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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Four downs: Resurrecting a rivalry

By Sean Adams

1st Down: Lone Star battle

I am a citizen of the great state of Texas. I am a fan of college football. Those two things are enough to want the University of Texas and Texas A&M to play football against each other every year. It is the two biggest and best programs in the state, and Texas A&M has, seemingly, returned to its rightful place at the front of the line with Texas, both in the state and as a national program.

Ryan Guillen, a democrat from House District 31, filed a bill Monday that would require the Longhorns and Aggies to play every year.

Texas A&M Aggies
Texas and Texas A&M should play every year, but it shouldn't require legislation to make it happen.
"This game is as much a Texas tradition as cowboy boots and barbecue," Guillen said in a statement sent to multiple media outlets. "The purpose of this bill is to put the 'eyes of Texas upon' our two greatest state universities to restore this sacred Texas tradition."

It was ironic that Guillen, a graduate of Texas A&M, would use the "eyes of Texas" line -- an obvious reference to the UT alma mater -- when speaking about the game. It has been considered widely that Texas A&M was and is willing to schedule the University of Texas but that Texas has rebuffed A&M's advances.

It took legislation in Alabama to rekindle the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn. It also took legislation in Florida to get Florida and Florida State back on the field.

Let's hope cooler heads prevail and we can leave lawmakers in Texas to the serious business of managing the state.

2nd Down: It's getting tight in here

Texas already has non-conference football games scheduled through 2017 in a full slate against the likes of BYU, UCLA, Cal, Notre Dame, Rice, North Texas, Maryland, Central Florida, UTEP and the University of Southern California.

With the Big 12 conference having 10 teams and everyone playing everyone else, the Texas schedule is set in stone through 2017.

If Texas A&M or the latest buzz of a Big-12-ACC Alliance is going to bear any fruit, the Longhorns are going to have to find room somewhere on the schedule to place those games.

Maybe "set in stone" was too strong of a phrase. That stone can always be loosened up with greenbacks and I'm sure North Texas, Rice, UTEP and Central Florida will all be fine with cashing a check to not play. That is one game per season.

You have the alliance or Texas A&M, but you have to pick one.

3rd Down: Walking into spring ...

The wide receiver position was a question at the start of the 2012 season, but by the end of the season it was a position of strength.

John Harris
Receiver John Harris is a bit of a wild card for the Longhorns after missing time with injury.
Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis are the known commodities of the group. Cayleb Jones, Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson represent the youth. Bryant Jackson and Miles Onyegbule represent the unknown.

John Harris could be the x-factor, but I honestly don’t know what to say about him any more. He played big in 2011 to start the season, then was injured and missed the rest of the year. He then was never able to make an impact in the 2012 while younger guys played in front of him.

The wide receiver group is good, but do they have the numbers if they want to play in the spread? Some schools around the country play seven or eight wide receivers in rotation, and Texas would struggle to put that many together right now.

The Longhorns decided not to add any receivers to the 2013 class, and we will have to see if they have enough in the freshmen class who might be able to contribute early.

Can one of the tight ends get out in the five receiver set? M.J. McFarland seems like the perfect candidate, but do not count out junior college transfer Geoff Swaim.

4th Down: Around the Big 12

The more I look at the 2013 Big 12, the more I start to believe that TCU could be the preseason favorite to win the conference championship.

The Horned Frogs bring back quarterback Casey Pachall to an offense that stalled in 2012 when he left the team to check into rehabilitation. They bring back the rest of the impactful players on offense, save for Skye Dawson.

TCU was ranked 16th in total defense, giving up only 324 yards per game, and it returns the lion's share of its defense, including All-American defensive end candidate Devonte Fields, who had 10 sacks and an interception as a freshmen.

Gary Patterson could be the beneficiary of a lot of attrition and graduation in the Big 12 in 2013.

Side note: Yeah I'll say it -- don't sleep on Texas.