While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Even though Texas seems totally committed to raising at least $140 million on a campaign to renovate the south end zone of Royal-Memorial Stadium, don’t completely rule out Anthony Precourt’s group trying to convince UT to let the Columbus Crew major-league soccer team use the Longhorns’ stadium as a temporary home until a permanent stadium is built if the franchise does, indeed, relocate to Austin. “They’re still hopeful to get back in front of UT with a grass deal and a rental agreement” to use DKR for two years, according to a source on the MLS side. Texas could probably command a one-year deal worth about $5 million if you count installing grass, which head football coach Tom Herman desires. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte told me Tuesday that Texas has had “conversations internally” and with Precourt’s group, but said talks never went very far. “We talked about it in January as a hypothetical,” Del Conte said. “There’s got to be skin in the game. I want a grass field. That never came to fruition.” Without the Crew, Texas may consider going to grass on its own before the 2020 season. Only Oklahoma, TCU and Iowa State have grass fields in the Big 12. If DKR isn’t an option, there’s still Dell Diamond in Round Rock or Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos. … Meanwhile, the Crew and Precourt are caught up in litigation over his attempt to leave Columbus. I’m still wondering why the MLS office doesn’t intervene, realize neither side wants the other, convince Ohio investors to get their finances together and promise the city an MLS expansion franchise.
2. This must be transfer week. Thanks to an NCAA rule that actually makes sense and works in the favor of athletes, any graduate can freely transfer and play immediately for another school. Texas has been a huge beneficiary with the additions of Cal running back Tre Watson, Rice offensive tackle Calvin Anderson and Texas A&M women’s basketball player Danni Williams. … Karen Aston landed a real gunner in the Aggie sharpshooter who should move into Ariel Atkins’ role in the vacated backcourt. Williams made 71 treys last season and 143 in her college career. One school of thought is that Aggies coach Gary Blair didn’t let Williams shoot enough. She’ll get plenty of chances in Austin and fills a real need for Aston. “She has a lot of maturity and experience,” Aston said. “She also brings an ability to score in different ways. Can shoot the three very well, but she also can put it on the floor and shoot the jumper.”
3. I’m putting this out there right now. because there’s nothing crazy about this prediction. Houston’s Ed Oliver will be the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NFL draft. The Cougars defensive lineman is that good. I know he’s not a quarterback, but I don’t see the bevy of 2019 quarterback options like this spring.
4. Anybody know when the real NBA playoffs begin? It’s been a bad case of Dullsville in my opinion. So many teams like Oklahoma City and Toronto have barely put up a fight in some of these series. I wish they’d go back to a best-of-five to add some badly needed drama.
5. Ran into Doug Ghim on the driving range at the UT Golf Club on Monday, and he’s back at it after tying for low medalist honors at the Big 12 championship and a terrific spring, including his low amateur finish at the Masters. You’d never thought he’d done any of that. The senior remains grounded and said, “You lose by 23 strokes and finish in 50th place, that will humble you really quick. But it was a lot of fun playing at Augusta.” Ghim’s yet to receive his four crystal glasses for his pair of eagles and said they’re due to arrive this summer. Before that, he and his Texas teammates will compete in an NCAA regional in North Carolina this weekend. … Texas men’s coach John Fields was checking out the action at the women’s Austin Regional and said of Ghim’s bright future, “He’s not finished yet.” Fields mentioned he was looking forward to the four-part Oklahoma State-ex Rickie Fowler docu-reality series that is airing on the Golf Channel. Think “Not so Hard Knocks on a Golf Course.” “Rickie’s producing it, which means he had to pay for it,” Fields said. “I’m sure it’ll be great exposure for Oklahoma State, but we had four players at the Masters and won the low amateur, and we didn’t have to pay anything for it.”
6. Got an interesting email recently from Pam Rugeley, who said her 18-year-old son Jake, a catcher for Anderson High the last four years who actually calls all the pitches, “lives and breathes the Astros.” When he was 5 years old, the family was visiting relatives in Connecticut and took the train in to see the Yankees and Royals play. At that game, he and Pam’s husband, John, decided to start a mission to visit every major-league ballpark before Jake goes to college. He graduates on May 31. They’ll just miss their target date but in June, they will go to the last two ballparks — Citibank for the Mets and Citizens Bank for the Phillies. “Thirteen years, all 30 ballparks,” Rugely wrote. “Lots of priceless memories for a dad and a son. Every once in a while my daughter and I tagged along as well.” Jake, who started mimicking Craig Biggio when he was 2 years old, will attend Texas A&M and study engineering.
7. My ballot for preseason rookies of the year next football season would be Giants running back Saquon Barkley and Chargers safety Derwin James although I could just as easily make cases for Bears linebacker Roquan Smith or Dolphins cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.
8. What’s the deal with so many Dallas Cowboys as television analysts? Could Quincy Carter be far behind? Joining Troy Aikman and Tony Romo will be retired tight end Jason Witten, a hiring that stunned me. Witten’s an articulate speaker but never has been known for outspoken candor. Romo remains the best.
9. Watched “12 Soldiers,” but wasn’t riveted. My wife enjoyed watching Chris Hemsworth, but I never made a strong connection with the well-intentioned plot. Gave it six ducks.
10. Crazy prediction: The Cowboys and Texans will both reach the 2018 playoffs and win at least one game.