Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dead or Alive, NBA Play-Offs Round 1

Sacramento/San Antonio
My Prediction:
I’ll take the Spurs to win. My guess is the series will go five games.
Status of Prediction: The Spurs lead 2-0

The Kings are dead in this series and the Spurs are very much alive. Give Sacramento credit for pushing game two to overtime without Ron Artest who was suspended but this series is over. I think it could go five games like I origionally predicted but wouldn’t be surprised to see a sweep.

My Prediction:
I’m picking the Mavericks to win the series. I’m guessing five games here as well.
Status of Prediction: Mavericks lead 2-0

The Grizzlies are dead and the Mavs alive. Niether game one nor game two were close and Memphis is totally outmatched here. The Grizzlies could catch Dallas sleep walking in one game in Memphis but don’t count on it. It may be time to bring out the brooms.

Los Angeles Lakers/Phoenix Suns
My Prediction:
I pick the Suns to win the series. I’m guessing six games.
Status of Prediction: Series tied 1-1

Both teams are still alive in this series. Check this out. Through the first two games of the series the Lakers are scoring 100.5 points a game and giving up 100 per game, obviously the Suns numbers are reversed but it just shows how close these two teams are. The series is heading back to LA tied and it looks like it could be going seven.

Los Angeles Clippers/Denver Nuggets
My Prediction:
I’ll take the Nuggets. I see this one going seven games.
Status of Prediction: Clippers lead 2-0

Did someone forget to tell Denver they actually get to play in the playoffs? The Nuggets look like they have quit on the season and appear to be dead. I picked Denver in seven and at this point it looks like I am way off. Game three is a must win for Denver but the problem is that it will be in LA. I’m going to say that the Nuggets are comatost but not dead. The diagnosis will change one way or the other tonight.

My Prediction:
Pistons sweep.
Status of Prediction: Pistons lead 2-0

The Bucks are dead and nobody outside the state of Wisconsin is surprised. The Pistons are the best team in the playoffs and the Bucks are learning that the hard way. This series should be over on Monday.

My Prediction:
Washington wins the series. I think it will be six but wouldn’t be surprised to see it go seven.
Status of Prediction: Series tied 1-1

Both teams are alive and this shoud be a great series. Apparently BronBron doesn’t like the contact and physical play that the Wizards brought in game two but that is the way it is going to be the rest of the way so he better adjust.

The fate of both teams rest on the shoulders of one of their players. For Cleveland it’s LeBron James who made his playoff debuit with a triple double. For Washington it’s Gilbert Arenas who went off for 30 points in game two.

My Prediction:
Miami wins the series. I think it will be in five games.
Status of Prediction: Heat lead series 2-0

The Bulls are dead and have no hope to salvage this series against Miami. Chicago has played the Heat tough and I think the Bulls can win one of the next two at home which would result in them losing in five.

Indiana/New Jersey
My Prediction:
Nets win. I say the series goes seven games.
Status of Prediction: Series tied 1-1

After two games this series is right where I expected it to be. Both teams are still alive and I still see it going seven games. The Pacers should get Peja Stojakovic back for tonight’s game which will add another dimension to this series.

Whoa Nellie

Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson is calling it quits after 39 years in the booth. Stating that he didn’t want to die in a stadium parking lot Jackson says this is the perfect time to walk away.

"This is the perfect time," said Jackson "I don't want to get back into the pressure-cooker of play-by-play and worry about travel. I don't want to die in a stadium parking lot."

Reading between the lines makes me wonder if ABC isn’t showing the 77-year old the door. Jackson said he was going to retire after the 1998 college football season but instead reached an agreement for a light travel schedule that included only West Coast games. Jackson’s schedule this season reportedly included trips to East Lansing, Michigan and State College, Pennsylvania.

I was excited when Jackson announced he was going to retire in 1998 but I am ecstatic now because he seems serious this time as opposed to 98 when he just wanted a softer travel schedule.

Now the expectation of watching a college football game on ABC where the correct team names and players are announced correctly isn’t unrealistic, unless Dan Fouts is doing the game.
Report: Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson to retire

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Red River Shootout is Dead

The annual OU/Texas game in Dallas is just a few years away from becoming a home and home series unless the University of Texas is pulling off the mother of all bluffs.

Texas and OU have a contract to play at the Cotton Bowl through the 2008 season with an opt-out clause after the 2007 game. Texas officials, however, have told Dallas officials they will not opt out of the contract after the 2007 game and will play OU at the Cotton Bowl in 2008, the source said.

Texas has not been willing to pursue a means to keep the rivalry game in Dallas beyond that point and have now begun working with the University of Arkansas to renew that rivalry with a game in Dallas beginning in 2010.

Under the agreement, which has not been finalized with a contract, Texas and Arkansas would play in Austin in 2008 and in Fayetteville in 2009.

According to a source for the Dallas Morning News there is also internal discussion that the Texas-Arkansas rivalry could continue beyond 2009 on an annual basis in Dallas – most likely at the Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington – if the Longhorns opt not to renew their current agreement to play Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl.

Texas has nothing to gain from losing to OU at the Cotton Bowl or the Cowboys new stadium. Rhett Bomar, Adrian Peterson and Tommie Harris are just a few names of kids from the state of Texas who chose to come to OU based on the recent competition.

The problem for Texas is not playing in Dallas it’s losing to Oklahoma. The Longhorns are 1-5 against Oklahoma over the last six years and even with a national championship under their belt Texas still must overcome a sorry winning percentage against their biggest foe. How do you do that? Move the game back to campus where at least every other year you have the home field advantage. If the Texas-Oklahoma series goes home-and-home beginning in 2009, the first on-campus game between the two schools would be in Austin.

Williams Suspended for a Year

"I'm disappointed with the decision, but I respect it, I'm proud of my association with the National Football League and look forward to returning to the Dolphins in 2007." Ricky Williams

Anyone who didn’t see this coming is blinder than a bat. The 06 season won’t happen for Ricky Williams and as far as I’m concerned shouldn’t ever play another down for the Dolphins again.

Reports are that this latest trouble wasn’t caused by a failed test but by failure to show up for a test. When you have established yourself as a pothead and have already received multiple punishments from the league, how do you fail to show up for a test?

Ricky lives by Ricky rules and that equates to a bad teammate. Miami cannot trade him while he is serving his one year suspension but look for him to be trade bait for the 07 draft. If the Dolphins are lucky they can get a 6th round pick for him.

Fourth violation draws one-year suspension for Williams

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Attner Says Young Not Worth a Top 5 Pick senior writer Paul Attner chimes in on Vince Young and the upcoming NFL draft. When it comes to Young Attner says, “If you have one of the top picks in this draft, you can't make a mistake with any of six or so players. Unless you take Vince Young.”

Attner says that Young may well become a stand-out NFL player. But he is not worth the risk of using a top-five pick, not when you have Mario Williams, Reggie Bush, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, A.J. Hawk, Vernon Davis and two other quarterbacks available.
Attner says that there are too many unknowns about Young -- his motion, his ability to read defenses, his ability to perform consistently out of the pocket -- to make him a high choice.

He also goes on to say that taking him means you would have to alter your offense, which means you would have to alter your offensive personnel. That requires a huge commitment, one that you normally shouldn't be making with an elite selection.

He concludes by saying that if anyone is taking Young before any of the above-named players they are passing up a great talent for someone whose future involves too much quesswork.

Read Attner's article.

High School Football Heroes

Found this on and couldn’t pass it up. Kudos to these guys who are now heroes off the field.

A tire shop worker who got pinned under a pickup truck is expected to survive thanks to the hustle and muscle of members of the city's high school football team.

Ed Marsh of Centralia Expert Tire is hospitalized in serious condition at Saint Louis University Hospital, with injuries to an arm, his back, hip and pelvis.

Officials say Marsh was pinned Saturday morning when the pickup fell off a jack.

Members of the Centralia High School football team were unloading a truck of tires nearby when they heard a summons for help. They scrambled to Marsh's aid and lifted the truck off of the man so emergency workers could help him

Monday, April 24, 2006

Moving Day

Here is a photo of moving day for Reggie Bush’s family thanks to The M Zone. Click on photo to enlarge.

Sooners Sweep Tech, Extend Streak to 10

OU trailed 2-1 after the third inning but the Sooners scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to regain the lead and then put the game out of reach with a five-run eighth inning to complete the series sweep of the Red Raiders. OU outhit Texas Tech 16-9 and was led by Jackson Williams career-high four hits (2 RBI).

OU has now won back-to-back Big 12 series via a sweep, the first time it has done so since the 2004 season (swept three straight over Baylor, Kansas and Missouri). The last time the Red Raiders were swept at home was against Nebraska during the 2001 season.

Sunday's victory also extended the Sooners' winning streak to a season-high ten games. The last time OU won ten-straight games was during the 1998 season (Feb. 2-24). That squad opened the year with a 12-game winning streak.

Oklahoma completed the sweep of Texas Tech Sunday after winning 5-2 Friday night and 6-5 on Saturday.

Big 12 Baseball Standings
Team Big 12 Overall
Nebraska 12-3 32-6
Texas 13-4 28-15
OKLAHOMA 11-4 32-10
Kansas 9-9 29-16
Baylor 9-9 25-16
Oklahoma State 7-8 24-13
Missouri 7-11 18-20
Texas Tech 6-10-1 26-17-1
Kansas State 4-10-1 24-12-1
Texas A&M 4-14 20-23

Second Game Suspensions

It doesn’t matter if you throw a mouthpiece or an elbow. If you do it you’ll sit out a game in the NBA playoffs.

Miami forward Udonis Haslem will miss tonight’s playoff game against the Chicago Bulls, serving a one-game suspension for throwing his mouthpiece toward referee Joey Crawford in the series opener.

Ron Artest of the Sacramento Kings was also suspended one game without pay for hitting Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs in the head with his forearm.

The Artest suspension will hurt the Kings more than the Haslem suspension will hurt the Heat. If both teams lose to suspension the worst case scenario for Miami is a split series at 1-1 but for Sacramento it would mean going down 0-2 to the Spurs.

Free House University?

I won’t ever be confused as a USC supporter, can’t stand them, but I hate to see a program fall for something they didn’t have any control over.

Reggie Bush’s family moves from an apartment to a $757,500 home on the dime of a guy who was trying to link them with an agent and now it looks like the Trojan football team will suffer as a result of it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

NBA Playoffs First Round Predictions

San Antonio vs. Sacramento

The Spurs may not be playing at the level they were going into the playoffs last season but they still have more talent than the Kings. The Kings have Mike Bibby at guard but the Spurs will answer with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
San Antonio vs. Sacramento

The Spurs may not be playing at the level they were going into the playoffs last season but they still have more talent than the Kings. The Kings have Mike Bibby at guard but the Spurs will answer with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

The acquisition of Ron Artest turned the season around for the Kings but Sacramento still won’t have an answer for Tim Duncan inside. The Spurs are also deeper on the bench with Finley, Barry and Horry all able to give productive minutes.

Prediction: I’ll take the Spurs to win. My guess is the series will go five games.

Dallas vs. Memphis

Jason Terry loves the playoffs! The Mavericks point guard was huge in the playoffs for Dallas last season and Mavericks fans should expect more of the same this year. Some experts are calling Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol a wash but I’m not buying it. If we are talking rebounds then yeah but Nowitzki averaged six more points a game and will be more effective in this series than his counterpart.

The Mavericks are also deeper on the bench than the Grizzlies. Jerry Stackhouse, Marquis Daniels and Erick Dampier will be the difference makers in this series.

Prediction: I’m picking the Mavericks to win the series. I’m guessing five games here as well.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns

I truly believe that if Kobe Bryant scores 40 points a night in this series then the Lakers will lose. A one man show can’t win a seven game series.

The key to this series for the Lakers won’t be Bryant but Smush Parker who will have to defend Steve Nash. That will be a tall order.

Shawn Marion is the Suns leading scorer but Phoenix has plenty of weapons on the bench as well with James Jones, Eddie House and Leandro Barbosa.

While the Lakers have possibly the most exciting player in the playoffs the Suns have a better team and should win this series.

Prediction: I pick the Suns to win the series. I’m guessing six games.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets

A lot of people are riding the Clippers bandwagon and picking the upset here but not me. I like the Carmelo Anthony/Marcus Camby duo for Denver. I also like the coaching match-up with Karl having a sizeable advantage.

Finally while neither team has a ton of play-off experience I think Denver will be more poised in the clutch.

Prediction: I’ll take the Nuggets. I see this one going seven games.

Detroit vs. Milwaukee

This is just a warm-up series for the Pistons who have every advantage in every area of this series. Here is my analysis for the series. Chauncy Billups, Rip Hamelton and Ben Wallace.

Prediction: Pistons sweep.

Washington vs. Cleveland

Welcome to the play-offs LeBron unfortunately you have to go up against Gilbert Arenas. This should be a very entertaining series. The Wizards have the advantage in the backcourt with Arenas but the Cavs have a frontcourt advantage with James.

Washington also has something Cleveland doesn’t, playoff experience. That is huge and will be a factor in this series.

Prediction: Washington wins the series. I think it will be six but wouldn’t be surprised to see it go seven.

Chicago vs. Miami

The Bulls could give the Heat some playoff headaches but the key word there is could. Miami is both the frontcourt and backcourt advantages but the Bulls are deeper on the bench which could win them one game in this series. I would be surprised if they won more than that.

Prediction: Miami wins the series. I think it will be in five games.

Indiana vs. New Jersey

Jason Kidd and Vince Carter will dominate the backcourt for the Nets in this series and that could be the determining factor. The frontcourt is a wash between these two teams with the Pacers possibly having a slight advantage with Jermaine O’Neal.

The biggest thing the Nets have going for them is their defense and that will win the series for them.

Prediction: Nets win. I say the series goes seven games.

NHL Playoffs work Overtime

The NBA play-offs begin today but it was the NHL taking center stage last night by providing bonus play-off hockey. Two of the four games on Friday night went into overtime including the top seed from the west which needed two overtimes.

Kirk Maltby scored his second goal of the night 2:39 into double overtime to give Detroit a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their first-round series. While the top seeded Red Wings were tested to the limit of Friday night I don’t see this series being in danger for them. Edmonton will put up a fight but this series shouldn’t go past five games.

It was a former Red Wing who saved the day for Calgary in the other overtime game. The Flames beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2-1 on a Darren McCarty goal 9:45 into the overtime period on Friday night. Anaheim was my upset pick in the first round and I still have faith in the Ducks even though a win last night would have put them in really good shape.

Nashville and San Jose didn’t need the overtime but still provided a lot of excitement. The Predators took out the Sharks 4-3. I’ll take Nashville to continue on to win the series.

The ho-hum game of the night belonged to Ottawa and Tampa Bay. The Senators beat the lightening 4-1 last night in the first of what is likely only going to be a four game series.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An Open Letter to Kelvin Sampson

Dear Coach Sampson,

You don't act as if you are aware of this but you have moved out of the state of Oklahoma. Now that you are the men’s basketball head coach at one of the premier program’s in the country it’s time to let bygones be bygones.

So what that the whiners from the north turned you in for cheating, so did your good pal Bobby Knight. And who really cares that OSU negatively recruited against you. I imagine that just about every school in America practices negative recruiting at one point or another. Who knows what a coach is going to say to a kid when he is desperate to land him in his program.

Here is a news flash for you. You cheated! I am a supporter of yours and will follow Indiana basketball now along with my beloved Sooners but you did cheat and you got caught. It is not OSU or Texas Tech’s fault that you got caught it is your own because you are the one who cheated. Bye the way if you don’t use up all your cell phone minutes you get to roll them over to the next month.

So as a Sooner fan I think it is time that you move on. Understanding that you have moved to Bloomington means that you don’t care what goes on in Stillwater or Lubbock anymore. I understand you bitterness after 12 years of coaching and recruiting against these two schools but now you need to worry about what Michigan, Iowa and Ohio State are doing.

So take solace in the fact that in your final season at Oklahoma you went 4-0 against the two coaches that hated you the most and vice-versa. Neither of those two coaches went to the Big Dance and you did even though you took an early first round exit your enemies had to watch from the couch.

Take solace in the fact that after losing to you one of the coaches went on a drinking binge, endangered lives and smashed a university vehicle subsequently keeping him from the hall of fame and ending his storied career. His last game on the bench was a loss to you and he will now forever be remembered as an old drunk. You think you have had a tough year try being a Sutton.

Finally take solace in the fact that you got Bobby Knight’s job! While he is buried in mediocrity cussing out chancellors over a salad in west Texas you are top dawg at one of the basketball Mecca’s. You are the man at the school that fired Knight. You are rubbing elbows and schmoozing it up with his friends. You are living in his house so to speak.

I hope this letter helps you realize that it is you who really got the last laugh. So understand that it really is time to move on and go live the high life. Know that there are Oklahomans who will be cheering for you to win Big 10 Championships and go deep into the tournament, as long as you don’t cross our Sooners along the way, but we really don’t want to hear you talk about Oklahoma State anymore. There is a new guy in Norman who will learn to do that in due time.

Good luck coach and goodbye.

Iowa State’s Leading Tackler Dismissed for Illegal Substance

Iowa State’s leading tackler, LB Matt Robertson, has been dismissed from the team after testing positive for a banned supplement. Robertson started every game last season for Iowa State.

Here is the statement from head coach Dan McCarney:

"Matt Robertson is no longer a student-athlete in our football program. Ultimately, I have a deep feeling of sadness because Matt Robertson has always been a team player, an academic all-Big 12 performer who was as good in the classroom as he was on the field. He can still help the team by graduating. I'm confident he will. Let there be no doubt, however, his decision was unacceptable and he knew better than to use a supplement that is banned by the NCAA. Matt is paying the toughest penalty a student-athlete can face, not playing again for his school. His example as he carries on in the future should send a message to all young people that mistakes can have major consequences. We will continue to test our student-athletes frequently as a school, through the Big 12 and through the NCAA. We are not ending our relationship with Matt and will do everything we can to help him be a success after he leaves Iowa State University."

Robertson took full responsibility (are you listening Barry Bonds) for his actions and issued an apology to his teammates and ISU fans.

"I take full personal responsibility for taking an over the counter supplement that is banned by the NCAA. I am paying a heavy price for a very bad decision, as I will never again wear an Iowa State uniform. I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and Iowa State fans. I hope my example will serve as a warning to others contemplating use of dietary supplements. I want to emphasize that the decision was mine and I accept the consequences.

I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches and Iowa State fans," Robertson said. "I hope my example will serve as a warning to others contemplating use of dietary supplements. I want to emphasize that the decision (to use a supplement) was mine and I accept the consequences."

While ISU is not confirming the details on the banned substance, their quotes carry the sugggestion that Robertson purchased supplements on his own that may have contained something other than the ingredients listed on the label.”

This kid made a horrible mistake but is handling it with lots of class.

The Unwritten Rules

This post was inspired by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. A few weeks ago SI published an article that Reilly wrote in 1995 about the unwritten rules of sports. Although there is no penalty for breaking these “rules” abiding by them simply shows that sportsmanship is still alive and well. Here are a few of my favorite.

If a line judge makes a bad call in your favor, purposely double-fault the next point.

Never knock in the tying run in the ninth inning of an exhibition game.

Hand the manager the ball when he comes to the mound to take you out.

Do not talk or sit near a pitcher with a no-hitter going.

Never bunt to breakup a no-hitter.

A catcher may complain to the ump all he wants about balls and strikes, as long as he doesn’t turn around and do it face-to-face.

When a soccer player is hurt, the opponents must kick the ball out of play.

Losers walk.

Never shoot high on a goalie during warm-ups.

On the playground, offense calls the fouls.

No overhand smashes at women in mixed doubles.

The caddie of the last player to putt plants the flag.

Never steal with a five-run lead after the seventh inning.

I know I am forgetting some so help me out. Leave a comment about the unwritten rules that you know of.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NFL Cowboys, Longhorns & Sooners

As we approach the NFL draft I wanted to look at the number of players on NFL rosters from the Big 12 conference. The Big 12 gets a lot of criticism for being on of the weakest of the major conferences but the truth is that the Big 12 has been represented in five of the last six BCS championship games.

In looking at the number of NFL players from the Big 12 I decided to start with my favorite team, Oklahoma, and their arch nemesis Texas as well as instate rival Oklahoma State. Texas leads the way with 26 players on an NFL roster but Oklahoma is just behind with 25. O-State comes in third in this group with 14.

Current NFL Sooners
Stephen Alexander TE - Broncos
William Bartee CB - Chiefs
Mark Bradley WR - Bears
Jammal Brown OT - Saints
Rocky Calmus LB - Colts
Mark Clayton WR - Ravens
Dan Cody DE - Ravens
Kelly Gregg DT - Ravens
Tommie Harris DT - Bears
Corey Ivy CB - Rams
Brandon Jones WR - Titans
Teddy Lehman LB - Lions
Stockar McDougle OT - Dolphins
Lynn McGruder DT - Bengals
Lance Mitchell LB - Cardinals
Brandon Moore LB - 49ers
Donte Nicholson S - Buccaneers
Antonio Perkins CB - Browns
Brodney Pool S - Browns
Wes Sims OL - Chargers
Trent Smith TE - 49ers
Derrick Strait CB - Jets
Jimmy Wilkerson DE - Chiefs
Roy Williams S - Cowboys
Andre Woolfolk CB - Titans

Current NFL Cowboys
Billy Bajema, TE - San Francisco
Tatum Bell, RB- Denver
Keith Burns, LB - Denver
Vernand Morency, RB – Houston
R.W. McQuarters, CB - Detroit
Greg Richmond, LB – Philadelphia
Marcellus Rivers, TE - Houston
Antonio Smith, DE - Arizona
Juqua Thomas, DE – Philadelphia
Darrent Williams, CB - Denver
Jamal Williams, DT - San Diego
Kevin Williams, DT – Minnesota
Rashaun Woods, WR – San Diego
Kenyatta Wright, LB - New York Jets

Current NFL Longhorns
Cedric Benson, Chicago Bears
Leonard Davis, Arizona Cardinals
Phil Dawson, Cleveland Browns
Derrick Dockery, Washington Redskins
Jerry Gray, Washington Redskins
Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh Steelers
Richard Hightower, Houston Texans
Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs
Quentin Jammer, San Diego Chargers
Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
D.D. Lewis, Seattle Seahawks
Cullen Loeffler, Minnesota Vikings
Alan Lowry, New York Jets
Will Matthews, Detroit Lions
Cory Redding, Detroit Lions
Shaun Rogers, Detroit Lions
Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans
Kyle Shanahan, Houston Texans
Chris Simms, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sloan Thomas, Tennessee Titans
Kalen Thornton, Dallas Cowboys
Marcus Tubbs, Seattle Seahawks
Nathan Vasher, Chicago Bears
Marcus Wilkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Williams, Jacksonville Jaguars
Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins

Happy Birthday

My Opinion on Sports turns 1 today. It has been a fun year getting my little hobby/project started. I want to say thanks to all my readers and advertisers. I hope this next year will be even more fun.

19,472 visitors!

Sooners Knock-Off #1 Rice

Oklahoma’s baseball team extended their winning streak to seven games on Tuesday night with their latest victim being the number one team in the country. The Sooners humbled Rice 15-3 in Norman avenging an 8-2 loss to the Owls earlier this season.

Joe Dunigan and Freddy Rodriguez powered the Sooner offense with three RBI apiece as the Sooners outhit the Owls 14-9. The win improved OU’s overall record to 29-10 and dropped Rice to 32-9 on the season.

“The fans were great tonight and really provided us with a regional-type atmosphere,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “Our kids played really well in front of a great crowd and I thought Mottern did a great job on the mound and gave us a good start.”

Ryan Mottern (3-1) recorded the win for the Sooners with 5 1/3 innings pitched, with two runs allowed on six hits and two walks. Mottern also struck out three batters and Will Savage collected his seventh save of the season after coming into the ball game with a 7-3 OU lead and two runners on base in the top of the seventh inning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Strange Superstitions

Michael Jordan wore his old Carolina jersey under his Bulls jersey during his famed NBA career. Every sport has their share of superstitious athletes but baseball seems to have the strangest.

Turk Wendell may not be the only superstitious baseball player, but he certainly is one of the strangest. He jumps over the third- and first-base lines every time he enters or exits the field. He brushes his teeth between every inning he pitches. He cannot simply drop the rosin bag after using it—he has to hurl it into the ground with the same force he uses for his fastball.

Former major-leaguer Wade Boggs was famous for eating chicken before games. He also was known for taking fielding practice at the same time every day.

Frank Viola, a three-time MLB all-star and former Cy Young winner had a secret to his success on the mound. He would clean the mound before every inning, kicking up dirt ex-actly four times. However, if something bad happened, he couldn’t do it in repetition of four’s any more, instead he would try three or five.

John Smoltz, was once doing jumping jacks in the clubhouse during an Atlanta Braves rally,was afraid to stop because he didn’t want to be held responsible for the end of the Braves’ scoring. He ended up doing jumping jacks for nearly half an hour.

One that stands out above all others is Nomar Garciaparra. When leaving the dugout, Nomar must step on each step with both feet. When out in the field, he frequently removes his glove, smells the inside, his hand, and then puts the glove back on.

When batting, he is out of control. After every pitch, he must step out of the batter's box, adjust each batting glove, give each of them a tug, and touch his nose. When he steps back into the batters box, he carefully digs each foot in one at a time, taps his toes, and shifts his weight back and forth from one foot to another.

What are your favorite superstitions?

The idea for this post came from The Sports Pulse. He has some other superstitions listed there as well.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Royal Frustration

Time for a baseball rant. We Kansas City Royals fans don’t have high expectations. We don’t expect pennants, play-offs or division championships. We really don’t even expect a winning record. However is it too much to expect to just have a competitive team?

Twelve games into the season the Royals have two wins and are currently riding an 8 game losing streak. On the 18th of April Kansas City is out of every MLB race that every MLB teams want to be in. The starting pitchers have failed to win a game and they have managed to score just one run twice and have been shutout once.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are on a three game winning streak. The reason why? They just finished a series with the Royals. Detroit got off to a hot start. The reason why? They started the season with a two-game set against Kansas City.

The Royals are currently playing in their fifth series of the season and have been swept in three of the four completed series’.

I’ve been a Royals fan since 1983 and I have to be honest I’m hanging on by a thread. I am this close (holding my thumb and index finger a fraction of an inch apart) to putting my loyalties up for the highest bid. I’m not a bandwagon kind of guy and I believe in loyalty but apparently the Royals don’t. They sell their best talent and fail to bring in more. You want to know what is so frustrating about the Royals pitching? They didn’t have any pitching last season either.

I realize the small market/revenue sharing issue but you have to try. You have to try to make smart trades. You have to try to keep good players and take a chance to go after great ones. You have to try to win.

Joseph Sees "BCS" in OU's Future

Former Sooner offensive guard Davin Joseph gave his thoughts on Oklahoma’s spring game and what he feels the 06 Sooners can accomplish. In his latest draft diary entry for Joseph had this to say about the current OU football team.

“Before I tell you about my trip, I want to make it clear to all the Sooners fans out there that the team looked great during the scrimmage last Saturday. I could rattle off names for hours, but the team was playing really sharp considering it is only April. The offensive line is a bit thin, though. They have to fill four vacancies, so I am looking forward to seeing some of the younger guys step up.

They have only seven linemen to practice with right now, which could lead to some tired bodies. However, once the new recruits get to campus, the starters will get a bit of a rest. I truly believe we could be in a BCS bowl this year. I say "we" because I will always be a Sooner.”

According to Joseph A.D. could be running past opponents in a BCS game this season.

If anyone has first hand knowledge as to where the Sooners are this spring as opposed to last year it would be Joseph. He was a part of that offensive line that struggled to start the season and knows the current lineman and how far they have come.

Good luck with the draft Davin. Boomer Sooner!

Read Davin Joseph’s full online diary.

Sooners Sweep Tigers

They had to rally twice to do it but the Sooners swept the Missouri Tigers in baseball this weekend to extend their current winning streak to six games.

It was the the third time in their last four games and the second straight day against Missouri, the No. 16 Sooners used their last at-bat in the ninth inning to knock in the game winner.

After winning the series opener 6-4 on Friday night the Sooners rallied on Saturday in game two to post six runs in the ninth to win 8-6. Then on Sunday Ryan Rohlinger’s RBI single, with two outs, in the ninth inning scored Russell Raley to complete the three-game sweep and continue Oklahoma’s winning streak.

“I think the big key was the 3-1 count with Caufield (at the plate) and a runner on first,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “He had the green light and sat on a 3-1 pitch in his wheelhouse and the ball left the yard. I think there’s a sense of destiny with this team.”

Big 12 Baseball Standings
Texas 12-2-0 27-12-0
Nebraska 10-2-0 28-5-0
Oklahoma 8-4-0 28-10-0
Kansas 7-8-0 25-15-0
Baylor 7-8-0 22-15-0
Texas Tech 6-7-1 25-14-1
Oklahoma State 5-7-0 21-12-0
Missouri 6-9-0 16-18-0
Kansas State 3-8-1 23-9-1
Texas A&M 3-12-0 19-20-0

Saturday, April 15, 2006

LenDale White is Fat

Back on March 21 I questioned LenDale White’s ranking as a running back prospect for the upcoming NFL draft. Now, after putting on a few pounds and after a horrible pro-day workout, others are beginning to criticize the USC back as well.

Obviously White is not lacking on talent but it appears as if his work ethic is in serious question as well as his draft status. Some are even making comparisons to Maurice Clarett.

White's weight, immaturity concern NFL

Bonds Doesn't Care What You Think

Does anyone actually believe that Barry Bonds wasn’t using steroids? It’s a serious question. I really want to know if anyone believes that. I also believed that he lied to a grand jury about his steroid abuse but will never be convicted of it.

"It is a lot tougher to make a perjury case than most people think because it takes more than just proving that the person made a statement that was untrue," said Adam Hoffinger, a criminal defense lawyer in Washington D.C. "The government has to prove that he knowingly and willfully lied about a material fact -- it can't be a mistake, there has to be intent."

The American public has already convicted Bonds and you would think that if would a humbling experience for anyone to have the public turn on them but not Bonds. He is laughing at the process. Laughing at his bank account and laughing at the MLB record book. He doesn’t care what you, me or a federal grant jury thinks. Remember he is the victim here!

Perjury convictions are tough to win, but Bonds may be different

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Joseph and Chester Among Top NFL Prospects

The Sooners won’t break the NFL bank at this year’s draft like they last season but they do have two guys among the top five at their positions among the offensive line according to Gil Brandt at

Brant has Davin Joseph and Chris Chester among the best at their positions and Rufus Alexander among the top outside linebackers for next year’s draft.

Top 5 Guards
Rank Player School Height Weight 40-yard dash
1 Davin Joseph Oklahoma 6-2 5/8 311 5.13
2 Max Jean-Gilles Georgia 6-3¾ 355 5.52
3 Taitusi Lutui USC 6-3 5/8 334 5.47
4 Charles Spencer Pittsburgh 6-4¾ 352 5.30
5 Fred Matua USC 6-2 3/8 306 5.08

Top 5 Centers
Rank Player School Height Weight 40-yard dash
1 Nick Mangold Ohio State 6-3 5/8 300 5.10
2 Chris Chester Oklahoma 6-3 3/8 303 4.90
3 Greg Eslinger Minnesota 6-3 1/8 292 5.15
4 Ryan Cook New Mexico 6-5 5/8 328 5.45
5 Marvin Philip California 6-1 307 5.27

Top OLB prospects for 2007 NFL Draft (in alphabetical order):
Player School Height Weight
Rufus Alexander Oklahoma 6-1 225
Earl Everett Florida 6-1½ 230
Paul Posluszny Penn State 6-1½ 230
LaMarr Woodley Michigan 6-1½ 274

NCAA Can Still Reduce Sampson's Salary

Apparently the possibility of penalties following Kelvin Sampson to Indiana University was not only a forethought but was also dealt with in the new Hoosier coach’s contract.

Sampson’s contract with Indiana is worth $10.8 million over seven years but could be reduced by nearly $100,000 if there are further sanctions from the NCAA for more than 550 impermissible phone calls made to recruits by Sampson and his assistant coaches at Oklahoma. There is also a $500,000 penalty for leaving before the end of the contract in 2013.

I have often said that I didn’t think the NCAA would impose any more sanctions on the Universities of Oklahoma and Indiana and if you read between the lines it looks like that is the case. From what I see the only thing that is in danger of being reduced is Sampson’s bank account.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Big 12 Spring Football Review: Texas Tech

Mike Leach has some holes to fill in his offense and is trying to find those answers this spring. Graham Harrell and Chris Todd are in competition to replace departed quarterback Cody Hodges. Both are freshmen with Harrell having a redshirt and being the early favorite to win the position.

Looking to fill the hole at running back are three freshmen redshirt Shannon Woods and true freshmen Kobey Lewis and Pete Richardson. Even though they will all be sophomores next season they are still inexperienced. Woods is the only one who has game experience and it is limited.

The good news for the Red Raiders receiving corps is that they return senior Joe Filani. The bad news is that among the receivers with experience he stands alone. Other receivers making a push for playing time are sophomores-to-be Catron Houston, L.A. Reed and Grant Walker.

Youth will definitely be served on the machine known as the Texas Tech offense which may not lead to a great season in 06 but should bode well for the future.

The defense will have more age than the offense but will lack experience as well. Returning are seniors-to-be Chris Hudler who led the team in quarterback hurries and Dek Bake. Both are defensive tackles which could be the strength of the Red Raider defense.

Junior linebacker Paul Williams is turning heads this spring as is senior linebacker Kellen Tillman. In the secondary it’s sophomore safeties Anthony Hines and Jordy Rowland who are making the big plays.

Top 10 Toughest NFL Stadiums came up with their Top 10 toughest places to play in the NFL and while I agree with some of them there are others on the list that I question and some that I am wondering why they were left off.

10. Metrodome
(Minnesota Vikings)
9. Lincoln Financial Field
(Philadelphia Eagles)
8. Lambeau Field
(Green Bay Packers)
7. Soldier Field
(Chicago Bears)
6. Heinz Field
(Pittsburgh Steelers)
5. Qwest Field
(Seattle Seahawks)
4. Invesco Field
(Denver Broncos)
3. RCA Dome
(Indianapolis Colts)
2. Gillette Stadium
(New England Patriots)
1. Arrowhead Stadium
(Kansas City Chiefs)

Stadiums on the list that I agree with;
Metrodome – I can’t believe the Metrodome rounds out the list. I should be somewhere in the middle.
Lambeau Field – Best fans in the NFL should be a top 3.
Heinz Field – There is power in those terrible towels.
RCA Dome – Placed just about right on the list.
Gillette Stadium – Could be 1a next to Arrowhead.
Arrowhead Stadium – I have been to Arrowhead to see my Dolphins play and it is very, very loud and imposing.

Stadiums I don’t agree with;
Lincoln Financial Field – The “Stinkin Lincoln”, how can a place be imposing when the fans boo their own team just as much as the visiting team?

Qwest Field – Are we capitalizing on one season for the Seahawks? There is no way this is one of the Top 10 toughest places to play much less number 5.

Where are these stadiums?Ralph Wilson Stadium – Sure the Bills have been down as of late but if you can make Seattle number 5 off of one season then surely the Bills can make the list?

McAfee Coliseum – Is there a more intimidating place than the Black Hole?

Sooners to Hire Capel

The Oklahoma Sooners are about to take a gamble with their men’s basketball program but it is a gamble with the odds heavily in Oklahoma’s favor. OU will announce Jeff Capel as their new men’s basketball coach later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Capel, who is coming from Virginia Commonwealth, led the Rams to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and the NIT in 2005. He has four years of division I head coaching experience despite only being 31 years old.

VCU finished 19-10, 11-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association this past season. Capel’s record at VCU was 79-41.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Big 12 Spring Football Review: Texas A&M

Ryan from Texas A&M & Baseball checked in to give his thoughts on the Aggies spring football camp. As other guest have done on the Big 12 reviews Ryan shares his answers to my five questions concerning the team and the upcoming season.

Big question first, is Coach Fran on the hot seat?
There is no doubt in my mind he is. I've been in his corner since he came over to Aggieland and I've said since day one that he needs the time to get the roster full of his players. This year is that time as only the 5th year players are holdovers form the R.C. era. On top of that the schedule is certainly not one of great is easily our weakest non-conference schedule we've had since I started school in '00 and we only have to leave the state twice (@Kansas & @ OkSt). Even if he goes 8-4 and possibly 9-3 he's going to be hanging on with his fingernails in the alumni's eyes. It's time to put up.

What is the biggest question that A&M needs to answer this spring?
How to stop opposing offenses. We've got a new defensive coodinator
(Gary Darnell) and hopefully the defensive players will need to adjust to his system.

What will be the biggest position battle this spring?
I would have to say the LBers simply because it is wide open with the
exception of Justin Warren. Mark Dodge Jodie Richardson, Trey Ross,
Nurahda Manning (playing in limited contact this spring due to injury), & Matt Featherston are all in the mix for the second starting spot and for the depth slots.

Who is an unknown player that will emerge as a star this spring?
I have a feeling that Devin Gregg is going to turn some heads. He
played as a true freshman last season simply because we needed depth in our defensive backfield. Coach Darnell is going to play a 4-2-5 defense and I think that Gregg will be great as that 5th guy playing a hybrid FS/LBer. There is also lots of talk by fans about Jordan Peterson, a CB who red-shirted last year.

Is Stephen McGee a lock at quarterback or will there be a qb battle this spring?
McGee is our guy without any question. After getting a sneak-peak of him after Reggie was hurt in the OU game and the texas game fans are clamoring that we've got a true leader taking the snaps.

Sooners Take Series from Aggies

Oklahoma’s baseball team beat Texas A&M on Sunday afternoon to take the series 2-1. After combining for just eight hits in games one and two the Sooner bats came alive in game three. OU scored 6 runs off 12 hits to win Sunday’s rubber match 6-3.

After losing game one 3-1 Friday night the Sooners won a pitchers duel 1-0 on Saturday. The Sooner offense, sparked by Ryan Rohlinger’s fifth inning two-run home run, got behind an 8 2/3 inning performance by pitcher P.J. Sandoval. Sandoval struck out four and allowed three earned runs off five hits and one walk.

“We came out today, built off last night’s momentum and played a great game,” said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. “Ryan (Rohlinger) really opened things up for our offense in the fifth inning and we got another great outing from our starter. We really feel good about our weekend rotation and we will continue to rest them and get them ready for next weekend.

Big 12 Baseball Standings
Team Big 12 Overall
Texas 9-2 24-11
Nebraska 7-2 24-5
Baylor 7-5 22-11
Oklahoma 5-4 24-10
Missouri 6-6 16-14
Kansas 6-6 22-13
Texas Tech 5-6 23-13
Oklahoma State 3-6 18-11
Texas A&M 3-9 19-16
Kansas State 2-7 21-8

Sooners Spring Game Recap

With a scoring system that allowed the defense points for stops on third and fourth down as well as points for turnovers the OU defense beat the offense 41-30 in the Oklahoma’s annual spring game.

Sophomore quarterback Rhett Bomar had a solid performance did as the Sooner receivers. Bomar completed 11 of 22 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Former quarterback turned receiver Paul Thompson led all receivers with four catches for 82 yards but equally impressive was sophomore receiver Juaquin Iglesias who had two catches for 52 yards including a 43 yard score.

Junior running back Adrian Peterson was a non-factor running the ball because of the non-contact jersey but had three receptions for 31 yards.

The offensive line had a very solid outing answering many questions and proving the progress of the unit from last spring where they were dominated by the defense. The 06 offensive line will also have depth as several of the linemen who played Saturday were back-ups playing as a result to injuries to the starters.

Several stars were shining on defensive side of the ball Saturday. The defensive line is more than solid and so are the linebackers. The biggest question for the defense coming into the spring was the secondary. Gone is last year’s young and inexperienced secondary. In their place is a more experienced and seasoned group. The move of Reggie Smith from safety to corner was a great move as Smith broke up three passes, made four tackles and had one interception. The experiment with moving Lendy Holmes from receiver to cornerback is paying off. Holmes’ big play on Saturday came he picked up a fumble and ran it 46 yards for a score.

Comments from Head Coach Bob Stoops

Overall opinion on the scrimmage…

“I liked (the scrimmage),” Stoops said. “I was pleased. Up until late, we handled the ball in a good way and the offensive line held together.

On the performance of the defense…
“The defense had very good structure and discipline. They understand what they need to do.”

On the secondary and linebackers…
“Our secondary and linebackers showed very good recognition. We have a chance to be really good there, Stoops said.”

On the advantage of the defense…
“Our offense is at a disadvantage in these situations because the defense sees them every day and recognizes things before they happen.”

On the offensive line…
“I feel like we’re making good improvement up there,” Stoops said. “The good thing is that those guys are out there everyday. They’re getting a ton of snaps and that will make them better.”

Spring Game Stats

Scoring plays

Iglesias 43-yard pass from Bomar (Hartley kick)
Hartley 43-yard field goal
Hartley 43-yard field goal
Holmes 46-yard fumble return (Hartley kick)

Patrick: 11-29
Peterson: 5-2
Gove: 5-7
Bomar: 0 (-10 on sacks)
Halzle: 1-4 (-17 on sacks)

Bomar: 11-22-173, 1 TD, 1 INT
Halzle: 8-21-69, 3 INT
McEachern: 0-2-0

Thompson: 4-82
Peterson: 3-31
Patrick: 3-11
Iglesias: 2-52 (TD)
Strong: 2-27
Johnson: 1-16
Hardison: 1-10
Kelly: 1-9
Chaney: 1-6
Gove: 1-(-2)

Defensive Stats
Smith: 4 tackles, 3 PBU, 1 INT (20 yards)
D. Pleasant: 4 tackles, 1 sack (-6 yards), 1 INT
Lofton: 4 tackles, 1 FF
L. Robinson: 3 tackles
Clayton: 3 tackles
J. Carter: 3 tackles, 1 PBU
Davis: 3 tackles, 1 sack (-8 yards)
Reynolds: 2 tackles
Baker: 2 tackles, 1 for loss (-1), 2 PBU
Wolfe: 2 tackles, 1 PBU
Bowers: 2 tackles, 1 PBU
A. English: 2 tackles
Blackard: 2 tackles, 1 for loss (-5)
Moore: 2 tackles
Dotson: 2 tackles, 1 sack (-4 yards)
Granger: 2 tackles
Bennett: 2 tackles, 1 sack (-5 yards)
Ah You: 2 tackles, 2 sacks (-19 yards)
Holmes: 1 tackle, 1 FR (46-yard touchdown return)
Q. Carter: 1 tackle D. Williams: 1 tackle, 1 PBU
I. Pleasant: 1 tackle
Coleman: 1 tackle
Harris: 2 INT (53 yards)
Huggins: 1 FR

Knall: 8-299 (37.4)

Punt Returns
Smith: 6-10 (1.6)

Field Goals
Hartley: 2-3 (2-43 yd, blocked 56 yd)

Extra Points
Hartley: 2-2

Kick Returns
Smith: 1-12
Patrick: 1-24

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sooners Give Punter the Boot

Head Coach Bob Stoops has dismissed punter Cody Freeby from the Oklahoma football team.

"He has not lived up to his responsibilities or expectations with the team or academically," Stoops said. "He also hasn't followed through on the disciplinary measures that resulted in those areas."

Freeby had already been suspended by Stoops.

Freeby averaged 42.3 yards per punt as a sophomore last season, his first as the Sooners' starter. He was also the team's holder on placekicks.

Backup Mike Knall, a junior college transfer, has never punted in a game for the Sooners.

Trojans Lose Dennis for Season

USC’s once full stable of running backs is now surprisingly empty. Desmond Reed and Michael Coleman, who both played as backups last season, are recovering from operations. Chauncy Washington, who has been academically ineligible the past two seasons and isn't participating in spring practice and Hershel Dennis, who entered spring practice No. 1 on the depth chart, has torn ligaments in his left knee and is expected to miss the 2006 season.

Dennis started every game as a sophomore in 2003 -- ahead of then-freshmen Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

Dennis tore ligaments in the same knee in December 2004 and sat out last season. USC coach Pete Carroll said after practice Thursday that the school would look into applying for a sixth year of eligibility for Dennis.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Dolphins Ad Depth to Secondary/Release 2006 Schedule

The Miami Dolphins added some depth to their secondary by signing four-year veteran safety Deke Cooper to a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent from Jacksonville.

Cooper has spent the last three seasons with the Jaguars. In 2005, he started 12 of the 16 games in which he played at strong safety, and recorded 80 tackles and an interception, while adding six tackles on special teams.

2006 Preseason Schedule
Date Opponent Time*
Aug. 19 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7:30 pm
Aug. 24 at Carolina Panthers 8:00 pm
2006 Regular Season Schedule
Date Opponent Time*
Sept. 7 at Pittsburgh Steelers 8:30 pm
Oct. 1 at Houston Texans 1:00 pm
Oct. 8 at New England Patriots 1:00 pm
Oct. 15 at New York Jets 4:15 pm
Nov. 5 at Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
Nov. 23 at Detroit Lions 12:30 pm
Dec. 17 at Buffalo Bills# 1:00 pm
Dec. 31 at Indianapolis Colts# 1:00 pm

Here are some interesting facts to the upcoming season courtesy of Miami 2006 will be year number two under Head Coach Nick Saban.

at Pittsburgh, 9/7
• This will be the Dolphins’ first regular season game in Pittsburgh since November 20, 1994 after four straight games in South Florida. It also will be their first-ever regular season game at Heinz Field.

• Of the 17 prior regular season meetings between these teams, this will be the first in a season-opener. This is the first time the Dolphins have opened the season on a Thursday and the sixth time they have commenced the season in prime time, having previously played four on a Monday night and one on a Sunday night.

at Houston, 10/1• This will be the Dolphins’ first-ever regular season game at Houston's Reliant Stadium. They did face the Texans there in the 2002 preseason and in a scrimmage during 2004 training camp.

at Chicago, 11/5• This will be the Dolphins’ first regular season game at Soldier Field since November 24, 1991 after each of the past three matchups have been played at Dolphins Stadium.

vs. Minnesota, 11/19• This will be the Vikings’ first regular season game in South Florida since October 2, 1988 after each of the last three have been staged at the Metrodome.

at Detroit, 11/23• This will be the Dolphins’ first-ever visit, preseason or regular season, to Ford Field.

• This will be the Dolphins’ sixth appearance on Thanksgiving Day. They previously have played the St. Louis Cardinals (1977) and Dallas Cowboys (1973, 1993, 1999, 2003).

• It will be the first time in Dolphins history that they have played two Thursday games in the same season.

vs. Jacksonville, 12/3• This will be the Jaguars’ first-ever regular season game in South Florida. Each of the first two meetings, in addition to a playoff matchup, have been decided at ALLTEL Stadium.

vs. N.Y. Jets, 12/25• This will be the third time that the Dolphins have played on Christmas Day, and the second in the regular season. Their last Christmas game was in 1994 when they defeated Detroit, 27-20, at Dolphins Stadium. They also came away with a 27-24 double-overtime win at Kansas City in a 1971 playoff game.

Big 12 Spring Football Review:Texas

Nobody knows the Texas Longhorns like the guys over at Burnt Orange Nation, the most popular and most detailed Texas Blog in cyberspace. So naturally I turned to them in finding help reviewing the Longhorns spring workouts. Who says Longhorns and Sooners can’t work together?

Thanks to BON for taking the time to answer my questions.

What’s the story on the quarterback? Who is going to replace Vince Young?

The big story is Jevan Snead versus Colt McCoy. It'll be the most over-talked about, over-analyzed quarterback battle in a long time. Okay, Simms-Applewhite wasn't too long ago. Regardless, neither kid has ever taken a single snap of collegiate football, so who emerges the winner will be interesting. There will be some other interesting positional battles, but this is the Big One. It's too early to tell who is better, let alone who will emerge as the starter, but we'll be watching closely.

What is the biggest question that Texas needs to answer this spring?

Besides the obvious question of quarterback, the next biggest story is probably in the secondary. The Horns lost Michael Huff and Cedric Griffin to the NFL, so there will be some questions. Still, Texas is deep all across the board on defense, so we're not too worried.

Who is an unknown player that will emerge as a star this spring?

Jermichael Finley. The beast of a tight end is fast, has great hands, runs good routs, and blocks like a lineman. By season's end he'll be a household name in the Big 12.

Who will take ownership and become the “heart of the team” as the team leader this season?

Well, whoever emerges from the quarterback scram will obviously have to do some leading, but really, the heart of this team is going to be the defense. Both the defensive line and the linebacking unit are just loaded with talent and will set the tempo for Longhorn games all fall. Look for Robert Killebrew to emerge as one of the most ferocious defenders in the Big 12 this year. Offensively, it's all about Jamaal. The sophomore running back may not be a leader in the traditional sense, but he's certainly going to be the star of the show.

2006 Texas Football Schedule

Date Opponent Location
Sept. 2 North Texas Austin, TX

Sept. 9 Ohio State Austin, TX

Sept. 16 Rice Houston, TX

Sept. 23 Iowa State Austin, TX

Sept. 30 Sam Houston State Austin, TX

Oct. 7 Oklahoma Dallas, TX

Oct. 14 Baylor Austin, TX

Oct. 21 Nebraska Lincoln, NE

Oct. 28 Texas Tech Lubbock, TX

Nov. 4 Oklahoma State Austin, TX

Nov. 11 Kansas State Manhattan, KS

Nov. 24 Texas A&M Austin, TX