While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. If you put a gun to my head — and I’m sure many readers would like to — I would bet the Big 12 expands in the next five years. It almost seems inevitable even though many in the league feel content to keep the membership at 10. As Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw told me Sunday, “We’re good with the way things are. We’re happy with 10.” He also prefers not to have a conference championship game. Another athletic director told me the league is “split at best” on the expansion issue. … I sense zero groundswell at all for adding Houston, even though there are 225,000 UH alumni living in that fourth-largest city in the nation and, according to the school, it has the second-most alumni in the State Legislature. …. And don’t rule out the Big 12 considering extending football-only invitations. … There are so many ramifications concerning expansion, but one that schools should remember is that in a 12-team conference, you can’t play a round-robin schedule, and some teams will not play Texas and Oklahoma every year. That could be good as far as avoiding a potential loss — assuming Texas becomes Texas again — but bad in that the lack of marquee opponents could adversely affect season ticket sales. Quite frankly, I would think the smaller Big 12 schools would favor expansion for the sake of stability after schools like basketball power Kansas saw how vulnerable they were in the last round of realignment. OU president David Boren, Baylor’s Ken Starr and West Virginia’s Gordon Gee head up a Big 12 composition committee to study expansion.
2. Texas can say it’s running its athletic department in the black now despite a record level of expenses totaling $183 million, which reflects more operating expenses for Erwin Center shows, debt retirement for the new volleyball facility and dining hall and an accounting procedure change on Nike in-kind gifts. Its income from royalties and licensing took a dip of almost $5 million, but the school has remained No. 1 in merchandise sales for the last nine years, according to the Collegiate Licensing Company.
3. With the exit of running back coach Tommie Robinson to join USC, Texas head coach Charlie Strong now has only four assistant coaches remaining from his original staff and none of his original offensive coaches after just two seasons. That’s a highly disturbing trend.
4. Tell me again why Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t go for two after his Packers tied Arizona with a Hail Mary at the end of regulation? Makes no sense. Makes even less sense when the Cardinals win the game in overtime and Aaron Rodgers doesn’t even get his hands on the ball. Change the overtime rules now, NFL.
5. Texas women’s basketball coach Karen Aston said she and her players should have been more accountable after the first loss of the season to Baylor before a crowd of almost 9,000 on Sunday. Oddly enough, Texas’ motto this season is “Own It.” Aston did, eventually. “We laid an egg,” she told me Monday. “We were just exposed in some areas we haven’t been exposed in for a while. It was just a bad storm, and we didn’t respond. Our real character is going to be shown in the next few games.” Aston benched junior guard Brianna Taylor for the game as a disciplinary measure for an outburst during practice. Texas missed her toughness and rebounding. … Good news is on the way, however, because two of Aston’s three recruits have been named McDonald’s All-Americans. Point guard Alecia Sutton tore an ACL a month ago but should be ready to go next season, Aston said.
6. Fran Fraschilla still thinks the Texas basketball team (11-6 overall, 3-2 in the Big 12) can qualify for the NCAA Tournament. “If they can find nine wins, they can be in the tournament,” said Fraschilla, an ESPN basketball analyst. “I think a .500 record (9-9) gets them in. They’ve got to really protect their home court, and they’ve got to win a road game. They’re capable of shocking someone somewhere.” Texas might have a chance with an 8-10 mark in league play — the same record that got the Horns in the dance last season — with its marquee wins over North Carolina and Iowa State, but it could sure use an upset of Kansas or OU.
7. Was so impressed with Baylor’s high-scoring swing guard Alexis Jones, who transferred from Duke after two seasons and two big injuries to be closer to her wheelchair-bound father. Her brother, Andrew Jones, is an Irving MacArthur guard and a Longhorns signee.
8. Texas’ Ken Paxton has joined the attorney generals of four other states, including New York, who have issued opinions that daily fantasy sports is illegal, which seems totally ludicrous to me. Season-long fantasy leagues are fine, but daily sites are not. Give me a break. When are politicians going to come to their senses, legalize all gambling and tax the hell out of it?
9. I’ll never complain about chapped lips again after watching “The Revenant.” Gripping performance from Leo DiCaprio. Loved the ending. Scenery was breathtaking. Musical score was spot on. Gave it 8 1/2 ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: No Longhorn will be taken in the first five rounds of this year’s NFL Draft.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from Jan. 19, 2015 — that either Tom Herman or Chad Morris will be coaching either Texas or Texas A&M by 2017.
One year later, how did that prediction pan out? Hasn’t happened. Yet, anyway. But let’s especially keep an eye on Houston’s Herman over these next 12 months.
BOHLS, GOLDEN CHAT
Join columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden for their live chat at 11 a.m. Wednesday at hookem.com.
Texas coach Charlie Strong has only four coaches still on his staff who were there for his first season in 2014. And none of them are on the offensive side. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN