While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Whose fan base feels lower than a cricket’s undergarments right now, the Longhorns or the Aggies? I’d say the Longhorns feel slightly worse even though I’m still high on Tom Herman resurrecting this program. For one week, Texas fans should feel worse because Texas never looked good and never was in position to win, even when trailing by just three points. At least A&M should have won. True, Kevin Sumlin’s team will be a punchline for blowing a 34-point lead to an average UCLA team and giving up five touchdowns in 17 minutes and maybe won’t recover. Even Houston Oilers fans are making fun of the Aggies. But the A&M rushing attack looks powerful, and Christian Kirk may be the best receiver in college. However, given a certain regent’s rant that would make Mike Gundy proud, Sumlin appears cooked, barring a drastic turnaround. If the A&M administration makes a decision to fire Sumlin early, it should pull the trigger rather than wait because it allows assistant coaches more time to find new jobs and provide for their families and it doesn’t make Sumlin unfairly dangle in the wind. As for broken fan bases, Herman at least has the No. 2-ranked recruiting class and a strong track record, but A&M may well be anticipating a new coach in December. Could that be Major Applewhite if his Houston team wins 10 games or more? I would guess AD Scott Woodward wants a more seasoned head coach, but who knows? The best line came from friend and Statesman alum John Maher, who offered logic for restarting the Longhorns-Aggies rivalry: “Someone has to win.”
2. How do you not root for USC’s Clay Helton after he pulled off the feel-good moment of the college football season in the first week? Kudos to him for putting in junior Jake Olson as the deep snapper for the Trojans’ final extra-point attempt even though Olson is blind, having lost his left eye to a rare form of cancer at 10 months old and his right eye to surgery when he was 12. In addition, Western Michigan’s Tim Lester agreed to an arrangement where his team wouldn’t put on a rush and Helton didn’t rush a previous WMU kick. This was just outstanding humanity and a terrific heart-warming moment. Stories like this and J.J. Watt’s phenomenal fund-raising for Hurricane Harvey victims have to make you feel better during these divisive times.
3. While we are celebrating athletes who overcome severe handicaps and hardship, consider Austin native Chelsea Elliott, who at age 4 went blind in her left eye because of a rare condition known as Coats disease and two years later lost hearing in her right ear. At 10, Chelsea said, “I am half blind, I am half deaf. I am half Helen Keller.” And so was born a wonderful movement by the St. Edward’s alumna to turn her adversity into a way to help others. She launched the non-profit Half Helen Foundation in 2013 that provides preventive vision problems and hearing screenings to children and was named a 2015 finalist for the CNN Hero of the Year Award. This Saturday her foundation will host the first “Glow Ball Charity Classic” at the Onion Creek Golf Course when 10 teams of 41 golfers, including optometrists, retina specialists, opthamologists and Austin-area school leaders will compete in the night event. They’ve raised $31,000 through corporate sponsorships and will hold a silent auction for memorabilia during the tournament. Elliott’s parents own the home where Bob Hope stayed during the Legends of Golf Tournament; that was first played at the country club in 1974, an event I covered in my second year at the Statesman.
4. Texas women’s basketball 2018 commit Joanne Allen-Taylor took a visit to campus this past weekend as did 2018 recruit Queen Egbo, the No. 14-rated recruit in the country according to ESPN.com. Allen-Taylor is a 5-8 shooting guard from Cy Falls who averaged 20.4 points as a junior and wants to major in mechanical engineering. She has never had a grade below an A in her entire academic career. Yeah, she’s pretty bright. Egbo hopefully wasn’t turned off by the football team’s performance. The 6-3 Fort Bend Travis post player averaged 18 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks a game and will decide from among Texas, Baylor, Mississippi State and Florida State.
5. Nick Saban continues to wow. He loses 10 drafted players to the NFL — seven in the first two rounds — and his defense has zero dropoff. Truly amazing. Even better, Saban isn’t afraid to schedule a powerhouse every September and announced Alabama will open the 2021 season with Miami.
6. If the NCAA really wants to help player safety, mandate that college teams must go for two after each overtime period, not just after the third one. Been preaching this forever. Tennessee beat Georgia Tech in the third overtime when the Yellow Jackets were foiled on a try for two.
7. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to former quarterback Richard Walton. (Found out former quarterback Mark McBath is a successful surgeon in Houston.)
8. I don’t think I have the worst team in our office fantasy football league, but keeping wide receiver Antonio Brown for $15.80 in a league with a $50 salary cap made it very dicey for me and son John Tyler. Our Sitting Ducks’ best pick was probably kicker Justin Tucker for $1.10, and our worst may have been quarterback Joe Flacco for a dime to back up Jameis Winston.
9. Rented “Noctural Animals.” I love anything Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams are in. The half of the movie that was central to the plot was riveting and suspenseful. The other half seemed to bog everything down just a bit, but didn’t hurt the storyline. Gave it seven ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Tony Romo comes out of the TV booth next year and returns to quarterbacking.
Editor’s note: The original version of this story was edited to correct the timing on when Tony Romo will come out of the booth to play.
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 former Longhorns coach and current ESPN college football analyst Mack Brown.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from Sept. 7, 2016 — that Baylor would try to hire Texas offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert in December. That didn’t happen. The Bears hired Temple’s Matt Rhule on Dec. 6. Gilbert followed Charlie Strong to South Florida about three weeks later.