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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas!

We did our annual football road trip this year in Texas, during the weekend of September 18 - 20. We added a Rangers/Angels game on Friday night and our trip gave us the full Lone Star state experience, and proof that everything is indeed bigger in Texas.

Friday night we did the Rangers vs. Angels baseball game in Arlington. Our hotel was literally across the street from the stadium - a beautiful ballpark. After discovering we had the wrong tickets, because of my blunder, we immediately picked up new ones from the 'ticket broker' on the corner for $20. It all worked out! The seats were great, the game was fun and the Angels prevailed, 2-0 to increase their AL West lead and crush the Ranger hopes of post season play. A drunk in front of us kept trying to get the crowd to chant 'we want October'. A Navy vet talked our ears off. The beers were tasty! Hungry, we went to the hotel bar for food. The food was marginal and the atmosphere was dead.

Saturday we drove to Austin for Texas/Texas Tech football game, after a hilarious battle with the GPS system in our car. We check in to the hotel and were immediately surrounded by burnt orange. We were officially in Longhorn Country. A few Tech fans were present, but it was a sea of orange. It was hot in Austin, and since we were in Texas, we did the obvious; we hit up a highly rated BBQ joint. It was surprisingly average. "This isn't life changing" to quote Josh. We all agreed, although Scott actually went back for seconds.

We hit up the student store on campus and it was sensory overload - a mad crush of people and waves of burnt orange everywhere you looked. It was awesome. Picked up a Texas jersey and other garb and we headed off to the stadium to get our tickets at will call. Got our tickets and made a mad dash to a beer garden to 'prep' for the game. That meant four beers in five minutes. I received many text messages from friends alerting me that Washington had just upset #3 USC, 16-13. That meant more beers! Then it was off to the game. On the way to the stadium we witnessed a random Florida Gator fan waving a Gator towel and singing their praises. It was random and hilarious. Inside the stadium an usher let us get near the field for pictures - literally the front row. The teams entered the field right in front of us. It was awesome. Our seats were great (thank you UT Athletic Dept!) and our neighbors friendly. Attendance was a record crowd of over 100,000. I expected a blowout but Tech played tough and kept it close. The Longhorns won, 34-24, but Colt McCoy was not overly impressive, going 24 for 34 for 205 yards. Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts threw for 420 yards in the loss. It was a great game, great fans and an amazing atmosphere. Back at the hotel we went to the bar for food. Apparently they close the kitchen on Saturday nights at 12:00. No room service, nothing. They offered us popcorn. We declined.

Sunday we drive back to Dallas and catch the end of the Jets victory in our hotel and head to Dallas for the Sunday Night game vs. arch rival New York Giants. We went to the Sheraton Hotel and parked for free, just a few blocks from the stadium. It was awesome. We tailgated with Cowboy fans who were fun and engaging. When asked if they believed Tony Romo could 'get them to the Super Bowl', they all resoundingly said no. Ironically, three of them were wearing Romo jerseys. It was hilarious. Oh, and it was HOT! We made our way to the stadium. The brand new Dallas Cowboy's Stadium. Yes, it is impressive, inside and out.

The atmosphere was that of a rock concert - fun, festive and enormous. Inside it was gleaming and new with plenty of amenities and pretty good food. It was not cheap, though. We managed to go places we probably weren't supposed to go; we worked our way into a luxury suite (our seats were better), the Cowboy's locker room, George Bush walk by us, and got pic's taken with one of the refs in the tunnel. No one even questioned us. The team store was impressive. The game was a blast and the Giants ended up spoiling Jerry Jones Stadium debut as Eli manning marched the Giants down the field in crunch time to kick the game winning field goal. The fans were disappointed, but it was a great experience for us. The attendance was an NFL record - over 105,000 were there. Unfortunately the hype over the new stadium overshadowed the game. But it's true what they say; everything is bigger in Texas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Is This Sooner Bawling?

Give OKCBlunder your best take on why this 'lil shaver's cryin'!

Like this:

Oh no, the horror! On my left are Uncle Joe's nuts, on my right is Aunt Bertha's butt, and in front of me is the horror of Sooner football! Dear God, take thine eyes! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Monday, September 14, 2009

13 Thoughts on the Week in Football

1. Too much booth reviewing going on. I saw two college games where fumbles were challenged or reviewed - even though they were recovered by the fumbling team - the result wouldn't have changed possession or made any difference. Wasting time.

2. The Patriots and Bills desperately need to stick with those throwback uniforms - so much better than their current abominations.

3. USC is still the real deal. A lot of turnover on the team but a freshman led them to victory at Ohio State. Impressive. They should crush Washington this weekend.

4. Ohio State still cannot win the big game.

5. Denver Broncos have already experiences their season highlight. They better enjoy this win - they'll be few of them this season.

6. In the NFC West, San Francisco looks much improved and tough; The Cardinals look to be slipping - as expected (c'mon, they're the Cardinals); The Rams look horrible and Seattle looks improved and potentially very dangerous - but how real will they turn out to be?

7. Sucks to be in Chicago - losing that heartbreaker to the Packers while their receivers embarrass themselves, Cutler throws four picks, and Erlacher is out for the season. Ouch.

8. Drew Brees is the man. He toils in near anonymity - yet never complains while hanging up Hall of Fame numbers. Go Saints! I want them to succeed just for him!

9. How much longer does Jake Delhomme have a job?

10. Sure, Tennessee broke the jaw of UCLA's quarterback, but it was UCLA who smashed Tennessee in the mouth - winning in Knoxville and proudly representing the PAC 10.

11. Can Oregon make a run after that Boise State loss? Can Cal make as run at USC this season? Can anyone else win the PAC-10?

12. Washington tasted victory for the first time since 2007. The question is this; how long until WSU, a truly embarrassing program, wins their next game? What year?

13. Any questions about Mark Sanchez? I didn't think so. That offense has some weapons. Yes, the Jets will lose some games, but they are for real. That defense shut out a potent Houston offense.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off Season Thoughts on The Blunder

Going into the new season the Blunder should likely be a better team than last season. Of course, making that prediction about a 23-win team is a no brainer - even if that team is run by village idiot, Clay Bennett.

Short term; James Hardin - a decent pick up in the draft. Frankly, there's no perfect fit in a thin draft - outside of their dream scenario Blake Griffin. But Griffin is a Clipper and Hardin is a Blunder. Deal with it. No one knows how he'll fit in until game time. He's a good athlete - chemistry remains to be seen.

The Blunder should be able to climb near the .500 mark this season - another year of playing together and consistent coaching will help. Dumping worst-possible-coaching-selection-of-all-time PJ Carlisimo will surely help. We all know he was never selected to make the Sonics/Blunder good - but a scape-goat/stop-gap until Bennett and his ilk could pry the team from a City that refused to be strong-armed into wasting mega-money on foolish investments. Scott Brooks should be able to gleen 35-40wins from this group of young athletic players. I don't see a playoff appearance for the Blunder next season - they simply do not have the right elements to make a strong enough push - their inside presence is lacking as is overall experience. That'll be tough to overcome in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

A very surprising, and potentially ominous indication of the Blunder's future can be traced back to last season; very few sellouts. Only 18 out of 41 home games were sold out in the Blunder's inaugural season in OKC. Is it because they weren't winning? Lack of local NBA interest? Financial inability of the local market to support the team? Truth be told, all those things probably factored into it.

Looking down the road I see the Blunder playing out their time in OKC and moving on to another city - probably in five years when the Ford Center escape-clause can be triggered, and I think it will be. The team is destined to be a money loser - and poor decisions on things as simple as name and uniforms will doom this team. Sure, the local fans will try and counter that argument with their rose colored view of the world. But the fact is that the Blunder needed someone to create a smarter and more desirable brand to consumers outside of the OKC market - a savvy name and uniforms/color scheme/logo would absolutely increase the teams merchandise outside of the local market. As is, they are bound to only be appealing to the locals, resulting in a revenue stream minimized because of small-minded thinking. You can argue that it make no difference - that these things are trivial. And they may be. But if you look at the bigger picture - it's indicative of this ownership group's inability to maximize the situation.

The Blunder will play on the brink of being competitive for a couple of years - keeping fans hopes alive - and even expanding and growing the fan base locally. However, non-sellouts, shrinking TV money and a gloomy merchandising forecast, make me conclude that this team will lose money steadily until Bennett, etal will finally relinquish it to a more capable and smarter group. I just don't believe they expect to have a team there in the long run. Hope the fans get their money's worth while they are there and that they don't get jilted too badly - like the City that's already paying for upgrades to an Arena for a team that won 23 games. Clay worked a great deal for a desperate town - and they'll pay for it. Right up until the moving trucks haul the team away in a couple years.