Houston Rockets Not on Goran Dragic's List of Desired Trade Destinations

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Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons
It was the summer of 2012, the NBA's offseason, and it was time for the Houston Rockets to begin making some moves.

Goran Dragic, the smooth, Slovenian point guard that the Rockets had acquired in a trade for Aaron Brooks a little over a year prior, was coming off of his best season as a pro, averaging nearly twelve points a game in 2011-2012 and routinely cracking the twenty point mark in games during the final two months of the season after taking over starting point guard duties in the wake of the Kyle Lowry trade to Toronto.

So it would stand to reason that the Rockets would want to keep Dragic around to run the show with Chandler Parsons and whoever Daryl Morey eventually acquired as a foundational type of star player. Or so we thought. The team offered Dragic around $8 million per year over three years, but Dragic wanted a fourth year at his option in the deal. The Rockets balked at that.

As it turned out, the Rockets wanted to keep Dragic, but not enough to concede player control over a fourth year in the deal, and perhaps whatever remaining grudge Dragic has over that is the reason why we are where we are this morning.

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Happy Presidents' Day! 5 Great Presidential Sports Moments (w/ VIDEO)

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ESPN via YouTube Screenshot
It's Presidents' Day, a semi-fabricated holiday made up by somebody who got tired of giving us days off on both Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. Those were good times, and they've been ruined by one morphed-together holiday where Washington and Lincoln are now each getting just a little bit screwed.

I know how they feel. My older two children were born on my birthday 17 years ago. I'll let you take one guess as to whose birthday gets jammed at the back of the line every year in our family. Yep, old pops!

So George and Abe, I feel you, man. Let's see if we can't properly celebrate you and your presidential ilk in a post here today. How about five of the greatest presidential sports moments in our nation's history?

Sound good? Okay...

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The New Gridiron: UT and A&M Battle It Out These Days in Teenagers' Living Rooms

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Diane C McDonald, wikimedia commons / University of Texas Athletics
A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and UT coach Charlie Strong
It's the Thursday evening before college football's National Signing Day, recruiting's answer to Christmas morning, and the whereabouts of Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin are the worst-kept secret in the state of Texas.

Sumlin and his offensive coordinator, Jake Spavital, are visiting the home of all-everything quarterback Kyler Murray, a Texas high school football legend who has literally never tasted losing in his prep football career, having won multiple state championships and compiled a 43-0 record as a starter at powerhouse Allen High School.

Murray is an Aggie legacy (his father, Kevin, having starred at quarterback for Texas A&M back in the 1980s) and a verbal commitment to the Texas A&M program since last spring, but none of that is a factor this evening. Sumlin is in full-blown "sales pitch" mode and he has to be, because Murray is fresh off a visit to Austin to see the University of Texas, and unfortunately, in college football recruiting, a kid's "verbal commitment" is about as binding as a promise ring in fourth grade.

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Signing Day 2015: College Football Recruiting Scorecard

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Photo illustration by Monica Fuentes
Signing Day: The fax machine's big day to shine...
I think we can all agree that Les Miles is a national treasure and that all of his weekly press conferences should be chronicled in either a 30 for 30 or a DVD-style box set on iTunes, right?

Well, in the treasure trove of old Les Miles weekly press conferences, there is one from a couple of years ago, when it was Columbus Day Monday, when Les Miles strolls into the media room and rather than immediately start in with his thoughts on the previous weekend's game, he instead gives one of the most bizarre "holiday well wishes" you'll ever see.

It went like this:

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Gambling! Early 2015 Heisman Odds Are Out

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Steve Grant
It's early February, so naturally it's time to start looking at odds for next season's Heisman Trophy, right? (Ahem...RIGHT?!?)

The correct answer is "Why, ABSOLUTELY, Sean!!"

Actually, while there's never a bad time to analyze odds on the Heisman (or on anything, really), for the better part of the last five or six years, it's been completely useless to actually hitch your wagon to a candidate and back them with real American currency. Since 2009, the eventual Heisman winner wasn't even on the fringe of the big board before the season.

2009, Mark Ingram. 2010, Cam Newton. 2012, Johnny Manziel. 2013, Jameis Winston. All off the board at the beginning of the year. Last season was actually the first time in a long time where a favorite or near favorite went wire to wire when Marcus Mariota did it.

So let's take a look at this year's board with some analysis as we make our way down the board.

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Johnny Manziel Enters Treatment Facility, Asks For Privacy

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From about the time he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 draft, after four months of social media solitude and hard work to prepare himself for the biggest job interviews of his life, Johnny Manziel has been back on the "Johnny Football" program.

I mean literally from the time he was drafted, as in like two hours after the first night of the draft was over, he had a champagne bottle hanging off his face. It's been all downhill since.

Late nights, lots of booze, selfless with the Biebs, and an utterly forgettable rookie season on the field. The arrow has been trending straight down on Manziel from the time training camp started, and the sad thing is, he doesn't even seem to be able to help himself.

On Monday morning, though, came an announcement that perhaps he's finally trying to gain some control. Courtesy of Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

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TCU's Gary Patterson Wins the Bear Bryant Award

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pattersonfoundation.org
Having improved from 4-8 on 2013 to 12-1 in 2014, the TCU Horned Frogs were statistically one of the most improved teams in the country. However, if you ask TCU head football coach Gary Patterson, he will tell you that it was as much about the ball bouncing the right way this season as it was the improvement of his squad.

"We lost a lot of close games in 2013. We weren't a bad football team," said Patterson. Ultimately, the improvement in 2014 led to a 12-1 record, a near miss for a spot in the College Football Playoff, and a resounding 42-3 win over Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

And for Patterson personally, in Wednesday night, it led to his being named the 2014 winner of the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award for the nation's outstanding college football coach.

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The Houston Texans Should Draft Cardale Jones

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Opportunity comes a' knockin'...
The confetti has fallen, the trophy has been handed out, and I think it goes without saying that the first College Football Playoff, despite two of the three games being eventual blowouts of 20 points or more, has been a rousing success.

The numbers are not in, but even on a crowded night of Monday television -- damn, with Monday Night RAW, Celebrity Apprentice and The Bachelor sitting on my DVR, I'm sunk this week -- I'm guessing that Ohio State's 42-20 rout of Oregon, a game that should have been even more lopsided, was easily the most watched game of the season, and maybe of the past couple of decades.

Opportunity comes at strange times and in odd ways. As much as we plan for the future, tribulation and fortuitous luck both just happen sometimes. You can't plan for those things. All you can do is plan once they happen, then adapt and move forward. And I say this because who could have seen Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones's lottery ticket coming three months ago?

The conductor of the train that steamrolled a three-game gauntlet of Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to the tune of 47 points a game now has a decision to make. The redshirt sophomore who looked like a raw version of Cam Newton in these three games (a compliment, by the way) could turn pro.

I think this is a no-brainer. Cardale Jones needs to go pro, and the Texans need to draft him.

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College Football Playoff Title Game: Predictions and Prop Bets

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collegefootballplayoff.com
It's been forecast that Monday's College Football Playoff title game could be the most watched game in college football history. It most certainly will be the most wagered upon game in college football history. The hype and attention the game has received with little to no backlash for overload has been at high NFL playoff-to-Super Bowl levels.

So I think it's pretty safe to say that, regardless of the outcome of tonight's game, the four team College Football Playoff has been a resounding success. And not just a "curiosity" success like, say, the XFL, where we see a dip in interest next season. This is the way it should have been all along. Everyone knew it, it just couldn't happen until the college football powers that be were guaranteed to pocket more money from this playoff than they would in their boondoggle of a bowl system.

And perhaps the greatest indicator that the four team playoff was the right approach? We have a matchup that would not have happened under the old two team BCS format. Under those rules, we likely would've had Alabama and Florida State, both of whom were clearly inferior to Oregon and Ohio State on New Year's Day.

We have the two best teams, as it should be. Now, let's examine some storylines, prop bets, and make a pick.

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Kenny "Trill" Era Is Over, QB Will Transfer From Texas A&M

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CSPD
Kenny Hill, following his March 2014 arrest for public intoxication
The big question for Texas A&M's football program heading into the 2014 season was "What would life be like after Johnny Manziel?" We all knew that A&M's 20 wins the previous two seasons were largely a product of the individual greatness of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, so we wondered just how strong the non-JFF foundation was with this A&M program.

Redshirt freshman Kenny Hill would be taking the reins, and after a thorough beatdown of a top ten South Carolina team on the road in his debut, a debut that would include 511 passing yards and three touchdowns, the answer seemed to be that the A&M program was now on "juggernaut autopilot," and it was Kevin Sumlin's system that was driving the last two seasons more than Johnny Football.

However, showing that narratives are basically made of papier-mâché, four months later, humbled and benched, Kenny Hill is leaving Texas A&M, sources close to Hill and the program told ESPN.com on Thursday.

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