Wrestlemania 31 Preview and Predictions

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Simon Q via Flickr
You can measure how far we've come technologically as a species since 1985 in a number of ways.

You can look at medical advancements and our ability to treat certain diseases or heal certain injuries. You can look at transportation, and how much easier it is to get from one place to another quickly and efficiently. You can look at communication and how technology allows us to convey messages electronically in seconds while actually seeing the recipient on a TV screen!

Hell, we don't even need to wait for nudity to arrive in the mail anymore! (Is Playboy still a thing?) The interwebs serves it up to us within seconds! WHAT A WORLD!

However, I'm an old soul, and for me, the advancements of 30 years can be summed up in one nuance...the way in which we consume Wrestlemania.

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It's NCAA South Regional Time. Are You Ready?

Categories: Sports

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John Royal
Curtaining off large sections of NRG Stadium is one way to make up for low ticket sales
The NCAA has rolled into town, turning NRG Stadium from a huge barn into a huge basketball arena. Last-minute touches were still being applied to the stands, but Duke, Gonzaga, Utah and UCLA were in town and prepping for tonight's games. Yesterday was media day, the chance for players to practice on the raised court on the middle of the floor surrounded by temporary bleachers and huge black curtains while answering mostly innocuous questions from assembled members of the media.

The Stadium Layout

The layout's no different from what it was for the 2010 Regionals or for the 2011 Final Four. The court's raised about three feet on the middle of the stadium floor. Temporary metal stands line run up to the press area on the baselines. The depth perception on the court, or anywhere in the arena, is nonexistent, which once again means that shooting percentages should be anemic. The view from most of the seats should be of little dots running on a little board, and the fans will probably spend more time looking at the video boards than at the actual play on the court.

But seeing as how there is no Texas team playing in the regional -- thus no pack of Baylor fans swarming the stadium and buying up most of the seats -- a large section of the stadium has been curtained off. Except for some metal bleachers, there is absolutely no seating behind the end lines. Of course, maybe if the tickets weren't so damn expensive -- there were rumors floating around yesterday that only about 20,000 seats had been sold -- the NCAA wouldn't have to deploy two humongous black curtains to block off most of the seating.

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March Madness 2015: Friday's Sweet Sixteen Best Bets

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Monica Fuentes
Hey, Houston, I don't know if y'all were aware, but the next round of the most widely watched basketball tournament in the world is about to take place right here in our own backyard....

I'm being cute. I'm sure you all knew this. (I think.) You just don't appear to be all that into it. Al least, that's what ticket sales for the NCAA Regional at NRG Stadium this weekend would seem to indicate.

According to data from Seatgeak (courtesy of the Houston Chronicle):

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10 Reasons the Texans Should Be on Hard Knocks

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Eric Sauseda
So the rumor mill was spitting out information last week that the decision makers behind Hard Knocks, HBO's voyeuristic peephole into training camp life in the NFL, had the Cleveland Browns in their sights as the subject for this summer's edition.

I'm guessing there were some pretty formulaic reasons behind that, 98 percent of them centered around one Johnny Football. He's getting out of rehab! He's battling for his football life! All his celebrity friends have ditched him! Hey, I get it. Nobody likes a good train wreck more than I do (one of the many reasons I love myself so much!).

But honestly, does the Johnny Football story really have five weeks' worth of content? Does it really have any legs aside from the two that will take Johnny to and from the building every day? What if he truly is rehabilitated from his alcohol addiction and is snuggling with his playbook every night?

Worst season of Hard Knocks ever, right? So I ask you this...why NOT the Texans?

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March Madness 2015: Thursday's Sweet Sixteen Best Bets

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Monica Fuentes
I admire confidence. I despise stupidity. And I have no idea what category West Virginia freshman Daxter Miles' "guarantee" of a Mountaineer win over Kentucky falls under. I do know that I'm glad it happened, as it added some juice to an otherwise potentially juice-less game.

In case you missed it, Miles was asked a question about his team's upcoming opponent in the Sweet Sixteen Midwest Regional, and here's what he had to say:

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Brock Lesnar Announces He's Staying With WWE

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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YouTube
Even though it's flagship show is the most watched show on cable television, WWE has always had to work to get coverage in the mainstream. Oftentimes, when it does happen, it's because WWE will inject some mainstream star into their universe, the perfect excuse for high brow cable like ESPN and CNN to "cross over" and acknowledge "sports entertainment."

Back in the day, Hulk Hogan was once on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but that was because he was partnered with Mr.T and Cyndi Lauper as the key players at the first Wrestlemania. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin wound up on Sportscenter one night back in 1998, but that was because he was tussling with Mike Tyson.

Donald Trump, Pete Rose, Floyd Mayweather, Snooki. All of them athletes or celebs whose magnetic attraction pulled the mainstream spotlight to WWE for a minute or two.

That's what makes Brock Lesnar's appearance on Sportscenter Tuesday night so significant. There was no garden variety celeb taking Lesnar along for the ride. Brock Lesnar was the star.

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Free Agency 2015: Texans Re-Sign Inside Linebacker Akeem Dent

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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houstontexans.com
An underrated subplot of the Texans' last two off seasons, 2014 and the current one in 2015, has been their ability to somehow flip their discarded quarterback into actual NFL transaction currency. Instead of Matt Schaub, T.J. yates, Case Keenum, and Ryan Fitzpatrick being NFL garbage, the Texans were actually able to convince teams they were NFL recyclables.

Schaub was legendarily traded to the Raiders for a sixth round pick (which was eventually used on running back Alfred Blue), Keenum was flipped for a conditional late round pick in 2016, as was Fitzpatrick.

The only discarded quarterback they moved for an actual player was Yates, who was traded to Atlanta for inside linebacker Akeem Dent. Affirmation that this was a deal the Texans feel like they won came Tuesday when they chose to bring back Dent next season on a two year contract.

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J.J. Watt Restructures His Contract, Opens Up $8 Million in Cap Space

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Groovehouse
It goes without saying that this has been the Texans' most active offseason in free agency since the lockout-shortened offseason of 2011, when they signed Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning within 24 hours of each other.

They've re-signed cornerback Kareem Jackson, tackle Derek Newton and quarterback Ryan Mallett. They've brought in newly signed free agents in safety Rahim Moore, wide receiver Cecil Shorts and nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

All of this was done courtesy of a very un-Texan-like $30 million in cap space, opened up in large part through the releases of veterans Andre Johnson and Chris Myers. Heading into this morning, the Texans had whittled that down to about $3 million in cap space.

However, if you're looking for the telltale sign that the Texans are not done shopping yet, it came this morning.

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Texans Pick Up Three Compensatory Draft Picks in 2015 NFL Draft

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Unless you've watched a massive number of free agents leave your city during the previous season, the day that compensatory draft picks are handed out probably doesn't really register on your NFL calendar.

For better or worse, though, the Texans have happened to watch numerous free agents leave in recent years, so to say that the day compensatory picks are announced is like Christmas morning may be a bit of an overstatement, but it is kind of like getting a bunch of gift cards to be redeemed on draft weekend in early May.

On Monday, at the annual owners' meeting in Phoenix, the league announced this year's compensatory picks, and for the third straight season, the Texans were fairly well compensated.

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Cleveland Browns Rumored to Be Frontrunners for HBO's Hard Knocks

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Among the underrated milestones on the NFL's offseason calendar is the unveiling of the team the league and HBO have selected as the subject of the award-winning Hard Knocks, the five week annual miniseries where we get the behind-the-scenes view of what it's like to be an NFL player or coach in training camp.

Some seasons have been better than others, with the season involving the New York Jets ranking as the equivalent of Season 5 of Breaking Bad, and last season's Atlanta Falcons season ranking as the equivalent of Season 8 of The Office (not a compliment, but not an out and out insult either).

Point being, even bad Hard Knocks is decent television. And Hard Knocks that involves a dysfunctional team that employs Johnny Manziel has a chance to be amazing.

And according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, we may just get that:

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