Fan Fighting League! T-Shirt Civil War in Jacksonville!

It never ceases to amaze me the extent that some people will go to in order to secure something for free.

In radio, we give things away on our shows on a nearly daily basis via contests and random call-ins. It doesn't matter if it's tickets to the most obscure musical act or a $5 gift card for cheese. If it's free, people will jam phone lines in a fraction of a second.

In fact, a few years ago, my then-cohost John Harris and I were joking on air about this very phenomenon, and we bet our producer that we could jam the phone lines if we gave away a cardboard paper towel roll center autographed by him. Needless to say, we very quickly and easily got to the designated winner (happened to be caller number 38, I think).

The same thing plays out every night at professional sporting events, where the T-shirt gun turns seemingly rational, well-off adults into jackals scrounging for a low-grade piece of fitted cloth for which you wouldn't pay three bucks at Target. (Yes, Rockets fans, I'm looking at you.)

Now, it's one thing to scrounge for a T-shirt for an actual good team. But fighting for the right to show off your support of the Jacksonville Jaguars? Well, that's a whole other category of scavenger.

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Texans 25, Ravens 13: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Photo by Groovehouse
They knew that the recipe for victory was to blitz the quarterback. Get him moving his feet a little bit, rattle him, and he would eventually make backbreaking mistakes. This was the way.

Blitz him, blitz him, and blitz him some more. So that's exactly what they did. And it worked.

Of course, I'm talking about the Texans blitzing the ever loving hell out of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens. Oh, what's that? You thought I was talking about the Ravens themselves bringing everything but the kitchen sink on Case Keenum in his first start of the season?

Well, they tried. But unlike last season, in which Keenum was winless in all eight of his starts, the former U of H signal caller was simply better equipped this time around.

Better game plan, better supporting cast, and a healthy Arian Foster.

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The Astros Are Ready For 2015 Already

Categories: Baseball, Sports

Thanks again for that cover link, SI
It's fast approaching time to kiss 2014 goodbye. And I for one am eagerly awaiting for a new start in 2015. But before the New Year arrives, let's take one last look into the year for the Houston Astros, the somewhat lovable group of losers playing baseball at Minute Maid Park.

The Good

6. The Astros won 70 games. While that still makes for a losing season, it's a hell of a lot better than the three seasons before that which saw the Astros lose 100-plus games each year. The team also showed improvement with the starting pitching and the farm system started to finally produce some of the long promised talent.

5. Speaking of that promised farm system talent, George Springer came up the majors in May and proceeded to set the world on fire. He hit 20 homers in only 345 plate appearances. He displayed speed on the bases, walked a decent amount, and played a very good outfield. The only problems were he struck out a lot (114 times) and missed a lot of time with injuries (which can probably be blamed on the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

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Keenum vs. Kubiak: Former Coach Suffers 7th Straight Loss at NRG, QB Gets First Win

Categories: Football, Sports

Photo by Groovehouse
All kinds of records were being set on Sunday, but none more important than new/former quarterback Case Keenum recording his first win at the expense of former Texans coach Gary Kubiak -- now the offensive coordinator with Baltimore. But, Keenum, while steady, was not the star of this 25-13, improbable win by the impressively resilient Houston squad. This victory rests on the shoulders of the defense, which was absolutely outstanding on Sunday, stifling Baltimore and turning QB Joe Flacco back into the interception machine he was before winning a Super Bowl.

Still, a major storyline was Keenum who, just one week ago, as the announcers mentioned during the game, was deer hunting on an off day as a practice squad quarterback for the Rams. He got a call from his wife and shortly thereafter he was back in Houston as the starter. Keenum filled in admirably, going 20-42 for 185 yards and one interception, running a wildly aggressive game plan dialed up by Coach Bill O'Brien, who left just about every offensive play call on the field from roll outs to the wildcat. There was even a halfback pass by Arian Foster that resulted in the only touchdown of the day for the Texans to, of all people, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.

It was a remarkable win for the now 8-7 Texans who finish out the season against Jacksonville at NRG Stadium next week with a chance to go 9-7 just one year after 2-14 with the slimmest chance of still making the postseason still alive.

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

Robert Huffstutter via Flickr creative commons
If you're a Texans fan, and for some reason you decided to take a nap around kickoff last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts (and I can't imagine why you would, other than that the outcome of Texans games in Indy seems to be predetermined), and then woke up on Tuesday morning, it had to be a pretty jarring experience.

I mean, when you decided to take your 40 winks, Ryan Fitzpatrick was your starting quarterback and Tom Savage was waiting in the wings. When you woke up on Tuesday morning, Case Keenum was a Houston Texan again and you were forced to surf Thad Lewis YouTube videos to find out who in the hell he is.

This had to be how the guys in The Hangover felt when they found the tiger in the bathroom, right?

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Trying to Turn Around the Historical Disaster That Is Rice Basketball

John Royal
Rice basketball doesn't really have a lot to brag about.
It's a dreary Saturday evening in early December. The 1-6 Rice Owls are hosting the St. Edwards Hilltoppers, a Division II college from Austin. The Hilltoppers are supposed to be a patsy, one of those obscure schools that fill out a schedule so the big school can get the easy win.

The game's a struggle for the Owls, though, as have been all the games this season. The team's undersized, the roster's small and the players aren't quite talented enough to play the full-court fast-break offense preferred by new head coach Mike Rhoades. So he's slowed the game up a bit, with lots of passing and running a slower half-court offense. The Owls get tons of great shots with open looks that players die for. It's just that they miss these shots time and time again, allowing the Hilltoppers to stay in the game.

The Owls eventually pull out the 54-49 win. Sophomore big man Andrew Drone leads the team with 14 points and nine rebounds, and the Owls, heading into the finals break, have their second win of the season. It's not pretty, but it's not about being pretty this season. The Owls will take the win, any win, this season, beauty be damned. Especially after so many of their losses this season have been close and somewhat down to the wire.

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Fan Fighting League! Packers vs Bills in a Frozen Fat Ass Match

Recently, there was a study performed on binge drinking in the United States, and it yielded some interesting (and perhaps slightly predictable) results.

It turned out that the No. 1 binge drinking state in the country was North Dakota. It was followed closely by Wisconsin. Next was Illinois. Ah, hell, I'll just give you the top ten right here.

They went like this:

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The Math Behind the Texans' Improbable 0-13 Streak in Indianapolis

In a league rife with parity, where any team can beat any other team on virtually any Sunday, the element of sheer luck inherently baked into NFL football makes it statistically almost as difficult to "sustain" long streaks of failure as it is to compile long streaks of success.

Just look at the standings this season. Even the ultra-crappy teams in the league have all won at least two games. Hell, in my football-watching lifetime, I've only seen two winless teams in full NFL seasons (1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2008 Detroit Lions). My point is that even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

Unless that blind squirrel is sporting a Texans jersey and playing the Colts in Indianapolis, in which case the squirrel is working a 13-year streak with no nuts.

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Cleveland Fans Turn on Johnny Manziel (w/ VIDEO)

Sunday morning began in Cleveland with anticipation, with hope. Hope that a new day was dawning and that the litany of Browns starting quarterback failures since 1999 was coming to an end.

But alas, three hours, one game....that's all it took for the masses in Cleveland, a desperate horde who'd been clamoring for the replacement of Brian Hoyer and the debut of Johnny Football, to turn heel on Johnny Manziel.

Whether 15 years of ignominious football should give Cleveland fans the right to be impatient is up for debate, but there is no denying this -- Johnny Manziel did nothing to justify the giddiness Cleveland felt at kickoff on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

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University of Houston Names Tom Herman Head Football Coach

Wikimedia Commons
If you're looking for a barometer on a college head coach's regime, an indication which way the wind is blowing, it's widely believed that a coach's third season provides the most insight.

At a lot of places, consecutive winning seasons and bowl games in years two and three would be enough for a coach to hold onto his job for at least one more year. However, despite those finishes the last two seasons, there were just enough chinks in Tony Levine's armor (some glaring) and just enough risk of the conference realignment ground shifting underneath them again for the University of Houston to realize that 7-5 just isn't good enough.

Losing to UTSA in the game where you open a new $120 million stadium isn't good enough. Four offensive coordinators in three years isn't good enough. Tony Levine, a good man but in a little too deep as a head coach, just isn't good enough.

And thus, on Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman would take over as the head coach of the U of H football program, set to begin his job once Ohio State is eliminated from the College Football Playoff.

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