With plenty of attention surrounding the future of the Big 12, the fact that there was actual football being played seemed at times like sort of an afterthought on Saturday.
In action this opening weekend, though, was the alleged source of all the Big 12’s instability issues, Texas, who defeated Rice 34-9 in a game broadcast on the Longhorn Network.
The ESPN-UT lovechild has plenty of carrier issues to work out between now and, well, becoming a possible member of Pac-
12 16 networks, but in the short term, the network needs to put a competitive football team on the field to satisfy viewers.
Unfairly or not, that starts with some sort of improvement out of incumbent quarterback starter Garrett Gilbert. The junior turned in a decent effort by throwing for 239 yards and a score; most importantly, though, no interceptions! Yay!
UT fans also got a first look of freshman running back sensation Malcolm Brown, who coincidentally led all rushers with 86 yards on 16 carries.
The Longhorns had to shake off a rusty first quarter before Bryan Harsin‘s offense began putting up touchdowns instead of field goals. The expectations for improvement are high in Austin, but there’s still a degree of patience that needs to be exercised for a team breaking in two new coordinators.
Especially when the top 3-4 teams of the Big 12 are top-25 programs.
It’s possible Dave Doeren‘s life would feel completely different right now if he had a better kicker in 2016.
In this reality, Doeren is 25-26 after four seasons in Raleigh, coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons following his 8-5 breakthrough of 2014. But if his Wolfpack could kick last year, Doeren is most likely riding high after an 8-4 regular season buoyed by a win over Clemson in Death Valley. Because not only did NC State lose that game on a late field goal whiff, the Pack also suffered a 33-30 loss to East Carolina in which it endured two missed field goals.
NC State’s two kickers combined to hit only 9-of-17 tries last fall, good for 121st nationally, and ranked 104th with a 93.3 percent conversion rate on 45 extra points. And the situation wasn’t getting better this spring.
To rectify that situation, NC State announced the addition of kicker Carson Wise. A graduate transfer from Division II Carson-Newman, Wise will have two years of availability for the Wolfpack.
Wise connected on 21-of-31 field goals and 97-of-101 PATs last season, numbers that, on their face, do not represent massive changes from what NC State posted last season. But Doeren is banking on Wise as a solution for NC State in 2017.
“I’m excited to have Carson join the family,” Doeren said in a statement. “He is a talented player who should be a great addition to our special teams as we look for him to handle our field goal and kickoff duties this fall.”
Remember how we talked about it’s impossible to follow sports and ignore politics? Not long after John Swofford released a statement on how a North Carolina law would effect ACC sporting events, the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that will do the same in the SEC.
The Arkansas House voted 71-20 to allow its state colleges and universities to exempt themselves from a law that greatly expands venues permitting concealed-carry handguns. Until the passing of SB724 today, guns would have been permissible inside Razorback Stadium, among other places.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement earlier this week urging state lawmakers to remove sporting venues from the bill. “HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conference and its member institutions,” he said. “It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans, and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”
Passing the bill was made more complicated by the involvement of the NRA, according to Rep. Jimmy Gateway.
The bill must now head back to the Senate before it can receive final approval from Governor Asa Hutchinson.
It’s pretty much impossible to keep politics out of the sports page today. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was forced to release a statement on Tuesday urging Arkansas state legislators to exempt Razorbacks sporting venues from a bill that would greatly expand areas allowing concealed-carry handguns, and now ACC commissioner John Swofford has been forced to wade back into political waters.
North Carolina’s state legislature brokered a deal Thursday with new governor Roy Cooper to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial law requiring persons within Tar Heel state borders to use public bathrooms matching their gender at birth. The “bathroom bill” cost the state a reported $3.76 billion in revenue, and some of that lost revenue related directly to college football.
Following the NCAA’s lead of revoking the state’s championship event hosting privileges due to HB2, the ACC moved its football championship game from Charlotte to Orlando (the men’s basketball tournament was previously booked for Brooklyn), a move that cost the conference itself money as well.
Thursday’s repeal of HB2 is more complicated than simply yanking the bathroom bill (this is where I’ll direct you to a much more appropriate place to digest the political news of the hour than a college football blog) and, as such, Swofford’s statement is appropriately nuanced.
The ACC is still undecided where this December’s title game will be played, and Swofford will kick that decision upstairs to the league’s presidents.
Oklahoma offensive tackle Christian Daimler will pursue a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Thursday.
As a fifth-year senior, Daimler qualifies as a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately. “I could not be more excited about what my future holds,” Daimler wrote. “Wherever I end up I know that I will always be a Sooner and for that am I so proud. This University [sic] will forever remain close to my heart. Boomer Sooner.”
If that name does not immediately ring a bell, you are forgiven. Daimler appeared in three games as a Sooner, all over last season.
Hailing from Houston, Daimler, who stands 6-foot-7 and is listed at 321 pounds, was a 3-star recruit when he signed with Oklahoma over Texas A&M, Arizona State and Colorado, among others.