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Monday, June 29, 2009

Throwback Game - Now Confirmed link.

I guess I can still help break a story once every year or so...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nebraska Throwback Game?

Brandon at BRN wondered about it a year ago. I've obsessed about it since I was 10, and if the current rumors have legs, it might finally happen. Nebraska may be preparing to break out throwback uniforms during the nonconference schedule. I've read on several message boards that the helmets are already sitting in the locker room. The uniforms are apparently to celebrate the continuing NCAA-record sellout streak that will reach 300 games on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, when Nebraska plays host to Louisiana-Lafayette.

I decided to mock up some uniforms that may or may not represent what the Huskers don this September. Word from folks who have seen the helmets indicates that they have black numerals on the sides circa the early 1960s. That makes sense given the beginning of the sellout streak. So in putting together the helmet, I went with the grey facemask and the black numbers on the sides. I'm not in love with the font on the side numeral I used, but I had a tough time finding a good match. I also ditched the center stripe and the numbers on the back of the helmet as they would be redundant.

The era in question also included the famous curly-q (or UCLA style) jersey numbers. I went for as close of a match as I could muster on my jersey mock ups. You'll notice a lack of sleeve stripes and the inclusion of TV numbers on the shoulders. The rest of the jersey is just a guess. I'm positive we won't get to axe the Adidas logo, so that makes a painful appearance. I also included the "Nebraska Football - A Winning Tradition" patch that has adorned Husker jerseys since the early 1990s. The jersey looks bare without it and I could see it being replaced by a special throwback or 300th sellout patch in the actual game. Names on the backs of the jerseys are another tricky spot. Obviously they weren't included in the 1960s, but I don't mind if they make an appearance this time. Why? Well, I'm all for attention to details, but this is a PPV game. A PPV game that I will have to actually watch. I really, really don't need to hear the subpar broadcast crew consistently screwing up our double-numbered players. "Zac Lee with the tackle on special teams." Really?

The pants are pretty straight forward. If we are being "authentic" they would be plain white drawers with zero adornments. But I doubt that happens, so we settle for losing the double stripes on the sides much like we did in the mid and late 1990s. The Adidas logo creep sticks around and the "N" may or may not make an appearance.

So again, this may or may not be happening. And if it does happen the uniforms may or may not look like this. This was just a fun Friday project to throw together and take a look at.

Oh, and good to see you too. I've been gone from DXP too long.

UPDATE: Just for Sammy - A link to my version of the late 1960s - early 70s shoulder stripe uniforms.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

ESPN's "Big 12 vs. Big 10 Mythical Challenge"

ESPN bloggers Tim Griffin (Big 12) and Adam Rittenberg (Big 10) sit down with Ivan Maisel to discuss how the two conferences match-up. They fail to get into any specific games and both of their arguments are generic enough that the average fan could probably spit off about the same information that they provide here. Nonetheless, it's the middle of June and it's college football so why not take a gander.

It's been awhile since I've had this argument with Big 10 fans so I couldn't help but want to dive right back into one. I live for hypothetical college football talk.

Below I've matched up teams based mostly on what preseason predictions are already out there - not on the 2008 records - and what I think the game that each league would consider fair and most profitable. FYI - the ACC/Big 10 Challenge in men's basketball is determined on a year-to-year basis with the games decided by the league commissioners. Take a look and then decide what you think the outcome of this 'mythical challenge' would be. (Iowa State gets to sit this one out.)

Ohio State vs. Texas
Penn State vs. Oklahoma
Michigan State vs. Oklahoma State
Iowa vs. Nebraska
Wisconsin vs. Kansas
Illinois vs. Missouri
Michigan vs. Colorado
Northwestern vs. Texas Tech
Minnesota vs. Baylor
Purdue vs. Texas A&M
Indiana vs. Kansas State

Interesting. Depending on where the game is played would make all the difference. Although the cellar of the Big 10 is weak, I'm not convinced the Big 12 would dominate nearly as bad as some might guess - and I'm obviously a Big 12 homer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The College World Series Smokeshows

If you came here looking for an Omaha guide to the College World Series complete with schedules, maps, and events, then you can find one by clicking here. When we here at DXP think of the College World Series, we think of Starsky's, parking, and what kind of clientele/smokeshows each school will bring. Throw in a little Erin Andrews and I think we are almost ready for the first pitch or opening time at Starsky's - which ever one comes first (although I'm positive it's the bar and/or tailgaiting.)

Arizona State


Cal State Fullerton

For more of CSUF's Nicole Aylward, click here (NSFW).


North Carolina

Southern Miss




Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nebraska Baseball Recruits in the MLB Draft

As if Mike Anderson needed any more headaches, two of his top recruits were drafted today in the MLB draft.

Geoffrey Baldwin (1B, 6'4, 195 lb.) was drafted in the 10th round (#302) by the Kansas City Royals.
- from Grand Junction High (CO) - is a left-handed first baseman that worked out for as many as 20 teams before yesterday's draft began. Baldwin accepted a scholarship to Nebraska last fall and had this to say about the draft, "while it’s all projections right now, I am going to go by a money amount and not what round I’m selected. Things are looking good, but you really don’t know anything until they say your name.” Baldwin goes on to say, "I’m extremely excited for it. It’s crazy to think in two weeks I could be playing professional baseball."

-was projected to go between the 4th and 6th rounds.

- for his MLB scouting video, click here.

Thomas Lemke (SP, 6'7, 205 lbs.) was drafted in the 10th round (#304) by the Texas Rangers.

- from Northwestern Christian High (AZ) -is a tall, lanky right-handed pitcher that has a fastball in the upper 80's. Lemke was rated as the 97th overall player in the 2009 class by Rivals and chose Nebraska over North Carolina and Miami (FL). Said Lemke last summer, "right now I'm just concerned with having fun and winning. I definitely want to play big-time college ball and professionally."

-a Mets blogger had Lemke ranked as his #115th overall right-handed pitching prospect.

- for his MLB scouting video, click here.
I'm sure Baldwin and Lemke's decisions will be coming soon. Both would be huge assets to Anderson's baseball program in 2009. However, their decisions will likely be solely based on the amount of guaranteed money thrown at them. Although I can't find anything concrete, I believe they will be looking at a figure in the neighborhood of $100,000. It would take alot to convince me otherwise that both players would be far better served to attend school and improve on their draft status while getting a college education. I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I don't like the chances of either one suiting up for the Huskers in 2010.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Taylor Mays Hits (on) the USC Song Girls

When USC safety Taylor Mays decided to return to school and turn down millions as a top 10 pick, I thought he was crazy. The 2-time All-American, who is 6'3, 230lbs. with 4.4 speed, is truly a freak of nature that will arguably be the best player in the 2009 college football season.

It's when you see videos like the one below, however, that you truly realize how great college can be for a big man on campus like Mays - especially at Southern California. I'm not quite sure what WR Damian Williams is doing in the corner, but if he's there watching his girlfriend, then I'm now even a bigger fan.

So Erin, how you doing?

UNO's Keith Eloi Jumps Into a Truck

Move over, Jarron Gilbert. Former University of Nebraska-Omaha WR Keith Eloi, who has a 44" vertical leap, has become the newest NFL rookie YouTube sensation.

While working out with his football buddies in Katy, TX prior to the NFL mini-camps, Eloi was filmed jumping from the concrete floor of the parking lot and into the back of pick-up truck - while wearing sandals.

Interestingly, Eloi has quite the football past that was suppose to land him at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After moving around several times in high school from Texas to out east, Eloi got to play only year of high school football. After not getting along with his coaches, Eloi was lightly recruited and found himself at William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Ill. - where he would play along side his uncle, former Husker LB Steve Octavien.

When Octavien came to Nebraska, Eloi was going to follow him to Lincoln as a walk-on wide receiver. However, he was short on school credits and in order to play, he found himself at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (Division II) where he excelled with 57 catches for 749 yards and as a special teams player. At UNO's pro day, he received little attention and eventually he would go undrafted and unsigned. After receiving several tryout offers from the CFL, Eloi's agent set him up with a spot at the Washington Redskin's minicamp because of his friend Morocco Brown - the Redskins' director of pro personnel. The only thing Eloi had standing in front of him now was the 100 rookies that were in attendance at the Redskin's camp in May.

So on the final morning of the Washington Redskin's minicamp, Eloi was pulled aside by Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato. Cerrato told Eloi, "we really like what we've seen of you, and we're going to sign you this week." Eloi signed a contract that day.

Not bad - and jumping into the back of a truck ain't that bad either.

Monday, June 08, 2009

More Legal Trouble for the Huskers

For some inexplicable reason, Husker I-Back Quentin Castille failed to appear in court on Monday for a ticket he received back on April 8th when he was pulled over for not having a license plate on the front of a 1995 Honda he had just purchased.

Since the car was still registered to the previous owner, the LPD slapped Castille with false registration, unlawful display of plates, and no proof of ownership. Castille pleaded not guilty back in May, and since he did not return on Monday, the judge authorized a warrant which will be activated in the next two days.

Last Thursday, Husker WR Niles Paul pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless driving, minor consumption, and operating a vehicle without a license. If you recall, on April 8th Paul was stopped for speeding and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. His court date is scheduled for July 6th.

Couple these two offenses together and you get a headache that Bo Pelini surely didn't need. Paul has much more to worry about than Castille, but regardless, it will be interesting to see how Pelini handles this. If any suspensions are to come of this (and I'm sure they will for Paul), then thankfully we have Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State at home before we head off to Virginia Tech. However, I don't see Castille's offenses warranting any game suspensions - if anything at all.

And with all of that being said, at least the Huskers are nowhere near Urban Meyer's Florida Gator football team. In Meyer's four years at UF, there have been 24 - yes, 24! - arrests. The most recent one involving potential All-American CB Janoris Jenkins, who was tasered after fighting with and trying to elude the Gainesville police, has finally gotten much needed attention drawn to the Gator football team for something other than Tim Tebow's faith and goodwill for humanity. Gregg Doyel, who is a Florida graduate and national columnist, recently wrote a great article that examines the way Urban Meyer has failed the university and why two national championships in four years could never justify the off-the-field disasters under his watch - read here.

***Update 6/9/2009 from the LJS - "A county judge recalled the arrest warrant for junior Husker I-back Quentin Castille when he came to court Tuesday morning a day later than scheduled. The warrant was originally given after Castille failed to go to court on a minor case over a missing license plate. Judge Mary Doyle granted Castille requests for a continuance and set a hearing in two weeks. The state dismissed his failure to appear charges."***

We can now scratch Castille's name off the laundry list....

Nebraska Volleyball Smokeshow Tara Mueller

Nebraska's Tara Mueller (Jr. from Scottsdale, Ariz.) is a strong All-American candidate and will be one of the premiere outside hitters in college this upcoming season. And to stay sharp, Mueller was recently seen participating at the 'AVP Crocs Tour' in Huntington Beach, CA, but she failed to make it out of the qualifier - losing in 39 minutes with her partner, Sydney Anderson. The good news, however, is that was more than enough time for Busted Coverage to get their hands on the photos below.

Interestingly, the NCAA approved women's sand volleyball starting in 2010-11. And as you have probably guessed, we'll be keeping our eyes glued to the unveiling of the bikinis - I mean uniforms.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Best of Eric Crouch

Alright, I'll come clean right away. I'm stealing this idea straight from Brian Christopherson's great 'life in the red' blog at the Lincoln Journal Star website. Since he doesn't have the liberty that I have, I thought I'd give him a hand with his 'Top 5 Eric Crouch Highlights.' I'll keep his 'Top 5' in the same order and I'll add a 6th - enjoy...

#6 Paddle Ball Wiz

Jeffie Husker first broke this story in May of '08 right here at DXP.

Said Jeffie:
"As if winning the Heisman Trophy and busting out of the NFL wasn't enough. Eric Crouch has now turned his attention to the little-known sport of paddle ball. You know that paddle with a ball connected to it by a thin piece of elastic. Anyway, the guys at Secret Penguin, a design boutique in the NoDo district of Omaha, Nebraska, are taking on all-comers in their Paddle Battle. Their first contestent? You guessed it, Nebraska's own Eric Crouch."
You'll have to - click here - to watch Eric dominate Secret Penguin. Awesome.

#5 Kansas State Beheading

In 1998, #11 Nebraska travelled to the Little Apple to take on #2 Kansas State and Michael Bishop. The Huskers would lose the game 30 -40. If you remember, this Kansas State team was defeated in two overtimes in the Big 12 Championship game vs. Texas A&M, which would cost them a shot at undefeated and eventual national champion Tennessee (who defeated Florida State 23 - 16 in the Fiesta Bowl.) Nebraska had two losses before this game - @ Texas A&M 28-21 and Texas 20 - 16. Crouch became the starting QB this season after Bobby Newcombe's injury in the first game.

#4 Game Winning TD vs. Notre Dame

In 2000 at South Bend, #1 Nebraska squared off against #23 Notre Dame, who had QB Arnaz Battle and RB Tony Fisher. The Huskers would win 27 -24 in an OT thriller. Crouch had 80 yards rushing with 3 TDs and threw for 103 yards. For the complete game highlights, click here. Gotta love the ball spin at the end.

#3 Forearm Shiver vs. Iowa

In 1999, #5 Nebraska travelled to Iowa in the first game of the season and would win 42-7. Crouch would have 92 yards rushing on 5 attempts and was 3 for 5 passing for 68 yards - while splitting time with Bobby Newcombe. The Iowa player that is abused here is Mikkel Brown and I could not reach him for a comment.

#2 95 Yard TD Run vs. Missouri

In 2001, #4 Nebraska travelled to Columbia and defeated the Tigers 36-3. Crouch would rush 17 times for 191 yards and was 8 for 14 with 120 yards passing. His 95 yard TD run would go down as one of the greatest runs ever...

It's better with sound...

@ the 3:59 mark, you'll see the Iowa shoulder play.

@ the 4:05 mark, you'll see the Mizzou play and hear the play-by-play guy say - "See you later. That may be one of the most unreal runs I have ever seen." Awesome.

#1 TD Catch vs. Oklahoma

The play known as 'Black 41 Flash Reverse' is no doubt the very best of Eric Crouch's highlight reel. On October 27, 2001, #3 Nebraska would defeat #2 Oklahoma 20-10 in a game where Crouch had only 21 yards rushing on 13 attempts to go along with 102 yards passing. However, Crouch caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Mike Stuntz with 6:17 remaining that would end Oklahoma's 20 game winning streak. This game would also be the last time Nebraska defeated a Top 10 team. Could November 7th, 2009 vs. Oklahoma be the next?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tyler Gabbert Commits To Nebraska

And here we go again.....

4* QB Tyler Gabbert (6'0 and 175 lbs. from Ballwin (MO) Parkway West) - younger brother of Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert - has become the fifth commitment in Nebraska's 2010 recruiting class. Although Tyler is a highly rated QB in the 2010 class, he isn't near the prospect his brother Blaine was - Tyler's quicker but lacks his brother's size and arm strength.

For his ESPN Scouts, Inc. profile with videos, click here.
For his rivals profile, click here.
For his scout profile, click here.

Ask any recruiting expert out there and they'll tell you this is the worst class of QBs in quite some time - click here to view the top QBs and click here to view a 'Rivals Roundtable' discussion about the weak QB class. With that being said, Gabbert is a welcomed addition to this early class. Thus far, the Huskers are off to a blistering start in recruiting with a solid five commitments.

Said Gabbert (via the LJS),
"I had Nebraska at the top before the visit so this was almost a reassurance thing. I'm just glad everything worked out the way it did. I've known Coach (Shawn) Watson for a while so that definitely helped a lot. Not only is he my position coach and offensive coordinator. He's like my head recruiter. My whole family going through (the recruiting process) a second time, everything I guess was a little smoother. With (Blaine's) experience at Nebraska, I was a little more comfortable Lincoln heading up there for camp and all that."
With Tyler's commitment, it will more than likely make prospective QBs Zach Lee and Sean Robinson, who both had Nebraska high on their lists, look elsewhere. In my opinion - and it is just that - I would have preferred to land Zach Lee. Beggars can't be choosers and as Tyler's older brother has proved to us before, there are no guarantees in recruiting.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The 2009 Big 12 Non-Conference Preview

With football season seemingly right around the corner, now is the time to begin to look at the non-conference schedules all around the country. And of course, there's nowhere better to begin looking than the Big 12.

Since the inclusion of the BCS, the debate as to whether or not it is worth it to schedule tough non-conference opponents has only grown. On one hand, you'll have those who argue that playing a tough non-conference schedule will only benefit and ready your team for a tough conference slate. The fellas at Dawg Sports (Georgia) make an excellent correlation during the Mark Richt era of how a tougher schedule translated to a more successful season. On the other hand, there are those who argue that its all about the wins for the BCS. The Bleacher Report also uses an excellent example, only this time they use the 2007 Missouri Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks. The BCS selected a one-loss Kansas team over a two-loss Missouri team - although Missouri beat Kansas that same season. The Jayhawks played CMU, Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo, and FIU in their non-conference and avoided Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech in league. This a topic definitely worth diving into in the near the future...

Below you will find each team's schedule with an analysis and prediction of how each Big 12 team will fare in their non-conference schedules. Have at it.

Big 12 North

  • Colorado State 9/5
  • @ Toledo 9/11 (Friday)
  • Wyoming 9/19
  • *@ West Virginia 10/3
Dan Hawkins expects big things in 2009 from this team and he should - his job could be on the line. Don't let the Toledo game scare you as they won 3 games last season and should be worse in 2009. West Virginia will be a long, strange trip (that reference is for you Dan) for the young Buffs. Senior QB Jarrett Brown of WVU is a dual-threat but has only started two games in his career. I believe Colorado has a defense to contain Noel Devine and enough offensive firepower to win here. Colorado will start 4-0.

Iowa State
  • North Dakota State 9/5
  • *Iowa 9/12
  • @ Kent State 9/19
  • Army 9/26
Paul Rhoads knew what he was getting himself into here and it's not good. Chalk up NDSU and and Army. Iowa's Shonn Greene has moved on to the NFL, but the Hawkeyes have a proven QB in Ricky Stanzi returning along with a stout defense (including 3 potential All-Big 10 linebackers and 4 returning starters in the secondary) that was almost impossible to run against last season. Kent State (4-8) the following week could show everyone exactly how bad ISU will be. Iowa State will be 3-1 (gulp) heading into their 2009 Big 12 massacre.

  • Northern Colorado 9/5
  • @ UTEP 9/12
  • Duke 9/19
  • *Southern Miss 9/26
Mark Mangino and the Jayhawks will devour their first three opponents by whatever score they want it to be. Southern Miss should be one of the favorites to win Conference USA and if all goes well, Kansas could be the only team in their way to a possible undefeated season and BCS berth. However, Todd Reesing would have to have an extremely bad game that would allow S. Miss to stay close in this shoot-out. Kansas will be an easy 4-0 heading into Big 12 play.

Kansas State
  • UMass 9/5
  • @ Louisiana-Lafayette 9/12
  • *@ UCLA 9/19
  • Tennessee Tech 9/26
Bill Snyder will be fielding a better than expected Wildcat team in his first year back. Louisiana-Lafayette will be his first test - albeit not a big one - as they finished 6-2 in the Sun Belt last season and will have a good team again. Skippy Neuheisal and the Bruins will be a formidable opponent for the Wildcats that you can catch @ 9:15 CST on FSN on the 19th. UCLA returns 16 starters from last season and should have a stacked defense. Whether they will have an offense this season or not remains to be seen, but I think this game - second straight long trip - will be too tough for this team. Kansas State will be 3-1 heading into October.

  • *Illinois (n) 9/5
  • Bowling Green 9/12
  • Furman 9/19
  • *@Nevada 9/26
The Tigers return four players on a defense that finished 117th defending the pass last season - even with several players that you'll see in the NFL this season. Not promising, especially with rookie QB Blaine Gabbert stepping in with a crop of new players. Illinois' defense won't be quite as bad as Missouri's, but with QB Juice Williams and WR Arrelious Benn back, they'll have arguably the best offense in the Big 10. Nevada returns major dual-threat QB Colin Kaepernick who became the 5th Qb to throw for 2,000 and rush for 1,000. Missouri would have had their hands full last year in this game and this year obviously won't be any easier. Missouri will be 2-2 heading into Big 12 play.

  • Florida Atlantic 9/5
  • Arkansas State 9/12
  • *@ Virginia Tech 9/19
  • Louisiana-Lafayette 9/26

Bo Pelini will have two games to ready the Huskers for their showdown at Virginia Tech. The Hokies will already be battle tested with their 9/5 game vs. Alabama in the Georgia Dome. We'll see how the ACC favorites fare there, but it still won't take away the fact that they will be loaded with experience and the game is in Blacksburg. If only Nebraska could have travelled to Blacksburg last leason and hosted this season, then imagine how much better you'd feel? Nebraska will be 3-1 heading into Big 12 play.

Big 12 South


  • *@ Wake Forest 9/5
  • Connecticut 9/19
  • Northwestern State 9/26
  • Kent State 10/3
Art Briles was named the most underrated coach by the fine blog Heisman Pundit - check out his 2010 recruiting class so far. Wake Forest finished a disappointing 4-4 last season in the ACC and lost the majority of their defense. Connecticut was a solid 8-5 last year but will be without RB Donald Brown who accounted for the majority of the offense. Baylor QB Robert Griffith will not have the luxury of running behind Jason Smith, but nonetheless, he will be one of the more exciting players to watch this season. Baylor - yes Baylor - will be 4-0 heading into the Big 12.

  • BYU (n) 9/5
  • Idaho State 9/12
  • Tulsa 9/19
  • *@ Miami, FL 10/3

Bob Stoops will have the Sooners playing with a bit of a chip on the shoulder heading into this season as Texas has become the darling pick of the Big 12 and of college football this season - and he probably couldn't be happier about it. BYU returns 8 seniors on defense and QB Max Hall and RB Harvey Unga will have great seasons. Miami's season will go as QB Jacory Harris goes as we all know there is plenty of talent to go around. They'll be dangerous on any given Saturday and will have already played games @ Florida State and @ Virginia Tech (week before OU) - ouch! Oklahoma will be 4-0 heading into the Big 12.

Oklahoma State
  • *Georgia 9/5
  • Houston 9/12
  • Rice 9/19
  • Grambling State 9/26
Mike Gundy has the best triple-threat in the nation with QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter, and WR Dez Bryant. As veteran Georgia QB Joe Cox goes, so will the Bulldog offense. With one of the best offensive lines in the country, 5 talented running backs, and WR AJ Green, they will have some of the pieces back in place. Make no mistake that Oklahoma State knows the importance of this game in Stillwater for their program's perception on a national scale. Houston returns Case Keenum and will be formidable in C-USA again but just not near as talented as OSU. Oklahoma State will be 4-0 heading into Big 12 play.

  • Louisiana-Monroe 9/5
  • @ Wyoming 9/12
  • UTEP 9/26
  • *Central Florida 11/7
Mack Brown will certainly have some coaching to do this season, and by that I mean mentally preparing the Longhorns for each and every game because they will be playing as the favorites all season long. Texas plays Texas Tech at home on September 19th which will no doubt be a nightmare for the Red Raiders after last year's game. Central Florida has improved each and every year under George O'Leary and will host what should be a fun game to watch late in the season. Texas will be 4-0 in non-conference play.

Texas A&M
  • New Mexico 9/5
  • Utah State 9/19
  • UAB 9/26
  • *Arkansas (n) 10/3
Mike Sherman could quite possibly be sitting on the hot seat in only his second season as head coach. Texas A&M was atrocious on both lines last season, but they do return most of their skill players on offense. The talent is there to improve on their 4-8 record but only if Sherman can get his players to buy into his system. Arkansas has a brutal schedule this season but Michigan transfer QB Ryan Mallett is said to be the best QB the Razorbacks have seen in quite some time. He will have plenty of talent around him and the offense will be good, but the defense ranked dead last in 2008 in the SEC. I still am not buying into Mike Sherman and the mentality of the Aggies. Texas A&M will be 3-1 heading into Big 12 play.

Texas Tech
  • North Dakota 9/5
  • Rice 9/12
  • *@ Houston 9/26
  • New Mexico 10/3

Mike Leach proves year in and year out that it doesn't matter who plays - its all about the system. QB Taylor Potts will have plenty of talented receivers to throw to and this offense shouldn't miss a beat. Mike Leach also proves year in and year out that he doesn't like a tough non-conference schedule. Houston will relish the chance to play a Big 12 Texas Tech team at home this season. QB Case Keenum, who many say could break the record books this season, was the C-USA player of the year and returns all of his weapons for what will be a scary team. Although I don't like to use the word defense here, Texas Tech should be able to outscore the Cougars simply because they have more talent to slow them down. Texas Tech will be 4-0 heading into Big 12 play.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Phil Steele's Big 12 Predictions

Thanks to's Tim Griffin, I don't have to wait until June 9 to see all of Phil Steele's "College Football Bible" when it hits the bookstores.

For the few of you who do not know Phil, he produces the authority of college football. In his yearly publication, you will see hundreds upon hundreds of pages of information with two in 6 point font devoted to each team. In those pages, you get position outlooks, depth analysis at every position, top newcomers to watch, a team schedule complete with gambling angles, in-depth ATS analysis, and a complete statistical breakdown of the team and players. And although it will take you from June until September to maybe get through every word, it's best if you just keep it in your back pocket for when you need a quick reference.

Anyways, here is Phil's outlook for the Big 12 with bowl projections:

North Division

1. Nebraska (Holiday Bowl vs. California)

T2. Colorado (Independence Bowl vs. Auburn)

T2. Kansas State (Insight Bowl vs. Wisconsin)

4. Kansas (Alamo Bowl vs. Michigan State)

5. Missouri

6. Iowa State

South Division

1. Texas (BCS title game vs. Florida)

2. Oklahoma (Fiesta Bowl vs. Boise State)

3. Oklahoma State (Cotton Bowl vs. LSU)

4. Texas Tech (Sun Bowl vs. UCLA)

5. Baylor (Texas Bowl vs. Navy)

6. Texas A&M

I buy into everyone of his picks for the Big 12 South. Right now, Texas is the class of the south with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State right there. Depending on what happens in the Red River Rivalry, the Halloween night game with Texas @ Oklahoma State could shake everything up in the division. Another 3-way tie in 2009? Oh God, I hope so.

The Big 12 North, on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise to say the least. Nebraska and Kansas are the two favorites in almost every poll I've seen so far. Evidently, Phil isn't buying into the Kansas defense. To sit them down at 4 behind Colorado and Kansas State with 17 starters back is very surprising. If Kansas State finds a capable quarterback between either Carson Coffman or Daniel Thomas (j.c. transfer), then their offense is going to be very talented to go along with a defense that has only one weak spot at corner. Colorado's offense will be greatly improved in 2009 with all but one starter back. No bowl game for Missouri? I love Phil Steele.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Delaware Wins With Sports Gambling (minus the bookie fee)

Wilmington, here I come.

Last Thursday, all five of the justices on the Delaware Supreme Court decided to uphold a sports lottery law that was signed by Governor Jack Markell earlier in May. In other words, legalized sports gambling - which will include NFL and college football - will be coming to Delaware this fall. When Congress passed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (which banned states from being in the bookmaking business), Delaware was one of only four states - along with Nevada, Oregon, and Montana - that had sports betting laws already in its books.

The Delaware Constitution states that 'lottery games that provide some skill to win are permissible' and that lottery games don't have to be based on chance alone. The constitution, however, does state that chance must be the dominant factor. Shockingly, straight bets - like the ones we make to our bookies on college and NFL games with the spread, money-line, and over/unders - are considered to be the most lucrative form of wagering for the casinos.

Not surprisingly, the NFL has continued to fight this law every step of the way. After submitting their own brief, one of their representatives, Wilmington lawyer Kenneth Nachbar, addressed the court at a hearing in May. "That's not luck. That's skill," said Nachbar. He went on to say that the NFL will fight this bill with a state of federal lawsuit.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail: "We expect that everyone involved in the administration of sports leagues -- professional and amateur -- will review today's action and evaluate its impact as other decisions are made by Delaware officials and the Delaware Supreme Court."

The irony here is that why the NFL is continuing to fight sports gambling in Delaware because 'bettors will have too good of a chance to win,' they just approved a business venture that will allow teams to put their logo on lottery tickets. In other words, after you lose on your $10 scratch-n-sniff lotto ticket, you can keep the ticket as a souvenir. Both the owners of the NFL teams and the state lottery will get a share of the profits from the lottery sales. Evidently, bettors don't have a good enough chance to win on the lottery ticket so therefore, its acceptable.

Governor Markell has said that he hopes to have three sports books at Delaware's horse tracks by the first weekend of football this fall. Markell stated that the addition of the sports betting and table games at Delaware’s casinos could raise at a minimum $50 million, which would in part help "fill a projected $800 million hole in the state’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget."

Personally, I think the governor is significantly low-balling that estimate. According to my Google map below, I see that Wilmington, DE is 83.8 miles from Atlantic City.

Let's think about this. Although Delaware can't offer the parties and lights of Atlantic City, most of the same heavy bettors that frequent the casinos just happen to claim football as their favorite American past time. If you are looking to get out of the house to gamble, which most people that go to Atlantic City are, then why not head on over to Delaware where you get football, horses, and table games? It will definitely save you the headache, the time, and the cost of a cross-country trip to Las Vegas. Furthermore, it doesn't hurt that New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. are a hop, skip, and jump away from what should make a pretty good Saturday or Sunday. Cha-Ching.

My advice to Governor Markell: If you build it, they will come.