About this summer... After I sent The Eyes of Texas 2008 to press in late May one week after finishing my first year law exams, I exhaustedly started thinking about what topics I'd try to cover this summer to kill that horrible dead stretch for college sports that is June and July. As things turned out, I hardly had time to write anything I planned. Between the full time job, seeing family, and meeting a dream girl, the summer was gone as quickly as it began.
Fortunately, I missed nothing; Texas sports simply weren't in the news. After last summer's disaster, seeing these columns from the local papers are precisely what Mack Brown had in mind when he reassigned Ken Rucker to full time player relations duties.
So here we are. Summer's gone, we're 11 days from kickoff, BON is full time again, and I'm markedly more excited about the 2008 season than I expected to be as recently as three months ago.
Speaking of fired up... Florida Atlantic thinks it can beat the 'Horns a week from Saturday. (A week from Saturday! I love my life.) FAU head coach Howard Schnellenberger has been jawing to the press, while a Florida journalist contact of mine reports that at practice today the defensive coordinator told him they mean what they say. The whole staff and team is believing in the upset.
Some Texas fans have taken offense to the big talk, but I can't see this as anything but a good thing for the Longhorns. I am by nature always a bit wary of investing too heavily in intangibles, but I'll say it again: I think they matter in football more so than any other team sport I care about.
In the present case, I like two things about Schnellenberger's comments. For one, Texas is going to out-athlete Florida Atlantic, a tangible advantage most likely negated if the team comes out of the gates flat/underestimating the Owls. More importantly in my mind, though, is that Schnellenberger's comments merely add more fuel to what I have seen as a steadily growing wildfire of post-A&M momentum. First it was the discarding of the depth charts. Then the boot camp practices. Then the new defensive coordinator hire. Then Major. A clean, focused summer season. Inspiring, Muschamp-esque fall workouts...
And now? Schnellenberger's mouthing off, all but guaranteeing Texas' players prepare for war precisely the way Will Muschamp wants.
It's going to be a rowdy Saturday night in Austin when Vince Young's number is retired and the Longhorns wax Florida Atlantic. Bet on it.
Silly little brother. If you're wondering what it's costing Texas to bring Florida Atlantic to Austin, the athletics department reports the figure is $900,000. Texas A&M athletic director, meanwhile, confirms that Little Brother can't keep up:
"It means we're always going to have a I-AA (team) on the schedule because you can get them for $300,000," [Athletic Director Bill Byrne] said. "Everybody is doing it, and fiscally we've got to do it as well."
Au contraire, Mssr. Byrne. Texas has vowed not to schedule any 1-AA opponents in the future.
That sound you hear, Bill? That's Reebok telling you "Thanks, but no thanks" when you ask for a Texas-sized partnership deal.
Notes from the Wire: Chip Brown 's got notes on Fozzy Whittaker (looking not injured), Lamarr Houston/Roy Miller (hard to block), party at the McCombs' ranch (team chemistry improved), Roddrick Muckelroy dreaming about Muschamp yelling at him not to screw up (literally), and David Snow (teacher's pet).
OHMYGODWHAT? Sorry, I'm sitting here at Buffalo Wild Wings (my internet's out) and just looked up in time to see some sort of trampoline competition in the Olympics, in which this girl just did like 17 straight twisty-jump-flips in succession. Totally mesmerizing.
Right. About that ranking thing. I told Horn Brain that I wasn't much interested in preseason power polling because it's such an exercise in futility. And yet, here I am, submitting my preseason BlogPoll ballot like a dutiful waterboy. Have a peek at it here; justifications to follow in the coming days.
Good to be home. I'd have just as soon my summer continued ad infinitum, so good was it, but now that I'm here and writing up this post, with football season right around the corner... I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge a surge of energy rushing through my veins.
College. Football. Is. Back.