Bevo's Roundup: The long off-season begins

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We're all excited about the new coaching hires. Yea, it is kinda like that and we aren't faking it. (NSFW)

It is a clean slate.

"It's wide-open at every spot," Applewhite said.

Added Harsin: "You know what? It's a clean slate. We've got a new system, we've got new terminology, new things they have to learn."

They are going to be good.

Before you say, ‘Oh no, not another co-offensive coordinator plan by Mack Brown,' hold on a second.

The Bryan Harsin-Major Applewhite pairing is a good one.

You're looking at two smart, 30-something mad scientists who would like nothing more than to get the Texas offense back to the good old days before the 2010 season where points were expected and not just a pleasant surprise.

They're confident. They're excited. And most noticeably: they're hungry.

D.J. Monroe sighting!

Applewhite said Boise's success has been "a living commercial as to what will work" against today's elite defenses in college football. He praised Harsin's use of multiple personnel groups, noting that Boise lined up in 26 different formations last season against Wyoming -- 20 more than Texas used against Wyoming -- while generating favorable matchups for its elite playmakers.

In other words, expect Harsin to find more than 22 carries next season for tailback D.J. Monroe, who averaged a 8.8 yards per attempt but rarely played because of Davis' concerns about his pass-blocking deficiencies.

"So many times, we put obstacles in front of ourselves as coaches and say, 'We can't do this because this player can't do that,'" Applewhite said, noting that Harsin seems immune to that trap. "When I watch that offense, that's what is so compelling to me."

The field will still be green.

Nowhere does his contract call for blue turf at Royal-Memorial Stadium. The infamous Smurf Turf remained at Boise State.

"Green is fine," Harsin said at his introductory news conference Monday.

Texas and coach Mack Brown will gladly take everything else that made Harsin a unique choice to repair an offense that too often seemed tired and broken for large parts of a 5-7 disappointment.

"I know our expectations here," Harsin said. "We have a championship program. We have a championship head coach, and it's my job to help put together a championship offense."

Can we get back to our rightful place?

Can Texas Two-Step Back to Their Rightful Place?
Any way you parse it, the 2010 season was an unmitigated disaster for the Longhorns.  Not only was UT 5-7 overall, but they finished an unsightly 2-5 at home — including losses to UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor.  Again, at home.  Following that disaster, Mack Brown overhauled most of his coaching staff either of his own volition or out of necessity, including bringing in new coordinators on both sides of the ball.  There’s simply too much talent on that roster for yet another disastrous year in what could very well be Brown’s swan song.  Oops, did we type that out loud?

It is still painful.

"I don't think we got over it," said Brown, who saw a hangover after the 2005 national title. "But I didn't realize when you lose it, it would be the same way. I think I did a poor job because I felt so down after the game, especially with the way it happened with Colt [McCoy] getting hurt. ...

"It lingered for a month after that for me. I really don't think I ever got over it. I'm sure that affected our players, because some of our other coaches didn't [get over it], either."

It is happening, folks. Pretty soon we will be able to watch Texas sports 24/7.

ESPN and the University of Texas are "very close" to concluding negotiations to pair the two entities and form an exclusive television channel dedicated entirely to Longhorn sports , an ESPN executive said Sunday.

Burke Magnus, senior vice president for college sports programming, told the American-Statesman that once the deal is finalized, ESPN would show perhaps one or two Longhorn football games and up to "eight or 10" men's basketball games per season, even more than first acknowledged .

 

Basketball

The Big 12-2 race will be tight.

Texas and third-ranked Kansas join the Big 12 fray later than the others — the Jayhawks are at Iowa State on Wednesday — having used last weekend for non-conference games. Kansas defeated Michigan on Sunday in overtime.

But there's more to this year's race than just Kansas and Texas.

The Horns are playing Tech. What do you need to know?

Rick Barnes respects Texas Tech.

"There’s no doubt in my mind that Texas Tech can beat anybody on the schedule, anybody in the conference," Barnes said.

Something we can all agree on.

Texas’ hard-luck loss to Connecticut on Saturday underscores the Longhorns’ need to improve their free throw shooting. If not, it’d be easy to imagine Rick Barnes’ team bowing out of the NCAA Tournament earlier than hoped for because of that shortcoming.

 

Baseball

Damn Sooners. The Red River Rivalry applies to baseball, too.

The Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma will for once have the most meaning on the baseball diamond.

The Longhorns and Sooners are the favorites to win the Big 12 this season. UT finished just short of returning to the College World Series last season, while Oklahoma shocked the nation by winning a road super regional over Virginia on the way to Omaha.

Look for new BBCOR bats this season.

Many college coaches were frustrated before the fall when the NCAA mandated use of the new BBCOR bats, which function more like wood bats than any aluminum bat of the past. Opponents of the new bats believe they will change the game in a negative way. The NCAA, though, believes the bats are needed from a safety standpoint. Time will tell if the BBCOR bats are good for the sport. There are plenty of valid opinions on both sides of the debate. Perhaps the new bats will lead to the sport eventually moving to wood bats.

Mark your calendar. Fan Appreciation Day is January 29.

 

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Football

NewsOK has five Land Thief positions to watch.

The Pokes have a tough schedule in 2011.

There’s a good chance Oklahoma State will field a better football team in 2011 than it did in 2010.

And there’s a chance the Cowboys’ record won’t show it.

Wouldn't you? Pickens U wants Justin Blackmon to return.

There is no doubt he has first-round talent, but as decision day nears for underclassmen to enter the NFL Draft, the Cowboy receiver needs to think long and hard about what he could gain by coming back for another college season.

This isn't about breaking records and winning championships and all that pie-in-the-sky stuff everyone assumes will be needed to draw Blackmon back to college.

This is about his bottom line.

 

Basketball

So sad. Everyone say awwwww.

Bill Self is in a bad mood.

On a recent episode of his television show, the Kansas coach narrated highlights of the Jayhawks' 25-point thrashing of Texas-Arlington. You'd think he'd have lots of compliments, but you'd be wrong. "Here Josh [Selby] misses his defensive assignment, but we still get a breakaway layup out of it. That's the kind of thing that really burns us as coaches," Self said. That was gentle compared to the pique he showed when he learned after a 47-point win over UMKC that his players let slip to the media that Self told the team to try to beat the Kangaroos by 20 points in the second half. "They should never have said that to you," Self said. "As a matter of fact, it pisses me off that they did."

Jayhawk Mario Little is back.

Big 12 Hoops recaps the wild and woolly Saturday.

 

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That was special, Gene. And no, your players aren't the least bit dirty. (And here's another.)

We all need to stop trying because there is no way we can ever top the incredible state of Alabama.

Anything Alabama can do, Auburn can do, too. One year after the Tide went 14-0 to win the BCS championship, and added a Heisman along the way, the Tigers went 14-0 to win the BCS championship and added another Heisman to their collection. They used to call Birmingham the football capital of the South. Call the entire state the football capital of the world.

The Lost Lettermen has their own 2011 preseason power rankings and Stanford will be the team to beat.

Ever heard of Oak Hill Academy?

College basketball schools like Duke, North Carolina and UCLA are synonymous with success and future professional stardom, but none has a more impressive list of alumni over the past 15 years than Oak Hill Academy located in Mouth of Wilson, VA. This week we’ll look at how this tiny prep school has become the elite college basketball factory in the United States.

One last look at the wacky bowl season.

We made it through another bowl season marathon -- from BYU's easy win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl through Auburn's 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS championship game. Here is a look back at the 2010-11 bowl season.

Someone did not follow the rules.

TCU landed one first place vote in the coaches' rankings and three first place votes in the associated press poll.

According to pollspeak.com , the coach that voted for the Horned Frogs went against the rules of the American Football Coaches Association.

The site said: "All coaches are required to rank the winner of the BCS Championship Game No. 1."

Idaho's Robb Akey was the only coach to give TCU a first place vote during the last coaches' vote on Dec. 5.

A group has started a fund to help players that are injured while playing college football.

In the wake of a tragic injury to Eric LeGrand of Rutgers, a group of football and business leaders have established a fund to support players who sustained serious injuries through college football.

The College Football Assistance Fund will provide help to ease the burden of medical costs associated with injuries such as joint replacement, spine treatment, neurological care and other related expenses.

 

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Following the gravy train of college sports and the BCS...money.

You just can't say those things about the BCS.

"Words like 'cartel,' 'commies,' 'corruption' and 'criminal' when used to describe the BCS event are just plain silly,"he said earlier at the Football Writers Association of America annual meeting.

Speaking more broadly, Hancock said most anti-BCS rhetoric comes from "a few undertakers who throw stones but are accountable in no way for the future of the game and for the athletes' experience."

As for those who are accountable, he said, "There is no groundswell among the (university) presidents for any kind of ... seismic change."

And that 'sinister'system is not going to change any time soon, especially since the BCS is in the first year of a four-year contractual cycle with ESPN.

What is the Playoff PAC and what do they do?

The Orange Bowl committee went on a cruise and the IRS was not impressed.

To promote South Florida's signature college football game, the Orange Bowl Committee last June hosted a weekend getaway for dozens of college athletic directors -- but not on South Beach.

Instead, the group set sail for ``an all-inclusive, three-night, four-day complimentary getaway'' aboard Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas to the Bahamas. The athletic directors and their spouses -- including a 10-person contingent from Florida schools -- enjoyed a sailing card preloaded with $100 in spending cash.

Wondering what the big fuss is all about? These bowls are supposed to be tax free charitable organizations.

The tax free ``charitable organizations'' expanded the notion of charity to cruises, golf junkets, beach stays and other exotic getaways for bowl officials and university athletic directors (wives in tow). These folks, in return, were expected to make sure BCS bowls maintained their lucrative monopoly over the football national championship.

The Orange Bowl Committee, according to PlayoffPAC's complaint, spent about $1.2 million on meals and entertainment in 2009 and $472,627 on gifts in 2008. PlayoffPAC claimed so-called charitable funds financed a four-day cruise for Orange Bowl executives and college athletic directors:

``As shown by the detailed agenda, this Caribbean cruise was a junket. No business meetings were held. Attendees were instead occupied with full-day excursions to Atlantis Resort and CocoCay, a private island.''

Conference USA and FoxSports have a new network contract.

Don't wait around for that playoff.

Major college football's postseason is more likely to return to the old bowl system, which didn't guarantee a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, than to start using a playoff in the next eight years.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock told reporters at a Football Writers Association of America event on Monday that in 2012 he expects the conference commissioners to begin discussing possible changes to the BCS beyond the 2014 postseason.

The BCS is in the first year of a television contract with ESPN that runs through the 2013 season. Any major changes to the system would go into effect for the 2014 season and 2015 bowls.

There is a very serious fight going on in college football.

Arkansas wants to crack down on sports agents.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Thursday that he'll back proposed legislation that would make it a felony for sports agents to give cash or other financial incentives to student-athletes to entice them to sign a contract.

Such activity is now a misdemeanor in Arkansas, though McDaniel, a Democrat, said no one's been prosecuted since it became law in 2001.

Who is Cecil Newton? (I could have placed this story in the Open Range category but it seemed appropiate here.)

ESPN dropped a bombshell in early November that Cecil had been shopping his son around for $180,000 to the highest bidder. In an instant, the Newtons went from all that was right with college football to a microcosm of the greed and corruption that was ruining the sport.

It was all the more shocking that Newton’s father was a pastor; it begged the question, was Cecil Newton an otherwise good man who was that desperate for cash or was he a complete fraud altogether?

This says it all:

We’ll use this moment to remind readers of our longstanding opinion that most of these rules are ridiculous and players such as Pryor, who earn millions for their schools, deserve a better compensation model than just tuition, room and board. This isn’t an argument justifying the NCAA. If it’s going to have rules, though, shouldn’t it enforce them? And, yes, Ohio State’s creative defense would be employed by nearly every other school.

The initial reaction was that a five-game suspension for selling trinkets seemed rather harsh. Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples noted the irony of selling a "sportsmanship" award from the Fiesta Bowl, which is currently facing a grand jury probe for violating federal and state campaign finance laws.

 

And finally...

This is one Jayhawk I want to see do really well next season.

 

BDR doesn't endorse any of the rubbish that is out there, we just link to it. If you happen to find something on the interwebs that might be of interest, please send the link to dimecoverage at gmail.com.

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