NORMAN, Okla. — Ask any of the Sooners and most of them will describe this Cotton Bowl with the same…
Hop's Thursday Musings and Such
2) Sticking with the mock drafts, the same mock draft site projects Ryan Swope to be taken with the No. 15 pick of the third round by Pittsburgh while Sean Porter is expected to be taken with the No. 24 spot of the third round to the Colts. The site only projects the first three rounds. Now, they also have early projections for the 2014 NFL Draft. They have Johnny Football going at the No. 2 overall pick in the draft to Jacksonville. I think Manziel will need to exhibit more of a passer's mentality and more downfield horsepower to be picked that high, but he may just do that. I'm not betting against him at this point. The site has Jake Matthews going with the No. 5 overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals. That's not all. Walterfootball.com predicts the Atlanta Falcons will select CB Deshazor Everett with the No. 29 choice of round one. They only predict the first round. But that basically means A&M played with five first round draft picks this season. That has to be close to a program record if not a record. Can you think of another first year head coach that inherited that much top-end talent? I'll be the first to say that Kevin Sumlin was instrumental in pulling out the talents of these players and more. He took the talent and pushed the performance to new levels, and he deserves every accolade received this offseason. But Mike Sherman deserves more credit than he's getting these days as I see his name being used as the brunt of many jokes from Internet posters on some A&M forums. Yeah, he had issues closing ball games and his last team under-performed which cost him his job. But he also rebuilt the roster and did it with a rotten locker room when he got to College Station. No fewer than seven of Sherman's players will be third round or better draft picks and that number could be more. Does Sumlin take this job if the program is in the type of disarray it was in after Franchione left?
3) I'm afraid we've probably seen the last public appearance at an A&M function by George Bush ‘41. He's deteriorated in the past year. He entered the hospital for a persistent cough in late November and he's still there after several setbacks and a problematic fever. He's now in ICU. I think he'll eventually leave the hospital and get back home, but I'm wondering if we've seen the last of our esteemed president at a Texas A&M function. We owe so much to President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush for all that they've done for Texas A&M university. He really had few direct ties to Aggieland but recognized the military and conservative core of this school and saw the potential that Texas A&M had in terms of establishing a conservative-based public policy center and a "home" for numerous retired conservative public servants in the academic community. Look no further than A&M's most decorated President Robert Gates who comes from the Bush political tree. There are many more. Plus, the university has welcomed the nation's and world's top leaders to speak at the little train station on the railroad tracks. President Bush's decision to build his library and associated public policy center did as much to legitimize Texas A&M as a world-renowned university as any other event since allowing women to enroll at the school 40-50 years ago. It's sad to see President Bush decline, but such is life. I hope the university has the biggest and best memorial service planned when we eventually lay him to rest. That certainly may be years down the road, but I'm concerned that we may not see him pop into a baseball game or visit with the football team after a practice. His active presence on our campus will be missed. Hopefully, he proves me wrong and comes back to Aggieland for many more visits.
4) I know that Duke's football program has been historically horrible. But I didn't know it was this bad. In the preview for their bowl game today, they mentioned that Duke hasn't won a bowl game in 51 years. That's amazing in and of itself until I heard this little diddy from the Duke head coach. If Duke beats Cincinnati today, it will be the first time in program history that Duke has beaten a 9-win team. I'm too lazy to check the record books to know if that's right or not, but that's what the head coach said. Man, that's some bad football for a long, long time.
5) It seems to be popular in this lead-up to the major bowls for journalists to downplay the dominance of the SEC. In fact, I've seen several articles trying to justify that the Big 12 is actually a stronger conference from top to bottom. I guess these writers are ignoring that six of the nation's top 10 teams are from the SEC. Sorry, telling me that Kansas is better than Kentucky and Auburn doesn't justify anything. So let's judge talent. Going back to the Walterfootball.com draft website, they project 14 SEC players to be selected in next year's NFL Draft. The Big 12 is a distant second with six followed by the Pac-12 (3), ACC (3), and Big Ten (2). Add those up and the SEC should have as many players drafted in the first round as the Big 12, ACC, Pac-12, and Big Ten combined. Think about that for a moment. The SEC's 14 teams has as many elite prospects as the other 46 BCS schools (I'm not even counting the Big East).
6) In 1989, a man stole a Corvette from a San Diego dealership and put it in storage until the heat died down and it was safe to drive/sell/etc. Well, I guess the guy was a bit too cautious. Some 23 years later, he instructed his attorney to anonymously contact authorities and gave them the location of the storage unit with the Corvette. The reason….storage fees had increased from about $40/month in 1989 to over $400/month today. He simply couldn't afford the storage fees anymore. Because of the circumstances and the statute of limitations, police have decided not to prosecute. In looking at the storage records, authorities calculated the man spent almost $70,000 in storage fees. The vehicle was later auctioned off for $39,000 which was the approximate price of the car in 1989 when it was stolen. The number of miles on the odometer when it was recovered…67 miles. You know the economy is bad when a crook can't afford to keep his stash.
7) The Aggies will be well-represented in the high school all-star games this week and next. Here's a listing of commits and major targets that will be participating in these games to be played over the next week or so. If you are counting at home, that's 16 current commits and six serious targets.
O-D All-Star Game - Ishmael Wilson, Cameron Echols-Luper, Darian Claiborne, Kyrion Parker, Tavares Garner, Hardreck Walker
Under Armour All-Star Game - Kohl Stewart, Quiv Gonzalez, Joas Aguilar, Isaac Savaiinaea, Shaq Wiggins, Noel Ellis, Sebastian LaRue
Army All-Star Game - Ricky Seals-Jones, Derrick Griffin, Justin Manning, Kameron Miles, Isaiah Golden, Torrodney Prevot, Mackenzie Alexander, Tony Stevens
8) Just remember, everything we are starting to hear about the new stadium is unofficial until the construction plans are generated, a real budget established, and the project approved by the Board of Regents. That will likely happen in the spring. But some of the things I mentioned last month are still on the table and will likely happen….103,000 capacity, three year phased construction and all games remain at Kyle Field, new west side stands, renovated east side, and a south zone structure with a nice brick facade.
9) The team broke for Christmas after a Saturday morning practice and they are back now starting the final push for game preparations and implementation for the OU. I haven't heard many specifics on how practice has been going, except that all of the Heisman hype and media appearances hasn't affected Johnny Football. I've heard he's been as sharp as he was at the end of the regular season. I've also heard some encouraging observations about WR Mike Evans. He's now completely healthy and he's more explosive off the ball. Expect to see a big dose of Evans at the Cotton Bowl. The staff feels OU has a match-up problem with Evans, and A&M plans to exploit this advantage early and often.
10) FYI, we still have a basketball team and they will play Army this Saturday at 4:00 PM. I just thought you'd like to know. The game against Houston Baptist was originally scheduled for Friday, January but because of the Cotton Bowl the game will be played on Thursday as part of a doubleheader with the women who will actually open up SEC play with Alabama.
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