Game Time: Thanksgiving Leftovers -- Longhorns Vs, Aggies, Sports-Talk Shuffle, Best Bets

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I want to belatedly thank everyone who listens to my show (3-7 weekdays on 1560 The Game, just in case), thank everyone who takes the time to read my posts here on Hair Balls, and thank all of the athletes, coaches, and fellow broadcasters who continue to do outlandishly stupid shit every day so I have something to talk/write about. Also, a huge thanks to our troops deployed throughout the world who defend our freedom to do everything we do, outlandishly stupid and otherwise. God bless all of you.

Fortunately, I awoke from my tryptophan-induced coma just in time to get down on Texas A&M +21, err I mean to watch the spectacle that was Texas versus Texas A&M. A few thoughts on the game...

-- THAT'S the Colt McCoy that everyone had been waiting to see all season. Texas has not run nearly as many designed run plays for McCoy this season (would love to know if Sam Bradford's getting hurt in the first half of the first game of OU's season has had anything to do with that strategy -- we'll probably never know), so his opportunities to show his all-around    game (arm and legs) have been fewer. That, combined with a schedule that has not really been "Heisman Moment" conducive, has made McCoy a fringe top 3 guy most of the year. Truth be told, he's been paddling against the stream since October 17 when he looked very pedestrian against OU, and Mark Ingram was piling up 246 yards against South Carolina. But last night, he was the real deal. The most impressive stretch for me wasn't the long TD run, but the drive at the end of the half. Seven plays, 64 yards, momentum-squashing touchdown going into the half.

-- For the record, if I had a Heisman ballot right now, it would look like this:

1. Mark Ingram
   2. Colt McCoy
   3. Golden Tate

But alas, I do not have a Heisman ballot. I do think that, despite many a Longhorn and college football fan thinking that the Heisman is Colt's for the "career achievement" taking, Mark Ingram getting a chance to go against Florida's defense in the SEC championship game will actually be the tipping point. Big game there, Ingram wins; Ingram gets shut down against Florida, Colt wins. I think it's that simple.

-- Two things that totally entertain me about Mack Brown -- first, I love how when something game-changing occurs, he pulls out a miniature piece of paper and scrawls something down on it. I would KILL to know what he writes down; honestly, I'd pay $500 easily on eBay for the paper from any game this season. For example, last night on the first A&M drive, Jerrod Johnson hits Jeff Fuller for a 70-yard touchdown. Mack immediately pulls out his little paper and writes something down. What did he write? "COVER FULLER"...."Memo to self: Tell defense not to give up 70-yard TD's"...."KUNG FU FIGHTING! THAT'S THE SONG I COULDN'T GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!"  Seriously, I want to know!

Secondly, Mack Brown's reaction to every play is the same -- come up from his hands-on-knees, bent-over crouch and give the "hands out in front, LET'S GO clap-clap-clap-clap-clap." Touchdown, Horns? CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-LET'S GO-CLAP-CLAP....15-yard personal foul? CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-LET'S GO-CLAP-CLAP. It makes me wonder, what exactly does a UT player have to do to NOT get a "Let's Go!" clap from Mack? Bong hit on the sideline? Attempted murder? I have an image in my head of Mack Brown waiting in the street after Sergio Kindle drove his car into that building last spring and when Kindle gets out of the car, Mack is going "It's ok Sergio...let's go"...CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP..."It's the car's fault...let's go..." CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP....

-- Kickers....A&M kicker Randy Bullock (who one of my Twitter followers called a "calzone with legs") missed a field goal that would have cut Texas' lead to seven with a few minutes to go and kept hope alive for A&M. Hey, happens to the best of us, granted this one was a 23-yard attempt, which I'm pretty sure my daughter could have made. Anyway, Bullock effectively takes all the wind out of the A&M sails with players on A&M visibly upset. So instead of being a "good little kicker" and just taking his helmet off so he could resume working on crosswords or exchanging recipes with the punter again, Bullock goes over to the kicking net and starts taking practice kicks. DUDE, the game is OVER! Because of YOU!  There will be no more field-goal attempts in the game! YOU DON'T NEED TO SHOW US HOW MUCH YOU CARE!! False hustle, BULLOCK! Now go eat your plate of spaghetti-o's and hope Von Miller doesn't use you as a tackling dummy next week.

-- I'm still waiting for a player or coach to make a comment to Erin Andrews about her unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on your point of view) "peephole video being put on the internet" thing. You know, nothing overly flashy, just something along the lines of when EA says "Nice performance," the player/coach says "Hey, you too" and winks at her. I think we may need some financial prodding to get someone to do this. Expect a telethon-like collection for this purpose sometime soon on my show.

All you need to know about the fluid nature of sports-talk radio in Houston is that with Matt Jackson and Adam Wexler deciding to say "Adios" to Sports Radio 610 and take up shop down the dial at 790 The Sports Animal, John Harris and myself (two guys who three years ago were not in the radio business) are now the longest running duo uninterrupted in the Houston market.Yes, I know that distinction is a tad skewed because I am (a) counting John and Lance on our station as having been "interrupted" for a few months while Lance was sitting out his non-compete with 610, and (b) technically I am not counting the wall that Charlie Palillo has stared at since 2005 as a person. My point is that the only certain thing in sports talk with four stations in the market is uncertainty.

As for Matt and Adam, I count both of them as friends and people in this business that I respect. I've seen a lot of the comments online from listeners when this news broke, and some are a bit befuddled as to why Matt and Adam would make this move, since both were with the Texans, Rockets, and Longhorns flagship (and Wexler having the "Jim Foley" seat on the Rockets broadcast team).

I'll caveat here by saying I've only exchanged congratulatory texts with each of them, and haven't asked them the reasons behind their decision, but if I had to break it down, there are many sound reasons for both of them to make this move.

First, understand that in talk radio (and probably radio, in general), morning drive is the money spot. It's the reason why people who have those slots forego a normal sleep schedule, and the reason why I've tried unsuccessfully to run over John Granato and Lance Zierlein in our parking lot. Other day parts are good, but morning drive is generally considered the destination slot. To make a sports analogy, morning drive at a good (or potentially good) station would be like the Florida, USC, Texas, or Notre Dame jobs. So essentially Matt Jackson is leaving Cincinnati and Wex is leaving TCU, and they're getting to do a show together, which I'm sure both view as a positive. For those new to the market, they had a pretty sweet nighttime show about ten years ago on 610.

Two other check marks in the "FOR" column as to why I think this makes sense for both.  First, both are young guys with families. Morning-drive hours are WAY more conducive to having a normal family life. Second, have you seen the ratings for 790? They're getting killed in the 25-54 male demographic (which is the demo on which most advertising-buying decisions
are based), especially in the morning. If Matt and Adam bring a fraction of their audience along with them, they could easily double 790's performance in that timeslot in short order.  They're coming in on the back end of three months of Ted DeLuca and the random listener of the day! Nowhere to go but up!

As for the whole "leaving the Texans/Rockets/Longhorns flagship" argument, I'm not gonna say that there aren't advantages to having sports teams on your station, but it can sometimes be restrictive in just how critical you can be of those teams. I could see where feeling like you can now say anything, particularly about the Texans, would be somewhat liberating.

Again, these are all my "outsider looking in" reasons as to why I think it's a sound move for Matt and Adam. I think it's a really good move for 790, and that 610 will regret that they had this combination right in their own house and chose to do nothing with it. Another football analogy -- 610 basically let all the time run off the clock and then spiked the ball with no time left. (Yes, a Les Miles blast on 610 management. Happy Holidays.)

Anyway, congrats to Matt and Adam. I'm rooting for John and Lance, but I'm happy for you guys. You understand.

As always, before we give out this week'd picks that will make your bookie quiver, we go back and look at just how mediocre I was the week before. Without further ado:

Boise St -23 vs Utah State (Boise St 52-21, WINNER!)
Oklahoma/Texas Tech over 53.5 (Tech 41-13, WINNER!)
Arizona +6 vs Oregon (Oregon 44-41, DAMN I'M HOT! WINNER!!)
Vand/Tenn under 45 (Tenn 31-16, SO I LOST ONE...)
Detroit -3.5 vs Cleveland (Detroit 38-37, OK...TWO...LOSER)
Wash/Dallas over 41.5 (Dallas 7-6, SHIT, NOT EVEN CLOSE, LOSER!!)

Record Last Week: 3-3
Record on Hair Balls: 11-12-1

Okay, that's it, we're going at least 4-2 this weekend.  Here goes...

Nevada +13.5 vs Boise St
Texas Tech -20.5 vs Baylor
Florida St +24.5 vs Florida
Navy -9.5 vs Hawaii
Texans +3.5 vs Colts
Vikings -10.5 vs Bears

Happy rest of the Thanksgiving weekend to all and to all a good night!

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