College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Robert Huffstutter via Flickr creative commons
If you're a Texan 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 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 forty 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

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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 fills 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 of the games this season. The team's undersized, the roster's small, and the players aren't quite talented enough to play the preferred 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

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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 number one 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

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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)

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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

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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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NFLPA Sues NFL on Behalf of Suspended Adrian Peterson

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Mike Morbeck via Flickr Creative Commons
On the heels of a summer where he came across, at best, as completely tone deaf and, at worst, as an incompetent boob, followed by a trouncing in Ray Rice's appeal of his indefinite suspension, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needed a win.

How bad were things for the embattled commish? Well, his botching of the Rice discipline actually made America somewhat sympathetic toward a guy who blasted his wife in the face with a clenched fist in a casino elevator. Roger Goodell actually made Ray Rice a victim. That's all you need to know about the necessity for Goodell to win something.

So it's no surprise that when it came time for a third party to hear the appeal of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's suspension (until April 15, 2015) on child abuse charges, Goodell planted one of his goons, former NFL exec Harold Henderson, as the arbiter.

And it was even less surprising that Henderson upheld the league's discipline of Peterson last Friday. Same random Price Is Right discipline wheel, just a different guy spinning it.

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Case Keenum Possibly Starting for Texans on Sunday

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Photo by Groovehouse
"Case (Keenum) is going to be the quarterback. We're going to give him a chance to see how he can perform. I think the jury is still out. He's got a lot of ability. He's shown some flashes of brilliance and then he's shown some rookie mistakes. We've got to see if we can improve, eliminate those mistakes, minimize those mistakes and continue some of the outstanding play that (we've) seen and see whether we think that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. At this point, we really don't know." -- Bob McNair, 12/6/13

That was Bob McNair a little over a year ago, meeting with the media to discuss the firing of former head coach Gary Kubiak, a termination that was caused in large part by 11 consecutive losses but also fueled by McNair's frustration with Kubiak's yo-yo act at the quarterback position and his seeming inability to totally quit Matt Schaub altogether.

Case Keenum would wind up starting eight games in all, winning exactly none, before watching his season end with an injury sustained in a Week 15 game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Through a coaching change, the hiring of Bill O'Brien and an entire offseason and preseason, eventually we learned what McNair insisted we didn't know back on December 6, 2013 -- that Keenum indeed is not a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. He would eventually get cut just before the start of the 2014 season.

So naturally, as the Texans continue to withstand a two-year karmic kick in the collective nuts at the quarterback position, not only is Case Keenum back with the Texans to close out 2014, but there's a good chance he will start on Sunday against the Ravens at NRG Stadium.

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Indy Jinx Continues: Texans Lose Game, Fitzpatrick and Maybe Savage

Categories: Football, Sports

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Photo by Groovehouse
News broke Monday morning that former UH QB Case Keenum will join the Texans for the final two games of the season.
There are points in every season when the fortunes of NFL teams change for the better or worse. The Texans, still holding onto the slim chances of reaching the playoffs, have seemingly had their fair share of those moments this year. From the exhilaration of new quarterback Ryan Mallet leading the team to a win against Cleveland on the road to the depression of seeing Ryan Fitzpatrick's left lack snap during their loss in Indianapolis on Sunday, this season has had some incredible highs -- J.J. Watt for MVP! -- and some disgusting lows -- Mallet lost for the season.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise then that on Sunday, with their playoff chances somewhat hanging in the balance -- they aren't mathematically out of it, but still -- they were forced to play a fourth-round rookie at quarterback and lost for the 13th straight time on the road to the Colts. As a franchise, they have never won in Indy. That's a remarkable feat and, much like Sunday, a big time downer.

After Fitzpatrick left the game on a cart, the victim of a broken leg, young Tom Savage looked like a terrified rookie for most of the rest of the game. Still, the Texans were in the game well into the fourth quarter. If not for a questionable holding call on a wide receiver that nullified an Arian Foster touchdown (which would have evened the game at 14) and a late interception by Savage (after he hobbled back onto the field, an injury that will require an MRI today and could end his season as well), this could have been a win for a Texans team that was brilliant on defense all day long.

And so it goes...

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Wanted: A New Head Coach Who Doesn't Suck UPDATED

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Wanted: A new coach who doesn't suck

Update December 15 at 10:50 a.m.: Fox Sports college football reporter Bruce Feldman is reporting that Tom Herman will be the new coach of the Cougars. See update at the end of this post.

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Are you a college football head coach with a reputation for mediocrity? Have you been fired from your job because of your inability to hire a competent offensive coordinator? Does your reputation rest on the arm of a quarterback who has since departed for the NFL? Have you failed at every head coaching stop that you've ever made?

Guess what? The Houston Cougars want to talk to you about becoming the school's next head coach.

It's been a week since the Cougars fired head coach Tony Levine. Levine was a nice guy in over his head. His record as coach was 21-17. He kept elevating Travis Bush to the role of offensive coordinator, and time and time again the Cougars had difficulties with putting points on the board. The immediate thinking upon Levine's departure was that Houston would look for an offensive-minded coach to take over, whether someone with previous head coaching experience or someone working as an offensive coordinator.

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