opinions supported by facts. I enjoy his works.
 
Signing off for the night...
CoogR4Life
#AmericanRising
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Silver Brings the Hammer to Sterling

New NBA commish Adam Silver swung his Thor-like hammer down on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  He slammed him with a $2.5 million fine, banned him for life from NBA and is seeking to have the NBA Board of Governors force a sale of the Clippers.

To which I say, OUTSTANDING, PVT. PYLE!

I really didn't think the new commish had it in him to make such a quick and unilateral decision.  He had to though.  Sterling already had a history of alleged racist incidents.  This time he was caught on tape and embarrassed the NBA.  He insulted a major demographic of NBA followers and fans in general. 

To me the only injustice is that Sterling will still profit from the incident.  He will add the final sale price of the Clippers to his $1.9 billion bank account.  A more fitting punishment, to me, is force the sell of the team and refund Sterling the original price he paid for the team.  With the profits from the sell, donate it to charity and let the owners pocket some of the change.

WHAT??? Let the owners pocket some of the blood money????  Yes and I'll tell you why.  It's probably the only way the owners would agree to such a drastic move.  Otherwise, they'd have no reason to force such a drastic move on Sterling.  He's still one of the brotherhood.  The rest of the brotherhood just wants him to go away even if it means he pockets millions.  So let them, to use a mob term, have a taste of the profit...wet their beaks...that should be incentive to hurt Sterling where it counts.

Why it didn't happen?  The lawsuit that would drag on for years and cost millions of dollars.  So the owners will be content to let Sterling ride off into the sunset, out of the league and pocket his hundreds of millions.  Incident over and that crazy Uncle Donnie will be crated away in the attic and the owners will pretend it never happened. 

The New American Frontier

#AmericaRising
America Rising is the battle cry of the newest athletic conference in the NCAA FBS division.  A cobbled together league from the shards of the Big East and C-USA.  The former Big East was raided into oblivion and the smaller Catholic basketball schools took the name with them and moved on.

What happened in the first year of the AAC?  Success and expectations exceeded.  Central Florida defeated Baylor in a BCS is bowl.  UConn won the NCAA Championship (and Justin Bieber is out there still looking for a Yukon hat). 

Despite the success in the first year, the effects of realignment continue to ripple through the league.  Gone this summer are Rutgers and Louisville for the Big 10 and ACC respectively.  UConn and Cincinnati have made no bones about wanting to move to a Power 5 conference.  No doubt, any team in the American will make the jump should one of the big money leagues call.  My own Houston Cougars would take say yes before the Big 12 finished the question.  No doubt about it.

For the time being though, the league is here and the current members need to make the best of it.  So far so good. While I don't see a banner year like this year for the American, I see some sustained success.  Which can only be a good thing. 

I think the main goal for the conference is to make the best of the situation.  Maybe they won't ever reach the stratosphere of the Power 5 but they can strive to be the next best thing.  They definitely need to distinguish themselves from the other 4 lower tier conferences.  Other than the Mountain West, the American has no real competition for the title of "Best of the Rest."  Right now the American, based on BCS and NCAA title win, can make that claim.  Next football season the race begins all over again.

One, I'd like to start blogging again on my sports blog.  The Houston Cougars have always been my college passion since I started attending in 1987 and receive my degree there.  Now I'd like to expand into The American Athletic Conference and watch it move forward. 

Part of my inspiration is the lack of a dedicated blog on SB Nation.  I love what they have built there and maybe in the future if I can get some help from fans of other AAC schools, I'd love to have a dedicated SB Nation blog.  But I have to start somewhere. 

For now, I'd like to subtitle this section of my blog The New American Frontier.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

The Houston Dynamo returned to the friendly confines of BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night follow a disastrous two game roadie.

The hometown lads held their own in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League against Santos Laguna at home in a last second thrilling 1-0 win.  Unfortunately the return leg to Santos ended the CCL run in a 3-0 defeat.

Dynamo then went on the road to the hated Dallas Burn (yeah I'm not calling them FC Dallas).  After spotting the Burn a 2-0 lead, the Men in Orange roared back to even things up at 2-2.  In the closing minutes it looked like the Dynamo would salvage a point on the road.  The Burn stole a win with a last second goal and the Dynamo limped home with two loses.

From the get go, Houston dominated Vancouver all over the field.  Possession, shots and corners all favored Houston.  The only problem is the Dynamo failed to find the back of the net. 

Unfortunately the Whitecaps managed to put one in the old onion bag.  I was screaming at the Dynamo for a first half goal for a change.  I didn't mean it for the Whitecap to score though.  I'll give credit where credit is due.  Darren Mattocks earned every bit of that goal in the 36th minuted.  He made a beautiful move against the defense and blasted a shot from about 20 feet out.  Dynamo keeper Tally Hall didn't have a chance.

It's not like the Dynamo didn't have chances to score.  Warren Creavalle had three chances in the first half to net goals.  All three shots ended up in the seats.  At this point I'm lamenting how much the team misses Brad Davis.

Fortunes and opportunities changed in the second half.  If it's one thing the Dynamo have it's a never surrender attitude.  For a while I thought they looked rattled in the first half after the 'Caps goal.  They gathered themselves and came out determined in the second half.

In the 55th minute the Dynamo equalized.  In what seemed a slow but wonderfully developed play, Rico Clark put the ball where only Giles Barnes could reach it.  Barnes out jumped two defenders on the perfectly placed ball and headed it in for the tying goal.  Watching the goal on replay and it developed much faster and the pass was harder than I realized.  Great team effort on the entire sequence.

For the game winner, the Dynamo struck with their bread and butter...the set piece.  On a corner in the 62nd minutes, Adam Moffat put one in front of the goal that Will Bruin appeared to make contact on.  The ball didn't go in but it was there for the taking.  Creavalle this time made sure he didn't miss.  As he went to the ground he poked it in and the Dynamo went up 2-1.

The Whitecaps didn't go quietly into the night though.  In the end Hall stood big in goal and made saves.  The Dynamo were also beneficiaries of a little luck.  Mattock almost knotted up the game but his howling free kick bounced off BOTH posts and the good guys unbeaten home streak remained in tact.

Official highlights:
Creavalle's game winner from video taken with my phone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Houston Cougars Recruiting - QB John O'Korn

Crown Jewel of the 2013 Class
Without a doubt, St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) quarterback John O'Korn is the most popular recruit for the Houston Cougars.  UH message board posters herald him as the next quarterback in the line of Andre Ware, David Klingler, Chuck Clements, Kevin Kolb and Case Keenum.

In the post-Keenum era, the Coogs fell hard last season with redshirt sophomore David Piland.  Piland struggled to get any consistency all year and ended the season on the bench behind former walk on Crawford Jones.  The official word is that Piland was injured but speculation was he was benched.  Further internet rumors state that Piland will not be the start next season.  That all remains to be seen.

Adding fuel to the fire Piland rumors, the Cougars went out and recruited Billy Cosh from the JUCO ranks.  He played for Butler Community College in Kansas.  Also sitting on the Cougar roster are QBs Bram Kohlhausen and Rex Dausin. 

Heading in the Big East in 2013 things were looking thin for the Coogs at QB.  Again, only rumors, but word was Piland was quitting football and Kohlhausen was transferring unless given a fair shot to start.  If both left the Cougars were left with only Dausin at QB.  Instead the Cougars will have five scholarship quarterbacks going into the Big East.

His senior season, O'Korn lead his school to the Florida 7A title.  Along the way, St. Thomas Aquinas stunned the top ranked Manatee from Bradenton, Fl. 35-18.

In the title game, O'Korn accounted for 4 TDs with 2 rushing and 2 passing.  He finished the game 11 of 29 for 339 yards and an interception.  He carried the ball 10 times for 95 yards.

2012 was O'Korn's first as full time starter.  His season stat line read:

GamesRushingPassing
Year
AttYdsAvgTDPAPCPctYdsTDInt
2012 (Sr.)15955766.11528015756.12,552224




























If indications from Holman are true then it will be a wide open competition for the starting quarterback spot this fall.  Head coach Tony Levine will not name a starter a week into spring like he did last year.  Based on popularity from UH fans, O'Korn be the starting quarterback in the Big East inaugural season.

My Sports Allegiances

My favorite teams are in no particular order: Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs(NBA champs 99, 03, 05, 07) and the Houston Cougars, Pittsburgh Penguins (Stanley Cups 91, 92, 08)
My secondary teams are: Houston Dynamo(MLS Champs 06, 07), Houston Astros (NL Champs 05), Houston Rockets (NBA Champs 94, 95)
Teams I Hate: Anything out of Dallas
Teams I Enjoy Seeing Lose: Texas Longhorns, Texas A&M Aggies, Baylor Bears football
Teams that are Insignificant: rice owls