The Morning Stake: 2016.01.02

Texas Tech Hosts Texas @ 1:00. That’s right, Texas Tech hosts the 8-4 Longhorns today at 1:00 pm. There will be a preview posted simultaneiously with this post, but here’s some other things to read.

  • ESPN’s Andy Katz says that with a win, folks will have to take Texas Tech seriously.
  • LAJ’s Krista Pirtle writes that Texas Tech is looking for validation:

    Now, this Red Raider basketball program enters Big 12 play with the most confidence its ever had under Tubby Smith and his staff.

    “Last year we had all kinds of distractions with dismissals and things like that,” the Tech coach said. “Then the year before that we were all new and trying to get guys to believe. We had some pretty good talent, depth and veteran players but it was a new system.

    “Now, we’ve got guys in the system. Devaugntah Williams and Toddrick are veteran players. The freshmen are now sophomores. We have a lot more continuity, which always helps.”

  • LAJ’s Pirtle also has a Q&A with Keenan Evans:

    Q: What’s been the biggest lesson coach (Tubby) Smith has taught you?

    A: The biggest lesson that coach Smith has taught me would probably be to keep playing. Don’t put yourself down. If you turn it over, just keep going. No matter what, play hard. You can have an off day on offense, but you can never have an off day on defense. Keep playing hard.

  • LAJ’s Pirtle also takes a look at the Longnorns.

Bubble Collapses. The Athletic Training Center, the bubble, collapses on Friday. No one was injured.

The ATC was scheduled to be closed after the spring to make room for the new indoor practice facility. EverythingLubbock has some quotes from Robert Griovannetti, who says that they are scrambling a bit to find a place for the track team, who was still scheduled to have some indoor events there this spring:

“The track team is the first team expected back, and they’ll be back on Sunday, so right now we’re scrambling a little bit to see where we can relocate some of their efforts and what they’re going to do,” he said.

“Obviously with football being done, they’ve got a weight room that maybe some of the sports can utilize at this point. We’ve got a few days to look around campus and see some places where maybe we can relocate our student athletes,” Giovannetti said.

Ratings Disaster. Via the AP, the New Year’s Even College Football Playoff semifinals were apparently a ratings disaster, something that lots of folks predicted. The Orange Bowl dripped 38.5% and the Cotton Bowl dropped 36.8%, losing almost 10,000,000 viewers. SI’s Richard Deitsch notes that ESPN wanted to change the semifinal dates to today, January 2nd, which would have made a ton more sense, but CFB executive Director Bill Hancock didn’t want to change the dates:

“We approached the CFP with a one-year change—and really a one-year-only opportunity—because of a complete quirk in the calendar,” said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN’s vice president of programming and acquisitions. “With Saturday being a traditional college football day, we thought it could be a great one-time opportunity to have the semifinals fall on Jan. 2. You would have the Rose and Sugar and Fiesta [bowls] on Jan. 1 as it already is scheduled and then you would move what is the current New Year’s Eve schedule to Jan. 2. We approached the CFP with [the idea], the CFP vetted it and they decided to stick with the regularly scheduled calendar, which is fine, and we move forward.”

Ben-Hanan said ESPN officials had multiple conversations with College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock last winter, but the College Football Playoff executives would not budge. “We thought the bowls would have liked it for on-site attendance reasons because it was a Saturday,” Ben-Hanan said. “There was a lot to like about it, but in the end it was their decision. They are very invested in establishing this new tradition, something we will of course be helping them do as a partner.”

Remember, Hancock said that he was going to “change the paradigm of New Year’s Eve”:

The conference commissioners who run the sport may not care about or even consider you, the fan, but they do care deeply about bowl executives, usually old friends who have been plying them with free everything – golf, gifts, booze, hotels, Caribbean cruises, you name it – for decades.

They really, really love those guys. Love them so much that when they designed the playoff they made sure, out of the goodness of their hearts, to continue outsourcing their most profitable games to them.

They love all bowl games but they love none quite like the Rose Bowl.

As such, they would never dare make the Rose Bowl move its kickoff time from 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 1 – you know, that perfect time to watch a big game. That’s when the start of the semifinal doubleheader should always be played. One out of every three years, when the Rose Bowl is a host, it is.

Yet in the other two years the Rose Bowl still gets the best time slot even if the game, such as this year, can only be considered “big” if you’re from Iowa. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl has somehow been granted exclusivity to the equally coveted primetime slot on New Year’s Day, even if it’s hosting Ole Miss-Oklahoma State and the five losses between them.

Draft Blogger Doesn’t Even Look Up Listed Weight for DeAndre Washington. This draft blogger for Fansided lists DeAndre Washington as weighing 185, which is not accurate. On the official site, he’s listed at 200, but whatever. Said draft blogger also says that Washington “has never played at the NFL level”, is not “overly fast” (not sure what that means) and “doesn’t possess the physical running style” to be a power back. I don’t think anyone will argue that Washington is a power back, but he’ll be a terrific third down option because he is fast, he will run between the tackles and although not the biggest running back, at 200 pounds, his actual weight, he’ll be fine. At 185, yes, that’s small for an NFL running back, but that’s not what he weighs.

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