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The last time the Texas Longhorns won the national championship…

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For the first time in a number of years, there seems to be a real sense of optimism surrounding the Texas Longhorns football program heading into the 2019 season. An appearance in the Big 12 championship game and a victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl has been the fuel for the suggestion, as quarterback Sam Ehlinger proclaimed in New Orleans, that Texas is back. For the Longhorns, that means Texas fans are gearing up to legitimately think about celebrating a long-awaited national championship once again.

The last national championship celebrated in Austin came at the end of the 2005 season with one of the most memorable endings in Rose Bowl history. After being the No. 2 team in the AP poll all season long behind only the Trojans, Texas quarterback Vince Young turned in one of the best performances you could ask for under the pressure of the national championship spotlight. Young completed 30 of 40 pass attempts for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns, none more visually memorable as his third, which proved to be the title-winning score to end program’s national title drought that spanned back to the 1970 season (although Texas faithful will argue their case for the 1977 and 1981 titles).

To put things in some perspective, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to see what was going on in 2005, the last time Texas had a national championship season.

Last National Title Season: 2005 (13 years and counting)

Who was President?

That would be none other than George W. Bush. Bush had just been sworn in for his second term in office following a victory in the 2004 election against John Kerry.

Also in 2005, current President Donald J. Trump married his third wife, Melania Knauss.

What was on TV?

Just a couple of weeks after Texas celebrated their national championship victory, “American Idol” was entering its fifth season as the nation’s top-rated television program. This was the season that would eventually lead to Carrie Underwood, a native of Oklahoma, to be named the winner of the singing competition. You may have heard of her. She’s the woman who would go on to sing the theme song for Sunday Night Football on NBC later on in her musical career.

If you were watching NBC, then odds are pretty decent you were watching “Deal or No Deal,” hosted by none other than Howie Mandel.

What movies were hot?

The final chapter in the Star Wars prequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith had come out earlier in the spring and was probably making its way to DVD by the time Texas started their championship season. But the final movie directed by George Lucas in his Star Wars saga would not be the top movie at the box office in 2005. That honor belonged to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which came out in November of 2005. It took a wizard to take down a Jedi in 2005.

Still in an age before Marvel movies took over the superhero genre and the box office ticket sales, the first installment in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy hit theaters as well with Batman Begins. Amazingly, the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp actually beat Batman at the box office. In hindsight, what were we thinking? Another superhero movie released in 2005 was Fantastic Four, starring Chris Evans, who would later go on to play a much better role in a much better franchise as Captain America.

Also released in 2005? The Adam Sandler-led remake of The Longest Yard. Burt Reynolds made an appearance in the movie as well, of course.

As for the Oscars, Brokeback Mountain Best Film while Crash took Best Original Screenplay.

Who was on the cover of NCAA Football?

NCAA Football 06NCAA Football 06 was released by EA Sports on July 12, 2005 for the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Microsoft Xbox. Sorry Nintendo Gamecube fans. You were left out of the game this time. This year’s edition of the game introduced the “Race for the Heisman ” mode, which would become a fun feature of the game in some capacity.

Michigan’s Desmond Howard was featured on the cover of the game, striking his signature pose for the cover. This marked the first time in the franchise’s history a player who didn’t play the previous season and had gone on to the NFL appeared on the cover of the game.

What else happened in 2005?

The Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series, sweeping the Houston Astros. The White Sox snapped their own championship drought in doing so with their first World Series title since 1917. The year before, in 2004, the Boston Red Sox had snapped their World Series drought.

The San Antonio Spurs won their third NBA championship in seven seasons. North Carolina won their first men’s college basketball national championship under Roy Williams.

Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France. That wouldn’t come into play down the line, right?

Tiger Woods won his fourth Masters title in 2005. He also won at the British Open.

The NHL had the 2004-2005 season canceled over a labor dispute, so there was no Stanley Cup winner in 2005, although the Carolina Hurricanes would top the Edmonton Oilers in the 2005-2006 season. Cam Ward was the playoff MVP.

The Pittsburgh Steelers would be Super Bowl champions shortly after the Texas national championship run. Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis topped the Seattle Seahawks years before former UCLA head coach Jim Mora and former USC head coach Pete Carroll would take a run at coaching the NFC West franchise.

Nick Saban was in his first NFL season with the Miami Dolphins. He’d be coming back to the SEC soon enough. At Clemson, Dabo Swinney was a wide receivers coach in his third year on the job. He would be named interim head coach of the Tigers three years later.

Current Texas head coach Tom Herman was in his first season as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for Texas State.

Mack Brown today

GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 05: Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns celebrates after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Game on January 5, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Longhorns defeated the Buckeyes 24-21 (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The head coach of the last national championship for Texas, Mack Brown, is getting back in the coaching game this season. Brown was essentially forced out of his position as head coach at Texas at the end of the 2013 season, amid some possible expectations Texas boosters would be able to lure Nick Saban away from Alabama. Instead, Texas got Charlie Strong from Louisville. Brown went to work for ABC and ESPN as a studio analyst with some work in the booth to go with it, but after five years on TV, Brown is returning to another one of his previous stops to resume his coaching career. Brown is now the head coach at North Carolina, the school that employed him before Texas hired him away from Chapel Hill prior to the 1998 season.

Clemson QB Lawrence says he’s completely committed to 2020 season

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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he considered opting out of this season when he was unsure what college football would look like going forward amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Lawrence said Friday once he understood he’d play an 11-game season with a chance for an Atlantic Coast Conference and national championships, he decided to play his junior season.

The Heisman Trophy hopeful said he’s completely committed to this season and confident in Clemson’s ability to keep himself and his teammates safe.

Lawrence, who is the likely No. 1 overall pick in the next NFL draft should he leave college early, was 25-0 as a starter until he and Clemson fell to LSU in the national title game last January. The 6-foot-6 junior, had perhaps his poorest performance in college in the 42-25 loss to LSU. He joked how after his freshman year when he led Clemson to a championship he heard how amazing he was and since the LSU defeat, he heard how much work he has to do improve.

Pac-12 responds to football players threatening opt-outs

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The Pac-12 responded Monday to football players who have threatened to opt-out of the season because of concerns related to health and safety, racial injustice and economic rights with a letter touting the conference’s work in those areas and an invitation to meet later this week.

A letter from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, dated Aug. 3, was sent to 12 football players leading the #WeAreUnited movement. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press and first reported by Sports Illustrated.

The players say they have been communicating with more than 400 of their peers throughout the Pac-12. The group released a lengthy list of demands Sunday and said if they are not addressed they will not practice or play. The group said it reached out to the Pac-12 on Sunday to request a meeting. In the letter, Scott said he was eager to discuss their concerns.

“I will come back to you in the coming days following discussion with our members and student-athlete leaders to schedule a call for this week to discuss the matters that you have raised,” Scott wrote.

Also Monday night, Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said in a statemen t he regretted cautioning one of his players about being part of the #WeAreUnited movement. A recording of a conversation between Rolovich and receiver Kassidy Woods obtained by the Dallas Morning News revealed the coach seemingly warning the player that being involved with the group would hurt his standing with the team. Woods had called Rolovich to inform him he was opting out of the season for health reasons related to COVID-19.

“I spoke with Kassidy Woods in a private phone conversation last Saturday afternoon. This was before the #WeAreUnited group had released its letter of concerns,” said Rolovich, who is in his first season was Washington State coach. “Without knowing the concerns of the group, I regret that my words cautioning Kassidy have become construed as opposition. I’m proud of our players and all the Pac-12 student-athletes for using their platform, especially for matters they are passionate about. WSU football student-athletes who have expressed support for the #WeAreUnited group will continue to be welcome to all team-related activities, unless they choose to opt out for health and safety reasons.”

The #WeAreUnited players’ demands focused on four areas: health and safety protections, especially protocols related to COVID-19; guarding against the elimination of sports programs by schools during an economic downturn; ending racial injustice in college sports; and economic freedom and equity.

Scott addressed each area, highlighting the conference’s:

— Medical advisory committee working on COVID-19 protocols and webinars for student-athletes and their parents;

— Support for reforming NCAA rules regarding name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes;

— Recent initiatives to address racial inequities such as the formation of a social justice & anti-racism advisory group that includes student-athletes representatives.

Scott also listed 10 areas in which, he wrote, “The Pac-12 has been a leader in supporting student-athlete health and well-being …” Included were enhanced medical coverage post-eligibility; cost-of-attendance stipends added to the value of scholarship; mental health support; and the Pac-12′s support of reforming NCAA transfer rules to allow athletes more freedom to switch schools.

Pac-12 football teams are scheduled to begin preseason practices Aug. 17 and the league’s conference-only regular season is set to start Sept. 26.

Big 12 to allow teams to play 1 non-conference football game

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Two people involved with the decision say the Big 12 will permit its teams to play one nonconference football game this year to go along with their nine league contests as plans for the pandemic-altered season continued to fall into place.

The people spoke Monday night to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conference was still preparing an official announcement.

The Big 12 university presidents signed off on the conference’s scheduling model, which gives schools the ability to play one nonconference game at home. The conference’s championship game is scheduled for Dec. 5, but one of the people told AP that the conference is leaving open the possibility of bumping it back a week or two.

The 10-team Big 12 already plays a nine-game, round-robin conference schedule. Unlike other Power Five conference that have switched to either exclusively (Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) or mostly (ACC) league games this season, the Big 12 could not add more conference games without teams playing each other more than once.

Several Big 12 teams have already started preseason practice, with Kansas and Oklahoma slated to play FCS teams on Aug. 29.

As conferences take steps toward a football season that seems to be in precarious shape, the NCAA is expected to weigh in Tuesday on fall sports other than major-college football.

The association’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet and whether to cancel or postpone NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower-division football is expected to be a topic.

Only the Pac-12 has a full football schedule with matchups and dates in place among Power Five conferences. The Pac-12 will begin Sept. 26, along with the Southeastern Conference, which is still working on its new 10-game slate.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has opponents set for its 10-game conference schedule and will start the weekend of Sept. 12, but no specific game dates. The ACC has also said it will permit its teams to play one nonconference game.

The Big Ten, first to announce intentions to go conference-only this season, has yet to release a new schedule, but that could come later this week.

Now that the Power Five has declared its intentions the Group of Five conferences can start making plans and filling holes on their schedules.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has said the AAC could stick with its eight-game conference schedule and let its members plays as many of their four nonconference games as they can salvage or replace.

The Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American and Sun Belt conferences are likely to take similar approach.

Early Monday, Texas State from the Sun Belt announced it was moving a nonconference game against SMU up from Sept. 5 to Aug. 29.

Good morning and, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and good night! CFT, out…

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CFT is no more. At least, when it comes to NBC Sports.

The first of last month, I — this is John Taylor (pictured, catching the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII) — began my 12th year with CFT and NBC Sports. This morning, I was informed that my position was being eliminated and I would not be completing that 12th year. Which, of course, meant I wouldn’t be eligible for the traditional 13th-anniversary gift of lace. Which really bummed me out. Because I really like lace.

The jarring phone call was both a slap in the face and a relief. Jarring because, well, it was completely unexpected. Out of the blue, even amidst the pandemic that is wreaking absolute and utter havoc across the country. A relief, on the other hand, because, every single day for the past four months, I woke up wondering if this would be the day I get that call.

Would this be the day? Would this be the day? A question played on an endless loop that just f***s with you mentally, emotionally, physically.

That’s no way to live.

Then again, being job-less is no way to live, either. But, here we are.

So many people I want to thank. First and foremost, Mike Florio and Larry Mazza. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Especially Mr. Mazza on the food front. Hopefully, lunch at Oliverio’s — best damn stuffed shells I have EVER had — can still be a thing, Larry.

And so many people that have worked for me. Not to single anyone out, but I’m going to single one out in Ben Kercheval. Ben, non-biological son of Hoppy, you were and continue to be the man. I appreciate you more than you know.  Rasheed Wallace may indeed be your biological father, but I will forever consider you my illegitimate Internet stepson.

Mike Miller is the best boss anyone could ever ask for.  Hire that man.  You can thank me later.

Kevin McGuire, Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, I will always treasure what we did, together, these last few years. Things were on the uptick, and it’s sad that we won’t be able to see it through. Together.  We should’ve — SHOULD’VE SHOULD’VE SHOULD’VE — been given that opportunity.  And it will forever piss me off that we weren’t.

Brent and Chris and JJ, much love to you all as well.

Shortly after I received the job call of death, I called my dad. Told him what was going on in his son’s life.  After I hung up the phone, he sent me a GIF in a text message a few minutes later.  I’ll link it here to end whatever this is, because it’s appropriate.  And old school.

And, well… bye.

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