For the time being, the best Texas has to offer is A&M

08/23/2014 8:32 PM

08/23/2014 8:33 PM

There is no fan base enjoying its cake more than Texas A&M’s, which loves its master chef, Kevin Sumlin.

This a team that has had seven players arrested since the end of the 2013 season, but it’s all good in College Station.

Meanwhile, fans whine that TCU can’t win because Gary Patterson’s team is “full of thugs.” Patterson has had to boot a few of them off of his team. TCU was 4-8 last season.

Charlie Strong seems to be adding players to his roster at Texas with the intent of doing nothing but kicking them off the team.

Coach Sumlin, using the rhetoric winning coaches can easily dispense, is merely “taking care of his issues in-house.”

The Aggies are 20-6 in Sumlin’s first two seasons and 2-0 in bowl games. It bears repeating that in big-time sports, win absolves sin.

Coach Sumlin, just keep ’em fooled and the statue will be done here shortly no matter how long the Aggies‘ rap sheet grows. They have already given you a raise, an extension and a $450 million facelift for your stadium.

Whatever doubt people like me had about Sumlin and A&M’s ability to compete in the SEC have been answered. They can hang. And hanging in the SEC is good enough to win Texas.

These things are fluid, but until the Big 12 can get its stuff together and the boneheads in charge finally let A&M play Texas, the Aggies are the flagship football school in a football state. Baylor is the highest-ranked team from Texas — 10th — but the Bears’ loss to Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl left a sour taste and good reason to be skeptical.

When Sumlin arrived to College Station in 2012 his job looked like a losing proposition: a team that could not win the Big 12 was entering the brutal SEC. In Austin was Coach February, Mack Brown, the best recruiter in the nation.

One Johnny Football and one win at No. 1 Alabama later, and Sumlin sits atop Texas only having to deal with Art Briles and Baylor for state supremacy. The ’Horns will have a say in this matter once Coach Dismissal begins winning at UT.

Life after Johnny begins on Thursday when the No. 21 Aggies open at No. 9 South Carolina. Not that many people bet, but the Aggies are 11-point underdogs.

If you are so inclined, or if you’re a Longhorn, Red Raider, Sooner, Bear or Horned Frog, you can dissect Sumlin’s record and devalue each win.

The win at Alabama two years ago was a result of good timing. The SEC West has been relatively weak. The other teams in the SEC aren’t cheating well enough.

The arguments against Sumlin are moot. The Aggies have held up in the SEC.

How well they hold up without Johnny is a major concern, but for the past two years the best team in Texas has been Texas A&M.

This is a compliment to the Aggies and an indictment of the Big 12.

The conference is one of the top three in the country, but the gap between the SEC and the rest remains so wide that no Texas team in the Big 12 looks like it could do any better than what A&M has done thus far.

Like many of you, I am sick of the SEC’s holier-than-thou football arrogance. But that league’s football pompousness is deserved.

This season has all of the makings to be a letdown for Sumlin and the Aggies. Of course, we said the same thing two years ago.

Cowboys’ true value

Forbes ranks the Dallas Cowboys as the most valuable franchise in the NFL at a cool $3.2 billion. That ranking, to Jerry Jones, is worthless.

“We’ll never know what it’s worth unless it sells,” Jones said last week on KRLD/105.3 FM. “That’s not going to happen.”

Thus breaking the hearts of millions of Cowboys fans not named Jones.

Question the man’s ability to run a franchise, but do not doubt his intent. The man bought the team with the intent of winning football games and running it like you would your fantasy football team.

“We’ve used anything we can, whether it be pride or recognition, to help us make a first down,” Jerry said. “I don’t know that ranking has helped make us a first down, but if there is a way to figure out to make a first down I’ll do it.”

At this point, he should be more concerned about how that ranking can prevent other teams from making first downs.

Honoring Marion

Lost last week was Mavs veteran forward Shawn Marion leaving via free agency for the Cleveland LeBrons. Can’t blame The Matrix for chasing a title with The King.

Marion was traded to the Mavs in 2009 and in his five seasons was the Mavs’ most durable and versatile player. He was one of the most underrated pieces of the 2011 title team.

He was known for that ugly flip-jumper, but he could guard four positions, finish in transition and was a total pro.

That said, he should not have his number retired when Mark Cuban begins hanging jerseys at the Monopoly Airlines Arena.

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry will have their jerseys retired, but to retire Marion’s is a stretch. Had the Mavs won an additional title with Marion, he would have been their Bruce Bowen and worthy of a retired jersey.

One title does not cheapen Marion’s contributions, but retired jerseys should be for the best. Dirk is Dirk, Kidd had two noteworthy stints with the franchise and Jet was the team’s second-best scorer behind Dirk.

Marion should be honored with a night at a Mavs game, maybe even a front-office job when he retires, but his real jersey should remain active and available.

4 Number of NFL games played by Josh Brent, Amobi Okoye, Anthony Spencer, Henry Melton and Rolando McClain last season. The Cowboys are counting/planning on three of these players contributing this season.

Prediction

Johnny Manziel will be the Browns’ starting quarterback by Week 6.

About Mac Engel

Mac Engel

@macengelprof

Since 1998 Mac Engel has covered the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars, the Dallas Cowboys, colleges, high schools, the Olympics, women's basketball, even amateur women's judo. He has wasted more brain space on local sports than a human should. And he's a big fan of talking about it.

Email Mac at tengel@star-telegram.com | Read The Big Mac Blog

Join the Discussion

Fort Worth Star-Telegram is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQ | Terms of Service