What I Saw on Saturday

Because the the regular weekend rain we had in Houston on Saturday I was pretty much locked into the house and watched more football than I normally do.  I am usually only a viewer of the Texans game on Sunday and will check in if the University of Houston or Rice or Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor or TCU are playing.  The latter two are only on my “check-in” list because they have been having such good seasons.

But yesterday I watched all the the Houston-Cincinnati game.  The Cougars were one lucky team to stay unbeaten.  When they could put pressure on Gunnar Kiel they were fine.  But when the big guy had any time to throw Houston was in big trouble.  Kiel put on quite a passing show.  Meanwhile the Cougars offense was likely as ineffective as it has been all year.  Without some Cincinnati turnovers and dumb plays and officials errors the Bearcats could (should they would say) have won the game.

Kiel’s huge passing numbers reminded me of another game the Cougars won despite the other QB going wild.  Ed Biles and I were calling the game from the Astrodome in 1990 when TCU’s Matt Vogler threw for 690 yards against the Cougs.  Houston won that one because David Klinger connected on seven touchdown passes!

Had the 2015 Cougars lost Saturday that would have been a real downer for next week when unbeaten Memphis came to town.  But, oops!  Memphis is no longer undefeated.  Navy sank their boat later on Saturday. But Cougar fans can’t take much heart in that.  A wounded animal (Memphis) is often much more dangerous than a healthy one.  If the Cougars don’t watch out the Tigers can still easily win a catfight with them next week. And Navy, though, like Memphis, has only one loss and they are also on the Houston future schedule.

If Houston is going to make it undefeated to the AAC title game they will certainly have earned it.

Meanwhile over in the Big12 which doesn’t have a championship game TCU’s loss has likely eliminated the school from national championship contention.  Actually Oklahoma State elevated itself into contention thanks to their convincing win over TCU.  The Cowboys, like Baylor, remain unbeaten.  One of them will win in their upcoming head to head meeting.  The winner will be the B12 champ and rightly represent the league in the final four.  But who gets left out?   In the SEC LSU is on the bubble after being defeated by Alabama which now is the favorite to win the West and also be the favorite in the SEC championship game.  A division runner up surely can’t make the final four and even a championship game winner should not be by-passed.  However, that could happen some day if one half of a league is deemed much weaker than the other and an upset took place in the championship game.  Personally, I think that would be very wrong and only league champions should be eligible for final four spots.  No one has asked me to make the rules though.

Of course, if that were written in stone as the case then these polls have even less value.  If two SEC teams are in the top four what good is that if only one can make the show?  Furthermore if the championship of the league was going to decide which was eligible what does the poll really mean?  With only four slots one of the Big 5 conferences will be left out annually.  Last season it was the Big 12.  Who will fail to make the cut in 2016?

Nice that the Rockets won late in LA last night to climb over .500 at 4-3.  Great numbers for Harden and Howard, but this team surely doesn’t play well together yet at all.  Perhaps when the team has all their “bigs” back and playing things will look better.  Right now each game is such a scramble…

Astros offered Colby Rasmus an offer sheet.  That means three things.  First if the wish they are now eligible to enter the bidding for the free agent.  Second, if Rasmus doesn’t get the sort of offers he wants he has a guaranteed home in Houston for 2016 at just under $16-million for one season.  And third, if Rasmus signs with someone else the Astros will receive a draft pick as compensation for losing him.

The majority of insiders seem to think the third option is what the Astros really want, but if Rasmus does take them up on the offer sheet they will be OK with it for just one year.

Don’t know if you have noticed but post season baseball is being played in Korea and Japan still.  An all-star like series involving several teams from around the world is underway.  A number of MLB scouts are in the stands since some of the players are eligible  for “posting” and possible signing.  Others are being watched for the future.  A brand new domed stadium in Seoul was used to get things started.  A similar stadium in Sapporo, Japan, was used last night.  Good thing they have one in Sapporo.  That is in the North  and it is ski country.  The 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics were staged there.

I am proud of my college alma mater, Butler University in Indianapolis for all its success in college basketball over the last 15 years.  Now in the Big East the experienced NCAA tournament school has seen interest in the program boom.  Indiana, is dominated by graduates for Indiana University and Purdue University, but Butler has had the most successful hoops program for most of the last decade.  Last night they played the second of two pre season exhibitions before a sell out crowd and live local television.  The local guys aired the game because it will be their last chance.  All but one of their regular season games will be aired nationally by FS1, CBSSportsnet, FSN, Fox or ESPN.

When I was in school Gary Nash and I were the first announcers to air all the games on local radio!

Today’s project–with no Texans action–will be to see if they can take first place in the AFC South by having the day off.  Colts lose and they are in!  By the way, while I went to school in Indianapolis and grew up in Central Indiana I am not a Colt fan or follower.  I was gone before they packed up the truck and snuck out of Baltimore.  My boyhood had me as a Chicago Bear fan.

Final thought:  Did you know Bob Harrison, who later played several years in the NBA in the early days, once scored 139 points in a single game?  It was an 8th grade battle between his Lagrange Junior High and Arch Street Junior High.  Bob not only scored 139 but scored ALL of his team’s points in a 139-8 win.   James Harden, despite taking most of the shots and scoring most of the points for the Rockets still has a long way to go!


About gregclucas

Author, "Baseball-Its More Than a Game" available through Amazon.com, BN.com or by order. Veteran sportscaster with extensive play by play experience in MLB, NBA and college sports. "Houston to Cooperstown- The Houston Astros' Biggio & Bagwell Years" is available at many Barnes and Noble stores, Costco, Sam's Club and other selected locations. Also can be ordered through Amazon as hard copy of Kindle.
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