Posted September 27th, 2011 by Ross
Filed under: Baseball, Basketball, Football

We have completed a quarter of the season and it’s time to start looking at conference match ups for the Horns. But before we get back to football, I want to look back at Realignment Armageddon 2.0. We can surmise that the Big 12 is back together and everything is back to normal. (Who believes that?) I do think we need to take a look at what was lost. Here is what I believe the PAC 16 would have looked like if Larry Scott and the rest of the universities on the left coast would have opened the door to the 4 schools in the East.

Northwest Pod

Oregon state
Oregon
Washington
Washington State

West Pod

Stanford
California
UCLA
USC

Mountain Pod

Arizona
Arizona State
Colorado
Utah

East Pod

Texas
Texas Tech
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State

The pod system would have played out by having the schools in the East only having to travel to the western time zone twice a year for football. The teams would play a home and away series for two years and switch to the other remaining teams in that pod. The travel schedule for most of the other university sports would be quite different due to the size of this conference, but we all know that football pays the bills. The media markets that this league would boast would cover 12 of the major 28 markets including the biggies such as LA, SF, Houston, & DFW.

Here is a look at the possible football schedule using the pod system for the Longhorns for the 2012 and 2014 season. The odd years would result in the teams switching destinations to accommodate the home and away series. The OU game would still be played at the Cotton Bowl every year. The remaining 3 non-conference games of the season would be a host of cupcake teams to offset a brutal but highly entertaining regular season (goodbye A&M)!

2012 – Pac 16 conference games

@ Oregon
Washington St
@ Standford
UCLA
@ Colorado
Arizona
@ Texas Tech
OU
@ OK State

2014 – Pac 16 conference games

Oregon St.
@ Washington
USC
@ California
Utah
@ Arizona St.
@ Texas Tech
OU
@ OK State

The Pac 16 games would provide better match ups and great destinations over the Big 12. The conference titles games would be the former Pac 8 schools (NW/West) against the Mountain/East division schools in locales such as Pasadena, Tempe or maybe even at Cowboy Stadium. Texas wants to play in large television markets for exposure and to play in mostly southern climates to recruit elite high school talent. The cons to this new frontier is that it would be much more difficult to reach a BCS bowl game or even the National Title game under the PAC 16 scenario. It looks like the Big 12 will allow the Longhorn Network to exist as long as the Tier 1 and Tier 2 television rights are shared among all schools in the league. There are probably some hurt feelings and back room deals that still need to be ironed out and another team needs to be added for this Big 12 conference to work. I just thought you might want to see what was lost last week when the Pac 12 was said that their full right now. I did enjoy DeLoss Dodds assessment of Texas during this entire upheaval. “We are who we are.”

Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter @40AcresSports or follow me @Horns1991. HOOK EM!!

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Video from ESPN on the latest in conference realignment caused by the Aggies running away from Texas to the SEC:

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Best quote of A&M’s so far failed bid to leave the Big 12 for the SEC:

I’m not quite as sure why the SEC wants A&M, because other than getting its toes into the state of Texas – assuming College Station counts – this is like a high-end mall expanding to add a Walgreens.

From Jeff Schultz at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Posted July 25th, 2011 by Ross
Filed under: Feature, Football, Recruiting

As we are on the verge of another college football season, the biggest debate is not over who is ranked number one in the preseason polls (looks like OU in 2011), but whose team is going to be on probation. The entire season will be littered with teams that are on probation, dealing with secondary violations or owners of the dreaded lack of institutional control. I believe that we are nowhere close to the brash and blatant cheating of the 80’s, but this season will be scrutinized by fan bases identifying this team as the dirtiest program in college football.

So how do you propose to change it? I do not have all the answers but I will throw up a few for debate.

Do Not Pay Players

I cannot stress this one enough. Most fans want to see college football players get paid because of all the millions of dollars that colleges rake in. People forget that football pays the bills for many college sports including all the Title IX sports. For every great college football player that is glamorized on TV or on a video game there are a host of other no name college athletes that are still getting scholarship money paid for by the school. Not to mention the facilities that the athletes use, the travel that they get to experience and the notoriety that they can obtain all on the schools tab. No regular college kid would ever be able to have that kind of head start after they graduate. Jay Bilas wants kids to have the ability to make money off their name while in school by autograph signings. Do you think anyone wants to buy the Northwestern’s wide receiver autograph or for that matter want the polo teams John Hancock? There is no solution that be can be equally administered or financially viable for all of these universities.

Shine the Light

Have you ever read a college scholarship offer that is signed by these young athletes? I have never seen the verbiage or the rules that it states. How about language in a scholarship that states that if you take improper benefits you will be permanently kicked off the team? Compliance offices are set up to help guide the student athlete on how to handle overzealous fans. How about every season ticket holder going through a course on what is acceptable behavior around student athletes? Let’s shed a light on these contracts that these kids are signing and educate fans on what their jock sniffing efforts will do to their program.

Coaches’ Amnesia

This is the biggest crock of all. Head college football coaches hide behind the fact that they cannot watch their players 24/7. Coaches have immense resources from academic counselors to compliance personnel, other coaches, and their true football leaders in the locker room. The current thought is if it is not reported than it cannot be wrong. Reporting violations while tedious is still the best way to clean up the bad apples before it affects everyone else. If you are worried about Johnny Five Star going out late and damaging the reputation of your program, do not recruit the kid. Former Coach Mike Leach said that coaches are their own worst enemy because they think that they can rehabilitate these kids when they bring them into their environment. Probably the real problem is that head coaches are numb from all the stupid rules that exist. Until the universities that run the league take a hard look at overhauling the NCAA, it needs to follow the rules that are set forth for everyone. It’s time for head coaches and the AD’s to be accountable for the millions of dollars that they earn every year to police their teams and keep the little issues from festering into a lack of institutional control.

Harsher Penalties

I love the fact that Coach Nick Saban calls runners and agents that hang around college football as pimps. (Don’t college coaches do the same thing?) Ask college basketball coaches what they think about AAU programs and you might find a more colorful word for those people. States need to get involved and legislate harsher penalties so that recruiting services, boosters and agents will be met with loss of certification, jail time and financial penalties. Most state governments around the country made money off the tobacco industry. They sure could use another revenue producing vehicle and college football is full of money. Also, please inform the NCAA that taking wins away does not hurt a school at all. The NCAA needs to affect the schools pocket books with the elimination of college bowl games and television appearances.

College football fans will never tone down their fervor for recruiting, daily updates and the need to go to every practice to rub elbows with the players and coaching staff. Since the passion of college football will never be squelched. Universities, state attorneys, and even the television networks are going to have to shine a light on college football to show everyone what is going on. We thirst for more information on twitter, blogs, and the internet. Add compliance notices and simple NCAA rules for the fans to add to their daily intake.

Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter at 40AcresSports or follow me at Horns1991. HOOK EM!!

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Posted December 2nd, 2010 by Jack
Filed under: Feature, Football, Recruiting

The Cam Newton ruling is stunning to me.  The NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong for Cam to play stupid while boosters and Cecil Newton negotiated a private transaction.   I sort of get their point – if the school itself and the player itself didn’t do anything improper, what the heck are they going to do about it?

Jadeveon Clowney is the top recruit in the country according to Rivals.com.  He’s a bonecrushing 6’6″ defensive end from the Palmetto State that reminds scouts of Mario Williams, a former #1 pick in the NFL Draft and an All-Pro.  Cownley hasn’t committed yet but has offers from 13 BCS conference schools from Alabama to South Carolina to all the way out West from Southern Cal.  At this point, why commit to anyone?  Just get your dad to contact each school’s booster club and get the best price.   Rivals.com’s #3 prospect is a Virginia linebacker named Curtis Grant, who runs a 4.5 40 and is 6’3″, 222 as a high school senior.  There’s 22 schools after Grant and he hasn’t made a decision.  Why make any decision that doesn’t involve getting paid?  Just let your parents get a media spanking from the NCAA and smile as they cash the check.

I guess it’s nice to know that Texas has one of the wealthiest alumni bases in America, but now we face an ethical decision.  We share a conference with Oklahoma and Texas A&M – who have a long history of shady behavior and are going into the postseason while the Longhorns stay home this year.  If Pandora’s box has indeed been opened – the Ags and the Sooners both will be at the front of the line with their checkbooks open.  Texas can pay coordinators and position coaches more than the majority of head coaches in the FBS…but does any of that matter if OU and A&M start paying for five star athletes?  Just because RC and Switzer aren’t running things doesn’t mean those alums went away.

There’s probably some 14 year old freshman phenom right now leading his team into the playoffs this weekend that will become the first million dollar recruit if his dad plays this system right.  Coaches and scouts will flock to his games in 2014 watching him shred opponents while praying that their school’s rich alums and the phenom’s family can work out a deal behind their backs.  As long as the athletic department stays ignorant and the recruit’s parents tell him where he’s going to school, this is deemed acceptable by the NCAA.  He can roll onto his new campus in a 80K ride and have a 200K off campus condo if his parents bought it all for him, right?

All this talk about the NCAA closing this loophole is probably dumb.  That says that they don’t want a filthy program like Auburn to get punished for THIS season.  Auburn has faced sanctions a whopping 7 times since 1950.   This is a quote from former Auburn president William Muse after the NCAA dropped the hammer on Auburn in 1993 for alums paying players:  “If this program is to survive, there can be no more days like this one, intentional or unintentional.”

Guess you lucked out on this one, War Eagle.  Can Reggie Bush have his Heisman back now?

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Posted September 25th, 2009 by Michael
Filed under: Feature, Football

I can empathize with Taylor Potts – Sergio Kindle’s bone-jarring sack just won’t go away. From countless SportsCenter highlight reels to the blogosphere to a record-setting four appearances in my inbox, Kindle’s hit has been everywhere during the past week. And why not? He absolutely obliterated [tag]Texas Tech[/tag] QB Taylor Potts and may have killed any shot that Marlon Winn had at becoming an NFL offensive lineman (the only right tackle who’s ever had to feel worse about a blown assignment is the guy who decided to play matador with Lawrence Taylor instead of protecting Joe Theismann). As a Texas Ex who made my way back to the 40 Acres for the showdown, I couldn’t have been happier.

From the moment ABC replayed the sack and Brent Musberger was rendered speechless, discussion has focused on the legality of Kindle’s hit. Did he make first contact with Potts’ helmet or chest? In perhaps the only well-reasoned analysis of Kindle’s hit on Potts, SI FanNation writer Andy Staples proves that the Texas defensive end was in the clear. “He [Kindle] planted his face into the ball, which Potts had clutched to his chest. Then Kindle did what any good tackler is taught to do. He exploded from the knees up and drove his body through the ballcarrier. This explosion caused the crown of his helmet to rise into Potts’ helmet.”

Exactly. Case closed. But it shouldn’t be.

You see, Kindle’s hit was technically legal, but the real problem and the larger issue is the rule itself. Under NCAA rules, if a helmet-to-helmet hit occurs, the player at fault can be suspended and his team penalized. On the surface, this rule makes a lot of sense – its goal is to protect players plain and simple. The consequences, however, could be far-reaching.

When players slow down to think about exactly which part of their body initiates contact with another player, their pace of play drops dramatically (i.e., Bad Roy Williams performance after the creation of an NFL rule banning horse collar tackling – he’s been rendered utterly ineffective). In many cases, players become timid and hesitant and are in far greater physical danger than before. Most coaches will tell you that chances of an injury are greatly reduced when players are moving at full-speed – most blown knees occur when a player is standing still or running slowly, which is when the foot has had time to plant.

Watch Kindle’s hit again. As he comes around Winn, he’s moving at full speed. Had he slowed down to make certain that he didn’t hit Potts’ helmet, he most likely would have dropped his helmet even further. He then would have struck Potts with the very top of his helmet or tried to bend his head back, almost ensuring a neck injury.

I’m not naïve. I’ve played and/or watched football for more than two decades, and I know full well that it is a dangerous sport that demands scrutiny and regulation to ensure the safety of the men who play the game. However, a worrisome trend has developed in recent years, starting in the NFL and trickling down to the NCAA, of over-regulating on-field player movement to the point of causing more harm than good. Instead of adding more rules during the next offseason, perhaps the Rules Committee should rethink some current ones.

Watch the hit below, just for fun:

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Posted September 19th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Feature, Football

So much for Internet rumors. Reportedly (by several sources) considered the biggest longshot of the three Longhorns in academic limbo to regain his eligibility, senior cornerback [tag]Deon Beasley[/tag] has been cleared to play by the NCAA. He is eligible to play this weekend against [tag]Texas Tech[/tag].

From the official university press release:

The NCAA academic eligibility issues for University of Texas senior cornerback Deon Beasley have been resolved. Beasley will be eligible to play immediately, beginning with tomorrow’s Texas Tech game. There is no update on the two other players with unresolved NCAA academic eligibility issues.

Before his status came into question Beasley was working as the team’s fourth corner. No official information

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Jordan Shipley will be back catching Colt McCoy passes next year

Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley will be back catching Colt McCoy passes next year

As expected, Texas wide receiver [tag]Jordan Shipley[/tag] has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. After missing his first two seasons due to injuries to his knee and then hamstring, Jordan was almost assured of getting the extra year but the NCAA sometimes works in mysterious ways. His return means Heisman runner-up [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] will have his favorite target back for another run at a title and more postseason honors.

[tag]Quan Cosby[/tag] will be gone to the NFL but now Shipley, [tag]Brandon Collins[/tag], [tag]Malcolm Williams[/tag], and [tag]James Kirkendoll[/tag] will all be back. The youngsters grew up a lot this season and if Williams or [tag]Dan Buckner[/tag] step up outside next year’s receiving corps could be even better than this season. Add a tight end and a running threat to one of the country’s top offenses and Texas fans should be pretty excited about the numbers that will be put up in 2009.

The official press release from the university is posted below:

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas’ request for a sixth year of eligibility for WR Jordan Shipley was granted by the NCAA on Monday, Longhorn head coach Mack Brown confirmed. That means Shipley, who missed the entire 2004 and 05 seasons due to knee and hamstring injuries, will return as a senior in 2009.

“It is definitely a blessing to be able to play one more season at Texas,” said Shipley. “This is such a great place, and I’ve had an unbelievable experience. Obviously, it started slow due to the injuries, but I couldn’t be happier with the NCAA’s decision to give me one of those years back.”

Shipley was named third-team All-America after posting 79 receptions for 982 yards (12.4 ypc) and 11 TDs in 2008. His 79 receptions rank second on UT’s single-season list, the 982 yards rank fifth and his 11 TDs are third. Shipley’s 6.6 receptions per game are tied for 18th nationally and his 81.8 yards per game rank 29th. He also returned both a punt and a kickoff for a TD during the season, becoming just the fourth Longhorn to do so in a career.

“We’re really excited for Jordan and our team that he’s been granted a sixth year,” Brown said. “It was so disappointing for him as he fought through injuries and wasn’t able to play his first two years, but he never wavered. He continued to work hard and stayed positive through it all and has become a tremendous player for us. His efforts should inspire those who are going through tough times, that if you stick with it, you can overcome that adversity.

“Jordan’s a great student and athlete who also is a tremendous role model in the community. He is a guy who represents everything that is good about college football, so he certainly is deserving of being rewarded by getting the year back.”

For his career, Shipley has recorded 122 receptions (No. 8 on UT’s all-time list) for 1,628 yards (No. 9 on UT’s all-time list) and 20 TDs (T-No. 2 on UT’s all-time list) during his 39-game career (20 starts). He set a UT record by catching a TD pass in eight consecutive games to open 2008, bettering Limas Sweed’s seven-game streak in 2006, and has caught a TD pass in 11 of his last 15 games.

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