Houston Texans: Your Definitive Week 12 Rooting Guide

As a society, we've never been more advanced in the functionality we have at our fingertips. Unfortunately, that functionality (which is 98 percent a result of having an app for nearly EVERYTHING on our phones) has made us a little lazy.

As one example, Jimmy John's latest ad campaign touts how quickly they can deliver us a sandwich by pressing a button on our phones, for God's sakes! I do not want to leave this chair for my processed meats and gobs of mayonnaise...BRING IT TO ME!! Hell, even Starbuck's is catering to the craze, promising us that soon they will be able to deliver their overpriced swill right to your office (to those of you who think calling a small "Venti" somehow makes you sophisticated).

We've gone from a microwave society, where we wanted to be able to procure everything in life ourselves just way faster, to a "serve me" society, where we want everyone else to do the work for us and, oh by the way, "bring it to me"! This chair is too comfortable to leave!

Honestly, you people disgust me. (I was looking in the mirror when I typed that, to be clear.) And yet, I want to help you. That means YOU, Texan fans!

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Parker Anderson via Flickr
Normally, this is the portion of the Best Bets post where I complain (or, even on a rare occasion, brag) about how I did the week before.

But this week, no complaining and no bragging, and that's for two reasons.

First, I went 3-3 for a second week in a row, so I'm settling into that meaty part of the curve where there's nothing really compelling about how I'm picking games right now. I'm just kind of muddling along at .500 and hoping for the best. (Appropriate that I live in Houston, I suppose!)

Second, this gives me a chance to embed the video of Marcus Luttrell's pep talk to Alabama in this space. Luttrell, of course, is the Navy SEAL who was the subject of the movie Lone Survivor.

Guaranteed, you will feel like a total zero for ever complaining about anything after watching this video....

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College Football Playoff Rankings v 4.0: Welcome to the Party, Bama

And then there were seven. Okay, maybe eight. Nine? All right, I'll draw the line at ten. Ten teams that still have mathematical hope of getting into the four-team playoff.

Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Mississippi State, TCU, Ohio State, Baylor, Ole Miss, UCLA and Georgia.

Ten teams, which is way more teams than would be in the mix in a two-team BCS Title Game Era season, and nothing feels cheapened or minimized. My team (Notre Dame) is out of it now officially (Brian Kelly, with Lindsay Lohan-level decision-making in an overtime loss to Northwestern on Saturday, took care of that), and yet I'm as excited for multiple games this Saturday as I've ever been.

The new playoff system has done the exact opposite of what the charlatans behind the BCS and the bowl system said it would -- it's made college football even more compelling, with a ton of games directly involving potential playoff teams, as well as games involving teams (Minnesota-Nebraska, Arizona State-Utah) that have strength of schedule implications for contenders.

In the meantime, we continue to gain awareness of the prism through which the committee views these teams and their performances. Let's look at the latest College Football Playoff rankings, released Tuesday night:

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Adrian Peterson Suspended Through the Rest of the 2014 Season

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Mike Morbeck via Flickr
The Adrian Peterson child abuse saga was adjudicated in a court of law two weeks ago, with Peterson pleading no contest to a misdemeanor of reckless conduct. For the last two weeks, we've waited (and waited) for it to be adjudicated in the court of Roger Goodell, which is a far more capricious, arbitrary, and random court.

Since Peterson's placement on the Commissioner's Exempt List after Week 1 of the NFL season, we kind of knew that eventually the legal case would reach a resolution that would keep Adrian Peterson out of jail (and it did), but how would the league handle Peterson's transgressions, especially in light of one of the most horrific spate of domestic assault incidents involving players in league history?

In this very space, we surmised two weeks ago:

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Texans-Browns: Individual Player Ratings, Offensive Line Dominates

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Photo by Marco Torres
J.J. Watt scores a 4.9 defensively and we're like "Oh, ok, whatever..."
While I wouldn't call myself a true sports "analytic," I do dork out over statistics. Always have. Back in the day, for true stat geeks, numbers were like nudity. There was no internet, so you had to work to find statistical information, and the team-by-team numbers in the weekly issues of The Sporting News were like a numbers dork's version of Playboy.

Now, of course, that's all changed. The same way a bare bosom or six person orgy is mere keystrokes away in a search engine, so, too, can you get virtually any advanced analytical number in a matter of seconds.

Among my favorite "statistical porn" websites this time of year is Pro Football Focus, as you were probably able to ascertain in my "Who's Better, Who's Worse" post from last week.

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Rockets Fans, Meet Your New Best Friend: Root Sports Southwest

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Tonight I will leave work after my show is over, I will settle in, fix myself a plate of whatever tasty treats my girlfriend Amy has prepared for dinner, sit down on the couch and do something that I've been unable to do since the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season:

I will watch a local Houston Rockets broadcast from the comfort of my own home!

It almost sounds weird to say it, it's been so long since I've been able to do this, and I feel like Red in Shawshank Redemption. I mean... Bill, Clyde, and Bull, complemented by the dulcet tones of Kevin Eschenfelder and Calvin Murphy on the pre and post game shows.... I mean.... This is the excitement only a free man can feel!

And damn if it isn't a great game on tap tonight as well, a battle between the teams with the two best records in the league, the Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies!

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Texans 23, Browns 7: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Consuming sports in 2014, it's almost impossible to 100 percent live in "the now" during a sport's given season.

The wealth of information and conjecture at our fingertips combined with the perpetual misery and self-pity that 95 percent of fans wallow in during the season because their team is somehow flawed make looking ahead to next season practically a sport unto itself.

We see it in the NBA all the time, where in many cities the play of their team on the court is merely a backdrop to incessant chatter about who on their team is coming or going by the trade deadline, or the two year cloud that hangs over anything related to Kevin Durant's place of employment in 2016.

The NFL has a similar quality, at least in cities where their quarterback of the future isn't on the current roster. Houston is one of those cities, which means until they commit to somebody long-term under center, we are going to be subject to stories like this one planted by Brian Hoyer's agent on ESPN.com Sunday morning:

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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John Wardell
We interrupt this week's football picks (which I swear I'll get to, because I know you want to ride that 3-3 wave I was on last week) for a brief worshipping at the altar of Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner.

We are not even a year into Silver's tenure yet, and already he has eradicated the league of Donald Sterling, actually revealed what's in the league's bylaws and constitution publicly, and been the steward of a new media rights deal that is so lucrative that the league's biggest problem now is figuring out how to properly work in all of the new salary cap space over the next few years.

And now comes maybe his greatest undertaking yet -- the backing of legalizing sports betting in the United States.

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Houston Texans' Core Players: Who's Better, Who's Worse Compared to 2013

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Groovehouse
Houston... where the quarterback's mistakes being merely crippling (as opposed to fatal) net you a two game improvement.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, a collective group effort whose results are ultimately indicative of the time, effort and most of all, capability of those doing the raising.

The same can be said of a 2-14 NFL season. It takes a village to go 2-14. A village of injuries, comedically egregious mistakes, and general under-performance and suckitude. Now, to be clear, not everyone did "his part" in order to drag the Texans into the bottom of the NFL abyss. J.J. Watt had the greatest season ever for a 3-4 defensive end (topping the standard set his previous season), Chris Myers was one of the top five or six centers in football, and somehow Andre Johnson still found a way to put up over 1,400 yards receiving.

But generally speaking, everyone else was pulling the rope in the completely opposite direction of where this team was thought to be headed at the beginning of the season, especially after a 2-0 start.

So now, nine games in, the team appears to be better. Their record actually is better. So where has the improvement come from? Who, of the Texans' 2014 core, is better in 2014?

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College Football Playoff Rankings v 3.0: Judgment Day Shakeout

Categories: Game Time, Sports

We are three weeks into the brave, new world of not only having a road to a College Football Playoff, but having some degree of transparency on that road, and let me say that I've generally enjoyed the weekly release of rankings for the playoffs so far.

It's given our radio show some decent Wednesday content, it's helped better set up the next weekend's action in college football, and from purely a logic standpoint, I think the committee has actually done a decent job of ranking teams. (It's amazing what happens when you have voters that watch all the games and actually have logical discourse amongst each other about the games, as opposed to head coaches who have their SID's fill out the ballots blindly.)

The only truly bad thing the rankings have spawned is the inane segments of debate on ESPN over things like "Should Alabama or Arizona State be number 5?? DISCUSS!!!" There are so many contrived talking points on these shows that get trumped by mere math. Such as...where Alabama ranks right now is not really relevant since, if they win out, they're in, and if they lose again, they're (likely) out. Who cares if they're 4, 5, or 6 on November 11?

Television cares, I guess. Content is king. Even bad content, it would appear.

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