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Aggre-Catching-Up: 2013 Holiday Edition

December 4, 2013 Etc ... No Comments

Consider this my feeble effort to pry myself out of a bout of “burial by research.”

» First things first, Early Voting is going on in the Houston area for City Council and HCC trustee elections. I’m covered in both of those situations and cast my vote for Robinson, Morales, and Glaser. I’ll leave it to the smart readers to figure out what offices those match up to and why I chose them. I had something approaching fun working as an Election Clerk during the November elections, but I’m skipping out on that this time around. That’s not intended to dissuade any readership who might be interested in doing so and working in the primaries next March – especially if you have any spoken language skill in Vietnamese, Chinese, or Spanish. One of the newfound joys in life is that I now get calls and requests for leads on that. Feel free to hit me up if that sounds like something you’d want to try.

» Compressing all of my football notes into the briefest possible bullet-point: I’m a little proud of myself for venturing out to see a few Coog games finally. I never thought much of the crowded environs at the old Robertson, so the travel-year for home games made it interesting to see the soccer stadium and pick up an affordable ticket at Reliant for the SMU shutout. On the high school front, my Trinity Trojans are still in the playoffs – but they go up against a team that dropped 61 points on them earlier in the season. Win or lose, though, the 5A-D1 title game *should* be an all-Metroplex affair. I’m going to love that if Trinity makes it. And I’m rooting for Allen High if they don’t. I had the good fortune of watching the Cinco Ranch Cougars play Strake Jesuit this season. Luke Klingler (David’s kid) was the QB and it looked like they were just playing catch until Luke took a hit and stayed out the rest of the game in order to avoid injury before the playoffs. Luke doesn’t seem to have a college offer. He might land at a DI school. But I’ve got to think that there’s a DII school out there that would kill to have a kid with his kind of arm and that might be a quicker path to a starting gig. His cousin, Cory Klingler (Jimmy’s kid), will be playing on the offensive line for Rice over the next four years. And on a note of small-world-itis, David Klingler works right across the freeway from me. That’s some kind of Coog overkill if you ask me. And on a sub-HS level … yes, I’m aware of Case Keenum being the starting quarterback for the Texans. I’ve already instructed Aereo to DVR “The Sound of Music” tomorrow night due to the game being of more immediate interest.

» Looking ahead to Campaign ’14, I’m just as amused as the next person about Al Hoang vs Hubert Vo. Amusing because Hubert’s district gained a few points in Dem strength due to redistricting in the 2013 special session. For my boss’s part, we gained some turf that I’m very much looking forward to working.

» Professionally, I’m finding this 2010 profile of Michigan State’s use of video editing for their basketball team to be increasingly relevant to what I do for a living. Suffice it to say, there are some interesting rules that the Texas House abides by that make this so.

» The latest read on my Kindle: “The New Democrats and the Return to Power” by Al From, formerly of the Democratic Leadership Council. I thought I might read it in one sitting, but the flashbacks kinda took me by surprise. And yes, there will be a full review posted ASAP.

» Steve Teles’s “Kludgeocracy in America” is something that I truly feel is worth a bit of written-word exploration (sometimes known as blogging). But if you’re contemplating working as an intern for my boss in 2015, there’s a higher degree of certainty that you’ll get a fuller classroom-style treatment on it in the next legislative session.

» Combining the two points above, I’m also finally getting around to reading Stephen Waldman’s (back when he was known as Steven) 1996 mini-opus, “The Bill.” It only took me 17 years to get around to it. And it looks like it will be very much in use for those same interns, come 2015.

» End-of-the-year(ish) posts remind me that it’s time to go through some of the random guitar noodling I’ve done over the past year. I’m pretty sure the pickings will be slim since the practice regimen has suffered in much the same way that the blog schedule has. I’ll find something worth posting, though. That, or I’ll finally do a recording of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Election Law Diversions for the Day

More stuff I’m glancing at when the Election Law seminar gets too exciting to handle …

» Chron: Texans coach says backup QB Case Keenum is having ‘a really good camp’
Aside from the obvious homerism that Case represents my alma mater, I’m also viewing this from a Texans-centric vantagepoint. TJ Yates obviously had a great run at the end of the 2011 season, but his performance looked a bit more like Tim Tebow than Jeff Hostetler. Case has some issues: size and arm strength among them. I think it’s worth looking past Yates for a durable solution in case Schaub goes down. Yates may have some leftover confidence among teammates. All fine and well. But I’d be happier seeing some crisp completions to Andre Johnson deep downfield.

» Chron: Review: Google Chromecast
At $35 and a three-month freebie of Netflix, this is a big temptation. I buy a very minor amount of video from Google Play, which obviously cooperates with Chromecast. But the vast majority of my viewing is from Amazon Prime. If that gets added and HBO becomes accessible to non-subscribers, I may very well kill the cable bill. In the meantime, I’m deeply interested in the viewing quality of Amazon Prime via Chrome browser.

QUICK UPDATE: Jackpot! Also … I just ordered my Chromecast. Nevermind that I also need to get a more up-to-date TV with HDMI ports. That’s been on the agenda for a LONG time.

LESS QUICK UPDATE: Well, this makes things more complex: Vizio makes a smart TV that has Amazon Prime built in, as well as many of the other popular video add-ons. For under $200, I can get a TV that has the tools I want built-in, solving my need for a TV as well as getting the video I want streamed through it. I think that’s a smarter solution for me, but I may keep the Chromecast just in case – possibly for Christmas re-gifting. For under $40, it’s worth experimenting with. Basically, I only see myself using Amazon and YouTube for video until MLB, NFL, and HBO become more independent.

Cougar Aggre-blogging

September 4, 2012 College, Pro No Comments

A pretty busy weekend in extended Cougar sposts …

» Chron: Piland, defense suffer through season opener to forget
» Chron: UH changes offensive coordinators in reaction to Texas St. loss
Brutal day and a dizzying turn of events watching a coach hired after an extensive Google search by Coach Levine. Here’s hoping things turn around fast. For whatever team failings are going to reflect on Levine, the lack of returning starters is a bigger issue in my mind. I’m not sure how many of the kids we have lining up now are likely to be multi-year lettermen, but this isn’t the first time we’ve been at the start of a four-to-five year project with unproven talent in the first year. I’m waiting and I hope to be seeing. Soon.

» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb knows there is time to make amends
Also brutal. I’ll be shocked if Kolb doesn’t get some starting time for the Cards at some point in the season. The O-line is just too iffy for the team to see them going through only one QB. What Kolb shows off the bench will likely determine how much of a career he has from this point on.

» Chron: Case Keenum clears waivers; signed to practice squad
» Detroit Free Press: Lions reportedly sign CB Drayton Florence; add Patrick Edwards, Ross Weaver to practice squad
Elsewhere, RB Michael Hayes ended up getting cut by the Chargers (Jackie Battle is still in their backfield, however) and LB Sammy Brown was a late cut by the St. Louis Rams. Of the four, I’d have probably picked Edwards to take his talents to the UFL or CFL to prove what he can do. Nice to see Detroit being smart enough to hold onto him. There’s some good history there with short receivers.

» Chron: Legendary UH athletic trainer Wilson dies at 85
Even our training staff at UH was legendary.

Some Un-Cartographic Aggreposting …

Well, so much for continuous mapping through the week. Yesterday got away from me and I’m presently doing some coding and databasing that I was hoping to have done a day and a half ago. First world problems, for ya. Anywho … he are a few links worth noting before they go under-reported by me.

» Chron: Texans’ Keenum appears cut from the same cloth as Kubiak
It sounds as if Keenum will be the third QB in the game and playing with the second unit offense in tonight’s game. I didn’t bother catching the first preseason game against Carolina since I didn’t think Case would play (he did). I’ll be looking for an online feed of this after church tonight to get what I hope is not a last-gasp dose of watching Case chuck a football.

» Chron: UH QB Piland ready to put valuable experience to use
I’m not sure what to expect for this year’s Cougar football team. For starters, I don’t know any of the receivers. Charles Sims appears to be one of the better skill players to return. And as if David Piland’s alma mater wasn’t problematic enough for me, the up & coming running back hailing from arch rival L.D. Bell has me in a complete state of confusion this year. Nothing a good 8-0 start to the season wouldn’t fix, I’m sure.

» ESPN: Kevin Kolb gets some slack for rough start
» AZ Republic: Arizona Cardinals quarterback competition will continue at least a week
» ESPN: Tommy Kelly Rips Kevin Kolb

I’ve said this before … Kolb is the kind of guy who really needs three solid years to settle into a starting role with a team. Sad as it may be, he might not get that unless he shows some major indicators of being healthy and solid in the job this second season with the Cards.

» New Republic: I Was a Teenage Objectivist
Good for a daily laugh here. I made my way through one and a half Ayn Rand books during college. By the time I was approaching graduation at UH, the Daily Cougar editorialists were hard core objectivists. And a considerable number of friends were college libertarians of the Ayn Rand ilk. There was nothing about any of that compelled me to find selfishness and individualistic sociopathy as a worthwhile endeavor.

» Chron: Growth of Hispanic business doesn’t match population
Worth going back and reading this for some additional perspective.

» FW Star-Telegram: Texas risks losing $31 million in federal transportation funding
Some interesting insights into federal budgeting here.

» NY Times: ‘Al’ and ‘Joe’ Lead the Spam Squad
Interesting reading for those interested in online and/or political communication. I’m pretty sure that I’m subscribed to almost every email list under the political sun (and several non-political ones as well). I’ve definitely seen the emails in question for this write-up and tend to loathe the deadline flurry of emails that multiple campaigns send out. But I’m also sure that my inbox is at the extreme end of the spectrum. I’m mostly interested in saving examples that I might want to copy an idea or two from. As for the qualitative disputes with the extent that campaigns hit “send”, I’m not sure I’m seeing as good use of it this cycle as was on display in 2008. I think a big part of that is due to Team Obama’s perspective of being an incumbent with a big, hefty list that they’re interested in milking diminishing returns from. In 2008, the Obama group was new, fresh, and looking to rebuild many of the tools that were started up in halfway form in 2004. When multiple challengers run for an open seat in 2016, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone challenges the existing vendors out there for online communication. And I hope it involves something better than relying on multiple emails a day on fundraising deadlines. If it puts an end to clients asking me if they can sign email blasts as being sent from their iPhone, I’ll be all the happier.

» Foreign Affairs: The New Great Game in Central Asia ($)
Interesting if you’re into Asian/China stuff.

Life in the Post-Keenum World

January 14, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

It’s a big football weekend. Apparently, my church will be broadcasting the Texans game before and after our 1pm service. I’ve gotta be there to see that. Otherwise, Tebow-mania resumes tonight. In the interim, there’s this interesting profile of the guy who has the inside track on being the starting QB for the Houston Cougars next season …

» Chron: Heir apparent: Catching up with David Piland

In the comments, there’s discussion over whether Lamar HS QB Bram Kohlhausen might compete for the starting gig. Frankly, I’m not sure how much of that is a bit of Houston-centric homerism. I certainly do hope that he’s a strong enough competitor for the starting job, but I haven’t given up on hopes that Drew Hollingshead might have a little to show as well. Bottom line, though, is that if Piland isn’t the starter next season, then its news. The loss of senior receivers is more of a concern for the time being.

One point to tack on to all of this is the growing trend of high schools using multiple QB. What makes this particularly interesting is that this is exactly the format that Piland came out of in Southlake Carroll. So it’s not like it would be a new experience for him.

Elvis Has Left the Building

January 2, 2012 College No Comments

For the record: Cougars > Nittany Lions. To the tune of 30 to 14. Case’s last game would have him finish as the 5th best passing yardage performance in a bowl game and a record for bowl games played in the Cotton Bowl (a point of old-school SWC pride, if you will).

Happy Football Gameday

January 2, 2012 College No Comments

Coogs kickoff at 11, so that’s where my attention will be.

Here’s ESPN’s preview. The Scranton paper notes that Penn State’s interim coach has had to contend with Ty Detmer and Tim Couch in previous bowl games. And looking beyond today’s bowl game, the Washington Times has a quick take on Case Keenum’s pro prospects:

But is this year’s resume enough to make Keenum a draft pick or at the very least get him on an NFL roster? Wes Bunting, the National Football Post’s director of college scouting, thinks so. He said that while Keenum doesn’t have the size and the arm strength to make all of the throws in the NFL, he has shown some improvement this year and as he gets older will get stronger and more precise. While it might not make him a starter, it should make him a quality backup.

“Is this a guy I’m going to trust to win football games for me in the NFL week in and week out? Absolutely not,” Bunting said. “But as a No. 2 or No. 3 guy early … When you watch around the NFL and Tyler Palko’s your backup, you can’t convince me that this guy doesn’t have a spot in the NFL. I think he could be that No. 3 guy early, he’ll develop into a No. 2. Kind of like what the Packers are trying to do with Graham Harrell. I think he can make a comfortable living in the NFL as a reserve-type quarterback.”

I think that’s about right. The two high-end comparisons that are out there for Case to take some confidence in are Drew Brees and Joe Montana (and yes, as a Montana-hater, it kills me to make this comparison). Both were undersized and lacked arm strength. Lacking some widespread acceptance of the bubble spread or Air Raid offenses in the NFL, Case will have to change his game a bit more to fit into most NFL schemes. He’s got a quick release and seems to be a decent reader of defenses, though. If those skills hold up at the next level, someone’s going to notice and give him a shot.

On Ranking Subjectively

December 1, 2011 College 1 Comment

» Chron: Cougars make strong case for best UH team ever

I seem to recall during my teenage years, that there was a certain hobby among those of us who owned (and sometimes practiced playing) an electric guitar of ranking the big-name guitar heroes of the day as a way of expressing our preferences. Yeah, so now the Chronicle does that with UH football teams …

There are cases for teams from the Bill Yeoman era – 1973, 1976 and 1979 in particular – the Jack Pardee and John Jenkins days of 1989 and 1990, and, if you really want to dial it back, the 1952 Cougars, who were an impressive bunch on defense.

But if the No. 7 Cougars (12-0, 8-0 Conference USA) are to win Saturday when they host No. 24 Southern Mississippi (10-2, 6-2) in the C-USA Championship Game at 11 a.m. at Robertson Stadium, they could make a strong case of their own. In many ways, they already have.

While I hope this doesn’t mean that I’ll regress to the point of practicing Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” for 12 hours a day, I’ll simply say that the 1976 team is pretty hard to top from my perspective. But I’m not worried about records, NFL draft picks, sentimental choices for favorite players. What I grew up knowing about that team was this: the year before, the Coogs went 2-8.

My parents made a habit of driving from Mississippi to Houston about 3-4 times a year to catch games. The next year, we won the Southwest Conference in our first year, beat Texas 30-0, won the Cotton Bowl against undefeated Maryland, and finished #4 in the nation. Again, the folks dragged us from Mississippi to Houston just as before. But this time, a couple of trips to Austin and Dallas were added. I watched the 1977 Cotton Bowl on a small black & white TV of the babysitter we were staying with at the time. It doesn’t get more hardcore than that. Somewhere in my parents’ house is the commemorative Dr Pepper bottle from the game. And Jerry Wizig’s book, “Eat ‘Em Up” ends with this moment in history.

All of this effectively stamped in my mind as a definitive moment of what it means to be a Cougar. Be as much of a fan during the lean times as you are in the good times. Everything else – Andre Ware winning a Heisman, David & Jimmy Klingler being the best passers the school ever saw, Kevin Kolb & Coach Art Briles (a member of the 1976 team) restoring a great deal of lost luster since the Klingler days – all of that adds to the foundation for me. But the foundation is the foundation.

I’m certain that there are older Cougars who might point toward the 50s and 60s teams that are worth consideration. That’s fine. For a lot of younger Cougars, Case Keenum’s certainly a great foundation for their perspective. But at the conclusion of the parlor game, the entire exercise is more about defining what the school’s team means to you or I. I just hope for the sake of kids today, that Dr Pepper makes another commemorative bottle.

What Case Means (continued)

November 29, 2011 College No Comments

… and Marcus McGraw … and Michael Hayes …

The slideshow of photos showing UH students camped out overnight for C-USA championship tickets and enduring a line that rivals registration back in the pre-internet days speak volumes. You never saw anything like this in the late 80s/early 90s. Even when we were winning. Even when the run & shoot offense was the most exciting thing to watch. I’m not sure how the Phi Slamma Jamma days that preceded my time on compus compare. But that may be the only decent comparison due to on-campus events. And even there, the seating was far more limited.

Bottom line: these kids are far likelier to go through the rest of their lives with a greater sense of attachment to the University of Houston than many of the students I shared a classroom with. For that alone, I’d cast a Heisman vote for Case Keenum if I could.

As Saturday stands, I’ll be glued to the teevee at 11am. I’m really hopeful that we put the game away early enough for me to head out to church at my normal time. Otherwise, I might be a little late.

What Case Means

November 11, 2011 College No Comments

Swamped. Busy. Yadda. Just read Richard Justice if you’re looking for something to read today …

I heard from a UH grad during the Rice game a couple of weeks ago. He texted to say that while sitting there in the rain he was struck by how far UH had come. He said there was a full house at Robertson Stadium that night. That kind of game, he said, would have drawn maybe 15,000 just a few years earlier.

The University of Houston was left to die when the Southwest Conference broke up, and UH very nearly did that. The Coogs were 28-51 in the first seven seasons in Conference USA. They were 0-11 in 2001. Crowds routinely dipped below 20,000 at Robertson Stadium. Students stopped going to games.

When Dave Maggard interviewed for the UH AD job, he took a walk around campus and would stop random students and ask: “How’s the football team doing? How about the basketball team? Do you go to games?”

He found out that almost no one seemed to care about sports at UH and realized if he took the job, he’d have huge work to do, not just in coaches, facilities, graduation rates, etc., but also to change the culture of losing. Everything began to change when he hired Art Briles in 2003. Three years later, UH won the C-USA Championship Game in a packed Robertson Stadium, and Briles and Maggard celebrated with a long, emotional hug in the locker room. They’d done what almost no one thought possible.

The pre-Maggard attendance woes were something a lot of us 90s-era Coogs saw ahead. Attendance at the Dome was dreadful when the team was losing (or not playing UT or A&M). There was no reason to believe that taking games to a commuter college campus in a stadium that had long since seen better days was anything more than a cost-saver. My first game at Robertson certainly didn’t leave me impressed with the move.

But I recall the CUSA Championship game of the Kevin Kolb era and even though it’s hard to conjure significance from it when you’re used to seeing meaningful SWC games, the atmosphere definitely changed by that time. When I see the games on TV or online these days and I see the excitement that students have and that Case Keenum generates, that’s what I mean when I say there’s no stat on his resume that I need to see to consider Keenum the best quarterback that the University of Houston has ever seen. Better than Kolb, Ware, either Klingler, and from the veer era: Elston, Davis, Burrus, Woodall. You name it – any sport, and era, any name – Case just stands a little taller.

To me, stats don’t determine that. A perfect season or lack thereof doesn’t determine that. The NFL’s evaluation of him as a professional athlete doesn’t determine that. It’s strictly what one individual means to the school as a whole. And the fact is that there’s a very real sense that Keenum has made a meaningful impact on not just the athletic program, but to the school as a whole. Since that happens to be a school I grew up loving and rooting for, and later attending and graduating from, that makes me really appreciate what Case has accomplished as a student-athlete, as well as what the others that David Justice gives credit to have accomplished in their roles. It’s a very different UH than from what I grew up with … and that’s a good thing.

I’m sure there will be slightly fewer tickets sold next season when I assume David Piland is leading the team instead of Case and the names on the back of his receivers’ jerseys will change from the talented crew we’re used to this season. But I know that whoever follows will be building on a lot of what Case Keenum built in his time here.

Coogs Move Up to #11

November 6, 2011 College No Comments

Eat ‘em up

The Cougars (9-0, 5-0 Conference USA), who are coming off a 56-13 win at UAB on Saturday, moved up to No. 11 in all the major national rankings that were released on Sunday.

UH is No. 11 in the Associated Press poll, the USA Today coaches poll and the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings.

The Cougars’ AP poll ranking is their highest since September 1991, when they ranked 10th nationally. They’re off to their best start in school history, edging the 8-0 starts by the 1990 and 1979 UH squads. UH is also off to its best C-USA start since joining the league in 1996.

The complete BCS rankings are here. One sidenote that I think it worth pointing out: of the computerized rankings, only one has #10 Virginia Tech ranked higher than Houston. In fact, the biggest thing keeping Virginia Tech above us is that the USA Today poll has Va. Tech ranked higher than Clemson, which defeated Va. Tech earlier in the season. Silly humans.

And in case you missed it, Case Keenum is now, officially, the most prolific passer in NCAA football history:

Believe it or not, there are some challenging games on the schedule for the Coogs. Next week is Tulane. This shouldn’t normally qualify as “challenging.” But while Tulane may be only 2-8, they hold one distinction of importance: they’re the only other C-USA team to finish a season undefeated. Will they play the role of the 1984-85 Miami Dolphins who improbably (and respectively) defeated the 49ers and Bears to prevent what would have otherwise been a perfect season? I’m clearly hoping they don’t have it in them, but this is the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night.

SMU (6-3/4-2) is up after that and they’re generally a tough opponent regardless of their record. Oh, and the guy who Case beat out for two of those three records is the QB that SMU’s coach mentored at Hawai’i. I don’t put it past June Jones to be capable of a little payback. Given my respect for Jones as a coahc, I think this is the toughest game left in the regular season.

Tulsa (6-3/5-0), however, is the regular season closer for the Coogs. And, like the Coogs, they have an undefeated conference record. If that holds (and it should), then an upset by Tulsa would end the Coogs hopes for a Conference title. Bottom line: everyone’s a potential spoiler these days.

And that Conference title is looking like it will be against the only other ranked C-USA team: Southern Miss (8-1/4-1). Those guys are ranked #22 in the BCS rankings. If the Coogs get to this game undefeated, the game will be played at the Rob on Dec. 3. Coincidentally enough, the last time the Coogs won the CUSA title, it was Southern Miss that they beat for the crown in 2006.

Technically, the Coogs are in the realm of at least theoretical possiblity for a BCS bowl bid. Here’s the operating set of rules:

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings shall play in the National Championship Game.

2. The champions of the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern conferences will have automatic berths in one of the participating bowls through the 2013 regular season.

3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or,
B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. (Note: a second team may be eligible for at-large eligibility as noted below.) If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be considered for at-large selection if it meets the criteria.

Assuming the best case scenario (no pun intended) of an undefeated season and CUSA Championship, a little more help is needed. Here’s a bit of the scenario for what it would be needed:

1. Boise State (#5) has to lose. This is the biggest holdup of them all for UH. Yes, there’s a theoretical loophole that would allow both UH & Boise State to play in BCS Bowl games. I think it involves the ACC totally imploding and someone like Florida State or Virginia winning the championship game. But I don’t see it happening. Next week is the biggest opportunities for a Broncos loss, with a game against TCU. That’s not the same Andy Dalton-led TCU, but it’s still a pretty good team with an innovative coach who knows how to shut down a good offense. I may have to find some purple to wear next weekend.

2. Alabama and Arkansas could stand to lose another game. I’m not sure that I see that happening with Alabama. But hope springs eternal when you’re 9-0. Arkansas ends the regular season with LSU and not a lot of chance of getting to the conference championship game since they’re in the same division as LSU. The Tide end the season with Auburn and that’s about the best scenario for them to lose another game. The net effect of the non-LSU SEC teams is that I see something of a chance to move up one spot, with Arkansas losing to LSU. Any bigger surprise will be most welcome with me.

3. Next week’s Stanford/Oregon game. This one has a few conflicts for me. I generally like Oregon’s style of play and in any other set of circumstances, I’d be rooting for them in this one. But the Ducks need to lose for the best chance of the Coogs moving up. Yes, I can see the scenario of Oregon beating Stanford, thereby ending Stanford’s perfect record, combined with Oregon losing to USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and either or both of Stanford and Oregon losing their bowl games. All of this would also help bump Case’s too-distant Heisman hopes up a skosh. But I’m betting on practicality here. So … Go Cardinal! Two losses for Oregon, even if they are to teams that are likely to finish in the Top 4, could be enough to move the Ducks below Houston in the rankings. There’s a chance it could happen, so I’ll take it.

4. The Oklahoma/Oklahoma State dilemma. I suppose the typical preference might be to cross the fingers for the undefeated OSU to lose a game. But since that loss is likeliest against OU, that doesn’t help the Coogs. Hoping for OU to drop a few points seems difficult to imagine, but they do have a tendency to lose a game entirely out of the blue every now and then. Baylor is up for OU next week and the intra-state rivalry wraps up the regular season. It could also be interesting to see how the lack of a Big 12 Conference Championship game helps or hurts either team this season. There’s a possibility of UH to gain some ground if OU hits a wall of some sort. Not sure that I’d bet heavily on it, though.

5. Clemson & Virginia Tech just need to lose. Each has ample opportunity to lose to a quality opponent in the remaining schedule. And the conference championship game. Given their proximity just ahead of Houston in the rankings, a loss by each would be a big boost. Moving up a spot or two over either team doesn’t entirely qualify as daydreaming.

So, with all of that, I think there’s a fair shot of 3 or 4 spots that the Coogs could move up. If some part of that involves a loss by Boise State in the regular season, that finishes the Coogs at #7 and #8 and headed to a BCS bowl. But first things first … Coogs just gots to win.

Clear Cache: No Monetary Easing Needed

October 31, 2011 Etc ... No Comments

Pardon the irregularity of this, but a little bit of cache clearing is in order for me to get a handle on my browser tabs …

» Joel Kotkin: Overpopulation Isn’t The Problem: It’s Too Few Babies

» Commonweal: American Oracle: The Uses & Abuses Of Reinhold Niebuhr

» NY Times: What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

» The game I think all of us were hoping to see Case Keenum have last Thursday night. Even Case seems impressed. S’ok … save it for UT in the bowl game, dude.

A Record-Breaking Day

October 22, 2011 College No Comments

Today’s game at the Rob should see Houston QB Case Keenum take the top spot for a record or two … or three:

Keenum needs 130 yards to move past Hawaii’s Timmy Chang, who holds the record with 16,910. The UH star is second in passing yardage behind Chang and third in TD passes behind Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell and Hawaii’s Colt Brennan.

The career passing yard mark is the one I’m most eager to see him break and Case is 1,177 yards shy of that one. It might take more than today’s game or even Thursday’s game against Rice to beat that record. He needs 11 TD passes to pass Harrell. As much as Case has meant to the growth of the game on campus, it’s a shame that he’ll have to break those on the road.

The Payback Bowl

September 6, 2011 College No Comments

You didn’t think I was going to let a little holiday on the calendar make me forget about this, did you?

More disconcerting for the eggheads up the bayou is that if you use Case’s 2008 and 2009 averages for yards and TDs per game, he’s set to break the NCAA records against Rice on October 27th. That certainly would be one way to make that game memorable. Having some creampuffs like North Texas (16-41 losers against FIU), Louisiana Tech (17-19 losers against Southern Miss), and Georgia State (41-7 winners over Clark Atlanta*) upcoming on the schedule doesn’t hurt, either. Here’s the tracking that will go up each week …

Case Keenum: CAREER STATS
SEASON    CMP    ATT    YDS   CMP%  YPA  LNG   TD  INT  RATNG
-------------------------------------------------------------
2007      187    273   2,259  68.5  8.28  86   14  10   147.6
2008      397    589   5,020  67.4  8.52  84   44  11   159.9
2009      492    700   5,671  70.3  8.10  58   44  15   154.8
2010       42     64     636  65.6  9.94  63    5   5   159.3
2011       30     40     310  75.0  7.75  26    1   0   148.4
-------------------------------------------------------------
CAREER  1,148  1,666  13,896  68.9  8.34  86  108  41   155.4
RECORD  1,403  2,436  16,910                  134
REMAIN    255    770   3,014                   26

If Case doesn’t hit some record marks against Rice, the bad news is that it will all happen on the road, as the Coogs travel for back-to-back weeks to play UAB and Tulane afterwards.

As for the UCLA game, one particular highlight that doesn’t involve Case Keenum directly: 159 yards rushing.

———–

* – Seriously? Is that a high school?

College Football Preview

August 31, 2011 College No Comments

Thursday is the kickoff of college football. So in that spirit, here’s a sampling of the sort of things I’ll be watching for.

Univ. of Houston – Case Keenum
And, for that matter, the entire alma mater. Year six for Case should see some NCAA records fall, though. And that’s going to be a fair amount of fun given that C-USA football isn’t even what it was in the 90s. The Chron serves up some preseason reading on Case’s rehab.

Texas Christian Univ. – Brandon Carter
Carter, a Euless Trinity standout, is listed as a starter at WR for the Frogs this season. It’s not the same team as they had last season, but the team starts off ranked #14.

Montana State – Denarius McGhee
Purely a Trinity HS interest here, as McGhee is joined by another THS alum this year, Dontreyvius Robinson, who transfered from Nebraska. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle serves up the preseason profile of McGhee.

Holy Cross Univ. – Ryan Taggart
Another Trinity HS interest here. Taggart comes back for a fifth season after starting last season and throwing for 1,899 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Worcester Telegram mentions the nagging injuries that Taggart played through last season. Not sure what to expect for the quality of team they have this year, but it’s not like Taggart is playing for some big NFL gig after college anyways.

Nebraska Univ. – Rex Burkhead
I rarely find reason to root for or express any interest in players from Plano High, but Burkhead is the exception to that rule. He was a monster player in high school and nearly beat us in the playoffs singlehandedly. He should be fun to watch whenever the opportunity comes up. A bit of a preview can be found here.

So there you go. Now you know why there will be extensive and obsessive updating on the state of Montana State Bobcat football. Seriously … I’m ordering a t-shirt to wear on Saturdays.

UH’s “Next Season”

February 11, 2011 College No Comments

The 2011 UH football schedule is out …

2011 Houston Football Schedule
Sept. 3 UCLA
Sept. 10 at North Texas
Sept. 17 at Louisiana Tech
Sept. 24 GEORGIA STATE
Oct. 1 at UTEP
Oct. 8 EAST CAROLINA
Oct. 22 MARSHALL
Oct. 29 RICE
Nov. 5 at UAB
Nov. 12 at Tulane
Nov. 19 SMU
Nov. 26 at Tulsa

The first matchup of the year looks like one of – if not the – best storylines, what with UCLA knocking Case Keenum out for the year last season. Paybacks would be nice if carried out on the scoreboard. Georgia State looks plenty amped up to face us next season and it’ll be interesting to see how the second year D1 school performs. Aside from that, it’s a relief to not have Central Florida’s defense on the schedule.

Case Keenum, of course, is 3,486 passing yards away from the NCAA career record. At a rate of roughly 350 yards per game, that would translate to seeing Keenum break the record at Tulane. Even if Case were to light it up at the pace he did in 2009, he didn’t reach that mark until week 9 of the season, which would translate into another road record breaker for this season (at UAB). Does it make me an awful person to hope that he can save a yard to two for SMU at home before the record falls?

One point to make about the relative lightness of the schedule is that it obviously gives the team an opportunity to win enough games to go to a bowl (and make some money off of that). But with the season after this possibly being something of a transitional year, you’ve got to wonder if we might see a return of a few more payday games against top-tier talent in order to make even more money. Considering that the school is looking for cash to add on to Robertson, that’s a common strategy for making a few extra bucks to accomplish the fundraising goals. It should be interesting to see of our new AD opts for that strategy.

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