Texans-Cowboys Debacle 2010 -- 5 Winners, 5 Losers

The Texans bombed big-time
In retrospect, we probably should have seen this coming. For all the talk about this being a different Texans team, about the Cowboys coming in as a wounded animal, about Wade Phillips being thrilled about the noon kickoff so he wouldn't miss the early bird special, hasn't the NFL shown us that when we think the answer is "up" that it's really "down"?

So the Texans lost to the Cowboys 27-13 at Reliant on Sunday in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate, while calling into question just how close the two teams were to begin with. To a man, the Texans all seemed ready to turn the page afterward, knowing that it was one game out of sixteen.

Unfortunately for the Texans fans, it was the one game in which a sideways result like Sunday's would start fights all over the stadium (final count from an HPD friend of mine -- fifteen! UNDER the posted total in Vegas!)

As with every game and every weekend, there were winners, there were losers, and here they are....


1. Doddering old men. Wade Phillips struck a blow yesterday for every 60-something who has ever looked completely overwhelmed trying to figure out which input their satellite dish runs through on their new flat-screen television. In the post game, the Cowboys players actually talked about Phillips in the team meeting on Saturday night telling the players to pick one person to play for, and go play for that person. Not a bad motivational ploy in a room full of guys who have probably heard every ploy in the book, I guess. For the record, I would play for Tina Fey. I dig chicks in glasses.

2. Arian Foster. Ironic that he would be in the "Winners" category given that this is the first Texans game for which he's been in the lineup and the team has lost, but the former undrafted free agent Foster continues to shatter any notion that running backs actually need to be...you know, drafted. His first fumble of the season notwithstanding, he's quickly made himself one of the most important Texans. And my out of state friends continue to think I'm some sort of fantasy Nostradamus. For the record, these are the only people in my life who think I'm smart.

3. Michael Vick's bandwagon. In southern California, there's a guy named Steve Clarkson who has tutored a number of young quarterbacks when they were growing up, many who have gone on to big things (or at least big contracts) in the NFL like Matt Leinart and Jimmy Clausen. But apparently, the best quarterback tutoring in the country goes on at Leavenworth prison because Michael Vick has emerged post-prison stay a much more polished passer and patient leader. So the moral of the story? If you want to improve as a quarterback, start a dog fighting ring, go to prison, lather, rinse, and VOILA! You're an NFL starter!

4. Pac-10, namely Oregon.
In the reluctantly symbiotic world of college football, where the beauty contest that ensues every year near the top of the rankings forces teams to root for other teams (oftentimes hated rivals) on their schedule in order to make their wins look better, Oregon had a nice weekend. Not only did they take care of their business against Arizona State, but Stanford (this week's opponent) continued to have the look of a top 10 team whacking Notre Dame, and UCLA all of a sudden looks rejuvenated after completing their sweep of the state of Texas with a 34-12 blowout of Texas. The Pac-10 is looking like a very sneaky second-best conference right now behind the SEC.

5. Travis Rodgers. If you haven't met Travis yet, he's the new host of the 1-3 timeslot on 1560 The Game. A lifelong Californian, Travis will be moving his family to Houston during the holidays while launching his show here in Houston. Travis has gone to both Texans home games, and despite the fact that they consisted of a memorable win over the Colts and an equally memorable (for the wrong reasons) drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys, Travis was most taken in -- and by taken in, I mean "repulsed" -- by the amount of food we all consume here in Houston, at least in the media. Apparently, the pregame buffet in the press box of chicken, flank steak, scrambled eggs and cake is unsettling to Travis. He doesn't think cake at 10 a.m. is normal. Even the chili dog bar chaser at halftime wasn't enough to sway him. (His comment -- "I don't know if it's the chili dog bar concept or the fact that no one in the place took less than two chili dogs.") Welcome to Houston, Travis Rodgers!


1. Me. It's official. I'm a jinx. Soccer fans found out during the World Cup. Coog fans found out last week. Now the Texans, after all my #FDACOWBOYS bluster on Twitter and my 28-17 Texans prediction on Friday, do this.

So for the record, if I'm going to be a jinx, I'd like to make the following selections:

-- the Raiders outright against the Texans next week
-- every other NBA team beside the Rockets in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes
-- Boardwalk Empire to suck
-- the terrorists and Satan taking joint control of the free world

2. Carl Cheffers. Who is Carl Cheffers? Is he:

(a) the referee of yesterday's Texans-Cowboys game
(b) the uncle of Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2007
(c) a distant relative of Les Miles
(d) all of the above

If you said (d), you'd be correct!

3. Any Rocket fans concocting a Carmelo Anthony "PLEASE come here" website. Carmelo Anthony trade talks are hot and heavy right now. I know most Rocket fans I've talked to would love to see him in the "whatever red the Rockets wear is called" jersey next season. Hell, I know the Rockets themselves would love to see that. So the rumors now center around a four-team trade with New Jersey, Charlotte, and Utah, and lately Philly and Golden State have been thrown in the mix. None of those teams are the Rockets. May be time to just concede and get that Kevin Martin jersey, folks.

4. Bevo. UCLA made their return to relevancy complete by winning the Texas state championship this week, one week after pummeling U of H the Bruins go into Austin and whack Mack Brown and the Longhorns in an ugly 34-12 game. Between (a) the major issues that UT has on the offensive line, (b) their upcoming schedule (Oklahoma and Nebraska in the next two games, (c) Mack Brown's defective "when to go for two points" card and (d) the chances of Georgia firing Mark Richt and pursuing Will Muschamp, this has a chance to be a fascinating season to watch play out in Austin.

5. Michigan.
Is there a college football team whose ceiling and floor of total wins is more contingent on one player than the Wolverines? And unfortunately for Rich Rodriguez, his only ticket to a ten-win season has Robinson's likeness on it. He has to handle the ball nearly every play for Michigan to win. I've said all along that injury to Robinson will be Michigan's undoing. His left knee -- bruised this weekend against Bowling Green -- agrees with me.

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.

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