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July 23, 2012

Ketch's 10 Thoughts From The Weekend

How much do you like this Longhorn football team?

Do you like it enough to win nine games on a devil of a schedule? Is Manny Diaz that good?

Do you like it enough to win 10 games? Do you believe in David Ash that much?

More than 10 wins? Do you like living with one foot hanging off a cliff?

Personally, I can't make up my mind. One moment I believe Oklahoma State is a game the Longhorns will win and then the next moment I remember the last two times these teams have played and the fact that the Longhorns will be on the road. I go back and forth over games against Baylor, Texas Tech and Kansas State. All are games that the Longhorns should probably win, but how can I start giving the program the benefit of the doubt again before it earns it?

I'm telling you these questions are not easy to answer. We all know the gimmies, or at least we think we do. Games against Wyoming, New Mexico, Ole Miss, Kanas and Iowa State are sure things, right? That means that the Longhorns start out with five wins and counting.

Of the remaining seven games on the schedule, three are on the road in places such as Stillwater, Lubbock and Kansas State. To get to nine wins, the Longhorns will likely need to win two of the three, perhaps all three.

Three more games remain at home, with West Virginia, Baylor and TCU making up a formidable threesome. In order to get to nine wins, you'll likely need to win two of the three.

Only Oklahoma remains as a neutral site opponent and it projects as an early near-touchdown favorite when the two teams collide in October. The limb is pretty empty right now if that's a jump you're ready to make.

My instincts tell me that the Longhorns are going to lose to Oklahoma and West Virginia, in part because both teams have much superior quarterback play, especially the Mountaineers with Geno Smith. Every other game on the schedule feels winnable, but those trips to Stillwater and Manhattan are ominous, and it feels dangerous to simply chalk up any affair in Lubbock as a sure-thing.

But, that's what I'm doing. I'm calling Lubbock, Stillwater and Manhattan as wins. Same with Baylor. Same with TCU. Still, while I'm picking Texas to win all of those games at this very moment (with the right to change my mind in the next month), I'm giving myself one get-out-jail card, which means I expect to be wrong about one of them, I just don't know which.

So, I've got the Longhorns at 9-3. I'm not writing the prediction in ink, but I'm not anticipating needing to use the eraser, either. I just wonder if I'll need a second "get out of jail" card.

No. 2 - Scattershooting on the Longhorns…

… The Longhorns were a little on the lucky side when you consider the incredible impact created from the 2011 true freshman class, especially on the offensive side of the ball. In a season that could have swung in a lot of directions, the presence of Jaxon Shipley, Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, Josh Cochran and David Ash prevented a second consecutive losing season and created hope that 2012 can be something more than a rebuilding year. I bring all of this up because lightening could strike for the second year in a row, when you consider that the 2012 class has players in Johnathan Gray, Daje Johnson, Marcus Johnson, Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders could all emerge as first-year impact performers. For years the skill position talent in the program has really struggled to take off, but the last two classes have really restocked what was an empty cupboard in a lot of ways.

… Tyrone Swoopes will remain in the top five of the soon-to-be-updated LSR for 2013, but he won't be in the No.1 spot.

… None of the quarterbacks from the state of Texas were named to the final Elite 11 on Sunday evening.

… This isn't the first time you've seen me write about this topic this summer, but the Longhorns have an LSU problem, at least as it relates to recruiting in the 2014 cycle. The Tigers haven't been a real thorn in the side of the Longhorns for the most part in recruiting over the years, but with the next recruiting cycle already in full swing, there's no questioning that they are poised to be Mack Brown's Huckleberry very, very soon.

Consider that the state's top cornerback, Tony Brown, recently named the Tigers as a standalone leader. Consider that the current state No. 1 Hoza Scott visited Baton Rouge last week and has the Tigers on the rise on his list of favorites. Consider that the Tigers were already believed to be leaders for Mansfield Timberview defensive backs Ed Parris (LSR No. 7) and Brandon Simmons (LSU No. 20). Consider that they already have a commitment from Alief Taylor cornerback Chris Hardeman (LSR No. 11).

And consider this quote from the state's current No. 2 player in the 2014 class ? Lancaster athlete Nick Harvey:

"I think I'll take some more visits there in the future," Harvey said of LSU in an interview with Tigerbait. "Right now LSU's is number one with Baylor two and Texas A&M three. I loved their (LSU's) facilities and I think they could better me by all of the things they have."

If you're counting, that's six of the state's top 20 prospects that list LSU as a leader or damn close to it. The danger in the 2014 class isn't coming from Oklahoma or Texas A&M (although those schools will be factors as well), it's coming straight from Les Miles.

No. 3 - British Open …

Forget for a moment that Stevie Williams is such creep that half of America was rooting for Adam Scott on Sunday to pull off one of the biggest choke jobs in the history of golf.

That was hard to watch. Downright painful, actually.

For much of Sunday, I found myself hoping that something would happen to make the end of the tournament interesting, but once it started to go down, I wished I could have flipped the switch the other way.

I wanted interesting, not the second-coming of Jean Van de Velde, but Van de Velde 2.0 is exactly what we got. Considering Scott seems like a damn decent dude, I could barely stomach watching the final two holes because you just knew what it all meant. This wasn't simply a guy losing a chance at his first major championship, it was a guy heading for the worst kind of all-time infamy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy for the Big Easy. Any time a great golfer wins a major, I'm a happy viewer, but Ernie Els' reaction to knowing that he had just won his fourth major kind of said it all … it just wasn't fun.

Let's hope we don't hear from Stevie for a while because his previous garbage only made it all worse.

As for Eldrick … man … even Lefty thought that that triple was painful. The opportunity was there and he missed it. He knows.

No.4 - Boxing TKOs UFC on Saturday night…

It doesn't happen often, but boxing picked a rare win over the MMA world. Actually, it was a rather emphatic win, which is probably the most stunning element of the entire night.

On a night when UC 149 was an outright failure of such epic proportions that fans in Toronto booed all but one of the fights on the card and chants of boring rang out from the stands, a potential boxing superstar started to emerge on a "free" card on HBO.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you've never met Adrien Broner, let me do the honors. In a 36-hour window before the start of his much-anticipated fight against Vicente Escobedo, Broner not only missed his weight for the fight by three pounds, but he seemed to mock the entire situation with photos of Twinkies on his Twitter feed and refusing to apologize for what is considered a major no-no in the sport. When the fight appeared to be on the rocks, an agreement was made about four hours before the start of the card that ensured the fight would continue.

And Broner was just getting started. He arrived in the ring with an entrance normally reserved for the likes of Apollo Creed and then delivered a performance that Floyd Mayweather Jr. would be proud of, blistering Escobedo with the kind of hand speed and power that left me jaw-dropped a couple of times. Of course, his dominating performance that ended with a knockout was just the beginning. Just when you thought you'd seen just about everything from the precocious 22-year old… Broner fake-proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the ring before his post-fight interview with Max Kellerman.

Yeah, that happened. I didn't know whether to laugh, curse or cry, but I'll remember the entire scene of events for the rest of my life.

It would be one thing if he had simply acted like a clown, but this cat was sensational, and after watching a bunch of JAGs on a $54+ pay-per-view, his scintillating in-ring skills had me wanting for more.

While Urijah Faber proved to be the Fernando Vargas of his sport on this night and much-discussed Hector Lombard proved to be something worse, Broner became must-see-stuff for the future.

Learn the name because he's the future.

No. 5 - Five pieces of sports randomness …

… … The hammer will apparently drop on Penn State via NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, er, NCAA president Mark Emmert. With no formal investigation, no hearings and zero chance for a formal response, the NCAA is participating in outlaw justice. Penn State needs a timeout, but they needed a self-imposed timeout from football so that they could properly get their house in order. The school should have acted as if they didn't know how things would play out after a Sandusky trial and the Freeh report. By not owning the situation, the opening exists for the NCAA to establish an authority that I'm not sure should exist. What is different about this than…say… the junk Jim Delaney tried to pull on Big 10 schools earlier in the week? Emmert is a running buddy of embattled Penn State president Graham Spanier, the most hypocritical figurehead in the history of a very corrupt group of people. Why in the hell would I trust him in this dictator role? This is a guy that is the former chancellor of LSU, a school with its own reputation over the years and in a conference where briefcases of money pass hands like bro-hugs. I mean… the Nick Saban era occurred on his watch. Forgive me for not trusting him or this situation or this president. This is an organization that has NEVER ignored due process and suddenly there's a line being established that says it's ok to do exactly that if a situation appears to be drastic enough. The way this is going down is wrong.

… That Paterno statue needed to stay up and forever remain the scarlet letter on that campus' public profile. That community needs a visual reminder of what was allowed to happen for a long time, and the statue was exactly that.

… So, I'm watching the undercard on UFC 149 when I realized that one of the participants was someone that I recognized as a former high school football prospect. At first I thought it was a former fullback at Weatherford whose name I can't seem to recall, but then I realized that he was former El Paso Riverside fullback Shawn Jordan. He wasn't a guy I knew well, but I interviewed him a few times. Anyways, I wish I could tell you that this story ends well, but the truth of the matter is that Jordan was outclassed as a fill-in fighter against Chick Kongo, and ended up participating in a fight that earned boos from those on hand. Not sure we'll ever see him again on a pay-per-view.

… A Brit won the Tour de France. I wasn't even aware that it had started.

… I want a mulligan on my public comments on the current Olympic basketball team. Please.

No. 6 = Dark Knight Rises Review … a slight disappointment …

Ever lust after a girl for a looooooong time, only to find out later that whatever mystical pedestal that you had placed her on was an unobtainable and unrealistic position? It's not her fault that the expectations were perfection and it almost is never her fault that a relationship that begins with idolatry doesn't pan out.

When I look back at my DKR (the non-UT version) experience, it's clear that I was JoJo the circus boy with a pretty new pet. It's nobody's fault but my own that I went into the theater expecting the greatest movie of all-time awaiting me and walled feeling a little let down.

The bottom line once you eliminate my emotional clutter? DKR is an excellent movie that doesn't quite get an A from me and ranks as the No. 3 movie in one of the best movie trilogies of all-time. What does that mean? It means there's no shame in being a really, really good movie that in my mind never became great because of its context.

It wasn't Return of the King, but it wasn't Blade III, either. It's much closer to the former, than the latter.

Without giving away any spoilers, here are the things I loved and didn't quite love.

Loved

1. Anne Hathaway. I never thought I would say this going in, but I thought she was fantastic and a total scene stealer.
2. The synergy of the story in connection with its previous two movies and a script that provided several wild cards in its narrative.
3. The visuals are powerful.
4. It's dark.
5. Christian Bale is stellar. His performance was better than the overall movie.
6. Marion Cotillard and Josh-Gordon-Levitt proved to be terrific new characters. Cotillard is emerging as of the most captivating actresses in Hollywood. The only thing keeping her from a show-stopping performance is the fact that Hathaway overshadows her. From Public Enemies to Inception to Midnight in Paris and now DKR, she's becoming a force.
7. The end might be flawed, but it ultimately gave me what I wanted.

Didn't Love

1. Tom Hardy just isn't Heath Ledger and Bane just wasn't The Joker. There's no room for character personality.
2. I've never been one that has been bothered by Batman's voice, but with Bane's voice being such an unneeded distraction (there were two occurrences when I flat out couldn't understand what he said) that it made Bale's more of an issue for me.
3. Bane's face mask thing just wasn't explained well enough, especially when you consider how annoying I found it to be.
4. There were a few plot points that I had issues with.

On the five-star scale, I'd give the movie a high-four star ranking, but probably not a national top 100 guy. More like national top 150-200.

No. 7 - Tweet tweet: The best on my timeline this week …

10. " I just heard the most convoluted question in the history of #SECMediaDays. And Les Miles understood it."
@Matt_HayesSN

9. " (740): Grandpa got a dui while riding a horse. This is what I need to live up to. "
@TFLN

8. " Yes, I had a Chick-fil-A sandwich for lunch. But I chewed it VERY ANGRILY. Watch out, bigots. "‬‬
@YUCKYBOT

7. " please, food snobs of Birmingham: direct us to a place with good food that is not barbecue. "
@edsbs

6. " Rappers: Please don't reference the tragedy in Aurora in ya fake gangster songs. That's considered hoe shit. The OG has spoken. Carry on. "
@BunBTrillOG

5. " 3 days at Wynfrey for SEC Media Days felt like 3 days in a casino, where you broke even but felt like you aged 10 yrs. "
@BFeldmanCBS

4. " I'm up at Brooklyn! @S_C_ "lucky I didn't have Jay drop me from the team" lol! "
@KrisHumphries

If you don't know, on Kanye West's song "Way Too Cold", you'll find the following lyrics:

"And I'll admit, I had fell in love with Kim/Around the same time she had fell in love with him/ Well that's cool, baby girl, do ya thang/ Lucky I ain't had Jay drop him from the team.

Humphries signed a $24,000,000 contract with "the team" this week.

3. " Lol RT @KimKardashian: Keep your life in a positive perspective. We are not defined by our pasts. "
@RayJ

If you don't know, uh… do a Yahoo! search.

2. "BABY DADDY TIP: CONDOMS "
@OhNoSheTwitnt

1. "So now the question becomes: Can Stevie catch Jack? "
@GenoEspn (52 minutes before Adam Scott missed a par putt on 18 to force a playoff at the British Open)

No. 8 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop.…

… Movie Trailer of the week: So creepy in all kinds of ways

… Sign that the apocalypse is not upon us: Fred Willard will NOT be prosecuted

… DECLARATION: I might just watch an episode or two of American Idol (even if America has rigged the outcome each year) if Mimi is on the judging panel . The potential for Youtube greatness is exponentially high.

… Hottie of the Week: Anna Lynne-McCord needs to be on the Olympic volleyball team .

… Rihanna vacationing on a boat: No champagne bottles were thrown, but Magic Johnson was reportedly onboard the same yacht. She's the female Derek Jeter, but different.

… Cougar of the Week: Kyra Sedgwick closes the deal at Letterman .

… Getting hitched: Carlton popped the question, did the Carlton Dance .

No. 9 - The List: The Rolling Stones

50 years. Whenever the discussion of the greatest band of all-time comes up, you have to take into account the big 5-0 that the Rolling Stones officially put in the books this month with the 50th anniversary of their first live gig.

The Stones aren't just a band, they've become pop culture's ultimate storyteller, surviving every dynamic change in world history since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Seriously, let that sink in for a second. More amazing is that their sound has never become outdated and drugs could never kill Keith Richards.

Meanwhile, as great as The Beatles were and will forever remain, just know that they lasted a mere 10 years. Mick is still killing it on stage 40 years after the No. 1 competitor to the crown broke up and 30 years after John Lennon was assassinated.

It's beyond unthinkable that they could still be what they are, the way they are ... basically Hank Aaron career numbers to go along with Cal Ripken Jr. longevity.

In fact, the biggest compliment you give a group like The Stones is that their songs can't really be ranked without an outcry that can be heard from miles away. There's just too many songs, too many classics. That being said I'm going for it anyway. Flame away!!!!!

Let's get on with The List, which is available on Spotify for the first time .

Just missed the cut: Brown Sugar, Angie, Time is on My Side, Under My Thumb, Tumbling Dices, Miss You and It's Only Rock and Roll

10. Dance Little Sister

I'll be honest when I tell you that I don't recall hearing this song before going all-in with non-stop Stones music, but as soon as I did this week while listening to a playlist on Spotify, it hasn't left my brain. It feels like it's the great-granddaddy of Outkast's "Hey Ya", except you've got Mick singing about sisters in a way few white dudes could get away with. Yes, Mick's a bad dude.

"It make me hot, I wet with sweat
It burn like hell, I've four hours left
Dance, dance, little sister, dance.


9. Beast of Burden

There's no better image in my mind than waking up on Saturday mornings and listening to rock music with my mom, and this is exactly what comes to mind when I hear this tune. Mick let Keith and Ronnie Wood set a chilled out groove ad then he slipped right into the pocket with the ease of a musical Jedi. This song is biscuits, scrambled eggs and bacon.

"I'll never be your beast of burden, So let's go home and draw the curtains
Music on the radio, Come on baby make sweet love to me."


8. Start Me Up

I've been in too many sports arenas in my lifetime for this song to get left out, especially when you consider that Keith's opening riff might be his second-most iconic opener to any song they've done (behind Satisfaction).

"If you start it up
Kick on the starter give it all you got, you got, you got
I can't compete with the riders in the other heats
If you rough it up
If you like it you can slide it up
Slide it up, slide it up, slide it up."


7. Jumping Jack Flash

This is just a flat out jam of a blues song. That is all.

"I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag, I was schooled with a strap right across my back,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas!
But it's all right, Im jumpin jack flash,
It's a gas! gas! gas!"


6. Wild Horses

Whenever a rock band with a hard rep tries to slow it down with an emotional piece, they are all chasing this song in which Mick taps into a deep, painful emotional place to provide the band with a genuine soul-torturing gem. Is there an artist that hasn't covered this one?

"I know I've dreamed you a sin and a lie, I have my freedom but I don't have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried, Let's do some living after we die.
Wild horses, couldn't drag me away.


5. Sympathy for the Devil

Lyrically, the Stones might not have a stronger piece in the entire songbook, as Mick tells the story of the devil from a first-person perspective throughout all of history. If anyone ever dared to compare them to any other British and, it pretty much stopped after this track.

"I watched with glee, While your kings and queens, Fought for ten decades, For the gods they made
I shouted out, Who killed the kennedys? When after all, It was you and me. "


4. Honky Tonk Woman

Sometimes a song just has to move you and this one makes me want to get on the dance floor. It's country, it's bluesy and it has attitude for days. Plus, the damn song has more bad-ass cowbell than maybe any song ever recorded. If Hank Williams and CCR ever made a love baby, it would have produced this song.

"I met a gin soaked, bar-room queen in memphis, She tried to take me upstairs for a ride.
She had to heave me right across her shoulder, Cause I just can't seem to drink you off my mind.
It's the honky tonk women
Gimme, gimme, gimme the honky tonk blues."


3. Satisfaction

Rolling Stones Magazine ranks it as the No. 2 song of all-time, but I'm only ranking it No. 3 on my list. Make no mistake about it, it's every bit as tremendous as one of the most iconic songs of all-time should be. When the Stones are at their best, you can't help but let your body give into the grime of the music and that's still apparent four-plus decades later with this track. This is the song that we all believe we can deliver like Mick, whether it's in the car, shower or in our sleep.

"When I'm ridin' round the world, And I'm doin' this and I'm signing that,
And I'm tryin' to make some girl, Who tells me baby better come back later next week, 'Cause you see I'm on a losing streak
I can't get no, oh no, no, no
Hey hey hey, that's what I say "


2. Paint It, Black

This is the song that turned me into a Stones fan and after all these years, I can't listen to the song just once when I hear it. It needs at least a couple of plays, maybe even several. Brian Jones on the sitar helps turn this into one of the most haunting songs in their playlist.

"I look inside myself and see my heart is black, I see my red door and it has been painted black, Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts, It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black"

1. Gimme Shelter

This is the 2,000-pound bundle of TNT that might just be the greatest rock song of all-time. From the eerie open to the pace of the song once it shoots itself into the stratosphere to the lyrics that just slap you in the face, there's nothing this song doesn't deliver with incredible power. When Merry Clayton's voice cracks midway through the song as she screams, "Murder" and Mick yells out "Whooo" in response, it's as raw as any rock song has ever been recorded in a studio as far as I'm concerned. This is their all-time drop the mic moment.

"Rape, murder! It's just a shot away, It's just a shot away
The floods is threat'ning, My very life today, Gimme, gimme shelter, Or I'm gonna fade away."


Previous Lists: 2-Pac, Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Chuck Brown, Jeff Buckley, Cartoon themes, Eva Cassidy,Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Al Green, Guns N' Roses, Hall and Oats, HBO Shows, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Bill Murray, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks,Prince, Outkast, Queen, Scarface, Sexiest Women of All-Time, Snoop Dogg . Gary Stewart , George Strait, TV Themes, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hank Williams Sr.

No. 10 - And finally…

Over the years, I've always felt like one of the most important games in the last 20 years for the Longhorns that doesn't get enough love because it occurred in the John Mackovic era and there have been so many landmark games over the years is the 1995 win over A&M in College Station.

History has mostly remembered the game because it gave the Longhorns the final Southwest Conference championship and it represented the true breakout national performance for future Heisman winner Ricky Williams, but there was so much more that was achieved in victory. With the Longhorns winning 12 of the last 17 games in the series, it's easy to remember that there was a time when the stars weren't always aligned properly in the burnt orange world.

Just the previous season, the Aggies stitched up a clown suit for Mackovic in a dominating 34-10 win in Austin, highlighted by a 83-yard kickoff return by Leeland McElroy that occurred after Mackovic had essentially guaranteed all week that they wouldn't kick to the All-American return man. That was my first year covering the Longhorns on a professional level, as I worked for the Texas SID office that season and was in the press box that day.

If you had heard the jokes made at Texas' expense that day in the press box, you'd understand why the game in College Station the next year was so important. If you had seen then the physical dominance A&M played with that day, you'd understand why the game in College Station the next year was so important. If you had witnessed the utter lack of respect or regard that the Aggies had for anything in burnt orange that day, you'd understand why the game in College Station the next year was so important.

That win in 1995 was about more than Ricky and the championship that landed the Longhorns in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, it was the moment that the modern era of the Longhorn program got its swag back.

When Bryant Westbrook nearly knocked McElroy back into the 1980s, it was a message to the entire state that the Longhorns would never be punked out by that outfit again. It didn't matter that Westbrook was flagged. It was almost as if he wanted to be flagged. Frankly, it was the kind of thing an Aggie defender would have done to UT in previous seasons.

In the moments directly after the game, when a group of Longhorn fans were attacked by corps members and a near riot broke out on the field, players like Tony Brackens were right in the middle of everything, challenging anything in maroon to a throw-down right then and there. I watched one Texas fan get swallowed up in a swarm of punches by at least a half-dozen corp members. Yet when the dust settled, it was the Longhorns celebrating exactly how they wanted as sugar fell from the air on the Texas sideline as if it were snow.

It was wild and I was on the field for every second of it. It was a G-moment for a program that had been pushed around like church boys for way too long. It was the day the Longhorns left the dark ages behind them.



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