Golden: After Oklahoma collapse, Texas has ceded bragging, recruiting rights to Texas A&M
Horns host Oklahoma State Saturday
- Texas A&M grabbed state bragging rights with shocking upset of No. 1 Alabama
- The Horns have to regroup for Saturday's game against Oklahoma State.
- Tyson Fury's KO of Deontay Wilder was an ode to great heavyweight fights of the past.
Imagine the diehard Texas football fans who endured watching the Longhorns blow a 21-point lead and lose to Oklahoma. They then had to wade through the postgame traffic, made the trip back home, turned on the tube — while still processing how the Horns let it slip through their fingers — only to watch Texas A&M grab the Lone Star steering wheel with a thrilling win over No. 1 Alabama.
Are those wounds salty enough?
Talk about a brutal double — a gut punch from the Sooners followed by chuckles from the resurgent Aggies, who somehow broke Alabama’s 100-game winning streak against unranked teams after A&M had suffered losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State.
This not only hits the Horns in their pride, but also gives their future SEC rival a leg up in recruiting. The Aggies will soon lose the title of being the only SEC school in Texas, but Jimbo Fisher and his staff will be able to poke their chests out and talk about the night they stopped Nick Saban and Co. in their tracks.
As for the Horns, these are growing pains that accompany any building job and Steve Sarkisian must embrace the game within the game. Sure, they may not play the Aggies for another couple of years or so, but it would be foolish to pretend that some of the state's eyes are checking in on what’s happening in College Station from week to week.
The 4-2 Horns missed out on a great chance to become the team to beat in the Big 12 and now they have to pull it together on Saturday against Oklahoma State at their usual 11 a.m. table reservation.
"Obviously, we'd all love to win a Big 12 Championship," Sarkisian said on Monday. "I said on Saturday we'd like another shot at Oklahoma. But none of that can occur if we don't handle business Saturday and take care of Oklahoma State."
Meanwhile, the Aggies (also 4-2) will be favored to beat 3-3 Missouri. We’ll see if they are able to follow up a program-changing win with a solidifier against the Tigers.
Where was the commish?: Conspicuous by his absence in the Big 12’s biggest regular-season showcase was Metroplex-based league commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who decided to skip the Red River Showdown in favor of Baylor’s home win over West Virginia.
Sure, I know the commish is still a little salty after the Longhorns and Sooners blindsided him with the news that they would be leaving for the SEC, but he chose Waco over Dallas? If I weren't so well-versed in old-school stock car racing, it might be easy to confuse Bowlsby with Richard Petty. With that said, he and his right-hand man Bob Burda should have chosen better travel plans.
Texas-OU was a no-brainer.
Like them or not, the Longhorns and Sooners are still doing the heavy lifting in this conference. Bowlsby should have been at the Cotton Bowl.
Fury-Wilder was a throwback classic: After Saturday’s Longhorns disappointment, I hurried out of the Cotton Bowl press box after filing so that I could get back to the 512. My cousin Gary “Pooh” Choice and his lovely wife Shontel purchased the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder pay-per-view and invited me over along with Fox 7 sportscaster John Hygh, Spectrum news anchor Victor Diaz and our buddy Darren “ShoNuff” Mitchell, the most popular UPS driver in the city.
The pugilists did not disappoint.
It was a throwback classic. Boxing dominated the sports headlines from the early 1900s when Galveston’s Jack Johnson was the heavyweight champ through the Joe Louis era of the 1930s and 1940s, the golden age of the 1970s dominated by Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
Mike Tyson was a headline grabber, but too often it was for all the wrong reasons.
What we witnessed was an action-packed fight to the finish that brought back memories of Foreman’s epic 1976 clash with Ron Lyle, which featured a combined five knockdowns before the East Texas-born Foreman, who had been dropped twice — pummeled the reformed ex con into submission in the corner in the fifth round.
Fury, like Big George, tasted the canvas twice before righting himself and dispensing of a more muscled-up Wilder. The Bronze Bomber owns the highest knockout out percentage in the history of the sport and won his first 40 fights before he ran into Fury, who stopped him in their final two fights after their opening draw.
On the same night Alabama lost at A&M, the Tuscaloosa-born Wilder fought valiantly though there were times when I wished he hadn’t fired his trainer Mark Breland for throwing in the towel when he was getting mauled in the seventh round of the rematch. His current crew let the carnage continue because of Wilder’s ability to turn the tide with one massive punch, but Fury answered every challenge and administered a brutal beating to the American. As result, he took punishment that is sure to diminish him greatly moving forward.
A couple of decades ago, we used to get matches like this four or five times a year, but the sport has been soiled by silly matchups featuring social media influencers and novice boxers who wouldn't have lasted five seconds with an Ali, Tyson or Holyfield.
For one night, it was great fun to watch an old-school heavyweight brawl go down like it used to back in the day.
It was worth every penny.
Gruden under fire: I don’t buy for one minute that Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s comments in a email 10 years regarding the appearance of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith did not carry with them a racist connotation.
In the email sent to the president of the Washington Football Team, Gruden, who was the color commentator on Monday Night Football at the time, said Smith, a Black man, had "lips the size of michellin (sic) tires.” He also called the accomplished lawyer and businessman "Dumborris" Smith.
Gruden spoke apologetically about Smith and the issue after Sunday’s 17-9 home loss to Chicago. Black men like his former broadcast partner Mike Tirico, former coach Tony Dungy and his former player Tim Brown have been supportive of Gruden, but Keyshawn Johnson, who won a Super Bowl with Gruden at Tampa Bay, told a national radio audience on Monday that Gruden "was always a bad person."
Gruden reportedly said this week that he “never had a racial thought” when he sent that email.
Draw your own conclusions, but don't expect him to be suspended under the league’s personal conduct policy because he wasn’t employed by the NFL when he made those comments. He can’t change the past, but it will be interesting to see how Gruden's locker room will respond to his leadership moving forward.