Houston Texans: Your Definitive Week 12 Rooting Guide

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As a society, we've never been more advanced in the functionality we have at our fingertips. Unfortunately, that functionality (which is 98 percent a result of having an app for nearly EVERYTHING on our phones) has made us a little lazy.

As one example, Jimmy John's latest ad campaign touts how quickly they can deliver us a sandwich by pressing a button on our phones, for God's sakes! I do not want to leave this chair for my processed meats and gobs of mayonnaise...BRING IT TO ME!! Hell, even Starbuck's is catering to the craze, promising us that soon they will be able to deliver their overpriced swill right to your office (to those of you who think calling a small "Venti" somehow makes you sophisticated).

We've gone from a microwave society, where we wanted to be able to procure everything in life ourselves just way faster, to a "serve me" society, where we want everyone else to do the work for us and, oh by the way, "bring it to me"! This chair is too comfortable to leave!

Honestly, you people disgust me. (I was looking in the mirror when I typed that, to be clear.) And yet, I want to help you. That means YOU, Texan fans!

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Parker Anderson via Flickr
Normally, this is the portion of the Best Bets post where I complain (or, even on a rare occasion, brag) about how I did the week before.

But this week, no complaining and no bragging, and that's for two reasons.

First, I went 3-3 for a second week in a row, so I'm settling into that meaty part of the curve where there's nothing really compelling about how I'm picking games right now. I'm just kind of muddling along at .500 and hoping for the best. (Appropriate that I live in Houston, I suppose!)

Second, this gives me a chance to embed the video of Marcus Luttrell's pep talk to Alabama in this space. Luttrell, of course, is the Navy SEAL who was the subject of the movie Lone Survivor.

Guaranteed, you will feel like a total zero for ever complaining about anything after watching this video....

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UPDATED It's Perfect Football Weather This Weekend

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Just because ESPN's College Gameday isn't coming to Houston doesn't mean they're not playing football this weekend.

Update 11/21 at 11 a.m.: UH announced this morning they've moved kickoff to 11 a.m. due to weather.

The weather's supposed to be wet and stormy this weekend. Just the perfect November weather for college football teams to slip and slide in the mud while dodging puddles on the field and scrambling to retain traction. Just the right conditions for fans to travel to Rice Stadium and TDECU Stadium to watch the Rice Owls and Houston Cougars host important games. Rice kicks things off tonight, hosting UTEP at 7 (on FS1) while Tulsa comes to TDECU for a 2 11 a.m. kickoff (ESPN3) tomorrow.

It's the final home game of the season for both, and they're both hoping to put aside embarrassing losses in their last games. The Owls' (6-4) hopes of again being CUSA champs were pretty much destroyed last week after the team's 41-14 loss to nationally ranked Marshall. The Cougars (5-4), meanwhile, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, giving up a 17-14 halftime lead in a 31-24 loss to 3-6 Tulane. And while Rice can claim to be bowl eligible, the Cougars still find themselves one win short of that magical six-win bowl qualification number.

The weather might play to the Cougars' advantage as UH has seemingly abandoned its trademarked high-flying Air Raid offense for something bordering on a power run game but more often resembling a reaction-inspired mess willing to take anything a defense will allow it to take. Head coach Tony Levine has stated on occasion that the team's offensive game plan is to see what the defense does, then react, rather than to go out and dictate the play. That often leaves the scrambling offense looking for any opening to exploit, and it's not always effective.


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College Football Playoff Rankings v 4.0: Welcome to the Party, Bama

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sunsurfr
And then there were seven. Okay, maybe eight. Nine? All right, I'll draw the line at ten. Ten teams that still have mathematical hope of getting into the four-team playoff.

Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Mississippi State, TCU, Ohio State, Baylor, Ole Miss, UCLA and Georgia.

Ten teams, which is way more teams than would be in the mix in a two-team BCS Title Game Era season, and nothing feels cheapened or minimized. My team (Notre Dame) is out of it now officially (Brian Kelly, with Lindsay Lohan-level decision-making in an overtime loss to Northwestern on Saturday, took care of that), and yet I'm as excited for multiple games this Saturday as I've ever been.

The new playoff system has done the exact opposite of what the charlatans behind the BCS and the bowl system said it would -- it's made college football even more compelling, with a ton of games directly involving potential playoff teams, as well as games involving teams (Minnesota-Nebraska, Arizona State-Utah) that have strength of schedule implications for contenders.

In the meantime, we continue to gain awareness of the prism through which the committee views these teams and their performances. Let's look at the latest College Football Playoff rankings, released Tuesday night:

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Adrian Peterson Suspended Through the Rest of the 2014 Season

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Mike Morbeck via Flickr
The Adrian Peterson child abuse saga was adjudicated in a court of law two weeks ago, with Peterson pleading no contest to a misdemeanor of reckless conduct. For the last two weeks, we've waited (and waited) for it to be adjudicated in the court of Roger Goodell, which is a far more capricious, arbitrary, and random court.

Since Peterson's placement on the Commissioner's Exempt List after Week 1 of the NFL season, we kind of knew that eventually the legal case would reach a resolution that would keep Adrian Peterson out of jail (and it did), but how would the league handle Peterson's transgressions, especially in light of one of the most horrific spate of domestic assault incidents involving players in league history?

In this very space, we surmised two weeks ago:

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Texans-Browns: Individual Player Ratings, Offensive Line Dominates

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Photo by Marco Torres
J.J. Watt scores a 4.9 defensively and we're like "Oh, ok, whatever..."
While I wouldn't call myself a true sports "analytic," I do dork out over statistics. Always have. Back in the day, for true stat geeks, numbers were like nudity. There was no internet, so you had to work to find statistical information, and the team-by-team numbers in the weekly issues of The Sporting News were like a numbers dork's version of Playboy.

Now, of course, that's all changed. The same way a bare bosom or six person orgy is mere keystrokes away in a search engine, so, too, can you get virtually any advanced analytical number in a matter of seconds.

Among my favorite "statistical porn" websites this time of year is Pro Football Focus, as you were probably able to ascertain in my "Who's Better, Who's Worse" post from last week.

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Rockets Fans, Meet Your New Best Friend: Root Sports Southwest

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Tonight I will leave work after my show is over, I will settle in, fix myself a plate of whatever tasty treats my girlfriend Amy has prepared for dinner, sit down on the couch and do something that I've been unable to do since the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season:

I will watch a local Houston Rockets broadcast from the comfort of my own home!

It almost sounds weird to say it, it's been so long since I've been able to do this, and I feel like Red in Shawshank Redemption. I mean... Bill, Clyde, and Bull, complemented by the dulcet tones of Kevin Eschenfelder and Calvin Murphy on the pre and post game shows.... I mean.... This is the excitement only a free man can feel!

And damn if it isn't a great game on tap tonight as well, a battle between the teams with the two best records in the league, the Rockets and the Memphis Grizzlies!

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Texans 23, Browns 7: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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Consuming sports in 2014, it's almost impossible to 100 percent live in "the now" during a sport's given season.

The wealth of information and conjecture at our fingertips combined with the perpetual misery and self-pity that 95 percent of fans wallow in during the season because their team is somehow flawed make looking ahead to next season practically a sport unto itself.

We see it in the NBA all the time, where in many cities the play of their team on the court is merely a backdrop to incessant chatter about who on their team is coming or going by the trade deadline, or the two year cloud that hangs over anything related to Kevin Durant's place of employment in 2016.

The NFL has a similar quality, at least in cities where their quarterback of the future isn't on the current roster. Houston is one of those cities, which means until they commit to somebody long-term under center, we are going to be subject to stories like this one planted by Brian Hoyer's agent on ESPN.com Sunday morning:

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College and Pro Football: This Weekend's Best Bets

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John Wardell
We interrupt this week's football picks (which I swear I'll get to, because I know you want to ride that 3-3 wave I was on last week) for a brief worshipping at the altar of Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner.

We are not even a year into Silver's tenure yet, and already he has eradicated the league of Donald Sterling, actually revealed what's in the league's bylaws and constitution publicly, and been the steward of a new media rights deal that is so lucrative that the league's biggest problem now is figuring out how to properly work in all of the new salary cap space over the next few years.

And now comes maybe his greatest undertaking yet -- the backing of legalizing sports betting in the United States.

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Brett Hartmann Files Revised NRG Turf Lawsuit

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Roy Luck
In a sports world and news cycle that move at breakneck speed, thanks to social media and the 24-hour news cycle, maintaining relevance is a pretty competitive endeavor. It takes a concerted effort to rent space in our brains these days.

That makes it all the more amazing that one of the most prominent ongoing storyline arcs of this Texans season isn't even an actual person (who presumably could make the necessary extra effort to stay front of mind). It's an inanimate object, albeit one that continues to wreak mental and possibly physical havoc upon those who ply their trade on its surface.

Indeed, in the most recent Houston Texans game, at NRG Stadium last weekend, the turf was once again a huge topic after the game, both its condition and the latest non-contact injury to be sustained on the surface.

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