Sunday Sports Soup: 10/23/16

Houston Home Cooking Question from New Local Sports Fans

GO WITH AFP STORY IN SPANISH BY JULIA RIOS A Cougar  (Puma concolor), lies at its cage of the Nicaraguan National Zoo, April 22, 2009 during Earth Day in Managua. Different species of animals in danger of exctintion are in many zoos around the world. AFP PHOTO/Miguel ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

“Sometimes we have to fall hard before we rise again on stronger limbs to more clearly see and get done what needs to be done in the name of love.” ~ “In Time” is our UH motto.

My wife did not grow up in America. She did not follow sports at all until she married me a thousand years ago. Even now, she is only a marginal fan of the American Big Three, but she is still far more knowledgeable than your average cell phone space fans at MMP.

Last night it finally happened. When I slowly walked out of my study to report that UH had lost to lightly regarded SMU, 38-16, Norma immediately played her “remember, honey, it’s only a game” card, but this time, with a different added twist. She very recently had expressed her disappointment in the NFL Houston Texans after watching all of their losing games to date on TV – and she already, much earlier, had expressed her same, but less intense dismay at the collapse of the Houston Astros this season – and both of these unyeasted sports cakes had come long after the NBA Houston Rockets had buried local hopes for supreme victory in their own arena.

Last night she asked me a question I’d never heard from her previously. Of course, it was “the” question that all Houston sports fans ask eventually. That’s right, it’s the one that cannot be answered scientifically, but it’s great soil for all those folks who care to venture into the spiritual occult and come up with supernaturally-based interpretative answers – sort of searching for the local equivalent of the bambino and billy-goat curses that have become associated with Boston and Chicago baseball over the years.

Norma asked: “Why is it that every time a Houston team of any sport comes up with a team that looks like they cannot lose – they do?”

I didn’t have an answer.



More Gorceyisms

Took my mind off the UH loss to SMU by watching the Bowery Boys 1954 movie “Jungle Gents” before going to bed. In this one, idiot boy “Sach” Jones, played by Huntz Hall, acquires an ability to smell diamonds as a result of a powerful anti-biotic he takes for a head cold. As a result, an American investors group pays Sach, his    keeper, “Slip” Mahoney, played by the language mangling Leo Gorcey, along with the rest of the Bowery Boys to fly to Africa and sniff out some large rocks of valuable ice.

Here are my two favorite “Gorceyisms” from “Jungle Gents”:

  1. Explaining Sach’s reason for taking the powerful anti-biotic in the first place, Gorcey says, “He took it to clear up a sinus infatuation.”
  2. Describing The Boys’ overseas destination, Gorcey notes that “we are flying to the place they call The Dark Condiment.”


The Actor Who Could’ve Played Joe Maddon in the TV Movie

John Maddon Manager Chicago Cubs

John Maddon
Chicago Cubs

Spencer Tracy Iconic Movie Actor 1930s-1960s

Spencer Tracy
Iconic Movie Actor

This morning it’s an “iffy” prospect. Let’s just assume for the sake of this disclosure that their may be a TV movie about the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, if they defeat the Cleveland Indians in the upcoming 2016 Series pairing. If that happens, and as the above photos show, it’s too bad that Spencer Tracy is not still around to play Cubs Manager Joe Maddon. He’s a comfortable physical match, sort of talks like Joe too, and, let’s keep in mind – Tracy already had played a similar role to “Maddon” in the 1957 version of Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” when he brilliantly played the old Cuban fisherman who single-handedly brought in one of biggest fish ever caught off the coast of that island nation. His burden in that story was every ounce as heavy as the one facing Joe Maddon in the World Series – and that’s the erasure of “1908” as the marker on the last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series.



How did a good team become a bad team in 2 weeks?

As we write – here comes the big question for UH fans and  most of the good possible multiple answers about the UH Cougars fell so hard from grace against SMU last night as the rude awakening of a three straight game decline.  Thank you friend, colleague, and fellow UH alumnus, Dr. Don Matlosz, for placing them so quickly in motion:

I have asked my 8 ball this question(out to lunch) and now I am asking a former sage-soothsayer and former Amway salesman:

  1. Injuries and suspensions
  2. Being denied entrance into the Big 12 conference
  3. Herman for president noise
  4. Navy loss ended hope of conference championship
  5. Boise State will go undefeated and kill UH ‘s chances if Navy stumbled
  6. Todd Orlando has failed to alter his defensive schemes
  7. Minor Apple butter play calling with Greg Ward continuing to run between the tackles does not work
  8. All of the above

 TPPE Response to Dr. Matlosz

Gotta go for choices (1) through (4) above, my friend. (5) went off the table when UH lost to Navy; (6) has more to do with adjusting defense for Navy’s veer. UH hasn’t been the same on defense since Navy; and (7) had more to do with the injuries and suspension effect 0f (1) above. Our O-Line couldn’t block at all yesterday.

Plus, the oldest reason in the book at the collegiate football level was in play yesterday. The young Cougar players looked briefly at the game schedule for this week after their near-escape from defeat by Tulsa last week and mistook the initials “SMU” next to the date Oct 22nd and thought it meant it would be a game that was barely going to be one-step up from an open date trip to Dallas for the weekend.

One other less visible factor was the background of SMU red shirt freshman QB Ben King, the guy who took the UH defense apart like he was Tom Brady. King had recruited to play for UH by former Coach Tony Levine, but he asked for a commitment release once Levine was fired and transferred to SMU, only to sit out last season. King had an axe to grind and the football equivalent skills to back up his personal attack on the school who dumped the coach he wanted to play for at UH. Stuff happens.

Herman learns more football in his sleep than Levine could have mastered by design over the next decade, but that doesn’t always matter to recruits. Their relationships with a future coach are often based on personal reasons that have nothing to do with which future coach is going to be their best teacher.

What does the 38-16 UH loss to SMU tell us over at Cougar Nation?

1) The Cougars are not nearly as good as we thought they were;

2) UH will not repeat as American Conference champions;

3) Our Coogs may drop out of the AP Top 25 now because our loss was to SMU; and,

4) We’ll need more time to season our current players and increase the quality of our depth to stop the kinds of injuries and suspensions we’ve had this year from making us as thin as we looked yesterday.

What other good could from come from the UH loss to SMU?

1) We get to find out. – Are our UH players good enough to define themselves? – Or will they allow their play in the last three games define how they play the balance of their schedule?

2) Now the college football world has proof that UH Coach Tom Herman doesn’t walk on water.

3) Maybe some of the current players and potential recruits will now believe Tom Herman when he says he plans to be at UH a very long time.

4) UH fans get a reality check. This is not our year for a national championship.

 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


5 Responses to “Sunday Sports Soup: 10/23/16”

  1. Sam Says:

    Bill, it is elementary! If the ball players can’t follow the X’s and O’s, you will lose each and every time. Call it preparation or in UH’s case the lack of it.

    In summary, it is best to look for a brighter future and be mindful of the open letter:

    Dear Algebra,

    Please stop asking us to find your “X”, She is never coming back and don’t ask “Y”!

    I hope this brightens your day!


  2. Wayne Roberts Says:

    You think you’re bummed? Hook ’em

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Wayne – Gotcha on that one – even before your gracious public acknowledgement. I watched the UT-KSU game too – and thought of your agony, as well. For any of us who suffer this broadly shared sports addiction, losing a game is bad enough – but when losing is accompanied by the death rattle of great expectations – it makes for the suck day of all suck days.

  3. Mark W Says:

    >>3) Maybe some of the current players and potential recruits will now believe Tom Herman when he says he plans to be at UH a very long time.<<

    Define: "a very long time".

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “A Very Long Time” defined: Longer than “Don’t believe anything you’ve read. Today I am the head coach of the Houston Cougars and we are focused upon playing our best against the Memphis Tigers.”

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