Five Friday Fun Facts

L

Puns that can be created with Jeremy Lin’s name. It’s getting absurd how many ways we can use his name in cheesy, yet hysterical, ways. Some people are getting sick of it, like Shaq showed in a recent tweet:

@SHAQ: “Linderrella story of the year Jeremy Lin has Lingle handedly played Lensational Lincredible I’m Linpressed all he does is Lin Lin Lin.”

However, for those of you who are falLINg (see what I did there) for the newest New York Knick, let me share with you some of the “best” puns:

To Lin-finity and Beyond

All He Does is Lin

Linderella Story

Game Linning Shot

VaLintines Day

Lin Long and Prosper

Super Lintendo

And although this one doesn’t involve his name, it’s still awesome.

Linsane in the Membrane

3

Goals Arsenal had given up in their previous nine games against Italian competition prior to Tuesdays 4-0 defeat against A.C. Milan at the San Siro.

Year Stage Home Team Away Team Final Score
2003-2004 Group Stage Inter Milan Arsenal 1-5
2005-2006 Quarter Finals Arsenal Juventus 2-0
2005-2006 Quarter Finals Juventus Arsenal 0-0
2007-2008 Round of 16 Arsenal AC Milan 0-0
2007-2008 Round of 16 AC Milan Arsenal 0-2
2008-2009 Round of 16 Arsenal AS Roma 1-0
2008-2009 Round of 16 AS Roma Arsenal 0-1
2011-2012 Qualifying Round Arsenal Udinese 1-0
2011-2012 Qualifying Round Udinese Arsenal 1-2

 

Watch this video for high/lowlights from Tuesday night’s game in Italy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3YW9W9wkf4

22,900,000

Dollars that it would require for the Houston Texans to place the franchise tag on OLB Mario Williams before March 5th, the franchise tag deadline. This effectively ends any thoughts of franchising Williams for the Texans as they do not have the cap room to pay him that amount this season. He has talked about his new contract “not being about the money” but we’ve all heard that story before so, until I see his name on a Houston Texans contract and Rick Smith shaking his hand at a news conference, I’m going to hold off on the Mario homecoming party everyone seems to be preparing.

Go here to read John McClain’s interview with the former #1 pick:

http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexans/2012/02/mario-williams-says-top-dollar-deal-not-his-goal-as-he-hopes-to-remain-with-texans/

28

Points scored by the SMU Men’s basketball team against UAB on Wednesday night. By scoring 12 and 16 points in each half they managed to set the all-time lowest scoring output for a Conference-USA game, which was ironically held by UAB with 36 points. They shot an incredible 17% from the field, while only making 3 of the 29 three pointers they attempted the entire night. Yes, you did read that correctly, a college basketball team attempted more three pointers than they managed to score points.

Maybe this was the problem for SMU?

27

Months since Tiger Woods won a professional golf tournament. That win came in November 2009 in Australia, just weeks before his sex-scandal became public news. Sunday’s showing at Pebble Beach, where he was paired with eventually winner Phil Mickleson, confirmed that the “real” Tiger everyone has been waiting to see return is gone and the Tiger Woods we are witnessing now is as good as it’s going to get. His mental psyche is broken; he lost his family, his endorsements, and his likability to the American public and although it pains me to say this, but to quote ESPN First Take analyst Skip (the troll) Bayless, “He’s lost his clutch gene.” The old Tiger would have stormed out to a 4 shot lead on the front nine and then kicked back and watch as Mickleson did his usual imploding act, but on Sunday it was different and it might stay that different for a long time.

 

Boom Boom Pau!

Mr. Morey,

I am writing this letter as a concerned fan of the Houston Rockets. I am concerned about your health. How must you be feeling now? Your three-year plan of trading for picks and young, trade able talent has just been blown up. And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is it’s the commissioner that blew it up. Not a grumpy player or an over ambitious GM demanding more for a star player or a fan base threatening to burn the city to the ground. It was the commissioner of the NBA, David Stern. David Stern, may I remind you, is the man who just lead “his” league through one of, if not, the worst lockouts in his tenure as commissioner. He just blew up your baby. Your perfectly thought out and timed baby.

Was he the missing piece?

Trading the youth of Carl Landry to the Kings to acquire a great scorer was genius. Scorers will always be tradable, always easy to ship off if need be. Developing Luis Scola into one of the best post-players in today’s game increased his value exponentially. Making him yet another tradable asset you had in your arsenal. Getting rid of that one-kneed, sleepy, second-round virgin for a first round pick was a miracle when you look at how badly said player has declined since that trade. Throw in Goran Dragic and you know what that makes? A great trade package.

Now all you had to do is wait. Wait for the right trade to latch on with your bag of prizes and hope that something would fall your way. Well as soon as that nightmare of a lockout ended you started to get a few phone calls. Phone calls from out west, Los Angeles to be more precise. The Lakers were going after Chris Paul and they needed someone to help them sweeten the deal. Someone who had youth, players that can play now, and draft picks to rebuild and retool. Well I bet that was music to your ears Mr. Morey. I bet you started doing back flips off your desk and cartwheels on your sweet, leather couch in your office. This was your time, your time to reward a faithful fan base for their trust in you as their GM. They had stood by you through thick and thin, and this was going to be their reward.

The city of Houston was finally about to receive an early Christmas present. They were finally going to get a Big Man. A big man who could control the paint, draw the double-team and kick it out to our shooters. A big man who could produce maybe a top 5 pick n’ roll combination in the league with Kyle Lowery. A big man who could send Tim Duncan to a bumpy early retirement and open up a division title for a city that has been craving one since 1994. Pau Gasol was the big man in all those statements.

And then BOOM BOOM PAU.

David Stern blocks the trade. He cites “basketball reasons” as his excuse for vetoing this trade while also saying the NBA owners “revolted” against the trade. Well sorry Mr. Stern, but Dan Gilbert gets in a hissy fit every time his Starbucks barista doesn’t make a cute little leaf in his coffee. He’s a bitter owner who lost his superstar and was too short-sighted to think about a backup plan if the worst case happened (which it did, and then the worst case scenario became worse by the game…26 times), but I digress.

I really hope this letter helps you know that this wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t have done anything about this. You were blindsided and now you’ve lost the biggest trade bundle you’ve ever had to play with. The entire three-year plan has gone up in smoke (much like the feel good attitude at the Hornets, Rockets, and Lakers training camps) and all you can do is watch David Stern piss on the ashes. It must be tough for you now but you’ve got to hold your head up and keep up making those phone calls. Something good is going to happen soon and everything’s going to work out fine.

Hope you feel better soon,

Go Rockets!

2012: Year of the Longhorn (Offensive Edition)

After the most dismal stretch in Mack Brown’s tenure as head coach, things are beginning to look bright for the Texas football program. Despite a 13-12 record over the past two seasons, the coaching staff have put together consecutive top flight recruiting classes – the most recent being ranked as high as #1 in the nation (depending on which recruiting service you frequent). With that being said, talent was never the issue underlying Texas’ woes; rather, it was a weakness in philosophy.

There is no doubt we have been spoiled as Texas fans. Accustomed to success achieved through the abilities of all-time greats like Vince Young and Colt McCoy, the 2010 season was a rude wake-up call that exposed some fundamental flaws with the existing system. Let us not forget that before Vince Young’s immaculate stretch of games as the Longhorns’ signal caller, Mack Brown found himself under fire for consistently underachieving (0 Big XII titles) and an inability to top arch nemesis Bob Stoops. It was not until after Garrett Gilbert’s inept 2010 campaign, where Texas went 5-7, that these concerns were re-addressed. Rumors of player complacency, as well as locker room altercations between coaches began to surface. Both of these coaches are now gone, with Will Muschamp leaving to accept the head coaching position at Florida, and Greg Davis “resigning”. After a string of additional firings and subsequent hirings, the Longhorns went into 2011 with a new scheme, some new players, and unsure expectations. The result was an 8-5 season, including a bowl win and a victory over A&M in College Station that belongs in Texas folklore.

So where does that leave us now?

We head into 2012 following the departure of two Big XII conference foes: Missouri and Texas A&M, who elected to take their “talents” to the SEC. Instead, we have two new faces on our schedule: TCU and West Virginia, who will both be traveling to Austin this season to take on Texas at DKR. It’s hard to say with any certainty now whether this move will prove beneficial to the conference, but it looks like a fair swap on paper. It’s unpredictable as to how this transition will affect either squad; all Texas can do is focus on improving themselves. The good news is that there is plenty of room for improvement at key positions, which will ultimately be the difference between a respectable 9-3 season, and a potential BCS bid.

Where we need to improve on offense (from most to least):

Quarterback: “Inconsistency” would be putting it mildly when addressing our issues at the quarterback position. Our only two returning players are David Ash and Case McCoy, with the former being the frontrunner for the starting job next fall. As a true freshman, Ash completed 99 of 174 pass attempts for 1,079 yards and four touchdowns, to go along with eight interceptions. He added another touchdown on the ground, while rushing for 103 yards on the season. McCoy finished the season completing 88 of 144 passes for 1,034 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. His physical limitations are the likely reason that Longhorns fans have seen the best he has to offer. Standing roughly 6’1” and 190 pounds soaking wet, he simply doesn’t have the arm (or mechanics) to be a viable option as the long-term solution at QB. While I applaud his effort against A&M, he’ll be spending the vast majority of his tenure at Texas sporting a visor with clipboard in hand. A dark horse candidate for the starting job is 2012 recruit, Connor Brewer, who enrolled in the spring semester to get a head start familiarizing himself with the system, as well as to compete for the job. He won three high school state championships in Arizona, and was an Under Armor All-American.

Ash has all the tools to be successful: the arm, the size, the mobility; it’s simply a matter of whether he adjusts to the speed of the college game and mentally grasps offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s scheme. If Harsin’s confidence is any indication, expect to see a much improved passing game in 2012.

Offensive Line: After an unfortunate string of “busts” and disappointing development under former offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, the Longhorns may finally see a competent, cohesive unit under 2011 hiring, Stacy Seareals. While 2011 wasn’t a perfect example of smashmouth football, it’s clear where our bread and butter is heading into next season: the running game. Strength & Conditioning coach/World’s Strongest Man nominee Bennie Wylie isn’t one to mess with. If the reports are accurate, you should expect to see a bigger, tougher group of players on the line next year. With the addition of junior college recruit/offensive tackle, Donald Hawkins (6’5″, 320), you’ll see stability at a position where it’s sorely needed given the lack of experience (and overall uncertainty) of the quarterback position. The offensive line is the key to our success on offense, because it dictates the effectiveness of the running game, which in turn leads to an effective play-action – something that Harsin’s system relies on. If the running backs have holes to run through, and the quarterback has time to throw, all that’s left is execution.

You sure we can't suit him up?

Wide Receivers: This position is a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s difficult to tell how much this group was impacted by the porous quarterback play the previous two years, and how much of it was a result of their own mistakes. From what I’ve gathered, it’s a combination of a both.

First off, our receivers need to get stronger. Some of these receivers (Mike Davis) seem to have trouble putting on weight, but these receivers need to have the strength to beat the man press off the line of scrimmage, and conversely, need the strength to hold their downfield blocks to assist in the running game.

Secondly, route-running was apparently a huge issue. These guys were simply running lazy routes, or finding themselves unable to beat man-to-man coverage. Timing is a huge aspect of quarterbacking, so it becomes nearly impossible hit certain routes when your guys are blanketed or in the wrong area altogether.

Thirdly, HANDS. There were a ton of drops on catchable balls last year that you wouldn’t expect to see at a top-tier program with high-profile recruits. There is absolutely no excuse for dropped balls. You can’t expect to move the chains if your guys aren’t doing their job – and catching the ball is the literal expectation for receivers when it comes to execution.

Former All-American WR Darius White transferred to Missouri this semester, but the Longhorns picked up solid commitments at this position in the 2012 class. I highly suggest you take a look at the film for this group: Cayleb Jones, Kendall Sanders, Marcus Johnson, Daje Johnson.

Running Backs: The rich get richer. A backfield that was already bursting at the seams in talent tack on another: Johnathan Gray. Who is this guy? Well, the fact that you’re asking this question tells me you’ve been living under a rock for the past two recruiting cycles – but I’ll play along. He’s the unanimous #1 running back in the nation coming out of high school, breaking the national record for rushing touchdowns in a high school career, as well as most consecutive 100+ yard games. He led Aledo to back-to-back state championships, embarrassing every defense he faced along the way. As if this Greek myth wasn’t enough, the Longhorns return their two leading rushers in Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron. This three-headed monster is sure to give defense fits, and barring health, could be the best backfield in all of college football. Brown ran for 742 yards and five touchdowns in a shortened season, and Bergeron added another 432 and five touchdowns before he was also hampered by injury. If you’re wondering who is the heir-apparent to the “Wild-Fozzy”, it’s Johnathan Gray. Harsin absolutely loves this guy, and you’ll see him get his fair share of carries even as a true freshman in an already loaded backfield.

Gray is even better at running than Forrest Gump.

Overall, the offense is less developed than the defense at this point going into next season, but should see a significant improvement at just about every position with another year in Harsin’s system (and Wylie’s S&C program). It’s hard to believe that this offensive slump from the past two seasons will persist with an all-star coaching staff and all-american talent. Color me optimistic, but I’m expecting big things from this unit with a chip on its shoulder.

The Most Linteresting Man in the World

You’ve seen it on the news. You’ve read it in the papers. And pretty much everyone you know is gawking about the legend that is Jeremy Lin. As much of a surprise Lin has been to everyone, does he really deserve more coverage than the Kardashian/Humphrey’s wedding? (RIP 2011-2011) I mean, lets be honest, the kid can play. Talent was never the issue with Lin, he just needed an opportunity.

I’ve been watching basketball religiously for over 10 years, but never have I seen a player energize the nation as much as #17 has. Many teams passed on the undrafted asian sensation (Warriors, Rockets, rest of the NBA) simply because he was not a prototypical player in today’s NBA, meaning: he lacks in athleticism, not very explosive off the ball, and is questionable in his decision-making at times (1.78:1 assist/turnover ratio). But lets not forget the two biggest reasons that have perpetuated “Linsanity” across the nation–he’s Asian and graduated from Ivy League powerhouse Harvard University.

Yes, I did go there; but I’m not trying to play the race card. Jeremy Lin is the first Asian-American player to ever play in the NBA, and the fact that he is an Ivy league grad has left many basketball analysts scratching their heads every night wondering “How does this kid do it?” “Linsanity” is causing such a ruckus because this sort of thing does not happen every day. It just simply isn’t traditional.

All that aside, as a basketball fan, you have to see the big picture. So many people idolize Lin because he has become an inspiration to the average American. He is a tribute to the saying “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Even the great Tracy McGrady was quoted by Pro Basketball Talk a couple of months ago, admitting he wished he didn’t have as much “god given talent” so that he would have worked harder on his game. It is this kind of mentality that runs deep in the NBA and really disturbs me as a fan of the game. Call me old fashioned, but I want a player who night in and night out is going to give me everything he has–and then more. I want a student of the game. Someone who is always hungry for more and won’t settle for less. That’s who Jeremy Lin is.

Essentially the King of New York, Lin has proven to all that he is worthy of a starting role in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how he and Melo mesh together as I expect Lin’s shot total to decrease by a mile, but I do feel that there will be a very short adjustment period. Anthony knows he is the superstar and so does Lin. But if Lin continues to play at such a high level and remains a problem for opposing teams, this will free up Anthony, who has been in a slump, and hopefully get him going. If Lin can transform his game heroics to facilitating team chemistry, look for the Knicks to be on a big roll after the All-Star break.

Oh, and just for kicks. Enjoy.

Manning to Texans?

Last night I read a story on Pro Football Talk that may be of some interest to those following the Stache.Well renowned local sports reporter Bob Allen claims that he has spoken to the Manning family and they say, with Peyton echoing the same sentiments, that he is “very interested in the possibility of coming to the Texans”. Now, if you’re a Texans fan you probably have mixed emotions on this issue, I know I do but ultimately I believe if the Texans have a chance to nab Manning they should. If that means getting rid of Mario Williams due to cap space issues so be it. Here are a few reasons why:

1.Yes losing Mario would hurt the defense in the short-term, but guys like Reed, Barwin, Cushing and everyone on a top 5 front 7 can easily pick up the slack. Mario can be replaced, even if that means drafting (hold your breathe Texans fans I’m about to say it) another outside pass rusher.

2. Adding a guy like Manning would completely change the culture of sports in Houston. We will be relevant again! The Texans finished first in their division for the first time so they have a prime time schedule with games like Green Bay at Reliant, Detroit (possibly on Thanksgiving), Baltimore at Reliant, Patriots on the road. All these games could potentially be on Sunday Night Football, a national CBS or Fox game, or we might even have the pleasure of hearing Jon Gruden masturbate to Peyton Manning throwing to Andre Johnson.

3. If the Texans were to add Manning they would also probably either draft a guy like Sanu from Rutgers (a big body type with speed to replace Andre down the road) or they might go after a coveted free agent like Reggie Wayne (your telling me he wouldn’t want to come play with Manning again, in a dome nonetheless). Point is: the Texans would have maybe the best offense in the league not only with the addition of Manning but with the existing cast of other stars like Andre, Foster, and a top 5 O-line. And once you throw in a guy like Reggie Wayne who catches any ball thrown his way that makes the offense that much more explosive.

4.

Your telling me you don’t want to have this hilarious dude with a fake mustache as your QB, you follow the Sports Stache!

Maybe the most important reason is this: Manning would finally change the national perception of the Texans and would immediately bring the team into Super Bowl contention. I’m not saying Matt Schaub cannot accomplish this coveted goal for all of us in Houston, but Manning is a legend, a top 3 QB when healthy and some have him as the best all time. What else does this guy need to prove? Winning multiple Super Bowls, Go Texans.

Keeping you informed since 2012, J Austin.

Handshake Gate

Liverpool versus Manchester United. Manchester United versus Liverpool. It’s the must-watch game of the year for fans from either team. Whether you’re a casual follower or a die-hard, don’t wear your shirt in 26 degree weather in January, kind of fan. Luckily enough, both sets of fans have been treated to this classic rivalry three times already this year (2 League, 1 FA Cup) and none of the games have disappointed. Unfortunately that’s not what I’m going to be focusing on in this post. I will be focusing on the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra scandal or as I like to call it “Handshake-Gate.”

Now for those of you that don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, let me fill you in. In October, Liverpool hosted Manchester United in a Premiership game that ended up in a 1-1 tie. Normally both sides of players and fans would take the point and go on home knowing that they hadn’t lost to their arch-rival and claim to be just as good, if not better than, their traditional foes. However, it obviously did not go according to plan or I would not be writing about this. Five days after the first game Patrice Evra, a French, black defender for Manchester United, accused Luis Suarez, a Uruguayan striker for Liverpool, of using a derogatory and racist term towards him during the first game. After looking back at the game tape you can clearly see that Suarez does say something to Evra and I can guarantee you it was not, “Would you like to come to my house for dinner?”  So the English Football Association reviewed the case, they looked at the tape, they interviewed the referee and both players, and they even brought in a Uruguayan lip reader to determine what Suarez was exactly saying, before they made their decision. When the final verdict came down it was rough one, an 8 game suspension for Suarez from all competitions due to racist and unsportsmanlike behavior towards another player. It was so widely covered that it even got some air time on ESPN (and the never happens, believe me) and became quite the hot topic between my friends and I for a week or two.

Fast forward an 8 match suspension, a Liverpool victory over United in the FA Cup, and a couple of weeks and you’ll end up at Old Trafford on Saturday, February 11th, 2012. Manchester United were hosting Liverpool in the Premiership for the third and final meeting of the season between the two-storied clubs, and to say that it wasn’t exactly the best afternoon for the men from Merseyside would be an understatement. Luis Suarez probably wishes that the Red Devils from Old Trafford coming out on top with a 2-1 victory thanks to a 2 goal, 4 minute spell from Wayne Rooney was the worst thing that could’ve happened that day, but he was wrong, and it’s entirely his fault. During the pregame it’s tradition for both sets of players to walk down the line and shake hands as a gesture of good luck and fair play. Luis Suarez shook ten Manchester United players’ hands; do you want to guess which player he didn’t shake hands with? If you guessed Patrice Evra then go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back, because that’s exactly what happened. The reaction across Britain was one of disgust and shock.

That’s where the story is as of now and frankly I’m getting sick of it. Luis Suarez needs to be a better man than this. He represents Liverpool Football Club, one of the biggest clubs in the world; he cannot be allowed to walk on the hallowed Anfield turf wearing a Liverpool jersey if he continues to disgrace himself, his teammates, his fans, and his owners. He needs to be mature about this situation and realize that you can’t act like this, especially on live television with a broadcast that stretches to every corner of the globe nowadays. He is a role model, that’s what you become when you play for teams like Liverpool or Manchester United or Barcelona or AC Milan. You are supposed to be a shining example of a football player to young kids, showing them how to play the game with pride and humility, not how cool you are by not addressing the situation and avoiding someone who got you in trouble. Those are the kind of people who get identified in elementary school as pussies. Luis Suarez is a pussy in my book, and the sooner he gets out of Anfield the better in my opinion. This is a club where Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, and Michael Owen wowed crowds at the Kop on a weekly basis with their goals and grace and managed to uphold the great reputation that Liverpool had built for itself. Luis Suarez is going down, and he’s going to take this clubs rich, historic reputation down with him if something isn’t done soon.

Another One Bites the Dust

[This is an older post from halfway through the 2011-2012 NFL season]

This is a conversation I had with my dad the day after Matt Schaub got hurt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dad: So Schaub’s out. What are we going to do?

Me:  I don’t know dad, probably look to sign a veteran backup and hope Matt Leinart can carry this team to the playoffs.

Dad: Hmmm, seems sensible. What do you think of him (Leinart)?

Me: I haven’t really seen him play any significant snaps, so you’re guess is as good as mine.

If a father and son support the same football team then this is the worst conversation they could imagine having, unless you’re a Redskins fan this season. The starting quarterback for your team is done for the season, and you are going to have to rely on your untested, unreliable backup who hasn’t played a significant down of football since Tim Tebow became relevant. IS THIS HOW YOU SCREW US NFL GODS?

The NFL Gods responded: We’re just getting warmed up

Take that entire conversation I had with my Dad, and if you replace Schaub with Leinart, and Leinart with Yates then you already know how that conversation went.

So now me and my dad were supposed to believe in not the starting quarterback, not the backup quarterback, but the third stringer? T.J. Yates, more like T.J. Yikes I thought. I’m not going to stand back here and say I was rational and looked at the big picture and knew we would be okay, because then I’d be writing bullshit. I freaked out. I was on the Brett Favre train, I had my gas tank full and was ready to drive to MiddleofNoWhereVille, Mississippi to pick up the AARP member myself. I convinced myself he would manage/slightly nudge us to a Super Bowl title and then he could retire in peace and let us get on with our lives and never hear another Favre retirement story. Well I guess Mr. Yates, a 5th round pick out of UNC, must’ve been sick of people like me doubting him before he had even taken a competitive snap in the NFL because I WAS DEAD WRONG.

Taylor Jonathan Yates came out of the tunnel last Sunday to 70,000 fans nervously waiting to see if he could lead them to the promised land, and you know what? He showed us exactly what we wanted to see.

1) He didn’t turn the ball over

2) He can hand the ball off

3) He can take a snap under center

4) He can throw an accurate spiral

5) He can feel the pressure

So after seeing TJ Yates in action I am a lot more confident that we will not only make the playoffs, but make quite a good run in them too. He showed poise and awareness that people could only hope Matt Leinart had. He controlled the huddle and had the entire team’s attention when he wanted it. He responded with a great TD drive after the Falcons tied it up. He just did everything the Houston Texans could have wanted him to do, and he did it without looking like a rookie.

Of course I could be completely wrong and the Texans could pull a typical Texans and manage to transform a quiet ride to the promised land of the playoffs into the most dramatic division title race in the last 20 years by losing all their games. I hope that doesn’t happen but when you’re a Texans fan it’s in your nature to brace yourself for the worst possible scenario.

Except in this QB scenario it seems the worst possible scenario is actually going to be okay.