Texas ends up-and-down season with Alamo Bowl win

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Texas entered the 2012 season as a dark horse of sorts to bring home a Big 12 championship. Suffice to say that didn’t exactly pan out. It’s been three years since a Texas team won the Big 12 and played in a BCS bowl, and with the Longhorns sitting at 8-4 heading into tonight’s Alamo Bowl against Oregon State, there was a question of when — if? —  Mack Brown was going to get his team back on top of the Big 12.

It could very well happen in 2013.

The Longhorns needed a fourth quarter rally, but were able to top No. 15 Oregon State 31-27. Quarterback David Ash went from fumbling a pump fake in the first half (hilarious GIF here, y’all) to tossing two touchdown scores in the fourth quarter. It was quite the turnaround. Then again, Ash’s story this year has been that he’s a Jekyll and Hyde. When Ash is good, he’s damn good. When he’s bad, well, he fumbles a pump fake. The growth for Ash going forward is finding more consistency to go along with the promise he continues to display in spurts.

But it was Texas’ defense that made the game-changing plays when it mattered most. The Longhorns’ D under Manny Diaz has been a punchline for missed tackles and points allowed, but they had an Alamo Bowl record 10 sacks against the Beavers. Alex Okafor had nine tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble by himself. The irony is that Texas’ defense played the single best half of football it had all season while officially becoming the worst defense statistically in the history of the program.

While Texas’ defensive line deserves credit, Oregon State also all but completely abandoned the run game in the fourth quarter despite the fact that running back Storm Woods had 120 yards on the ground. Taking away the 10 sacks (for -81 yards) on a visibly injured Cody Vaz, the Beavers had 184 yards rushing. It made little sense.

Still, what a good year for Mike Riley‘s team after back-to-back disappointing seasons. There will be questions in the offseason, namely the quarterback competition between Vaz and Sean Mannion. Both saw playing time this year.

As for Texas, the win makes the offseason more manageable. But 2013 is going to be an important year from Brown and Texas no matter how you dissect it.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.