Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/30/2012

In setting the Washington Redskins single season record for rushing yards, this week's Sportsman of the Week led his team to the playoffs on the NFL's biggest stage.  Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards on 33 carries (6 YPC) and three TD's as Washington punched their playoff ticket in a 28-18 victory over the rival Dallas Cowboys in a "winner moves on, loser goes home" game.  The relatively unheralded rookie (6th round pick among leftovers) broke Clinton Portis' single season Redskins rushing record in logging 1,613 yards for the season.  The blog loves breakthrough athletes, and Morris more than fits the bill in capturing this week's Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/23/2012

This week's Sportsman of the Week broke one of the most iconic records in the NFL.  Calvin Johnson hauled in 11 passes (4th straight week of over 10 receptions) for 225 yards in moving his season total to 1892 yards, breaking the 17-year old record held by the 49ers great Jerry Rice.  All this, with one game still yet to play.  Not to mention on a team that has very few other reliable receiver options and a very nondescript running game.  Johnson is truly etching his name among the NFL receiving greats, and an outstanding Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best Two-Sport Athletes - Baseball and Basketball

This is the third of a four part series examining the best two-sport athletes of the "modern" era.  "Modern" is defined in that I had to see them play (so no Jim Thorpe, Wilt Chamberlain, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Bob Hayes, etc.).  Each of the "big three" American sports (Basketball, Baseball, Football) will be paired with the others with best listed, then one "other" category which will consist of one of those 3, and another sport (olympic sports for example).

Here are the first two parts:
Football and Basketball
Football and Baseball

Criteria are as follows:
1) Playing a high level at both.  Not included are going to be people who were good as prepsters but chose one sports over the other and never competed in college or beyond.
2) Accolades at the higher levels: Halls of Fame, All Stars, playing on title teams, big games, achievement over just playing

These were all off the top of my head (little research done, except after the candidates were identified) so I might have missed someone.  Feel free to set me straight!

So without further ado, the Top 5 two-sport athletes in Baseball and Basketball are below.  This one is a strange match of speed, agility, and hand-eye coordination.

#1 - Dave Winfield
College: Minnesota
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 23 seasons)
Highest Basketball: College (Forward)
All Star season (Pro): 12x All Star Game (1977-88)
Honors: First ballot Hall of Famer (2001), 6x Silver Slugger, 7x Gold Glove, AL Comeback Player of the Year (1990), Babe Ruth Award (1992), Branch Rickey Award (1992), Roberto Clemente Award (1994), All-American (1973, Baseball), College World Series MVP (1973 as a pitcher), College Baseball Hall of Fame, Number retired by San Diego Padres (31)
Records: None
Championships: Big 10 Conference (1972 Basketball, 1973 Baseball), World Series (1992)
Comments: Drafted in four professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, ABA, MLB).  Member of the 3,000 hit club.




#2 - Danny Ainge
College: Brigham Young
Highest Baseball: MLB (IF, 3 seasons)
Highest Basketball: NBA (Shooting Guard, 14 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): 1x NBA All Star (1988)
Honors: John Wooden Award (1981), WAC Player of the Year (1981), Consensus First Team All American (1981), Oregon Sports Hall of Fame (1999)
Records: None
Championships: NBA World Champions (1984, 1986)
Comments: A prep sports legend, he is the only person to be a high school first team All-American in football, basketball, and baseball.  He won two state high school basketball titles in Oregon.  Played 4 years at BYU concurrently with playing professional baseball.  Hit his first (of two) career home run just a couple months past his 20th birthday.


#3 - Kenny Lofton
College: Arizona
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 17 seasons)
Highest Basketball: College (Point Guard)
All Star season (Pro): 6x All Star Game (1994-99)
Honors: On current Hall of Fame ballot, 4x Gold Glove, 5x Stolen Base Champion (1992-6), Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame (2010)
Records: Indians record for career SB
Championships: National League (2002), American League (1995)
Comments: One of only two players to play in Final Four (1988) and World Series (1995 and 2002), Tim Stoddard, the other, went to the same high school in Chicago.  Didn't play baseball his freshman or sophomore years, walked on his Junior year and played sparingly but was drafted by the Astros.  Played in 95 postseason baseball games.


#4 - Tony Gwynn
College: San Diego State
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 20 seasons)
Highest Basketball: College (Point Guard, 4 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): 15x All Star Game (1994-99)
Honors: 2-time All American baseball player, National Baseball Hall of Fame (2007), 5 Gold Gloves (1986 - 1991), 8 Batting Titles (1984 - 1997), Number retired by San Diego Padres.
Records: SDSU record for assists (game, season, and career), Padres records for at-bats, batting average, hits, doubles, triples, runs batted in, runs, walks and stolen bases.
Championships: National League (1984, 1998)
Comments: He was recruited for basketball at SDSU before being convinced to try out for baseball and was drafted by both the NBA and MLB.  He could dunk a basketball even at 5'11".  Member of the 3,000 hit club.


#5 - Mark Hendrickson
College: Washington State
Highest Baseball: MLB (LHP, 10 seasons)
Highest Basketball: NBA (Power Forward, 4 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): None
Honors: 2-time All Pac-10 (basketball) and All Pac-10 (baseball), Opening Day starting pitcher for the Florida Marlins (2008)
Records: None
Championships: None 
Comments: He was also a standout prep tennis player, and won two high school basketball and one high school baseball. He was drafted six times by MLB, and drafted in the NBA as well.  Started his career in NBA while playing semi-pro, then minor league baseball, then went full time to baseball after his NBA career stalled.









Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 15 "Best Bets" for the Bowl Season

As followers of this blog are aware, I took a $15,750 bath in the regular season betting straight up on TD or more underdogs.  Well I intend to recover in the Bowl Season.  I looked through the 35 bowl games for ATS, straight up, and over/under bets and picked my Top 15 best bets.  For each I will bet $1,000 in JR Ewing bucks, surely I'll cut into my debt.  Good thing the oil business if floating my gambling problem!

All ATS and Over/Under are -110 (with a $1,100 bet).

San Diego State (+125 S/U) vs. Brigham Young (Poinsettia Bowl, December 20, 7:00 CST)
This is a virtual home game for San Diego State.  After stumbling out of the game, this team has won 7 straight games.  BYU has been up and down, think they might be caught in a dog fight here and come up on the bottom.

East Carolina (+190 S/U) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (New Orleans Bowl, December 22, 11:00 CST)
People are excited about taking the Ragin' Cajuns in what is essentially a home game.  But East Carolina is probably the better team.  Another case in which it might be a pick'em but you're giving me a good money line.  I just don't think the Sun Belt is as close to Conference USA as people think.

Southern Methodist (+350 S/U) vs. Fresno State (Hawaii Bowl, December 24, 7:00 CST)The Ponies were a hot team by the end of the year (excepting a curious Rice loss).  Figures that Garrett Gilbert (experience in BCS Championship game for Texas) would round into form under QB coach guru June Jones.  This is an improving team, so was their opponent, but I see a shootout and in my analysis, Conference USA is underrated.

Southern Methodist (+12pts ATS) vs. Fresno State (Hawaii Bowl, December 24, 7:00 CST)
This is a straight hedge (and the only one on the card here).  If it's close, I'll break close to even, if SMU wins, it's double time.

Cincinnati (-7.5 ATS) vs. Duke (Belk Bowl, December 27, 5:00 CST)
I'm not sure I even know what a Belk is, but I know Duke can't hang with Cincinnati.  The middle-top of the Big East was better than people probably think.  Duke was in the weakest ACC division and scuffled at the end (4 straight losses, 5 out of 6).  Cincinnati wins by more than a TD, it's just going to happen that way.

Baylor (Pick'em ATS) vs. UCLA (Holiday Bowl, December 27, 8:00 CST)
Baylor was the hottest team in the Big 12 at the end of the year (4-1, close loss to OU, beat OSU, KSU, and Texas Tech).  UCLA is good but will be challenged by Baylor's offense.  The Holiday is almost always a shootout, advantage Baylor here.

Air Force (-1pts ATS) vs. Rice (Armed Forces Bowl, December 29, 11:00 CST)
Rice is a 6-6 CUSA team, Air Force can be tough to stop.  I'm just figuring that there is no way Rice can go and win a bowl game.  It's near pick'em, Air Force should be confident and control.

West Virginia (-4pts ATS) vs. Syracuse (Pinstripe Bowl, December 29, 2:15 CST)
You'll see a theme on the picks for the bottom half of the Big 12, this was a deep conference and the #7, #8, and #9 teams got good advantages vs. the other conference middle to bottom dwellars.  West Virginia will be familiar with this opponent from the Big East and the trip to Yankee Stadium won't be such a home field as other Big 12 teams.  The Mountaineers can score a lot of points.

Texas vs. Oregon State (57 points O/U, under) (Alamo Bowl, December 29, 5:45 CST)
Texas defense struggled mostly against big time throwing passers (Landry Jones, Geno Smith, Nick Florence) and Oregon State doesn't have one of those.  Texas offense can't score against air.  Oregon State's defense really only struggled against up tempo offenses (Oregon, Arizona).  Combine that with offenses usually struggling in Bowl season b/c of rhythm and you get this result!

Texas Christian (-2.5pts ATS) vs. Michigan State (Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, December 29, 9:15 CST)
I've got the Big 10 down and the Big 12 bottom half (see above) up.  2.5 is pretty tight, my worry here is that the score should be really low with both offenses scuffling and both defenses top notch.  TCU is resilient and Michigan State is likely disappointed in the entire 2012 outcome and this bowl was not what they were thinking in August.

Georgia Tech (+300 S/U) vs. Southern California (Sun Bowl, December 31, 1:00 CST)
I'm not sure what shape Southern Cal is in, but they haven't seen an offense like this.  And USC just doesn't seem to have their act together.  To the point the coach is even on the hot seat (and defensive coordinator, coach's dad, is a lame duck).  With that sort of payoff for the win, I could see this one being a Yellow Jacket roll.

Clemson (+155 S/U) vs. Louisiana State (Chick Fil a Bowl, December 31, 7:30 CST)
Clemson is very talented, losing only to some quality competition.  LSU, to me at least, seemed to play down to opponents and not possess that much special.  Clemson is hungry for a big win, will remember the Orange Bowl debacle last year and being given a few points, should be hungry.  LSU is probably just figuring they can show up and win.

Northwestern (+110 S/U) vs. Mississippi State (Gator Bowl, January 1, 11:00 CST)
Whereas the middle/bottom of the Big 12 is strong, the middle/bottom of the SEC is a little soft.  Mississippi State in a New Years Day bowl game is a stretch (1-4 in their last 5 with an Arkansas win, getting pants by Ole Miss).  Northwestern is searching for their first bowl win in decades (nearly centuries) and are really hungry.  It's a near pick'em game, give Northwestern the intangibles here.

Nebraska vs. Georgia (60 points O/U, over) (Capital One Bowl, January 1, 12:00 CST)
Nebraska's defense couldn't stop some so-so Big 10 offenses, here comes loaded Georgia with weapons all over the place.  Nebraska is probably reeling from missing the BCS, and did I mention they've given up 63 and 70 this year?  The over is a good choice, Georgia will not let off the throttle.

Florida State (-12.5 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl, January 1, 7:30 CST)
The MAC had a great year, but they're overmatched here.  12.5 points is not that much, I mean 35-14 is closer than I expect it.  FSU is another team that is proud to be in the BCS and wants to show strong (the ACC has been awful, they should get on track).

Florida vs. Louisville (45.5 points O/U, under) (Sugar Bowl, January 2, 7:30 CST)
Florida's defense is just way too good to allow very many points.  I don't think their offense is going to go bonkers.  I see this as a methodical Gator victory by overpowering the Cardinals and clogging to a victory in the low 30's high 20's to under 10.

Kent State (+155 S/U) vs. Arkansas State (GoDaddy.com Bowl, January 6, 8:00 CST)
Kent State was a 2OT loss away from the BCS.  I don't think Arkansas State was that close.  The MAC has done well interconference.  I see it as a very close pick'em, but I'm getting a good money line here.  I'm taking the Golden Flashes.

So there you have it.  I don't need to win half, I need to win the S/U bets then hit more than 60% of the ATS and O/U bets and I'll be rolling in some holiday dough.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/16/2012

This week's Sportsman of the Week is probably the front runner for NFL MVP among other sure-to-come honors.  Adrian Peterson hit his eight straight week of 100 yards (six of those over 150 yards) in running for 212 yards on 24 carries (8.8 YPC).  His 82-yard TD scamper was his second of that distance in three weeks. But most importantly, the Vikings, won a virtual Wild Card elimination game on the road against the St. Louis Rams 36-22, putting him in position to wreak havoc for defenses in the playoffs should the Vikings claim the Wild Card spot.  Tough schedule down the stretch at Houston and vs. Green Bay, but for this week, AP is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/09/2012

I'm going to bend some criteria this week for Sportsman of the Week.  Normally I choose star players with big numbers in important games who came out victorious.  This week, I'm going to choose a quarterback that lost the game. Unfortunately to a rival. For the fourth straight time.  But exemplifies the spirit of sport, and what it means to compete, and be an outstanding young man.  I am referring to Trent Steelman, quarterback for Army, who has started since his freshman year, and been on the losing end against Navy now 4 straight games (4 year starter).  Navy has won 11 straight against the Cadets, further adding to the burn.  Steelman completed 4 of 5 passes for 48 yards and ran for another 96 yards (on 17 carries) including a TD.  But it was his senior poise and decision making that led Army to outgain the Midshipmen 418 yards to 297.  It was just a couple of inopportune turnovers and critical 4th down conversions that didn't work out.  Steelman was distraught on the sideline after the game, but answered all questions in the post-game press conference and will be a fine young man representing our great country in what is sure to be a very successful military career.  I know beating Navy is all he's thought about for 4 years, but he is a proud representative of Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Round Rock, TX, MLB City?

Round Rock, Texas, is throwing its hat in the ring for (presumably) relocating a struggling franchise. Round Rock City Manager Steve Norwood announced:
“This may seem like an ambitious plan, but I think Round Rock could be an ideal location for Major League Baseball,” Norwood said. “I just think it’s logical here. … You’ve got Miami with 400,000 people, Tampa is 325,000 [people], Oakland is 392,000 [people], Denver is 560,000—and here is Austin at 700,000.”
Courtesy Sportslogos.net
Interesting he mentioned two teams that have had very public struggles to get a serviceable stadium, and another which just got one and is now unloading players in what is being called a "bait and switch" for fans. Round Rock is officially 20 miles north of Austin, but the "Metroplex" blends together up the I-35 corridor as Williamson County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the United States since the Dot Com boom. Note the Williamson county does not include Austin proper, but suburbs only, and Travis County (to include Austin) is also busting at the seams with population.  Round Rock has hosted two of the most successful Minor League franchises, the Round Rock Express. In 2000, the original AA Round Rock Express were established after a purchase of the Jackson Generals by a group headed by Nolan Ryan. In 2005, the same Ryan group acquired a second franchise, the AAA Edmonton Trappers, moved them to Round Rock, and moved his AA franchise to Corpus Christi. The AA Express still owns the Top 4 single season attendance records in the Texas league (2001-4) pulling in 2/3 of 1M people each year. Since the AAA franchise moved in, they've been 1st or 2nd in Pacific Coast League Attendance every year since 2007, leading in 2011 and 2012. Enthusiasm must be tempered by limited near term expectation. Reid Ryan, Nolan's son and Round Rock Express president and CEO, who is in Nashville, Tenn., attending the winter baseball meetings, said that it could be difficult for Round Rock to score a Major League team. Reid Ryan stated:
“I think having visions like that are good...but with the rules it takes, unless there [are] some monumental shifts, I don’t see any new markets getting a Major League team in the near future. Baseball is not a sport that has a lot of changes.”
For another blog, it's interesting how an entire college conference landscape can shift in a matter of days, but major league baseball moves can be more decadal in nature. But Round Rock has put Major League Baseball on notice: "We're listening to opportunities and we have the market and baseball history to support it." And they started in AA, have been promoted to AAA, and are now just waiting for the call to the big show!

**Originally posted in Reading Between the Seams by this same author**

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Upset Picks Autopsy

This experiment was nothing short of a disaster.  I had to take out a second mortgage on Southfork and then some to pay these debts.  I ended up losing $15,750 on bets trying to pick TD underdogs to win straight up.  I thought I had the feeling, I really only needed to hit 1/3 each week to make a profit.  And it flopped.  I was 6-34.  Last week I missed all three.  Again.  This time none were really that close (I guess Georgia was, but were they really?).

To make up for it, I'm going to double down.  I'm going to put $1K on 15 bowl games ATS this time.  I guarantee I'll cut into my debts probably erase most.  I won't clear them (not with the typical -$110 per ATS bet).  But I will recover some.  So stay tuned for the 15 "best bets" for the bowls ATS.

And I reserve the right to up the stakes and take it S/U if needed.  Viva la Gambling!

-JR

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/02/2012


The biggest game in any sport this week was the SEC Championship Game (a.k.a. National Championship Semifinal) and Eddie Lacy came up huge.  He broke a key 41-yard TD run in the last 2 minutes of the first half in a game that felt like Alabama might not be able to keep up offensively.  For the entire game, he carried 20 times for 181 yards (9.1 YPC) and 2 TD.  The 6'1" 220 pound Junior seems to be cut from the same cloth as backfield predecessors Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson and his performance in big games matches that legacy.  He is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Week 14 Upset Specials

At this point, the word "special" is starting to lose meaning.  Another shut out last week.  A tough week, with the passing of the actor who played me so brilliantly in the 80's.  One game went to OT, shockingly I lost.  Again.  The other two weren't even close.  So I'm down $12,750 for the season.  I just didn't get mojo going late in the year.  It happens.  I conclude this column with three more picks, who knows if I'll win, there weren't that many teams to pick from, I'm chasing lost money with bad money.  But I persist!

Georgia (+8.5, +260) vs. Alabama
I think Alabama is a little overrated, they really only beat LSU (barely) as far as good ranked teams.  Turns out the East was a beast this year in the SEC and Georgia won the battle royal with a lot of impressive wins.  Neither of these teams played the best from the other division (some calling shenanigans) but I think it's closer to a 3-4 point game than the TD+.  Go Dawgs!

South Florida (+7, +248) vs. Pittsburgh
The Big East has been ridiculous with upsets.  It's called parity, and when a team from the cold mid-atlantic goes to sunny Florida in a game they really don't have much at stake in, I might take the team from Florida.  In fact, I will!

Texas (+10.5, +315) at Kansas State
For some reason, Texas responds well after bad losses.  The fan base gives up (I can speak from personal experience) and then suddenly they pull things together.  Kansas State has had 2 weeks to stew over their loss, their confidence is broken and there is something to play for, but not as much as 2 weeks ago.  Texas has nothing to lose, nobody thinks they'll win.  So they just might!

For my own sake, I'm going to wipe the slate clean after this and have some bowl props for you, format TBD.  But it's been a fun season!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/25/2012

Don't ever accuse me of bias, this week's Sportsman of the Week is another rival of the Texas Longhorns.  Landry Jones chucked for 500 yards against the rival Oklahoma State Cowboys, keeping his team in the shootout eventually leading to the 51-48 OT win.  It doesn't get any bigger than starring in your senior day against your rivals.  It was his second 500 yard passing game in a row, he completed 46 out of 71 including 3 Touchdowns.  And his team needed every one of them in keeping their Big 12 and BCS bowl hopes alive.  Landry Jones has had a great career, and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A sad day for the LHD on Sports Blog

A moment of silence for the brilliant actor who brought me to life in the iconic 80's series, Dallas.  His persona will live on in this blog from time to time as I'm sure he would have wanted it.  His character was larger than him, but it is a sad day for this blog.
Larry Hagman: 1931 -  2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Week 13 Upset Specials

I at least hit one of three last week (Baylor d. KSU), but was oh so close on Boston College over Virginia Tech for a big payday.  New Mexico was close, too (all three picks covered).  Profit was $1,700 after the other two losses trimming my losses to $9,750.  For the season, I'm 6-38.  For those just joining the blog, I'm picking TD or more underdogs, but straight up against the money line.  Hence the poor record.  $1G each bet, three bets a week.

So with 2 weeks left, I need to start hitting big time.  I have to fight the temptation to find higher money line odds at the expense of chance of the win.  Still looking for anything +7 or more.  Desperately need to hit 2 of these!

Georgia Tech (+13, +390) at Georgia
Tech has quietly won 3 straight to clinch the [whatever it is] division in the ACC.  Georgia's schedule, while SEC worthy, was a little light (no LSU, A&M, Alabama, or Miss St.) so their high ranking may be over talent.  Tech has lost in this rivalry 3 years in a row, you know the seniors are hungry.  And there's something about late in the season, teams that find themselves in the BCS picture suddenly play scared.

Oregon State (+9.5, +290) vs. Oregon
Oregon may be a wounded Duck.  So much emotion last week and now a tough rivalry road game.  Another case in which Oregon has won 4 in a row and State is probably ready to end that streak.  State is undefeated at home this year, both road losses were 4 points or fewer.  They're going to hang, maybe win.

Oklahoma State (+7, +230) at Oklahoma
Oklahoma State may be the hottest team in the Big 12 right now with two lopsided wins scoring tons of points.  Oklahoma has more talent, but has kind of sleep walked through it's last few, struggling to put teams away.  The game is in Norman, but outside of the Texas game, I just haven't been that overwhelmed by Oklahoma, they seem to just be ordinary.  Oh, and don't forget, Oklahoma is 0-2 vs. ranked teams at home this year.

So banking on rivalry games, all three underdogs have won and won lately and seem to be hot.  Let's get it on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/18/2012

This weeks winner threw for the 2nd most yards in a single game, and his team needed every last one of them.  Matt Schaub was 43-55 (78%) for 527 yards and 5 TD in a barnburner in which arguably the best team in the NFL needed just about the full overtime period to beat the worst team in the NFL.  His longest pass of the day was a 48 yard TD strike to Andre Johnson to end the game in overtime, after both teams scored field goals in their first possession, then scuffled until the final Texans drive.  Schaub writes his name in the NFL record books, and is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week 12 Upset Specials

This is rough.  I just can't buy a break.  Was close to hitting some big totals with Virginia Tech and Penn State, but both fell just short in the final minutes.  The bath is in full effect at -$11,450 for the season.  I don't know if even mathematically I can catch back up.  But I keep going.  S/U, I'm at 5-36.

And on top of that, the options this week are so limited.  A lot of really soft games (ehhh hmmm SEC) and just not that many underdogs I can believe in.  I drudged up three, I think this might be good b/c my level of faith is inversely proportional to performance.  At least all three picks are at home, you figure one can catch lightning in a bottle?

New Mexico (+10.5, +315) vs. Nevada
Nevada has lost three straight and is giving up a lot of points.  New Mexico ain't bad and might be improving.  This is a stretch, but at home, I'll see if the Lobos got something up their sleeve.

Baylor (+12.5, +370) vs. Kansas State
This is the time of year when undefeated teams start to struggle to get wins as the pressure of the BCS rankings begins to mount.  Baylor is a good team and is at home.  They can hang, with potential to get up big and make KSU catch up.  Night game in Waco, this is a trap.

Boston College (+10, +290) vs. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech has lost 4 of their last 5 and this is probably getting old.  Boston College is decent at home, early kickoff, potential to execute and catch VT on a let down.  That's all I got.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/11/2012

You cannot deny that this week's winner injected a great deal of excitement and new found debate into the college football landscape.  Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel shocked the nation and especially the Alabama Crimson Tide faithful in putting on an offensive show at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Nobody thought the freshman would be able to hold up against the Tide's athleticism, but Manziel was 24-31, with 2 TD's and no INT's and 253 yards.  He added 92 yards rushing and over 5.1 yards per carry, he couldn't be stopped in the pocket, or out of it.  A deserving Sportsman of the Week (and now Heisman candidate)!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week 11 Upset Specials

Finally hit something after a long drought.  Got $250 net (yep, that's it after the other two misses) for the Longhorns defeat of Texas Tech.  Was probably the least confident of the three, but I'll take it.

Brings my overall (S/U) record in these to 5-23 through 10 weeks.  We skipped one week and one week I picked 4 (albeit it was reduced betting money on a real long shot).  Purse is now sitting at -$8,450.

I got some good picks this week, one hit should move that line up significantly, two and I'm really back in the game.

Start with tonight...
Virginia Tech (+12.5, +390) vs. Florida State
I don't buy that Virginia Tech is better, I'm betting their better in one game, at home, in prime time, on TV, against a high profile opponent.  Getting this kind of money line love at Lane Stadium is rare.

West Virginia (+9.5, +290) at Oklahoma State
We'll see if West Virginia is tired of being kicked around by their new Big XII teams. I have a feeling they are, and Oklahoma State is good, but still has some holes that WVU could exploit.

Penn State (+9, +290) at Nebraska
Penn State is 6-1 since their stumble out of the block, admittedly with huge distractions.  Loss vs. Ohio State.  Nebraska still seems a little soft to me, I think this will be close, Penn State might be hitting their stride.

Happy football watching all, Yee Haw!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 11/4/2012

Transitioning to the NFL, a new record was set for passing yards by a rookie QB.  Not only that, Andrew Luck needed all those yards and points to hold off fellow Wild Card contender Miami Dolphins.  Quietly the Colts have positioned themselves strongly for a Wild Card position, and even have two games left against the Texans, if they were to sweep they could contend for the AFC South.  Luck's final numbers today, 30-48, 433 yards, 2 TD, only one sack.  He spread the ball well with his top 4 receivers catching between 5 and 7 for the game.  A great effort worth of Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Lance Armstrong Elephant

Those following my blog know I'm a big fan of competitive cycling. You can see previous posts of Longhorndave Sportsmen of the Week, tweets on @lhd_on_sports (on twitter), etc.  I more or less came around to the sport toward the tail end of Lance's domination.  I've definitely watched 10x more coverage since he's retired.  But I always had some pride that an American could do so well.  There are so many cyclists representing their country, you just needed to watch last year to see how important it was to England when Bradley Wiggins won (right).  I was extraordinarily proud of Tejay Van Garderen and the way he represented the Stars and Stripes.  But what Lance did was beyond that.  It was Babe Ruth, it was Johnny Unitas, and it was Michael Jordan sport domination in an arena that Americans were usually also rans.

But to paraphrase many who have been caught in the PED age, "the proponderance of evidence can no longer be ignored".

Specifically, he won his titles in an era in which dozens, if not hundreds of cyclists have been caught up in scandal, positive tests, and general consensus that testing was years behind practice.  This is like looking at McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds shattering records, then deciding that Sosa was probably clean but the other two were definitely guilty.  Uh, you're fooling yourself.

The famous "look" in 2001 (click for video)
He didn't just win, he dominated.  Most of his wins were more or less landslides by the last few stages.  Again, not in and of itself damning, but when nobody breaks Roger Maris record for decades, then guys plus it by more than 15% in several years in a row, then you might be onto something.

There's a 1000 page report of testimony, evidence, accounts of practices.  There can't be that many people conspiring against him if he's innocent.  I admit that there are agencies and organizations that have biased reasons to bring him down.  But when teammates, former associates, etc. are involved, we have to listen. It's beyond "he said, she said"

Stepping back, I think the Tour De France (and other organization) authorities need to make a sweeping adjustment to results in these years.  Not just pick and choose who's titles to vacate.  But start with the first time it was obvious someone did it, and wipe them out through a point in which reasonable testing can account for a clean winner.  Which is probably within the past couple of years.  Most of that era had cyclists implicated or associated with scandals, just because resources weren't available to develop aforementioned 1000 page reports doesn't mean their title shouldn't be vacated, too.

And if there is a winner that never tested positive ever in his life, maybe he, and only he, should keep the title.  Wait, that's Lance.  Then wipe it.

Week 10 Upset Specials

This is getting ugly.  Another 0-3 week, this week the teams didn't even really cover (maybe UTEP).  So down to -$8,700.  I'm going to have to start selling oil fields if I don't turn this around.  The good news is, a couple of hits, and the debt goes away.  Again, the strategy is pick TD or more underdogs straight up for $1G, three a week...

Last week I stayed in Texas, I'm looking at more Texas teams this week again...

Mississippi State (+7, +250) vs. Texas A&M
Taking the SEC home team laying points last week killed me, but this team is ranked.  A&M struggled at Ole Miss on the road, MSU might be chippy after last week.  Maybe I'm the last guy buying into A&M, but I'll take a gamble this week.

Texas (+7, +225) at Texas Tech
Texas variability is wide.  They might show up this week after the near escape in Lawrence.  I've seen nothing to justify this pick, but it's rare that Texas gives points to Tech, even in Lubbock.  So I'm going to take it.

Tulsa (+9, +310) at Arkansas
Okay, not Texas but neighboring states.  Not sure where Arkansas is at, but loss to Ole Miss at home and now Tulsa comes a calling which hasn't lost since Labor Day.  I have a feeling Tulsa might have more to prove.

Interesting fact about these games, all started well below a TD and grew, as if odds makers knew they'd be close, then bettors took the lead on the favorites.

I really need to hit two of these to get back in the game.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/28/2012



An historic effort in one game, plus an overall week of World Series MVP-level play from Pablo Sandoval thrust the Giants past the Cardinals and Tigers to win their second title in three years. The most historic moments came in World Series Game 1 against the usually invincible Justin Verlander in which Pablo hit three home runs in his first three at bats (2 on Verlander), each pushing the Giants more in control if the momentum setting game. For the week he batted .450 (9/20) including the final game against the Cardinals. A historic baseball performance and deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the week!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week 9 Upset Specials

One word, ouch. If I keep taking threat though weeks I'm going to have to sell off my oil wells to pay my debts. But there is plenty I of runway left this season to right the ship and turn a profit here.

Not much to summarize for last week, another 0-3, another $3000 squandered. Actually covered all 3 games...again...but none hit straight up. -5,700...as I said...ouch.

This week is going to be a Texas team edition, not because I'm limiting myself, but because I see some glitches in the Vegas matrix on these spreads.


Auburn (+14, +440) vs. Texas A&M
I like SEC home teams getting this many points, plain and simple. The Aggies are way better, but let's not forget the Tigers almost took out  LSU as well. To much payout to pass up.

TCU (+7, +235) at Oklahoma State
I think the Frogs may play like a wounded animal defending its life. Oklahoma State is uneven and shallow at QB where there one injury away from really derailing their Offense. And their defense isn't good.

UTEP (+13.5, +400) at Houston
The Coogs are a team that is uneven, nice one week, awful the next. Russian roulette who shows up this week. UTEP isn't bad and might get rolling.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/21/2012

Sticking to baseball, in a knock-down, drag out battle for the NL pennant, Marco Scutaro has been on fire since being nearly knocked out of the series on a controversial slide in Game 1.  This week (starting with Game 2), Marco went 9-19 (.474) with 4 runs scored, another 4 knocked in (which means involvement in 8 of his teams 22 runs scored since he never knocked in himself) as his team went 3-2.  No strikeouts over the week as well, he is plugging and chugging as an unexpected key cog in the Giants machine heading into Game 7 (as I type).  A great representation of heart and a great Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 7-8 Upset Specials

I got tied up in board meetings last week, it gets tough making as much dough as I do.

In Week 6, I cleared West Virginia over Texas straight up, adding $350 to my total (after subtracting the other two losses).  So I sat at $300 coming into Week 7.

For Week 7 I'll spare you the details, but I picked (straight up) Miami, Utah, and Louisiana Tech.  All covered, but none won.  So -$3,000 from last week's total puts me at -$2,700.  And 4-15 total.  This isn't going well.

But this is a new week, and all I need is to hit one a few weeks in a row and I'm in the money.

Pick #1
Michigan State (+10, +300) at Michigan
State has dominated this series.  Michigan has beat up on bad teams, but not won a quality game.  State has had nothing but quality games.  Too juicy of a money line to pass up.

Pick #2
New Mexico (+10.5, +315) at Air Force
There's going to be a lot of running this game.  A lot.  Which makes things even.  Air Force has some non-quality losses (Navy, UNLV) while New Mexico has more wins overall, and losses to ranked teams like Texas, Texas Tech, and Boise State.  A lot of money on that line, going with it.

Pick #3
Baylor (+11, +325) at Texas
This one is personal. Texas defense really looks inept, I mean really.  It's going to be a track meet, so either team can win.  And you're going to give me 3:1 on the Bears.  I'm taking it.

Back in the saddle, baby, I think this is a week I hit 2 of 3 and turn this ship around!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/14/2012

He might be the new "Mr. October" for the New York Yankees.  Can pretty convincingly say the Yankees wouldn't still be playing in October without his heroics.  Raul Ibanez, despite not getting starts for the most part, has clubbed 3 home runs to tie or take a lead in the 9th (or later) of critical playoff games. Pretty much in situations in which a home run was the only play that would save them.  And he delivered.  Thrice.  Overall for the week he was 6-13, slugging over 1.000 and walked 4 times.  An exciting Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/7/2012

Anytime you invoke Johnny Unitas and a record that is more than half a century old, something big is going on.  Such was the case Sunday night, when Drew Brees threw a TD pass for the 48th straight game on his way to an impressive 370 yard, 4 TD performance in which the Saints needed every TD to get their first win.  Drew Brees is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 6 Upset Specials

Arrrgh, I took a bath last week. Shut out in 4 games ($3,100 down the tubes), only sniffing something with the Wisconsin good showing. It happens. I will say my Ole Miss (for the money line) wasn't bad. But we move ahead.

Season -$50, 3-10

Pick #1
Arizona (+9.5, +290) at Stanford
I don't think we know if Stanford is steady after the loss of Luck. Arizona has lost to some good ranked teams, but looks gritty. The Pac 12 has been wacky this year, anything can happen!

Pick #2
West Virginia (+7, +235) at Texas
These teams have demonstrated all offense, no defense. More faith in the more experienced West Virginia offense than the Texas burgeoning offense. Home field might be neutralized with all the scoring. Toss up game, gotta jump on the money line.

Pick #3
New Mexico State (+9.5, +310) at Idaho
Idaho is winless this year, only won 2 games last year. Who knows if they know how to win. They lost by 66 last week. This is another toss up game, who knows who ends where, I'll take the Aggies with that money line juice.

Was tempted by TCU and their drunken QB to not win vs. Iowa State, but shied away. Gotta hit one of these to get back to the green!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/30/2012

Going back to hardball for this week's Sportsman of the Week.  Homer Bailey finally lived up to his draft stock hype in delivering a no-hitter and tight 1-0 win in Pittsburgh for the first place Cincinnati Reds.  28 up, 27 down, one walk away from a complete game with 10 punch outs.  One of the easiest 9th innings you'll see in a no-hitter situation, felt like the Pirates could have gone another 9 innings without any more luck.  A very deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 5 Upset Specials

Big hits last week folks, with Kansas State (+425) and Oregon State (+250), I turned my $3,000 bet into $5,750 in profits.($6,750 minus the $1,000 lost on Kansas).  Now up $3,050 for the season.

Had a huge party for the Cowboys game to celebrate last week, we took care of 'dem Buccaneers.  But I digress.

I'm strong on this week's picks, plus I got a huge underdog teaser.


Season +$3,050, 3-6


Pick #1
Arkansas (+420, +13) at Texas A&M
Texas A&M still is finding identity, can't look into much what happened in the rolling of SMU or SC State.  Arkansas brings a very wounded mentality to College Station and has a history of beating these guys up here at the new Texas Stadium.  Juicy money line is too good to pass up, Arkansas salvages a win here.

Pick #2
Rice (+260, +7.5) at Houston
Houston may be very, very bad.  Rice is battle tested and had some success in this rivalry.  I would have put it at a pick'em but bettors don't seem to appreciate the Owls.

Pick #3
Wisconsin (+395, +11.5) at Nebraska
Both these teams have stumbled out of the gate, particularly in west coast road games.  Another game I see even, but I get 11.5 points and a juicy money line?  Sign me up please, Go Sconnie!

Pick #4 (special edition for only $100)
Ole Miss (+4100, +30) at Alabama
Okay, I know, small chance of happening.  But maybe Alabama relaxes a little bit after some of their tough games, maybe Ole Miss isn't that bad with just the big loss to Texas in a game they were sloppy with the ball.  Just saying it could happen.  Alabama has looked a little underwhelming in some of their non-marquee matchups, oil men like me use venture capital for big hits, here we go!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/23/2012

A great sports weekend, we're going to the college pigskin and looking for a player who came up huge in a big game.  E.J. Manuel for Florida State brought his team back (trailing Clemson 28-14 early in the 3rd quarter) with nearly a perfect performance, hitting 27/35 passing (77%) with 2 TD and 0 INT, and also ran for 102 yards on 12 carries for 8.5 YPC.  All in a crucial ACC matchup of Top 10 teams. Heisman is in play here, folks, as is a BCS Championship game berth.  Congratulations E.J., you are the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Week 4 Upset specials

I missed last week, got called out on Tuesday to go do some arm twistin', darn politicians are trying to restrict drilling in the Gulf.  Not acceptable for Ewing Enterprises.

Made a slight recovery on Week 2 by hitting Oregon State over Wisconsin.  The cheese is smelly up there this year, I don't know why.

Season -$2700, 1-5


Pick #1
Kansas (+275, +9) at Northern Illinois
NIU was a darling of mine Week 1, coming oh so close to cashing in against Iowa (given 10 points). Now THEY'RE giving 10 points? Kansas is going to be a team that gets better week to week, after the loss to Rice, they were competitive against TCU, this isn't as formidable opponent.

Pick #2
Oregon State (+250, +7.5) at UCLA
Going to double down on the Beavers, not convinced UCLA is as polished as people think.  Oregon State has just had 1 game, for better or for worse, but it was a big win.

Pick #3
Kansas State (+425, +14) at Oklahoma
I don't feel like we know how good OU is. They may not be that good. KSU may be very good.  Or the opposite might be true. But a juicy money line here is too much to pass up, OU could stumble at home (admittedly for only like the 4th time in Bob Stoops reign, but still).

Just need to hit 2 of these and I'll be swimming in cash.  Shiner beer for everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/16/2012

Difficult choice this week, but going with a new Grand Slam tour winner, albeit on the previous Monday (with rain delays).  Andy Murray has had an incredible season, with his emotional run to the Wimbledon final, and Olympic gold medal (on the same court over the same opponent) and now a coveted Grand Slam men's tennis win.  Keeping in mind, the US doesn't have one of these since 2003.  In any event, been a long week plus my time to post, but Andy Murray is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sportswoman of the Week Ending 9/9/2012

Another dominant two weeks in Flushing for Serena Williams, her 4th U.S. Open singles title and 15th Grand Slam singles title, with an amazing 79% win rate in GS Finals (2 of 4 losses were to her sister).  The 30-year-old has suffered only one loss (first round French) since May.  The first Wimbledon/US Open combo winner since the last time she did it 10 years ago.  Throw in some gold medals last month, and we have a very deserving Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Week 2 Upset Specials

Well I took a bath the first week, luckily I'm rich, I'll just sell a few more barrels of oil to pay the piper.  But let's move on to Week 2, I'm sure to improve.  Or else I just let John Ross start picking.  This week's new features, showing the spread AND money line, then my score will be based upon cash-ola.  $1G per pick, keeping it small.  But without further ado, here are the upsets of the week (must be a TD or more 'dog, picks are straight up.

Season:-$3,000, 0-3

Pick #1
Penn State (+325, +9.5) at Virginia
Typical overreaction to a Week 1 result.  Penn State had so much to deal with off the field, no wonder they tired in the 2nd half.  And Ohio isn't bad.  The Wahoos waltzed over FCS fodder, so we don't know if they're good.

Pick #2
Oregon State (+230, +7) vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin looked off last week vs. FCS fodder, strong possibility they make a leap this week in improvement.  But on the road in Corvallis seems dangerous, the Beavers got an unexpected Bye last week due to Isaac

Pick #3
UTEP (+270, +8.5) vs. Ole Miss
Now I will overreact to Week 1, UTEP held OU in check (unlike their big brother UT Austin last year) while Ole Miss is rebuilding with a capital "R", allowing Central Arkansas to put up 27 points last week.  Throw in that Ole Miss might be looking forward to the Longhorns next week, watch out for the Miners.

So let's put on our big boy boots, reboot, and nail a couple games this week!

****Post Mortem Review****
Picked up some green with a win with Oregon State. One win pretty much floats the week, oh so close to two with the Nittany Lions (if they could just kick field goals, dammit).  So picked up $2300 in winnings, $2000 in losses, now -$2700 on the season...




Trend definitely developing here, two of my picks have been spread coverers each week, with one complete botchery.  This week's botchery were the Rebels in Oxford, if you're going to go down swinging, make sure it's in a fun college town.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/2/2012

We turn a new leaf over to college football this week, this performer put his Top 15 team on his broad shoulders and carried them to a victory in a Top 25 battle against Boise State.  Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell touched the ball 50 times for 265 total yards and 2 TD's (his team's only 2 TD's).  Trailing by 3 in the 4th quarter, he touched the ball 5 times for 19 hard earned yards including the 5 yard dart for the go ahead score.  Then, on the time killing drive after that, touched it 9 out of 11 Michigan State plays before all the team had to do but kneel.  A gutsy effort for the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 1 Upset Specials

J.R. Ewing here from Dallas fame, I'm sipping on some bourbon on the 38th floor of Ewing Enterprises tower in downtown Dallas and thinking about this opening week of college football.  The deal is, I'm going to lay out three picks a week, but there's a catch.  I'm taking a team straight up that is underdog by 7 points or more (ish).  These are matchups where I see, not only will the underdog cover, but send that favorite home with their panties wrapped around barbed wire.  In any event, let's get the fun started:

Pick #1:
Boise State (+7) d. Michigan State
Boise State hasn't lost a game by 7 or more points since 2007 (at least on the mainland they haven't).  New QB, yeah.  Michigan State is rising, yeah.  But weird things happen early in the season, and Week 1, a disciplined team with less talent can out execute the favorites.  Taking the Broncs.

Pick #2:
Northern Illinois (+10) d. Iowa
Iowa has been slipping for some time now.  Northern Illinois coming off their second straight 11 win season (not 10 win, 11 win).  This is one of those perfect storms again (game in DeKalb), early in the year, the scuffling programs haven't found their rhythm.

Pick #3:
Southern Methodist (+10) d. Baylor
We don't know what Baylor will look like without RGIII.  We do know SMU is stacked at QB and on the upswing under June Jones.  I'm buying that Baylor under Briles is going to be a perennial contender.  But this game looks tenuous.  Of course, I'm taking my hometown Dallas boys on this one in an old fashioned Texas shootout!

So there you go, we'll keep track of the weekly performance, can't expect to even go .500 in these games.  Or can I?

Last Week (N/A), Season (0-0)

****Post Mortem Review****
So I stumbled out of the block at 0-3 this week (and for season).  Was close on Pick #2, artificially close on Pick #1 (MSU could have scored most likely if they didn't take a knee), and totally whiffed on Pick #3.  That's okay, two shots of Dickel Tennessee Whisky and we'll be back at it next week, folks!

PS - We now know what Baylor looks like without RGIII, see, you learn something by following this blog!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sportsman of the Week Ending 8/26/2012

Adrian Beltre had a legendary week in the first 5 days, then after cooling off the last 2, still had amazing stats.  He batted .590 from Monday through Friday, knocking 5 out of the park, hitting for the cycle (more rare than a no hitter), and clocking 9 RBI. And never struck out.  Despite a cooling off 0-8 on Saturday/Sunday, still hit .433 for the week. At one point during the week, went 11-14 with 5 out of the park (home run derby like stats). In any event, Adrian Beltre is a deserving Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Best Two-Sport Athletes - Football and Baseball

This is the second of a four part series examining the best two-sport athletes of the "modern" era.  "Modern" is defined in that I had to see them play (so no Jim Thorpe, Wilt Chamberlain, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Bob Hayes, etc.).  Each of the "big three" American sports (Basketball, Baseball, Football) will be paired with the others with best listed, then one "other" category which will consist of one of those 3, and another sport (like olympic sports for example).

Criteria are as follows:
1) Playing a high level at both.  Not included are going to be people who were good as prepsters but chose one sports over the other and never competed in college or beyond.
2) Accolades at the higher levels: Halls of Fame, All Stars, playing on title teams, big games, achievement over just playing

These were all off the top of my head (little research done, except after the candidates were identified) so I might have missed someone.  Feel free to set me straight!

So without further ado, the Top 5 two-sport athletes in Football and Baseball are below.  Two are fairly obvious, the debate begins after that.

#1 - Bo Jackson
College: Auburn
Highest Football: NFL (RB, 4 seasons)
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 8 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): 1x Pro Bowl (1990), 1x All Star Game (1989)
Honors: UPI Player of the Year, Walter Camp, Chic Harley, and Heisman (college football, 1985), All American (football, 1983&1985), College Football Hall of Fame, 1st overall NFL Pick (1986), 1989 All Star Game MVP (baseball), 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year (baseball)
Records: None
Championships: None
Comments: Pro careers were cut short by that devastating hip injury, also ran track and field at Auburn, Ran a 4.12 40 yard dash at the NFL combine (hand timed).

#2 - Deion Sanders
College: Florida State
Highest Football: NFL (CB/S/KR/PR, 14 seasons)
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 9 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): 8x Pro Bowl, 8x All Pro (both football)
Honors: Pro Football Hall of Fame (2011), College Football Hall of Fame (2011), NFL All Decade team (1990's), AP Defensive Player of the Year (1994), 2x NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1993, 1994), Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor, 1st Round NFL Draft Pick (5th overall, 1989), Consensus All American (college football 1986, 1987), Jim Thorpe Award (1988)
Records: Pro Bowl Interceptions Career (4), Florida State career punt return yards, Longest Interception Return in a Bowl Game (100 yards)
Championships: 2x Super Bowl Champ (XXIX, XXX), NL Champions (1992)
Comments: In college, once played both games of a baseball doubleheader while running a leg of the 4x100 in between.  Batted .533 in the World Series.  By accomplishment, better than Bo, but nobody was better than Bo in terms of athleticism.

#3 - Brian Jordan
College: Richmond
Highest Football: NFL (SS, 3 seasons)
Highest Baseball: MLB (OF, 15 seasons)
All Star season (Pro): All Star (1999, baseball)
Honors: 1st round MLB Draft pick (1988), Top 10 MVP vote (baseball, 1996), appeared on 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot (0 votes) 
Records: None
Championships: 1999 NL Pennant
Comments: A solid player in both sports, with the All Star appearance in baseball, gave up football after two seasons as a full time starter to sign a more lucrative MLB contract than he would have received otherwise.  Because his college was not nationally renown, lacks some of the honors we see in above and below players.

#4 - Todd Helton
College: Tennessee
Highest Football: College (QB, 3 seasons)
Highest Baseball: MLB (1B, 16 seasons, still active)
All Star season (Pro): 5x All Star (2000 - 2004)
Honors: Gatorade Player of the Year (high school) for football and baseball at Tennessee, Regional baseball player of the year (high school), Baseball America High School All American, Dick Howser trophy (college baseball), 2nd in MLB Rookie of the year (1998), 3 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers, 3x Top 10 MVP vote, 2000 Hank Aaron Award, 2000 Batting/Hits/Doubles/Total Bases/RBI Champ, First round (8th overall) pick in MLB draft.
Records: Rockies records for hits (2,407), home runs (354), doubles (566), walks (1,283), runs scored (1,355), RBIs (1,340), games played (2,105), and total bases (4,107), NCAA record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched (47), Tennessee saves record (11).
Championships: 2007 NL Pennant
Comments: Was backup QB to (now congressman) Heath Shuler, was ahead of Peyton Manning on depth chart and started for 3 weeks until injured (Peyton took over for like 4 years).  Also pitched in college (see records, posted 0.89 ERA during saves record).
#5 - John Elway
College: Stanford
Highest Football: NFL (QB, 16 seasons)
Highest Baseball: Minor Leagues (OF, 1 season)
All Star season (Pro): 9x Pro Bowl
Honors: Pro Football Hall of Fame (2004), Super Bowl XXXIII MVP, 1987 NFL MVP, 1st overall NFL Pick (1983), Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, NFL All Decade team (1990's), 2x UPI AFC Player of the year (1987, 1993), College Football Hall of Fame (2000), Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, 2nd round pick in the 1981 MLB Draft.
Records: All the Broncos records (yards, tds, completions, TDs, etc.), oldest QB to win a Super Bowl (38)
Championships: 2x Super Bowl Champ (XXXII, XXXIII), 5x AFC Champion
Comments: Baseball exploits are muted, but good stats in college and in the minors (which started before his NFL days).  Football exploits are legendary. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

2012 College Football Preview

With less than a week until the mid-week games kick off, this is most definitely one of my favorite times of year.  I'm a "would rather have my cake than eat it" guy.  The excitement of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams (plus 4 provisional), all have a chance to win the title.  Well, maybe not, but all have a chance to make an impact on the season, pull off upsets, win their conference (should they be in a conference), or have their player win the Heisman.  But I digress.  I thought I'd run through My Top 25.  Then as an engineer by trade, put some sort of metric on whether I think each team will exceed or falter vs. the AP/Coaches (see "higher/lower" below), then rate my picks at the end of the season.  Sounds like fun?  Here we go!

Bold teams win the conference, Italics make the conference title game. 

My Top 25
1) Alabama (higher)
2) Oregon (higher)
3) Texas (higher)
4) USC (lower)
5) Wisconsin (higher)
6) Oklahoma (lower)
7) LSU (lower)
8) West Virginia (higher)
9) Florida State (lower)
10) Michigan (lower)
11) South Carolina (lower)
12) Arkansas (lower)
13) Georgia (lower)
14) Boise State (higher)
15) Notre Dame (higher)
16) Michigan State (lower)
17) Clemson (lower)
18) Nebraska (lower)
19) Florida (higher)
20) Ohio State (lower)
21) Virginia Tech (lower)
22) TCU (lower)
23) Louisiana Tech (higher)
24) Georgia Tech (higher)
25) Kansas State (lower)


Non ranked Conference winners:
Big East: Cincinnati
Conference USA: Southern Methodist
MAC: Northern Illinois
Sun Belt: Arkansas State

Top 5 Questions answered:
1) What the hell are you thinking with Texas #3
A: I am biased, but I think the team has the running game and defense that can keep them in all the games they play.  The Big 12 gauntlet will be tough, won't get out unscathed, but I think this is a year where 1 loss or 2 will still make the title game.  If the QB situation implodes and injuries at RB take a toll, then this team drops to .500 quick.

2) Louisiana Tech at #23.  Really?
Other than an odd loss at Hawaii last year, all losses were close (to teams like Houston by 1 point, Southerm Miss by 2 points, TCU by 7 points).  Lost only 1 game after October 1st, this team gets Sonny Dykes system.  Early schedule is the most intriguing, with Texas A&M at home, then on the road with Houston, trips to Illinois and Virginia loom (good team can win those games).  Then it's easy sailing (no trips to Oahu).

3) Why Alabama #1?
They lost a lot on defense, but are so, so deep.  LSU isn't as much a threat as people think, only 3 ranked teams on the schedule (2 in the first 3 weeks, then LSU).  Every week you're going to watch this team play and expect them to win by 10 points.

4) Okay, Notre Dame at #15.  You're smoking something!
Kelly has this team playing the right way.  They've got some depth for the first time in a while.  Brutal schedule (give them credit), but all their opponents I think are slightly over slot.  They should have beat Michigan last year at the Big House (now everyone thinks Michigan is Top 10).  If this team gels by the 2nd half of the season, watch out!

5) Boise State ain't that good.
A trip to Michigan State early, then there's nothing stopping them. Neutral site, I think they'd give the teams behind them fits, and the teams in front of them good games.  I'm gambling they'll beat an overrated Michigan State team, then end up 12-0 like they usually do, crashing the BCS.

Other random picks:
Heisman: Matt Barkley
Coach of the Year: Sonny Dykes
Teams that are WAY overrated: Stanford, Oklahoma State (notice a theme here with QB's leaving), Georgia, Michigan State

Team outside the Top 10 that could run the table: West Virginia - we don't know how good this team is in a tougher conference, they might explode against an average Big 12.

Team in the Top 10 most likely to end up out: Georgia - has the benefit of a good schedule, but if the team gives up after early losses, there's a lot of games they may not win.

Things to bet your house on: Wisconsin representing the Leaders division in the Big 10 title game - two teams aren't eligible, the others are Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue.

BCS Games (winner in bold) plus Cotton and Peach (the next best two)
Championship: Alabama (12-1) vs. Oregon (12-1)
Rose: Wisconsin (11-2) vs. USC (11-2)
Fiesta: Texas (10-2) vs. Boise State (12-0)
Sugar: LSU (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)
Orange: Florida State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (9-3)
Cotton: West Virginia (9-3) vs. Arkansas (9-3)
Peach*: South Carolina (10-3) vs. Virginia Tech (10-3)

*Peach goes by Chick Fil'a these days.