My, how fast things can change. Three weeks ago the University of Houston was the talk of college football. The Cougars were No. 6 in the country and a fringe playoff contender.
They are now out of the Top 25, having played three straight subpar games, losing two of them and lucking into a win in the third.
Texas A&M was emerging as a possible threat to Alabama. Texas was flailing, but still had a chance to turn things around.
The Aggies? Game for a half, but no one is a match for Alabama. The Longhorns? Completely irrelevant. Someone asked on Twitter if Charlie Strong would survive the week. My answer was who do they have on staff who could be an interim coach? And that may be part of the problems in Austin.
Of the three programs, A&M has less of a reason to feel bad today. Alabama is so much better than everyone else. It was going to take a perfect game, especially from Trevor Knight. But the Tide can keep you from playing a perfect game. The Aggies can still finish second in the SEC West and land a major bowl. That’s one hell of an accomplishment.
UH is likely headed to a Tony Levine-like 8-4 record and a fifth-tier bowl game. The hopes of a New Year’s Day six bowl were put to death the same week the school was spurned by the Big 12. The loss to SMU was baffling; the Ponies are not a good team by any measurement. If you can lose to them, you can lose to anyone left on your schedule not named Tulane.
And the Longhorns? Barring a miracle, the Charlie Strong era is over, and it was a complete disaster.
And it all looked so different just a few weeks ago.
Texans up next: The Brock Osweiler returns to Denver storyline will dominate everything tonight. He will need to play his best game of the season to give the Texans a shot. The Texans defense should be able to keep the Broncos in check, but they will need Osweiler and Lamar Miller to produce. That won’t be easy against the Broncos’ rugged defense.
Rockets ready for opener: They will be down a couple players, but the new-look Rockets are ready to go.
Gambling recap: Bloodbath. Worst weekend ever and first losing weekend of the year, but two straight losing weekends on sports. (Horses bailed us out last week). Losing sucks. I spent most of the night going back and evaluating every single play this season to try to find out why these did not work out. Losing streaks are inevitable. How you deal with them can define you. So it’s a good time to offer a few tips on how to deal with it. Some of this is detailed in An Introduction to Sports Betting: Blitz Style.
- Don’t let it get in your head. That is easy to do, especially when you are getting constant reminders on Twitter about how much you suck. It’s especially bad when you are doing picks publicly. There is a significant contingent that wants you to fail, then wants to tell you about it. But you have to step back and look at the big picture — which is that we are well up for the season and still clicking overall at nearly 60 percent.
- Self-evaluate. What are you doing differently? The biggest issues I found were looking at lines too early in the week and locking into opinions too soon, and also playing too many games. I am at my best when I have no more than four plays a week. And locking in too soon cost me big time on Saskatchewan because I did not account for crappy weather affecting the offenses. It is also likely I am getting spread too thin by trying to do colleges, NFL, CFL and full cards of horse racing (in addition to the web site, the show, a writing project and running an audio book business). Will likely drop the ponies until Breeders’ Cup and see if that works.
- Don’t chase. I actually hit two NFL games that I did not have on the guide (I did mention them on the show — Raiders over, Saints under). They both barely hit, and they were dumb plays, because I was merely trying to salvage a bad weekend. While they helped the bottom line, they violated a pretty good rule. Don’t throw money at games you were on the fence about simply because you were losing.
- Take a week off. I have done this a lot in the past when the inevitable cold streak hits. Just get away for a week. It’s hard to do, because we have a finite amount of football games, but sometimes it is the best move. If I get to Friday and am not in love with anything, you won’t see a guide this week. I will do mock plays for myself and see how they go, then come back with a new mindset.
- Don’t let losing consume you. I spent most of Sunday in a complete funk and being miserable. Not so much because I lost money, but because I know people use these picks. It’s another key rule I violated. I learned a long time ago in horse racing that when you miss a race, you turn the page. If you don’t — similar to going on tilt in poker — it will get in your head and losing will become a habit. We need to use losing as a teaching mechanism. You don’t learn much when you are winning.
No one likes to talk about the bad side of gambling, but the truth is, losing streaks are a fact of life. How you deal with them will help you win on a consistent basis.
Yes, the sun still came up today. The world is a beautiful place. Sucking at picks happens. Turn the page.
Walking Dead recap: Contains spoilers. I ejected on this show years ago, but people still love it and watch. I might jump back in. This review has me mildly interested.
A Shawshank-like prison escape for a Gorilla? Maybe not that dramatic, and it ended well, but this guy was pretty clever.
Is that a lobster in your pants or are you just happy to see me? And yes, it is a Florida story, of course.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”
Robert Green Ingersoll