Can Anyone Bring the Heisman Back to Texas?
With the Heisman back up for grabs with thought, we'd engage in the pointless exercise of figuring out who might be able to bring the trophy back to Texas from its hiatus in Oklahoma. To win the Heisman a player needs a few things to go their way, first, they need to play for a Power 5 squad. The last non-Power Five winner came before the Power 5 was even a thing, way back in 1990 when BYU's Ty Detmer won the trophy.
You also have to win a lot of games. Only three times in the past twenty years has a winner come from a team that won less than ten games: Lamar Jackson, Tim Tebow, and Ricky Williams. If you're going to win the Heisman, playing quarterback helps, eight out of the past ten winners have been signal callers and 33 winners overall. So who in Texas has a shot?
Sam Ehlinger, QB Texas
Ehlinger plays the right position for the right school. Texas is a blue blood, and he'll get to display his talents in some huge games including USC in Austin and the Red River Shootout. If Texas can't get to ten wins, the voters will ding him, but if he puts up monster numbers, they'll overlook eight or nine wins.
Ed Oliver, DL Houston
Olivers has two major strikes, he plays for a group of five team, and he's a defensive tackle. Most voters won't notice the nuance that Oliver brings to the table so he'll need a monster statistical year for a Houston team that will have to win ten plus games.
Trayveon Williams, RB Texas A&M
Williams plays the position with the second most Heisman's to its name, running back. After an up and down 2017, he'll need to recapture some of the flashes that showed during his 2016 season. He'll get more touches in Fisher's offense than he did last season and he'll be the undoubted feature back. Can A&M win eight or nine games, doubtful, so he'll need a monster season against the right opponents.
D'Eriq King, QB Houston
Heisman voters grade on a curve, and that curve will hurt King's chances. If King puts up Greg Ward Jr. numbers he might stand a chance to enter the conversation, but remember, Greg Ward Jr. put up Greg Ward Jr. numbers in 2015, and no one cared. King will Heisman moments, like his comeback win over USF in 2017, and plenty of them to get into the mix.
Sun Belt Scheduling
Today the Sun Belt announces its 2018 schedule so Texas State will find out who, when, and where. The Bobcats are already slated to play Rutgers, Texas Southern, UTSA and New Mexico State in 2018, the rest of the schedule will play out tomorrow.
It's a big day because the Bobcats are in desperate need of wins, especially in conference and 2018 will be the first year the Sun Belt splits into two divisions. Texas State will be in the West with Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, and South Alabama.
We already know that the Bobcat's Eastern Division crossover games are Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, and Troy. Troy and App State are probably the front-runners in the East and Georgia Southern might be in for a quick rebound with a rich history and a new head coach. The key is when those eastern trips fall and how many back to back road games will be on the table.
How Many Wins to get off the hot seat?
As we see it, two coaches are squarely on the hot seat, two others in Texas are in need of avoiding it. So how do you survive and thrive in Texas, how many wins do you need? Let's postulate.
Kliff won six games last year and survived. Big 12 wins are critical for Koach Kliff; He's 10-17 in the league the last three years, 6-12 the last two. Our gut says if Kliff doesn't win eight he's done. He could win seven if they're the right seven, i.e., beat Texas and beat one of the Oklahoma's. Six wins ain't gonna get it done.
Put it this way; if Withers wins two games again, he won't be back. That being said the bar isn't altogether high. If Withers can win four or five games, you can't get rid of him, but he's on notice for 2019. If he gets to a bowl game, build a statue.
Rhule isn't on the hot seat, but he's gonna have to start showing progress in year two. Baylor preaches patience, but their fan base was spoiled by all the winning (and sexual assaults) under Art Briles. Another 1-11 season and year three gets really interesting.
If Houston's bar, according to their school president, is nine wins, Major has some work to do. Again, if he wins eight games, no one is going to care much, if they dip below seven, his 2019 season is a zero tolerance affair (no that's not a Major Applewhite pun).
Best Grub at your local stadium
Forget the Heisman and wins and stuff, let's get to the important stuff, which Roundup Stadium has the best in-stadium grub. At this point, we've visited every stadium in Texas, except for McLane Stadium, in the past three to four years. We've also eaten a lot of artery-clogging food because we love you that much. Here's a rundown alphabetically:
The dome offers a lot of local flair inside the mostly non-descript concourse. Bonus points because the stadium is indoors and air-conditioned. The beer selection is much improved over a couple of years ago. There were rumors of beer shortages and slow service, including a debacle at a Metallica concert a few years back, I haven't run into that, though I did wait in a long line at Guns-N-Roses a few months ago. A couple of local breweries have spots inside now as well. Solid.
Amon G. Carter
Apparently, there's an App for TCU games that allows you to order your food and bypass the line to pick it up. I was not aware of this and like a stiff stood in line. I will not make that mistake again. Several local spots are inside the stadium which is completely unrecognizable from the old Amon Carter. Old Amon Carter had the personality of a Sears.
Overall pretty good. Rudy's BBQ is a plus or was when I was there. I had a sausage wrap. If anyone wants to lure me out of hiding they'd do well to offer me a free sausage wrap. The beer selection is better than you'd expect with some craft options I selected by the scientific method of logo originality. No lines generally but then attendance wasn't shall we say, brisk.
The updates to the stadium were much needed. Again, the concession lines weren't long, and it's pretty straightforward food, but I had Zaxby's because I'd never had Zaxby's before even though they sponsor the Heart of Dallas Bowl. When we went, they'd just started selling beer, and it was pretty standard and readily available. On the beer scale, the proper hierarchy is free, cold, cheep, readily available, and finally Schlitz.
DKR Memorial Stadium
You can get Torchy's at DKR. You will wait a long time for your Trailer Park, but it is there. I hath seen it. It's a limited menu, but again, I hath seen it. There's a Salt Lick which was good as well, but not like the original. BBQ, unlike defense, doesn't travel. Rumor had it there was a Korean BBQ place there as well but I hath not seen it.
SMU's stepped up its game, Campisi’s sells a decent slice, and I can, in fact, confirm there was a street taco stand, but I didn't partake. I lie awake at night thinking about the tacos I've passed up. I live with a lot of regret. I drank a Shiner and paid too much for it.
Jones AT&T Stadium
Quantity over quality in Lubbock. I had cold nachos here, which should be a crime or at least a ticketed offense. I also had a bratwurst sandwich and a jalapeño sausage wrap, and I felt all the pain of cold nachos leave my body, and I experienced total consciousness. The concession lady didn't even judge me.
For all the money they put into Kyle Field the concession are pretty meh. Lots of chain stuff, though Double Dave's pizza rolls are always a welcome sight. If you're sitting in general population good luck with alcohol, you can only purchase it in premium seating areas, and you can't carry it down to your seat. High rollers can get rolled in their suites, but the common man must rely on his ability to get hammered in the parking lot before the game.
Not great. Standard stuff, the pricing was better than most places, and of course, you aren't fighting through lines. Beer and alcohol were available in one area of the stadium where you had to stay to finish your beer. I chose not to intern myself. Apparently, that policy changed a few years ago, hooray for progress.
Ok, I've been to the Sun Bowl, and I mean the actual bowl game, not a UTEP game. Yes, I feel shame. I had a burrito. Thirty minutes later, I wished I hadn't. The people around my seat wished I hadn't either. The beer flowed like water at the Sun Bowl, and as a Miller Light man, I was pleased. The vistas of the Sun Bowl are incredible, and El Paso is severely underrated for its food scene.
Ok, look, I will default to Chick-Fil-A if I need to and that's what I did at TDECU. You can't go wrong with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Oh and waffle fries. I remember the pricing being north of affordable for most items, but that's the norm. With such a diverse culinary city around the stadium, I was hoping for some Korean or Thai options. Yes, those are different.