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.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports


LHD_PotW (621) MLB (185) NFL (165) NCAA (129) NFL Playoffs (73) NBA (69) NHL (63)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why the first college football playoff poll isn't worth the paper it's voted on

On Tuesday October 28, 2014, the first College Football Playoff poll will be released.  Experts and pundits are convinced that it will reveal all when it comes to which four teams will face off in the Rose and Sugar Bowls, then in Dallas North Texas for the BCS College Football Championship.  I don't mean to temper your enthusiasm, but this poll is pretty much meaningless. Here's why.

1) There is so much season left to play

It's amazing how spun up people get when talking about whether Notre Dame should be number 6 or 7, why Auburn or Alabama is still ranked high, and why no Big 12 team is in the Top 5 when they have just as many losses as SEC teams ranked there.  You know what? IT DOESN'T MATTER.  It will all play out.  We're convinced that the top teams will win out and somehow a worthy team will be left out.  Now with four slots, I'm more worried about an overrated team getting in.  A team like Baylor.  Or Georgia.  Or Ohio State.  Or maybe Florida State or Notre Dame.  Show me the quality wins for those?  Just let it play out and the cream will rise.  The only argument I want to hear is in December for teams number 5 or 6.  Not number 11 right now against a Top 3 team that will lose 3 of their next five.

2) The poll isn't going to differ from the AP/Coaches poll

It turns out, the people that vote in the AP and Coaches poll aren't dumb.  In fact, their paid to know college football.  Are they perfect?  No.  Are they awful? No.  The fallacy of "those polls come out too soon and are biased" have always baffled me.  Each pollster starts with a blank piece of paper every week, bound by no rules of moving up or down teams.  So the fact that Mississippi State was unranked coming into the year is why they're not number one is nonsensical.  Just look at today's polls.

3) Win the conference, make the playoffs.

The only races people should be talking about are the conference races.  If you are in one of the so-called "Power Five", you probably have an 80% chance to make the playoff.  With all the hubbub of the SEC getting two, maybe three teams, when it comes down to it, all but one of those teams have lost once, and many (many) more still have to play.  They're not going to take two-loss SEC teams over one-loss teams from other conferences.  The one extra spot as I see it is if the Pac 12 and Big 12 have nothing but two-loss teams.  Then maybe a two-loss Alabama might sneak in.  But other than that.  Win the conference, make the playoffs.  Finally, conference titles are back in vogue.

4) Really, this is just an expansion from a 2-team playoff to a 4-team playoff with a different criteria

This isn't that different than the BCS.  That was a 2-team playoff, this is a 4-team playoff.  That had a objective, mathematical criteria, this has a committee, subjective criteria.  At the end, I bet the old BCS poll was right more than wrong.  Or at least no worse.  The main thing now is that one loss really leaves you still in play.  And I think two losses does.  Not for any other reason that the big conferences have a bit more parity.  We don't have Oregon, OU, Ohio State, and Alabama ripping everyone.  The Utah's, TCU's, Michigan State's, and Ole Miss's are right there.  So we'll get the top four teams. From about ten deserved (instead of two out of three or four).

Here's my college football poll if you based it solely on performance on the field.  I'm subtracting significant points for losing to unranked teams and blowout losses.  Minus a few points for a close win against inferior opponent.  And you're not going to see teams that haven't beaten anybody ranked (East Carolina or Marshall).

My College Football Playoff poll:
1) Mississippi State (7-0)
2) Florida State (7-0)
3) Notre Dame (6-1) loss to Florida State
4) Oregon (7-1) loss to Arizona
5) Michigan State (7-1) blowout loss to Oregon
6) Auburn (6-1) blowout loss to Mississippi State
7) Kansas State (6-1) lost to Auburn

8) LSU (7-2) lost to Auburn and Mississippi State
9) Ole Miss (7-1) lost to LSU
10) Alabama (7-1) lost to Ole Miss AND struggled with Arkansas
11) Arizona (6-1) loss to unranked USC
12) TCU (6-1) lost to Baylor
13) Baylor (6-1) blowout loss to West Virginia
14) Oklahoma (5-2) lost to Kansas State and TCU and struggled with Texas

15) Georgia (6-1) loss to unranked South Carolina

16) Clemson (6-2) lost to Georgia (blowout) and Florida State
17) West Virginia (6-2) lost to Oklahoma and Alabama
18) Nebraska (7-1) loss to Michigan State AND struggled with McNeese State
19) Arizona State (6-1) blowout loss to UCLA

20) Ohio State (6-1) blowout loss to unranked Virginia Tech
21) Duke (6-1) lost to unranked Miami
22) Utah (6-1) lost to unranked Washington State

23) UCLA (6-2) lost to Oregon and Utah
24) Texas A&M (5-3) lost to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama (blowout)
25) Louisville (6-2) lost to Clemson and unranked Virginia

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/26/2014

With all due respect to football, the last week was all about the World Series.  And there was one clear performer who was head and shoulders above the rest.  The San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner completely dominated Games 1 and 5 of the Series to thrust his team to a 3-2 lead.  By completely dominated, we mean 2-0, 16 IP, 7H, 1ER, 1BB, 13K.  The run was on a solo home run by Kansas City Royals C Salvador Perez.  Bumgarner now moves his career World Series record to 4-0, with a 19th century-esq ERA of 0.29.  While he's not scheduled to start another game, he will certainly be available in Game 7 for a few innings.  Should it be required!

Friday, October 24, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Nine Picks

First of all...Week Nine?  It's already more than half over?  Is it too early to get sad about College Football ending?  Yes, but still.

So we hit the S/U upset pick, which boosted the totals for last week.  Still can't hit more than 2/5 of the ATS.  Missed Clemson by half a point, too.  It happens.  Big hill to climb, but here we are:

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)
Coming into week: -$1285 (12-22-1, 2-5)
Previous Week: +135 (2-3, 1-0)
Season total: -$1150 (14-25-1, 3-5)

If anything, my S/U pick hasn't been bad, since I usually take a team a TD or more dog for +200 or more.

Here's this week's guaranteed* winners!

* By guaranteed, I mean proceed at your own risk.

North Carolina (+7) at Virginia
North Carolina has been improving since the debacle against East Carolina (it wasn't that they lost, it was the 70 points).  Virginia just hasn't sold me yet.  The seven points seems like too much, I think this goes either way at the end.

South Carolina (+18) at Auburn
South Carolina is down, but these are still two good teams and that's too many points in the SEC.  Auburn is looking for a rebound after the disappointing outing at Mississippi State, they'll win but not by this much.

Louisiana State (+3.5) vs Mississippi
By far the most intriguing game on the schedule, Ole Miss doesn't win in Baton Rouge much and LSU knows night games.  LSU isn't that good, but give me points and them at home, and I'll take my chances.

Oklahoma State (-1) vs West Virginia
West Virginia has a bigger challenge than any other team in the Big 12 when they travel.  The distance, and the unfamiliarity with the stadium/city/team.  In Morgantown, I'd love the Mountaineers.  But in Stillwater, that's a tough place to win.  I'm not sold on Oklahoma State as being that good, but they can win at home.

Penn State (+14) vs Ohio State
Another intriguing game.  Oh how Virginia Tech has fallen and Ohio State has risen since the Horseshoe debacle.  This is a circle the calendar game for James Franklin and his Nittany Lions.  Fourteen points is a lot in Happy Valley, I could see much closer.

Straight up Special
Texas (+315) at Kansas State
This is one where given who I think will cover, it would be the Wildcats.  BUT I see a decent chance that the young Longhorns put together a complete game and get some turnovers.  And take advantage of Kansas State's basking in the Oklahoma win.  At 3:1, I'll take the Horns.

Good luck to your team on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/19/2014

For the third time in Blog history, Peyton Manning is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.  And no better athlete of this generation could be so honored.  Manning's Denver Broncos won a key Sunday Night game 42-17 against the 2013 NFC runner up (and 2012 NFC Champion) San Francisco 49ers.  Easily.  Manning flung the ball for 318 yards and 4 TDs. And most importantly, broke Brett Favre's all-time TD record with his 509th (and 510th) career TD pass.  Early prediction, the Broncos win the Super Bowl and this is Peyton Manning's last year.  I think one more is all he's waiting for!

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/19/2014 (400 yards to propel Broncos to Super Bowl)
Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/8/2013 (7 TD passes)

Friday, October 17, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Eight Picks

I don't want to talk about it.

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$1055 (10-19-1, 2-4)
Previous Week: -230 (2-3, 0-1)
Season total: -$1285 (12-22-1, 2-5)

This is a new week, I'll do better this time.  I promise!

Arkansas (+3) vs Georgia
Georgia is using the rally cry of "Free Gurley" but you wonder how long that can carry them.  This is an East vs. West matchup, is it possible that the West number 6 is better than the East number 1?  At West, I think so.  But really, Arkansas has a style that should stymie the Bulldogs.  Arkansas only loss at home has been to Alabama (note this game is in Little Rock).

West Virginia (+8.5) vs Baylor
This has all the makings of a shootout.  And how much did last week's national profile game take out of Baylor.  Now on the road, West Virginia's crowd will be raucous.  The Mountaineers might keep it within a TD, they also might win.

Alabama (-13.5) vs Texas A&M
Alabama survived a tough road contest at Arkansas, Texas A&M has been regressing.  This being in Tuscaloosa, I think the Tide is likely to try to make a statement.  I don't see the young Aggie QB doing well, this one will be ugly.

Oklahoma (-7) vs Kansas State
Oklahoma has had a couple of tough weeks, with a loss at (respected) TCU and another road game of sorts against Texas (win, but out played).  Bob Stoops has his teams' attention, they'll circle the wagons at home against an overrated Kansas State team.  At least by more than a TD.

Clemson (-4.5) at Boston College
BC upset USC and betting lines have been favoring them ever since.  Clemson is a gritty team that lost to two Top 10 teams on the road.  They're good enough to handle the Eagles quite easily, no problem with the TD.

Straight up Special
West Virginia (+265) vs Baylor
See above, this is going to be a shootout, the winner is up in the air and you're getting pay out at better than 2:1 if you get lucky.

I'll wait to do my talking on Sunday, but these are can't miss.  CAN'T MISS!!!!  With the price of oil going down, I may have to consider diversifying my portfolio and doing more mob-type activities!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/12/2014

Another week of amazing baseball postseason action has yielded a new superstar for an unlikely team.  The Kansas City Royals CF Lorenzo Cain has been a complete terror in the playoffs so far.  For the week (officially Game 3 of the ALDS through Game 2 of the ALCS, 3-0 for the Royals), Cain went 7-11 with 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 walks, and an RBI.  With his speed and hot hitters behind him, he made it a virtual impossibility to get past his spot in the lineup without a run.  In the postseason, that's how you sweep series.  Three sweeps in a row.  With all that, he was putting together amazing diving catches in the field inning after inning.  The Royals are headed to the World Series, and Lorenzo Cain is a big reason why.

Friday, October 10, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Seven Picks

You can make a LOT of money listening to my college picks every week.  Just hear what I say AND DO THE OPPOSITE!!!!  Ugggh, brutal last week.  1-4 and I missed the upset special.  Here's what's left of my bank account:

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$615 (9-15-1, 2-3)
Week Three: -440 (1-4, 0-1)
Season total: -$1055 (10-19-1, 2-4)

It takes talent to only hit 33% of ATS picks.  Unfortunately that talent is bankrupting me!  This week's picks (do what you want with them)

Texas Tech (+6) vs West Virginia
Texas Tech's defense is bad, but West Virginia hasn't played tough competition well.  Factoring in meaningless intangibles like how far the Mountaineers have to travel, how Tech fans get up for home games, how Tech is a wounded deer and I'll just roll the dice with the Raiders at home if you're going to give me points.

Baylor (-8) vs TCU
The premier showdown in Texas on Saturday (sorry Texas/Oklahoma) will go a long way to decide who wins the conference.  This is where we find out if TCU can put together good games week after week in a major conference.  Baylor struggled offensively in Austin, but that Longhorns defense is more salty than you think.  They hit their stride here and blow out the Frogs.

Arkansas (+9) vs. Alabama
Arkansas lost a heartbreaking game to their rival Texas A&M Aggies and has had a week to think about it.  Alabama lost a heartbreaking game to the Ole Miss Rebels.  They don't seem to have the anger that they should.  A raucous home crowd push the Hogs to a victory behind their strong running game.  The end of the Tide's dynasty is nigh.

Texas A&M (-2.5) vs Ole Miss
Anybody who has watched Ole Miss football ever knows that they are a team that will blow prosperity at first opportunity.  After an impressive win at Alabama, they hit Kyle Field in College Station against a team licking its wounds from a blowout loss last week.  The Aggies make a statement and rebuff the Rebels advance.

Penn State (+1.5) at Michigan
Things are bad in Michigan.  Really bad.  The Lions lost a horrible home game to Northwestern in which everything went wrong.  James Franklin knows how to coach his team after losses (he had many at Vanderbilt).  It won't take long for the boo birds to fly out at Michigan Stadium and the Lions roar.

Straight up Special
Kansas (+900) vs Oklahoma State
Another case in which I wouldn't take the points for Kansas, but a perfect storm "could" push them to victory.  And the payoff is juicy.  Oklahoma State hasn't played a true road game yet (?).  Kansas has a new coach and might just put something together.  There is talent there, Weis brought it in.  They might just thump the overrated Cowboys.

You may, just may want to go opposite of me.  Or is this the week I hit?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 10/5/2014

The baseball playoffs have started off with a bang, and lots of bangs have come from the Baltimore Orioles bats.  And it starts with their OF/DH, Nelson Cruz.  In a 3-0 sweep of the favored Detroit Tigers, Nelly went a cool 6-12, with 4 runs, 5 RBI, and two HR.  No HR was bigger than the decisive blow in Detroit in Game 3.  It broke open a scoreless game and quieted an already mellow crowd.  And put the O's in their first ALCS since Bill Clinton stalked the halls of the White House.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

College Football 2014 - Week Six Picks

Another setback last week, just didn't buy a break last Saturday (Baylor no cover by 1 for instance)

Stats (ATS, S/U upset pick)

Coming into week: -$385 (7-12-1, 2-2)
Week Three: -230 (2-3, 0-1)
Season total: -$615 (9-15-1, 2-3)

All bets $110 to win $100 ATS and $100 for the moneyline.

Plenty of time left now that conference play is starting.  Here are five best bet winners, you'll miss out if you don't act!  

Texas A&M (+2) at Mississippi State
Texas A&M might have needed overtime to win on Saturday, but I'm buying that they know how to win.  No matter who the quarterback.  Mississippi State I haven't seen that, the LSU win wasn't as impressive as people give them credit for.  Look for an Aggies win in Stark-Vegas.

Oklahoma (-5) at Texas Christian
TCU has looked good so far, but hasn't faced the athleticism they're going to see in Oklahoma.  The Frogs haven't really beat anybody, this step up in competition will shock them.  Just a TD covers, that's easy money.

Alabama (-4.5) at Ole Miss
Ole Miss will definitely win.  They tailgate party.  But not the game.  Business as usual for the Tide as they'll roll into Oxford without incident.  Another TD to cover shouldn't be an issue for the more experienced and tested team early.

Arizona State (+11.5) at USC
Arizona State lost by a lot of points against UCLA, but they also showed a lot of offense.  They just couldn't get out of their own way.  I see a bounceback against a USC team I'm not fully sold on yet.

Michigan State (-6.5) vs. Nebraska
The Spartans have been incredibly impressive but for the one bad half in Oregon.  Sparty should control this game on both sides of the ball and have no issue beating Nebraska by a TD or more.  Probably two TD.

Straight up Special
Texas (+475) vs Baylor
This is a rare one in which I'm not liking Texas ATS, but like them for a potential upset.  Given the money line.  I could see Baylor punishing the Horns in Austin and running away.  But there's a chance, small chance, the Horns could stay in this.  Baylor hasn't played this level of competition yet.  Texas two losses are to ranked teams (and they were close in all but one quarter).  Texas a team getting better every week in a new system.  Worth a flyer!

Conference play starts to really put together some good matchups, this week is no exception.  Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sportsman of the Week Ending 9/28/2014

Football is rounding into midseason form, but baseball is moving toward an epic postseason.  The final game of the MLB season was filled with six games having playoff implications, but the one we want to talk about wasn't one of them.  A no-hitter on the final game of the season.  Jordan Zimmermann of the Washington Nationals calmly put down 27 Miami Marlins with nary a hit.  The final out, a catch by Steven Souza going deep into the gap was amazing in and of itself.  Zimmermann was your 2013 NL leader in wins and had a 2.66 ERA this season.  A worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!