The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now


D’oh!
January 10, 2009, 12:12 am
Filed under: Sports | Tags: ,

24-14.

This is what the Sooners get for playing conservative. What happened to that daring, dangerous, no-holds-barred offense? Did it overdose on sickly-sweet holiday munchies or something?

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Sunday Evening Random Missed Information

Good read here (WaPo) and here (The Disenchanted Forest) on Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana), the dreamy dream boy of Republicans looking for the anti-Obama for 2012. Hmmmm … I can’t help but think of “New Coke” for some reason here.

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Guess the Thunder have to start a new streak now. Meanwhile, how much weight can Barack Obama throw around to get his desired eight-team college football playoff? Look, I don’t like the Longhorns either, but I don’t blame Longhorns fans one bit for feeling like they’ve been prison-raped by the BCS.

Was it because Oklahoma earned style points for scoring 60+ its last few games, while this weekend Texas Tech had to struggle for a comeback win against unranked Baylor(!) and Texas throttled an incredibly weak (and unranked) Texas A&M team the day after Thanksgiving? Does this explain it? Please? Hey, if I get kicked off of Blog Oklahoma for being unpatriotic or something, fine, but I’m not going to be one saying, “Yay, the Sooners are on the way to the Big 12 Championship Game (again)” without calling out the fact there’s gotta be a better way to settle the college football postseason.



AggieReport.com Redux (updated with final score)
November 4, 2008, 2:07 pm
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , , ,

The gang at AggieReport is at it again. Here’s the Oklahoma video, and so fitting on Election Day for those undecided college football fans.

I hope Texas A&M realizes they’re gonna be toast Saturday (UPDATE: And toast they were: 66-28. Let’s see how long Mike Sherman sticks around in College Station).



Scoping Just The Teams I Care About, 2008-2009 Edition (UPDATED 12:14 p.m. 2008.11.01)
November 1, 2008, 4:27 am
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , ,

This year it’s just going to be in one post instead of two.

Oklahoma Sooners (last year’s results: 23-12, 9-7 Big 12, eliminated by Louisville in NCAA 2nd round)

HI! — Willie Warren, T.J. Allen, Juan Pattillo, Orlando Allen, Kyle Cannon. Ryan Wright (UCLA transfer) becomes eligible to play this season.

BYE! — David Godbold, Longar Longar (departed seniors); Tony Neysmith (transferred to Auburn).

HEAD COACH — Jeff Capel (Duke, ’97; third season)

Roster

Schedule

Clearly expectations for OU reached a new level after Blake Griffin announced last April that he would return to school instead of entering the NBA Draft. As this year’s Big 12 It Boy, B-Griff will be the focal point of what is expected to be a more athletic — and scarily so — Sooners team, one to which Capel hopes to introduce a more aggressive style of play.

Joining him will be freshman combo guard Willie Warren, who averaged 24.9 points and 4.7 assists while leading his high school to the Texas 5A State Championship. Hopefully the 6’4″ Warren will transition nicely to college ball, and under Jeff Capel’s tutelage, should (here’s a general taste of him from the Texas state championship game, and a little of him from the last McDonald’s All-American game).

Juan Pattillo, a 6’6″, 218 lb. forward, averaged 17.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg for the College of Southern Idaho last season and also expects to contribute to the Sooners early and often, as should Ryan Wright, the UCLA transfer who’s been penned up for a year in Transfer Kid Limbo Land, or as Capel put it to the Blue Ribbon Yearbook (posted on espn.com):

When you’re unable to do something you really love, you appreciate it even more, and there’s greater value added to it. I think we’ll see that in Ryan this year.

Game to Watch: Surely an emotional one on December 20 when the Sooners host Virginia Commonwealth at the All-College Classic (Ford Center, and please don’t call it the Thunderdome). VCU is the program that Capel helped turn into a winner and his successor, Anthony Grant, has continued to build upon. VCU is the favorite to repeat as champions of the Colonial Athletic Association. Warning: VCU has a way of upsetting teams on big stages.

Cold Hard Slap In the Face — Oklahoma still needs to be more consistent in the backcourt — Warren is still an unknown, but upperclass backcourt players Austin Johnson and Tony Crocker have the moxie and the experience to know what its like to play in the Big 12. B-Griff excelled at virtually everything except free throw shooting — need to look for improvement there.

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Maryland Terrapins (last season: 19-15, 8-8 ACC, eliminated by Syracuse in NIT 2nd round)

HI! — Sean Mosley, Steve Goins, Jin-Soo Kim (awaiting NCAA clearance) (updated)

BYE! — James Gist, Bambale “Boom” Osby (departed seniors); Shane Walker (transferred to Loyola-MD)

HEAD COACH — Gary Williams (Maryland, ’68; 20th season)

Roster

Schedule

Once upon a time, after the dreadful probation years but before the back to back Final Fours and NCAA crown, it used to be, “Gary Williams can’t get us past the Sweet 16, so he should maybe be canned next year … ”

Fast forward to 2008. The Terps haven’t made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 since 2003 (the final year for stalwarts like Steve Blake, Drew Nicholas and Tahj Holden). In fact, the Terps haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament three out of the past four years (their last appearance was in 2007, where they were eliminated by Butler in the 2nd round). Will this change this season? Hard to say. At least one preseason rag, Athlon’s, has given us the basketball-preview equivalent of being told you’ve been given a timed-release poison and will be dead in 24 hours:

It will be hard for fans not to bemoan the offseason losses of [Gus] Gilchrist and Tyree Evans, a 3-point specialist who signed with Maryland in the spring but saw his history of legal troubles prompt a media backlash. Their departures signaled the latest setback for a program that is no longer a legitimate contender in the ACC, much less on the national stage.

Maryland now enters the season undermanned and under scrutiny. If Williams can will the Terrapins into NCAA Tournament consideration, it will be one of the more impressive accomplishments of his career. If not, he will be forced to answer questions about the direction of his program.

Well, the truth sucks in this case, but at the end of the day this observer still believes there are only three circumstances under which the venerable Williams will quit coaching at Maryland:

a. His own death
b. Debilitating illness
c. He’ll hang it up on his own volition

Even though there was yet again no NCAA Tournament, it isn’t like they stunk up the joint. They were still (barely) above .500 overall and went dead even in the ACC — including an upset of North Carolina at the Dean Dome (although it isn’t like the Terps haven’t done that before). OTOH, back to back interconference losses to Ohio and American University were black marks on Maryland’s tournament resume early.

Simply put, to shut the naysayers up, the Terps are simply going to have to do a little better than whacking around on That Other ACC Coach Named Williams And His Merry Band Of Almighty All-America BMOCs. ACC writers have the Terps finishing in seventh place in the conference, above Georgia Tech, NCState, Florida State, Boston College and Virginia (FWIW, the usual suspects: UNC and Duke are at the top, followed by in no particular order Wake Forest, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech).

What do the Terps need to do to help make the ACC a free-for-all after UNC and Duke? They’re stable in the backcourt with juniors Greivis Vasquez (17 ppg, 6.8 apg, 5.7 rpg, 37.0 mpg; underwent ankle surgery in the offseason) and Eric Hayes (9.9 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.3 rpg last season). It’s under the basket where the team has lost experience and muscle with the departures of Gist and Osby, meaning that Braxton Dupree (2.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 10.3 mpg last season) and Jerome Burney (1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg. 7.0 mpg) need to step up and learn quick. If not, Williams is reportedly ready to play a four-guard lineup, in which case I’d expect to see 6’4″ freshman guard Sean Mosley, the most talented recruit that kept his commitment to Maryland.

Games To Watch: Old Spice Classic, Orlando, Florida, November 27-30 … the Terps open against Michigan State, and could possibly face Oklahoma State or Gonzaga in the next round. The Terps edged Michigan State in a memorable Coaches vs. Cancer classic two years ago, but there’s been almost a complete personnel turnover since those days (Vasquez and Hayes were freshman guards that season). OTOH, Maryland is 0-2 versus Gonzaga in this century (December 2003, BB&T Classic; November 2005, Maui Invitational). If they wind up facing Oklahoma State, it would be the first meeting between the schools since December 16, 1966 (Maryland won 50-49. Get out your media guide and look it up. That’s what I did).

One of the guards on that 1966-1967 team was some kid named Gary Williams. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.



Probably No Civil Disobedience, But One Hell of a Game:
February 20, 2008, 8:59 am
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , ,

AP recap, Baylor @ Oklahoma, February 19, 2008

I was at work so I had to listen to the game on the radio.

I’ve not heard a crowd like that in a while at an Oklahoma basketball game (excluding games versus archrivals Texas and OSU).

This is a very heartening win … except OU needs to shoot FTs better (of course, missed free throws at the very end from the best player on the visiting team meant that Oklahoma was VERY LUCKY for a second game in a row — David Godbold’s prayer 3 at Texas Tech on February 16 was another stroke of luck). Jeff Capel knows this, and I think he realizes that luck isn’t always going to smile on the Sooners like this. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but that’s how it goes.

Since I was unable to attend I’d like to know if anyone actually tried to move down and what their confrontations were like with the yellowtops.

This didn’t occur to me while writing last night’s screed — maybe general seating for men’s basketball is something worth trying.



Civil Disobedience For the Good of OU Basketball
February 19, 2008, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , ,

Oh man this is all kinds of awesome, at least if its for real (you never know with these message boards). If its a guy trying to stir up stuff, I’d still say its a pretty good idea that I wish could come to fruition.

This post in the thread sums up some of the issues that some fans have encountered at the Lloyd Noble Mausoleum Center this season (that I also posted about here, in November)

My little brother has been stopped 3 times in the last 3 games trying to go down there, the last 2 I’ve witnessed. I walked down there and asked the yellow-shirted guy what was going on (nicely though) and I was basically told to mind my own business, he knew the policies.

… Why go to a game when you know SOMETHING will end up ruining the night. For alot of people right now, its just too much of a pain in the butt to go to an OU game. I thought this was a BS excuse until I witnessed some of the things I’ve seen this year. It seems that no one is on the same page regarding the LNC policies. You literally get a different view/argument/attitude fro every yello and blue shirted person there.

Sorry for the rant, but I am extremely frustrated with everything right now. We’ve got an exciting young team, an exciting young coach, and with the way things are going this should have been a really great year to watch a team grow (as they have). Unfortunately, I’ve spent just as much time watching people be harrassed as I have watching the games. Its not a rare occurence, its EVERY SINGLE GAME that something like this happens. I chuckle when people wonder whats wrong with attendance….. it wouldnt hurt to make things fan friendly.

I also got the evil eye from yellowtopped event staff this season too, and I’m sorry, those empty seats in the lower bowl are an abomination and should be an abomination to anyone who cares about OU basketball, and they can’t be real thrilling to Coach Jeff Capel (a guy who played his college ball in front of the rabid, nerdy Cameron Crazies at Duke) or the team either.

On occasion, they do allow fans from the upper level to move down to the lower level after the first media timeout in the first half (roughly five minutes into the game), but this does NOT happen for every game. I wonder if it SHOULD at the very least to help boost the atmosphere.

Mind you, Oklahoma is never going to be Duke in terms of college basketball, but I am disheartened and discouraged by the appearance that some powerful figures — never mind the cadre of fans that think Oklahoma *only* plays football and nothing else — approach OU basketball in terms of “oh, it’s there” but seem to do nothing to nurture it or try to help attract/build a fanbase.

Why is a revenue sport being promoted on the OU campus the same way they promote the non-revenue sports like wrestling and volleyball and gymnastics — with cheesy little vinyl signs on skinny metal sticks put up along Jenkins, Elm, Lindsey and Boyd? And this is to say nothing of the media coverage of basketball, which by comparison to the breathless, repetitious and all-out coverage of football, is a whisper (this from both the broadcast media and the print media The Oklahoman).

Oh sure, the games are technically “sold out” because the TICKETS are sold, but it would be nice to see butts in those prime seats week in and week out. I hate this “tickets sold” versus “butts in seats” dichotomy in determining attendance at sporting events, but if the owners (if a pro team) or administrators (if a college team) have made their money, well okay then but don’t try to tell me it was a screaming SRO crowd — that’s puredy bullshite if there ever was any. If I wind up watching an OU game at home on television, to see the prime EMPTY seats behind the scorers’ table is sickening — especially if some announcer announces that a “sold out” crowd is on hand to watch the game!! Television wise, everybody from Bob Carpenter (Sooner Sports Network/ESPNPlus) to Ron Franklin (ESPN, calls many a Big 12 game, both football and hoops) I’ve seen do this. Come on guys, don’t yank my chain. Last time I checked, the last thing I saw that was red, plastic and sort of looked like a person was a Rock’m Sock’m Robot.

Some of the yellowshirts are polite, some not, and all of them are doing their jobs (such as it is) and its probably thankless … but as long as Oklahoma men’s basketball is in a rebuilding/retooling mode — and will be for the next season or two still (thanks a lot Kelvin Sampson), would it just kill OU to try something radically different? Do they really have anything to lose? I really do fear that one thing that OU *could* lose if things remain status quo is Coach Capel, something I really do not want to see happen especially if its in the not-too-distant future — say within two or three years — because it will keep Oklahoma locked in “rebuilding” mode as it transitions to yet another new coach in such event.

Would the students show up more if the student seating were in a more prominent place (read: the first five or six rows in the center 2 sections on the side that FACES the TV cameras — OR, better yet, CHANGE THE CONFIGURATION OF THE COURT so that the side that faces the TV cameras is the one in which the benches and the scorer’s table are BEHIND the camera — this is how Cameron Indoor Stadium is set up, for example — and move the student seating to the first five or six rows of the center two sections on THAT side), giving LNC EVEN MORE of a home court atmosphere that’s HOSTILE (within reason — unless they’re Texas or OSU) to the visiting team?

Maybe this is just me but having empty seats, or what seats are occupied down there occupied either by Grandma and Grandpa or Stiff Collared Business Tycoon And You Are SOOOO Beneath Him who just sit in those great seats and golf-clap … I dunno, that atmosphere gives me many negative vibes. Imagine what national observers must think of this. And yet, in a way miraculously, earlier in this decade, OU held one of the longest home-court win streaks in all of college basketball — a streak that, if memory serves, ended during the 2003-2004 season, and OU still wins a big preponderance of its games at home — maybe in spite of the “home court advantage.”



12.24/12.25, 2007

Seasons Greetings, dear readers (all five of you).

This is old, but great, and it works surprisingly well (NSFW language)

Awesome! These young ladies express their righteous scorn for MySpace better than I did earlier in this blog.

I still can’t begin to express my disgust that I was ever a part of that POS, and how much I enjoy sites that hold MySpace up to the ridicule it deserves. Mind you, I still have offline friends who use MySpace, and more power to them if that’s what they want to do, it just isn’t for me. And that’s completely aside from their buggy, rife-with-errors, and just-fuckin’ ugly site. Even uglier after users “pimp” their pages and/or put up some background so obtrusive that you can’t read the text on the page. That was another thing that just got on my nerves the more I explored other users’ pages.

The individual who persuaded me to start a MySpace account, well, we’re not communicating anymore. As much as I would like to go back and undo the things that made us become hostile towards one another — things that were largely my fault, but not all — I won’t be holding my breath for it. Fundamentally he is a warmhearted and good individual, and I wish him well in his life (and future profession) ongoing.

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But did they really have to can him on Christmas Eve? Now-former Bulls Coach Scott Skiles says the timing is neither here nor there, but still, geez, Christmas Eve.

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Who would have thought the Portland Trail Blazers would become the hottest team in the NBA? They are riding a 10 game winning streak and, led by reigning Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, are getting solid contributions all around, but especially from Travis Outlaw, James Jones, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Underappreciated veterans Joel Przybilla and Steve Blake are also chipping in. This is a good, cohesive, talented team — despite its youth — that has vaulted to the upper tier of the NW Division standings.

On Christmas Day Night they will meet the Seattle Supersonics in a big game, but for different reasons than might have been the case a few months ago. Were circumstances different, this game would pit No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden against No. 2 overall draft pick Kevin Durant. Oden, of course, underwent microfracture surgery and won’t see an NBA court until next season; Durant is putting up great numbers for an otherwise woeful Sonics team. Now its an opportunity for a national audience to see a team that should be one of the NBA’s feel-good stories in action. What this means, of course, is … Portland cannot relax, because you’d better believe the Sonics would probably love to spoil that win streak and one of the precious few nationally televised games the Blazers will have this season.

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Maryland Terrapins fans — please try not to press the shiny, red, candylike panic button. Yes, it’s horrible and unacceptable that the Terps lost inter-conference home games to Ohio and American (!) in succession. It also leads to the inevitable questions about 19-year head coach Gary Williams and his future.

Bear in mind that these are questions that were asked when Maryland couldn’t get past the Round of 16 in the late 1990s. They were also asked a few short years ago when the Terps missed the NCAA Tournament altogether in 2005 and 2006 just a few short years removed from winning the whole thing.

For what its worth, the 62-year old Williams has now spent a significant portion of his lifetime connected with that institution: In the 1960s he played there under Bud Millikan, and graduated in 1968. When he took the job in 1989, he stated in so many words that this would be the last coaching job he would take (after successful runs at American, Boston College and Ohio State) and would not be looking to leave for another job. Given that he’s still there 19 years later, Williams clearly meant it. And early in his tenure he was clearly tested by the NCAA sanctions that Maryland incurred because of violations committed under predecessor Bob Wade. Williams rode out that storm, needless to say. I don’t question the man’s passion for coaching (although his passion for recruiting is often questioned by some observers) — or the institution he belongs to — at all.

A losing streak, or not making the NCAA Tournament is not the end of the world to me; program-killing or program-shaming NCAA sanctions can certainly be, for enough time that it can take a while to rebuild a program’s reputation.

College basketball is a funny thing, and a cyclical thing. Right now the cycle is not running in the Terps’ favor. The funny thing is, that cycle could rotate back once the team rights its ship and starts winning games. Remember last season when they got off to a horrid start in conference play and then closed the season with a run that included knocking off Duke (twice) and then UNC at home? While those losses to Ohio and American don’t look good on a tournament resume, it is NOT too late the right the ship this season. For that reason, I’m not willing to throw Gary Williams under the bus.

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I mentioned “cyclical.” This brings me to OU, who started their Christmas break by knocking off the then 20th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs last Thursday, on national television, in the All-College Classic.

Mark Few’s team was playing with a slightly-injured Matt Bouldin (ankle), a rusty Josh Heytvelt (who hadn’t played any kind of game since being suspended last February, and is recovering from foot surgery). However, despite being bothered by a knee, Jeremy Pargo went nuts against the Sooners (career-high 28 points). Pargo is the engine that makes the Zags go, and one of those kind of dangerous objects that you don’t want to leave unattended. So imagine my surprise when Pargo’s late-game shot was blocked by skinny little Austin Johnson, who of late has been playing some of the best basketball of his whole time at OU.

Pargo’s older brother Jannero, a reserve guard for the New Orleans Hornets, also has played on that same Ford Center court. The elder Pargo joined the Hornets before the 2006-2007 season, the last one of the Hornets’ temporary relocation to Oklahoma City in the wake of Katrina.

Despite Gonzaga’s semi-depleted state, this was still a statement game for the Sooners and second-year head coach Jeff Capel. The Sooners have been down for a while, and a win over a ranked (and well-regarded) foe is a milestone in Capel’s quest to bring Sooner basketball back to respectability.

I also think this helps in further distancing OU from the not-that-great last years of the Kelvin Sampson era (speaking of program-shaming NCAA violations).