Sunday, November 27, 2016

Houston Texans: Time to Either Blow up the Mess or Send your Money Elsewhere.

"We're still 6-5 and in 1st place in the Division"

"We had a chance to win"

"All we need to do is make the playoffs and then who knows?"

These are the things mediocre teams say to their fan base in attempts to convince them that things are OK. To be honest, in most cases they're probably trying to convince themselves.

But if you believe that everything is A-OK with the National Football League Franchise currently doing business on Kirby Drive in Houston Texas then you're just as much a part of the problem as they are.

This team is a mess. The front office is a mess, the coaching staff is a mess, player/personnel decision-making is a mess, the coaching is a mess, the roster is a mess, the defense is a mess, the quarterback is a (devolving) mess. The Houston Texans, as an organization, are a mess.

Their only saving grace?

They play in the AFC South which contains three franchises that are even bigger messes right now.

But the gap is narrowing.  It's down to one game actually as the Titans improved to 5-6 vs the Texans 6-5. The two teams still have another head-to-head game to play.

The problems are almost too many to list.  But let's give it a shot.

Coaching - Head Coach Bill O'Brien seems completely incapable of either making a creative game plan on offense, or adjusting much during the game. If you take away the runs on 1st and 2nd down this team is clueless. In fact, the highest point total they've had this year is 24 points. 24.  The defense doesn't have an excuse either, despite missing JJ Watt due to back surgery they still have what we've been promised is a cast of talented players. The coaching staff consistently has major problems nullifying what opposing teams do well.  Good defensive staffs can usually do this.

Players - Despite what you hear in local media, this is not an especially talented, or deep, roster. General Manager Rick Smith is starting to hurt the team due to his seeming inability to find NFL quality players in any round other than 1 & 7. The list of bad 2nd and 3rd round draft picks in this team's history is longer than the amount of current drafted players on the roster.

Offense - In short, the Texans barely have one. They rank 30th in total yards, 30th in passing, are near the bottom in points. The only thing this team does well is run the ball (5th in rushing) but they can't score because they are 29th in points. Much of this is due to the horrible play of high-priced free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler who is 27th in the league in total QBR, For the Texans, this is a historically awful offense, reminiscent of the expansion-era offenses.

Fans - You read that correctly, the fans themselves are a big part of the problem for this team. They're a problem because they keep spending money buying tickets, renewing season tickets, and generally supporting this hot-mess of mediocrity that stays the exact same year after year.

You want to improve this luke-warm pile of porridge that masquerades as a team that wants to "compete for and win Super Bowls"?

Start finding better ways to spend your Sundays, and more constructive uses for your season-ticket money. Stop buying jerseys etc. It's not enough to just show up and boo loudly. Bob McNair doesn't care because he's already got you money and is happy being mediocre while his kids spend it.

The only way to drive change, to force this team to get a new front office, revamp the roster and find a quality coaching staff, is to start threatening Cal's children't inheritance. That means it's time for Texans fans to show the team some tough love, by ignoring them in the same manner they did the Rockets and Astros when they weren't trying to build winners.

Don't worry, even if you purchased a PSL you can buy back in should the team get good again.

Consider it a fan intervention.  It's tough, but it has to be done.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

College Football: Takeaways from the first CFP Committee Top 25

First things first:

Until you get to the final rankings, the CFP Top 25 is a rather useless attempt at attention-seeking by the CFP Committee who are trying to manufacture conversation in a sport that really doesn't need the help.  While the College Football Playoff is an improvement over the B(C)S, the weekly dog-and-pony show that is the CFP Top 25 is not.

Second, where the initial CFP rankings DO provide some insight is into the minds of the CFP committee for the current year. It lets us know who they value (or undervalue) and where their irrational biases are going to lie in the coming year.  After the first set of rankings, we know a few things.

 1. It really is Alabama and everyone else. It's so bad that a 20 point loss to Alabama isn't treated as a loss at all to the committee. See aTm at number 4 over what many people think is a better Washington team at number 5.

 2. The committee hears the "S-E-C!!" chants. It really is the saddest chant in the world. Basically it's every other school screaming "We're living vicariously off of Alabama's glory!" but it's a thing now and the committee obviously agrees. Case in point: Auburn's best win is over an Ole Miss team that we only think is good because of one solid half against Alabama (see point 1) yet they're ranked #9.

3. For some schools, the eye test doesn't matter. Michigan has looked much better than Clemson, but the latter is #2. The reason for this is because Clemson's schedule, to date, has been much tougher than Big Blue's.

4. Beating Ohio State is viewed VERY favorably. How else do you justify putting a pedestrian Penn State team at #9?  Outside of that, they've been drilled by every good team they've played.

5. It's better to be a middling Power 5 team than an excellent Group of 5 team. Florida State (5-3) has lost to every good team that it's played. Yet they are ranked one spot above undefeated Western Michigan. Based on this criteria, had Houston stayed unbeaten, they would have been ranked somewhere around 16, even IF they beat Louisville.

6. On that note, the system is hopelessly flawed and always will be. There is no group of 5 representation on the committee, a committee whose sole purpose is to ensure the top conferences, outside of the token NY Six bowl bid for the top ranked G5 conference champ, have a hammer-lock on the CFP.

7. The rankings, are a success. I'm not the only one talking about it. College Football is going mad over the items above and so are all of the media/talking heads.  This will be the last time I mention it until the final poll however. I'm going to let the games play out and not worry about what some insulated panel of football Courtesans think about who the best teams are.

8. Until we get to a system where either every conference champion gets a slot (with two at large) or we move to 4-16 team super-conferences who break away fully from the NCAA we're going to have this mess. It will be best to just watch the games and enjoy college football for the show it is.

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