Archive | June 14, 2010

Texas Staying Put- Big-12 Survives

–David Naxon from Dallas

The University of Texas president William Powers Jr. just announced that the school will decline an invite to the Pac-10, and stay put in the Big-12 conference.  

This now means that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State will all stay put in a 10 team conference.  The motivation riding this plan is strictly monetary.  The Big-12 made more revenue last year than the Pac-10, and with only 10 schools now, there is more revenue to share.  Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M can also each earn at least $20 million annually in a new Big-12 TV contract.  

This is great news for a school such as Kansas, whose basketball powerhouse was on the verge of being the darling of the Mountain West Conference, which is something that would obviously drive down the school’s program in several categories.

There are mixed feelings on this topic here in Dallas today, where many Texas fans preferred to come into a conference with schools in cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and Tucson.  That would have given UT a larger viewing audience, and more exposure, but sometimes change can be a bad thing.  Staying put in a conference UT knows they can have success in is probably the best way to go.

This news also leads to Texas A&M most likely staying in the Big-12, as they were rumored to be bolting to the SEC as early as Thursday.  Texas A&M has longed to get out of the shadows of Texas, where they have not had much success, and they believe they would have a recruiting edge if they were the only SEC school in Texas.   But now the the University of Texas is staying put, Texas A&M will be staying put as well. There have also been rumors that the Big 12 could recruit Arkansas (to renew old rivalries) and Utah to be the 11th and 12th teams in a new Big 12.

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Rangers Working On Oswalt Deal

The Rangers are working on a deal for highly sought after Astros righty starter Roy Oswalt and are getting closer to a deal, according to NBC’s Craig Calcaterra.

But with the Rangers in the process of being sold and MLB giving the team a line of credit until the team officially changes hands, so getting the league to approve the $27 million left on Oswalt’s contract is far from a certainty. But getting an ace caliber pitcher would be huge for Texas, who started Monday just a half game ahead of the Angels in the AL West. And with Rich Harden on the shelf, getting Oswalt would be a huge coup for the Rangers.

Oswalt has a no-trade clause which he would surely approve for Texas and there are still a lot of variables and moving parts to address, but this report says that the Rangers could have themselves one of the prizes of the 2010 trading season.

UPDATE- Astros Media Director Alyson Footer talked exclusively with SprungOnSports: “Haven’t heard anything on that. I find it extremely hard to believe that they’ve agreed on players to deal this early before the trade deadline. I could be wrong but that’s usually not how it works. That said, Astros got [Carlos] Beltran around this time in ’04. So it’s possible.”
UPDATE- Buster Olney tweeted that he spoke to a source in the know who said there’s nothing to this rumor.

Germany’s Statement To Other 31 Teams: Bring It On

Last night’s very decisive 4-0 win for Germany over Australia brings with it some important factors. First, the Germans showed they are the most dominant team so far in this World Cup, managing to score four goals in their first match, much higher than anything we’ve seen so far as every game has had 2 goals or less. Next, they made it very clear to the rest of the tournament that they are a force to be reckoned with. Last of all, and most important, by beating up on the Socceroos last night in a match that could have finished 8-0, Germany showed how they will exploit a team’s weaknesses and show no mercy.

If everything goes according to the assumed plan, Germany will face either England or the USA in the next round. After watching last night’s performance by the Germans, either of those teams would have a difficult time stopping Germany’s perfect passes or spot-on crosses that brought their 4 goals yesterday.

As of now, before we’ve seen Brazil, Spain and the defending champs Italy play, Germany is the team to beat. That’s right, Germany.

The way they played last night, it seemed as though they had walked into a playground and took on some grade school kids. They kicked around the ball perfectly from boot to boot, waited for the perfect moment to strike, and like a lion crouched in the grass pounced at the perfect time to assault Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Everything they did was patient and precise, and they were in complete control of every pass and every step of the match. German striker Miroslav Klose, who connected on a header for the second goal, easily could have had 2 more goals last night and just barely missed the net. In his bid for a repeat Golden Boot trophy (for most goals in the World Cup), Klose is a threat any time he gets close to the net.

I know most of the talk about who’s going all the way is circulating around Spain, Brazil and Italy, but Germany has a very deep and skilled team, and they are as precise as any. They will annoy their opponents with their seemingly endless patience as they did last night against Australia.

The Germans are a solid squad with goal-scoring their top priority, and they know how to do it. Watch out.

MLB Thoughts & Theories 6/14

-Jorge Posada’s second grand slam in as many days led the Yankees to a 9-5 win over Houston in rainy New York City to tie Tampa Bay for the major leagues’ top record after the Rays were stymied by Chris Volstad and the Marlins in a 6-1 loss. The Yankees’ easy schedule allowed them to fatten up their record, but the defending NL champion Phillies and the extremely hot Mets are up next.
-The NBA Finals and the Tonys took away from the Cubs and White Sox battle royale pitchers duel at Wrigley. Gavin Floyd and Ted Lilly both had no-hitters going into the bottom of the 7th, when Alfonso Soriano doubled to break up Floyd’s end. Chad Tracy then singled for the game’s only run, but Lilly didn’t allow a hit until Juan Pierre singled to lead off the 9th. For two pretty pathetic teams playing for the even more pathetic BP Cup, it was a great day in the dimmed spotlight of Sunday’s ESPN game and one of the best pitchers duels of the year.
-The Angels are just a half game behind Texas for first place in the AL West after LA got their first ever sweep at Dodgers Stadium 6-5 behind homers from Torii Hunter and Mike Napoli, who’s filling in well at 1B for Kendry Morales. Anaheim has won 10 of 12 and seem to be doing better without Morales and all the credit in the world (as usual) needs to go to manager Mike Scioscia.
-After the losses by San Diego and Los Angeles on Sunday, the Giants pulled within 1.5 games of first place in the NL West after a 6-2 over Oakland to sweep the final leg of the Bay Bridge Series. Matt Cain got the win and has been incredible over the last month, allowing just two earned runs in last 41 innings pitched. Cain has been able to pick up Tim Lincecum’s slack in the rotation and the pitching rich Giants are hanging around in that division.
-St. Louis continues to struggle on their west coast trip with their 6th loss in seven games after falling to Arizona 7-5 on a walkoff homer by Chris Young. It took a complete game from Zach Greinke to prevent the Reds from gaining ground in the two-team NL Central reace as the Royals won 7-3. The Cards have a very average offense this year and their pitching has shown a lot of holes over the last few weeks. Unless GM John Mozeliak makes some move, it seems like they’ll have a very average team the rest of the year.
-Atlanta stayed red hot on Sunday behind Kris Medlan in a sweep of the Twins but could not gain ground on the scorching Mets, who won their 9th game in 11 tried behind Mike Pelfrey 11-4 in Baltimore. Philadelphia finally broke out of their Red Sox funk with a 5-3 win that kept them 3.5 games behind the Braves.

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