After watching the 20th consecutive Super Bowl game without the Dallas Cowboys it’s time to ask the annual question “Well, are they close?”
By using the Broncos and Panthers as the new standard, no, the Cowboys are not close. Throw Seattle and New England into the mix as well, and the answer is still no.
If it makes you feel any better, Vegas still hearts the Cowboys. The early odds to win Super Bowl LI are in, and Jerry’s toy is a 16-1 favorite.
Until the Cowboys build a defense that consistently gets close to quarterbacks, they are not close to Super Bowls. And Von Miller ain’t walking through that door while the previous “solution” to this problem, Greg Hardy, already has.
Before the NFL Combine and college spring practice begin, it’s time to pull out Mark Ingle’s Ouija Board For Occasionally Accurate Predictions. Please know all predictions are subject to change; I reserve the right to change my mind at any time and to burn this after reading.
Cowboys: Jerry Jones will be locked in a 4,800-square-foot closet by son Stephen, and the door will be monitored by daughter Charlotte, until some other team signs Johnny Manziel. That or the NFL decides Mr. Football needs to take some time away.
Once that decision has been made, Jerry will sign former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III as the developmental backup behind Tony Romo. It won’t work and Griffin will be cut before the start of the season because injuries have killed the player formerly known as RGIII.
The Cowboys will use the No. 4 overall pick in the draft on a defensive player and use later round picks on a quarterback and a running back.
They will win the NFC East but just miss the NFC title game when Dez Bryant catches a ball with both hands, and runs for 10 yards to set up Dan Bailey’s game-winning field goal in Seattle. But the catch will be overturned when officials rule Dez did not grip the ball hard enough.
TCU: Former A&M quarterback Kenny Hill will be named the team’s starter approximately 30 seconds before the purple toadies’ season opener against South Dakota State. I can’t wait for Arkansas to come to Amon G. Carter on Sept. 10; old-school Southwest Conference with the exception that both teams should be quite good.
Everything is set up as it was in 2014 when TCU was the biggest surprise of the season. The loss of Trevone Boykin, Josh Doctson and four starters on the offensive line will push the team’s preseason rankings lower, behind Oklahoma, the Baptists and T. Boone State.
TCU’s schedule is home friendly and the return of so many veteran defensive players should offset the losses. Its season will come down to games against Oklahoma and at Baylor, which they will split, resulting in a tiebreaker to settle the Big 12 title.
Baylor: The Bears start the season 3-0 but fail to improve to 4-0 after an attempt to add Texas Wesleyan to the nonconference schedule falls short. TWU announced on Wednesday it is bringing back football for the first time since 1941, but the Bears will have to wait to play the Rams until 2017 when the team will begin play.
Quarterback Seth Russell will win the starting job over Jarrett Stidham and the team will win its first three games by a combined 192-13. That figure might actually be accurate.
The timing of its game against Oklahoma State on Sept. 24 is a killer. The Cowboys will upset the Bears in Waco, even though it won’t be much of an upset. Remember, Baylor upset T. Boone State last fall. Then the Bears will defeat TCU in Waco on Nov. 5, thus ensuring neither team makes the playoff.
Texas: Mack Brown is gone, but Charlie Strong wears the Coach February title just fine after he hauled in another “top 10” recruiting class, whatever that means. UT will have its first winning season under Strong to avoid the embarrassment of three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the 1930s.
Linebacker Malik Jefferson will be the best defensive player in the Big 12, but by midseason opening-game starting quarterback Jerrod Heard will be on the bench in favor of freshman Shane Buechele. UT wins eight games and Strong lives for another year in Austin.
Texas A&M: It continues to hit the fan in College Station as former prized recruit Kyle Allen told Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com that one of the reasons he transferred to Houston was the dysfunctional, enabling culture of the Aggies program under coach Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin will start senior OU transfer Trevor Knight in Week 1 against UCLA at Kyle Field and immediately see what his former team knew: He’s a nice backup. The Bruins will win and the Aggies will finish with their worst record since 2009 when they were 6-7 under Mike Sherman.
Despite the fully guaranteed six-year, $30 million deal Sumlin signed in 2013, he will be fired after the season and replaced by another ex-Houston coach, Tom Herman.
Others: Houston will win the American Athletic Conference again. ... The highest NFL draft pick from a Texas school will be Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings ... TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson will be selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round ... Donald Trump wins the presidential election by the widest margin ever recorded, and Mac Engel finishes second in People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive behind Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.