Texas Longhorns

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Eli Apple of Ohio State holds up a jersey after being picked #10 overall by the New York Giants during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Ohio State sets NFL draft record with 10 picks through three rounds

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Ohio State had a banner first day of the 2016 NFL draft with five Buckeyes selected, although they fell one short of tying the 2004 Miami Hurricanes for most first-round picks in a single year.  A day later, they first matched then set a couple of draft standards.

In Friday’s second round, two more Buckeyes were drafted — wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell.  That pushed OSU’s total to seven, tying USC in 2008 and Tennessee in 2000 for the most selections through the first two rounds since the common era began in 1967.

In the ensuing round, defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and quarterback-turned wide receiver Braxton Miller were selected. With the nine draft picks through three rounds, OSU broke the common-era draft record of eight set by the 2004 Vols.  OSU wasn’t finished as, shortly after Miller’s selection, tight end Nick Vannett was grabbed toward the end of the third round, giving Urban Meyer‘s program an even 10 draft picks thus far.

On opening night, three Buckeyes were scooped up in the first 10 picks — defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple — while offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee were selected before the opening round ended.

With four rounds remaining, and six unselected players still available, the Buckeyes might not be done making history as they are within shouting distance of the all-time record for most selections since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994. The record? 14. The record holder? The 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, which had seven players taken in the first three rounds.

And, before Bevo commences bloviating, it should be noted that Texas holds the all-time record with 17 picks in the 1984 draft. That year, the draft lasted 12 rounds.

Michigan, Nike put finishing touches on $173.8 million deal

Nike Michigan
Nike
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It’s no longer the biggest apparel deal in collegiate athletics, but now it’s officially official.

Tuesday morning, Michigan announced that it has finalized and updated its agreement with Nike to become the university’s the official athletic footwear, apparel and equipment provider, with the new deal taking effect Aug. 1 of this year.  The development comes nine months after the then-record deal was announced.

The agreement is valued at $173.8 million if it runs the entire 15 years, and includes a $12 million initial payment to the university, $76.8 million in total annual payments and $85 million in apparel. The new deal runs through 2027, with a university option to extend the agreement to 2031.

Four months after UM’s new deal was reported, news surfaced that Texas’ new contract with Nike would be worth $250 million over 15 years.  In January of this year, Ohio State announced its new deal with Nike, an agreement that will pay that school upwards of $252 million over 15 years.

The university also obtained oversight in the manufacturing of products in this new agreement.  From the release:

Throughout the partnership, Nike will abide by the Nike Code of Conduct, which meets, exceeds or has equivalent treatment of all requirements in the U-M Code of Conduct for Licensees in addressing labor standards.

The agreement provides that Nike makes available the list of factories where collegiate product is made and provides for independent, external monitoring and investigation of those factories by third parties mutually agreed upon by U-M and Nike.

Big 12 spring attendance by the numbers

Oklahoma State football team take the field for a spring NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, April 16, 2016. Black team defeated orange 20-7. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
AP Photo/Brody Schmidt
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By now we know the spring attendance numbers in the SEC and Big Ten will always be higher than the other power conferences (having 14 teams helps, of course). The Big 12 will never compete in this pretty useless stat, especially when so many schools fail to record any figure at all. Five Big 12 programs reported no spring attendance number this spring, which left us with just five schools to count when putting together the Big 12’s attendance figure. As things stand right now, the Big 12 looks to be locked into a fourth-place finish this spring, with the Pac-12 the only power conference lagging behind the Big 12 in the spring attendance standings.

Big 12 Spring Attendance By School

Here is how the Big 12 schools compared to each other in spring game attendance.

  1. Oklahoma – 42,436
  2. Oklahoma State – 17,500
  3. Iowa State – 15,089
  4. Kansas State – 14,643
  5. West Virginia – 6,000

Note: Baylor, Kansas, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech did not report any spring attendance figures.

Biggest Increase, Biggest Drop

Some of the Big 12 practices were washed away by bad weather, so we saw more schools not report any official or estimated attendance this year as a result. Baylor, for example, reported a crowd of 5,610 for its spring game in 2015 (which was also hampered by weather), but they opted not to take a crack at a number at all this time. Texas Tech also got washed out this spring. A couple of others either did not report an attendance figure or did not respond when asked for any input. Texas is one of the schools that does not record an attendance figure. So, given the schools that did have data on record for 2015 and 2016, who had the biggest increase and biggest drop?

The biggest jump in spring attendance this year was seen at Iowa State, where the Cyclones doubled their attendance from 7,500 fans in 2015 to 15,089 this spring. Is there a Matt Campbell effect going on here? There was not much difference in attendance figures for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Kansas State, but Kansas State had the biggest drop in attendance with 17,080 fans in 2015 and 14,642 fans this spring. It is worth noting Kansas State played their spring game at Sporting Park last year, making the spring game more of a unique event in an MLS stadium. West Virginia also had a drop in attendance by 2,115 fans. It is important to also remember the West Virginia game was not played in their home stadium but an alternate venue with limited capacity, which some schools do.

Quick Hits

  • With five schools not on record for spring attendance this year, the Big 12’s final count stands at 95,668. Ohio State eclipsed that mark by themselves each of the past two seasons, and Georgia had 93,000 fans this spring.

You can view my database of spring game attendance in this Google doc. It is updated periodically as information becomes available or confirmed.

Texas’ spring game a showcase for true frosh QB Shane Buechele

Shane Buechele
Longhorn Network
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Oh, God yes.”

That was the answer Charlie Strong gave earlier in the day when he was asked if true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele would see the field this season.  Several hours after that interview aired, Buechele backed up that strong, unequivocal response.

Armed with the knowledge that these are numbers coming out of a glorified scrimmage, Buechele (pictured, No. 16) was the star of the day as he, at least statistically, outplayed senior Tyrone Swoopes (pictured, No. 18) by a wide margin.  In a spring finale that was called at halftime because of weather, Buechele completed 22-of-41 passes for 299 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions while Swoopes, considered to be the co-frontunner for the starting job along with Jerrod Heard, stumbled to a 4-16, 71 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions day.

With Heard sidelined for the remainder of the spring with a shoulder injury, Buechele has made significant progress in what had initially been a five-player race.  Exiting spring, it appears that five-man battle has been whittled to three: Buechele, Swoopes and Heard.

Buechele, an early enrollee, has the kind of recruiting pedigree that suggests he could make an immediate impact.  A four-star member of this year’s class, Buechele was rated as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals.com.

Whether Buechele will get the opportunity to immediately back up that impressive résumé on the field remains to be seen, but he’s certainly taken a big step in that direction the last couple of weeks.  One thing seems certain: Strong would be more than open to a true freshman guiding his offense if he comes out on top in the competition.

New A&M AD: ‘I have no objection to’ renewing rivalry with Texas

UT-A&M Rivalry
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Here we go.  Again.

Nearly a year ago to the day, the head coaches of both Texas and Texas A&M were both quoted as being strongly in favor of renewing a football rivalry that’s gone into hibernation thanks to the latter’s move to the SEC four years ago.  Since then, there’s been little movement on any such renewal, save for one A&M regent publicly wanting to renew it to give the Aggies a “cupcake” game.

Still, the higher-ups at both schools have thus far refused to budge, although one could make the argument that there might be a thaw on the horizon with some new individuals in place.  Or not.  One of the two.

“We have to really assess what is our best path to winning the (Southeastern Conference) West,” Scott Woodward, hired as A&M’s athletic director three months ago, told the Daily Trib earlier in the week. “I don’t foresee anything happening in the near future. There are a lot of opinions well above my pay grade. Rivalries, I think, are healthy for the game.

“It’ll be something we’ll consider. It’ll be a discussion I’ll have to have. I have no objection to it. It’s something that has to work for us and for folks.”

The Longhorns and Aggies last met in football during the 2011 season, a 27-25 UT win in College Station.  The Longhorns lead the all-time series 76-37-5, although the teams split the last six meetings.