Sorry I have been slow to post the past couple of days, but spending a three-day weekend in New York City will do that to you. (If you're up there and want to watch the Horns, head to the Back Page at 83rd and 3rd)
Two observations from UT events over the past few days:
1. The basketball team is great. I'm all in, and I'm going to be very surprised if the Horns don't reach the Final Four in Indianapolis. As far as completing the Texas Crown (three consecutive titles, not in one year), who the hell knows. A trip to the Final Four is all you can ever wish for, because you never know who else will be there at the end.
Of course Duke is the favorite, and I wouldn't like our chances if we played them tomorrow, but April's a long way off and I expect the Horns to get even better as they battle through conference play. I won't even mind if they lose a couple of games along the way, because tough battles in the regular (practice) season often lead to big wins in March.
The guard play is still a little worrisome, but our frontline is monstrous. Buckman's got to be healthy, though, because when he's manning the paint Aldridge can float and run the pick and roll with Gibson, which I still think is our best play.
I'm fine with matching up a core of Buckman, Aldridge, Tucker, Gibson and Paulino with any five players in the country. Depth and point play is a question, but every team - except Duke - has questions, and Duke usually chokes in the tournament anyway.
I still think any criticism of Rick Barnes should be met with a slap to the head, but I am willing to admit that anything less than an appearance in the Sweet 16 would be a huge underachievement given the talent on this year's team.
2. I love the NFL. I watched damn near every game this season on the Sunday Ticket. But come 7 p.m. eastern Sunday I didn't hesitate to turn off the early second half of the Panthers-Bears game to sit in front of a computer and watch the football celebration online from DKR-TMS.
First, let me thank the folks at MackBrown-TexasFootball.com for hosting the stream. I almost felt like I was there.
I still get goosebumps watching highlights of the season. Following the roller coaster ride of emotion that was the Rose Bowl, I had forgotten some of those great plays. I look forward to the DVD, and I'm sure someone here at BON will compile a "top 10 plays of the season" list soon, if a reader doesn't beat us to it in a diary.
The speakers were ok. I mean what did you expect? Those people are some of the most powerful in the state, and they were all in Austin bowing before King Mack. What a moment.
I was at the press conference in December 1997 at the Erwin Center when they introduced Mack, and during Sunday's rally I kept thinking, "This is exactly what they hired him to do." Our patience has been rewarded, and I will never forget this season.
For a few minutes, I had hopes that Vince was going to step to the podium and announce he was changing his mind and coming back for his senior season. I watched the stream with loyal commenter Eric, who said if that happened, everyone at DRK-TMS would spontaneously combust. I think the speakers on Eric's computer would have been blown from the roar of the crowd had Vince made such an announcement. Oh well, at least Justin Blalock is coming back.
Vince's victory lap reminded me of Cal Ripken's when he broke The Streak. I wish I could have been there to shake The Man's hand on Sunday.
By the way, a bum on the NYC subway saw me wearing my Texas sweatshirt this weekend, and as he got up to leave the train, he tapped me on the shoulder and told me the Rose Bowl was the greatest sporting even he had ever seen.
I have never been so proud to wear burnt orange as I am in 2006. Thank you guys.