Odds & Ends
Five Things on the freshmen defensive backs is scheduled to post later today. Also, make sure and check out Corn Nation for a Omaha visitors guide and Big 12 Hardball to follow the College World Series.
Texas Tech Football
I'm sure that you've seen this already, but I thought that at the very least, I should link it here. TexasAgs.com's John Lopez, who also has a radio show in Houston is making it look even worse in College Station, as he says the biggest reason Texas A&M hasn't been able to compete with Texas and OU as the elite of the Big 12 (much less with Texas Tech and now Baylor) is because TAMU doesn't have an easy major. Don't feel guilty clicking on the link, I've made it a "no-follow" link. Aside from not making this a pissing match of who has a better degree, here's the meat of Lopez's argument:
The Aggies are locked in, trapped, wallowing in tumultuous waters, by three well-funded, hungry, major players. It is almost a perfect triangle of big-time programs now taking away many of the great players that once should have belonged to the Aggies.
Coinciding with the change in the football power structure was entrance into the Big 12, where recruiting immediately got much more vicious.
The Sooners, Tigers and Longhorns all passed the Aggies because they all had one thing in common:
Whether "communications," "education" or any name they wanted to slap on those majors -- "Bengal Tiger Grooming?" -- athletes could enroll more easily, take general studies-type courses and an abundance of easy electives.
Since a major could be declared, degree plans also could be groomed with easier courses and heavy electives, all the way through a player's junior years.
Most important, they could stay eligible.
I have a couple of really simple thoughts. First, I would assume that TAMU had the same or similar majors when Jackie Sherrill or R.C. Slocum were head coaches. They were pretty good then. Second, in terms of NCAA football graduation rates, which Texas Tech sits at 79% (which if we haven't said it enough at DTN, the highest rate among public universities), Texas A&M, 56%, actually graduates more players than Texas, 50%, Oklahoma graduates 46% of their players and LSU graduates 54% of their players.
Again, of all of the examples that Lopez points out, the Aggies graduate more.
If anything, I think this is just a sad attempt to justify losing when the real reason TAMU struggled is that the AD hired the wrong coach (the ever popular Coach Fran). I've looked at the options for majors at TAMU and they don't seem any more or less difficult than anywhere else.
The TAMU basketball program seems to be doing pretty well, why wouldn't this apply to them?
I'm sure that TAMU has been passed over in terms of facilities in comparison to UT and OU, but then again, almost every school could say that. If TAMU feels like they have to keep up with everyone else, this may explain why the athletic department is $16 million in the red, but of course this doesn't explain why Texas Tech been so dominant over the last 9 years or so.
Again, I think the biggest problem was hiring a head coach that sunk the program, not the lack of facilities or easy majors. If this shows Texas Tech fans anything, it's that hiring the wrong coach can absolutely spin a program into the abyss relatively quickly, another reason that retaining Mike Leach was vital to the continued success at Texas Tech.
Texas Tech Track
NCAA Outdoor Championships
I typically don't cover track, but that Lopez story left a bad taste in my mouth, so we'll move onto something that's a little more positive. LAJ's Don Williams and DT's Chris Martin discuss the Red Raiders who are scheduled to take part in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Fayettville, Arkansas. There are 12 Texas Tech athletes who will be competing starting on Wednesday, and would ask that you send some good mojo their way. Williams talks with Gil Roberts, who will compete in the 400-meter:
Roberts, who wants badly to emerge as best of the bunch, is one of Tech’s top hopes in the national meet that starts Wednesday in Fayetteville, Ark. The sophomore from Oklahoma City Millwood has been building toward this week throughout a strong spring in which he’s run some of the top 400-meter times in the world, let alone the nation.
"I think I’m as prepared as I’m ever going to be," he said. "Coach has put me in the right position, has my legs feeling as great as they can feel. My stamina’s up. This is the best I’m possibly going to feel going into nationals."