Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NCAA Hands Down Bowl Ban to Ohio State University

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

COLUMBUS, OHIO (December 20, 2011) It has been reported in numerous media sources (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN) that the NCAA has handed down a 2012 bowl ban to The Ohio State University as a result of the improprieties with members of the football team under former head coach Jim Tressel.

Ohio State will be ineligible for post season play in 2012 in addition to losing scholarships.

They will also be under probation for three years.

This action could put a damper on recruiting in the future.

How many top-caliper players are going to commit to a team that will not be allowed to play in a bowl game in 2012?

I am sure that could be a determining factor in a recruit's decision to attend Ohio State.

However, these sanctions could prove more detrimental to donations and booster's support.

Ohio State will have a long, hard journey to achieve the status that they have enjoyed in the past.

But as it is in college sports, it is more likely this will be long forgotten once the 2012 season is over.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

TCU Men, Women Lead After Day 1 of UIW Christmas Invitational

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (December 17, 2011) The TCU men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams lead the field after the first day of competition at the University of the Incarnate Word Christmas Invitational at the Palo Alto College natatorium.

The TCU men and women combined for six wins to highlight the first day’s competition.

The Horned Flogs men’s 400-yard medley relay consisting of Laszlo Gyurko, Edgar Crespo, Luiz Azarias and Devin Price won the final event of the evening with a time of 3:19.98.

Gyurko also took top honors in the 100-yard butterfly with the time of 48.59.

Azarias and Friedrich Grott also scored in the event placing sixth and eighth, respectively.

Sebastian Arispe also won the gold for the Horned Frogs with his 4:26.61 in the 500-yard freestyle. It was his first win in his career for TCU.

Michael Franz, Cooper Robinson and Ross Van Allen also finished in the top 8 and scored points in the event.

The final win for the TCU men was Ricky Bradley’s victory in the 3-meter diving with a personal best score of 305.90.

Freshman Victoria Thicke-Rattray won the 200-yard individual medley for the women followed closely by teammate Ali Bleasdell for the one-two finish.

Katie Lybbert also scored on the boards, winning the 1-meter diving event with the score of 252.85.

The Horned Frogs finished the day leading both divisions, with the men tallying 668 points while the women scored 591 points.

In the men’s division, TCU was followed by Missouri State (627.5), University of the Incarnate Word (517.5), and Utah (333).

The TCU women were followed by Rice (511), Missouri State (398.5), Utah (335.5), University of the Incarnate Word (284) and North Texas (76).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Team USA Wins 2011 Mutual of Omaha Dual in the Pool

Three American records fall on the final night of competition

ATLANTA, GEORGIA (December 17, 2011) Team USA took home the overall team title Saturday afternoon at the 2011 Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool. The dual meet, taking place at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, saw three American records fall today, one in the women’s 4x100m free relay and the others in the men’s and women’s 200m butterfly. The final team score was Team USA - 181.5 to the European All–Stars – 80.5.

Team USA set American records in both portions of the 200m fly. In her hometown Kathleen Hersey (Atlanta, Ga.) went 2:03.49, nearly a second faster than the old record, which was a 2:04.26 held by Elaine Breeden (Lexington, Ky.). Breeden finished second to Hersey in this event with a 2:04.98 and Sweden’s Martina Granstroem came in third at 2:06.08.

Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh got on the medal stand as he finished the 200m fly in 1:51.18. Davis Tarwater (Knoxville, Tenn.) touched the wall with an American record time of 1:51.90. Hungary placed another on the stand as Bence Biczo took bronze in 1:55.26.
The women’s 4x100m free relay was won by the European Team with a time of 3:27.53. The time, which would have broken the world record, did not count as a record as the swimmers on the relay do not all represent the same country. The U.S. Team of Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.), Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.), Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas) and Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) finished second in 3:28.46 to set an American record in the event.
The U.S. men came from behind in the final 50 meters of the 4x100m free relay to win in 3:07.22. The team of Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.), Garrett Weber-Gale (Milwaukee, Wis.), Nick Brunelli (Mansfield, Mass.) and Ricky Berens (Charlotte, N.C.) beat the European All-Stars, who finished in 3:07.98. Berens’ strong anchor leg put the U.S. Team ahead of the Europeans for the win in the final event of the competition.
Just as the U.S. swept the opening races on Friday night, the E-Stars did the same today with wins in the women’s and men’s 800m free. Denmark’s Lotte Friis won for the women’s in 8:04.77, just .24 seconds off the world record pace. Chloe Sutton (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Great Britain’s Grainne Murphy went second and third, respectively, with 8:14.29 and 8:18.03 swims. Pal Joensen from Faroe Islands won for the men in 7:36.24. Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) came in second with 7:39.90 and Denmark’s Mads Glaesner was third in 7:42.27.

The women’s 200m free saw the first all-U.S. podium as Missy Franklin took the heat in 1:53.19. Dana Vollmer stayed close to Franklin all race as she came in second with a 1:53.92. Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.) helped the Americans finish the medal stand sweep coming in third at 1:54.24.

Berens, Matt McLean (Sterling, Va.) and Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) won gold, silver and bronze, respectively, for the U.S. in the 200m free. It was the second straight medal sweep by the Americans. Berens swam a 1:42.48 – the second fastest time in the world this year – as McLean went 1:44.26 and Dwyer went 1:44.45.

Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) won the women’s 100m breast with the fastest swim of the year, a 1:03.33. Trojan teammate Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) comes in second in 1:04.53 and Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen finished third at 1:05.50.

Brendan Hansen (Havertown, Pa.) swept both the men’s breaststroke events at the Duel in the Pool with a win in the 100m distance Saturday. Hansen touched the wall in 57.47 as Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta was close behind in 57.62. U.S. teammate Michael Alexandrov (Champaign, Ill.) rounded out the podium with a 57.81.

The European women swept the 50m free with Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands winning in 23.43. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, also of the Netherlands, was second in 23.61 and Francesa Halsall of Great Britain was third in 23.73.

In other races, Elizabeth Simmonds of Great Britain won the women’s 100m back with a time of 56.82. Grevers led the men’s sweep of the 100m back, finishing in 49.85. Caitlin Leverenz (Tucson, Ariz.) won the women’s 200m IM with a time of 2:04.91. Nick Brunelli (Mansfield, Mass.) won the men’s 50m free in 21.29, beating Russia’s Vladimir Morozov by just .01 seconds.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Houston Cougars Men’s Basketball Back in Action after Break

Cougars set to meet Oklahoma at 7 p.m., Saturday, at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 16, 2011) After more than 10 days off from competition, the University of Houston men’s basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m., Saturday, when it meets Oklahoma inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Between the Cougars’ final examinations and a request from UTSA administrators to postpone a game earlier this month, Houston has not seen action since a tough 81-78 loss at Texas State on Dec. 6. It was the Cougars’ fourth loss this season by a combined seven points.

Against the Bobcats, junior guard junior guard Jonathon Simmons posted a career-high points total and freshman forward TaShawn Thomas finished with a double-double – each for the second straight game – to lead the Cougars.

The Cougars trailed by as many as 23 points in the second half before chipping away at the deficit. Houston moved to within two points with just more than a remaining but was unable to tie the score.

Sophomore forward Alandise Harris and freshman point guard J.J. Thompson each posted 11 points for the Cougars.

This season, Harris leads the Cougars and ranks fourth in Conference USA with 16.0 points per game. Simmons is averaging 24.0 points in Houston’s last two games and moved into second among the Cougars with 13.6 points per contest. Junior forward Kirk Van Slyke stands third with 11.6 points per, game, while Thomas ranks fourth with 10.4 points per game and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per contest.

Houston is no stranger to the RAMADA All-College Classic. The Cougars are 9-6 all-time at this event, and the 2011 appearance will be the sixth time that the Cougars have competed here.

However, this is the first time since Dec. 27-29, 1973, that the Cougars will take part in this tournament. It also will be the first time that the Cougars have faced Oklahoma at this event.

The Cougars went 1-2 in their first appearance at the RAMADA All-College Classic and followed that with 2-1 showings in 1960, 1961, 1963 and 1974.

Saturday’s game will be the third meeting in the all-time series against the Sooners with the previous games being played during regular-season tournament play.

Despite its brief history, the series has been a tight one with no game being decided by more than seven points.

This will be the second time in the last three years that the Cougars will face Oklahoma on the hardwood. In the last meeting, the Cougars took a 100-93 win during the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 26, 2009, in Anchorage, Alaska.

In the only other meeting, Oklahoma snared a 55-51 win on Dec. 15, 1960, during the Cougars’ own Lion’s Club Tournament at Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston.

Oklahoma brings a 7-1 overall record into this weekend’s game. The Sooners have won their last three games.. The Sooners have won handily in 2011-12, winning by an average of 15.1 points per game.

In their most recent win, Oklahoma took a 78-63 win against Arkansas on Dec. 10 in Norman, Okla. Against the Razorbacks, the Sooners raced out to a 12-point halftime lead. Steven Pledger led OU with 22 points, while forward Andrew Fitzgerald added 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Tyler Neal came off the bench to post 18 points and five boards, and Romero Osby totaled 10 points and seven rebounds in the win.

This season, Pledger leads the Sooners with 17.9 points per game, while Calvin Newell ranks second with 13.0 points per contest. Andrew Fitzgerald stands third at 11.0 ppg, and Osby ranks fourth with 10.6 points per game but averages a team-high 7.5 rebounds per contest.

Head coach Lon Kruger is in his first year at Oklahoma and has posted a 7-1 record. He is in his 26th year overall as a head coach and has posted a 486-305 record during that time.

Kruger previously served as head coach at UT Pan American (1982-86), Kansas State (1986-90), Florida (1990-96), Illinois (1996-00), with the Atlanta Hawks (2000-03) and UNLV (2004-11). He is 2-0 against the Cougars during his career with both wins coming during his tenure at UNLV.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baylor’s Briles Named Coach of the Year Finalist

Bears’ head coach among 10 finalists for Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 15, 2011)  Baylor head coach Art Briles has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, as announced by The American Heart Association Wednesday.

Briles, who is in his fourth season as head coach of the Bears, has led Baylor to a 9-3 record and a berth in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Baylor’s No. 12 ranking in the latest BCS Standings is the program’s highest ever, and the 11 weeks the Bears have been ranked in the AP Top 25 poll this season are its most since being ranked for 12 weeks in 1951.

Briles has coached Baylor to its first nine-win season since 1986 and guided the Bears to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1991-92. Baylor’s 16 wins over the last two seasons are its most since winning 18 games between 1985 and 1986. With a win in the Valero Alamo Bowl, Baylor would record the second 10-win season in program history.

The Bears also knocked off Oklahoma for the first time in program history and defeated Texas in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1991-92. Baylor’s win over Texas Tech was its first against the Red Raiders in the Big 12 era, and it clinched a perfect 4-0 record in the month of November. Those four wins equaled Baylor’s total number of November wins in the first 15 seasons of Big 12 play.

Team success translated into individual awards, as quarterback Robert Griffin III became the first Baylor player to win the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Additionally, RG3 was joined by Kendall Wright on The Associated Press All-America teams, giving the Bears two AP All-Americans for the first time since 1991.

The Coach of the Year Award will be announced during the 26th annual Marathon Oil Corporation Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards on January 19 in Houston. The event raises funds for heart disease in the name of Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Joining Briles as finalists for Coach of the Year are: Bret Bielema (Wisconsin), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Brady Hoke (Michigan), Les Miles (LSU), Nick Saban (Alabama), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson).

HBU Tops Campbell, 87-76, for Cottrell’s 400th Victory

Freshman guard Marcel Smith leads Huskies with 14 points.
HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 15, 2011) Houston Baptist freshman guard Marcel Smith had 14 points to lead six Huskies in double figures as HBU ran past Campbell, 87-76, and gave head coach Ron Cottrell his 400th career victory Wednesday night at Sharp Gym. Cottrell extended his lead as HBU’s winningest basketball coach to 172 more than any of his predecessors.

Smith went 3-of-7 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and went 7-of-7 from the free-throw line for the Huskies (4-6), who have won back-to-back games for the first time since their Great West Conference Tournament final appearance in March 2010. Junior forward Marcus Davis and freshman guard Ronald March Jr. added 12 points apiece, with Davis adding five rebounds.

Junior forward Art Bernardi and junior guard Anthony Hill each chipped in with 10 points, and Bernardi also had six rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Terry Bembry was huge for HBU off the bench, contributing his best effort of the season with nine points, a team-high eight rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocks.

Eric Griffin went 6-of-12 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line to lead Campbell (8-2) with 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Trey Freeman shot 8-of-13 and finished with 19 points. Darren White, the nation’s 10th-leading scorer, posted a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and three steals, but was held to only 6-of-14 shooting.

HBU shot 51.7 percent from the field, its best of the season, including 7-of-16 from behind the arc, while Campbell shot 45.6 percent from the field, but only 5-of-15 from long range. The Huskies also hit 74.1 percent (20-of-27) from the free-throw line, while the Camels shot only 61.3 percent (19-of-31). Campbell outrebounded HBU, 36-33, but turned the ball over three more times, 18-15.

Campbell led 8-5 in the early going, but HBU scored seven-straight points, started by a pair of Bernardi jumpers and capped by a Jonathan Evans 3-pointer, to go up 12-8 at the 13:54 mark. The Huskies extended its advantage to six on March’s three-point play on a reverse layup with 11:33 left, and Smith added a three-point play after the Fighting Camels had gotten back to within one. Freeman answered with a three-point play of his own, then Wright tied the game at 20 by hitting the front end of a one-and-one with 8:44 remaining, but March nailed a trey to put HBU back on top.

Hill restored HBU’s six-point lead with a 3-pointer, but Freeman came back with a pair of jumpers to get Campbell back within two. Hill drilled another three to give the Huskies a 35-30 lead with 4:22 to go in the half, and they pushed the lead to as many as seven on a couple of occasions before Lorne Merthie’s jumper at the buzzer trimmed HBU’s halftime lead 40-38.

Wright opened the second half with a three to put Campbell up by one, but Smith answered back with a three for HBU on the other end. Davis’ dunk on an alley-oop from Smith broke a tie, but Horton hit a three and a Freeman dunk gave the Camels a 50-47 lead with 17:15 to go.

Bembry sparked the Huskies to a 9-0 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes with a layup, a pair of rebounds and a steal, to take a 56-50 lead. After Campbell broke the drought on a Wright jumper, Evans drained a three from the corner to put HBU up by eight. March’s three with 13:06 left put the Huskies ahead, 65-56, but Griffin’s three-point play with 7:32 on the clock sliced the Camels’ deficit to four.

Russell’s jumper with 6:09 left in the game gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game at 75-65, and although HBU was held scoreless for the next four minutes, the Fighting Camels were able to close only to within five. Davis hit baseline jumper with 1:56 remaining and Smith hit a pair of free throws to put HBU back up by nine.

Over the final minute, the Huskies went 8-of-8 from the free-line and Bernardi’s breakaway slam with 28 seconds left put an exclamation point on Cottrell’s milestone victory.

The Huskies return to action when they hit the road to face 24th-ranked Creighton Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Reach Multi-Year, Naming Rights Agreement For New Dynamo Stadium

Picture Courtesy of the Houston Dynamo
HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 14, 2011) The Houston Dynamo and Sunbelt bank BBVA Compass announced they are entering into a multi-year naming rights agreement for the Major League Soccer (MLS) team’s new downtown Houston stadium currently under construction. 

BBVA Compass Stadium is set to open May 12.

“We have always believed that Houston was one of the most important and passionate sports markets in the United States,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG. “From day one, our fans have been phenomenal in their support of the Dynamo which in turn has been MLS’ best team the past six years. Now, with today’s announcement and the brand new BBVA Compass Stadium, we have a partner that not only shares our vision for the stadium but our franchise’s commitment to the community. We are grateful to the City, Mayor Parker, and BBVA Compass who are as dedicated and devoted to the Dynamo, to the market, to our fans and to our community as Mr. Anschutz, Gabriel Brener and Oscar De La Hoya.”

BBVA Compass Stadium, which will seat 22,000, is the newest addition to Houston’s professional sports landscape. This state-of-the-art facility will be home to the Houston Dynamo soccer team and Texas Southern University football. The open-air stadium will also serve as the host venue for concerts, festivals, boxing, high school sports, soccer “friendlies,” sports championships, community and special events and more.

“This is great for Houston,” said Manolo S├ínchez, BBVA Compass president and CEO. “BBVA Compass Stadium will be a major step in revitalizing our urban core. And it will showcase the most popular sport in the world, one that upholds the values of BBVA Compass: teamwork, effort and fair play. We look forward to a long and enduring relationship with the Dynamo and Major League Soccer.”

BBVA Compass Stadium becomes Major League Soccer’s 14th soccer-specific venue with a naming rights partner. Other venues are BMO Field (Toronto), Saputo Stadium (Montreal), Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.), Gillette Stadium (Foxboro, Mass.), JELD-WEN Field (Portland, Ore.), LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (Kansas City, Kan.), Pizza Hut Park (Frisco, Texas), PPL Park (Chester, Pa.), CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Wash.), Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.), Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah), The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.) and Toyota Park (Bridgeview, Ill.).

The City of Houston has already benefitted from the stadium’s development with 1,500 construction and related jobs. Another 300 jobs will be added once the venue opens in spring of 2012. BBVA Compass Stadium will generate $32 million for the local economy while jumpstarting the revitalization of the area east of downtown, where a new light rail line is already under construction.

The new home of the Dynamo will also be a good for the environment, as this facility promises to be the most recycled and sustainable stadium ever built. In fact, steps have already begun for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system with the United States Green Building Council to become the “greenest” stadium in Houston and one of the only LEED certified sports venues in Texas.

“I would like to thank BBVA Compass for sharing our vision for the future and our commitment to the community,” said Dynamo president of business operations Chris Canetti. “Together we will utilize the stadium as a driving force toward making a positive impact on the city. This announcement, along with the stadium opening and the team’s success, is another example of the great excitement surrounding the Dynamo organization. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”

A central component of the Dynamo and BBVA Compass agreement calls for the creation and implementation of a newly developed “Building a Better Houston” campaign. Through this initiative, both organizations have committed to making a difference in the neighborhoods surrounding the new stadium. The campaign will initially focus on four programs carried out one per week in the days leading up to the stadium’s opening. These will include programs focused on educating school children, encouraging physical fitness, sustaining the environment, and revitalizing Houston’s East End.

Houston Roller Derby Announces New Venue, 2012 Season Dates

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 14, 2011) Houston Roller Derby is bringing its fast-paced flat track action to downtown in 2012, hosting games at the Verizon Wireless Theater March through September, with the season opener taking place on March 17.

The Verizon, located at 520 Texas Avenue in downtown Houston's vibrant theater district, has a capacity of more than 2,000 and all the up-to-date features of a professional venue.

Bout ticket prices will remain at the same price level as the 2011 season, at $15 for general admission and $25 for VIP.

At the venue, fans will find beer options priced from $4 in addition to a full bar and a variety of non-alcoholic drinks. Food concessions at the venue are catered by Wolfgang Puck.

"The skaters in Houston Roller Derby are so excited to bring our sport's eclectic mix of athleticism and entertainment to a more central location this year," said Tiffany Hamilton aka Grrrl Friday, spokeswoman. "Our fans made us what we are; we know we'd be nothing with out them, so their happiness is paramount to us. We're delighted to invite them to a huge, professional venue that is easily accessible to all Houstonians and has lots of perks."

While fans will have the option to experience the many amenities of a professional venue, bouts will still provide the intimacy of floor "suicide" seating near the track with plentiful chair seating nearby.

"We still want to say hi to our fans and sign plenty of autographs," Hamilton said. "A bigger venue might give us a taste of what it's like to be a rock star but it definitely won't change our down-to-earth style."

The season dates for 2012 are: March 17, April 21, May 19, June 9, July 21, August 18 and September 15. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and games start at 7 p.m.

The season opener on March 17 will start off with a game between the Houston Roller Derby all-stars and an out-of-town team that is yet to be announced. The second game will pit 2011 season champion team the Psych Ward Sirens against second-ranked team the Bayou City Bosses. Fans won't want to miss this pivotal first game of the new season to see if the Sirens remain triumphant or if the three-time champion Bosses pull an upset. Third-ranked team The Brawlers will play the Sirens in April.

Patrons may park in the Theater District Parking Garage for $7 with entrances at Texas and Bagby streets as well as Texas and Smith streets. Valet parking is available for $10, with entrances on both Texas Avenue and Smith Street. Some metered street parking is also available in the area, with free parking after 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The venue is accessible by Houston city bus service and cab service.

HRD is also hosting a tournament May 11-12 at a different venue: Houston Indoor Sports, located at 221 Barren Springs Drive. The tournament will feature several out-of-town teams competing with Houston's all-star team.

As a relatively new sport following its resurgence in the late 1990s, roller derby has evolved from season to season, becoming more competitive and athletic as its skaters further hone their skills and develop new strategies.

Since organizing in 2005 Houston Roller Derby has grown into a league of more than 50 skaters. HRD is one of 130 member leagues that make up the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, and is ranked fifth in the WFTDA South Central Region. Houston's all-star team was one of the top 12 teams in the nation to compete at the WFTDA national championships in November 2009. HRD’s 2012 season starts in March. For more information, visit http://www.houstonrollerderby.com/.

South Downs North 21-6 in SportsMarketingExperts.com Bowl

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

SUGARLAND, TEXAS (December 14, 2011) Playing in front of a sold-out crowd at Fort Bend Christian Stadium, the South squad jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, downing the North team 21-6 in the SportsMarketingExperts.com bowl.

Private high school football players from around the Lone Star state gathered in Sugarland for the only post season all-star game in Texas.

The South first got on the scoreboard in the first quarter when quarterback Blake McKenzie (Corpus Christi John Paul II) found Jason Groll (Cypress Community Christian) open and connected on a 30-yard pass for a touchdown.

They raised their lead to 14-0 on a second quarter pass from quarterback Grant Robinson (Katy Faith West) to Chance Gray (Concordia Lutheran)

The North finally got on the scoreboard when quarterback Earnest Evans (Westbury Christian) scampered 40-yards for the North’s lone touchdown.

The South would add an insurance touchdown late in the game when Groll took the ball and rushed five-yards for the final score of the game.

The game was actually a defense battle, as the South constantly put pressure on the North’s offense; forcing six interceptions while recovering a fumble.

The game was well received by the players, fans, and sponsors and the second edition of the game is scheduled for December 8, 2012 at Fort Bend Christian Stadium.

The game was the brainchild of Ronald Oswalt, who is the CEO of Sports Marketing Experts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Texas All-Stars make visits to Shriner's Hospital, Reliant Stadium on eve of gameday

The Texas All-Stars visited Shriner's Hospital in
Houston, TX to visit patients and got a better
understanding of what services the hospital offers.
Photo by Ronald Oswalt/ SportsMarketingExperts.com
SUGARLAND, TEXAS  (December 10, 2011) Long before the Texas All-Stars participating in today's SportsMarketingExperts.com Bowl hit the field and received their last bit of instruction before tomorrow's big game, the day had already begun a high note after two special visits.

The student-athletes visited Shriner's Hospital in Houston, TX to kick off Friday morning.

Armed with plastic footballs and cups to autograph for children along the visit, it's safe to say they left with much more.

"We have it really lucky compared to some people. We run and we exercise and lift weights and use our legs and arms and things that other people don't have, and we really take it for granted," Watson added.

"Some people can't go out and do the things we do. I realize how lucky we are with this god-given ability."

Among the highlights of the visit for the student-athletes, gathered here from throughout the state, was a presentation at the gait lab, where high-tech motion analysis equipment is used for children with walking disorders due to cerebral palsy.

After their visit at the Hospital , next up was a tour of Reliant Stadium, touring visiting locker rooms, walking the sidelines and getting a bird's eye view of the stadium from the Reliant press boxes among other stops.

For several of the game participants, it was their first time at a NFL stadium, and getting to see it from several angles , and behind-the-scenes, was a unique opportunity.

The North and South Texas All-Star teams will clash at 8 p.m this evening at Fort Bend Christian Stadium in Sugarland. After practicing for three straight days, they will be ready to hit the field for what could be the last time for several of the participants.

"We're getting after it," St. Pius X defensive tackle Andrew Gonzales said. "I have one more chance to put it on."

"It's really just an exciting time for these guys to play one more time," Fort Bend Christian coach Bruce Lane said. "That's kinda the theme for the week, to play one more time and end up as champions,.

For the latest on the game, including live audio and chat throughout the game tomorrow, visit www.smebowl.com.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Texas All-Stars Form Quick Bond During First Practice

SUGARLAND, TEXAS (December 8, 2011) Practice is often given a bad rap, from professional players skipping them to one former player making a mockery of it in a press conference.

Apparently someone forgot to tell the participants during the first South team practice at Fort Bend Christian Academy on Wednesday night.

Long used to hearing words like solid and fundamentals during post-practice interviews, even after a first practice on a chilly night, players were left talking about the experience and the bonds they formed.

San Marcos Academy lineman Eddy Haddad said it best when talking about how the team came together so quickly.

“It was fun. Everybody seemed to have a good bond,” Haddad said. “We feel like we are already becoming a team, which is the best thing that could honestly happen.”

While private school athletic programs are often unheralded and unrecognized, there is a healthy competitive spirit, and while most of these students are coming together, they are used to staring each other down across the line.

Corpus Christi John Paul II quarterback Blake McKenzie agrees.

“Usually you’re rivals and kinda want to kill each other on the field, but now we gotta come together and be a family.”

San Antonio St. Anthony running back Michael Akers echoed McKenzie’s sentiments.

“We’re all here because we love football,” Akers said. “It’s real easy to just come together and just put our best out there. We have a common goal in trying to win.”

South coach Bruce Lane agreed that there was something special about the first practice. While running players through offensive and defensive plays and trying to put players in positions, he noticed the special effort the players were giving, even if it was the first time they were together.

“Pleasantly pleased tonight. It was a great night. We’ve got basically four and a half hours to play a football game,” Lane said. “This is my fifth all-star game that I’ve had the privilege of coaching in and I kinda knew what to expect, but I would say this, for the first day it’s probably the best experience of any of those all-star games.”

“Guys came in and really have worked hard through one practice and we expect that’ll continue.”

But as far as that competitive spirit. I would expect it to make a prompt return, likely around 8 p.m. on Saturday night.

“I’m excited to see what the other team has to offer and how they’re going to come out and play us,” Akers said. “And we get to show off what we’re going to practice this week.”

Tomorrow’s itinerary includes a trip to the Houston Aeros games and North and South practices at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Houston Faces Southern Miss for C-USA Championship. What Does It Mean?

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 2, 2011) On the night before the biggest game in recent football history, questions abound about what it all means; win or lose, for the Houston Cougars?

When the No. 6 Houston Cougars (12-0, 8-0 C-USA) hit the field at Robertson Stadium at 11:00am to face the No. 23 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (10-2, 6-2 C-USA) they will be looking at completing their best regular season in school history.

The Cougars will be facing their first ranked opponent of the 2011 season in Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles have lost two games this season; Marshall (26-21) on Sept. 10 and UAB (34-31) on Nov. 17.

Houston and Southern Miss have met 13 times previously, with the Golden Eagles holding the edge 8-5.
The game notes issued by the University of Houston Athletic Communications Office states the following facts and statistics:

·        Houston makes its third appearance in the Conference USA Championship Game and will be hosting for the second time.

·        UH is 1-1 in the C-USA title tilt, with that win coming in 2006 (34-20) vs. Southern Miss at Robertson Stadium. Houston fell at East Carolina in 2009 (38-32).

·        Houston owns a 4-3 series lead vs. Southern Miss at home, but the Golden Eagles own an 8-5 advantage in the series overall.

·        Houston has won three consecutive at Robertson Stadium vs. USM.

·        Head Coach Kevin Sumlin is 1-1 vs. Southern Miss, including a 50-43 win in 2009 at Robertson Stadium.

·        Houston looks for its 13th win on the season, which would extend this season’s school record total. Houston is also looking for its 13th consecutive win, which would also extend the school’s longest winning streak.

·        A 13th win by Houston would be tied for the sixth highest win total of the modern era.

In addition to these stats; many issues arise depending on the outcome of the game.

Let’s look at a few of these issues individually.

If Houston beats Southern Miss and gets a bid to a BCS bowl game, what will the status of head coach Kevin Sumlin be?

His name has already been floated around as a potential replacement at numerous jobs, including Arizona State and Texas A&M.

I do not think the University of Houston would want to lose Sumlin at this point. He is too much of an asset to the university and I do believe university administration will go the any lengths to keep him.

If the Cougars advance to a BCS bowl game, it would be, more than likely the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

That would be the biggest and most prestigious bowl game appearance in school history.

With the game being played in New Orleans, hundreds if not thousands of Cougar fans would hit the road for the Big Easy.

Can you imagine the majority of the Superdome filled with screaming, red and white clad Cougar fans?

The game would be nothing more than a post-season home game for the Cougars.

As a result of the C-USA championship and the BCS bowl game appearance, the Cougars could be expected to use the momentum of 2011 to next season and beyond.

Many things ride on today’s game, but the only issue on the mind of the Cougar players and their staff is beating Southern Miss.

If they accomplish that feat, the rest will take care of itself.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Houston’s Edwards Named Burlsworth Award Finalist

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 29, 2011, via University of Houston Press Release) University of Houston standout Patrick Edwards (Hearne, Texas) was named one of three finalists for the 2011 Brandon Burlsworth Trophy, announced today by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club.

The Burlsworth Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player in America who began his career as a walk on. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Dec. 9 in Springdale, Ark., and is presented by the Springdale Rotary Club

Edwards has been the country’s most explosive wide receiver in 2011, leading the country with 18 touchdown grabs, while ranking second with 1,496 total receiving yards. Edwards is the Conference USA all-time record holder with his 4,251 career receiving yards and ranks No. 4 all-time in NCAA history in that category.

Edwards enjoyed the top receiving day in the country during UH’s 73-34 win against Rice, catching seven passes for 318 yard and five scores. He also recorded four touchdowns (three receiving and one punt return score) at Tulane and caught eight passes for 181 yards and four TD’s in the C-USA West Division clincher at Tulsa. Edwards has more touchdown receptions (18) than 62 teams in college football this season.

Other finalists for the award include Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis and Stanford wide receiver Griff Whalen.

Fans are encouraged to continue voting for their favorite player via the AT&T Fan Vote beginning today at 3 pm CST at: http://BurlsworthTrophy.com. Fans are limited to one vote per day and the voting will conclude Dec. 7, at 5 pm CST. The Fan Vote counts as 5 percent in each round and will be combined with the Selection Committee vote to determine the winner.

The Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without any Division 1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorback football team in 1994, worked his way to becoming a three-year starter, and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but was tragically killed in a car
accident 11 days later.

The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children that have limited opportunities.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baylor’s Ganaway Named Rivals Big 12 Player of Week

Senior RB honored after rushing for 246 yards vs. Texas Tech

WACO, TEXAS (November 28, 2011, via press release from Baylor University) Baylor senior running back Terrance Ganaway was honored as the Rivals.com Big 12 Conference Player of the Week on Sunday, one day after leading the Bears to a 66-42 win over Texas Tech.

Ganaway rushed a school-record 42 times for 246 yards and two touchdowns against the Red Raiders Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. He ran his way to 16 of Baylor’s school record 38 first downs and had 11 rushes of nine or more yards.

Ganaway also became the eighth 1,000-yard single-season rusher in program history. His 1,195 rushing yards for the season are the second-most ever at Baylor, and he needs just 23 more yards to tie Jay Finley’s school record from a season ago. With his two rushing touchdowns against Texas Tech, Ganaway also broke Baylor’s single-season record with 14 on the year.

A native of DeKalb, Texas, Ganaway also became the first player in program history with two career games of 200 or more rushing yards. He previously ran for 200 yards against Iowa State on Oct. 8 and has now accounted for two of the six 200-rushing yard games in 110 years of Baylor football.

Ganaway rushed for at least 49 yards on at least seven carries in all four quarters against Texas Tech. He had 10 carries for 54 yards in the first quarter, seven carries for 49 yards in the second, 11 carries for 75 yards in the third and 68 yards on 14 carries in the fourth. He had a pair of 4-yard TD runs – one to give Baylor a 24-14 lead in the second quarter and another to cap the game’s scoring and give the Bears their highest point total ever in a conference game.

No. 17 Baylor (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) closes out the regular season by hosting No. 22 Texas (7-4, 4-4 Big 12) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears are 6-0 at home this season and are looking for their first 9-win season since 1986.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lamar stomps Tennessee Tech 85-65

(Story via Lamar University Press Release)

COOKEVILLE, TENNESSEE (November 25, 2011) Senior guard Anthony Miles poured in a career-high 31 points as Lamar University blew open a close game at the half to roll to an 85-65 basketball victory over Tennessee Tech on Friday night at the Eblen Center.

Lamar has now won three in a row, including two straight over Ohio Valley
Conference opponents on the road, to improve to 4-2 on the season. The Cardinals will be back in action Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at TCU.

“This was a good road trip, getting two wins over two quality opponents,” said
LU head coach Pat Knight. “I felt like we stood around a lot in the first half
and settled for jump shots, but we executed well in the second half. We were
getting quality shots or getting to the free throw line in the second half.”

The Cardinals built a 13-point lead in the first half as a Devon Lamb layup put
them ahead 24-11 with 9:24 to play. The Golden Eagles (2-3) were able to make a
push, though, and close the half on a 13-5 run to go into the break down just
five at 29-24.

Lamar, which never trailed in the game, opened the second half with a 6-0 run to
push its lead back to 11. Tech responded with a 6-0 run of its own to get back
within five, but would get no closer. Tre Lynch hit a layup with 13:31 to play
that put the Cards up 44-34, and the Golden Eagles would not get within single
digits again.

The Cards shot an impressive 55.2 percent from the floor in the second half,
finishing the game at 44.4. Lamar made six of its 12 3-point attempts and was a
sparkling 23-of-27 from the free throw line. Miles attempted Lamar’s only two
free throws in the first half, but the Cards went to the line 25 times after the

The Cards hammered the much larger Golden Eagles on the boards, outrebounding them 41-26. LU pulled down 14 offensive rebounds and converted them into a 12-0 advantage in second chance points.

Miles scored his 31 points on just 14 field goal attempts, while also dishing
out a season-high eight assists. The Houston product, whose previous career-high
was 28 points against Rice, made eight of his shots, including three 3-pointers,
and was 12-of-14 from the charity stripe.

Lamb led the Cardinals on the glass, pulling down a game-high 10 boards to go
along with his 15 points as he notched his second double-double of the year.
Charlie Harper added nine points and five rebounds from the forward position.

The Cardinals got 28 points off their bench, led by Brandon Davis’ 13. Davis
knocked down three triples in the game, adding three rebounds in 28 minutes of
work. Stan Brown added seven points and five boards off the bench.

Kevin Murphy, the preseason Player of the Year in the Ohio Valley Conference,
scored 16 points for the Golden Eagles. Zach Bailey led his team with 17 points
off the bench.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Houston’s Edwards Named Burlsworth Semifinalist

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 24, 2011, via University of Houston Press Release) Houston wide receiver Patrick Edwards was named a semifinalist for the 2011 Brandon Burlsworth Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top football player in college football that began his career as a walk-on.

Edwards, a native of Hearne, Texas, has been one of the country’s top receivers in 2011 and ranks No. 2 nationally with 14 touchdown receptions and is second in total receiving yards (1,315). The 5-foot-9 senior began his career as a walk-on at UH in 2007, but quickly became a key contributor as a redshirt freshman, catching 46 passes for 634 yards and four TDs before suffering a devastating leg injury in a game at Marshall.

Following an off-season of extensive rehabilitation, Edwards returned to the lineup in 2009 and caught a career high 85 passes for 1,021 yards and six scores en route to all-conference accolades. As a junior he continued his stellar production, racking up first team All-Conference USA honors with 71 grabs for 1,100 yards and 13 TDs, and has 66 catches for a career high 1,315 yards and 14 scores in 2011. His 1,315 yards and 14 scores this season are career highs and his 4,070 career receiving yards are tops in school history. His 37 career receiving TDs are also the most in school history and second all-time in the Conference USA annals.

The Trophy is named in honor of Brandon Burlsworth. Without any Division 1 scholarship offer, Brandon walked on to the Razorbacks team in 1994, worked his way to being a three-year starter, and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL draft, but was tragically killed in a car accident 11days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children that have limited opportunities.

Fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite player via the AT&T Fan Vote beginning, Nov. 22 at http://BurlsworthTrophy.com. Voting will begin with the top 10 semi-finalists and continue as the selection committee announces the top three Burlsworth Trophy finalists on Nov. 29. Fans are limited to one vote per day and the voting will conclude Dec. 6. The winner of The Burlsworth Trophy will be announced Dec. 9 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark. sponsored by the Springdale Rotary Club.

Edwards and the No. 7-ranked Cougars (11-0, 7-0) return to action on Friday at 11 a.m. CT at Tulsa (8-3, 7-0). The contest will be televised nationally on FSN and the game will decide the winner of the Conference USA West Division. The winner of that contest will also host the C-USA Championship Game, which will be played next Saturday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Case Keenum Leads Houston to 37-7 Win Over SMU; Season Record Now 11-0

(UH quarterback Case Keenum completed 30-of-45 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown in the Cougars' win over SMU. Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loco Photography, Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved)

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 19, 2011) In a game that saw the Houston Cougars (11-0, 7-0 C-USA) facing a stubborn SMU Mustangs squad; the Cougars managed to keep their record unblemished by downing the Mustangs 37-7 in front of 32,207 fan at Robertson Stadium in Houston.

The Mustangs fall to 6-5 for the season and 4-3 in conference play.

The scene was electric on Saturday afternoon with the Mustangs facing a sea of red in the stands and a determined Houston team that get its first 11-0 start in school history.

Case Keenum continued to dazzle both the fans and the opposing team’s defense, completing 30-of-45 passes for 318 yard and one touchdown.

He also rushed for 21 yards and one touchdown.

The Houston offensive line had a bit of difficulty with the SMU defense, as they continuously pursued and pressured Keenum all afternoon.

Keenum was never caught behind the line for a loss, but he had to continually scramble and look for receivers while keeping the Mustang rushers at bay.

The Cougars scored first on a 28-yard field goal by Matt Hogan at the 9:02 mark in the first quarter to jump out to a 3-0 lead.

They came back in the second quarter with another Hogan field goal with 14:10 left in the half and a 36-yard touchdown run by Michael Hayes with 46 seconds remaining before halftime.

With those two scores, the Cougars took a 13-0 lead into the locker room at the halfway point.

Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin must have made some adjustments at halftime; or chewed a little player behind, because the Cougars came back like gangbusters and scored 10 points in the 3rd quarter.

At the 6:32 mark, Hogan nailed his 3rd field goal of the game; a 22-yard chip shot to take the score to 16-0 in favor of the Cougars.

The Cougars got another score with 30 seconds left in the 3rd quarter on a 12-yard pass from Case Keenum to Justin Johnson to make the score to 23-0.

SMU finally got on the board with 8:33 left in the game on an eight yard TD pass from J.J. McDermott to Darius Johnson.

The Cougars came right back in a bit over two minutes to allow Keenum to run the ball in for the score from the 16-yard line.

That made the score 30-7 with 6:17 left.

Houston added a final touchdown pass when Cotton Turner connected with Gino Collins on 43-yard pass for the score with 1:18 to go in the game.

The win sets up a crucial match up next Saturday when the Cougars travel to Oklahoma to face the 8-3 Tulsa Golden Hurricane for the Conference USA West title.

The Golden Hurricane is 7-0 in conference play and the winner of the game will advance to the C-USA championship game on December 3.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ronald Oswalt: The Man Behind the SportsMarketingExperts.com Bowl

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2011 TexSport Publications

PASADENA, TEXAS (Novemeber 18, 2011) Being a devoted sports fan since birth gave Ronald Oswalt the inspiration to enter the world of sports as a vocation and eventually develop a bowl game for the private high school football players of Texas.

Ronald Oswalt attended a small private school in Mississippi that received little or no attention for their athletic achievements.

They played and worked as hard as the public schools but were not considered as good.

After high school, he attended the University of Southern Mississippi and while pursuing his degree, worked in the athletic department.

During his time at Southern Mississippi, he was able to witness and participate in some of the most exciting athletic events in the school’s history as a result of a future NFL star’s performance at the school.

That future NFL star was none other than Brett Favre.

The excitement felt by Oswalt while in college led to his lifetime involvement in sports.

The sports road started officially for Oswalt as a sports writer for the
“Leader-Call” in Laurel, Mississippi.

He later worked in medical sales for several years in Mississippi and Texas
until he had the opportunity to work again in sports as a media relations
director for the National Indoor Football League (NIFL).

After working my way from a NIFL, Oswalt became the Assistant General Manager for the Beaumont Drillers of the American Professional Football League (APFL).

In 2008, he was named Vice-President/General Manager of the Austin Turfcats; a franchise team in the the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL).

The Turfcats 10-3 for the season and made the SIFL championship game against the Louisiana Swashbucklers in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Oswalt began consulting for San Marcos Academy, and discovered all the 20 plus years of training and various jobs in sports came together.

He wanted to make high school sports as great as they can be; one school at a time.

This is what led Oswalt to develop and promote an all-star football game for private high school players.

As a result, private high school football players have a post-season bowl game they can call their own; the SportsMarketingExperts.com Bowl.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SportsMarketingExperts.com Bowl To Feature Elite Texas Athletes

(San Marcos Academy Senior Aubrey Oswalt grabs a interception in a game earlier in the year. He collected four on the season to lead TAPPS Division II District 3. He was also named Upperhand Promotions Texas High School Player of the Week after a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown versus Austin. File Photo)

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS (November 13, 2011) SportsMarketingExperts.com, sports marketing firm based in San Marcos, Texas was recently named the headline sponsor of a senior bowl game that will feature the top talent from across the state in private school athletics.

The game, which will be played at Fort Bend Christian in Sugarland, Texas, is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. kickoff on Saturday December 10, 2011. In the days prior to the event, the student-athletes from across the state will enjoy a wide variety of planned activities ranging from community outreach to entertainment at the Houston Aeros hockey game and a visit to Shriner’s Hospital in Houston.

The bowl was started in 1996 and was played at Rice Stadium, home of the Owls from Conference USA. The bowl was originally played under the name of “Bayou Bowl” and was later moved to Houston Christian School. The bowl has also been played under the direction of the Houston Coaches Association in the past. Sports Marketing Experts CEO Ronald Oswalt and his team believe this will be an event that students will remember for a lifetime.

“Sports Marketing Experts has teamed up with some amazing partners to be able to have such a special event,” Oswalt said. “We are very blessed to be able to use the amazing facilities at Fort Bend Christian, and look forward to seeing some of the top talent in Texas come together to bring back this special game.”

Honorary Coaches are being lined up for this special event, including former NFL and NCAA Head Coaches. Head Coaches across the state are being asked to nominate their senior football players for this special event, and contact the bowl committee if they are interested in helping out in any way.

Final player nominations are needed by November 23, 2011. For more information please visit sportsmarketingexpertsbowl.com or call Dan Morgan, Head Baseball Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Pope John Paul XXIII of Katy at his mobile number 281-580-0948.