Thursday TV - NFL and Keg of Nails games on tonight
Louisville will face their toughest test of the year tonight when the face Cincinnati and the Texans and Jags square off in NFL action.
Of course, Eastern time is listed.
Houston at Jacksonville - 8:25 - NFL Network
Louisville at Cincinnati - 7:30 - ESPN
Kliff Kingsbury wrote an editorial piece for Esquire
For whatever reason, people are obsessed with Kliff Kingsbury's style choices. When you're the only guy that truly tries, you tend to stand out.
In September, E! - as in the Entertainment Network - did a feature on Kingsbury in September...
... and now Kingsbury has written an editorial for Esquire about why he dresses the way he does. At the end of the day, Esquire magazine is now printing a page - however indirectly - about Texas Tech football.
It must have been Deion Sanders who coined the phrase "If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good." After entering the coaching profession in 2008, I quickly realized that I wasn't feeling the traditional coaching attire: the tucked-in multicolored polo, the pleated khaki coaching pants, and the shiny white jogging shoes. At first, you just throw on what they give you and roll with it. I'd put on the issued gear and think, I haven't worn anything like this since I was in fifth grade. I couldn't get beyond the fact that I was rocking something on game days that I would never be caught dead wearing in my everyday life. If I was going to be a coach, in both my dress and how I worked with players, I was going to be myself and be comfortable. So after my first year at the University of Houston, I went to a different look and have stayed with it since coming to Texas Tech.
My game-day attire consists of a solid-black long-sleeved Dri-FIT shirt with the Texas Tech emblem, flat-front gray pants, and a pair of Under Armour's new Mobtown shoes. They're more of a chill Vans type of shoe. And Frogskins-style shades. I'd worn them all summer while going to the beach and thought, Why would I trade these in for some coachy- looking glasses? They've become a big deal to certain people, I guess, because it wasn't the traditional look.
When I started dressing how I wanted, a few of the older coaches made comments. But as long as you're doing your job successfully, those comments stop pretty quickly. I think they thought I was being a young punk, trying to be cute, but in no way was that the case. I was just trying to be comfortable by wearing what I thought looked right. Whether you are Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola, who has the best game-day attire in the world, the one wearing the skinny tie on the sidelines; or Bill Belichick sporting the cut-off sweatshirt, you want to be consistent in who you are. You get only 12 game days a year. It's a big deal.
VIDEO: A documentary every high school coach should see
John Outlaw is a dictionary-perfect example of a high school football coach. In his face, in his bones, you could tell he was a high school football coach.
Outlaw led Arkadelphia High School to two Arkansas high school state titles, then left for Sherman (Texas), and then won a Texas state championship at Lufkin High School. Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt called him the best high school football coach in America.
And, on the morning of December 23, 2011, he was dead. Outlaw returned home from his customary 4:30 a.m. run, light up a cigarette, and passed away. Matt Skinner is putting together the definitive life story of John Outlaw, titled "Outlaw: Life, Death and Football". As you'll see in the trailer below, those around Outlaw are still trying to make sense of his passing.
The finish product won't be released until next year - it has to make the international festival circuit first - but the final product will be worth your time.
MTSU: 'We've run three plays the last five games'
After losing four of their first six games, the offensive staff at Middle Tennessee State decided that some change needed to be made in order to turn their season around.
The staff decided that the changes needed to start with their offensive playbook, so following their third straight loss to North Texas, they "cut everything" and have rolled with a playbook of just three plays ever since, rolling off five straight wins to finish 8-4.
“We cut everything, and we have stuck with that plan,” offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner told The Daily News Journal. “I wish we could’ve figured that out a couple games earlier. We probably got ahead of ourselves putting too much in. But give the kids credit. We have won five straight.”
“We have run only three run plays the last five games. We just did them out of multiple formations.
To make that kind of sacrifice is one thing, but the numbers that MTSU has put up since making that decision are fascinating:
During the five game win streak the Blue Raiders have:
- averaged 523 yards
- average of 43 points per game
- scored on 23 of 25 trips inside the red zone (including 17 touchdowns)
- averaged 273 rushing yards and 250 passing yards per game
- allowed just 1 sack
- produced 240+ rushing yards in every game
As a playcaller, Faulkner explained how the thinned out playbook benefitted them over the past five weeks and helped to put them in the position they're in now; just waiting to hear their bowl placement.
“We have been more balanced. Our screen game has been a lot better the last four or five weeks. And I could be wrong, but I don’t think we have taken a sack in the last five weeks. All those things go together. We eliminated negative plays, we have stayed ahead of the chains, continued to do pretty good on third down and finished drives the last five games. Our red-zone percentage has gotten better.”
It's that time of year. Time to take a look at your playbook and decide what should stay, and what should go. While Middle Tennessee's results aren't typical (and results will definitely vary), it does make you want to take a long, hard look at your playbook with a large trash can, or white-out nearby.
The best hire of the 2012-13 coaching carousel? Gary Pinkel
Type "Fire Gary Pinkel" into your Google search bar and you get 91,500 returns. There are websites and Twitter accounts dedicated to the ouster of Missouri's head coach. "Put the man on the hot seat already," FirePinkel's bio reads. "We're grateful he took us to this level, but he'll never won on it."
You could see their thinking, however shortsighted it may have been. Missouri was in the S-E-C now and needed to play a style that could win in the S-E-C with a coach that knew how to win in the S-E-C. The Tigers' quote-unquote finesse running game wouldn't cut it, and Missouri's 5-7 debut campaign proved that. While fellow newcomer Texas A&M instantly became the conference's new star pupil, Missouri was stuck at the back of the classroom. In a 14-team league, they were Team 14.
Of course, it wasn't that simple. It never is.
Of Missouri's seven losses, three were by a touchdown or less. A 5-7 mark could've just as easily been an 8-5 finish. And then there were the injuries. The Tigers played the entire season without starting running back Henry Josey, starting quarterback James Franklin spent the heart of the season going in and out of the lineup, and the offensive line lost four contributors for the season.
A year later, everything about Missouri's luck turned on its head. After ending on the wrong end of too many close games, Mizzou simply stopped playing them. Ten of their 11 wins are by 14 points or more. All 11 are by at least a touchdown. Outside of one awful quarter - when the Tigers blew a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead at home versus South Carolina - Pinkel's bunch joins Florida State as the most consistently dominant team in college football. Injuries haven't been near the problem they were last season - only one player has been lost for the season, and redshirt freshman quarterback Maty Mauk performed admirably in Franklin's stint on the injured list.
Pinkel was never as bad as it looked last season, and he's benefitted from good fortune this season. And he knows it.
Pinkel said if the 2013 team had all the injuries the 2012 team did, "I wouldn't be standing here. I'd be recruiting right now."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) December 2, 2013
Who else knows it? Pinkel's boss, Mike Alden. After winning at least a share of three Big 12 North titles from 2007-10, Missouri is in the SEC title game - shocking everyone by beating fellow Big 12 refugee Texas A&M to Atlanta - and Pinkel will be a finalist for each and everyone one of the 61 national coach of the year awards (give or take a few).
That Fire Pinkel Twitter account? Not a peep this season.
There were 31 head coaching changes last season, and perhaps the best move was the one not made.
Video: Sweet look at Oklahoma State's practice facilities
The facilities at Oklahoma State were designed to provide the best student-athlete experience in the country.
With that in mind, here's a look at the practice facilities that the Cowboys use, along with some really good insight from athletic director Mike Holder including the fact that if they really needed to play a game in their indoor facility, that they easily could.
How many other schools could say that?
VIDEO: Cincinnati will have new helmets on Thursday
If you can see it through the lights and fog, Cincinnati will unveil a new helmet Thursday night. In what they're dubbing a black out game, Cincinnati's traditional black helmets will trade out their usual white "C" paw for a silver paw. The entire helmet has a shinier feel to it.
If the helmet doesn't do it for you, how about this? Cincinnati and Louisville's rivalry features perhaps the coolest name of all rivalry games - the Keg of Nails. Last year, Cincinnati built a 24-14 lead in the third quarter only to see the Cardinals rip off 17 straight points, but the Bearcats rallied to tie the game with 1:03 left. Louisville won in overtime, 34-31.
Thursday night's game (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) also has American championship and BCS implications - if SMU beats Central Florida on Saturday.
Ron Burgundy interviews Peyton Manning
What better way to spend a minute of your Wednesday morning than watching Will Ferrell (as Ron Burgundy) interview Peyton Manning?
Ron Burgundy will host SportsCenter starting at 6pm EST tomorrow night and something tells me that it will be one of the most watched SportsCenter segments of all time.
Now if we could just get Burgundy in one of those hilarious commercials with Peyton, Eli and Archie, all would seem right with the world. I'd also settle for Burgundy being placed in a Saban or Spurrier press conference or halftime interview as well.
That's not too much to ask, is it?