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Bohls: Several strong candidates in line to succeed Texas Tech's Wells, including Dykes

SMU head coach Sonny Dykes, who is 24-6 with the Mustangs over the last three years, could make an enticing candidate for Texas Tech's head coaching vacancy. Dykes is the son of Tech coaching legend Spike Dykes and is himself a former Tech assistant coach.

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. Raider power? Matt Wells clearly didn’t have it, so Texas Tech made the midseason move to fire its third-year head football coach because of fan “unrest” and a failure to be competitive at this point in his tenure against flawed teams like Texas and TCU. A home loss to Kansas State that the Red Raiders controlled for a long period of time didn’t help his cause, so athletic director Kirby Hocutt pink-slipped Wells on Monday. I don’t think the fans ever truly accepted or warmed to him, and his program was trending in the wrong direction despite a 5-3 record. He had trouble finishing games, which might ring familiarly. … So who’s on Hocutt’s short list? I’d rank, in order, SMU’s Sonny Dykes, a former Tech receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator whose late father Spike is a Texas Tech coaching legend; or UTSA’s Jeff Traylor, who has guided an incredible turnaround with the unbeaten Roadrunners; or Red Raiders offensive coordinator and interim head coach Sonny Cumbie; or USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. Maybe even Houston's Dana Holgorsen. “I would say Traylor and Sonny Dykes would be the main ones they’d look at,” said one connected Texas Tech observer. “If Cumbie wins two games, I think he’d get a chance. A long shot would be Harrell.” Dykes seems like the perfect choice. He's killing it at SMU with a 24-6 record the last three seasons. … Asked if former Baylor head coach Art Briles will get consideration, the source said Tech “is not going down that road. With a lot of alums, he’s their choice, but I don’t think they want to take the heat.” … Hocutt, I’m told, is safe in his job because he’s still well-liked in Lubbock, he can’t be blamed for losing basketball wizard Chris Beard to Texas and had helped build hoops, baseball and track into national powers. He’s been wooed by other programs like Nebraska and Tennessee, but said no. That said, he’d better get this hire right for Tech’s future because the Red Raiders are working on five consecutive losing seasons and six in the last seven years and haven’t won a bowl game since 2013. The last time it won more than eight games in a season? That’d be 2009 four head coaches ago when Mike Leach was still hanging out in Lubbock.

Bohls: Texas' Steve Sarkisian exploring ways to improve Longhorn players' mental approach

2. Texas rebound. No, we’re not talking hoops. That’s coming soon enough, but Steve Sarkisian has a chance to keep his football team in the hunt for a Big 12 championship if his club upsets Baylor in Waco. Upsets? Yes, the Longhorns are underdogs in the game. Nose tackle Keondre Coburn, for one, likes that position. “It takes all the stress off us," he said. "Our objective is to go into Waco and win.” Yes, but being the underdog is no compliment, Keondre. He knows, adding, “We can’t let this slide.” … Are the Baylor Bears for real? I think so, but they did struggle to beat lowly Texas State before going on a roll and mauling BYU and West Virginia the last two games, winning by an average of almost 20 points. They're one of just eight teams ranked in the top 20 in both scoring offense and defense, a group that includes UTSA as well as Georgia, Michigan, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Houston. … Did you know that in their consecutive losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Longhorns trailed in only 10:27 of the 120 minutes of those games? … We all know the biggest culprits are Texas' offensive and defensive lines. That vaunted defensive front has just two sacks in the last three games, the same number as linebacker DeMarvion Overshown and star back Anthony Cook. ... But look out for more playing time for backup linebacker Jaylan Ford, who's earning raves for his effort against Oklahoma State. "He showed me what he can do," linebacker/end Ovie Oghoufo said. "He's very aggressive, and he has bad intentions when the ball comes near him. Alfred Collins is another one who's coming on." Coburn echoed the compliments for Ford, saying, "He did a very good job last game. He performed in a way that helped us a lot." 

Candy corn may be a Halloween staple, but it's not the favorite of either Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach or Texas' Steve Sarkisian, both of whom said thanks, but no thanks recently about the candy.

Golden: Any path Texas has to Big 12 title game has to start with wins in Waco and Ames

3. Eye candy. Guess most saw or heard of Mike Leach’s monologue about his favorite candy in a postgame interview of all places. He said he hates candy corn. I’m down with that. So is Sarkisian, who admitted he’s not fond of it either but added, “I’ve got a sweet tooth. Anything you throw out there, I’ll try. But I’m not a scary guy. I’m more of a fun costume guy.” Some, like college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek and our own Danny Davis, say they love the stuff. … Leach went on to admit his craving for gummy bears and something called “Nerd Cluster” as well as Almond Joy but admitted he has learned the Europeans make better candy than Americans. I’ll stick with Hersey’s almond bars. … I’d be curious what the most popular candy handed out at Halloween is.

4. Random bits. Uh, Oklahoma, that was Kansas you struggled against. Lincoln Riley’s bunch was shut out in the first half and scored on all five possessions in the second half. … Texas cornerback Josh Thompson, asked to rate McLane Stadium as for as hostile places, said he'd give the Baylor stadium "about a 3," with 10 being the most intimidating. But he later clarified he meant it as a compliment as a top three place and added, "Baylor has some of the loudest and most energized fans in the Big 12. And everybody gets fired up to play us." He named Iowa State as the toughest road stadium. ... Texas’ Cameron Dicker has made his last seven field goals after missing two of his first three attempts. His misses were from 45 and 52 yards, and he's been money at 6-for-6 inside 40. … Doesn’t it seem like Oklahoma State always has terrific wide receivers? Helluva catch by Brennan Presley on Saturday. … I’ve always liked Bob Stoops. Even more when he cited his complaints about college overtimes. “I always thought you should have to earn points,” Stoops said. “I liked the idea of starting (possessions) at the 40.” Heck, I’d be fine with them starting at midfield. Why automatically penalize defensive-centric teams? … Will Justin Fields survive the season? ... Can you believe Patrick Mahomes has nine interceptions, tied for the most in the league? ... Did you see the most incredibly ludicrous unsportsmanlike conduct calls by one sensitive Big 12 ref that wiped out a game-tying touchdown for high-stepping into the end zone? Why can’t the head referee huddle up and tell the offending ref to go grab a Snickers and reverse one of the stupidest calls I’ve ever seen. Please. Bob Bowlsby, do something. Some really bad officiating in the Big 12 this season.

Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros won MVP honors from the ALCS win over the Red Sox and is one of the most promising hitters in baseball. He's hitting .315 in his career during the postseason.

More:Texas coach Chris Beard lands 2022 commitment from five-star forward Dillon Mitchell

5. Still villains? So are the Houston Astros exonerated yet? Or will they be followed forever by the trash-banging cloud of suspicion? I give them a ton of credit for scoring 27 runs with two outs, staring down a potential 3-2 deficit and erupting against the Red Sox. The Astros have scored 45 runs with two outs in the playoffs. That screams out clutch. … Sure, they may lose free agent shortstop Carlos Correa, but they’ve lost other high-impact players like George Springer, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander and still reached the World Series for the third time in five seasons. And they’re well-set for the future with studs like ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez and outfielder Kyle Tucker, who are both league MVP candidates moving forward. … To think Houston did this without ace Lance McCullers and very little out of starter J.P. Urquidez is amazing. And the Astros won two out of three games at Fenway. … Dusty Baker got it done. He’s one of major league baseball’s most beloved managers. You can’t help but root for him to win his first World Series. ... The Braves have a chance to let their home city exorcise some demons, even the Super Bowl-loss to Tom Brady after leading 28-3.

6. Get the shot. Someone should tomahawk chop the Braves’ decision to invite native Georgian Travis Tritt to sing the national anthem before Game 6 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. It’s Atlanta’s right to invite anyone they want to do those honors, but for them to invite a country western singer who's part of the anti-vaxx crowd is poor form because it amounts to a clear endorsement of Tritt’s stance at a time when MLB has strict vaccine requirements for all nonplaying personnel, including managers and coaches. So the Braves are just thumbing their nose at science during a pandemic that has cost more than 731,000 Americans their lives. Tritt has made his position very clear and has canceled concerts at venues that require masks or proof of vaccination.

7. UTSA love. Good to see former Longhorn defensive lineman Rod Wright climbing the coaching ladder. He’s the defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator for Traylor’s Roadrunners. “I kept Rod from the previous staff,” Traylor said. “Mack (Brown) and I still talk. He really loved Rod, who was a great recruiter in Houston. I knew him from UT, and he’s got high character, and he’s highly intelligent. He’s one of the most important people on our staff, which is why I kept him, and he keeps getting promoted.”

8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to former Astros GM Jeffrey Luhnow … Learned former Texas A&M quarterback Branndon Stewart is an Austin investor and entrepreneur.

9. On the couch. Joined two of my sons, Ryan and John Tyler, and friends for “Scary Movie Night,” their month-long tradition during the race to Halloween. We pretty much laughed our way through “Malignant,” which barely qualifies as a scary movie. Unless a parasitic twin is your thing, you’d probably be better off passing. Gave it three ducks.

Crazy prediction: The Astros win in six.