Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s Jan. 17 — 17 down, 348 to go.
And 43 till Leap Day.
YESTERDAY: Neither the AFC (Patriots 27, Chiefs 20) nor the NFC (Cardinals 26, Packers 20 in overtime) divisional playoffs disappointed. Gronk and Brady were the big story in the AFC, and Larry Fitzgerald and that crazy Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary ruled the NFC game. The Texas men beat Oklahoma State at home. And the Golden State Warriors lost for the second straight game.
TODAY: Two more divisional games on tap — Seahawks at Panthers (12:05, FOX) and Steelers at Broncos (3:40, CBS). The Texas women host Baylor in a No. 6 vs. No. 4 showdown (2:30, ESPN2). The Australian Open, tennis’ first Grand Slam, begins. Coverage on ESPN2 starts at 6.
TOMORROW: The Warriors play the Cavaliers. And there’s more Australian Open.
Jan. 17 has a sports history. On this date, the Los Angeles Rams announced they were moving to St. Louis (1995); the Cowboys beat the 49ers and the Bills beat the Dolphins to set up Super Bowl XXVII (1993); the Broncos nipped the Browns in the AFC championship game, on Ernest Byner’s infamous goal-line fumble (1988); and UCLA, playing without injured center Bill Walton, beat Iowa for its NCAA-record 88th straight victory (1974). The Bruins’ streak was snapped two days later, by Notre Dame.
Last year on Jan. 17, student-athlete stipends were approved by Power Five schools, the 20th-ranked Texas men crushed No. 16 West Virginia by 27 points, Burton defensive star Louis Brown de-committed from Texas.
(Brown ended up signing with Oklahoma State.)
Today’s sports birthdays: Dwyane Wade (34), Austin boxing trainer Ann Wolfe (45) and Muhammad Ali (74). Other notables: Zooey Deschanel (36), Kid Rock (45), Michelle Obama (52), Jim Carrey (54), Steve “Miss Colombia won” Harvey (59), Steve Earle (61), James Earl Jones (85) and Betty White (94).
Trivia question: There’s been only one player to be named Super Bowl MVP for the losing team. Name him. (Answer is at the end of Breakfast.)
Today’s lead: Recruiting.
Our updated Fabulous 55 came out in today’s Statesman, the 28th annual list of the state’s top recruits. Texas has 13 pledges so far, and this looks like it could be a down year for the Longhorns barring some Charlie Strong magic in these final two weeks before signing day.
This is a big weekend for Strong. Ten prospects off the Fab 55 — including the state’s top two-rated safeties and the top-rated linebacker — are making their official visits to Texas. There will be eight Longhorns pledges on campus, plus five players who have pledged elsewhere, but whom Strong will try to flip.
Highlights and factoids from the Fab 55:
Fab 55 commitments, by schools: Baylor 8, Texas A&M 6, Houston 4, LSU 4, Texas 4, TCU 4, Alabama 3, Oklahoma 2, Ole Miss 2, Stanford 2, and 1 each for Arizona State, Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and Texas Tech.
Commitments, by conferences: 19 for the Big 12, 16 for the SEC, 4 for the AAC, 4 for the Pac-12 and 1 for the Big Ten.
The highest rated …
Longhorn: North Mesquite OT Jean Delance (No. 13)
Aggie: McKinney North DE Justin Madubuike (No. 12)
Bear: Silsbee OG Patrick Hudson (No. 4)
Horned Frog: Aldine MacArthur DE Isaiah Chambers (No. 28)
Red Raider: Wichita Falls Rider WR T.J. Vasher (No. 51)
Sooner: Euless Trinity DT Chris Daniels (No. 19)
Big 12er: Silsbee’s Hudson (Baylor)
SECer: Allen OT Gregory Little (No. 1, Ole Miss)
Other Fab 55 tidbits:
- Manvel, with five players, is most represented on the Fab 55. That includes a quarterback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, outside linebacker and safety. The Mavericks were Class 6A state quarterfinalists, falling to eventual state champion Katy. Katy, meanwhile, has only one player on the Fab 55 — running back Kyle Porter.
After Manvel, Spring Westfield has the most Fab 55ers (3).
- The biggest player: Trophy Club Nelson tackle Kellen Diesch, who’s pledged to Texas A&M. He’s 6-7, 270.
- The smallest player: Manvel quarterback D’Eriq King, who’s pledged to Houston. He’s 5-9, 170.
- By classifications: It’s a big school kind of year for the Fab 55 — there are 39 prospects from Class 6A schools, nine from 5A schools, five from 4As and one each from Class 3A and private schools.
- There are 11 prospects that are undecided. In our initial Fab 55, in March 2015, there were 38. Eight of those were undecided then and are still undecided now — Nacogdoches safety Brandon Jones (No. 3); Manvel safety Deontay Anderson (No. 5); Aldine Davis outside linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch (No. 16); Alief Elsik inside linebacker Dontavious Jackson (No. 23); Waco cornerback Eric Cuffee (No. 35); Katy running back Kyle Porter (No. 39); Allen defensive end Levi Onwuzurike (No. 44); and Manvel outside linebacker Jordan Carmouche (No. 47).
- Five players flipped schools from their previous commitments in March 2015, and Houston’s Tom Herman plucked three of them. Allen tackle Gregory Little — the No. 1 player in the state — switched from Texas A&M to Ole Miss; No. 10 Jordan Elliott, a defensive tackle from Houston Westside, switched from Baylor to Michigan; No. 18 Tyrie Cleveland, a receiver from Spring Westfield, flipped from A&M to Houston, as did No. 22 Courtney Lark, a receiver from Houston Bellaire; and Manvel athlete/quarterback D’Eriq King, at No. 49, switched from TCU to Houston.
- Off our initial list, the biggest riser is Diesch, the Trophy Club Nelson tackle who jumped 32 spots to No. 20. He’s committed to Texas A&M. Our biggest faller was Texas pledge Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, the receiver from Manvel who plunged 26 spots from No. 17 to No. 43.
- So much for recruiting bloodlines. Wichita Falls Rider receiver T.J. Vasher is committed to Texas Tech, not Texas, where his brother Nathan was an All-American defensive back in the early 2000s.
So, what’s being written out there about the Longhorns?
Texas improved to 3-2 in Big 12 play with a 74-69 win over Oklahoma State. The Longhorns came thiiis close to blowing a 23-point lead, though. Here’s our game coverage. The Daily Oklahoman’s coverage looked at that 23-point lead from the other side of the fence — as in the Cowboys’ slow start. The Morning News’ game story cast Texas’ win in light of its continuing journey in replacing Cam Ridley. The San Antonio Express-News went that route, too. And both our advance of Sunday’s Texas-Baylor women’s game and the Waco Tribune-Herald’s centered on the implications of the Big 12 race.
AROUND THE BIG 12: The Kansas men beat TCU at home, 70-63. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s coverage centered around moral victories, while the Kansas City Star focused on the Jayhawks’ bounce-back win after dropping a game to West Virginia. The S-T’s Mac Engel had a nice read on former TCU running back Ronnie Littleton, who died in late December. The San Antonio Express News reported that TCU assistant Curtis Luper interviewed for the UTSA opening on Saturday. The Waco Tribune-Herald came out with its list of the state’s top 100 football recruits. Linemen lead the way. Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt spoke to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal about his ascension to the CFP selection committee’s chairman. The OU men beat West Virginia 70-68 on Khadeem Lattin‘s tip-in; the Daily Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson wrote about it. And for those of you who were worried, Okie State football coach Mike Gundy told the Oklahoman that his relationship with OSU super booster Boone Pickens is just fine. And speaking of Gundy, the Tulsa World is reporting that OSU is talking to him about a contract extension.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES:
Football: Vegas has released its early odds for next year’s CFP national championship. Texas comes in as a 75/1 longshot, the same odds given to West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Alabama (7/1), Clemson (15/2) and Baylor, Michigan and Ohio State (all at 12/1) top the list. … Mack Brown was honored on Wednesday with the 2016 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. … There’ll be at least one Longhorn at the Super Bowl, coming out of the NFC. Arizona’s Lyle Sendelein will be in next week’s NFC championship game, as will either Seattle’s Earl Thomas or Carolina’s Fozzy Whittaker.
Women’s basketball: Two UT signees — Cedar Hill’s Joyner Holmes and St. Louis’ Alecia Sutton — were named to the Naismith Trophy girls’ high school midseason team. The team’s national semifinalists will be named on Feb. 10, and finalists on Fab. 24. The overall winner will be announced on March 10.
Track and field: The Texas women opened the indoor season on Saturday by winning the 11-team Texas A&M Invitational, while the men finished second. And UT announced this year’s Texas Relays will be held March 30-April 2. Tickets go on sale March 1. It’ll also be covered on the Longhorn Network.
Soccer: Goalkeeper Abby Smith was drafted 27th overall (third round) by the Boston Breakers in Friday’s National Women’s Soccer League draft in Baltimore. She’s the first Longhorn ever to be drafted by the NWSL.
Swimming: Saturday was Day 2 of the USA Swimming Arena Pro Series at Austin event. Texas freshman Townley Haas finished second in the 200 freestyle, an event that included Michael Phelps in the field. On the women’s side, Madisyn Cox was fifth in the 400 IM.
Tennis: The No. 12-ranked Texas men improved to 3-0 with a 6-1 win over UC-Santa Barbara, winning five of six singles matches and two of three doubles contests. The Horns play Washington on Sunday. The Texas women, meanwhile, got three wins in the first day of the Miami Spring Invite in Coral Gables, Fla. Two of those wins were from Breaunna Addison.
Golf: It’s good to be Jordan Spieth. Last year’s Masters and U.S. Open champion has signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with Coca-Cola. That means he’ll be featured in a steady stream of Coke and Dasani water advertising campaigns.
On Jan. 17, 1998: The Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, on The Drudge Report.
On Jan. 17, 1991: Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, began.
On Jan. 17, 1929: Popeye the Sailor Man made his first appearance, in a comic strip.
Trivia answer: Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley is the only player in Super Bowl history to be named the game’s MVP despite playing for the losing team. Howley had two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the Cowboys’ 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V — a game played on Jan. 17, 1971.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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