There is only ONE Oklahoma

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

COT TESTING QUESTIONS at ATL, & some other observations:

  • I believe this was a free and open test session. Why would a team owner not take every approved race team in his stable? I am referring to the RYR 88 car. It was clear during R&D and testing last year that RYR was late building cars in the first place and behind the curve. I don’t understand why this test would not be taken to its fullest advantage.
  • Evernham Motorsports brought two cars for the upstart 10 team, yet only brought one car each for the 9 and 19 teams. Once again, I am not sure why in a free test, one would not bring as many cars as possible. update: I just saw on the Tuesday afternoon speeds that the 19 did indeed bring a second car (although it appears that the 9 only tested one)
  • Just how many race teams does the Cat in the Hat have control over? I have lost count, and with this RYR/Roush alliance or whatever one wants to call it, that number could go over a half dozen. There is only one solution to this problem…..FRANCHISING!
  • In a genius move it looks as though the Penski may opted to move the #2 car owner points to Sam Hornish, thus giving Hornish a free pass into the first five races in ’08. Busch at worse would be able to use the most recent past champion provisional. While it might be more of a risk, I still believe the EMS will take a long look at moving the 19’s owner points to the 10 in ’08.
  • Those darn foreigners are trying to take over the sport. Just a few decades ago there were comments by many of the Nascar faithful, that the ‘Yankees’ were trying to take over the sport, and now with the influx of the foreign born open wheelers, the focus has been shifted to them. One common complaint is that these interlopers have not ‘paid their dues’ in the lesser series. That may or may not be the case, and only time will tell the validity of that claim. But one other sport I noticed also has an alarming number of Japanese players crossing the pond and jumping straight to the Major Leagues. BTW, baseball’s TeVee are on the upswing as well as revenue. Just sayin.
  • Did you see all those Nascar Fans dress up as empty seats last Sunday? I did, but I think there are a few more reasons than the simple ‘Nascar fans are tired of getting jerked around’ theory. You will also see (while not as many) open spaces on the front stretch at TMS this coming weekend as well. But for many, their reason for not attending races live may have more to do with the high cost of travel and lodging (no, not the ticket prices). The region of the race venue and the College Football schedule for that 300 mile radius may have more to do with it. For example, this weekend at TMS, it is the opening of deer season for starters, and more importantly OU/Texas A&M, Okie Lite/TEXAS, Texas Tech/Baylor and Kansas/Nebraska and South Carolina/Arkansas are all drawing from fans that if this race was not during College Football season, would be attending the Great American Speedway.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


At the end of the 2006 season, I posted THIS BLOG concerning how Elliott Sadler seems to have a serious performance issue as the season winds down. This week's addition of the "Southern Gentleman's" IN THE FIELD article pretty much puts an exclamation point to my original premise.

Some one call the Post Office, there is a driver mailing it in.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Where is there a ‘Jayski’ version for college football when you need it? It seems that the rumors are running rampant from human poll discrepancies to coaching changes. But what a fun year it has been watching this crazy season unfold. It seems that on any giving weekend, a loss for your favorite team is a possibility, no matter who your team is playing. Along with that, are the rumors of coaches’ firings and subsequent hiring speculations. Here are a few quick hits in the world of college football:

· Les ‘the hat’ Miles has some big……….
I think ‘the hat’ has been pretty smart and gutsy with a great team. He doesn’t go for every 4th down. They had about 5 opportunities to go on 4th against Auburn last Saturday and they only took it one time.

The ESPN announcers last night were typical and showed that they as a network attempt to ‘create’ a story rather than simply broadcast. LSU snapped the ball with about 7 seconds left, and after the ball was caught there were clearly 3-4 seconds left on the clock. Even if it was incomplete or at worse completed before the goal line and in bounds, LSU had a timeout. Even if the clock guy ran extra clock off, they would have reviewed the play and the refs would have added at least 2 seconds back on the clock for a final FG play.

It was a good gutsy play call. The ESPN announcers didn’t realize that they could review the play to determine whether the clock guy ran too much time off.

· The coaching carousel:
It is starts in Lincoln with the train wreck that Bill ‘slash throat’ Callahan has created. Enter LSU Defensive Coordinator Bo Pelini? The real question might be is would Bo return to Lincoln after not being offered the job 4 years ago when he wanted it. Then add the speculation that Les Miles could very well leave LSU for his Alma matar Michigan very soon after this season is completed.

Still in the Big 12, the debacle in College Station lives on:
Coach Fran honors contracts about as well is the ‘Southern Gentleman’ in Nascar. But this time it just might be a breach of contract that does him in at A&M. Seems the ‘email gate’ is a violation and terminable offense in his contract. The sad part is that A&M is 6-2 and still in the hunt for the Big 12 Championship, although their last for games are all against ranked teams.

Enter Tommy Tubberville and some crazy rumor that he would actually consider leaving Auburn to take the College Station job. I have seen crazier things happen I guess.

Then there is Houston Nutt at Arkansas. It cannot be very good when banners are flown over the stadium at home games that say ‘FIRE NUTT’. Be careful of what you wish for UA fans, you never know who you might get to replace him.

* The BCS….
While I would like to say that the BCS has ruined college football for me, and of course a play-off would be better. (but even with a play-off there would still be very much controversy) I do have to say that the BCS even with all its flaws still makes for a very interesting season. I can beat the BCS to death with the voting issues, the computer poll weirdness and such, but as an OU fan I can throw all that out the window with one thought. “Just don’t lay a fourth quarter egg against Colorado and the BCS wouldn’t look so bad”. The season is just half over and some have given up on the system that EVERY team agreed to play with. And in all honesty, even a TWO LOSS team still has a legitimate chance of making the big dance this year with the remaining games left to play. I still eagerly await Saturdays and watching games and scores throughout the day and I'll be doing it again this Saturday...and OU doesn't even play!. I guess College Football is doing something right!

Monday, October 22, 2007


In most stick and ball sports, the term ‘coach speak’ is something that the head coach uses to help make excuses for his teams performance. Coach-speak, the gruff, clipped, cliché-ridden language of head sports coaches, can be heard on almost any ESPN Sports Center broadcast, but when it comes to NASCAR drivers, the better term might be called ‘team speak’.

The 19 team’s 2007 version of Team Speak:

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)

"We had a good car today, I think a top 15 at least. Unfortunately, that opportunity was taken away from us before we had completed 100 laps. After my crew made all the repairs and we came back out, the car still handled well in the corners and that's the key to success here at Martinsville. The rest of the race, we worked on different things, trying to find anything that could help us at Phoenix. We certainly didn't get the kind of finish our car was capable of today."

Now the Southern Gentleman is not the only driver guilty of such nonsense, (Ricky Rudd used to be the king of Team Speak in his days with the Wood Brothers), but there are some glaring issues from the very beginning of his post race comments. Breaking down a few items, one can see the Team Speak very clear.

“We had a good car today, I think a top 15 at least.”

So starting 14th, and after less than 30 laps have been run, your car falls out of the top 20 is a ‘top 15 car’? To make matter worse, when the unfortunate incident took place, the 19 car was running in the mid to high 20s and didn’t appear to be moving up through the field.

Now it is possible that Sadler was getting this ‘top 15’ idea from how the car ran after repairs had been made, but there is a problem with that as well. There was a comment made over the 19 scanner that the 19 was actually running ‘faster laps than the leader by a tenth a lap’, and while that was a true statement there was a very important omission. The 19 was running these laps on 50 or so lap fresher tires, of course one would expect them to be running some competitive lap times.

'Unfortunately, that opportunity was taken away from us before we had completed 100 laps.'

This a is very true statement on the surface and the result of an over-aggressive entry into turn one by a team-mate no less, and did take any opportunity to see if indeed the 19 car was in fact a ‘top 15 car’. The problem with the statement is how can one really determine where a car should finish with less than 1/5 of the race completed?

Flip the memory card back to the 2005 season at Loudon when the Southern Gentleman from the drop of the green flag had run pretty much every lap in the top 10 or top 5 and also led some laps when with a handful of laps left in the race, was dumped by Mark Martin causing the 38 car to finish multiple laps down. Now that was a ‘top 10 car’. See the difference?

But you are not alone, Elliott. There are about 30 or so other Cup drivers that are guilty of the same Team Speak each week when they claim they had a ‘top 10 car’.

And another sport that I love is full of Team/Coach speak, and 'Lou Holtzing' has become the norm not the exception on Saturdays.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This was a good win, and frankly this game was close to being a blowout win. I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to figure out just how good this Mizzou team is. Their win in Lincoln looked good until the Pokes went up there and shucked the Huskers’ corn. However, it could be said the Pokes are on the rise, or that NU is playing worse each week. I’m not sure what all that means. However good the Mizzou team is, Chase Daniels and his receivers are very solid.

Two pointless fumbles cost OU 14+ points. A take away is one thing, but to fumble when you’re going down and have the ball is pointless. Without those Mizzou is missing two TD’s, plus OU likely get at least one more score from the drives those fumbles cost us. We were not far from about 52-17 or something. Of course Mizzou fans will sit there and talk about their turnovers and what could have been, but their turnovers were forced by good Sooner play and loud Sooner fans.

That being said, Mizzou is at least a good team, if not really good. They have a real shot at winning the North. It appears that KU and KSU are their biggest obstacles. With KU’s softer South schedule they could lose to Mizzou and still make it to the Conference Champ Game. Our best scenario would be for the Jayhawks to win out and bring an undefeated, top 10 team to the CCG. We need the quality win for voters and computers too.

A quick look at the offense. We’re all wanting a more consistent running game, but we all recognize defenses are putting about 8 thousand people in the box to stop our run. That opens up the pass and Bradford made them pay. Good play calling accommodated this. OU kept going back to the run just enough to keep Mizzou honest and pave the way for fourth quarter running success.

I’d like to say something about Bradford that NOBODY IN AMERICA HAS EVEN THOUGHT! The kid is way too cool headed to be just a freshman. He converted something like 10/14 third downs. Did you see how many times he audibled? Perhaps some of those were fake, or signaled from the sideline, but still, he had to orchestrate. He had maybe one or two bad throws. Everything else was Troy Aikman accurate.

It was also good to see Sam tuck it and run a few times. He won’t change the world with his feet, but he’s illusive enough to escape some pressure. And he was very smart about when to run and when to throw.

Dear opposing defenses, please continue to crowd the line so our TE pass game can continue to yield one TD after another. Thank you, Sooner fans.

What about the o-line? They gave up one sack, and that’s with Mizzou blitzing a good bit. The run blocking hasn’t been world beating, but it’s not bad considering the way teams are selling out to stop the run. I don’t know; I can’t shake the feeling we should be running a little better. It seems like sometimes we don’t get as much push as a row of 330 pound men should get. On the other hand, the guys seem to wear down opponents toward game’s end.

While about 2/3 of Sooner fans are running around in circles waving their hands in the air wondering about our defense, let me join the other third in saying our defense played well Saturday evening.

An offense like Mizzou is schemed well and has stud players in key positions. They are going to make some plays. The OU defense schemed to minimize scoring and big plays. Think of the last drive of the first half. Mizzou had to burn a LOT of clock on shorter pass plays and nearly missed their FG opportunity. That’s because our defense schemes to concede the short play and deny the long play. For the most part the defense executed that scheme well. Take away the two gimmie turnover scores and Mizzou only scored 17.

The front four pressured well. McCoy is becoming a bigger factor with each passing week. English is playing so well that it’s taking attention away from the other guys. I suspect part of his success is due to the attention our interior guys require. Opponents can’t afford to double team English.

Lofton had an absolutely huge game in pass coverage, in tackling and of course the fumble/TD. It looked to me like Reynolds didn’t play as much. I know they blitzed him a lot, but maybe they played Baker more in the nick/dime sets.

I think the DB’s played a good game as well. Tackling after the catch was solid. Pass coverage was tight on some of those Mizzou receptions. I know there are times we’re getting burned, but other than a couple of drives, the coverage against Mizzou was solid.

I’ve tried to refrain from commenting on the zebras of late, but a couple of things bear mentioning. First, on the reviews, my wife makes quicker decisions shopping for a new purse for crying out loud! You know you’re going to rule against OU and give the ball to Oregon so just do it already and get it over with. It’s not like pretending to actually look at the film is fooling any of the fans.

Second, when a ball carrier is laying down on his belly at the 2, then reaches the ball out to barely touch the endzone that is not a touchdown. I guess the game could have ended, Mizzou could have gotten their showers then sent a player out on the field with a ball to touch the endzone and the Big 12 would have helicoptered a zebra in right quick to signal touchdown. In the name of loving your mother why can’t they get a call like that right? I know the game is high speed and good refs will miss some tough calls, even some not so tough. But sometimes it gets pretty silly.

Okay, that’s out of our system so let’s all breathe a sigh of relief. We got another tough game behind us and got another ''W" on the record. OU is number 4 in the country right now. (and don't get me started on the 'rankings', frankly it is a joke this year) If we keep winning, the computers should finally fall in love with us and give us a good BCS ranking as well. Other top 10 teams have some tough games in their future. We have an opportunity to win out and beat a respected North team, whether it’s KSU, KU or MU. It’s a tall order, but it’s doable. If this team catches its stride it’s more than doable, it’s expected. With a little help in other games that could very well land us in a big bowl of sugar. Boomer Sooner!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yes, it was a fable

(A friendly rebuttal)

There must be something in the water in Austin! Especially after reading High Groover’s Hypothetical comparing a make believe NFL team(s) and the current happenings in Nascar. If only she had chosen Major League Baseball or even Hockey! So lets dig in, one paragraph at a time.

She begins with:

Once Upon A Time…….

Let’s Pretend that the NFL has fallen upon financial hard times. New football safety rules created by The Commission have forced teams to expend beyond their budgets for new safety equipment and training personnel. The Commission has limited the amount of time a team can access their Commission-owned practice fields, forcing the few football teams with enough left in their kitties to build their own, or suffer in performance during the regular season.

Interesting concept, however the NFL already limits practice and workouts in the off-season, and also during the season as well. If the teams/coaches had their way, ‘training camp’ would begin just a few short weeks after the Super Bowl, and not just a month before the regular season is to begin. See Bill Parcell’s.

Let’s Pretend that as the football season rolls on, it becomes painfully obvious that the only teams who will make it to the playoffs are the few with heavy-duty corporate financial backers – those who could afford the new expenses. In fact, several popular teams had to forfeit games because they couldn’t afford the plane fares and hotel expenses to travel! Sadly, several teams have folded altogether - unable to afford the capital or the stress caused by the "new" rules.

Here is the NFL reality: ‘Revenue Sharing’ and ‘Salary Cap’.
About 2/3 of the NFL's money comes from the TV deal. The players get about 2/3 of team revenue. So, more or less, the TV contract goes to pay the players. The money from the TV contract is share and share alike - the Redskins, Cowboys, Bills, and Packers get identical checks. This money is key to the success of the smaller franchises. Without the TV contract money, there is simply no way on earth that Green Bay could ever field a competitive team.

Let’s Pretend, that in order to survive, my Hometown Professional Football Team (who I’ve supported with my hard-earned dollars and my invaluable loyalty for years) has been contacted by a foreign corporation and offered an avenue to survival – sponsorship $$$. Coincidentially (or not), the Iaintfromaroundhere, gMbH, S.A., Ltd. Corp. also owns an International Soccer Team that at one time in the past was the envy of the planet. Seems the round-ball-with-spots passtime has also gone downhill in the last few years and my new “international” backer is looking for greener pastures – a new place to cash in on the exposure that comes from having their logo plastered all over my team’s uniforms and all over my city’s Super Stadium (which, BTW, is owned by the Commissioner’s sister).

Here is where it really gets good. The NFL offers full, complete and equal among all teams when it comes to licensing and souvenir sales. For some strange reason, I am thinking that the ‘Junior Nation’ would not be too happy knowing that all that stuff purchased at the Souvy Trailer (and every where else) would be used to help the Wood Brother just as equally as D.E.I.

Let’s Pretend that it’s offseason, and I’m looking forward to my team’s upcoming Draft picks – our chance to add the Heissman winner to our roster as well as a few more choice picks from the ranks of Collegiate players (some from my home state) who’ve devoted their youth (and their parents’ life savings) to making it to the pros.


Let’s Pretend that the Commission has decided to allow my Now-Corporate Co-Owner (who now has 51% controlling interest in my team) to forego the draft entirely – opting instead to allow them to fill my team’s ranks from their overseas Soccer team! Their rationale, I’m told, is that these are athletes who are just as qualified to play as our Collegiate hometown boys from U! After all, they can run, they can kick, they can hit things with their heads, and there’s a precedent! Didn’t the Detroit Lions let George Plimpton QB for a quarter way back in 1968? So there!

You want to see some UNDRAFTED NFL players? Just take a look at the 2006 NFL season. Quarterback Tony Romo, running back Willie Parker, fullback Mack Strong, tight end Antonio Gates, guard Brian Waters, center Jeff Saturday, cornerback Rasheen Mathis, punters Brian Moorman and Mat McBriar, place-kicker Robbie Gould and special teamers Kassim Osgood and Brendan Ayanbadejo ALL have one thing in common. They were all undrafted, and all made the pro bowl! Antonio Gates NEVER played a down of football in college either.

NFL history also shows us other examples, players like Jan Stenerud who actually attended college on a Ski Jumping Scholarship and was the first kicker to be drafted solely as a kicker. He is also the only pure kicker in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Let’s Pretend that I’m sitting in my living room, watching the opening season game. My team’s Quarterback is gone (now relegated to coaching Arena Football), replaced by the same superstar soccer guy who used to look down his nose at our “primitive” version of the sport. Our Running Backs are guys we’ve never seen before (with last names we can’t pronounce), and our Fullback, Center, and Special Teams can’t pronounce anything intelligible on camera except the name of the Sponsor! My favorite player – the one I’ve followed since Pop Warner days – is now sitting on the bench on the 4th string, allowing the new “International” players a chance at stardom and TV coverage. Let’s Pretend I’m trying to decide whether or not to renew my season tickets.

There is an omission here I’m thinking, and that omission is the record of said team over the previous couple of years. From the tone of the fable, one can only deduce that said team was mediocre at best.

And finally, Let's Pretend that they lived Blissfully Ignorant Ever After (but with ample capital, a marketing office in New York City, and a Commissioner telling me this is sooooooo good for the sport!).

Let’s Pretend the same thing is happening in NASCAR! No. Wait. We don’t have to pretend anymore, do we?

Actually, the NFL has ‘done it right’ and NASCAR might want to take a page from their playbook. Here is the short list of things that would be good for Nascar.

1) Franchising: Creates over-all stability among teams and allows for the following.
2) Revenue Sharing: There is a reason why in the NFL the teams with ‘deep pockets’ don’t have a significant advantage over ‘small market’ teams
3) Salary Cap: In Nascar, it would be more of a ‘spending cap’, where all teams would be held to an equal budget mainly based on the revenue share.

Now Susan, had your ‘pretending’ dealt with Hockey and the NHL and the things that league went thru before the lockout, I would have been drinking that Austin water with ya! The problem and the points you are making just might have more to do with the bad decisions of the Nascar team owners, not the governing body itself. The Nascar team owners unwillingness to agree to keep costs down with a spending cap, to develop drivers, to even allow for these developing drivers to have a series to show their talent without diluting ¾ of the field with CUP drivers. That just might be the real ‘pretend’ problem.

See ya in a couple of weeks High Groover, we will keep the light on for ya!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blame Canada!

Funny how perception can change when the ‘worm turns’. It was just a few short days ago, some of the more vocal Sadler fans were very adamant concerning the ‘flood of open wheelers’, and more importantly, the lack of experience many of these drivers have at the Cup level.

Quotes such as:

“I feel that no one, and I mean no one, should be able to come into the Cup series without a minimum of 10 starts in the truck or busch series.”

“I think any open wheeler, and like need to do some races in arca, truck, busch before jumping to cup.”

“…all drivers should start at the bottom and work their way up -- even if they're Indy or F1 champions, they still need to start way down in the ranks for stock cars and come up the good ol'-fashioned way. No one deserves a free pass to the elite level of any sport, just because they succeeded at something similar.”

“This guy had no business being on the track for the first time at Talladega of all places. There are plenty of Busch drivers out there that would have loved the chance to race but no, they have to go and get this guy.”

To be honest, these quotes do have merit and make some good points to a degree, but precedent has been set in cases like this many times over. For example, Robbie Gordon’s first Nascar start was a Daytona 500 race; with zero ‘lower series’ starts. I mentioned before that A.J. Foyt never raced a ‘lower series’ race in his career either. Just a few years ago very similar things were being said about the influx of the 'Young Gun' invasion. The simple fact that drivers from other race series are flocking to get Cup rides might tell people that the state of Nascar is really not as bad off as some want to think.

Flash forward just a couple of days with the announcement that Patrick Carpentier will drive full time for Gillett Evernham Motorsports but for some strange reason the quotes and opinions above have been forgotten. Remember, Carpentier only has THREE road course starts, and only one at the CUP level. Even if he raced every BUSCH race left on the schedule, he would not have enough starts to make the ‘ten race minimum’. But like using the Jedi mind trick, 'These are not the quotes you are searching for.... Move along.'

Then there is this quote:

“We have so many young talented drivers in the Busch series that would love a shot at a seat in cup, yet we continue to fill the seats with those from outside, so tell me again what the point of Busch Racing is?”

Interesting question considering when one looks at the current Busch points standings and count on one hand, the drivers who are not attempting to run full time at the Cup level. So I am not sure what this Sadler fan’s definition of ‘many’ truly is.

While the details of the Carpentier signing have not been very specific, it does raise a few questions and has made for some interesting internal situations at GEM. First there is the Ray Evernham quote that, "No one has told me that Patrick Carpentier is the official driver of the No. 10 car next season….Until George Gillett tells me that ... I have not signed a contract or any contract as of yet”. I don’t claim to know the org chart at GEM, but I understand that Ray no longer owns the ‘majority’ of this race team, and most likely his blessing or even knowledge of this deal is not needed.

No sponsor has been announced but chances are Carpentier will draw much attention and will be a sponsorship bonanza, especially to someone in the Great White North. I would say someone like Molson would jump at the opportunity, but I’m thinking Budweiser might frown upon that.

Then there is the dilemma of which team should get the owner points for the first six races in ’08. From a business stand point, it might be prudent to move the 19’s owner points to Carpentier, forcing a more seasoned and pretty good qualifier in Sadler to qualify his way in. If the team as a whole is where they should be, this really should be a non-issue for Sadler. Needless to say, much of this decision maybe made or at least influenced by whom ever sponsors Carpentier.

So from the greatness of South Park, why not just BLAME CANADA!!!!
After all, it will be a perfect catch all excuse for GEM in ’08 if things are not living up to expectations. I use it all the time when my TPS reports are suffering. Just Sayin.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Late Dega Fodder

Hot hot hot!!!
This may have been the hottest fall Dega race on record. Don’t think I have ever been so hot at a track in my life. It seems that pushing up the race date over the past few years have contributed to an unseasonably hot fall day.

Flood of Open Wheelers?
This maybe the single most positive influence to Nascar since the Network TeVee deal a few years ago. But frankly this is nothing new and has been going on for four decades. I know that 19 fans (my self included) were not too happy with the lack of braking Jacques Villeneuve seemed to have in the turn 3 ‘big one’, but to be honest, he was not the only one who had this ‘issue’. Chase or no chase, these drivers have every right to drive if an owner sees fit. Some 19 fans feel that a driver should not be allowed in CUP without a minimum number of Busch/Truck/ARCA starts. But frankly, those starts prove little, and there have been other open wheel drivers make their first 10 CUP starts that included Daytona. (See John Andretti) AJ Foyt never ran a Busch race in his Nascar Career; while Boris Said was only a ‘road course ringer’, until making the FINAL Chase race at Homestead in 2004. The bottom line is: For YEARS, new drivers have been entered into the last few races of the year, to give them a head start for the following season. Yes, some of them have impacted the championship. And some of them have not. That happens across ALL of the series. Brendan Gaughan was running for the Championship in trucks a few years ago, and got taken out by a 1st time driver. He finished 4th in the series. That’s racin.

SPOTTERMAN: the great, the bad, the ugly
The great:
First off, the 19 spotter was not just GOOD, on Sunday, he was GREAT. Even though the 19 received some damaged on the ‘big one’, Spotterman conveyed adamantly just how severe the wreck in front of the 19 was, and helped steer the 19 though without any major damage, it could have been really ugly. But what really sets Spotterman apart from others is his ability to see the other cars and how they are running on the track. It was mid way through the race and the 19 was running in the top 10 but would not get out of line. Near the back of the lead draft there was a run being made on the low line by in spotterman’s own words ‘There are some pretty good cars making a push on the low side. (hint hint hint!) Sadler took hied to those words, and as that run of cars approached the 19 car, he promptly moved in front of them, which allowed them to push the 19 car to the lead. It was a brilliant plate track move and great communication from Spotterman. You are still the best in the business on the spotter stand Brett.

The bad:
I don’t think Spotterman was impressed with the C.O.T.’s performance, especially with his comment of ‘the WHOLE field is running single file’. While he was correct, in that 40% of the race was a snoozer. I am not sure it was the fault of the car, but the fault the drivers. As seen early in the race, and especially the final 15 laps of the race, the 24 and 48 showed that the lower line was a very fast way around the track and a way to move through the field. What I saw was that very few drivers would be willing to team up and make some moves until the 29 car got a few others to do it from the rear of the field. It reminded me of both twin 125’s at Daytona in 2000 where no drivers would get out of line. But with the same aero package the Daytona 500 run just 3 days later offered 2 and 3 wide racing most the race. If the drivers choose not to mix it up, and my not be solely the C.O.T.’s fault. While the C.O.T.’s aero package be tweaked before the 2008 speedweeks, probably, but it may not be needed.

The ugly:
While I am obviously biased in my fandom for College Football. For the life of me, I cannot understand the lack of respect for Spotterman alum’s South Carolina Gamecock football team in the latest polls. I’ll use my beloved Sooners in this example. Both USC and OU each share 5-1 records, but most polls have OU ranked around #5 and USC between #9 and #12. One may not think this is a big deal, but how can the voters ‘penalize’ South Carolina for losing a close game to the NUMBER ONE ranked team in the nation on the road while OU loses to unranked Colorado. So far in this young season, there is no doubt in my mind, that South Carolina should be ranked in at the very least in the top 6 or 7 spots in the country, and should be ranked ahead of OU. The AP poll almost got this right this week, but still ranked OU #6 and USC #7. Those two should be flip flopped at least until next week’s games are played.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cleaning the 'in' box

Got a handful of emails flaming me on why I didn’t give kudos to the ‘top ten finish’ the 19 car had at ‘Dorothy land’ this past weekend. The answer is pretty simple. I didn’t catch the first 80% of the race on TeVee and was forced to listen to the ‘beating’ of MRN while driving back from another commitment.

I did get to watch the final segment and yes, the 19 car was fighting to maintain that top ten, and frankly it was fun to watch. Was it smoke and mirrors because much of the field was off pit sequence and stuck deep in the field? Maybe, but that is something that the ‘Southern Gentleman’ cannot control. What he could control (or seemed to) was a very hard challenge by the 8 car, and proceeded to dispose of the ‘lame duck’ driver. I am sure it was just as refreshing for the 19 team as it was for me to see the 19 car actually pass cars on the track and not in the pits by taking two tires. Maybe this finish is the spark to re-ignite this race team.

Speaking of MRN:
I read and hear all the time, Nascar fans complaining about TeVee race coverage and how ‘great’ MRN does with their radio broadcast. I guess these fans did not listen to the Kansas MRN broadcast. Missed restarts, yellows during commercial breaks and bias coverage to a handful of drivers were the theme of the day. But I guess it is only fair since I defend the TeVee broadcast much of the time, that MRN is simply doing the same thing and cannot ‘predict’ the future. TeVee has the ‘over talker’ with Rusty Wallace, and MRN has the grating voice of Steve Post. I’ll call it a draw.

Play-off baseball on TBS????
I have seen a few complaints that the race coverage after the 2nd red flag was not on Network TeVee because the race was going well over the allotted time. I understand that not everyone race fan has access to ESPN2 but what is ABC going to do? On the flip side, we see Major League Baseball have a ‘play-in’ play-off game and none of the play-off networks would pick up the game and people were forced to watch the game on TBS, and not even in HD.

Off to the Jungle:
Leaving this week for the annual trek to the fall Dega race. This is probably one of my favorite race/sporting weekends as there is nothing better than the Rving at Dega, deep in the heart of SEC country. Added bonuses this year is the debut of the C.O.T. at a plate track, and that the Red River Shootout will be broadcast on local TeVee so I should not miss a down as long as the batteries hold up on the hand held TeVee, while sitting in the Allison Grandstands on the backstretch. (Maybe the best value of a race ticket in Nascar) It is all well worth the 11 plus hour 'beating' of pulling the RV from Dallas to Dega, then back again.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Who saw that coming?

an OU/CU Game Review

Sometimes a team has a game where nothing goes right. Then there are those games that take it to the next level and everything completely goes wrong. OU’s game against CU was just such a game. The Sooners were obviously flat, especially on offense, from the outset.

I thought the playcalling on offense was suspect and a little in a rut, if you will. There was too much running on first and second down then throw on third and long. The run off tackle was decent, but not between the tackles. So it looks to me like you don’t keep calling that inside run. Perhaps more rollout passes and some misdirection or reverse. I’m not sure why we got conservative all of a sudden.

Bradford didn’t do all that bad, though he didn’t have a great game. He had trouble seeing that blitz the Buffs kept using and getting checked to the right play. It’s asking a lot of a freshman QB to make those very consistently. He never threw to Kelly and nobody seems to know why. In his defense, he had some passes right on target that were dropped. Sam played well enough for OU to win.

Patrick had some really nice runs. None of the other guys shook things up that much. Kudos to Pleasant, I think it was, who caught the FB pass and absolutely fought for a first down. Would that the entire offense had fought that hard in the game.

TE’s and WR’s had dropsies pretty bad. The TE passing game was there at times, but the guys didn’t consistently catch. It was really weird how low-energy their performance was.

The defense didn’t play that badly till they got wore out. Part of that is on the offense, but with our rotation, legs should have been more fresh. Perhaps they had an issue going on between the ears like the offense, whatever that issue was.

We got good pressure on blitzes and the front four gave chase pretty good. There was really good tackling, lots of gang tackling. The guys kept stripping the ball more than usual, even early in the game.

CU’s misdirection runs are what killed us. We did not have backside containment on that at all. It was over pursuit that reminded me of 2005.

The DL got good pressure in the passing game and played pretty well against the run till later in the game. Davis got heavy action in relief of Williams. He seemed to have a good game, coming back to tackle on short passes, shedding a block to tip a key pass. I’m not sure if he was the culprit that was out of position on those misdirection plays. Some of that is on the DE, but I never could figure out it was on any one player consistently.

Lofton and Reynolds were all over the place and hitting like a truck. They are excellent tacklers and great in the open field. Lofton dropped a potential INT and CU scored on the next play. There were a lot of little things like that, but they become huge when you look at the final score.

The DB’s were playing okay early, especially Wolfe. Kudos to him for 2 INT’s and great return skills. But as the game wore on we had some real coverage issues. It looked like Walker got burned on a late CU TD. However, as I often say, the coverage schemes are complicated enough that I’m not sure who was struggling. I will say I’ve never been completely sold on Coach BJW as a DB coach. I’m not seeing much to change my mind. Some fans are displeased with Venables as a DC. I think the D has gotten better and plays well for Brent. However, BJW seems to be a better DE coach than DB coach.

The DB’s do tackle really well and are great in run support. Lendy also dropped a potential INT, but is a solid tackler. You gotta give the guy credit there. Harris made a diving play to bat down a pass that was *this close* to being an INT. That’s the story of the game; a bunch of really close stuff that never seemed to click.

Punt/Kick coverage was a little rough, though the CU Kick return guy is a stud. I thought CU was getting by with a little blocking in the back on some of that, but nothing major.

Smith had a little more success returning punts until he had the late muffed punt. That killed us; that’s when I felt certain we’d lose. Iglesias had a bad idea on the one kick return that wound up being a touchback. When in doubt just take a knee. He did have a nice return later for about 25 or 30.

I’m not sure what conclusive evidence the replay refs saw to reverse JI’s late catch, but they put the ball on a plane, flew it to the west coast and gave it to Oregon. You could debate the thing, but not conclusively enough to overturn the call on the field. That was a backbreaker, but the Sooners should not have put themselves in that position to begin with.

Look back at it you people and you will see a lot of nearly and almost. You’ll also see a lot of sloppy and stuff so out of character that it’s creepy. The second half especially was so strange. We’re up 24-7 and everything keeps happening almost like we were destined to lose.

Whatever voodoo was in the air can certainly be shaken off. If this team takes the lessons to heart and pulls back together we’ve got a chance to win the conference. We still control our own destiny. Win out and you’re in the CCG. With a little help, we could even be in the title hunt, though that’s a stretch. The Horns lost too so next week should be interesting. Here’s to hoping we return to early season form. Boomer Sooner!

I have always said that the polls should not come out till at least week five of the season. Most teams have now played five games so here is my top 25:

1. LSU
2. USC
3. California
4. Ohio State
5. Wisconsin
6. South Florida
7. Boston College
8. Kentucky
9. S. Carolina
10. Florida (tie)
10. Oklahoma (tie)
12. Georgia
13. Oregon
14 West Virginia
15. Virginia Tech
16. Texas
17. Missouri
18. Arizona State
19. Hawaii
20. Cincinnati
21. Rutgers
22. Clemson
23. Purdue
24. Kansas State
25. Nebraska