Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s December 2nd — 337 down, 29 to go.
And 30 till New Year’s Day.
YESTERDAY: The Cowboys’ 17-15 win over the Vikings wasn’t pretty, but their 11-1 record sure is. The No. 14 Texas women fell at home to No. 3 South Carolina, 76-67, while their Sunday opponent — No. 2 UConn — destroyed No. 15 DePaul 91-46; it was the Huskies’ 81st straight victory. It took two overtimes, but the Rockets snapped the Warriors’ 12-game winning streak at Golden State, 132-127. The Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski is probably out for the rest of the season with a back injury. Just in time for the fantasy playoffs, too. And Tiger Woods, ranked No. 897th in the world, returned to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge. He shot 1-over and is tied for 17th.
TODAY: The NCAA volleyball tournament begins with Texas hosting the first and second rounds at Gregory Gym (Texas-UT Rio Grande Valley, 6:30 p.m., Longhorn Network); Texas A&M and SMU meet in the 4 p.m. first game. The two winners meet Saturday. The Texas men, who have lost three straight to Northwestern, Colorado and UT-Arlington, host Alabama at the Erwin Center (8:30 p.m., ESPNU, 104.9). There are two conference championship games tonight — No. 17 Western Michigan vs. Ohio in the MAC (6, ESPN2) and then No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 4 Washington in the Pac-12 (8, Fox). In high school football, all eyes are on Westlake-Lake Travis at the Palace on Parmer. Sam Ehlinger, however, won’t play. He’s got a broken wrist.
TOMORROW: It’s championship Saturday — Temple vs. No. 19 Navy in the AAC (11 a.m., ABC); No. 10 Oklahoma State vs. No. 9 Oklahoma in the Big 12 (11:30, Fox); No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 15 Florida in the SEC (3, CBS); No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 23 Virginia Tech in the ACC (7, ABC); and No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 7 Penn State in the Big Ten (7, Fox). Baylor and No. 16 West Virginia also play, in Morgantown (2:30, FS1). The second round of the NCAA volleyball tournament at Gregory Gym pits Friday’s first-round winners — Texas A&M/SMU vs. Texas/UT-Rio Grande Valley (7, LHN). Oh, and the UT System Board of Regents is expected to rubber-stamp Tom Herman’s contract in a late-afternoon special meeting.
Dec. 2 has a sports history. On this date, the Houston Rockets started the season 15-0, tying an NBA record (1993); Bobby Bonilla signed a five-year, record $29 million deal with the Mets (1991); Houston quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy (1989); the 12-0 Chicago Bears, chasing history, lost to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, 38-24 — the Bears’ only loss that season (1985); Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela won the NL’s rookie of the year award (1981); Ohio State’s Archie Griffin became the only two-time Heisman winner (1975); the NHL announced two new franchises for Vancouver and Buffalo (1969); and the Green Bay Packers retired their first jersey in franchise history — Don Hutson’s No. 14 (1951).
Texas has played only twice on Dec. 2, both against Texas A&M. The ninth-ranked Longhorns beat No. 16 A&M in College Station 16-6 in 1995 and the Longhorns’ 1989 season ended with a 21-10 loss in College Station. That was the day when the game was delayed five minutes because of a midfield brawl between the two teams. (Raise your hand if you were there as well.)
Today’s sports birthdays: Brandon Knight (25); Aaron Rodgers (33), German Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich (43) and Monica Seles (43). Other notables: Britney Spears (35) and Lucy Liu (48).
Trivia question: After winning the Heisman, UH’s Andre Ware went into the NFL Draft. Who drafted him and with what pick of the first round? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
Top of the menu: Tom Herman.
So, just how did Herman end up sitting next to Ricky Williams on that downtown parade float in 1999 — only a handful of days after he’d started as a graduate assistant on Mack Brown’s Texas staff?
It was a cold Thursday afternoon in Austin and thousands lined Congress Ave. for the parade celebrating Williams’ Heisman Trophy and the Longhorns’ 9-3 season ending with a Cotton Bowl win over Mississippi State, Mack Brown’s first bowl game as Texas’ coach.
In the summer of 2015, when Ryan Autullo sat down with Herman for a Q&A in Houston for one of our Statesman Interviews, we went searching for old photos of the one-time UT graduate assistant — and lucked out to discover that Statesman staff photographer Ralph Barrera not only shot that parade, but came away with The Shot. There was 23-year-old Tom Herman, only six days into his gig as a grad assistant, sitting right next to the Heisman Trophy winner as he waved to fans up in the downtown highrises.
Herman brought up the moment on Sunday during his introductory presser.
“The float thing, I remember. Obviously it was a big deal, won the Cotton Bowl,” Herman said. “I had just been hired, me and a young coach named Oscar Giles had just been hired as graduate assistants, and they had different floats for — they had one float for the offense and one float for the defense. And then all the coaches and support staff, they got on floats.
“The last words I remember was Cleve Bryant telling me and Oscar, ‘Don’t you let anybody touch him.’ So we sat up there, and Ricky had his own float. He had kids behind him. I actually credit Ricky for teaching me the Hook ‘em Horns sign. That was an unbelievable moment in my life. I’d been on the job for six days from Texas Lutheran and I’m sitting on a float with Ricky Williams learning how to Hook ‘em, running through downtown Austin. It was very surreal.”
Giles, of course, is now also back at Texas as Herman’s defensive line coach. On Sunday they were reunited with Brown, who came back on Sunday to be at Herman’s presser.
When asked later about how a 23-year-old wide receivers coach from Texas Lutheran managed to impress Brown enough to give him a job as a grad assistant, Herman replied: “I don’t know that I impressed him at all at that time. I think, as a graduate assistant, you try to keep your mouth shut and work really hard. If they tell you to make 10 copies, you make 12. If they tell you to bring a pencil, you bring three. And so you just try to do the very best you can while learning and soaking it in.”
So, what’s being written out there about the Longhorns?
Rick Cantu covered Thursday night’s Texas-South Carolina women’s game, which was the first of two high-profile matchups for the Longhorns in a four-day span. Texas-UConn is on Sunday. Kirk Bohls advanced tonight’s Texas-Alabama game with a hard look at Shaka Smart’s young team, which is going through groaning, not growing, pains. And Danny Davis previewed the NCAA volleyball tourney with a feature on Longhorns freshman Micaya White, Texas’ Next Big Thing.
The Houston Chronicle wrote about UH’s return to practice on Thursday, the Cougars’ first practice since Herman’s departure. “Nothing has changed,” quarterback Greg Ward Jr. said. “It’s just a new voice and a new face.”
AROUND THE BIG 12: The Dallas Morning News is wondering whether the Big 12’s big rivalry games should be moved up on the schedule each year. The Waco Tribune-Herald took at look at Baylor’s staff of assistant coaches, who are in a state of limbo while the school tries to figure out who to hire as head coach. And Lubbock Avalanche-Journal sports editor Nick Talbot praised Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt for retaining Kliff Kingsbury as head football coach. Lots of Bedlam coverage — The Oklahoman wrote about OU’s rushing success with a non-traditional rushing system, Jenni Carlson wrote about the friendship between Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, and there was a look at how Oklahoma State’s Chris Carson has reinvented himself. The Tulsa World, meanwhile, had a Guerin Emig column saying OU’s defense is due for a fall, and also had a piece looking back at Bedlam’s top games. The Kansas City Star wrote about Kansas volleyball’s big homecourt advantage, which sure looked the case in the Jayhawks’ first-round match sweep of Samford on Thursday night.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES:
Volleyball: The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are at Gregory Gym (Friday’s first round — Texas A&M vs. SMU at 4, then Texas vs. UT-Rio Grande Valley at 6:30; Saturday’s second round — Friday’s winners, 7). On Thursday, former UT standout Rachael Adams (2008-11) was named U.S. volleyball’s most improved player of the year, a nice cap to a year that also saw her compete in the Rio Olympics
Swimming and diving: The UT women broke three school records and the men posted two of the nation’s best times Thursday night at the Texas Invitational. Madisyn Cox set her first school record in the 200 IM (1:52.83), breaking Kathleen Hersey’s mark of 1:58.33 set at the 2009 NCAA championships. And Tasija Karosas’ 51.08 in the 100 backstroke leg of the 400 medley relay also set a school record.
On Dec. 2, 2015: Enron filed for bankruptcy.
On Dec. 2, 1993: Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellin.
On Dec. 2, 1976: Fidel Castro became the President of Cuba.
Trivia answer: The Detroit Lions selected Houston’s Andre Ware with the seventh overall pick of the 1990 NFL Draft, the second quarterback taken after Illinois’ Jeff George went No. 1 overall to the Colts. That was the same draft that the Cowboys traded up to take Florida’s Emmitt Smith at No. 17.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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