While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. If the college football season began today, I’d say Texas would have as many as eight preseason All-Big 12 picks. Among the Longhorns I’d strongly consider as such are wide receiver Collin Johnson, offensive tackle Connor Williams, running back Chris Warren III, punter Michael Dickson, defensive linemen Malcolm Roach and Poona Ford and safety P.J. Locke III. Sophomore Shane Buechele looked poised, relaxed and confident during the Orange-White game. He will be the starting quarterback come the 2017 opener. I’d rank Buechele as the league’s third-best quarterback behind Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. I’m sure Tom Herman would love to redshirt freshman Sam Ehlinger if he can find a grad transfer to be the backup. I wish Ehlinger would have been given a series or two with the No. 1 offense on Saturday. I like the hands of freshman running back Toneil Carter, who caught two swing passes out of the backfield. I think the defensive line could be the most improved unit for the Longhorns given the emergence of Jordan Elliott and Chris Nelson. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said “the group that made the biggest improvement was the offensive line from the first day to the last day.” … Was bemused by Herman’s timeout before Joshua Rowland’s “game-tying” field goal Saturday. Can you really freeze a kicker in a glorified practice?
2. I’m totally in favor of the early, 72-hour signing period for college football recruits that’s proposed for the third Wednesday in December, in idea the NCAA Division I Council approved last week and one the Collegiate Commissioners Association will consider in June. The FBS members of the council voted 14-1 in favor of the proposal. I prefer an even earlier date in August to avoid the outlandish costs of having to continue to recruit players who would rather sign as early as possible. Nothing forces any of these players to sign early, but anything that diminishes the costs and manpower hours devoted to recruiting and re-focuses more of the same on these coaches’ current players is a good thing. As for the move to ban college programs from hiring high school coaches with plum players to avoid the obvious conflict, that idea embraces a very scurrilous argument. Why punish high school coaches who want to get ahead and who prove their worth by helping to develop highly desired recruits. That sounds un-American. I can understand coaches wanting a 10th full-time assistant. Doesn’t every staff need a pee coach? Herman certainly does.
3. Interesting that Charlie Strong has opened his spring football practices at South Florida to the media. He told a Tampa columnist the reason he didn’t do so in Austin was “too many cameras. Austin, it was too much. I couldn’t do it in Austin because everybody would have critiqued every player on every play (and say things like) ‘This guy is no good.’ ” Strong noted he’s now starving for attention in Tampa, where he held his team’s spring game at the school’s soccer stadium. … Former Longhorns defensive coordinator Vance Bedford tells me he is “semi-retired.” He said he is possibly “looking at the NFL, but I have been out for 12 years.”
4. Loved David Fizdale’s livid response about the uneven officiating in the Spurs’ win over his Grizzlies on Monday night. He clearly had his team’s back. If the NBA has any backbone, it will not fine Fizdale because the officiating was as poor as he said. I was surprised Fiz didn’t get a technical on purpose because the officials turned blind eyes to Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph being hacked in the paint. Very bad look for the league.
5. I’d so love to see Phil Jackson make a comeback and coach the Phoenix Suns. What’s the statute of limitations on being a genius? Has he taken any responsibility yet for turning the Knicks into a trainwreck?
6. Let ‘em play on. There’s no crying in baseball, but now someone wants tying in baseball. Joel Sherman of the New York Post recommends a cap after 12 innings because, well, baseball is already too slow and drags on interminably in bonus frames, even though teams average four or fewer games that last as long as 12 innings. I despise ties. In any sport. Games need resolution. I will never forget the seven-hour, three-minute, 25-inning Texas-Boston College baseball game in May 2009. Still one of my favorite memories. Austin Wood’s 13 shutout innings were one of the most impressive individual performances I’ve ever witnessed. As an experiment taking place this season in the Gulf Coast and the Arizona Rookie leagues, games tied after nine innings will start the 10th and later innings with a runner on second and no outs. Ridiculous.
7. Texas president Greg Fenves told the Dallas Morning News he has confidence in men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart, his last-place, 22-loss season of 2016-17 notwithstanding. Smart told the Statesman his program is a “work in progress,” although progress is hard to see since he hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game at Texas in his two seasons. Asked if he thinks the hiring of Smart by Steve Patterson was a coup, Fenves said, “I think it’s still a coup. He’s working on building a first-class program.” Now that the best player Smart’s had in his two seasons at UT just left for the NBA, it’s not looking like a coup. A similar season in 2017-18 could get Shaka fired.
8. Karen Aston’s projected 2017-18 team has been ranked fourth in the nation by ESPN.com. The top five are UConn, Baylor, Ohio State, Texas and Norte Dame. As for the Texas men, Bovada sets the odds of them winning the 2018 national championship at 250 to 1. Six other Big 12 teams have better odds.
9. “Veep” recently kicked off its sixth season. It’s profane and sarcastically hilarious. You have to watch it three times to catch all the funny lines. Gave it nine ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: The receiver in the 2017 NFL draft who will have the best rookie season will be Western Michigan’s Corey Davis.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays. This week’s guest is Houston Chronicle NFL expert John McClain.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from April 20, 2016 — that Kevin Durant would score a career-high 56 points against Dallas in Game 3 of the opening-round series between the Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. One year later, how did that work out? Durant finished with 34, which was more than enough for the Thunder, who romped to a 131-102 victory.