Houston Texans -- F the Cowboys (or #FDACOWBOYS on Twitter)
Not long ago, I got into a brief discussion on
cutline whom I am forbidden to name whose name I don't exactly recall. I don't remember the crux of the tweet-versation (something having to do with blogs and their inherent evil to anyone over the age of 50) just that my points were valid, and he grew impatient with their validity and he shut me down with something to this effect:
"I've got a years in this Industry. We agree to disagree. Good bye." (I'm paraphrasing.)
His "point" (If you can call it that) was that, despite my logical counterpoints to his discussion, the fact that he had just been around longer than me was enough to declare victory -- "I've been around longer, my resume is gaudier, and therefore, I am better than you."
It is a lazy, uninteresting, snotty way to argue the present.
Kind of like "Got Rings?"
If you're unfamiliar with "Got Rings?" this is the default setting in a Dallas Cowboy fan's brain when he or she is confronted with logical talking points refuting the professed greatness of his or her favorite franchise.
Basically, translated to sane, it means "The Cowboys have five rings, your team has none. Therefore, we're better than you."
The Houston Texans play the Cowboys this weekend at Reliant Stadium. Naturally, given the geographic proximity of the two teams to each other and the playoff aspirations with which both teams entered the season, this game is ripe with storylines.
The Texans are trying to go three games over .500 for the first time in their history; the Cowboys are on the verge of going 0-3 and having their season finished before the calendar turns to October.
The Texans lost their starting left tackle Duane Brown to a suspension for violation of the league's performance enhancing drug policy; the Cowboys best player is pass rusher DeMarcus Ware. There is a decent chance Brown's replacement will be sitting at his locker after Sunday's game rocking back and forth, nervously scratching his chest and muttering Ware's name over and over again.
The cachet of the game is clearly not confined to the state of Texas either -- Fox is televising this game as their national headliner.
(Side bar -- this also means that Joe Buck will be broadcasting the game. My contention has always been that the government should use video feeds of NFL games assigned to Buck as a means to extract information from captured terrorists in the interrogation room. Just keep playing Joe Buck over and over until they crack -- "FINE! I'll tell you everything you want to know! Just please, turn off the Joe Buck!!!")
Eight years in, the Texans may finally be ready to take back the "Texas State Championship Belt" (a mythical title that I just made up so I could get a wrestling reference into this post, and a title they haven't held, mythically or otherwise, since they beat the Cowboys 19-10 in their first game as an NFL franchise).
As Week 3 matchups go, this is a big game.
Naturally, the trash talk has been fast and fierce and fun, to the point that we dusted off the old #FDA hashtag on Twitter this morning and got #FDACOWBOYS to the top of the trending topics in Houston (Social media geek VICTORY!). Cowboy fans weighing in on the argument ultimately came back to the same tired things -- we're the Cowboys, we got rings, we got history, you got nothing.
In other words, "I've got a years in this Industry. We agree to disagree. Good bye."
I went to the University of Notre Dame, and remain a diehard Notre Dame football fan, so I recognize entitlement based on shit that happened nearly two decades ago when I see it. For that reason, I feel I'm uniquely qualified to comment on underachieving yet iconic football teams, littered with laughable coaching hires, and who have accomplished nothing noteworthy since the early part of the Clinton Administration.
Additionally, I'm not a native Houstonian. I don't carry around all of the baggage that goes with the Houston Oiler days. I don't have the fabricated inferiority complex, nor any reason to have one, to which Dallas fans claim Houstonians are virtually genetically predisposed.
(Side bar -- dumbest line in the internet Houston-bashing slop this week comes from Matt Mosley of ESPN.com:
Houston has always had an inferiority complex to Dallas based on its lack of non-chain restaurants and the 610 loop to nowhere.
Seriously, what does that even mean? I've been to Dallas a bunch of times and have never been struck by how few Chili's, Applebee's and TGIFriday's dot the city landscape. As for the "610 loop to nowhere," it's a fucking LOOP. It's supposed to lead somewhere? I can honestly say I've never heard of a single Houstonian who's gotten into a fight with out-of-towners defending the loop's circularity. I'd like to call Mosley a clown, but clowns are funny. And scary. Mosley is neither.)
My point is this -- I don't hate the Cowboys because of any lingering, Houstonian childhood disappointment. Hell, I don't hate the Cowboys at all.
In fact, they are a tremendous source of entertainment for me.
As a radio host, where would I be without the clueless, bewildered, blank stare of head coach Wade Phillips who spends ten percent of the game pumping his fist like a tourist who just won a hand of blackjack at the five-dollar table and the other ninety percent looking like someone just asked him to spell "Czechoslovakia"? What would we do without Tony Romo's annual December fade and post game press conference douche cap that looks like it was stolen from a paper boy in 1890's Boston?
The game this Sunday is not about rings that were won in the previous millenium, coaches who have long since passed on, or the futility of a Texans franchise that finally seems to have found itself after eight long years. It's not about "Got Rings?" or trending topics on Twitter.
The Texans are 2-0. They are one of the really good, young teams in the NFL this season. The Cowboys are 0-2, and on the verge of firing their head coach.
The Texans are just better. The end.
Texans 28, Cowboys 17
THIS WEEKEND'S BEST BETSn
Pittsburgh -2.5 over TAMPA BAY
An unlikely matchup of 2-0 teams, the prevailing opinion of those taking Tampa Bay and the points at home is "How can you back a team who is on their fourth quarterback and favored on the road against an undefeated team?" Then you peel back the onion and you realize that:
1. The Steelers defense, with Polamalu back this season, is an elite-level unit that will have them in every game they play, even if they had "Footsteps" Falco at quarterback.
2. The Bucs have beaten the Browns and the Panthers -- two teams that are an awful lot like...well...the Bucs! The Steelers have beaten Atlanta and Tennessee, two teams that are anywhere from decent to playoff-worthy.
3. It's not like the Steelers started 2-0 with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and are now sliding in Charlie Batch. They went 2-0 with Dennis Dixon at quarterback. Is there really that big a dropoff between Dixon and Batch?
JACKSONVILLE +3 over Philadelphia
The season premiere of The Office was on NBC last night, and this morning my colleague Travis Rodgers asked me if it was good. I just looked at him and gave him the "so-so" hand gesture, a not entirely unexpected assessment based on how last season went. This season has picked up where last season left off. Still funnier than most comedies currently on television, not nearly what it was at its peak (Seasons 2 and 3, by the way), decidedly average.
So average, in fact, has The Office become that I'm actually looking forward to seeing what it's going to be like next season without its best character -- Steve Carell as Michael Scott, if for no other reason than the show just needs a shake up. It's not Carell's fault, he's still one of the best at what he does, but it's for the greater good. And if it works, it works, and if it doesn't, well, that'll be it.
The comparison I made to Travis was The Office has become the Philadelphia Eagles from this past offseason -- still one of the better teams in the league, but not good enough to get over the hump, and in need of a drastic shock to the system. So what do you do? You trade Donovan McNabb, even though he's still highly productive and one of the best quarterbacks in the league and the Steve Carell of your franchise. Because you have to do something.
We'll see what The Office decides to do this offseason, but the Eagles have made their decision -- after starting out with a promotion of Kevin Kolb (the equivalent of building around the potentially bland Jim Halpert), Andy Reid has decided two weeks in that he's going with the high risk/high reward potential of Michael Vick (a Dwight Shrute foundation if there ever was one).
Will it work long-term? Maybe not. Hell, probably not. I mean, if you're Reid, you did just trade the best player in the history of your franchise so you could promote a guy who was in Leavenworth less than two years ago into his spot. By rights, it should crash and burn, but it will keep me glued to the screen for a few episodes. In the meantime, I'll take the points at home.
ST. LOUIS +3.5 over Washington
....and in the meantime, Donovan McNabb has landed in Washington, which feels like Steve Carell showing up on the new 90210. (And the choke job against the Texans last week is Annie's hit-and-run accident in the Season 1 finale.) I'll take the frisky Rams and the points at home.
UCLA +16 over TEXAS
Okay, my performance last week was well documented and a subject of much scrutiny and ridicule. I'd like to once again thank each of the UCLA fans actually in attendance at their games (reached the magical 50 comment mark!) for providing feedback on my blog post from last week. Things that I learned about myself, courtesy of Bruin Fan:
1. Apparently, I should keep my "day job." As lazy "you're a fuck up" insults go, that's my favorite one. Hey, dipshit, this is my day job. Am I good at it? That's debatable. But the fact of the matter is I do a radio show and contribute to an online blog, both during daylight hours. As for my night job, Bruin Fan, your mom doesn't want me to quit her. (See? Now, THAT'S an insult! Dragging moms in!)
2. People don't listen to Jim Rome as much as they used to. Got about three or four comments telling me they either love or hate my calls to The Jim Rome Show. Jim actually banned me from his show several years ago when I took a job with a station that competes with his Houston affiliate. I've literally called his show five times in the last eight years, which is apparently more often than these people listen to it.
3. People don't understand how the internet works. Bruin Fan, if you think I'm saddened by all the hits on my post and all of your subsequent comments....well, think again. They track "Most Views" and "Most Comments" for a reason.
So if I'm such a jinx and dumb fuck, guess what Bruin Fan? I'm rolling with YOU this week? How do you like that? So take the Bruins +16. Hell, take them on the money line. Shit, copy Rick Neuheisel's March Madness bracket, for all I care. If I'm such a jackass, I'm taking you all down with me. Bruins +16.
Oregon State +18 over BOISE STATE
It's funny to hear people still talk about the lack of respect for non-BCS schools and not only see Boise State and TCU in the top 5, but also see the ridiculous wagering love that the blue turf in Boise gets. Since the upset win over USC in 2008 (the defining turning point in this iteration of Oregon State football, call it the Rodgers Era), the Beavers have lost four games to top 15 teams on the road and all of them have been close losses (and covers):
2008 - #15 Utah (week after the USC win) by 3
2009 - #7 USC by 6
2009 - #7 Oregon by 4
2010 - #6 TCU by 9
Point being, Oregon State comes to play on the road, and if we're wagering in this game, that's all we're asking. An 18-point number means that Boise will need three touchdowns in the margin in order to cover. The Beavers have big-play capability in James Rodgers and the potential to grind clock and manage a road game with his brother, Jacquizz. Love the 18 points here.
(Trivia: The last BCS conference coach to beat Boise State? If you had Tyrone Willingham at +56,000,000 you'd be correct, second game of the 2007 season. All of Boise's losses since then have been to non-AQ schools.)
NOTRE DAME +4.5 over Stanford
The Irish could easily be 3-0 right now, and I'm not sure that Stanford is ready to be a favorite on the road. Jim Harbaugh is a guy who gets his team to play hard but also has a demeanor that lends itself to wild emotional swings for his team. As a coach, Brian Kelly is backed into a real corner for the first time in God knows how long. I think he'll have his guys coming out swinging.
Last Week 3-2-1
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.