COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M hasn’t football played in Austin in eight years.
The Aggies haven’t met the Longhorns in football since 2011, the season before they left for the Southeastern Conference.
But fans in Austin still are watching A&M, whether it’s out of love or hate.
The Aggies came within a two-point play of possibly knocking off No. 2 Clemson at Kyle Field last Saturday night. It was the second-highest rated ESPN prime-time telecast in two years. The game drew a rating of 3.0, but it peaked at 4 during the window between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.
Here’s where Austin comes in. The city’s rating for the A&M game, which was head-to-head most of the evening with Texas-Tulsa played at Royal-Memorial Stadium, was a 7.0. That was the fourth-highest nationally, but tops in Texas.
ESPN’s top 10 markets for the game:
ESPN broadcast College Football GameDay preview show from outside Kyle Field Saturday morning. The network said it’s rating was up 17 percent from week two last season, when the show was in Columbus before Oklahoma-Ohio State.
.@CollegeGameDay live from College Station averaged a 1.4 across ESPN and ESPNU, up +17% from 2017’s Week 2 show surrounding Oklahoma-Ohio State
A&M plays at home Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe. But they’ll get a chance to play in front of a national audience, Sept. 22, when they travel to top-ranked Alabama. CBS announced Monday it had picked up the game for its 2:30 p.m. window.
Team-by-team Big 12 recruiting analysis, arranged in order of 247Sports composite national rankings:
National rank: 3
Easily Texas’ best class since 2012. Only Georgia and Ohio State did better. It’s the first time Texas has out-recruited Alabama since 2010. Tom Herman pulled it off by running the SEC, and everyone else, out of the state. The Longhorns signed the top five players on the American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55 list of top state recruits, seven of the top 10 and 10 of the top 15. There are a near-record 17 Fab 55 honorees in the 27-man group. … Texas’ 17 four-star recruits are second nationally to Ohio State’s 20. … Texas had lost the title of DBU to several other programs in recent years, but this class could go a long way toward restoring it. The four highest-rated Longhorns recruits — led by five-star safeties Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster — are DBs. … Late addition Joshua Moore highlights a group of three high-end, four-star WRs. … The only nit to pick involves the defensive line, although the signing-day additions of DTs Keondre Coburn and Moro Ojomo help. … Look for Keaontay Ingram to rather quickly brush aside the competition at RB.
National rank: 9
Lincoln Riley’s first recruiting class, 22 players strong, was an enormous success, easing fans’ fears after Bob Stoops’ departure. Riley looks like quite the closer in regards to defensive linemen. On Wednesday, the Sooners secured the nation’s No. 4 DT Michael Thompson, one of their five additions on the second signing day. On Dec. 20, the initial signing day, they grabbed U.S. Army All-American Ronnie Perkins, the nation’s No. 5 DE. Both are from St. Louis. … OU hauled in six consensus top-100 players, starting with 6-foot-7, 320-pound OT Brey Walker, a five-star talent. … Four Fab 55 players are included: OLB DaShaun White (No. 19), who flipped from Texas A&M; WR Jaquaylin Crawford (No. 20); OT Darrell Simpson (No. 32); and QB Tanner Mordecai (No. 35) of Waco Midway. … Thompson, Perkins, Walker and White should see playing time in short order. … Eight players are from Texas, six from Oklahoma and four from Florida.
TCU HORNED FROGS
National rank: 25
Gary Patterson reeled in arguably his best recruiting class, yet it ended with a thud. The Horned Frogs had hoped for a late push but saw things breaking the wrong way as several hopefuls madelate announcements to go elsewhere. The Frogs, with just five additions in a 22-man group, fell from 20th after the first signing period, yet they remained third in the Big 12. … Justin Rogers, the No. 2 dual-threat QB in the country, is TCU’s highest-rated signee ever, though the Bossier City, La., star missed most of his senior season with a knee injury. … The three Fab 55 players are: WR Tevailance Hunt (No. 21); CB Trevon Moehrig-Woodard (No. 27); and S Atanza Vongor (No. 40). … Two Austin-area talents in the class are Manor DE Ochaun Mathis and Wimberley OL Ian Burnette. … The Frogs thrived along the OL and struggled along the DL. … Late misses included WR JaMarr Chase (LSU) and OLB Aaron Brule (Mississippi State).
National rank: 29
Matt Rhule’s first full recruiting cycle produced a major uptick. Although the Bears fell seven spots in the 247Sports composite team rankings from their lofty Dec. 20 perch, their highly regarded 22-man class is a unqualifed win for the program. No other team with anything approaching a 1-11 record flirted with the top 25. … The one player Baylor added Wednesday was OG Johncarlo Valentin, the No. 1 junior college recruit at his position. Rhule had ties to the Philadelphia native as a high schooler, when he was a four-star recruit. … QB Gerry Bohanon is the headliner. The No. 1 player from Arkansas chose the Bears over Auburn, Oregon, North Carolina, Louisville and Arkansas. … The three Fab 55 players are: RB Craig Williams (No. 46); WR Joshua Fleeks (No. 51): and WR Kalon Barnes (No. 52). … WR BJ Hanspard, son of former Texas Tech great Byron Hanspard, is the 30th best player in the state according to 247Sports composite.
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
National rank: 33
Another Big 12 program that basically had its class set Dec. 20, OSU made only two additions and therefore lost six spots in the composite ratings. … The Cowboys rounded out their group with DE Amadou Fofana and DT Samuela Tuihalamaka, both three stars. Those two received little attention from Power Five programs. … Skill-position talent was desperately needed with record-setters Mason Rudolph and James Washington leaving. It was addressed with OSU’s two highest-rated signees: QB Spencer Sanders and WR C.J. Moore. Sanders of Denton Ryan was the Gatorade Texas Player of the Year after finishing with 3,845 yards and 54 TDs passing and 1,380 yards and 16 TDs rushing. The 6-5 Moore fell just short of five-star status. … The Pokes signed four OL prospects who are 6-5 or taller. … DE Braden Cassity of Westlake is one to watch, though he probably needs some time to bulk up.
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
National rank: 34
Not only did WVU round up one of its better classes, it did it without relying on junior college players; only five of 22 signees are transfers. The additions Wednesday were brothers Joe and Mike Brown, both offensive linemen. Joe is a transfer from Miami; Mike de-committed from Kansas. They should get chances to play because the guard position has been thinned out. … DE Dante Stills, son of former Mountaineers linebacker Gary Stills, is a consensus four star, as is DB Kwantel Raines, the No. 7 player from Pennsylvania. … WVU dropped four spots in the final rankings. … The Mountaineers win the Big 12’s most traveled award, picking off players from 12 states, including four from Georgia.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
National rank: 52
The Cyclones posted their highest finish in 247Sports history and were one of the few conference teams to move up, rising four spots in the national rankings from the first signing day. The crown jewel Wednesday was Brock Purdy, a late-blooming QB from Arizona who had offers from Alabama, Texas A&M and Central Florida among others. … ISU also signed speedy Georgia WR Tayvonn Kyle, fending off West Virginia, Maryland and Purdue. … The top recruit is four-star WR Joseph Scates, the No. 8 player from Ohio. … Dual-threat QB Re-al Mitchell, from California power St. John Bosco, is an exciting addition. … Sean Shaw Jr., a 6-6 wideout, snagged 40 TD passes for his career. … Eleven states were represented overall.
National rank: 64
When you’re 3-33 overall and 1-26 in league play but still have a job, you’re desperate for immediate help. David Beaty knows he needs to approach .500 this year or else. So he signed 11 junior college players, topped by DEs Najee Stevens-McKenzie and Azur Kamara. … The Jayhawks lured their first Rivals top-100 player in school history, CB Corione Harris of New Orleans. RB Anthony Williams of Boutte, La., is a second consensus four-star get. … Rockdale QB Torry Locklin is fresh off a Class 3A, Division I state-title season in which he rolled up nearly 5,000 total yards and 57 TDs. … KU may have a sleeper in ILB Kenny Bastida, a Floridian who drew late interest from Missouri, North Carolina and South Carolina.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
National rank: 68
It’s a pretty typical Bill Snyder class, finding under-recruited diamonds in the rough and players who fit the system. Seven pieces were added Wednesday. The name that stands out is WR Hunter Rison, a transfer from Michigan State who is the son of former NFL star Andre Rison. … CB Darreyl Patterson, one of five junior college players, is plenty good enough to have a shot at early playing time. … Snyder usually redshirts nearly all his high school signees, but safeties Lance Robinson and Wayne Jones could be exceptions. … The Wildcats were the only Big 12 school to sign a fullback, Luke Sowa. … There are five players from Texas and Kansas and four from Georgia in the 21-man class.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
National rank: 74
With the basketball team ranked an all-time high seventh in the nation, maybe Tech fans won’t fret over their football class being the lowest-rated among all Power Five programs. They added five players to a group that plummeted 16 places from Dec. 20 and ended up trailing schools like Florida International and Tulane. … Houston Lamar scatback Ta’Zhawn Henry is the best of Wednesday’s additions. … Hard to fathom, but 13 of the 17 signees play offense. Not a recipe to fix a perennially weak defense. … QB Alan Bowman is an excellent prospect and threw for 11,393 yards and 119 TDs in his Grapevine career. … Four of the top players are wide receivers, naturally. Leading the way is four-star Erik Ezukanma. … Tech landed two locals: Burnet WR Sterling Galban and New Braunfels OT Weston Wright.
Patrick Mahomes, the 10th overall choice in the NFL draft, reportedly was a victim in an aggravated robbery last Friday night in Tyler.
The former Texas Tech quarterback, selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with their first pick, was one of four victims robbed in a driveaway, according to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.
The Tyler Telegraph had this account:
Deputies were dispatched to the 8800 block of Mansion Creek Circle where four people reported being robbed by someone they believed was armed with a handgun.
The victims were in the driveway when a vehicle pulled in behind them, a man approached them, demanded property and gestured as if he was carrying a handgun in his waistband.
The vehicle fled, but deputies were able to locate it. According to KLTV, deputies arrested two males in the vehicle: Michael Blake Pinkerton, 34, and Billy Ray Johnson, 58, and booked both into the Smith County Jail.
Mahomes graduated from nearby Whitehouse High School.
Just a day after Texas formally approved a record-setting $1 million annual salary for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, Oklahoma countered Thursday with a contract making offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley the highest-paid assistant in the Big 12 and one of the tops in the country.
Riley will be paid $1.3 million per season in a new three-year deal.
“This has been in the works for a few months,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. “Lincoln’s done a phenomenal job in his two years here and we’re excited for him and his family. They’re great people and have fully immersed themselves into the Oklahoma community. He’s fully committed to OU and what we’re doing as a university and football program, and all of us are looking forward to continuing to work together to develop young men on and off the field, and bring more championships to Norman.”
Oklahoma has done great things under Riley. In 2015, the Sooners ranked fourth nationally in scoring and seventh in total offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield of Lake Travis finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting, and Riley won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
Last season, the Sooners led the nation in passing efficiency and pass completion percentage. Mayfield and receiver Dede Westbrook of Cameron Yoe finished third and fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.
“I appreciate OU and Coach Stoops taking a chance on me a couple of years ago and the loyalty they’ve shown to my family,” Riley, 33, said. “I want to display my strong loyalty to this school and program in return. We absolutely love living here. It’s a place we relate to, a place we feel very much at home. We’re looking forward to being a part of this university and community for a long time.”
The state of Texas is expected to have one more bowl game this year, bringing the number to seven.
Frisco, the rapidly growing suburb 35 miles north of Dallas, is in line to host what was formerly the Miami Beach Bowl. The game would be played at 20,500-seat Toyota Stadium, home of Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas.
ESPN Events is in the process of acquiring the rights to the three-year-old Miami Beach Bowl, which has been played in the Miami Marlins baseball park, and has been in discussions with Frisco officials to move the game to north Texas.
The game will continue to have an American Athletic Conference tie-in — Houston and SMU are in that league — and the opponent is likely to come from the Sun Belt or Mid-Ameri
ESPN announced most of its 2017-18 bowl schedule Wednesday, with no Miami Beach Bowl nor any designation of a Frisco bowl, but the network noted that additional games may be added.
Toyota Stadium already hosts the Football Championship Subdivision national championship game in early January.
The relocated game would be the fourth bowl in the Metroplex, joining the Cotton (Arlingt0n), the Armed Forces (Fort Worth) and the Heart of Dallas.
The Cotton Bowl will be played Friday night, Dec. 29, the earliest date in the 82-year history of the event. It will be the only bowl that night. The Cotton has sold out every year since moving to AT&T Stadium in 2010.
The Valero Alamo Bowl received a favorable Thursday night slot on Dec. 28.
TEXAS BOWL SCHEDULE
Armed Forces…..Fort Worth…..Sat., Dec. 23…..2:30 p.m…..Big Ten vs. Army
Heart of Dallas…..Dallas…..Tue., Dec. 26…..TBA…..Big 12 vs. C-USA
Texas…..Houston…..Wed., Dec. 27…..8 p.m…..Big 12 vs. SEC
Alamo…..San Antonio…..Thu., Dec. 28…..8 p.m…..Big 12 vs. Pac-12
Sun…..El Paso…..Fri., Dec. 29…..1 p.m…..Pac-12 vs. ACC/Notre Dame
Cotton…..Arlington…..Fri., Dec. 29…..7:30 p.m…..at large vs. at large
+ Frisco…..Frisco…..TBA…..TBA…..American vs. Sun Belt
Top Texas Tech receiver and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Jonathan Giles announced Friday he is transferring.
“Texas Tech was a dream school for me growing up as a kid, so to wear the Double T was truly an honor and privilege,” he said on Twitter. “However, I have made the decision that it’s best to pursue my dreams and academics elsewhere.”
Giles, a junior, was fourth in the Big 12 in receiving yardage last year, with 1,158 yards on 69 catches. He rolled up 13 touchdowns, third-best in the league.
Coming out of Sugar Land Elkins, Giles was a consensus three-star recruit.
Tech lost quarterback Patrick Mahomes early to the NFL draft.
The Red Raiders will return their other top receivers: Cameron Batson, Keke Coutee and Dylan Cantrell.
For the first time, fans can wager with Las Vegas sports books on the NFL Draft.
Here is a sampling of tonight’s odds, as posted by RJ Bell of Pregame.com [@RJinVegas on Twitter]
Leonard Fournette: 4.5 pick (will the LSU running back go before or after No. 4?)
Jonathan Allen: 4.5 pick
Christian McCaffrey: 8.5 pick
OJ Howard: 8.5 pick
Mike Williams: 9.5 pick
Mitchell Trubisky: 9.5 pick
Deshaun Watson: 12.5 pick
Corey Davis: 17.5 pick
John Ross: 18.5 pick
Patrick Mahomes: 22.5 pick
Over or Under
LSU players drafted in First Round: o/u 2.5
Total RBs drafted in First Round: o/u 3
Total WRs drafted in First Round: o/u 3
Total QBs drafted in First Round: o/u 3.5
Alabama players drafted in First Round: o/u 4.5
Big 10 players drafted in First Round: o/u 6
Pac 12 players drafted in First Round: o/u 7
SEC players drafted in First Round: o/u 11
First overall pick
Myles Garrett -800
Mitch Trubisky +600
Any other player +1400
-600 that Leonard Fournette will be the first RB drafted
-400 that Trubisky will be the first QB drafted
-300 that at least one team will trade up into the top 5 picks
-200 that Mike Williams will be the first WR drafted
+150 that Solomon Thomas will be the second pick in the draft
5/1 if a placekicker is drafted in the first three rounds
6/1 if Jimmy Garoppolo will be traded on draft night
Hours before the NFL Draft, reports out of Cleveland indicate the Browns do, indeed, plan to take the overall top prospect, Myles Garrett, with the No. 1 pick.
Reports have been that the coaching staff wanted the Texas A&M star pass rusher all along, but that parts of the front office/ownership were more keen on North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Trubisky is a home-town kid for Cleveland, a graduate of suburban Mentor High School and a former Mr. Ohio as the player of the year in the state.
Now the plan is to take Garrett No. 1 and then look into trading up from No. 12 — Cleveland’s second first-round selection — to grab Trubisky. Jacksonville, at No. 4, and Tennessee, at No. 5, are potential trade partners.
The only thing that could change the Browns’ thinking is if someone overwhelms them with a package for the No. 1 choice, or if the asking price to trade up for Trubisky gets too high.
Still, with owner Jimm Haslem and others seeing Trubisky, who started just 13 games at North Carolina, as a potential Bernie Kosar for Cleveland — you know, local boy comes home to save the franchise — you can pretty much bet on the Browns trading up for him.
Problem is, Trubisky is a player generally rated in the 20s and even 30s on most big boards. His upside may be of an Andy Dalton middle-of-the-pack NFL starter. But the Browns do need a quarterback, and Trubisky may be the best of a less-than-stellar bunch this year.
A savvy NFL team would probably either show patience and see which QB is available at No. 12 — or wait til next year when USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen figure to be available. Both are better prospects than any quarterback in this class.
The attorney for Texas A&M receiver Kirk Merritt said his client was suffering a bad case of “jock itch” and didn’t mean to offend two academic tutors last October.
In a statement to the Houston Chronicle, attorney Rick Davis said: “Kirk Merritt has been charged with Indecent Exposure under Section 21.08 of the Texas Penal Code because of two incidents during tutoring sessions that happened on two consecutive days.
“While Kirk is very embarrassed about this situation, and has apologized to the two tutors that he offended, he did not intend to gratify anyone by exposing himself.
“The fact is that Kirk had a bad case of jock itch. The statute Kirk has been accused of violating requires that the Defendant have an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person and that the Defendant is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his conduct.
“We think that Kirk’s conduct falls squarely under the Disorderly Conduct statute … That statute requires only that a Defendant is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.”
A&M officials said Merritt won’t play in Saturday’s annual maroon-white game that concludes spring practice. But they said Merritt already had served a suspension dating back to the exposure accusations. The suspension was lifted in February.
According to A&M,the athletic department was notified Oct. 25 about the allegations that Merritt had exposed himself on consecutive days. A&M said the Title IX office was notified, as was the Dean of Student Life.
Coach Kevin Sumlin, after receiving the police report, Oct 28, suspended Merritt from all team activities. Merritt was in the midst of a redshirt season after transferring from Oregon. He wasn’t eligible to play last fall.
The school said Merritt was arrested, Nov. 8. The school said the conduct process was finished Jan. 20. His suspension was lifted, Feb. 1.
According to the Chronicle, a charge said that one woman told police that Merritt exposed and touched himself “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her “on or about” Oct. 24. A court document said that a day later, another person alleged that Merritt pulled down his shorts and held himself also “while sitting in arm’s reach” of her. The document said both people were “offended or alarmed by the act of exposure.”
Merritt had been competing for a starting job for the fall.