Last week I introduced the Croucher Sports Misery Index (CSMI), a weighted measure of the misery felt at the Croucher household through these rough patches in our sliver of sports purgatory. You can read about here.
If you hate reading, I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version: Last week was miserable. The first ever CSMI brought us to our fandom knees, registering 90 points of misery.
Would things improve in week two? Would the clouds part and give way to glorious rays of sports sunshine? Would angels sing our favorite fight songs?
No. The answer is no.
Houston Texans (1-2)
I wasn’t going to watch this game. I figured sweeping the roof and cleaning out flowerbeds would be a more productive and probably less heart-breaking way to spend a Sunday afternoon. However, the intermittent rain pushed me inside and I’m a lifelong glutton for punishment so upon the Texans my attention did fall.
Turns out I was mostly right (as is often the case). It was a snoozer of a game that was destined to be won by the club that was less awful at kicking. The team still doesn’t have any distinguishable identity and I’m not sure Mallett is a starting NFL QB on any other team, but the Bucs crab-leg-thieving rookie lost and that’s a win for the Texans and also America, so things we're not so miserable on the NFL front this week.
Houston Astros (82-74)
The Astros are basically a guy who spends the better part of a decade flat broke before unexpectedly inheriting a healthy sum of money. Excited about his new-found wealth, he quits his job and takes the rest of the summer off, making time for a few nice trips, spending freely all the while, as if it's never going to run out. He’s having the time of his life until one day in September his debit card is declined. So he checks his bank balance and realizes he's not only spent it all, he now owes people money.
The good news is he didn’t take on any new debt this week.
The Local Nine dropped the first series to the Angels and won the second series against the visiting division-leading Rangers – an outcome I wouldn’t have predicted but gladly welcome all the same. Going .500 on this week’s home stand isn’t great given the stakes, but it also isn’t bad considering the competition.
BONUS JOY-BURST: DALLAS KEUCHEL WAS AN ABSOLUTE MACHINE ON SUNDAY!
We’ll give this week a shoulder-shrugging “así así” and turn a hopeful eye to the final week of the season. May the stars align and fate look down upon us with favor.
North Texas Mean Green (0-3)
I realize most people don’t care a single bit about North Texas football ("Y'all play football?"). To be honest, I’m having a hard time pinning down exactly why I do, given they’ve played the sport for 100 years and never won a single game of note.
Dan McCarney was brought in just over four years ago with the belief he could change all that. There was a lot of generic inspirational coach speak at the press conference announcing his hiring, but as an alum, it was a fun thing to listen to and equally thrilling to imagine. Truth be told, we’re so hard-up for a winning program, you can just say the word “championship” and our hearts swell, our heads begin to swirl and we can’t speak, walk or see straight.
Apparently our football team can’t either (zing).
We’re in the fifth year of this experiment and the McCarney era hasn’t but one winning season to show for itself – a season that made great use of a bunch of players Coach Mac didn’t recruit. (Now play this sound.)
The team spent this week getting creamed (because corn -- sorry, not sorry) by a perpetually 7-5 Iowa program. I would assume this week's 46-point loss is the worst of McCarney's time at UNT, but I can’t be bothered to spend any more time on this team this week.
I love North Texas, but the misery is strong in Denton and it will continue until a change is made at the top.
Texas Longhorns (1-3)
Four points doesn't seem like much, when discussing the difference between a pair of wins and losses, but a 1-3 record and a 3-1 record feel an entire world apart.
This week’s punch to the throat was especially special, in that Texas appeared to dominate the game for much of the 60 minutes at DKR, only to completely fall apart at the end. The tragedy ends with a punter shanking a punt so badly it apparently went backwards for a 6-yard loss.
I'm not big on complaining about officials. So I'm not going to spend a bunch of time doing it. I’ll just say the inexplicable phantom holding calls and the refs baffling confusion over possession that followed one of OSU’s handful of turnovers made this game a very frustrating one to watch. Maybe it’s youthful inexperience on the Burnt Orange side of the field. Maybe it’s actually someone’s nefarious plot to systematically destroy the Texas Longhorns football program one yellow weighted hanky at a time. Maybe it’s both. Either way, they were flagged a LOT, often following a big play in their favor. It is what it is.
Moving forward, I doubt any team will have a more difficult first half of the season than the Longhorns. They’re also the team that could have least-afforded such a slate, with freshman starting all. over. the. field.
The good news is, this team is actually improving -- despite what the record alone might indicate. The bad news is, TCU and OU are up next, along with the very real possibility of a 1-5 start to the 2015 season – the first since of its kind since who-the-hell-knows-when.
But hey, the schedule lightens up in the second half. Oh wait, Texas Tech is good again. And then there’s Baylor.
This week’s intangible misery is inevitability. Like, the inevitability that none of our football teams appear to be headed for a winning season. That’s a tough pill to swallow, given it’s only September. Further, rebuilding isn’t fun. Rebuilding takes time and we want to win nooooow (he says, like an impatient brat). We endured three-straight 100-loss Astros baseball seasons before this season’s remarkable turnaround. But the other side of the turnaround is a lot of fun.
And so we’ll look to the future, as is often the case in Houston, TX, where there’s no season like next season.
This week’s Croucher Sports Misery Index: 74
We’re still miserable, but we’re moving in the right direction.
I’d like to close with a super special shout-out to all the kickers and punters out there ruining everyone’s days/lives. We wouldn’t be this miserable without you.