Brokenhearted, broken, and torn – the story of football in Texas
Brokenhearted, broken, and torn: This describes Longhorn fans, Tony Romo's left clavicle, and DeMeco Ryans' Achilles tendon, respectively. If there was any question that this year's Texas Longhorns football team was broken prior to last Saturday, the humiliating 28-21 loss to Iowa State (who had never beaten the Horns) in front of their home crowd has answered it. The program is flawed, and apparently it isn't an easy fix. This is the first time UT has lost consecutive home games since 1997, and with No. 25-ranked Baylor coming into town next Saturday (6pm: FSNSW on the tube and 98.1FM and 1300AM on the radio dial), this puts UT in the unlikely role of playing spoiler to the Bears. Have we entered Bizarro World? With this unpredictable squad it's tough to call, but look for the Bears to leave Royal-Memorial Stadium with the W. More on the Cowboys and Texans online.
Horns fans, if you think you've got it bad, just take a look at the 1-5 Cowboys. Everybody knew UT wouldn't be a national title contender (losing to UCLA and Iowa State at home is another thing altogether though), but Dallas was hoping to be the first-ever team to play in their own stadium in the Super Bowl. Tony Romo won't need surgery on his broken left clavicle but will be out six to eight weeks (if not the entire season), thereby officially ending the Cowboys' already slight chance at a playoff berth. With all the bone-headed penalties and miscues, look for Jerry Jones to clean house as soon as the season ends and an entirely new coaching staff next year. (Bill Cowher maybe?) If you still care, Dallas hosts the Jaguars this Sunday at noon on CBS. The Jags are actually bad enough to lose to the Romo-less Cowboys, but I wouldn't count on it.
While the Houston Texans sit on a 4-2 record, the loss of middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans for the season is a devastating blow for their already struggling defense. Brian Cushing will move to the middle linebacker spot in Ryans' absence. The Texans have a huge game this Monday (7:30pm, ESPN) on the road in Indianapolis. Both teams are coming off a bye week for this nationally televised tilt. A win here would do a lot to solidify Houston's claim as a playoff-caliber team, but with their shoddy defensive backfield going up against Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, and without the presence of their defensive leader, Ryans, it looks to be a high-scoring affair that I'd have to say will favor the Colts, as much as that kills me to admit. It'll be up to Mario Williams and the D-line to apply a lot of pressure to Manning and the three-headed beast of Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster to put up some big points for the Texans to have a chance at winning this one.
This week's picks: I went 2-1 (5-2 over the past two weeks, 8-5 overall) picking NFL games against the spread last week. Not too bad if I do say so. This week the spreads/matchups are tough. I'm gonna go with the Redskins plus 3 on the road in Detroit, the surprising Seahawks plus 3 against the surging Raiders in Oakland, and I'm gonna do it, my Texans plus 5.5 in Indy.
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.
Bagpipes Pub & Eatery supplies the setting for Alabama Crimson Tide football fans. 9070 Research Blvd., 467-8700.
B.D. Riley's Irish Pub is the place to go if you're a fan of Tom Brady's tresses or his football team, the New England Patriots. Fittingly, the pub is also 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, 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, 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 Ave., 473-0885.
Mangia Pizza Mesa is the official home for Auburn football. 8012 Mesa, 349-2126.
Pluckers North Austin is the official home of the Arkansas Razorbacks. 9070 Research, 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 Southpark 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.