Archive for September, 2011

Hardball Time in Texas

Posted by    |    September 30th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Time is short, but I wanted to put in a few quick words before first pitch in the Texas/Tampa ALDS.  Since there’s a beer vendor that desperately needs my attention, I’ll leave most of the data points to others and just tell you what I think.  I’ll also be checking in with posts after the games.

By now, you may be aware that the Texas Rangers are a trendy pick to win the World Series.  One of these days, I’ll be able to read something like that and not recall Pete Incaviglia lighting farts in the clubhouse or Charlie Hough getting ready for a start by leisurely working his way through a pack of Tareyton 100s.  Still not quite there yet.

As a general rule, post-season picks are inherently unwise propositions since they’re based largely on what you saw over the summer.  Regular season baseball lends itself to forecasting.  You have meaningful sample sizes to work with.  Not so in the post-season.  Understand this: baseball is played from April to August.  The September game (que desperation stage left) that you saw over the last couple of weeks is a hybrid.  And then there’s the October game.   This, boys and girls, is American %#$@ing hardball. (more…)

Realignment Podcast with Black Heart Gold Pants

Posted by    |    September 30th, 2011 at 5:30 am

As actual conference realignment news has taken a breather over the past week (although the speculation runs rampant everywhere), I sat down with Adam Jacobi and Patrick Vint of Black Heart Gold Pants last night for a podcast about what’s happened so far with various leagues and schools and where we’re headed.  While Adam and Patrick are full-blown Iowa Hawkeyes, this Illinois alum definitely respects their unrequited love for all things J Leman.  Enjoy!

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

(Image from Bitten Bound)

SMU – TCU Preview

Posted by    |    September 29th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

This weekend the fightin’ hilltoppery-miniature-pony-horsemen are ready for the horny-frog-toadsmen in what will likely be the defining game in SMU’s multi-year comeback.  Both teams are a pretty predictable 3-1 (more on that in a second), with a loss against a legitimately good team and three wins against legitimately bad ones.  Since neither team is very far into their seasons, my predictions are still kind of a shot in the dark.

Both SMU’s and TCU’s offenses are very good, but not great.  I give the edge to TCU simply because they were able to put up 48 on Baylor.  SMU put up only 14 on a team they should have put up 21 to 27 on.  Since then, though, the offense has rarely missed an opportunity to score, even though they were against bad teams.  TCU has played two absolutely atrocious teams and Air Force (the flying-lightning-bolt-rod-strikes always put up a fight) since Baylor, and TCU has looked impressive in every one. On Baylor: I wasn’t surprised.  Baylor was way underated and TCU was back for their first game with a new qb and some depth lost.

SMU has played three pretty bad teams since A&M, and dominated them all.  If either team was more prepared for this game, I would have to hand it to SMU simply because they played the much better team in A&M and have simply obliterated the last two teams.  Zach Line (rb) has been very impressive and if TCU cannot effectively stop him, he will be the game breaker.  Against Baylor, TCU allowed something like 5 yards a carry and 120 yards against a pass-heavy team, and against Air Force, who prefers the run, TCU gave up 249 total rushing yards.  I can see the pass opening up a couple big runs for Line in this game.  BUT TCU is at home.  The offensive edge is a toss-up.

The defenses are evenly matched, but I also give the slight edge to TCU.  SMU’s offense, though good, is not nearly as dynamic as the baylor offense and just about as good as the Baylor defense.  TCU also has a deeper team, which will help them in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  At this point, though, it is hard to tell who has the better defense between the two of them because both were pretty much owned by the high-caliber offenses they have faced.  The only TCU game I have watched was against Baylor, and I have watched almost every SMU game this season.  All I can say is that about half the time a long pass goes out, I facepalm at the decision-making or play of the cornerbacks and safeties of SMU and TCU (Griffin averaged over 13 yards per pass!).  Special teams I also give the edge to TCU simply because SMU always makes a stupid special teams mistake in a big game. If SMU wins this game, it will signal that we are back as a second-tier team.  If not, well then we still have a year more before we are truly back.

Optimistic score:  SMU-31, TCU-28

Realistic prediction: TCU-35, SMU-21

And a block by Margus Hunt.

I’m Giddy For Saturday And I’ve Got Gettin’ Away From The Cops Speed

Posted by    |    September 29th, 2011 at 12:55 am

I’m pleased. Yes, I am very pleased.

I just found out that the FX announcing crew is comprised of sideline chick Tim Brewster, color guy Charles Davis (very racist), and play-by-play will be provided by…

wait for it…

wait for it…

GUS JOHNSON.

Or, as I call him, GUJO! Did you people already know this? I didn’t know this. I’m ecstatic. This absolutely guarantees a triple reverse flea flicker score and several big plays.

First, the appetizers.

Tim Brewster is a Texas guy, brought Vince Young to the 40, understands what’s happening on the coordinator white board, and will offer cogent commentary beyond that of a sideline lady:

“Gang, Paul Rhoads very upset with that last series. He felt that his football men should have tackled better. Then he yelled at the football men and team captain Jake Knott challenged his teammates by saying – C’mon guuuuuuys, play better! If they score touchdowns like that, we will lose this match! Paul Rhoads and Jake Knott – leaders of this Iowa State Hawkeye team! Back to you, guys!” (more…)

2011 Texas-Iowa State Football Preview

Posted by    |    September 27th, 2011 at 1:11 am

Iowa State is the rare team that seems equally overrated and underrated.

That is, if you assemble 100 college fans and ask them about the Cyclones, 40 of them will opine that they’re pretty damn good citing a 3-0 record, wins over Iowa and UConn, and appear poised to make a statement against a young Texas team in Ames; 40 will point out that they won every game by the skin of their teeth (including Northern Iowa), Big 10 football is aesthetic rape and exists only to make us all feel athletic, and UConn’s players wear pastel sweaters tied around their shoulders with white deck shoes.

You may have noticed that adds up to 80. The remaining 20 responded, “There’s an Iowa STATE? Huh. Cool.” Condescension phase now over, I will remind you that they thoroughly whipped our asses last year. Needless to say, this game is a sell-out and the credibility Paul Rhoads would gain with the ISU base by pairing Iowa and Texas wins in the same season is inestimable.

Defense

The Cyclone defense is high effort, have some talent at each level of the defense (and lack it too), and spend a lot of time bailing out a Cyclone offense that likes to put them in tough situations. It would be disingenuous to describe them as good (26.7 ppg – somewhat deceiving due to 3OT with Iowa, 365 ypg allowed, 4.9 yards per play) but I can offer a Probably Better Than You Think. This is their best unit since 2005.

We may face our first team that feels they have the athletes in the secondary to challenge us in man coverage and attack our running game. At least long enough to see if we’ll lose our composure in front of the crowd. (more…)