Sort of a grouping of different articles this morning.
Waco Tribune’s Chad Conine writes about Tyrone Thurman, the former Midland Lee running back and Texas Tech footballer as he was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. Even included in the article is a photo of an old poster that I’ve never seen before, with Thurman, Wayne Walker, and Eddy Anderson as the Mighty Mites.
But most people know Thurman as one of the top punt returners in Southwest Conference history. I was in elementary school and already a devoted Red Raider when Thurman burst on the scene making big plays a wide receiver and punt returner for Texas Tech.
Going into the 1988 season, Texas Tech produced posters that featured former Jefferson-Moore standout Wayne Walker and receiver Eddy Anderson, both of whom were 5-8, and the 5-3 Thurman. It proclaimed them as Texas Tech University’s Mighty Mites.
I had one on my wall, proof that Thurman was one of my heroes.
He earned first-team All-America honors in 1988 as a punt returner. In his Texas Tech career, Thurman returned four punts for touchdowns along with catching 93 passes for 1,270 receiving yards. Remember, his was long before the Air Raid arrived, so those numbers were achieved in a run-first offense.
Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger writes about the 27-month process of possible playoff expansion from four to something greater than that.
Among commissioners, a key concern in expansion is weakening what is one of sports’ most thrilling regular seasons. In a playoff with on-campus games, teams are not just playing to get into the playoff field, but they are playing to host, incentivizing late-season matchups and then delivering titanic playoff duels in a more traditional college setting.
“How would you like to see Alabama travel to Ohio State for a playoff game?” asks one committee member. “Or Clemson hosting Oklahoma?”
There is less agreement on the most essential of questions: How many teams are involved?
“I think eight to 12 teams is the sweet spot,” says another commissioner.
Two more believe eight is the ideal number and another said “six to eight” is appropriate. Most, though, are reserving judgement on the topic. This issue could see the most debate, as well as the fight over automatic qualifiers.
SEC commissoiner Greg Sankey says that the SEC is good with four, of course when you get 2 of the four spots, then life is good, but life won’t always be that way. I’d be good with 8 with the bowl games being used as spots for those games. The whole article discusses how precarious this is and like a lot of you, this is really pretty simple to add those additional playoff games as bowl games, take the conference champions from the Power Five, a Group of Five team (or maybe more if deserving), two additional teams, and just move onward and upward. This also seems inevitable because of money.
Alabama announced the Advantage program which is a program that will focus on brand management, maximizing personal social media platforms, and financial literacy. This all revolves around the idea of name, image, and likeness that’s coming down the pike and when we discussed the promotion of Antonio Huffman at Texas Tech, it was also announced that Huffman would be the liaison regarding any name, image, likeness legislation, so something is going to happen for Texas Tech like this sooner rather than later. I think we’ll see programs embrace the NIL issues rather than pushing them aside. We are already here.