Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Texas and Texas A&M Continue to Feud

Here we see it again, Chapter 825 in the book I like to call The Great Battle of Brothers. Texas A&M and Texas are happily on their hiatus from each other and some meddling politician jumps into the picture and proclaims "YOU TWO MUST FIIIIIIGHT!"

*FREEZE FRAME*

Backup...

Restart... In case you are living under a rock (that also happens to be located under a larger rock), I'll fill you in on what happened Monday morning. A bill was introduced to the Texas State Legislature that would require the University of Texas and Texas A&M University to compete, annually, in a football game or suffer penalties to their athletic scholarships. The bill was filed by Ryan Guillen, a Texas State Representative and ring wearing Aggie. If you check out that twitter link, you'll see some of the response he has received from Ags and non-Ags alike. Longhorns are saying "look how desperate they are to play us again!" while Aggies are saying "stop making us look desperate!" Either way, it does seem everyone can agree that the Texas State Legislature should stop worrying about college athletics and start worrying about more significant topics (like an aging infrastructure, immigration issues, or... I don't know... increasing intrastate commerce).

CHAPTER 825  -  Intrastate Commerce
 
Ryan Guillen is a good Ag. I'm assuming he is a good Ag because he married an Ag and he has a 2 year-old Ag-in-the-making. If you want to know more about Ryan, then go here and read up. Personally, I don't care to read more about Ryan Guillen, I already know enough about the guy to know he's vetted this idea for more than just 5 minutes while watching ESPN. Yes there will be some constituents who will get pouty because of a politician meddling in college football, but there is a bigger agenda here. If College Athletics is the front porch of state-funded universities, then the state-funded universities are the front porch of the state of Texas. (What is the front porch of a front porch? The front steps perhaps?) So why shouldn't the Texas Legislature attempt to do what they think is right for the betterment of the state?
 
Tell me, is there anything that advertises the state of Texas better than The Lone Star Showdown? Texas takes a lot of pride in their football; and rightfully so, because it brings in a TON of cash. Now, don't get me caught up on pro teams, because they are privately owned and entirely football related, thus, care little about the babblings of the Texas State Legislature. On the other hand, Public universities (and many private ones as well) have an enormous influence on the state as a whole. Money, skilled workers, marketing, perception, and research all come from a successful stable of organizations of higher learning. So it would be the logical thing to do to step in when you see two of your kids failing to capitalize on millions of dollars of revenue just because of a few men's egos. 
 
Does it pass? Well, you'll just have to wait until the next chapter to find out.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gullibility and Sincerity - by Dr. Michael Shaub

I would like to introduce you to some eloquent words written by one of my A&M heroes, Dr. Michael Shaub. We, as avid sport's fans, are often far too quick to elevate sport-related individuals and occurrences to a "larger-than-life" mystique.

Gullibility and Sincerity - by Dr. Michael Shaub

Deceit, insincerity, and ruthlessness are overlooked by fans all too often because we want to believe in the happy ending. Look no further than the triumphant return to the Super Bowl by Ray Lewis. A story book ending to a long and dark journey of retribution through the lens of sports and fame.

I do not yet agree with Dr. Shaub's initial judgement of Te'o's character. After all, a main part of Dr. Shaub's life calling is to see the potential in college aged boys and guide them to becoming the upstanding men they are capable of becoming. Personally, my own "choose-Teo's-adventure" book would end with the ultimate humbling given to a serial humble-braggart, but that doesn't change our emotional connection to the mystique behind the story.

Are all of these sports fantasies great reads? Yep.

Are all of these sports figures heroes? Obviously not.

Are all of these sports stories really just life lessons we can observe and relate to our own lives? Well the beauty IS in the eye of the beholder; but you might want to put on some 'Dr. Shaub reading glasses' before diving too far into the next Cinderella story.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Anything and Everything (Uhm... Mainly Te'o)

Scott:  My dear friend Ben, it has been too long since we have heard your literary musings... I guess I will have to pry them out of you via an email exchange.

One might think we have little to discuss given that the season is now wrapped up, but honestly, my brain is swirling with subject matter.

The most intriguing topics of interest:
  • Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore having a legitimate shot to go number 1 and 2 in the NFL draft.  Wow. Wow. Wow.  This is even more extraordinary than the Tannehill extravaganza last year.  Incredible publicity for two incredible players (one incredible school).
  • Recruiting wrap-up... a bit tough to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of high school players that have yet to set foot on college campus.  With that being said; incredible recruiting class.  I was personally overjoyed by the Ricky Seals-Jones process.  Commit to UT, de-commit from UT, have UT claim they aren't recruiting him anymore (I am pretty sure the number one recruit in the state makes that decision, not you Mack Brown), then have it come full circle with a Texas A&M commitment.  A clear indicator of the shift in power in our state.
  • Jake Matthews coming back and thereby giving us a good shot at ANOTHER incredible year of offensive line work.  Those big boys in the trenches are the engine to the football team.
  • Hyman having a sit down with Manziel.  Don't you dare restrict Manziel's swag, Hyman.  Let the boy "peacock" all he wants.
  • Can I mention how I think it is fun that Manziel's family has a ton of money; thereby, driving the haters wild as he lives a life of luxury without consequences.
  • Potential preseason rankings.  I want to be somewhere between 3 and 6.  Perfect placement in the polls to control your own destiny, perfect amount of respect, minimal amount of pressure as opposed to somehow being ranked number 1 ahead of Alabama.
Alright, take it where you please Ben.  I am open to anything and everything!

Ben:  Okay, you brought up a number of great topics, but we'd be doing ourselves and our handful of readers a huge disservice without discussing our favorite overrated athlete of 2012... Manti Te'o!!!!!!!!!

1% of me MIGHT feel bad for him. I DON'T BELIEVE FOR ONE SECOND THAT HE IS INNOCENT AND IS THE VICTIM HERE. However, he is obviously a complete moron that thought he could get away with this. For his stupidity, I do feel a little sorry for him.

Scott, start it off. Give me your thoughts on Manti Te'LOL...

Scott:  The world is buzzing over one of the most insane stories I have ever heard.  I am going to resort back to bullet points in an attempt to organize my thoughts (and probably be more inquisitive and less harsh than you).
  • There is obviously a SIGNIFICANT level of delusion in Te’o's life.  Regardless of what he knew, or didn't know.  Holy cow, how does anyone on earth think they can get away with such things in today's society.  Social media is a shark, and there is ALWAYS blood in the water.
  • Is he gay?  This is the least discussed outcome thus far by the big media avenues.  And honestly, I think this is the only result where he saves a moderate amount of dignity to a portion of America.  Come out with a sob story of fear and confusion and, no doubt, the gay community comes to your defense based upon the potential for discrimination. That doesn't justify anything... but it makes him somewhat of a sympathy character.  Stay tuned for this "thought-line" to gain steam in the near future.
  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the comparisons between Notre Dame's awkward press conference and the Tennessee butt-chugging press conference.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Manti Teo being in the same sentence with butt-chugging (even if they aren't directly related).  
  • Obviously, as A&M fans, we thoroughly enjoyed his football demise in the national championship game.  All stat-based analysis puts Te’o well behind the likes of other defensive studs (uhm... Damontre Moore)... yet his undefeated team and supposed story lines carried him to the Heisman presentation.  WOW, could the college football nation be ANY happier with Manziel winning it?  The cream always rises to the top.
  • I hope ESPN gets ripped apart for knowing this information before the national championship game.  ABSOLUTELY RIPPED APART.  Listen, I read and watch ESPN just as much as anyone (mainly because they have a monopoly... that's just life), but they truly are the farthest thing from an unbiased news source, and I love every story that makes them look bad.
  • I hope Notre Dame and Manti Te’o get what they deserve here.  Fraud and deception undoubtedly occurred. I hope every bit of truth is uncovered in this story.
There you have it, LOTS of viewpoints (I like all the side stories) to play off Ben.  Enjoy.

Ben:  I don't think Te'o is gay, but honestly that is the only viable path forward for him. The sports landscape is ripe for a star male athlete to break down that barrier. Considering he loves attention, being know as the "Jackie Robinson" for homosexuals in sports may actually appeal to him. It certainly would provide a shield for him to hide behind at this point. 
  • Did you happen to see the video Clay Travis posted at OKTC today? It's a Taiwanese cartoon that includes Te'o and the Buttchugger. Remarkable. 
  • Bill Simmons has his 'Tyson Zone'... That may be another alternative for Manti. Become an unpredictable character that can become a cult hero because of his insanity. 
  • What I really want to know is if Te'o actually did get duped at first and then played along or created the entire thing from the beginning. If he was duped at first, why would anyone do that? Is that not the dumbest prank ever?
  • I was shocked by the ND press conference last night. How in the world can they stand by him after knowing the details? I'm not saying they should ostracize him because he has undoubtedly been a model student-athlete that the administration made a lot of money off of, but what do they have to gain by claiming the whole thing was a hoax? In fact, shouldn't the AD lose his job next week, once all of the details have emerged?
  • This could crush the ND program. It will hang over their heads for a long time. What are recruits thinking right now? 
  • The entire scandal has me praising Aggie baby Jesus for giving us a genuine rock star in Johnny Manziel, who seems to have his head on straight enough to never get caught up in something like this. Pushing the limits (if even) as far as NCAA rules go, pales in comparison to perpetrating something like Te'o did.
 If anything good comes from this, it's that the media finally got their serving of humble pie after pimping Te'o and the Irish in Heisman race, lead up to national championship, etc. Any Fighting Irish hater should be glad to know the media won't ever sensationalize something like this again. 

Scott:  So many avenues of thought... I like our scattered approach.

Again, the gay path is easiest way out.  If he is gay, I don't know what he is waiting for, if he isn't gay, well I don't think he is going to take that path... that would make for a very uneasy future as a faux-gay football player.
Don't think the 'Tyson Zone' is a feasible result.  He doesn't seem to have the personality.  He might be sneaky, and he might have perfected the public humblebrag, but I don't seem him as the entertaining psycho sort... 


As I said before, I hope Notre Dame (and ESPN) gets ripped on this.  The Notre Dame AD definitely put himself in a tough situation.  All the stories out there contradict his overall sentiments, and that will likely come back to haunt him.  As far as recruits and the future of the program… well, I honestly don't think it will be that devastating.  I don't see any NCAA sanctions coming out of this given that the root of the story doesn't have anything to do with his college education or his athletic career.  Though, it is a sensational, emotional, twisted story and Manti Te'o's life is significantly altered for the next 5-10 years.  
Another fascinating question... in the testosterone driven NFL world... what in the world are those players going to think when their team drafts Manti Te'o and he strolls into training camp?  I mean his play on the field better speak LOUD... or he is in for an eternity of awkwardness and discomfort.
Do you think his draft stock will be dramatically affected?  I think so, I could totally see him drop to the second round given that so many of his "positives" were intangible driven.  Well he is now the king of "intangible" girlfriends... and that is not a plus to NFL scouts.
Thank you, Johnny Manziel for being the king of swag.  Swag doesn't lose in Waco.  Swag doesn't make up girlfriends.  Swag doesn't watch a teammate assault a girl.  Swag doesn't resort to online dating.  

Swag dresses up as Scooby Doo... and lives the "tangible" college dream.

Ben:  Yeah, maybe I was getting a little carried away about the damage this could do to ND's program. Wishful thinking.

I don't think this will end up hurting his draft stock. One or two teams may shy away from that kind of stuff (there's no way a locker room with Ray Lewis-taught Ravens would accept a guy after all this) but in the end, talent matters in the NFL more than off-field issues.

Where do you think he'll get drafted? I have seen him all over the first round in mock drafts, but I really don't know about him being a first round pick. He looked great against bad teams, plain and simple. When he faced a real team, he looked like a boy among men. Also, am I the only one that thinks a lot of his game is based on just being in the right place at the right time? Dropping back in coverage and the QB doesn't see him, a pass gets tipped right to him, a fumble shoots out right at his feet... he never jumped out at me as a 'playmaker'. Maybe I'm not giving him enough credit, but I just think he is so overrated as a defensive player. Give me Damonster ANY DAY.

Scott, how will you handle it if Joeckel and Moore go 1-2? Will you immediately buy Chiefs and Jaguars jerseys, and sew them together, and wear it to sleep every night?

On another draft note, I saw a tweet about Christine Michael impressing scouts at practices for one of the all-star games... He got lost in the shuffle this year, but we can't sleep on him as a stud in the NFL. Remember, Jamaal Charles lost his way at UT before getting drafted in the 3rd round and promptly turning into a beast on Sundays. Where do you think C-Mike gets drafted?

Whoa, Trey Bahney just came out of the woodworks to share his thoughts…

Trey: WHOA! How did I get here??
Well this Te'o thing makes about as much sense as this email thread, but I'll toss my two cents into the wishing well.
  • Only way he saves any face is if it turns out he is gay. If he is, he can't admit it because he's trying to get drafted into the NFL. If he isn't he could double up on all his terrible lies with one mega-lie and get some people off his back. By the way, how awesome would it be if he admitted he were gay and then was the Jackie Robinson of gay representation in the NFL for years, just for the truth to come out that he was never gay??? #MINDBLOWN
  • Let's be real, Te'o is not gay, he's just an ultra priveleged kid who was told ever since birth that his stuff don't stink. He got himself into a little white lie and, as the lesson goes, that little white lie just grows bigger and bigger. People that don't make mistakes in life are the people who are LYING TO YOU! That's one of the problems I had with RG3 and that's why I DON'T have a problem with Johnny Manziel. There are few things in the world I respect more than when someone ownes up to a mistake and says, "I messed up. I'll learn from this mistake and it won't happen again."
  • The Notre Dame Athletic Department: If their goal was to deflect some of the blame that is going to Te'o, they succeeded in taking it all for themselves. Absolutely terrible stance on this thing. They messed up the timing, they SOAKED UP the story line, they tried to cover it up, they told Te'o to lie about it at the NCG, and they STILL can't own up to the truth of the matter. ND needs to take a hint from the Penn State ordeal and realize that they need to STOP COVERING THINGS UP or this will happen with something more real than a fake girlfriend, like a rape/suicide.
  • As for ESPN, I don't think they intended to break the story. Quite frankly, I don't think ESPN wants to be a watchdog to the sports world anymore. Investigative reporting is not going to make friends for them. Imagine if ESPN used all of their interviews as proof to put together a story showing that Te'o was lying. Well, the next popular player from ND wouldn't sit down with them for an interview. It's a classic case of "good cop vs. bad cop" and ESPN picked to be the good cop and let the story be broken by Deadspin.
  • To bring the topic back to Aggieland, I'm extremely proud to say that A&M could never be "Stanford" in this story because, if a student passed away, we would hold Silvertaps. Since she wasn't real, no Silvertaps would have been held for her, therefore, many inquisitive Aggies would have put two and two together. No offense to Stanford students, but there's a reason why A&M considers itself a big family.
Draft spots? Ray Lewis? Whaa? Ok back to your regularly scheduled programming..

Scott:  A whole new voice is heard.  Obviously the current summation of the Te’o situation is that NOTHING makes sense.  Way too many holes in everybody's story (especially Te’o's).  

Without more concrete facts, I still have the mindset of utter disbelief at how a 22 year old college student and athlete would be interested and then ultimately fooled by an online relationship.  That is not feasible.  I understand that this is a confusing and deceiving technological world we live in, but you don't get duped in 2012.  Getting duped in 2002 by an online relationship?  COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY.  Everyone was still figuring out exactly what the internet was and what it was capable of doing.  

Also, I want to know more about the phone calls.  Were they real?  Was he talking to one certain girl the whole time?  Incredibly easy to fake a person online via email, twitter, text, etc, but on the phone?  That is way different.   It brings in the element of time (both people are connected at the same exact time) and the sense of hearing (it obviously has to be a girl on the phone).

WAY TOO MANY HOLES.  No way on earth that that a functional human being (and we can fairly assume that given his collegiate education thus far) doesn't smell the [cat]fishy smell.

Phew... alright, this is wrapped up.  Ben, to address your draft questions... of course I will have a mental overload at the thought of my boys going 1 and 2.  ALTHOUGH, I would almost root against it, given that I don't want either of them to be selected by the black hole known as Jacksonville.  ALTHOUGH, Jacksonville is still better than a bunch of other teams I hate.  I guess I can’t win; unless they all go to my own personal black hole, the Dallas Cowboys.

And Christine Michael, you better believe he is a risk worth taking mid-to-late in the draft.  The guy is still a physical freak and could absolutely be a running back in the NFL with the proper opportunity.  Running backs are revolving doors in the NFL.

In summation, thank you deadspin.com, for currently being one of the most objective internet outlets we have.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'm Not Sayin', I'm Just Sayin'

Unless you've been living under a rock, you are fully aware of the transformation Texas A&M has made under Coach Sumlin in just one year's time.

Well... now we know Bob Stoops has been living under a rock.

Stoops was right about A&M bringing a Big 12 Offense into the SEC, but he failed to notice the giant strides the A&M defense has made during the first year in the big leagues. Second half adjustments by A&M's new SEC defense lead to the high-powered OU offense getting shut-out in the second half of a 41-13 Aggie victory in the Cotton Bowl.

So here is my post-season edition of:

I'm Not Sayin', I'm Just Sayin'

1. I'm not saying the Aggie defense is full-blown Wrecking Crew, but we definitely have a bonified SEC defense. Excluding teams with terrible coaches (Auburn, Arkansas, and Mizzou) and teams we can't remember (unnamed), here are some highlights and lowlights of our defensive performance, relative to their season average (sans A&M game).

       - Highlights: OU averaged 40 PPG but only got 13 against the Ags = difference of +27
                            Bama averaged 40 and got 24 = +16
                            SMU averaged 33 and got 3 = +30
       - Lowlights:  La Tech averaged 51 and got 57 = -6
                            Ole Miss averaged 32 and got 27 = +5
                            Florida averaged 27 and got 20 = +7
                            LSU averaged 30 and got 24 = +6

So what is the take-away here? Even in A&M's worst defensive games, they still held the opposition (teams playing in the SEC) below their season average. Not eye-popping, but still very solid numbers. Obviously I'm ignoring the La Tech stat because they are chumps and refused to play us at the beginning of the season (bias not included).

2. I'm not saying Johnny Manziel is going to be the greatest college football player of all time. I'm just saying he is the most decorated freshman in the history of the sport and already has more SEC records as a freshman than Tebow or Cam left with as seniors.

The future is quite unknown with this guy, but I'll say this: it sure seems like the college football world is ready for a super-star with a little edge to him to balance out the Goodie Two-Shoes Tebow Mania that, somehow, is still lingering around. Love him or hate him, but he's already done more for this program in a five month span than Reggie McNeal, Stephen McGee, Jerrod Johnson, and Ryan Tannehill did in a DECADE.

3. I'm not saying Texas A&M would have won the Big 12 and been playing Alabama for the National Championship (if we stayed). I'm just saying that OU and KSU were Big 12 Co-Champs and the Aggies cleaned the floor with OU on the field while Johnny Football cleaned the trophy case with Optimus Klein in the awards tour.

In all seriousness, I do not think we would have run the table in the Big 12. In fact, I think we would have looked a whole lot more like the team we trotted out on the field in 2010. Yes, we are ending the season as one of the hottest teams in the country, but don't forget how much we grew in those first few weeks. Toughing out a hard loss to an eventual BCS Florida team taught us enough about ourselves to squeak by a run-and-gun La Tech team (that got third in the WAC) and a surprisingly solid Ole Miss team (albeit still on a 14 game conference losing streak) by a combined 5 points. But it took another gritty loss to a top 10 LSU for our team to round out into the type of giant slayers that would later knock off Alabama. So yes, we would have heated up once the offense and defense settled in, but I'm not going out on a limb to say we would have stayed undefeated through the first 6 games, and as we know, a one loss Big 12 team doesn't make the BCS National Championship Game (reason #1,129,392 that moving to the SEC was an awesome idea).

Speaking of the offense and the defense settling in, Stoops was not wrong about our "Big 12 offense". What he was wrong about was thinking we still had a Big 12 defense. If we can keep both sides of the ball going on their current paths, you're looking at a team that combines the best of both conferences into a confident, talented, and hungry football program run by a savvy, calculated, fiery coach who knows what it takes to win on the biggest of stages.

4. Can A&M challenge for the National Championship next season?

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Some Interesting Post Cotton Bowl Thoughts

A rather snazzy little piece written by Charles P. Pierce who according to his bio on the bottom of the article is, "a staff writer for Grantland and the author of Idiot America. He writes regularly for Esquire, is the lead writer for Esquire.com's Politics blog, and is a frequent guest on NPR."

Check it out...

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8820497/johnny-football-cotton-bowl

Johnny Manziel truly did put on one last show to cap off the best Texas A&M season in over a decade.  

I still have that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cotton Bowl Preview

We were going to put together a MASSIVE Cotton Bowl preview full of statistical analysis, gut-feelings, and savvy predictions... but then this kid beat us to the punch...


If Peyton's Eye on Sports predicted an Aggie victory... well, heck, Aggie Rundown might as well GUARANTEE it!