UH Football Players and Their New Stadium Are All Dressed Up but May Have Nowhere to Go

Categories: Game Time

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Courtesy of the University of Houston
A top-drawer stadium worthy of a Tier I team and its devoted fans.
"Always in motion is the future."--Yoda

Since the summer of 2010, when collegiate athletics' massive wave of conference realignment began, the goal for most of the FBS schools sitting on the margins of college football, outside of the stated "power conferences," has been survival.

Survival and access, really. Access to college football's major bowls, access in recruiting top high school talent, access to the millions in television revenue the networks can't spend fast enough.

For middling schools like the University of Houston, navigating the ever-shifting landscape and trying to gain that access has been like walking a tight rope.

In snowshoes.

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J.J. Watt Finally Speaks About a New Contract

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Photo by Groovehouse
"You've got guys in the Hall of Fame that have been franchised in back-to-back years. The franchise tag is worth something to the team, and you can't be afraid to use it." -- Bob McNair, 8/8/14

Whether it was Intentional or unintentional on the part of Bob McNair, if you're looking for a salvo that may have led to the rare contractual candor from J.J. Watt on Tuesday afternoon in Denver, that might be it.

Since about the time Watt was putting the finishing touches on his second season in the league, a football masterpiece that concluded with 20.5 sacks and the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award, his next contract has figuratively hung over NRG Stadium like an ominous cloud, blanketing more and more of the sky with every pass he defended and every quarterback he dropped for a loss.

When asked about a new contract previously, Watt would smile, defer, spit out a line or two about being "just a football player," and essentially cut the line of questioning off at its knees.

That is, until Tuesday.

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2014 Heisman Odds: Three Sleepers Who Are Off the Board

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Ready for Heisman season?
How do we know the college football season is almost here?

Well, not all that long ago, it would have been because the best of the preview magazines were hitting the stands -- Athlon, Lindy's, Street & Smith's. When you saw the cover with the best player of whichever the hottest team in your region was, you knew that it was almost time. (This still applies today, but magazines have slid to the back burner.)

Certainly, in 2014, we know the season is almost here when a new network-that-owes-its-existence-to-college-football launches. A few years ago, it was the Big Ten Network. A couple years after that, it was the Longhorn Network. The Pac-12 Network closely followed LHN, and finally, just a few days ago, the most highly anticipated of all of them -- the SEC Network -- launched as an adjunct to ESPN's family of networks.

Me, I prefer to see the proliferation of prop bets on the board in Vegas as the sign that college football is almost here.


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Kliff Kingsbury Organized the Best ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Yet (VIDEO)

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Screen shot from the TechAthletics YouTube page
I mean...just look at that hair.
Everybody's doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

You can't make it through three posts on your Facebook newsfeed without stumbling across one of your high school friends dumping the ice cold bucket of water over his or her head. And to be clear, I have no problem with this. It builds awareness for a great cause (raising funds for research to find a cure for ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).

And according to reports, the Ice Bucket Challenge is working. Donations are reportedly up tenfold from this same time period a year ago (late July through mid August), from $1.7 million to $11.4 million.

As a show, we did ours on Friday out at our remote show at Fat Boy's Bar and Grill. Nothing extravagant, other than Ted Johnson removing his shirt, which began a mini photo session and meet-and-greet with all of the females in the patio area. (Oddly enough, no one asked Rich Lord and me to remove our shirts.)

Some have taken the IBC as an opportunity to simultaneously raise funds and show off their creative side.

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Miss Texas and Mo'ne Davis Establish the Two Ends of the "Throws Like a Girl" Scale

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Screen shot from MLB's YouTube video
Throw like a girl?
For decades now, right or wrong, the phrase "throws like a girl" has been part of the American lexicon.

I am not here to say that it's okay to use that phrase (lest I somehow alienate all of my female readers and listeners out there -- I love you all), but I'm not here to say that the phrase should be completely forbidden (lest I somehow come across as less of a manly man's man to all of my male readers and listeners -- I actually don't love all of you, some of you are real jackasses).

Have I said someone who's not actually a girl "throws like a girl" before? Yes, yes I have. Do I feel badly about it? Well, as the father of a quite athletic 16 year old daughter, I kind of do.

(I also kind of don't. See me catering to every demographic? God, I'm good.)

Here's the thing, though -- I don't need that phrase. There are a number of other ways to poke fun at the lack of athleticism in most of the male species, ways that don't impugn the entire female race for throwing a ball like a broken windmill. If the phrase "throws like a girl" went away altogether, I'd be fine with that.

And for the last couple weeks, Mo'ne Davis has been performing great works to eradicate the American male parlance of that term.

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Texans 32, Falcons 7: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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Photo by Groovehouse
335 days.

That's how long it had been since the Houston Texans have walked off of a football field having scored more points than their opponent. September 15, 2013, to be exact.

If you recall, that was the second regular season game of the tumultuous 2-14 train wreck the city endured last year, an overtime win against the Tennessee Titans in which DeAndre Hopkins scored the winning, walk-off touchdown to push the Texans to 2-0 on the season. Also, if you recall, the halftime show that afternoon was a performance by Vanilla Ice.

On Saturday night, walking through the club level with my radio partner Ted Johnson, we walked past a cover band who was playing (perhaps coincidence, perhaps by design) "Ice, Ice Baby."

OMEN ALERT!!

Hey, if you're looking for signs, that's the best I can do, ok? A cover band playing a possible lucky song to get the Texans a preseason victory (appropriately, a preseason win being the "cover band" version of an actual NFL win).

So on Saturday night, the Texans dismantled the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 32-7. As always, there were winners, there were losers. Let's examine...

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Falcons-Texans, Preseason Week 2: Five Players to Watch

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Groovehouse
Hopkins is one to watch on Saturday.
Thursday was a "feel good" day out at the Methodist Training Center.

It was "Texans for DQ" Day (as officially proclaimed by Mayor Annise Parker), and in honor of Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry, who is battling lymphoma back in his home state of California, everyone who is anyone was wearing the very cool "Texans For DQ" t-shirts, the brainchild of Texans center Chris Myers and the handiwork of Running Game Clothing.

Hell, even the Atlanta Falcons offensive linemen were wearing Falcon-colored versions of the t-shirts (thanks to some arrangements from former Texan, nor Falcon T.J. Yates)! It was pretty awesome and much appreciated by Quessenberry who tweeted the following:

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Former Texan Sage Rosenfels Alludes to "Crazy" NFL Rumor, Breaks Twitter

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Groovehouse
This guy for Brian Hoyer? Doubtful.
As if you needed another daily reminder with where we are in the realm of "breaking news," we got one on Wednesday afternoon.

Adam Schefter, Jay Glazer, Albert Breer.

These are the names we've become accustomed to hearing from when a free agent signs with a team, a head coach is fired, or Roger Goodell has handed down his most recent haphazard punishment for a violation of the personal conduct policy.

Guys like them have legitimate, journalistic "street cred" grounded in years of contact building and around-the-clock reporting.

However, we've all seen that Twitter has a funny way of deciding what exactly constitutes journalistic "street cred." To wit, yesterday, the Twitterverse decided that former Houston Texans quarterback, the now retired Sage Rosenfels was credible enough as a "news breaker" (even though, as best I can tell, he doesn't actually work for any news outlet) for all of us to run with this tweet.

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Five Observations From The First Texans-Falcons Joint Practice

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Texans-Falcons...plus Hard Knocks
The 2011 lockout gave us some sensible things.

The rookie wage scale that brought first round picks' salaries and signing bonuses into proper calibration with the players' inexperience and lack of any NFL resume was a positive. Gone were the days of $40 million guaranteed for JaMarcus Russell.

The 2011 lockout gave us some fun things.

Who among us didn't like the rapid fire, wham-bam-thank you ma'am vibe of 2011 free agency crammed into like one week after the lockout was finally resolved in late July, a week before camp was set to start? That was awesome! (And ironically, it was easily Rick Smith's best offseason as a GM, signing Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning.)

But the 2011 lockout giveth, and the 2011 taketh away, and you probably didn't even notice it...

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Art Modell's Son Takes Urinating On His Dad's Grave VERY Seriously (VIDEO)

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Photo by Jerry Sherk
The late Art Modell
Processing the fever pitch of rabid fans is a complicated thing, especially if you're the owner of the team.

On the one hand, it's the passion that fans show for your team, your league, and the product on the field that translates into the multiple billions of dollars that your sport generates and the hundreds of millions that your team is worth. Yes, many of these people seem freaky to you, and you wonder how they can be so obsessed, so far over the lunatic fringe, over a bunch of people they'll probably never meet in person.

But you gladly cash their checks, and thank them for their support. That's the easy part.

The hard part comes when passion bleeds into disrespect, and disrespect becomes desecration. Sure, it's destructive, but technically it's coming from the same raw emotion that drove that person to spend money on your product in the first place.

To be clear, I'm not sticking up for the Cleveland Browns fan who peed on the grave site of the late Art Modell, but I'm not exactly blamefully wagging my finger at him either.

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