I just wanted to throw out some fearless predictions that I've shared with people before, but not in a public forum. Just know that these are my opinions and I'll be the first to admit that I'm wrong...although when I'm proven right on some of these (and I will be) don't think that I won't remind y'all ;)
1. Both Texas teams will play in at least one World Series before 2020 and the Houston Astros will win one.
2. SMU will make the Elite 8 in the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament and Larry Brown will retire shortly afterwards. SMU will return to the Sweet 16 the next year without Coach Brown.
3. Nolan Ryan will run for governor and win.
4. Craig James will run for governor and lose. Somewhere in Washington state, Mike Leach will laugh.
5. Johnnie Manziel (who I dislike to such an incredible degree that I can't put it into words) will have a successful NFL career that lasts at least 6 years, but Jadaveon Clowney will be an All-Pro proving that the Texans made the right choice. Manziel will eventually become a bartender at Vince Young's Steakhouse.
6. One of the non BCS teams in Texas will go undefeated in football, but won't get an invitation to the championship tournament.
7. TCU will win the NCAA title in baseball and no one outside of Fort Worth will notice.
8. Kevin Durant will win an NBA title somewhere outside of Oklahoma City, Dwight Howard won't win won anywhere, not even on NBA 2K.
9. Kevin Sumlin will leave Texas A&M without ever having won a SEC West title. After he leaves, A&M will be found to have committed major recruiting violations, but won't see any serious sanctions. And Aggie fans will still be obnoxious.
10. After Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker retire, the San Antonio Spurs will somehow still be really, really good. This will irritate everyone in Dallas.
11. Jason Garrett and Tony Romo will be seen together at a Lady Gaga concert.
12. Those of us in Austin will continue to remind everyone else how much better Austin is than where you live. The backlash will come and it won't be pretty.
13. Texas A&M and the University of Texas will not renew their annual football game until the lawmakers get involved. Both teams will talk about how great their current situation is (even if it isn't) so the game will be played at the beginning of each season and not the end.
14. Cowboys Stadium will continue to host every conceivable championship event out there, but the Cowboys won't win any of them.
and finally 15.The sun will come out tomorrow.
I don't normally write too sports specific on this blog. I leave that to the boys, who usually know a bit more than me instinctually. But on this occasion, I can't help it. I am bursting with Pony Pride! Cheesy? Yes. But, true.
I've had football season tickets for six consecutive years, along with a few before I moved away to NYC (kind of hard to commute from Manhattan). And now I'm in my second year of basketball season tickets. I cannot explain what it feels like to watch a sports program at SMU light it on FIRE the way Larry Brown has with our basketball program. It is awe-inspiring.
Check out this video and tell me it doesn't inspire you. They play it to open every home game. I've watched 100x now. Chills. Every. Time.
I shot the finally seconds of the game last Saturday the 8th against #7 Cincinnati. I've never seen anything like it since beginning my SMU career in the Fall of 1998. I'm so proud that the students are as supportive and excited as they are of our extraordinary team. You can watch my little iPhone video on our YouTube page. Next time I'll shoot wide. I was just too excited to think!
It's been almost 20 years since I started college at SMU. That seems like a really, really long time. It's been even longer since SMU has been to the NCAA tournament. I wasn't even paying attention to SMU when they won the Southwest Conference Regular season title in 1993. I remember the Sports Illustrated when former Mustang Jon Koncak was (briefly) the highest paid player in the NBA. I was in school when SMU played the #1 Arkansas Razorbacks in 1994. I witnessed the 'revival" under coach Mike Dement when we made an NIT appearance in 2000. That team had two future NBA players on it, which was a big deal to us. Quinton Ross played several years in the NBA and still plays professionally overseas. Jeryl Sasser was a first round draft pick. We made the final four in the CollegeInsider.com Post Season Tournament in 2011 (yes, that's a real thing). These aren't even enough to be footnotes in your history if you are a North Carolina or Duke alum. For Mustang fans these are fond memories. Larry Brown has changed all of that.
When we were in school, I went to probably 90-95% of the home games. There were plenty of good seats available. The only time it seemed to be close to a sell out were those times when a ranked opponent (i.e. Fresno St or New Mexico) showed up or if it was a nationally televised game (I seem to remember a couple of 11pm games versus TCU). Those games notwithstanding, attendance was so sparse that every chant or cheer could be heard throughout the arena. Larry Brown has changed all of that.
The big time SMU recruits I remember were players who had accolades (Mr. Basketball Colorado, Texas 5A player of the year, etc) but weren't heavily recruited by the NCAA basketball blue bloods. Basketball is one of the few sports that one impact recruit can impact your program. Jeryl Sasser, for example, led us to the NIT without much help (Ross was a freshman that year). We weren't getting those guys. Larry Brown has changed all of that.
I can't remember SMU basketball being this exciting. Since I've relocated to Austin, I haven't been able to get to any games. But Coach Brown has made us relevant enough that we're on tv at least once a week. Every Monday I check the new polls to see how many votes we get. I don't think I've ever been able to do that before. ESPN's Bracketology is another can't miss for me. I don't know if we've ever even appeared on that page prior to this year. And I'm excited for our future...Coach Brown has signed the highest ranked recruit ever for SMU and he enrolls in August. Two of this years top freshman had narrowed their collegiate choices to Kentucky (8 national championships), Kansas (invented basketball) and SMU. So, thank you, Coach Brown. Thank you for bringing pride to SMU. Thank you for bringing wins and expectations to SMU. And thank you for doing it the right way and with class.
I wish that I could tell you that I had some strong memories of Notre Dame and Michigan, but I don't. I wish that I could tell you that I had strong feelings on either of those teams, but I won't. I wish I could tell you that I will be cheering for (or against) one of these storied programs, but I can't.
I do have some early positive memories about the Wolverines. A long time ago, kids, not every team, nor every bowl was available for you to watch. There was no internet, and no DVRs. So, if you did stumble upon one of those rare games, you either got sucked in or indifferently turned the channel and moved on with your day. I remember being mesmerized by Jaime Morris and the Wolverines in the Hall of Fame Bowl. It made such an impression that I rooted for them the following year when they won the NCAA basketball tournament. I was even wearing a Michigan jersey in the middle of the North Carolina section when "the Timeout" was called a few years later.
People tell me that I'm supposed to hate Notre Dame. I tried to for a while, but I don't. They are arrogant, entitled and have unfair advantages. But it seems that every advantage they have, my beloved Longhorns have similar circumstances. I have liked and rooted for Brian Kelly since his U of Cincinnati days. I was entranced by the Manti Te'o story last year (as you were too, admit it). I don't particularly like Rudy, I just can't hate Notre Dame for that.
This Saturday the first and third winningest college football programs will be meeting. And, since Notre Dame is (sort of) joining the ACC, they are meeting for the last time in the foreseeable future. They each claim 11 national championships and have sent too many players to the NFL to count. This is why I'll be watching.
Other Games I'll be Watching:
South Carolina at Georgia - USC had a big win last week and UGA had a big loss...If UGA loses, their title hopes are done. If South Carolina wins, they have a very favorable schedule going forward.
Florida at Miami - Nostalgia...that and seeing what a Florida team with (almost) its full roster can do.
West Virginia at Oklahoma - With the Mountaineers rebuilding, this game isn't as exciting as it was last year. However, this game should show how far they have to come and will give us a better indication on how good (or bad) Oklahoma is.
Washington State at USC - Could this be the first big upset of Mike Leach's Wazzou career?
Dustin is clearly biased...but so are you. Let's all move on shall we? And thanks to Wikipedia for it's help.
Sorry for reusing that dated NBA marketing slogan, but these playoffs have really pulled me back in. Sure, after March Madness and MLB's opening few weeks, I start paying some cursory attention to the Association. My man crush on Kevin Durant has even kept me engaged at times during the long regular season. But this year it seems to be even more exciting.
After a first round featuring my two favorite teams (Houston and OKC), the up and coming Clippers, Nuggets and Warriors, and drama in the Brooklyn/Chicago series and the NY Knicks/Boston series, I noticed I was making the late night games a little higher on the viewing scale at the house. I had no idea how intense it was going to get in round two.
There seems to be a lot of bad blood in the east. The Knicks/Pacers undercard is great theater if only because the Knicks could win or lose any game by 20 depending on how they are shooting that night. The Bulls/Heat series...that's on a whole other level. If there were a drinking game involving the how many times a Heat or Bulls player was thrown, pushed, pulled or tripped onto the floor, Starlight Vodka might run out of inventory.
Then there's the West. Wow. Manu Ginobili may have hit the shot of the playoffs with 2 seconds left in the second overtime of game 1. And Steph Curry is becoming a star before our eyes. Kevin Durant is proving how great he is coming 1 assist shy of a triple-double. And the Grizzlies are showing everyone why they were a popular pick to make the finals.
I hope that this is a sign of things to come. I love this game (another old NBA slogan).
* Dustin is not a doctor. Take this post as his opinion only and stay in school
February is a tough month for the sports fan...the Super Bowl signals the end of the NFL season, college football is all but forgotten, baseball hasn't started yet and, for me anyway, my Basketball Jones hasn't arrived. Fortunately, it's the shortest month and March Madness is right around the corner. Pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training and the post All Star Game NBA season is starting to become more and more compelling.
So how do you pass the time? Usually, I try to catch up on movies and tv shows I've missed, read a couple of books, and spend more time outdoors as the temperature rises. The hibernation needs to end sometime, people.
This February, I used my time to pick up and move to Austin. Getting a second Gameday Cloth up and running plus unpacking and organizing my (so called) life has been more than enough to pass the time. I know that we are all excited to bring the Gameday Cloth lifestyle to our friends, old and new, in the state capital. It will all be worth it.
So, I ask again...how do you pass the time? What helps the sports fan in you get through this month?