Texas has set March 30 as the date for the team’s spring football game, with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff in Austin, school officials announced today. The Longhorns will being spring football practices on Feb. 21.
In a statement issued today by school officials, Texas point guard Myck Kabongo said he looks forward to returning to action Wednesday after a 23-game, NCAA-mandated suspension and considers himself “a better teammate” after being punished for misleading school and NCAA officials investigating claims that he accepted improper benefits. In retrospect, Kabongo said he made a mistake in the way he handled the situation.
“I should have been upfront with UT about everything the first time I had a chance, but I’m glad that I corrected my mistake and I’m glad that I was truthful with the NCAA,” said Kabongo, a preseason All-Big 12 selection who is scheduled to be in the lineup Wednesday when Texas (10-13, 2-8 in Big 12) meets Iowa State (16-7, 6-4) at 7 p.m. in Austin. “I have learned a lot about myself and what is important to me through this process. I have a great team, and they have supported me all year. I believe I am a better teammate and am looking forward to finishing the season with my team.”
_ Jimmy Burch
The full text of Kabongo’s statement is below …
“I am ready to start playing with my team again and putting behind me the last several months. When I went to Cleveland last summer, I did not intend to break any rules and did not believe I had broken any. I should have been upfront with UT about everything the first time I had a chance, but I’m glad that I corrected my mistake and I’m glad that I was truthful with the NCAA.
"I have learned a lot about myself and what is important to me through this process. I have a great team, and they have supported me all year. I believe I am a better teammate and am looking forward to finishing the season with my team. I want to thank my teammates and my coaches for sticking by and supporting me all year.”
TCU golfer Julien Brun, a sophomore from France who won an event as an amateur on the 2012 European Challenge Tour, is one of 27 players on the watch list for the 2013 Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s top college golfer.
Brun, who won in September at the Allianz Golf Open Toulouse Metropole on Europe’s developmental tour, was joined today on the watch list by three fellow Big 12 golfers: Texas’ Brandon Stone, Oklahoma State’s Talor Gooch and Iowa State’s Scott Fernandez.
California had the most golfers on the watch list, with four: Brandon Hagy, Max Homa, Michael Kim and Michael Weaver.
A list of 10 semifinalists, which could include individuals not on today’s watch list, will be released April 18. The list will be trimmed May 8 to three finalists, who will be in Fort Worth for the May 20 announcement of the winner as part of tournament week activities at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
A full list of players on the watch list is below:
2013 Ben Hogan Award Watch List
(in alphabetical order)
Daniel Berger (Florida State, So.), Julien Brun (TCU, So.), Albin Choi (North Carolina State, Jr.), Corey Conners (Kent State, Jr.), Scott Fernandez (Iowa State, So.), Steven Fox (Chattanooga, Sr.), Ben Geyer (St. Mary’s, Sr.), Talor Gooch (Oklahoma State, Jr.), Brandon Hagy (California, Jr.), Max Homa (California, Sr.), Michael Kim (California, So.), Jace Long (Missouri, Sr.), Tyler McCumber (Florida, Sr.), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Washington, So.), Kevin Penner (UNLV, Sr.), Thomas Pieters (Illinois, Jr.), Patrick Rodgers (Stanford, So.), Trevor Simsby (Washington, Jr.), Brandon Stone (Texas, Fr.), Julian Suri (Duke, Sr.), Ben Taylor (Nova Southeastern, Jr.), Justin Thomas (Alabama, So.), T.J. Vogel (Florida, Sr.), Michael Weaver (California, Jr.), Pontus Widegren (UCLA, Sr.), Chris Williams (Washington, Sr.) and Bobby Wyatt (Alabama, Jr.).
IRVING _ Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said league athletic directors expressed unanimous support for exploring a scheduling and marketing alliance with the ACC and other conferences during a Monday meeting but did not close the door on the possibility of future expansion.
Bowlsby said Big 12 administrators seek to prepare themselves for “any eventuality” on the realignment front and discussed multiple options during a three-hour discussion about the league’s future. But he stressed that league officials would not rush to expand from the existing 10-member configuration unless it makes financial sense.
Based on a recent Forbes projection for the current school year, the Big 12 is expected to have the highest average payout of any conference in terms of television, bowl and NCAA Tournament revenues _ roughly $26 million per school. Prospective new members would have to bring a comparable amount of value to the table to trigger voluntary expansion.
“Anybody we would look at would have to bring pro rata or a very high likelihood of sustained growth that would bring benefits to the league,” Bowlsby said. “We are never going to get bigger just for the sake of getting bigger.”
Bowlsby acknowledged expansion by other leagues could force the Big 12’s hand and said officials “have to be prepared to respond to that changing environment.” Speculation has centered on Big 12 interest from Florida State and Clemson, with Connecticut and Cincinnati among the most desirable remaining assets in the crumbling Big East.
But the league’s favored option, expressed in a unanimous vote at Monday’s meeting, would be an alliance with the ACC and two other leagues Bowlsby declined to name. Commissioners from the Pac-12 and SEC said Monday they are not part of the discussions with the Big 12, ACC and other leagues.
“Our group said these alliances have merit and we’re willing to support it,” Bowlsby said. “The discussions are probably furthest along with the ACC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what we’re going to end up doing.”
Big 12 athletic directors deferred questions to Bowlsby but indicated they joined him in considering Monday’s session a step forward in solidifying plans for the league’s future.
“I think we did gravitate around some principles that will guide us going forward,” said Bowlsby, who declined to offer details. “I think we created some filters that we all agreed on and I think there was a fair amount of unanimity in the room.”
The two-day meeting continues today, with discussions about future football schedules and bowl partnerships.
Texas men’s basketball player Jonathan Holmes broke a bone in his right hand during Monday’s game at Oklahoma but the injury will not be season-ending, team trainers announced today. Holmes will miss Saturday’s game against Texas Tech and the timetable for his return is undetermined.
Former Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the 2012 Outland Trophy winner and an Arlington High School graduate, projects to be the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft based on a mock draft released today by NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys’ former vice-president of player personnel.
Brandt’s mock drift is expected to be tweaked multiple times before the NFL Draft in April, based on players’ performances at the NFL Combine and in individual workouts. But in the first installment, Brandt projects Joeckel (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) to be taken No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, with the Cowboys to use the 18th pick on Eric Fisher (6-8, 305), an offensive tackle from Central Michigan.
Brandt projects five players from colleges in Texas to go in the first round, with former A&M defensive end Damontre Moore _ another junior who opted for early entry in April _ to be taken with the sixth overall pick by Cleveland. Moore and Joeckel are the only local players projected among the top 10 picks, with the others being Baylor receiver Terrance Williams (No. 14, Carolina), Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro (No. 15, New Orleans) and Texas defensive end Alex Okafor (No. 24, Indianapolis).
Brandt projects four players from Alabama, the two-time defending BCS national champs, to go in the first round: offensive guard Chance Warmack (No. 4, Philadelphia), cornerback Dee Milliner (No. 5, Detroit), offensive tackle D.J. Fluker (No. 13, Tampa Bay) and running back Eddie Lacy (No. 16, St. Louis), with two quarterbacks taken among the top 10 picks: West Virginia’s Geno Smith (No. 3, Oakland) and USC’s Matt Barkley (No. 7, Arizona).
Texas football coach Mack Brown announced tonight that linebacker Jordan Hicks and quarterback Case McCoy, who were suspended from the team the day before the Longhorns’ Dec. 29 game against Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, have rejoined the squad.
Both players are expected to take part in spring drills, along with four January signees announced Sunday: tight end Geoff Swaim, linebacker Deoundrei Davis, offensive lineman/defensive end Jake Raulerson and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Swaim is a junior-college transfer. The others graduated early from high school to enroll for the spring semester.
In a statement, Brown said Hicks and McCoy will be subject to additional discipline that “will be handled within the team.” Both players were sent home after missing curfew and becoming the focus of a sexual assault investigation by San Antonio police. Eventually, no charges were filed in the incident.
In the statement, Brown said: “When you break team rules, there’s a certain amount of trust that has been broken and that will be addressed with further discipline. That discipline will be handled within the team.”
Brown said three seniors with remaining eligibility have elected to give up football: OG Thomas Ashcraft, TE Trey Graham and DT Kyle Kriegel.
Texas defensive tackle Brandon Moore, a junior-college transfer who started five games for the Longhorns last season, has decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft, Moore and school officials announced tonight. Moore, who began his college career at Alabama, made 18 tackles (eight for losses) with two sacks in his lone season at Texas.
For those wondering about the availability of Monte Kiffin, the leading candidate to become the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator after spending the past four seasons coaching in the college ranks, here’s the skinny about his former boss _ son Lane Kiffin, Southern California’s head football coach.
The younger Kiffin, who led the Trojans from a pre-season No. 1 ranking in the college football polls to a 7-6 record in 2012, is now No. 1 in another ranking: the one put together by editors at Coaches Hot Seat, who rank college football’s most embattled coaches.
In its updated post-bowl rankings, Lane Kiffin stands at No. 1 heading into the 2013 season, one spot ahead of Maryland coach Randy Edsall. Kansas coach Charlie Weis, after only one season with the Jayhawks (1-11, 0-9 in Big 12), is No. 3.
Texas coach Mack Brown checks in at No. 9 despite his team’s Alamo Bowl victory over Oregon State, which allowed the Longhorns (9-4) to climb to No. 19 in the final AP poll and 18th in the coaches poll. But Brown’s team has compiled only a 22-16 record over the last three seasons, with the 9-4 mark being Texas’ best in that stretch.
For a full breakdown of the website’s post-bowl rankings, hit this link:
Texas A&M capped its record-setting, inaugural football season as a Southeastern Conference member with another milestone today: the Aggies climbed to No. 5 in both post-season polls, the school’s top finish in the final rankings since 1956.
Only once in the history of the football program, when the Aggies won the 1939 national championship, has A&M finished higher in The Associated Press’ final rankings than Tuesday, when A&M (11-2) shared the fifth spot with Georgia (12-2). The Aggies also finished fifth in the coaches’ poll.
Both of A&M’s previous Top 5 finishes in the final polls came during undefeated seasons: 1939 (first, 11-0 record) and 1956 (fifth, 9-0-1 record). Tuesday’s placement marked the first time for A&M to crack the Top 10 in the final rankings since 1994, when the Aggies finished at No. 8, and stood as the school’s 12th career finish in the Top 10.
A&M, a 41-13 winner over Oklahoma in last week’s AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, joined Texas as the only teams from the Lone Star State to land spots in the final polls.
The Longhorns (9-4) climbed to No. 19 in the AP poll, breaking a two-year absence from the final rankings, on the strength of a 31-27 victory over No. 20 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. Texas finished 18th in the coaches poll.
No Big 12 team cracked the Top 10 in the final polls, with Oklahoma (10-3) placing 15th in both polls and Kansas State (11-2) finishing 12th in the AP poll and 11th on coaches’ ballots. By comparison, the SEC had five schools ranked in the Top 10 of both polls, led by No. 1 Alabama (13-1), a 42-14 winner over Notre Dame in Monday’s BCS National Championship Game.
A&M’s season included a 29-24 victory over the eventual national champs in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Nov. 10. The Aggies finished 4-2 against Top 25 opponents this season.