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:

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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Houston Cougars Recruiting - Kicker Ty Cummings

As of two days ago, my pain from the 2012 University of Houston Cougars football season died.  I can now look forward to a new start in what is left in the Big East (more on that in a probably a multi-part feature) and the 2013 recruiting class.

Right now, only four players for 2013 class are on campus.  They are the midterm signees and count against last year's scholarship limit.  From the Houston Chronicle's UH beat writer Jose Duarte's twitter feed:
Joseph_Duarte Four UH football signees have enrolled for start of spring semester: DE Trevor Harris, ATH D'Juan Hines, LB Caleb Tucker and Turon Walker. 22 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite.
So why am I focusing on a kicker as the first recruit highlight post?  Why not?  For starters, UH is losing a legendary in kicker Matt Hogan. If for nothing else, Hogan etched his name in Cougar Lore for this kick:

With the Coogs losing such a valuable asset, it's great to see that the current regime sees fit to expend a scholarship on a kicker.  Seriously, kickers are an integral part of the team.  As the video shows, a great kicker can pull the team out a jam.  A good kicker can also affect field position and eliminate a potential kick off return TD.

Currently, Southlake Carroll Tx kicker Ty Cummings remains committed to the Cougars.  Cummings ranks #11 in Rivals ranking of national high school kickers.

For an idea of what the #11 kicker can do, I present the following video.

The video starts off with some field goals off a stand with no pressure.  Nice but I don't put much stock in those.

However, at the :22 mark, the game situation kick off start.  For starters, two kickoffs out the back of the endzone happen and not wind aided.  The kicks are dead air kicks.  Nice leg strength if you ask me.  Texas high school kickoffs are from the 40 but some of his kickoffs would be touchbacks from the 35 yard line college kickoff.

The video ends with a series of kicks from both hash marks 40-55 yards out.  While impressive, I'd like to see more in game film of field goals. 

Then again, Cummings is the #11 ranked the nation....the nation, Cougar fans.  When was the last time the Cougars had a #11 ranked player nationally in football?

Hopefully, I find time to write more about the incoming 2013 Houston Cougars class and what I think will happen with our beloved Coogs in realignment.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

NFL Week 2 - Crybaby Week

Dallas Bandwagon Unloads
Last week, I called out the Dull-ass Crygirl bandwagon.  Why?  Cause everybody was climbing aboard for the next Super Bowl Champions.  Yeah baby, the Cowboys were back.

Uh, yeah whatever.  27-7 loss to Seattle.  

Dallas fans are a fickle funny lot. 

Also they are a sad group of people who make me laugh.  They remind me of that old aging high school football player who tries to relive his glory years to anyone who will listen.  People just roll their eyes, shake their heads and laugh to themselves.  

My favorite fans this wee was some Crygirl fan boy at the sports bar.  He starts off the game by yelling for Cowboys to stomp Seahawks and break a players neck.  Not even five minutes later he's yelling that Tony Romo and the Cowboys suck.  Classy guy.

Now I'll review some real games and teams.

Crybaby Week
In case some players and coaches forgot, football in general is a violent sport.  Even more so in the NFL.
Of all people, Tom Coughlin should know this fact.  Yet he cried unfair, unsportsmanship when the Buccaneers tried to knock the ball loose when the Giants were trying to kneel the ball and run the clock out.

Look Coughlin, the Bucs were only down a point.  If they were down two scores then maybe you'd have a case.  You can't expect a team to roll over and die because you want them to.  The Bucs didn't surrender and lay down cause of the "victory" formation lined up.  They wanted one last shot to win.  Don't cry that it's not right.  Don't cry that a player might get hurt on that final play.  Your players should be ready for anything.  It's not the Bucs fault that the Giants thought they weren't going to fight to the last second.

The other crybaby of the week was Robert Griffin III.  RG3 cried after a loss to the Rams that they were taking cheap shots.  Well baby RG3, it happens.  Is it right?  No but it happens.  Welcome to the NFL, rookie.  

What's more troublesome is that Griffin cried about it after a loss and only after his second NFL game.  You might want to get some more experience before you cry foul.  You also might want to win a few more games before you cry.  What you are going to find is that many cheap shots will come your way.  

Griffin go back and review that commercial where that one player sees you everywhere he goes.  You're in his head.  Congratulations.  You just gave defensive players a way to get into your head.  Don't think for a second that defenses won't knock you around a bit more than usual.  Why?  Because you cried publicly about it.  Now they will try to use that to their advantage and rattle your cage.

Finally, the other crybaby of the week is Jay Cutler.  I've called Cutler a lot worse than a crybaby.  He's done nothing to dispel my opinion otherwise.  His latest incident includes shoving an offensive lineman during a game on national TV.  If there is a way to lose what respect the team has for him any quicker, it's by being an ass and humiliating a fellow player like that.  He's lucky the lineman didn't knock his head off on the spot.

Line of the Week
Eli Manning 
31/51 passing for 510 yards, 3 TD, 3 INTs
The Giants scored 3 TDs in the 4th quarter to come from behind and upend the Bucs.  Despite throwing 3 interceptions, Manning overcame that troubled start and lead the Giants to victory avoiding a 0-2 start.

Joe Pisarcik/Vince Young Line of the Week
I named this weekly award after the erratic play of Vince Young and Joe Pisarcik's brilliant fumble many seasons ago.

VY isn't in the NFL anymore and yet he still manages to win the award with the following stat line:
6 years, $58 million contract with $26 million guaranteed is ow broke.

I don't know what went wrong.  There are all kinds of stories circulating that VY squandered his fortune on lackeys, hanger ons and ill advise deals.  VY blames his agent and uncle for robbing him blind.  
Ultimately, VY is responsible for his money.  He should have kept a better eye on things.  He should have known his monthly cash flows.  He also should have socked some away somewhere that no one but he had access to.  He was set for life but is now looking for work.

It's a sad cautionary tale that all NFL players would be wise to not. 

Weeks 1 & 2 results, Week 3 Picks vs. Spread

I'm short on time to explain my results.  So I'm just posting them for the record.

Week one I went grand total 3-10 on my picks vs the spread.

Week two I did a game better going 4-9-2 (two pushes).

For the season, I'm at 7-19-2....that sucks in ways I can't imagine.

Again, I'm doing the cut and past from NFL Locks.

There are some tough picks this week based on two weeks play.

NFL Lines For Week 3 - NFL Football Line Week Three
NFL Line 9/23 - 9/24, 2012

Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
9/23 1:00 ET At Chicago -7 St. Louis 43
9/23 1:00 ET At Dallas -8 Tampa Bay 46
9/23 1:00 ET San Francisco -7 At Minnesota 43
9/23 1:00 ET Detroit -3.5 At Tennessee 47.5
9/23 1:00 ET At Washington -3 Cincinnati 50
9/23 1:00 ET NY Jets -1 At Miami 41
9/23 1:00 ET At New Orleans -8.5 Kansas City 53
9/23 1:00 ET Buffalo -3 At Cleveland 44.5
9/23 1:00 ET At Indianapolis -3 Jacksonville 43
9/23 4:05 ET Philadelphia -3 At Arizona 42.5
9/23 4:05 ET At San Diego -3 Atlanta 47.5
9/23 4:25 ET Houston -1.5 At Denver 44.5
9/23 4:25 ET Pittsburgh -3.5 At Oakland 45
9/23 8:25 ET At Baltimore -2.5 New England 50
Monday Night Football Line

9/24 8:35 ET Green Bay -3 At Seattle 45

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 2 Picks vs The Line

I haven't tallied week one results yet.  60 hour work week will do that.  I still wanted to get in the week two picks before the games start. 

To save time, because I need to head to sports bar in an hour, I'm just cutting & pasting the lines and making my picks.  My picks in bold.

Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
9/16 1:00 ET At NY Giants -7 Tampa Bay 43.5
9/16 1:00 ET At New England -13.5 Arizona 47.5
9/16 1:00 ET Minnesota -3 At Indianapolis 45.5
9/16 1:00 ET New Orleans -2.5 At Carolina 52.5
9/16 1:00 ET At Buffalo -3 Kansas City 45
9/16 1:00 ET At Philadelphia -2.5 Baltimore 46.5
9/16 1:00 ET Oakland -2 At Miami 41
9/16 1:00 ET At Cincinnati -7 Cleveland 39
9/16 1:00 ET Houston -7 At Jacksonville 41
9/16 4:05 ET Dallas -3 At Seattle 42
9/16 4:05 ET Washington -3.5 At St. Louis 42.5
9/16 4:25 ET At Pittsburgh -5.5 NY Jets 43
9/16 4:25 ET At San Diego -6.5 Tennessee 43.5
9/16 8:25 ET At San Francisco -7 Detroit 46
Monday Night Football Line

9/17 8:35 ET At Atlanta -3 Denver 52

Saturday, September 15, 2012

NFL Week 1

It's been a busy week and I haven't had much time to digest NFL play on the field.

I'm a season ticket holder to the Texans.  I live for those eight Sundays a year. I go to Reliant Stadium and unleash the anger and frustration that builds up over the off season.  By anger and frustration, I mean other stuff outside of work, family and relationships.  Those eight Sundays are my escape from reality.

The disadvantage of those eight home games?  Trying to write a weekly NFL column without actually witnessing the games at a sports bar.  Which is what I do when the Texans are on the road.

So with that disclaimer in mind, I attempt to write an NFL blog about week one with only witnessing three games first hand...the Wednesday opener of Giants vs. Cowboys, 49ers vs Packers and of course Texans vs. Miami.  I do a weekly Texans blog during the season called 100% Texans Bull Site.

Dallas Bandwagon Filling Up Again
All of a sudden the Dallas Cowboy bandwagon is full after one game.  Before the game against the Giants, I read takes on how Jason Garrett is on the hot seat.  I also saw an article on asking how much longer Darth Jerrah Jones will stick with Tony Romo as his quarterback.  (Note:  I believe there is a Sith presence in the NFL.  Darth Raidah was Al Davis and Darth Jerrah was his apprentice.  With Raidah's death, Jerrah assumed title of Dark Lord of the NFL Sith.  His apprentice, I believe, is Darth Snydah, owner of the Redskins).

Dallas won 24-17.  After the game there is much celebration in Cowboy Land because they beat the defending Super Bowl champions.  To quote my cousin,"Cowboys won.  Now Giants fans can shut up."  No, dear cousin, one win doesn't change history.  Last time I checked, Giants is still engraved on the Lombardi Trophy.  In fact the Giants own two more titles than the Cowboys in this century and millennium.

Dallas fan is like former baseball stud playing softball.  They cling to those old high school glory years.  They lust longingly at pictures of the five titles the team has like a former stud high school QB remembers all the babes he bagged back then.  Now he's clinging to his state title trophy and leering hatefully at his fat wife.  Dallas fan likes to say how many titles has your team won?  A few teams can reply, hey Dallas fan, how many titles has your team won recently?

Dallas wants to be America's Team.  They can claim the title.  I don't want the Texans to be America's Team.  I don't even want them to be Texas' team.  I want them to be my team and Houston's team.

Memo to Dallas Fan:  Giants, Steelers and Patriots have won two titles since the Cowboys "glory hole" years (Darth Jerrah's words).  Steelers have exceed the number of Cowboy titles and 49ers have tied them.  The Packers and Giants, both contenders, have a shot at tying the Cowboys in number of Super Bowls won.  In other words, no one outside of Dallas Fan cares how many titles they've won.  What other fans care about is how many have they won recently.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Weekly and Dallas Cowboy fans have jumped on the bandwagon after one win.  How many will jump off the bandwagon after the next Romo three pick game?  I really don't care how the Cowboys do...I just want to laugh at the fans I know as the Crygirls.

49ers vs Packers
I pretty much agree with every assessment that after week one the 49ers are the team to beat in the NFC.  

I'll give some  first hand anecdotal evidence.  The only Texans preseason game I went to was when they played the 49ers.  The group of fans behind me were 49er fans.  They were in complete meltdown mode about Alex Smith's play.  They immediately determined that Smith sucked and the Niners season was lost.  Then the back up QBs came in and played with the 2nd & 3rd teams.  The Apocalypse happened.   There was no capable QB to replace Smith.

Can you say overreaction? Oh-ver-ree-ak-shun.

In a possible NFC title game preview, the Niners went into hallowed ground at Lambeau Field and knocked the Packers around. 

When you think of elite defenses, the Giants and Bears in NFC.  In the AFC, the Steelers and Ravens come to mind.  Congratulations to the 49ers, you are now not only mentioned with the Giants and Bears but have surpassed them as the class of the NFC.  

The fact that the 49ers went to Lambeau Field and pretty much dominated both sides of the ball shows how far the team has come from the Mike Singletary regime. 

One last comment I have on the 49ers is concerning Alex Smith.  Smith was the number one overall pick in the 2005 draft.  He had a mostly miss (out of hit and miss) career.  A few times the 49ers seemed like they were ready to move on from Smith.  Before the 2011 season, Smith had been subjected to multiple offensive coordinators, offensive systems and benchings.  I was there at Reliant Stadium in 2009 when Singletary bench John Sullivan (if I recall correctly) and Smith started the 2nd half.  

For whatever reason, Smith took less money to stay in San Francisco.  Smith hung in there.  He had every reason to go into a shell and give up.  He manned up, he practiced, he learned to be a leader.  His perversity paid off.  He may not be mentioned in the elite category of Brady, Brees, Rodgers or either Manning but he commands just as much respect from defensive coordinators.

Now for my weekly awards.  I have two awards.  Line of the Week goes to outstanding statistical line of the week.  The Joe Pisarcik/Vince Young Weekly Award goes to someone who is a goat or just posts an unbelievably bad stat line of the week.  I may make up other awards as warranted.

Line of the Week  
Robert Griffin III aka RB3 or RBIII
In a duel with one of the best in the game, Griffin went 19 of 26 (73.1%) passing for 320 yards and 2 TDs in his debut against Brees.  

Joe Pisarcik/Vince Young Player of the Week
Mario Williams signed a six year deal with the Buffalo Bills for $100 million with half of that guaranteed.  In his debut for the Bills, Williams posted a stat line of one tackle.  No sacks, no fumbles forced, no fumbles recovered, no tipped passes, no quarterback hurries.  Just one tackle.  So far it's the most expensive tackle in NFL history.  Better yet, Williams cried after the game that he had hands in his face all game long.  Whatever, you baby.  Thanks, Bills.  He's your problem now.  Thanks from Houston fans.

One last note.  Bills Mafia are a bunch of homos.

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