Bradford Applin

Decisions, decisions. Here at Cal Poly, we’ve been making quite a few of them this week. No, I’m not talking about whether or not to randomly bubble in “B” or “C” on your midterm, I’m talking about the ASI student government elections that have been conducted this week.

Sheets of paper stapled to wooden stakes seemed to have become the decor of choice around campus. From signs using the “In-N-Out” logo because a candidate happens to have a last name similar to a cow in patty form; to being told we should vote for a candidate because- We’ve been bombarded with ads.

It’s not easy to decide whom to vote for when you don’t get the kind of in-depth analysis of candidates that you get in, say, the NFL Draft. Which (see that seamless segue?) happened to take place this past weekend.

Personally, the thought of our ASI presidential candidates being scrutinized on their 40-yard dash times, vertical leap and number of bench presses is immensely entertaining. In fact, I’d be downright giddy to have the chance to write a letter to the editor of where I describe how the candidates’ Wonderlic scores indicate how efficient they will be at running a wishbone offense.

Sadly, that won’t happen (not until Mel Kiper Jr. becomes President of Cal Poly). But regardless of which candidates are elected, Cal Poly cannot possibly come to a decision as bad as the Texans came to when they announced their choice with the No. 1 pick on Saturday.

Granted, the NFL draft has been endlessly covered, and the Texans have been criticized to the point of nauseam, but I can’t let this week go by without informing my readers why the Texans have made a decision similar to the Portland Trail Blazers choice of Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan (who’s Sam Bowie you ask? Exactly). You’re about to learn how the Texans destined themselves to a decade of obscurity.

Not to beat a dead horse, but sometimes the glue factory needs a little help: I give you my analysis of the Texans self-destructing choice of Mario Williams over Reggie Bush or Vince Young.

From mid-way through the NFL season, the “race” to be the team with the worst record was coined the “Bush Sweepstakes.” As the Texans kept losing, Reggie Bush of USC kept putting up ridiculously crooked numbers on the scoreboard for the Trojans football team. Want an example? How about a superhuman 8.9 yards per carry. Another? Try an average length of 31.9 yards on his 16 touchdowns. Translation: Playmaker.

Bush was the unanimous number one pick from every knowledgeable source until Vince Young decided to make the Rose Bowl his own personal showcase. When everyone’s eyes were supposed to be glued on Bush, they were instead fixated on Young as he passed for 267 yards, ran for 200 yards (that’s not a misprint) and led Texas to the national championship with his clutch performance. An overall quarterback rating of 111.6 for the season wasn’t too shabby either. The homegrown Young made his pitch to become quarterback in Houston; the same place he grew up playing high school football.

So who did the Texans ” with the approval of General Manager Charley Casserly and owner Bob McNair – select first overall? Mario Williams, a defensive end from NC State who put up freaky strength and speed numbers at the NFL combine, but failed to prove himself dominant on an actual football field. He recorded only 13 sacks this past season and visibly took plays off. And of those 13 sacks, whose to say they weren’t due more to the effort of the two other NC State defensive linemen that were drafted in the first round of the draft?

This wasn’t rocket science; it wasn’t as hard as trying to decipher a cure for cancer (which, by the way, could be cured from a substance concocted right here on Cal Poly’s campus: Compound 14. Look it up all you budding medical researchers-to-be).

If the Texans had simply allowed their fans to choose, and asked the good people of Texas to vote on the number one pick (who have shown their willingness to vote for a Bush in the past) there would have undoubtedly been shouts of “Reggie! Reggie!” from the polling booths in Houston.

Let’s put the Texans pick of Williams this way: It’s like if Zack had first pick in a “Saved By the Bell” game of flag-football and could have chosen Slater (the smart, athletic pick), or Kelly (the sentimental pick) and instead chose Screech (the [insert crazy adjective] pick).

But of course, it all boils down to money. Cash, dough, benjamins, cheese, cheddar, beans, bread, moolah, cake; pick your slang of choice. The Texans were not too stupid to pick Bush or Young, but too stubborn.

They already invested almost $14 million in signing bonuses alone in their quarterback David Carr (the first pick of the 2002 draft) and inked a new contract with their running back Domanick Davis that gave him a five-year extension and close to $22 million. Needless to say, the Texans front office was in no hurry to invest in either a running back or quarterback in the near future.

But instead of swallowing their pride and admitting they made a mistake with Carr and trading/cutting him in order to draft Young, or trading Davis for help on their offensive line and drafting Bush, they talked themselves into an underachieving defensive end with potential.

Now Bush is the new savior for New Orleans and the Saints, and Young – in a cruel twist of irony – has gone to the team that once left Houston; the Tennessee Titans.

I have three words for both Bush and Young when they happen to find themselves on a football field in Houston: Mess with Texas.

Bradford Applin is a sophomore journalism major. Any owners of professional football teams in the Houston area looking for a new GM can e-mail him at bapplin@calpoly.edu

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