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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Articles tagged: Texas Longhorns Football

Texas, Oklahoma essentially confirm Big 12 departure in joint statement

Texas Longhorns logo

It has been widely reported that Texas and Oklahoma are planning to leave the Big 12 to join the SEC, and the two schools have now all but confirmed that publicly.

On Monday, Texas and Oklahoma issued a joint statement announcing they have notified the Big 12 that they will not extend their grant of media rights beyond 2025, which is when the current deal expires. While the statement did not explicitly say the two schools will leave the conference, the message is clear.

That may sound like it places an official date on when Texas and Oklahoma will leave the Big 12. However, USA Today’s Dan Wolken notes that the schools have a legal obligation to honor the grant of rights through 2025, but they could explore ways to leave the Big 12 sooner.

The Big 12 will have little relevance nationally when Texas and Oklahoma leave. That is why the conference is reportedly considering merging with another Power Five conference. Either way, a major shakeup is coming in college athletics.

Did Steve Sarkisian know about SEC talks before taking Texas job?

Steve Sarkisian

Texas appears to be on the verge of moving from the Big 12 to the SEC, which would be an exciting shift for a program that is hoping for a brighter future under its new head coach. It also raises the question of whether that new head coach knew about the potential conference shakeup before he took the job.

Steve Sarkisian was announced as the head coach of the Longhorns back in January. Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman said on Friday that a Big 12 source told him Texas and Oklahoma have been discussing a move to the SEC for “a minimum of six months.” That would mean the talks began either before or around the same time Texas was working out a deal with Sarkisian.

Sarkisian served as the offensive coordinator under Nick Saban prior to being hired by Texas. He has no experience in the Big 12, but he is certainly familiar with the SEC. He also took several Alabama assistants with him to Texas. We doubt the prospect of the Longhorns joining the SEC would have swayed Sarkisian one way or the other, but the timing is noteworthy.

Texas is one of the most prestigious jobs in the country, with or without the SEC. They have a massive fanbase, winning tradition, and outstanding financial resources. Sarkisian is trying to prove he can win at a high level again after he was fired at USC because of alcohol issues more than five years ago.

Again, Sark probably would have taken the Texas job anyway. But if he did know about the potential conference shakeup, it may have made the position that much more appealing.

Texas fans! Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach of the Longhorns and promising a high-octane offense. Show some support for the squad with this great All Gas No Brakes shirt. It makes a perfect gift for yourself or a friend. You can buy it here:

Report: Texas, Oklahoma moving to SEC nearly a done deal

Texas Longhorns logo

The strongest athletic conference in college sports appears to be on the verge of getting even stronger, as momentum continues to build toward Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC.

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman reported on Friday that Texas and Oklahoma moving from the Big 12 to the SEC is “almost done.” An announcement could be made as early as next week. Bohls also noted that talks about the move began roughly six months ago, and Texas A&M has not been a part of them.

It was first reported on Wednesday that Texas and Oklahoma were looking to join the SEC. One theory is that Texas A&M officials may have leaked the story hoping that political forces and fans would push back against the conference shakeup and potentially scuttle it.

As of now, Texas A&M is the only school from Texas in the SEC. That gives the Aggies a major advantage with recruiting. Adding the Longhorns to the conference has the potential to set Texas A&M back significantly.

It sounds like Texas A&M is going to have to deal with it. While having Texas in the same conference could be an obstacle for the Aggies, we know who the biggest losers will be if and when the shakeup becomes official.

Texas, Oklahoma leaving for SEC would leave Big 12 mostly irrelevant

Big 12 conference

The SEC has already pulled ahead of the pack when it comes to athletic dominance in many prominent college sports. They generally have the best teams, most resources, and best fan support in football, baseball and softball, among other sports. Other conferences have competitive programs of course, and none of this means every school in the SEC is better than all schools elsewhere. But on the whole, the SEC is the big leagues compared to other conferences.

Two of the programs that could match up with the SEC in terms of competitiveness across sports, resources, and fan support, are Texas and Oklahoma. Those schools appear poised to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

Not only would that further cement the SEC as the most prominent conference in major college athletics, but it would completely weaken the Big 12, making that conference nearly irrelevant.

Texas and Oklahoma are the power schools in the Big 12, especially in football. The conference already was down to 10 teams after four left last decade. They will be down to eight schools if Texas and Oklahoma leave:

– Baylor
– Iowa State
– Kansas
– Kansas State
– Oklahoma State
– TCU
– Texas Tech
– West Virginia

TCU and West Virginia were recent additions to the conference after Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M left. They might be able to easily leave given their lack of long ties to the conference. The more likely scenario would be the Big 12 hunting for other schools to fill the spots. Houston and SMU might be natural additions.

Oklahoma State and TCU have had good football programs for quite some time. Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia have also had their moments in recent history. The conference would still have some decent football, but without Oklahoma and Texas, they would completely lack a national respect. They would be regarded as a second-tier conference that wouldn’t factor into the championship picture in college football.

Did Texas A&M plant story about Texas, Oklahoma going to SEC?

Texas AM logo

A major conference shakeup could be coming in college sports, but Texas A&M may be trying to stand in the way of it happening.

The Houston Chronicle’s Brent Zwerneman reported on Wednesday that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about joining their conference. Zwerneman went as far as to say an announcement about the two schools moving to the SEC could come within the next few weeks. Now, some are wondering if Texas A&M may have planted the story.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports laid out some of the reasons Texas A&M would be motivated to pull back the curtain on talks of Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC. At the moment, Texas A&M is the only team from Texas in the country’s strongest football conference. They probably don’t want the Longhorns joining them. The logic is that Texas A&M may have leaked the story so that political forces and fans could push back against the conference shakeup and potentially scuttle it.

As Thamel notes, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork was one of the few SEC ADs who attended SEC Media Days this week. Thamel wonders if that was a “convenient way to shine a spotlight on Texas’ reported conversations.”

Texas A&M currently has a monopoly on recruits who want to play football in both Texas and the SEC. That would change if the University of Texas joins the conference.

This is not the first time there has been talk of Texas and/or Oklahoma changing conferences. If the SEC added Texas and Oklahoma, they would go from 14 schools to 16 and would add to the strongest athletic conference in the country. That would, in theory, make it even tougher for Texas A&M to break through and contend. You can certainly see why the Aggies would be opposed to the idea.

Report: Texas, Oklahoma could join SEC

Texas Longhorns logo

Are college sports in for another major conference shakeup?

The Houston Chronicle’s Brent Zwerneman reported on Wednesday that Texas and Oklahoma have reached out to the SEC about joining their conference.

Zwerneman says that an announcement could come within the next few weeks about the power schools joining the powerful conference.

There has been talk for years about Texas and/or Oklahoma potentially joining other conferences. In 2010, both schools considered joining the Pac-12. It was at that time that Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten. Missouri and Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, while Colorado left the conference for the Pac-12.

Texas has remained with the Big 12, while creating the Longhorn Network TV channel. The Big 12 ended up adding TCU and West Virginia and dropping from 12 to 10 teams.

If the SEC added Texas and Oklahoma, they would go from 14 schools to 16, and would add to the strongest athletic conference in the country. The Longhorn Network might be in jeopardy if Texas joined the SEC, which already has the SEC Network. It’s also unclear whether the current members of the SEC would approve the additions.

Big 12 to crack down on ‘Horns Down,’ other taunts

ACU Horns Down

The Big 12 is planning to crack down on taunting this season, and that means we could see a lot less of the “Horns Down” symbol during games.

Big 12 coordinator of officials Greg Burks essentially told reporters at Big 12 media days on Thursday that there will be more flags thrown for unsportsmanlike in the conference this season. When asked specifically about the “Horns Down” gesture, Burks made it clear that players won’t be allowed to flash it to opponents.

“Lemme put it this way: If you do a Horns Down to a Texas player as an opponent, that’s probably going to be a foul,” Burks said, via ESPN’s David Wilson.

Ultimately, it will be up to the officials to determine whether a “Horns Down” gesture constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct. Burks said a player might not be flagged if the symbol is flashed toward the crowd.

“Please all of you note, I said ‘probably,'” Burks added. “We have to consider intent and consider the situation. We’ll leave it to officials.”

Whether or not the “Horns Down” gesture should be allowed has been a topic of debate for years. It’s a popular way for people to mock Texas and their “Horns Up” gesture, and most would agree that it’s harmless. However, players have been flagged for using it in games before.

Baker Mayfield, a former Oklahoma star, made it clear a while back how he feels about outlawing the “Horns Down” gesture. We’re guessing even some Texas fans aren’t bothered by it.

Texas lands former Alabama RB Keilan Robinson as transfer

Texas Longhorns logo

The Texas Longhorns have made a nice addition to their team.

Running back Keilan Robinson announced on Sunday that he is transferring from Alabama to Texas:

Robinson rushed 39 times for 254 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman for the Tide in 2019. He opted out of last season.

Robinson is following his former offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who left Alabama to become the head coach at Texas. Sark has done well on the recruiting trail. The question is whether he will be able to turn that into wins.

Texas fans! Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach of the Longhorns and promising a high-octane offense. Show some support for the squad with this great All Gas No Brakes shirt. It makes a perfect gift for yourself or a friend. You can buy it here:

Texas LB Jake Ehlinger found dead near campus

Jake Ehlinger

Texas linebacker Jake Ehlinger was found dead near the school’s campus on Thursday, according to Austin police.

Officers responded to a call on Thursday afternoon and found Ehlinger dead in the 1200 block of West 22nd Street, according to Brian Davis of Hookem. While few details were released, police said they did not consider the death suspicious. No cause of death was announced.

Ehlinger is the younger brother of former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday by the Indianapolis Colts. Jake Ehlinger was accidentally shown on NFL Network’s draft coverage, which Sam laughed about during an availability with reporters.

Jake Ehlinger spent the last two seasons as a backup linebacker for the Longhorns. He committed to Texas as a two-star prospect, and had yet to appear in any games for the team.

Photo: @jehlinger2/Twitter

Report: Arch Manning planning to visit Texas in June

Arch Manning

Steve Sarkisian has already had some success stories in recruiting since taking over for Tom Herman, and the momentum continues to roll.

Horns 247 reporter Nick Harris reported on Wednesday that 2023 quarterback prospect Arch Manning has plans to visit Texas in June.

Manning is only a sophomore and isn’t eligible yet for official visits, so this would be an unofficial visit. He is the top-rated quarterback in the 2023 class.

Manning is the son of Cooper Manning, a former Ole Miss wide receiver. His grandfather, Archie, was a star at Ole Miss and later the Saints. His uncles Peyton and Eli both won two Super Bowls in the NFL and starred in the SEC in college (Peyton went to Tennessee, while Eli went to Ole Miss).

Arch has plenty of athletic pedigree, but he does not have immediate ties to Texas. However, Cooper reportedly is trying not to pressure his son regarding the decision, which could leave Arch open to venture outside the family’s college ties. Arch reportedly liked Sarkisian at Alabama, and the relationship carried over to Texas. Arch also reportedly has received pressure to consider LSU.

Texas fans! Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach of the Longhorns and promising a high-octane offense. Show some support for the squad with this great All Gas No Brakes shirt. It makes a perfect gift for yourself or a friend. You can buy it here: