How much progress has Charlie Strong made at Texas in his first season as the head coach?
One indication was the Longhorns becoming bowl eligible last week in a season they’ve openly admitted was a rebuilding year in Austin. Another is the growing feeling that Texas could give No. 5 TCU a lot of trouble when the Horned Frogs visit on Thanksgiving evening.
But the greatest might be this: Is the SEC afraid of Texas A&M facing the Longhorns in a bowl game? Apparently the league is letting bowls with SEC and Big 12 tie-ins know they wouldn’t support that matchup.
Two sources close to the situation told HornsDigest.com SEC officials have indicated to bowls with SEC and Big 12 tie-ins that the SEC won’t support a Texas vs Texas A&M postseason matchup. In short, A&M has too much to lose from a potential loss.
Right now, the Aggies and Kevin Sumlin are seen as the school to beat in the Lone Star State in recruiting. Why risk diminishing that status with just more than two months until National Signing Day?
Especially when UT and A&M have been head-to-head on so many key recruits.
Because the SEC handpicks which of its schools will play in the Outback, Gator, Belk, Liberty, Music City and Texas bowls, the conference known as the biggest, baddest bully on the block can make sure no fight is made unless they say it’s made.
Well, that’s too bad – and probably a bit paranoid on the SEC’s part. The Longhorns are going to get their share of recruits within the state regardless, and there’s more than enough talent in Texas to fuel two programs humming at a high level. Currently, the Aggies have the No. 6 recruiting class for 2015, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, and Texas is at No. 16. (Update: SEC says no decision has been made on A&M-Texas bowl.)
2. USC has reinstated cornerback Josh Shaw nearly three months after he concocted a story about how he injured both of his ankles. Shaw’s fake story – that he jumped off a balcony to help save a drowning nephew – became a viral sensation when USC wrote it up and published it on the school’s website, lauding Shaw’s courageous act. They were quickly embarrassed when the story unraveled and the public found out that Shaw actually jumped off a balcony at his apartment complex in Los Angeles after a heated argument with his girlfriend that got so loud police were called. Seeing authorities outside made Shaw scramble. A domestic violence case was opened, and authorities closed it earlier this week after concluding there would be no charges. USC then welcomed Shaw back on Tuesday, and Steve Sarkisian will determine how the senior can help the Trojans in the remaining few games of the year.
2. Georgia lawmakers want a $25,000 fine and jail time for autograph brokers who try to pay college football players like Todd Gurley for money. That’s all fine, as I’m certainly against third parties profiting off college athletes when the athletes themselves can’t, but I think it redirects the real problem, which is the NCAA’s audacity to sit a player out four games for collecting a small amount of money for his autograph. Yes, I know “rules are rules” and they must be enforced, and no, I’m not advocating rule breaking of any kind in college sports. What I’m advocating is changing the damn rule.
3. Ohio State injured QB Braxton Miller reportedly plans to return to the Buckeyes in 2015 rather than explore transfer options or the NFL. Miller is out this season with a shoulder injury, and in his absence redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett has become a star. It’ll be a problem to sort through for Urban Meyer and his staff next fall, but it’s a good one to have. Injuries and poor performance happen.
THREE THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO KNOW
1. Someone messed with Chip Kelly’s Wikipedia account to make it read that the Philadelphia Eagles coach is now coach of the Florida Gators. It since has been corrected, but Gators fans must have been dreaming wildly for a few hours (and, no, I don’t see any way that would actually happen – not this year).
2. Cole Stoudt will start for Clemson on Senior Day, and Dabo Swinney went on the offensive against fans who might boo the QB after his poor game against Georgia Tech last week. Totally with Dabo here.