The USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll and the Rio Olympics; Vincent Harris of Harris Media; Capital Kings

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Welcome to the 55th episode of The Weekly Brew podcast – this week, digital media strategist Vincent Harris of Harris Media and Cole Walowac of EDM group Capital Kings join us on the show.

First, Austin and Kevin discuss the recent USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll rankings in college football, and preview the opening slate of NCAA games. How much do the rankings mean or matter at this point? Who are some of the early Heisman hopefuls?

Next, Vincent Harris, whose Harris Media digital strategy firm has worked for such political figures as Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and – most recently – Donald Trump, calls in to talk about the impact and role of social media in this election cycle, with Republicans stepping up their digital game to compete with the success of President Obama’s social media reach in the last two presidential elections. Harris also delves into what social media does to political discourse in what is proving to be an especially fractured, disparate electorate this year.

Finally, Cole Walowac, producer and rapper for EDM group Capital Kings, joins us to talk about making music and EDM in advance of CK’s Aug. 25 show in Houston.

As always, thanks for listening, and please, if you enjoy the show, share it with your friends and definitely feel free – even compelled – to leave a review on iTunes.

USA Today’s Nicole Auerbach previews Rio 2016 and Team USA Swimming; USA Men’s Basketball w/ Steve Carp; Astros w/ Jake Kaplan

Welcome to this very exciting 54th episode of The Weekly Brew podcast. We welcome in USA Today sportswriter Nicole Auerbach, Houston Chronicle Astros beat reporter Jake Kaplan (a two-time guest) and five-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year, Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

First, Auerbach dives (HA!) into Team USA Swimming, which she will be covering at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She offers some insight into the preparation and mentality of Olympic veterans like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, as well as detailing why everyone will be talking about Katie Ledecky after the Games this summer. Auerbach also shares how she got into sportswriting, and how pioneers like Lisa Olson and Christine Brennan paved the way for women in sports media today.

Next, Jake Kaplan calls in to talk about the Astros. When last Kaplan and the BrewCast spoke, the Astros were struggling through a very tough April, but since his last call, the ‘Stros are one of the hottest teams in baseball (despite the rough weekend in Detroit). What sparked the turnaround, and can the Astros sustain the momentum into the playoffs? Kaplan encourages fans not to worry about Alex Bregman’s slow start in the majors and offers a timeline for when Yulieski Gurriel can be expected to contribute, after the Astros signed him to a five-year $47.5 million contract.

Finally, Steve Carp, who watched Team USA Basketball train and compete in their first exhibition in Las Vegas, calls in to talk about this year’s squad, including a look at why DeMarcus Cousins is so unstoppable in international play and why Kevin Durant was booed in his first 2016 international game. Carp also covers the NHL, and provides a look at what the NHL expansion into Las Vegas might mean for leagues like the NBA, MLB and NFL putting a team in Sin City.

No new reviews this week! It is immeasurably disappointing, to Kevin in particular, who has taken it pretty hard. It would be so easy to brighten his day. Just go to iTunes, click “Ratings and Review” and leave a nice, little 5-star review with a blurb and he will read it ON THE AIR to THOUSANDS, if not MILLIONS, of listeners. As Spike Lee said: do the right thing.

But thank you, as always, for listening, and be sure to share this with your friends. If you don’t have any, maybe you can make some by introducing them to this awesome show. We’re happy to help.

And remember: no matter who you are, where you go or what you do this week, always, ALWAYS, brew responsibly.

NBA Playoffs & Astros; ROOT SPORTS’ Kevin Eschenfelder, USA Today’s AJ Neuharth-Keutsch, TheDreamShake’s Ethan Rothstein

Welcome to the 46th episode of The Weekly Brew podcast – we hit the NBA, Astros and college football hard this week, welcoming in ROOT SPORTS anchor and announcer Kevin Eschenfelder, USA Today national basketball writer AJ Neuharth-Keusch and Ethan Rothstein of SB Nation’s Houston Rockets blog The Dream Shake.

But first, Austin, Kevin, Jeremy and Dolores dive into the passing of legendary athlete, boxer Muhammad Ali, and his impact on sportswriting, boxing, politics and the world. The BrewCasters also delve into the Big 12’s perplexing decision to add a conference championship game to its round-robin schedule without any plans for expansion.

Next, Kevin Eschenfelder, sports anchor for ROOT SPORTS and the Voice of Cougar Football, calls in to discuss the recent success the Astros have enjoyed since moving George Springer into the leadoff spot in the lineup. Esch also delves into the rest of the Astros roster and the potential for the rest of the team’s season before getting into the nuts and bolts of working with ROOT SPORTS on the pre- and post-game shows. Esch is also a University of Houston alum and indulges Kevin with some discussion of the upcoming college football season and the potential Heisman candidacy of Greg Ward Jr. and the future of Tom Herman with the Cougar Football program.

AJ Neuharth-Keusch covers the NBA for USA Today and he discusses the incredible Western Conference Finals we just witnessed, the job Billy Donovan has done with the Oklahoma City Thunder and whether or not Donovan’s success at the helm of the team will have an impact on Kevin Durant’s free agency decision. Then AJNK breaks down the NBA Finals, including an ABC record most-watched Game One, and what the Cavaliers need to do to win this series. Where does LeBron rank now amongst the best players in the NBA? Also, what in the heck is up with James Harden getting overlooked for all three All-NBA squads?

Finally, Ethan Rothstein, managing editor of SB Nation’s The Dream Shake, comes on to talk some Houston Rockets basketball. The Rockets have a new head coach – Mike D’Antoni. The reaction has been, at best, mixed, and Rothstein examines the fit and looks at some of the coaches Leslie Alexander passed over in favor of D’Antoni, particularly Frank Vogel, now with the Orlando Magic. Rothstein also looks at what might happen with Dwight Howard and whether he might possibly find himself in a Rockets jersey yet again next season, and what Daryl Morey might potentially do about that. Rothstein also gets into the historic offensive season from James Harden and what it means that he was left out of the All-NBA squads entirely.

Terrific guests this week on The Brew. However, the listeners were NOT terrific, failing to leave even a SINGLE iTunes review, which the listeners well know we need to help us continue to grow. So right now, drop whatever you’re doing and go to iTunes and leave a 5-star review with a little blurb telling us what you enjoy about the show or what you’d like to hear, and we’ll take it under advisement. So get on that. And remember, no matter who you are, where you go or what you do this week, always ALWAYS brew responsibly.