This is what I'm thinking about this morning, Tuesday, September 10.
- So... Oklahoma State has a problem. You know it, I know it, and it appears AD Mike Holder knows it, as well. I'm not going to rub it in that this is a huge issue and could have huge potential ramifications, if true. The point of this post is not to brag. If it is true, however, this could be one of the biggest scandals, in totality, that we've seen in a long time. Just look at the overview on SI.com-- this story has it all: players getting paid under the table, players getting paid for performance in games, "special benefits" to recruits and/or players through the hostess program, athletic impropriety, and even a little school-sanctioned drug use thrown in for good measure. It's unclear how much of this took place within the statute of limitations for the NCAA, but even if the NCAA itself can't act on most of it, it certainly looks awful enough. And that's even understanding that Oklahoma State is far from the only program doing this kind of thing. It will be crazy to see how this unfolds. I'm already seeing it used as an argument both for and against paying players, as if that's what we should be talking about.
- This business with Manny Diaz getting fired and replaced with Greg Robinson makes little, if any, sense to me. I don't see how firing the coach who took you through the offseason, who installed his system over the course of the last two years, and who probably gives you the best chance to turn things around, regardless of how they look at the moment, makes you better. And doing it after just two games, even when one of them turns out like BYU did, reeks of overreaction, doing something for the sake of doing something. Even worse, you replace him with someone who most of your players have never met. His last success was a decade ago against a significantly different Big 12. What, if anything, makes you think he'll be better? The thought seems to be that he must, simply because it couldn't get worse. It can. Especially if he starts messing around with the schemes you have in place already.
- As far as the Big 12 goes, I think you almost have to rank things right now with Oklahoma State and Baylor at the top, followed by OU, TCU, and perhaps Texas in some order, I'm not sure which. That makes the Oklahoma State news particularly meaningful, if only for the possibility that this story somehow distracts them.
- Without Baylor, this weekend's slate of games seems less than compelling, with one obvious exception: A&M vs. Alabama. I'd be lying if I said I was rooting for anything other than an outright mauling by the Tide, or if I said I saw anything else happening. Nick Saban had an entire offseason to prepare for Manziel and A&M, and if I were to guess, focused on little else. He's even had an extra week to prepare before this very game.
- Speaking of that, Collin Cowherd said something this morning that actually made a ton of sense (strange for him), a point that I think goes unappreciated. When talking about the success of Chip Kelly's offense in the NFL, he mentioned preparation time for defenses as being a factor and cited to Oregon's difficulties in games at the beginning of the season and in bowls. This is something I've thought a lot about before with respect to the SEC's dominance in bowl games. Basically, time to prepare almost always favors the defense, especially when they are run by guys like Nick Saban. When you don't have time to prepare, like in the middle of the season, the offense has an edge. I liken it to the pre-2011 Mavericks teams that people said were "built for the regular season" rather than the playoffs.
- So there's a lot of chatter out there about the possibility that Mack Brown gets fired or put out to pasture if UT's season truly turns south (assuming it hasn't already) and the monolith to the south comes calling for Briles. It's not just UT fans speculating, either; Baylor fans have found themselves caught up in the fear of it, especially after our team has electrified CFB so far. I'll be plain -- I don't know if Art Briles would leave for Texas. I'm certainly not comfortable enough to say now what I said when Tech was rumored to be after him, and you can draw from that what you will. Texas has the money to buy him, should they want to break the bank, and there are aspects to the job that Briles would probably find appealing. I will say, however, that Baylor values Briles quite highly, probably more than any other program in the country would, and will not let him go without a fight. I don't know how high they'd go to match, but I have to believe it would be quite high, especially with the stadium he built opening next year.
- We're recording Episode 5 of the Podcast tonight, rather than tomorrow, so be ready for that. We're looking into a few things to spice things up with off weeks bracketing next week's game against ULM, including bringing on a few different guests. To that end, Dan Rubenstein agreed yesterday on twitter to join us on the Podcast at some point in the future, and I'm extremely excited about that. The Solid Verbal is one of the best podcasts I know of, and we aspire to that level eventually. That Dan is a self-proclaimed "Baylor junkie" just makes it all that much better.
And that's about it. Discuss whatever you want in the comments. Bye weeks are just the worst.