The Wager Is On
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This Saturday night, prime time game of the week, The University of Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech University.
As a die-hard Oklahoma Sooner fan, I'm very much looking forward to the game and will probably be spending the evening at the Crows Roost Bar at fabulous Fort Cobb Lake, drinking can beer and chain-smoking Marlboros, in between trips out to the vehicles for some shots of whiskey. Damn, I love the lake.
So, I don't know if anybody read the comments to my previous OU-TT post, but my good buddy, Instant Tragedy, was kind enough to offer up some action on the game with me. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but you have to let the little guys dream, right? Anyway, on to the wager. Next year, during Okie-Vegas, the losing bettor must sing the fight song of the opponent's school loud and proud, perhaps live on BuddyDankRadio, through my PA system that will be set up in the living room.
What's the Tech fight song, you ask? Not a clue, nor am I too worried about finding out. One thing I mentioned to Tragedy though, while watching the game on Saturday, be sure to turn up the volume as loud as you can every time OU scores a touchdown. That will give him a tremendous head start on learning Boomer Sooner.
Seriously, I'm taking the Sooners and laying 7 points, which seems to be the popular number. I can't imagine how good a program you have to be to still give points to an undefeated team that is ranked higher than you in every poll and in the BCS standings. Respect, I guess you could call it.
I tease about how bad the Sooners will beat the Red Raiders, in truth, I expect a close, hard fought game. If you ready my previous post, you will note that I do expect the Sooners to win, I just don't expect a huge blowout in any way, shape or form. The game will probably hinge on turnovers, much like most big games, and I anticipate our crowd to be rather boisterous, since Coach Stoops, more or less, called them out during his weekly press conference this week. I'm not sure how much difference a louder than normal crowd could make on an offense as good as Texas Tech's, but it can't hurt to have 85,000 or so on your side.
That's OU's record at home during the Bob Stoops era. 60-2 after Saturday night's game, I would expect.
Good luck IT, I think you're going to need it.
My first extended time off from work since Okie-Vegas in early July begins this friday night wtih a trip to the lake for karaoke that evening. I'll be getting up early the next morning for opening day of rifle season here in Oklahoma. Some folks appear interested and have asked, so I will tell you that I've been out probably 6 or 8 times during archery and blackpowder season and have not seen anything worthy of shooting at yet. Yearlings and spikes are about all I've seen thus far and I am looking forward to this weekend and next week and seeing some of the big boys out and about, chasing down does. the rut is almost in full swing and if we could just get a little weather down here, it would help a ton.
I am taking the entire week of Thanksgiving off this year, mostly to hunt deer. Oh, I'll still be going over to my Mom's house on Wednesday to help her out with cooking the turkey and setting up tables and chairs for 30+ relatives on Thursday. I'm doing something a little different this year. I'm still cooking the Butterball in the oven on Wednesday night, but I'm also taking one of the turkeys that I shot this spring over and will be frying up some wild turkey on Thursday morning for those of my relatives with the guts to try it. If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it. Here's the short version of the recipe:
Cut breast meat up (against the grain) in 2 inch by 4 inch chunks, approximately 1 inch thick. Marinate overnight in "secret" marinade. (main ingredients:beer, chili powder, cayenne pepper and cilantro) Pat dry before dipping them in an egg mixture and coating them with catfish batter. Any type of fish batter will do, I prefer Zattaran's Cajun Fish Batter. I also add a bit of cayenne pepper and black and red pepper to the batter. Fry until golden brown and serve hot.
Astin, I'm curious to know what you think. Since I started hunting a little over a year ago, I've cleaned, cooked and eaten everything I've managed to kill and I've liked everything so far. In fact, of all the things I hunt, I've cooked every bit of it and even my wife has commented about how good the meat is every single time. The bonus to eating wild game is that the meat is also very good for you as most of the meat is very lean. It takes some getting used to in order to cook it just right, but after a few tries, you know the duck has to be cooked very slowly or it gets tough and the deer needs to marinate less time than the birds.
Our wildlife eats very well down around the lake place and that is reflected in the flavor of the meat nearly every time. I've yet to taste anything I've cooked that I would call "gamey." My wife and friends have all agreed thus far and even a few internet-famous bloggers had some of my deer burgers this summer and I heard no complaints from anybody.
So, my next week is going to be chock full of hunting adventures, time with family and more hunting adventures. I hope to put two deer in the freezer between now and the end of rifle season, since I've been shut out thus far, but waterfowl season is coming on very fast. It's already open, meaning we could already be hunting ducks and geese, but the birds don't make their way this far south until a little later in the season, especially with all the warm weather we're still having up north of us. They should be moving down very shortly though and then they'd better watch themselves very closely, because I will have a call and a shotgun waiting for them on the other side.
Poker is still going at a fairly stagnant pace. I've limited myself recently to only one or two SNG's a night to try and combat the tilty issues I've been dealing with lately. It seems to be working, although at a very slow rate of return, and I plan to continue playing whenever the mood strikes me. Who knows, I might even play in a blogger tournament one of these nights?
Until next time, I clock out and go on vacation, Friday, at 4:30 pm CST.
posted by GaryC @ 3:42 PM, ,
Friday, November 14, 2008
I know it's been nearly 6 months but I got to thinking the other day about Okie-Vegas and remembered a story that happened at one of my tables that I thought I would relate today. How's that? Actual poker content on this humble, little poker blog. Astonishing!
Anyway, Surflexus and I had driven down to Newcastle Gaming Center to meet up with Oossuu and Maudie for their afternoon tournament. Needless to say, we were early and Oossuu suggested we jump in the truck and head over to Riverwind to meet up with Maudie for a little lunch. Coolio and off we go on about a 20 minute drive over to the other, nicer casino. We got there and had around 45 minutes to kill before Maudie was supposed to arrive, so what should we do? We sign up and play a little $1/$2 NL to kill some time.
Surf and Oossuu get seated together and I take a seat at a full table by myself. My table was full of regulars, as no less than 5 or 6 of the guys obviously knew one another. I sit down and fold to near oblivion before finally picking up pocket Aces, raising, getting 3 callers and C-betting the A-x-x flop. Everybody folds and I win a pot to get back ahead of my starting stack. I had literally played one hand in three orbits at this point.
The guy to my immediate left, who was friends with nearly everybody at the table, mentions the interest list for $2/$5 and goes to sign up for that. Soon enough, his name is called and off he goes, with his seat being filled by a typical youngish, hoodie and I-Pod wearing wannabe. Soon enough, my suspicions were confirmed.
He got into a hand with an older gentleman one seat to his left and raised pre-flop. The old guy (probably 70) smooth calls and it folds around. I forget the exact way the cards fell, but the young kid made Broadway on the turn and sneakily (foreshadowing) checked to the old guy, who promptly checked behind. They both have about $100 or so in their stack and when the 3rd heart fell on the river, the younger guy moved all-in and was snap-called by the old guy. "Nuts" the kid declares as he flips over A-Qo for the broadway straight. I look at the guy next to me and ask "Nuts?" and he is just as puzzled as I am.
The old guy proceeds to slow roll him and flip up J-6 of hearts and declares "3rd Nuts" and the table roars with laughter. The young kid was obviously embarrassed by his faux pas and immediately racked up and requested a table change to the $2/$5 table. Three others at our table did the same and I have to admit, I thought about it for a minute, but realized Maudie would be there any minute for lunch, so I racked up and went for a smoke.
You can't make that kind of stuff up, it really happened.
I'm still playing a bit on Full Tilt, some good, some bad and I plan to continue to play a bit here and there. I've been limiting myself to one SNG per day for now, due in part to my lack of patience and in another part to a lack of bankroll. I don't have much and I don't plan to reload, so if I go busto, I go busto, at least until the 15th of next month. ;)
Until next time, I fold.
posted by GaryC @ 3:42 PM, ,
OU-Texas Tech ----- Prime Time
Monday, November 10, 2008
I am sure this post will upset at least one person that I consider a true friend and for that, IT, I will apologize in advance.
You see, for as much a homer as he is for his Texas Tech Red Raiders, I am just as much a homer for my Oklahoma Sooners. Two weeks is a long time to wait for this matchup, but I am in the mood to start discussing and disecting it here today and am liable to be in the mood for it early and often in the next two weeks.
First off, let me say this right off the bat, I am a HUGE fan of Mike Leach. He is a bit quirky and definitely a different breed of cat, but the man can coach. I often say this in defense of one Mark Mangino, Kansas head coach, when somebody starts bad mouthing him. You know what, Stoops would have never brought him to Norman on his first staff if the man couldn't coach. Same goes for Leach.
The game is set to kick off in prime time, at 7:00 pm on ABC, from Norman, Oklahoma, for a national audience.
Within that simple sentence is what I see to be the deciding factor in this game. "from Norman, Oklahoma." You see, my Sooners typically play pretty well at home, as evidenced by the following set of statistics:
59-2 at home during the Bob Stoops era. (Losses to TCU and OSU during his first 10 seasons, other than that, nada)
6-2 vs. Texas Tech with Mike Leach as Head Coach with both losses occurring in Lubbock. (I won't even go into the 2005 game and the instant replay debacle or this could/should be 7-1)
I'm not saying any of this to discount the Red Raiders' chances in two weeks, because I believe it will be a hard fought game. I do not expect a blow out. With the cast of athletes Tech puts out on the field, I believe they will definitely be able to score with OU. We've certainly shown a propensity for giving up the big play, both on defense and in the kicking game, so with their offense, I don't expect to shut them down completely. On the other hand, I don't expect them to be able to shut us down either.
I think the game will hinge on turnovers and quarterback pressure. Whichever defense is able to get to the other team's quarterback and is able to come up with turnovers, whether it be fumbles or interceptions, will have the upper hand in this game. Harrell has only thrown 5 interceptions all year and Bradford, 6. Harrell has also only been sacked 5 times compared to 7 times for Bradford. What does that mean? If either team is not able to get decent pressure on the other quarterback on a regular basis, I would expect this game to be a high-scoring shootout.
Texas Tech 10 463 332 71.7 4077 8.8 5 36
Oklahoma 10 330 224 67.9 3406 10.3 6 38
It doesn't get much closer than that right there and I expect both of these quarterbacks to continue on and play as well as they have all year. The difference could be defensive pressure, which both are unaccustomed to with their great pass blocking offensive lines. By the way, they were #'s 1 and 2 respectively in the nation.
Here are some of the rushing statistics I found online:
Oklahoma 10 424 1943 4.6 42.4 194.3 30 102 70
Texas Tech 10 257 1326 5.2 25.7 132.6 25 87 49
A bit of difference here, mainly in the attempts, but also a huge discrepancy in total yards. OU was #19 nationally and TT was #68.
The only reason I bring this statistic up is that in the past, OU has had great success keeping Tech's offense off the field because they were able to run the ball effectively and eat time off the clock. In my opinion, other than getting alot of pressure on Graham Harrell, being able to run the football at will is the second most important thing that OU has to be able to do in two weeks. If they are able to run the football like they did against Texas A & M, it will be a very long day for Tech's defense.
Having said that, we have not been able to do that the entire year. In fact, we've worn out our own defense at times, because of how fast we score, much like Texas Tech does with their high-powered, quick-strike offense. The ability to keep their defense off the field will be a huge boon for whichever team is able to do it. Personally, I hope it's the Sooners as my buddy, IT, hopes its' the Red Raiders.
Turnover margin is another key stat as neither team gives it away much, but the Sooners have an edge here, as well. Oklahoma is +16 in tunrover margin and Texas Tech is +10. Turnovers will decide this game if they are one-sided either way.
The OU pass defense is ranked 3rd in the Big 12, while Tech's pass defense is ranked 6th in the Big 12. This is not a big enough difference to even compare, other than it is one more statistic that OU has an edge on Tech, at least thus far in the season. OU's cornerbacks started the year as young, unproven, first-time starters, but I've been impressed with their ability to cover receivers one on one. We lost a key component of our defense in the Texas game when LB Ryan Reynolds went down with his 3rd or 4th knee injury. That was a devestating loss for us as he was by far the most experienced linebacker on the team and was the emotional leader as well as one of the captains on defense. Since then, Austin Box has stepped in and, although at times he's appeared lost, for the most part has done a solid job. He will be coming off his best game as a Sooner against Texas A&M but if the defense is going to hold the Red Raiders down at all, he'll have to have a consistent game.
Kick-off coverage is one area that the Sooners have been flat-out poor at all year long. They are the only team in the nation to allow 3 KO returns for touchdowns, along with a number of other huge returns deep into their own territory. We had a luxury for the last few years of a kick-off specialist who could boom kickoffs deep into the end zone. That isn't the case this year as the other team is fielding our kickoffs routinely at the 10 or 15 yard line. I'd like to think the coaches could do something in this area, but as we've seen throughout the season, it is still a major problem.
The kicking game, should it come down to it, is a wash, as well. Both teams have kickers on their team that they do not have full confidence in, in fact, Tech's kicker is a former walk-on and the OU kicker is a redshirt freshman. Neither have had to make a kick with the game on the line and I know that both teams will be nervous sending out either kicker in that spot.
So, as you can see above, I rate this game as very close to even. In fact, I might give Texas Tech a nudge toward the favorite because of their record this year and the momentum they will have coming into the game. However, the fact that the game is being played in Norman and the fact that the Sooners have routinely played on these big stages can't help but give us a slight edge in the experience factor and the comfortability factor.
Passing Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
Harrell, Graham 48 26 1 250 2 30 2
This was Harrell's line from the 2006 game in Norman. OU won that day with a former wide receiver playing quarterback 34-24. I would guess that if he has a line like that two weeks from now, OU will win again.
Passing Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
Harrell, Graham 72 47 2 420 2 60 0
This was his line from the 2007 game in Lubbock, when Bradford got a concussion on the first offensive possesion. Halzle came in and played well in the 2nd half, but wasn't prepared in the 1st half and they dug too big a hole to come back from. Obviously, if Harrell has this type of line in two weeks, Texas Tech will probably win the game.
This is another case for the "Playing in Norman" argument. You can see the disparities in his statistics from those two games and he is obviously more comfortable playing at home, as are most college players. You can't discount that fact when discussing deciding factors in this game.
Both teams have great quarterbacks, solid offensive lines, play-making receivers and solid, if not great defenses. Both teams have questionable kicking games, although our kick coverage is a bigger question. Both teams have good, solid running backs, although our running backs are used to running the ball more often.
In the long run, the advantages for each team are minute when you consider them and the disadvantages are minute when compared to the other team. The one thing that can be argued, in my opinion, is home field advantage. You can't take that away from my Sooners this year. That and the fact that they are trying to scrape back into the BCS and BIg 12 picture should provide enough motivation to go out and play a solid game in two weeks against Texas Tech.
Well, that and somewhere around 85,000 rabid fans and a prime time TV audience. I expect a good game and would not be stupid enought to take Texas Tech lightly. It can and has happened in the past, so the Sooners will have to come out with a solid game plan, execute it near perfectly and leave it on the field. Stoops will make sure that happens.
Just my opinion, I've been wrong before.
posted by GaryC @ 3:11 PM, ,
Link To Poker
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My monthly link requirement: Play onine poker tournaments at Sky Poker.
Does this count as a post? Sorry, not much going on around here lately worthy of wasting your time.
Hunting is going, it's been really slow due to the warm weather, but we are still out there looking for the big boys. Hopefully, we get a little cool weather around here soon, the rut may never happen.
The election, you ask? I have absolutely no comment either way. Yes, I voted and No, I don't care to discuss who I voted for and what I think of the result.
Until next time, I still sit out.
posted by GaryC @ 4:40 PM, ,