The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2019.10.31

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

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Of Meat Pies and Football, an Australian Love Story. Via Eater:

To understand the connection between Australian football and meat pies, it pays to familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the sport. In relative terms, the 18-team AFL is Australia’s NFL. Devised in the mid-19th century as a means to keep cricketers fit in the winter months, the Australian game is wildly popular Down Under, but has not quite spread throughout the world as its current administrators believe it could. To Americans over 40, it might be fondly remembered as the kamikaze mashup of rugby and American-style football that dominated the programming schedule of the nascent ESPN, back before they could afford the broadcasting rights to the major U.S. sports. Today the AFL dominates Australia’s sporting landscape. During the 2019 season, 6,894,771 people (out of a population that tops just 24 million) attended AFL games, an all-time record. And in Melbourne, the self-declared cultural capital of the country, AFL is especially all-consuming: “Melbourne has no summer, only a period of hibernation between football seasons,” as the novelist George Johnston once put it.

And the meat pie? It is no exaggeration to call it the most famous snack in Australia — it’s certainly the most distinctive to outsiders. The meat pie seems to have grown popular in the postwar period, when Australians finally allowed themselves small luxuries, and since then, even amid a dining scene as sophisticated and multicultural as any in the world, it has refused to go away. There are many versions of the savory meat pie, from pre-packaged to gourmet, but the one most closely associated with Australia’s signature sport is the iconic Four’n Twenty. It is to Melbourne’s AFL scene what the Dodger Dog is to Los Angeles baseball. Unlike Chavez Ravine’s signature 10-inch frank, however, Australians can also find Four’n Twenty-brand pies outside the stadium — in gas stations, convenience stores, anywhere and anytime the craving for a hot puck of pastry-encased meat and gravy hits.

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Lady Raider Basketball

New Commitment. I didn’t have a ton of time to do a lot of investigation, but I did find that Khadija Faye is originally from Dakar, Senegal, and transferred from Florida Prep to Father Lopez, which is where Faye is playing this year.

Texas Tech Baseball

Texas Tech Basketball

Best in the State. CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander ranks the top programs in each state and in the state of Texas, it’s Texas Tech:

Chris Beard has ascended in just four seasons as a D-I coach to such a level, so quickly, he has almost no parallel. Despite having significant roster turnover for the second straight season, it seems clear and obvious right now that the Red Raiders will be the best of the 23 teams based in the Lone Star State. They’ll get a good push in-league from Baylor, but expect TTU’s defense to remain close to elite. Meantime, the Coogs down in Houston rated outside my top 30 when the 1-353 published, but since then we learned that former KU guard Quentin Grimes had his waiver approved by the NCAA, making Houston a viable top-30 club and giving Texas more top-30 teams than any other state.

Nimari Burnett Update. Rivals’ Corey Evans updates us on 5-star point guard Nimari Burnett:

Yes, actually a greater chance than many believe – to the extent that I am close to switching my FutureCast selection for him in favor of the Red Raiders. Texas Tech was a late entrant into the race for Nimari Burnett, and it was actually a surprise that the Red Raiders even made his final list. Is it now possible that they could leapfrog their opponents to land the talented guard?

Burnett just completed his official visit tour over the weekend with a trip to Oregon. The Ducks had a feeling that they were playing catch-up, so it will be interesting to see if his visit to Eugene was enough to turn the tide in their favor. Michigan can offer something entirely different, as it is led by Juwan Howard and the program is close to his Chicago home, which could definitely help.

Do not slight Alabama’s chance, either. The Tide hold my FutureCast prediction and no one has recruited him harder. Look for a college decision in December.

Texas Tech Football

Catching Up With Dakota. RedRaiderSports’ Brandon Soliz caught up with former Red Raider footballer Dakota Allen (who just so happened to be cut by Oakland yesterday, so keep that chin up!):

Is there anything he wants to say to Red Raiders fans?

“I would like to say to not lose faith in the Red Raiders. There’s a lot of stuff going on that people don’t know about that needs time to happen,” Allen said. “I just don’t want people losing faith in our football team because I know I won’t.”


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