Tennessee Titans capitalize on pathetic Texans culture

The Titans claimed Zach Cunningham off waivers. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Another exciting Texans home game Sunday approaches! The 2-10 laughingstock plays host to 4-8 Seattle. The Seahawks are one loss from clinching their first losing season since 2011, the last season they drafted without quarterback Russell Wilson. Seven draft slots before the Seahawks picked Wilson in the third round of the 2012 Draft, the Texans drafted wide receiver DeVier Posey. Posey finished his Texans (and NFL) career with 22 receptions and zero touchdowns. To be fair, a bunch of other teams also blew it in passing on Wilson. On the other hand, every other team has played in at least one conference championship game (all but the Detroit Lions have reached at least two). To be fair again, the Texans are the youngest NFL franchise. Still, zero conference title game appearances in 20 years is lame. The present Texans, far worse than lame.

The Texans have laughably little talent. Organizationally, their present greatest talent seems to be finding new levels below the bottom of the barrel to scrape. Cutting starting linebacker Zach Cunningham this week is the latest example, but quite likely not the last. Cunningham basically punked out. Repeated unprofessional behavior combined with overrated performance certainly don’t make him a devastating loss. Maybe it was a Machiavellian planned mutiny to escape the franchise. If so, well played Zach, I guess? The Texans falling for it and releasing a guy in the first season of a four year extension and taking a near 13 million dollar dead dollar cap hit for next season is just so pathetic. How classic that the Tennessee Titans won the claim for Cunningham to help their playoff push, and get him with zero guaranteed dollars owed beyond this season.

Rockets are streaking!

The Rockets try to grow their winning streak from a magnificent seven to a great eight Friday night by taking down the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks at Toyota Center. The Rockets haven’t suddenly blossomed into a good team, but going directly from a 15 game losing streak into this seven game roll is laudable. In fact, the Rockets are the first NBA team ever to have a losing streak of at least 15 games and a winning streak of at least seven in the same season.

Seven in a row is seven in a row, but six of the seven have been at home and the Rockets caught a huge break when the Nets held out Kevin Durant Wednesday in the second game of a back-to-back for them. It’s an odd reality that two of the three players on the roster who have the highest hopes attached to them going forward, are presently non-entities. Hyped rookie Jalen Green went down injured in the first quarter of the first game of the winning streak. Kevin Porter Jr. has missed the last couple games and played limited minutes in the two prior to those. Measured against the NBA now, Green and Porter have been poor players this season. Presently the Rockets play better without them. But with this season about growth and development, when fully healthy Porter and Green belong back in the starting lineup so the growing pains and on the job training aren’t retarded any further.

Go Coogs!

On the college hoops side, excellent Saturday night matchup has the University of Houston playing at Alabama. For the first time this season Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars are “supposed” to lose. 8-1 UH is ranked 14th, the 7-1 Crimson Tide is number nine. The Coogs are off of three straight routs of grossly inferior competition. The Tide is off taking down Gonzaga last weekend. Classic clash of styles with UH’s in your face and grind you down rock solid defense up against a Bama offense which plays one of the more up tempo paces in the nation. There are 358 Division One college basketball schools. Alabama is 19th in possessions per game, Houston is 280th. Definitely a part of the Coogs’ low number is their defense causes opposition offenses to use more clock than normal to get a shot up (or try to get a shot up). Still, UH does not play fast offensively. UA is pedal to the medal.

Buzzer Beaters

1. It took Purdue basketball 70-plus years of the AP poll to this week finally get ranked number one in the nation. The Boilermakers hold on the top spot didn’t last one game, knocked off by a 40 foot buzzer beater at Rutgers Thursday night. Second ranked Baylor plays sixth ranked Villanova on Sunday. With a win the reigning National Champion Bears become the fourth number one already this season following Gonzaga, Duke, and Purdue.

2. It’s mere capitalism, but college football head coach salaries have exploded ridiculously.

3. Least desirable holiday desserts: Bronze-mincemeat pie Silver-peppermint bark Gold-fruitcake

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The Coogs play Miami on Friday night. Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images.

Number one seed University of Houston is favored by 7.5 points over No. 5 Miami, and No. 2 University of Texas is favored by 4 over No. 3 Xavier Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Kansas City.

Talk about opening acts. If both UH and UT win, they’ll meet Sunday in a good ol’ WWE-style Texas death match for a berth in the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston. Thank you, Mr. Schedule Maker.

How much do you think Cougar fans would love for UH to get their hands on the Longhorns with so much at stake?

For one example, let’s go back to the future, Oct. 21, 2023, when Big 12 rivals UH and UT meet in football at TDECU Stadium on the Houston campus. The game already is a lock sellout with tickets in the upper deck commanding $141 per ticket on the secondary market. It will be UH’s first year in the big boy Big 12 and UT’s last go-around before heading to the SEC.

One last opportunity for lasting bragging rights.

That’s for a UH football game. At home. Where the Cougars typically have trouble packing half the house. For example, the Cougars will be hosting the Sam Houston Bearkats at TDECU Stadium a month earlier. Tickets for that game, the same exact seat going for $141 against UT, can be had right now … $17.

Yeah, there’s something special about UH getting the opportunity to face UT. In anything. Anywhere. And it’s been a long time since the two teams, once co-members of the Southwest Conference together, have met on the basketball court. A full decade, in fact. The last time they played was March 20, 2013 with the Cougars prevailing 73-72 in something called the College Basketball Invitational. The UH coach was James Dickey. UT was coached by Rick Barnes. Joe Young led the Cougars with 18 points. The Horns’ leading scorer was Julien Lewis with 28. UH finished that season with a 20-13 record. UT limped home at 16-18.

That was then, this is now. The UH-Miami game will air at 6:10 p.m. Friday on CBS with UH grad Jim Nantz calling the play-by-play. The game will alsO stream on Hulu +++. ESPN’s BPI (basketball power index) gives the Cougars a 90 percent chance of winning. We’ll take it.

The UT-Xavier game will follow at 8:45 p.m. on CBS. The Horns have a 70 percent chance of beating the Musketeers. If both chalks come through, they’ll meet Sunday afternoon with the game on CBS.

The Cougars have made six Final Four appearances: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2021. The Horns have made three Final Fours, the last time two decades ago.

Here’s the only sure bet if UH and UT meet Sunday - get to your sports bar early if you want a seat. This could be memorable.

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