While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Would it be possible for a 4-4 football team to have three All-Americans? Probably not. As chairman of the Football Writers Association of America’s All-America panel, I know how hard it is to convince voters of the worth of players off a potential losing team or a 6-6 team, but I can’t imagine our first team not including punter Michael Dickson and probably cornerback Holton Hill. Safety DeShon Elliott can make a run at the honors as well and might even edge out Hill with his six interceptions, two of which he’s returned for touchdowns, even though Hill’s become a lock-down corner. Linebacker Malik Jefferson probably needs more big plays down the stretch to have any chance. For validation of this Texas secondary, look at the numbers that some sensational opposing receivers have against it. The Longhorns haven’t faced West Virginia’s David Sills V yet, but they only gave up four catches to 42 yards for Baylor’s Denzel Mims, four catches for 32 yards to Oklahoma State’s James Washington and five catches for 63 yards to Iowa State’s Allen Lazard. Hill blanketed Mims and Washington most of those games.
2. The Texas defense has been so good, it’s allowed only one touchdown or none in four different games this season. Besides Maryland, only Oklahoma and USC have scored three touchdowns against the Longhorns, though 10 of USC’s 27 points came in overtime and one touchdown in regulation came on a fluke score at the end of the first half. The Longhorns have held four teams below 72 yards rushing. They’re the real deal.
3. Game 5 of the World Series was probably the best sporting event I’ve covered in my 44 years in the business, or at the very least matched Texas’ 2006 Rose Bowl win over USC. Those two classics rank right up there with Tiger Woods’ first Masters victory and Ben Crenshaw’s second, Austin Wood’s lights-out, 13-inning shutout relief pitching performance in that 2009 regional playoff Longhorns win over Boston College and about 40 Texas-OU football games. I truly believe this is the best World Series in my lifetime. I’ve never seen so much drama, so many comebacks, such resilience from both teams and such a terrific outcome for a fan base starved for its city’s first baseball championship. Sitting in the center field auxiliary press box only added to the ambiance, situated among the 43,300 fans going absolutely nuts. In the last 12 months, in the city of Houston alone, I’ve been privileged to cover the Astros’ historic 13-12, 10th-inning, walk-off victory at Minute Maid Park, the Spurs’ playoff wins over the Rockets in the NBA Western Conference semifinals, the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history by the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium and the Houston Cougars’ upset of Louisville.
4. TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte regaled us in a taping of our “On Second Thought” podcast that airs Thursday. With apologies to OU’s Joe Castiglione, the best AD in the league said the Big 12 is healthier than it’s ever been and loves the league going forward. “We need Texas to be Texas, Oklahoma to be Oklahoma and TCU to be TCU,” he said. “Texas and Oklahoma are Coke and Pepsi. We’re going to be 7-Up. We’ve got to get our niche and exploit our niche.”
5. I think the Heisman race is a cluster, and I mean that in the best way. Many were quick to anoint Saquon Barkley as the September winner. But didn’t Leonard Fournette “win” the award last September, too? I believe the race is wide open. My top five, in no particular order, are Barkley, Stanford running back Bryce Love, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, Notre Dame running back Josh Adams and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with Arizona fast-running quarterback Khalil Tate about to break in.
6. Starting to think that the renewal of the Big 12 football championship game is the worst idea in a long time. With all 10 teams having at least one loss, the league now has to rest its hopes on one of the four one-loss teams running the table. Who would have thought in August we might be looking at a TCU-Iowa State rematch? I think I’d scuttle the whole Big 12 championship game, put in a formula for the real champion with head to head results or a very clear tie-breaker for multiple tying teams tying and schedule Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and Texas-TCU for the final weekend of regular-season play for meaningful games that day. … No big beef with the first CFP rankings. Georgia, my top team on my AP ballot, has all five SEC wins by more than 25 points. Clemson, the No. 4 team, has beaten six teams with a winning record. … If a one-loss Ohio State gets in over a one-loss OU, the CFP should just go ahead and make Ohio State The Automatic CFP team and rank three other teams every week. Head-to-head must matter most.
7. I don’t get the Patriots’ trade of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for anything less than a first-round pick, which they reportedly would have gotten in the preseason. Of course, as bad as the 49ers are, it’s as close to a first-round pick as you can get and probably no worse than the 33rd or 34th pick. But wouldn’t a trade to Cleveland make more sense to perhaps get the very first pick of 2018 and help the Pats’ defense? Love the conspiracy theory that Bill Belichick didn’t want to trade to the Browns because they fired him. But that would be a strong case of cutting off your nose to spite your New England stoic face. Of course, this also means 40-year-old Tom Brady will play forever, or at least until he’s 45, since the Pats have already swapped Jacoby Brissett and Garoppolo this season.
8. Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Terry Orr, the former Washington Redskins tight end who once ran for 195 yards and scored four touchdowns off the bench as a Longhorns backup fullback against TCU in 1983.
9. Caught star-studded “Inside Man” about a unique bank robbery on the tube. I love all the actors. Gave it eight ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: Matt Campbell will be at Iowa State in 2018.
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 guests are TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte (to talk a little Horned Frogs football) and the American-Statesman’s Cat Vasquez (to talk a little fantasy football).
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from Nov. 2, 2016 — that Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin would resign and take an NFL job during the offseason. Didn’t happen. Sumlin’s still on the Aggies’ sideline.