Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Eggs

Winkler outpitches this guy's sweet 'stache

Last night was a fairly disapointing, if not completely expectedly so, sports night for me. I mean honestly, you had to know that the Blazers would put up a fight and take Game 3 at the Rose Garden and I think we all knew all along that Johnathan Gray would pick UT*. That's why I was focusing more on the Frogs' game against UNLV and the second superb pitching showdown between Kyle Winkler and Rebels' ace Tanner Peters, who was apparently an extra in Deadwood.

If TCU is going to make another run in the postseason, it's going to be without Kaleb Merck and now possibly without Matt Purke. They're going to need some younger guys step up, but it starts at the top of the staff with Winkler, who's been nothing but outstanding this year.

Once the Frogs get to the conference tournament and the NCAA Regionals (and hopefully further), they are going to need someone that can eat up innings and outpitch other elite pitchers, which is exactly what Winkler did last night with a complete game with the equally-dominant Peters on the mound for UNLV. His performance not only gives the Frogs the series-opening victory that eluded them last time out against the Rebels- it also means the entire rest of the depleted TCU pitching staff is fresh with 4 games in the next 5 days...a scenario that will be a distinct possibility again in the postseason.

Erik Miller, who has personified this team's inconsistency so far this season, is slated to start tonight in Game 2 against UNLV. With Purke now gone, Miller is the pitcher this team needs to forget his early-season struggles the most and hurl some quality innings down the stretch. Hopefully tonight will be a turning point for him.

*-in all seriousness, though, I congratulate Gray on his choice and wish him nothing but the best in his college career. UT is a good school and Austin is a kick-ass city, so I'm sure he'll have a great time. It woulda been nice for the Frogs to get him, but I think we'll be alright.

Friendly Advice for Johnathan Gray.

Seriously, stay out of moving vehicles with this guy.

As a fan of college football, I want to be one of the first to offer Aledo's Johnathan Gray a HEARTY round of CONGRATULATIONS for hitching his cart to one of the most STORIED programs in all of college football, The UNIVERSITY of TEXAS. Even though you picked against the hometown TCU Horned Frogs, the only in state team with forward momentum AND unlimited upside, we at SpitBlood just want to demonstrate that there are no hard feelings by offering some sage words of advice for the four years you're going to waste in Austin. Did I say waste? I meant BLOSSOM.

First of all, buy PLENTY of Icy Hot and have a standing Sunday morning reservation on the trainers table because, for all their stars and accolades, those poor offensive linemen couldn't run block against Dallas' All-Girls Ursuline Academy. And they don't even have a football team! Just ask Fozzy Whittaker, Vondrell McGee and the battered assortment of other former top rated running backs who had their careers derailed because of that line fail. And Tre Newton! He actually had to QUIT football because his body was so destroyed by missed blocks and a complete absence of second level blocking. I by no means intend that comment to suggest that I wish harm on Gray. Far from it as, after watching last year's 5-7 campaign, I'm genuinely kind of worried for his safety.

Secondly, if any current or former Longhorn football players call and ask if you want to hit the town, remember to input the name and telephone number of your preferred bail bondsman and legal counsel because chances are you're gonna need it! Most UT athletes haven't met a car they aren't willing to drive drunk, a police officer they aren't afraid to disrespect, or a stranger they aren't willing to assault, almost always resulting in a night of lockup. And while I think you have a better head on your shoulders than just about anyone else on that team, seeing as how you chose UT as your preferred college football destination, I have to apply the scrutiny that comes with it. Here's a handy dandy guide of the upstanding citizens who have worn the longhorn on their temple

Third, when you undoubtedly make it to the NFL, hire a financial advisor whom you trust to invest that first paycheck well, because if history proves true your second one may not be quite as lucrative. Did you see the Ricky Williams 30 for 30 special on ESPN? He was just as highly touted, if not more so, than you currently are coming out of high school, won a Heisman and was a top pick in the NFL draft. Now? He's a family neglecting pot head who gave up the dream to become a holistic medicines expert and masseuse and is mostly remembered for derailing the entire New Orleans Saints organization for a decade and quitting the NFL so he could smoke dope. Sure, he's seen the field with the Toronto Argonauts and the Miami Dolphins, but he doesn't do it because he loves the game, he does it because he's broke. And Cedric Benson! WOW! His story is shockingly similar to yours - Texas high school football legend who was seemingly unstoppable at that level who then translated that success to college football... and then hopefully this will be where your stories diverge, because Benson went from first round draft pick to playing on a minimal salary in CINCINNATI of all places! And you know when you wind up in Cincy you're officially at the end of your NFL rope. Sort of like Williams, Benson decided he enjoyed his extra curricular vices more than he enjoyed contributing to his team, such as driving while intoxicated, a favorite pastime of his trumped only by his all time #1, BOATING while intoxicated! These two are the product of the enabling environment you'll encounter under the Mack Brown regime where anything goes as long as you're helping contribute to that $5 million annual salary! See what you have to look forward to?!

Fourth, when you see Coach Brown do that thing where he flips up his headset, drops his hands to his knees and tightens his lips into that sour smirk after a fumble, don't be afraid - he'll get over it as long as you're putting butts in those seats! Of course, with one of the more fickle fan bases in the country, there's no guarantee that those 100K+ seats are going to be filled week to week, as thoroughly demonstrated by last year's Iowa State debacle where fans were practically begged to attend the games and still refused. It's one of the main issues when your fan base is determined by the most rolled back price on merchandise at Wal Mart that week. But back to Mack - he's really a big ole softie! I mean, Greg Davis was employed YEARS past his prime because Mack was just such a nice guy, and did you SEE what his son in law did in the Holiday Bowl? What a big dumb boner! The fact that Garrett Gilbert is even allowed to compete for the starting position this year says a lot about his integrity to his word. You should do just fine...

Except, OH WAIT - I have a fifth point, which coincides with the 5 stars on RB Malcolm Brown's chest, who was Johnathan Gray before Mack even knew who Johnathan Gray was! And he's going to have a full year of starts under his belt before you even set foot on campus! And, just as Mack told you, I guarantee he told young Malcolm that he only has eyes for him and that he's the future of football at the University of Texas. This raises a dilemma- how can HE be the future if YOU'RE the future as well? Well, just ask poor Chris Whaley, who was Johnthan Gray and Malcolm Brown before either of you were the apples of Mack's eye. I hear he's doing well on the bench and looking more like a linebacker or fullback these days.

Continuing our numbers game, my sixth word of advice pertains to 6th street, or as I like to call it, Herpesville. Oh, it's a glamorous place for a 18 year old football star - bright lights, loud music, vomit on the sidewalks. It's a lot like the French Quarter, except without the history, character and Lucky Dogs. And the women! Oh, the women! Fresh faced and scantily clad, they probably haven't even had their first experience at a fraternity foam party, or as I like to call them, Herpesland. Seriously, 6th street sounds like a great idea... until you realize it's mostly the dregs of Austin and you can't look twice at any particular woman without getting a knuckle sandwich from a guy from San Marcos wearing an Affliction T shirt. Once you wise up and realize its the hidden gems of Austin, like Donn's Depot or Deep Eddy, that make it so unique, I know a few guys you can call.

I could go on and on, but it's Good Friday and it's time to relax so I'll cut it short. But seriously Johnathan, good luck at the next level, we all wish you well and appreciate the understated way your handled your recruitment. I realize the myriad of reasons why you chose UT. I mean, if it came to competing with the likes of McGee and Whittaker or Ed Wesley, Dwight Smith, Matthew Tucker and Waymon James, 99% of recruits would choose the path you did. We would've loved to have added you to the mix, but we won a Rose Bowl without any 5 stars, and we'll continue to win without them. Meantime, I'll just put these LaDarius Anthony highlights on repeat as a primer for signing day 2012. I hope you can talk your cowardly future athletic department into a rematch with the Frogs one of these days so we can definitively see if you made the correct decision.

But seriously - if you're at Lake Travis and Cedric Benson tosses you a line, swim away. Swim away as fast as you can.

Morning Dump

Winkler, TCU overcome UNLV 4-1

Winkler leads TCU to 4-1 victory over UNLV

Schefter: Dalton, Ponder both likely to go in the first round
NBC Sports Pro Football Talk

Aledo's Johnathan Gray chooses Texas over TCU and Texas A&M