2 Days away, Jimmy Burch sizes up the RRS …
Red River routs: The last nine winners in the Red River Rivalry have prevailed by double digits. Included are the most-lopsided victory margins in series history by each school: Texas, 45-12, in 2005 and Oklahoma, 65-13, in 2003. Before the blowout streak, OU and Texas played four consecutive games (1994-97) in which the average margin of victory was 3.3 points.
Matchup of the week: Texas vs. Oklahoma
The preseason favorites in the South Division limp into the Red River Rivalry after last week's stunning upsets. But there's one major difference. Oklahoma has looked vulnerable only while surrendering a second-half lead to Colorado. Texas has appeared vulnerable on a near-weekly basis. Expect the Sooners to extract payback, with interest, for two straight losses in Dallas.
Pick: Oklahoma 35, Texas 17
Sam Bradford leads the way for the fighting Sooners …
Much had been made of the diligent work that Sam Bradford had done with the scout team last season, and even more eyebrows were raised by his bowl game preparations and play in spring practices.
But surely this redshirt freshman reeking of potential was no Colt McCoy.
"Yeah, we know," the OU assistant coach said of Bradford. "He's better."
Now that's a mouthful, even if said with as much hope as conviction.
Bob Stoops' staff couldn't have been sure in August that five games into the season, the Sooners' new quarterback would be leading all of college football in passing efficiency and moxie.
And few realistically thought Bradford would be outplaying his Texas counterpart so soon. But McCoy ranks a pedestrian 62nd in passing efficiency and has thrown seven fewer touchdowns and five more interceptions than Bradford.
In truth, Bradford's very good, but he's had a lot of help. Of the string of impressive quarterbacks who have learned at Stoops' feet — and that includes a Heisman Trophy winner and a runner-up, a Rose Bowl MVP and a Big 12 championship-producing player who converted from quarterback to receiver and back again — Bradford could be the best. But, as offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson reminded, "He's a long way away from saying he's (the next) Jason White."
Not yet anyway.
Of course, Bradford's keeping better company than McCoy these days, which is no small reason for his meteoric rise. The OU offense he directs scores 54 points a game and ranks 10th nationally in yardage. McCoy's unit tops 33 points each week, and the 35th-rated Texas offense churns out yardage in bits and pieces, not clumps.
Everyone in crimson and cream is so sold on Bradford that — had it not been for last week's setback in Colorado — we're sure they were completing plans to erect a statue of him right next to the one of White that was unveiled outside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium before Bradford went out and picked apart Miami.
"He's played like we hoped he would," Stoops said.
"He is very smart," Wilson said.
"He gives us a lot of faith in a hostile environment," Sooners linebacker Lewis Baker said.
"He's very mature for his age," cornerback Marcus Walker said.
Not mature enough to handle the media, however — OU has curiously shielded him from interviewers, save for postgame settings. But don't be misled into thinking he'll melt the first time he rides the bus to the Cotton Bowl and encounters angry Texas fans.
Like his predecessors here, Bradford came with great advance billing, though not on the order of some. The Sooners landed Josh Heupel when new OU coordinator Mike Leach found him at Snow Junior College, one of the greatest finds in history. They got top-10 stud Nate Hybl on the rebound when he didn't win the job at Georgia and transferred. They snatched up White when Stoops took the OU job one minute and beat a path to Bradford's door in Tuttle, Okla., the next.
Neither White nor Heupel stuck in the NFL. Hybl spent a couple of years on the Browns' roster, and Leander's Paul Thompson — who was lured here with the promise of playing quarterback, a job he finally got last season when Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team — was the last cut by the Packers in August. White's two bum knees killed his chances with the Titans, and Heupel's elbow killed his chances with the Dolphins. He's now Oklahoma's quarterbacks coach.
"Maybe we're getting the most out of 'em," Stoops said, "because maybe they're not the most pure, legitimate, NFL-style quarterbacks."
How tough is it to get Tickets? Not very in 2007 …
When the Longhorns lose, it doesn't just hurt the team and diehard fans. Ticket brokers also feel the pain.
Fans who still want to go to games, however, can get some last-minute deals.
Ticket prices for this weekend's Texas-Oklahoma game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas have dropped since last week's loss to Kansas State and Oklahoma's upset by Colorado.
On Web sites such as TicketCity.com, tickets were selling Wednesday for as low as $135, or $40 more than face value.
"Anytime a team loses, whether it's college pro or whatever, you can sometimes see a dip in the price," said Zach Anderson, the marketing director at TicketCity, who thinks the game is a good value. "It's driven by how the teams perform in the field."
But that doesn't mean interest in the game has plummeted. The Red River Rivalry, which takes place amid the State Fair, is selling well when compared with other football games this weekend. On TicketsNow.com, the Texas-Oklahoma game is the second-highest-selling college football game, behind Florida at Louisiana State in Baton Rouge.
Ticket brokers hope the interest holds up. On Wednesday, Web sites such as TicketsNow.com still had 1,000 tickets for sale, and StubHub.com was offering 700.
"That's quite a big inventory for it being only four days away," said Sean Pate, the public relations director for StubHub, which connects brokers selling tickets with buyers, becoming a barometer for supply and demand.
If the tickets don't sell quickly, the glut will probably drive down prices near the end of the week.
"Prices will drop," said Jennifer Swanson, a spokesperson with TicketsNow.com.
As of Wednesday, average prices for the game were still higher than last year, Pate said. In 2006, the average ticket price was $419 on StubHub; this year is $439.
Stars play hard; fall short …And Guess what? The Avalanche have more amazing kids who have skill pouring out of their extremities….
The Stars were all over the Avalanche goal. Or at least around it. The chances were numerous, some opportunities golden. For most of the game, however, it was tough to get anything going.
Then, in the third period, the Stars' power play gave them new life, and a shot at nullifying a big Avalanche lead. Unfortunately for the Stars, it came too late.
Colorado's Paul Stastny recorded his first career hat trick just past the halfway mark of the second period, and the Stars came up short in a comeback in a 4-3 Avs victory on Wednesday night.
The Stars, down 4-1 at the start of the third period, looked as if they were going to do what they did last season: overcome an Avs deficit for a late or beyond-regulation victory. But with Marty Turco leaving the net with 70 seconds remaining in the third, the Stars got a few cracks at Peter Budaj but couldn't force overtime.
"You've got to have the urgency before [the third period]," coach Dave Tippett said. "To win in this league you have to win one-on-one battles and create space for yourself by skating. We had some players, but not enough players making a difference."
If time of possession counted for anything in hockey, the Stars would have walked away victorious. But for all their time in the Avs' zone and their opportunities, there once again wasn't enough getting past the opposing netminder.
"We gave up a couple turnovers that cost us," said Jeff Halpern, who scored the Stars' first goal. "The mental [mistakes] you don't intend to make. You come out down 4-1, and that's not the result you want for how long you spend in the other team's zone."
Turco had some dazzling stops in the first minutes of the first period, but the shine wore off as he allowed four goals in the first two periods.
"He made some good saves early," Tippett said. "But we're going to need better
goaltending than that."
Turco said: "Looking back on that first-period [goal], we were starting to push back a little bit, and I couldn't see it clean and it got through. I felt OK out there. I'm not overly thrilled."
There was a scary moment late in the first period. Brenden Morrow slid back-first into the boards and appeared to get hit in the mouth by Avs defenseman Brett Clark's skate. Morrow left, but returned about six minutes into the second.
The Stars had some fantastic chances against Budaj. They also had great control for long periods of time in the Avs' zone, especially late in the second period. Stu Barnes laced a great pass to Niklas Hagman, but Budaj nabbed the attempt. Jussi Jokinen launched one from near the blue line, only to have it hit the post.
Meanwhile, the Jaroslav Hlinka-Stastny-Andrew Brunette line was tough to stop. The trio connected on some great passes, all of which led to Stastny's memorable night.
Romo and the Boys not looking past Buffalo …
Romo insisted the undefeated Cowboys aren't looking beyond their Monday night matchup with the 1-3 Buffalo Bills to their Oct. 14 showdown with the New England Patriots.
“We are taking each game as it comes along,” Romo said Wednesday. “We don't look ahead. I didn't even know we were playing the Bears until someone told me about it after the Dolphins game. Once we had left the field in Miami, somebody said, ‘What do you think about the Bears?' I said, ‘That's who we're playing next?'-”
So does Romo know the Patriots are headed to Texas Stadium?
“I do know,” he said. “You guys have talked about that enough. We'll cross that bridge when it comes.”
The Cowboys are 10-point favorites to down the banged-up Bills and go 5-0 for the first time since 1983. Buffalo beat the New York Jets 17-14 last week, but its chances of pulling off the upset are considered slim with rookie Trent Edwards starting at quarterback, rather than the injured J.P. Losman, and several starters missing from a defense that ranks last in the league.
Dallas, meanwhile, is humming along with the No. 1 offense and a defense ranked eighth after holding St. Louis without an offensive touchdown en route to a 35-7 victory.
Given all that, is there a chance the Cowboys could arrive in Buffalo overconfident?
“I don't think this team has that problem,” said Romo, named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September after completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,199 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
“I think we understand we haven't won anything yet,” Romo said. “We are 4-0, but you can be 12-0 and lose four games and the first game of the playoffs and you are not a very good team then. I think we understand that and have our head on right.”
Just in case they don't, coach Wade Phillips has repeatedly reminded the Cowboys how dangerous it can be to buy into all the good things being said about them.
“I try to be honest with them and tell them, ‘Hey, this is what can happen,'-” Phillips said. “You realize everybody is telling you these things, you need to believe what I say. You can get overconfident. You can think you're better than you are and that you don't have to play as hard.”
But if the rest of the team thinks like Romo, Phillips need not worry.
“We've done some good things in the first month,” Romo said. “This is obviously where we want to be. But we haven't accomplished the goals we set out to accomplish.”
Tim Duncan couldn't have said it better.
FC Dallas fall short of the US Open Cup …Great game, though…
For the third straight year, FC Dallas had to watch as another team celebrated a championship on its home field.
But unlike the last two MLS Cups at Pizza Hut Park, which FC Dallas hosted but didn't play, FC Dallas was the team losing the final, 3-2, to New England in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in front of 10,618.
"This one was worse," defender Drew Moor said. "We really wanted to do it for Lamar and the Hunts, who have made this stadium and this league possible."
A note posted in the FC Dallas locker room read, "The U.S. Open Cup is named after Lamar Hunt, our owner." Hunt died Dec. 15.
After putting forth a valiant effort in the second half, FC Dallas wasn't able to recover from a 3-1 hole caused by several team defensive miscues.
"We shot ourselves in the foot again by giving up soft goals," said FC Dallas coach Steve Morrow. "If you give up soft goals, you're not going to win a championship, and we clearly need to stop that."
FC Dallas has given up 13 goals during a five-game winless streak. It has three matches left to fix the problem before the MLS playoffs.
Fan banned for life …goalie dives like a soccer player…
Celtic have today banned a 27-year-old man from attending the club's home and away fixtures for life, after a fan ran onto the pitch at last night's game with AC Milan and struck goalkeeper Dida.
Celtic won the game 2-1, but the success has been overshadowed by the fan's behaviour and police claimed earlier in the day that a man had voluntarily given himself up.
A statement on the club's website read:
'The individual who entered the field of play at last night's match against AC Milan has made himself known to Celtic Football Club and will now be banned for life from attending Celtic matches.
See the dive here
Ricardo Clark kicks Carlos Ruiz – Wow!