PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

January 12, 2013

West column: Texans credibility under microscope against Patriots

PORT ARTHUR —

    Holding off the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the AFC playoffs last week merely bought some time for the Houston Texans in general and head coach Gary Kubiak and QB Matt Schaub in particular. With the national perception of the Texans as being somewhat of a fraud, Kubiak and Schaub are really under the microscope today against the Patriots because of an offense that is overly conservative and can’t score touchdowns. If Houston isn’t competitive in a game in which it’s a 9 1/2 point underdog, much of the luster will drain off a 12-4 season. There will be questions if the Texans have gone as far as they can go with Schaub, and if they are destined  to remain on the outside looking in against the NFL’s best . . . Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is almost too good to be true, both on and off the field. The case has long been made that Watt is the most disruptive defensive player in the NFL. Meanwhile, his legacy as a very thoughtful, really good guy off the field continues to grow. The latest example was him showing up at a Texans media gathering on Wednesday wearing a Craig Biggio throwback jersey. Watt, who grew up a Milwaukee Brewers fan in Wisconsin, remembers watching Biggio play, was aware of baseball’s Hall of Fame vote and wanted to show his support for another Houston professional athlete. Biggio, I’m told, was very impressed with the gesture . . . Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Roger Clemens got about what he deserved — 36 percent of the vote. For those buying into the Rocket’s ongoing insistence that he never juiced up, think Lance Armstrong and how long and loud he made impassioned pleas of innocence. Older players simply don’t reach the heights Clemens and Barry Bonds did without help.

    Ho hum. Notre Dame got embarrassed in another bowl game. That makes the Fighting Irish 2-11 in their last 13 bowls and 0-4 in BCS bowls by the average score of 40 to 14. Sad thing about this latest embarrassment is that because the BCS system allows an overrated team a free pass to the championship game based on record rather than merit, more deserving teams have to watch. At least three other teams — Oregon, Georgia and Texas A&M — were clearly better than Notre Dame and I’d question whether the too slow, physically underwhelming Fighting Irish could beat anybody in the final top 10 on a neutral field . . . Next to Alabama’s football team, there were three big winners in the Crimson Tide’s championship-game romp. Las Vegas bookies, with Notre Dame drawing 60 percent of the action on the most heavily bet college game ever, cleaned up. Texas A&M, due to the fact it won at Alabama, got considerable media exposure for the feat and heavy play as a serious contender for the 2013 national championship. Last but not least among the winners was Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. Webb became an overnight celebrity — thanks to Brent Musberger and ABC’s cameras — gaining thousands of Twitter followers and landing on the Today show . . . Sounds like Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is glad Texas A&M is now in the SEC and he doesn’t have to face Aggie QB Johnny Manziel on a yearly basis. Stoops told the Tulsa World that Manziel is the best QB the Sooners have faced in his 14 years at OU. Quite a tribute for a guy who has gone up against the likes of Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Colt McCoy.     

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Bob West