Bohls: Texas — America's Brunch Team — isn't all that far off from respectability
While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Silver linings, anyone? We’re trying here. As the Texas football team has two weeks to prepare for Baylor in yet another 11 a.m. game as America’s Brunch Team, we can at least point out that the Longhorns almost beat two teams that are now ranked No. 2 (Oklahoma) and No. 9 (Oklahoma State). That’s much better than losing by three touchdowns to a bunch of nobodies. Its other loss was to Arkansas, which would rank 28th and did blow out the Longhorns. … Biggest play of the season so far may well have been the out-of-bounds, third-down “catch” by Sooners receiver Mike Woods for 29 yards that led to OU’s first score and only a 14-7 deficit for OU instead of maybe 21-0. Second biggest was Casey Thompson’s pick-six against Oklahoma State. A safer play, and the Longhorns would have tacked on points for at least a 20-3 lead and zero momentum for the visiting Cowboys. Maybe less gas and some brakes would have done wonders in that situation. If either of those has a more favorable result, I really like the chances that Texas would have won both. I do wonder about Thompson's thumb injury affecting the zip on his passes. … Did Texas miss Jordan Whittington that much? The Longhorns have scored just 31 points in the five quarters since his departure with a clavicle injury. And 24 points are rarely enough to win college football games these days.
2. It hurts. The injuries are starting to pile up. Texas has lost its slot receiver and No. 2 target for Thompson, its linebacker and best defensive player for three quarters of the Oklahoma State game, its veteran left guard, its best special teams player and a top defensive lineman although Steve Sarkisian hopes to have DeMarvion Overshown back for Baylor. … Since the salad days of the first decade in the 2000s, Texas has gone 3-10 against OU, 4-8 against OSU, 6-5 against Baylor, 7-4 against Iowa State but lost the last two, 6-5 versus Kansas State, 3-7 against TCU and 5-4 against West Virginia. The Horns are 10-2 against Texas Tech but lost two in Austin to save Kliff Kingsbury’s job temporarily. A 22-21 mark against Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State and TCU hardly sounds like a program ready for the SEC. … What does Texas need the most right now? I’d say the top five are a solid left tackle, a dominant edge rusher (anyone seen Ja’Tavion Sanders?), a shutdown corner, a No. 2 receiver to take some pressure off Xavier Worthy, and another offensive lineman. … I was asked what would Texas’ record be today with Tom Herman as the coach. I’m guessing the same 4-3. He always lost to TCU, but he beat OSU his last two tries.
3. On the rise. Caleb Williams is a legit Heisman candidate. This race may be as open as it’s ever been this late in the season, but the award is definitely up for grabs, and OU's sensational freshman quarterback will be in the spotlight with an undefeated team. Who knows, maybe Bijan Robinson could even emerge from such a wide open field. … If Lincoln Riley’s track record of coaching up and developing quarterbacks continues, I can’t imagine an NFL team not scooping him up in the next few years. … Did you notice what Keaontay Ingram is doing at USC? The former Horn leads the Trojans in rushing with 419 yards and a 5.7 yard average per carry but ranks just No. 71 nationally. Bijan is No. 3 with 132 yards a game, one of five Big 12 rushers ranked in the top 12.
4. Pressure? You think there’s pressure in Austin? Try Baton Rouge. Ed Orgeron is out after winning a national championship less than two seasons ago. He’s not even 22 months removed from a perfect 15-0 record with a Joe Burrow-led team that's considered one of the greatest of all times. His pink slip came after one of Orgeron’s best victories, an upset over No. 20 Florida. Reminded me of when Texas A&M canned R.C. Slocum a week after his Aggies knocked off No. 1 Oklahoma at Kyle Field. … This shows you Scott Woodward and the LSU administration had already decided to make a change and wanted to do it before Orgeron’s Tigers may have gone on a roll and make the decision more difficult. I’m always a proponent of pulling off the Band-Aid if the decision has been reached because the move at least allows LSU assistants to search for new jobs, but it’s not very fair to the players to do it at midseason. ... I couldn’t see Jimbo Fisher wanting to leave College Station for that pressure cooker. At least, Jimbo can use the speculation to negotiate a, uh, much-needed pay raise, right? The fourth-year Aggies coach has laid the foundation at A&M, is already coaching in a recruiting hotbed and has considerable momentum. “This is the job I want,” he said of A&M Monday. “I’m here. I’ve got a great contract.” He was smart to get ahead of any speculation that could hurt his recruiting. ... I’d hire Joe Brady, the former LSU offensive whiz kid now with the Carolina Panthers or Baylor’s Dave Aranda. Maybe the Head Bear would consider it since Baylor will be in a second-tier league once Oklahoma and Texas depart for the SEC. … Woodward always wants to make a splash. Urban Meyer, anyone?
5. Throwing money away. I hoped the SEC would throw the book at Tennessee after dozens of crazy fans threw, well, everything they could find onto their home field out of anger over what was a proper officiating ruling. These fans threw dozens of water bottles, a plastic bottle of mustard, debris and even a yellow golf ball, which glanced off Ole Miss (and former Volunteers) head coach Lane Kiffin to delay the final 54 seconds of a game the Rebels won. There is no excuse — none — for such behavior. And security was sorely lacking. Tennessee was slapped with a $250,000 fine. Even its own cheerleaders and band left the stadium early for their own safety. "The disruption of Saturday night's game is unacceptable and cannot be repeated on any SEC campus,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said.
6. Hoops is coming fast. Texas basketball is No. 5 in the country. That’s a remarkable leap in the biggest offseason in school history when, on the heels of an improbable loss to Abilene Christian in a first-round NCAA Tournament game and Shaka Smart’s firing, Texas hired Chris Beard — one of college basketball's five best coaches. Beard pulled in a slew of transfers and has the Longhorns poised to deliver big results in short order.
7. Random hits. Nice knowing you, Austin FC. Its inaugural season will end prematurely to no one’s surprise as offensively-starved Team Tree was the first Western Conference team officially eliminated from the playoff picture. … Congrats to UT sophomore Kylie Collins, who won the singles championship of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association held at TCU. Collins, who once won the prestigious Orange Bowl junior tournament at age 14, was the fifth seed in the 64-player singles draw and won six consecutive matches over just four days. Five of the matches, Collins won in straight sets. She also beat four seeded opponents, including the Nos. 2 and 4 seeds. … Who had the Arizona Cardinals as the last remaining unbeaten team? Not me. And kudos to Westlake’s Jeff Rodgers, the son of former Longhorns recruiting coordinator Randy Rodgers, who's the Cards’ special teams coach and assistant head coach. … The Boston Red Sox look like a team of destiny as well as one of prodigious power. They hit three grand slams during the entire regular season but have hit three in the last two games against the pitching-strapped Astros. In the first three innings of this series so far, Boston has outscored Houston 20-1. ... Austin’s Harry Hester, 68, teamed with his coach, Rob Burneson of Austin, to help their team finish fourth in the best-ball competition of the American Blind Golf’s annual tournament, which has raised $1.5 million for the Blind Children's Programs through the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind. Hester’s a national runner-up in stroke play. … According to lineups.com, a survey of 1,500 NFL fans revealed the teams with the least loyal fans are the Broncos, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Colts and Jaguars, but 43% of fans would turn down a job offer if it meant moving to a rival team's city or state.
8. Scattershooting. … While wondering whatever happened to Branndon Stewart, one of the original high-profile transfers who went to Tennessee from Stephenville High School and battled with Peyton Manning before switching to A&M and leading the Aggies to that big 36-33 double-overtime upset over unbeaten and No. 2 KSU in the 1998 Big 12 title game.
9. On the couch: OK, I love “You.” Seriously. The Netflix series about a book manager/serial stalker named Joe continues with a third season and he may have met his match. Gave it 8 ducks.
Crazy prediction: The Brooklyn Nets, behind MVP pick Kevin Durant, will beat the Lakers for the NBA title.