Football Watch

Big test for the Horns, and more

Tough times in the Lone Star State. The Dallas Cowboys continued to find ways to lose, falling 34-27 to Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans in the Home That Jerry Built. The Houston Texans were completely outplayed in every aspect of the game by the visiting New York Giants who embarrassed them to the tune of 34-10. And Austin's own Texas Longhorns, coming off a bye week and two harsh losses, have to try and turn things around against the surging Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb. (Sat., Oct. 16, 2:30pm; ABC, 98.1FM and 1300AM.) Don't count on it.

The Cowboys are playing the also 1-3 Minnesota Vikings in what is being hailed as the Do or Die Bowl, aka the Desperation Bowl (Sun., Oct. 17, 3:15pm; Fox). The Vikings have a slight edge with the game being played in the Metrodome, although on paper I like the Cowboys talent slightly better. The 3-2 Texans host the 3-1 Kansas City Chiefs (Sun., Oct. 17, noon; CBS) in what should be a fun game to watch, much like the Cowboys/Vikings and Horns/Huskers games. Houston needs this win at home to avoid dropping to 3-3 after a 3-1 start.

The biggest news of the week for Horns fans is Colt McCoy looking to get his first NFL start on the road against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL, that of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This week also marks the return of Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger. I cannot think of a more challenging scenario for young Colt to start his professional career in. I'm sure he's capable of holding his own, but not getting the win. If the Browns were to win this game, consider McCoy the starting QB for the Browns for the immediate future.

My picks of the week: I was 2-2 last week, let's see if I can improve upon that. I like Nebraska minus 8.5 over the Horns. In the NFL I'll take the Rams at home plus 8.5 over the Chargers, the Seahawks plus seven on the road versus the Bears, the Raiders plus 6.5 on the road in San Fran, and the Titans minus three on the road versus the Jags.

Area bars and the football teams/fans they cater to:

Aussie's catered to Browns fans last year but is focusing more on the Texans and Cowboys this season. 306 Barton Springs Rd., 480-0952.

Bag Pipes Pub and Eatery supplies the setting for Alabama Crimson Tide football fans. 9070 Research Blvd., 467-8700.

B.D. Riley's Irish Pub is the place go if you're a fan of Tom Brady's tresses or his football team, the New England Patriots. Fittingly, they are also the home for Notre Dame games. 204 E. Sixth, 494-1335.

Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill (both locations) is a straight-up Steelers bar. 6901 N. I-35, 454-2247; 214 E. Sixth, 469-0001.

Billy's on Burnet is the "unofficial Packers bar of Austin." 2105 Hancock Dr., 407-9305.

Black Sheep Lodge has a good contingent of Saints, Redskins, Vikings, Texans, and Titans fans. USC and Ohio State lovers cheer on their teams on Saturdays. 2108 S. Lamar, 707-2744.

Cedar Door hosts USC and TCU supporters. Second and Brazos, 473-3712.

Cool River Cafe is the place to be for Nebraska Cornhusker fans. 4001 W. Parmer Ln., 835-0010.

Hog Island Italian Deli hosts Philadelphia Eagles watch parties. 1612 Lavaca, 482-9090.

Joe's Bar and Grill Attention Colt McCoy lovers, Joe's hosts fans of the NFL's Cleveland Browns. 506 West Avenue, 473-0885.

Mangia Pizza Mesa is the official home for Auburn football. 8012 Mesa Dr., 349-2126.

Pluckers North Austin is the official home of the Arkansas Razorbacks. 9070 Research Blvd, 533-9464.

Pluckers South Lamar is the official place to be for Michigan Wolverines games. 3909 S. Lamar, 443-9464.

Shoal Creek Saloon is the home of the Saints. 909 N. Lamar, 474-0805.

The Tavern sees a lot of Steelers and Ravens fans show up for NFL Sundays. 922 W. 12th, 320-8377.

Third Base Round Rock caters to Giants, Chargers, and Steelers fans. Arkansas Razorbacks lovers meet there on Saturdays. 3107 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/388-2273.

Third Base South Park Meadows is the place to be for Saints, Vikings, and Steelers supporters. In the NCAA, it's Oregon State, Minnesota, and Texas Tech territory. 9600 S. I-35, 381-2273.

Third Base Downtown has a good following for the Texans, Saints, and Vikings and generally a "pretty mixed" crowd. As far as college goes, it's the official home for Illinois Fighting Illini and Florida Gators fans as well as followers of Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Kansas. 1717 W. Sixth, 476-2273.

The Warehouse Saloon & Billiards sees a lot of Vikings fans, among others. I've also heard Dolphins and Bears fans have been known to congregate there. 509 E. Ben White, 443-8799.

Weirdos is a Chargers bar. 12408 MoPac N., 291-6703.

Hit me up at gameplans@austinchronicle with additional info.

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