Bohls: Heisman royalty returns to Darrell Royal's place once again

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. Mr. Heisman's in town. Bryce Young will be the 22nd Heisman Trophy winner to square off against Texas — going back to TCU’s Davey O’Brien —  and the 11th to grace DKR with his presence. By my highly unofficial count, the Longhorns have gone 2-9 against Heisman winners at home, having beaten only Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Nebraska’s Eric Crouch unless I missed one. … LSU’s Joe Burrow was the most recent, handing Texas a 45-38 loss in an epic collision in 2019. … I’ve never forgotten the time in 1984 when All-American safety Jerry Gray ran down Auburn’s Bo Jackson from behind in Austin and tackled him, breaking Bo’s right shoulder in probably the most memorable Longhorns moment against an eventual Heisman winner. It was one of the most epic plays at Royal-Memorial Stadium because Gray caught up with Jackson and brought him down after a 53-yard run. Texas had beaten the Tigers 20-7 the year before on the road with help from bad Auburn coaching by Pat Dye that limited Bo to one carry in the first half. Jackson was rumored to have run a 40-yard dash in 4.18 seconds. Gray was so distraught over ending the season of Jackson, who would win the Heisman the next year, that he called Bo several times that year to check up on him. … Texas beat Texas A&M’s John David Crow 9-7 in College Station in his Heisman year in 1957 in the last meeting between Texas and Bear Bryant as an Aggies coach since he left after that season to take the Alabama job. However, Crow led A&M to a 34-21 win the year before at Memorial Stadium for the Aggies’ monumental, first win here since the stadium was built in 1924.

More: D'Shawn Jamison turns in one of his best games as a Longhorn

2. Measured response. Saturday’s showdown with No. 1 Alabama is clearly a measuring stick for Steve Sarkisian and his Texas program. He didn’t necessarily want to put that out there, saying, “It’s one chance, a chance to do what we love to do. This is not a game that will necessarily define our program. It might and it might not. But our goal is to be in Dallas on Dec. 3 (for the Big 12 championship). This game has no impact on that.” … I would mildly disagree because Alabama is the gold standard and Sarkisian will learn if his team can beat the best team in the land or at a minimum stay competitive for 60 minutes. It will directly impact the national perception of the Longhorns, the psyche of this team, future recruiting and a clearer understanding of Texas’ readiness for when it joins the SEC within the next three years, which athletic director Chris Del Conte said remains unknown. … Sark said he has been yelled at by Saban before, but probably not to the same extent as Saban punching bag Lane Kiffin. “Yeah, Lane used to get it pretty good,” Sarkisian said. “There were a couple I vividly remember, looking down from the press box. There was a lot of that. But that shaped us. Part of it is if he’s yelling at you, that means you didn’t reach a standard that was expected of you. If you’re like me, that’s what drives you. And if you met his expectation, you’re doing something right. If you don’t, you know how to do it better the next time.” … No one at Texas knows for sure if Saturday’s game could break an attendance record, but the number to shoot for is the 103,507 who crammed into DKR to watch Sam Ehlinger lead the Horns to a 37-14 win over USC in 2018. “It all depends on how hot it is,” Del Conte said. Asked for the weather forecast, he said, “Hot.” The low temp should be 72 degrees with a high reaching 96.

3. Tide on top. OK, Alabama, you win. I put the Crimson Tide No. 1 on my Associated Press Top 25 ballot after they obliterated an 11-win Utah State team 55-0 in a game that was over at halftime. I’ll admit I was mightily tempted to put Georgia in the top spot. To me, the Tide and Bulldogs are 1 and 1A. I dropped disappointing Utah to No. 16 and totally dropped Oregon off my ballot since it was humiliated. I moved Utes-killer but previously unranked Florida all the way up to No. 9 and probably should have elevated the Gators even higher. I added BYU, Baylor’s Saturday opponent, to my Top 25 at No. 22. … Speaking of No. 1, did you see where Jerritt Elliott’s machine-like Texas volleyball team dismantled No. 12 Stanford after already whipping No. 4 Minnesota and No. 7 Ohio State? In four matches, Texas has lost just two sets, heading into a home match with UC-Davis on Wednesday. Can you say perfect season?

Golden: The Longhorns need to deliver a punch first against the Crimson Tide

4. Heisman hopes. Isn’t it time to say Stetson Bennett IV is a legit Heisman favorite? He completed all but six of his 31 pass attempts and threw for a career-high 368 yards and two touchdowns. I heard one commentator suggest that Bennett reminded him of Colt McCoy with his poise and tremendous accuracy. … Bijan Robinson didn’t help his campaign any with only 71 yards against doormat Louisiana-Monroe. That should have been a stats game for him and about a buck eighty. Oh well. But Bijan doesn’t mind. He’s a team-first guy. Plenty of time to impress voters.

More: Steve Sarkisian prefers to focus internally on what his team needs to do.

5. Really, Georgia? Did you really lose a record 15 players to the NFL draft, including five in the first round, and not miss a beat in the beatdown of Oregon? … Have they fired Brian Kelly yet at LSU? File that under Be Careful What You Wish For. Kelly left the security of Notre Dame for SEC Country and was promptly reminded it ain’t that easy, and this wasn’t even a conference game. His special teams were a joke. The LSU-Florida State finish was flat-out crazy. How many games have you seen with the losing team driving 99 yards for the apparent tying touchdown on the last play of the game, only to have the extra-point attempt blocked? … Did you catch the Purdue meltdown against Penn State when Jeff Brohm went brain-dead and refused to run the ball with a touchdown lead over the last half of the fourth quarter and instead passed on virtually every down, which gave the Nittany Lions plenty of time to rally for the comeback win. Some of the worst coaching I’ve ever seen. ... I'd give Cade Klubnik another month before winning the Clemson quarterback job.

Texas coach Steve Sarkisian will have some tough seasons ahead of him thanks to aggressive schedules that include Big Ten powers Ohio State and Michigan in coming years. And that's not factoring in the jump in competition once Texas and Oklahoma move to the SEC.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian will have some tough seasons ahead of him thanks to aggressive schedules that include Big Ten powers Ohio State and Michigan in coming years. And that's not factoring in the jump in competition once Texas and Oklahoma move to the SEC.

6. Playing the big boys. Texas has a highly ambitious nonconference schedule moving forward, and Del Conte said he may have to find a couple of future opponents if home-and-home dates with Georgia in 2028-2029 and Florida in 2030-2031 have to be canceled to accommodate the Longhorns’ SEC schedule. “By the time we get there, those will be conference games,” Del Conte said, “and I might have to find another nonconference game (to replace those four).”… Before that happens, Texas visits Alabama next year, hosts Michigan in 2024, has a home-and-home series with Ohio State in 2025-26 and two games with Arizona State in 2032-33. Not sure Texas was banking on being in the SEC when it lined up games with those two Big Ten powers, which should make for a vicious strength of schedule. … Del Conte also wanted to clear up the drama surrounding quarterback Quinn Ewers’ car being towed Saturday night. “To be clear, they all have parking passes,” Del Conte said of the players. “He just forgot to move his car (from the Manor Garage). It was an honest mistake.” Asked if he himself had gotten any parking tickets on campus, he said, “Oh yeah, I’ve gotten tickets. Hey, they’re just doing their job. It was my own fault.”

Bohls: Texas' players minded their P's and Q's and didn't want to rile up Alabama

7. Faulty fantasy. We held our fantasy football auction draft on Monday night, and I ended up with a team that's long on fantasy and probably short on fulfilling. Yeah, the team I run with sons Zachary and John Tyler has Tom Brady as our quarterback along with Austin Ekeler, Joe Mixon, Tyreek Hill and the Buffalo defense, but it could be a long year if Brady plays to his age and his offensive line doesn’t get shored up. I was really hoping to grab a rookie like Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson or Breece Hall.

8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to former Texas Tech coach Matt Wells. ... I heard directly from last week’s subject, Branndon Stewart. The former Aggies quarterback lives in the Westlake area where he works in the software industry and is married to former Longhorns track coach Bubba Thornton's daughter, Courtney. They have 12-year-old twins. Stewart tells me he just co-founded another software company called Press Sports, which he says is a sports social mobile app for athletes. “Think LinkedIn plus TikTok, but only for athletes,” Stewart says. “We have about 300k Gen-Z athletes on it, including 19 first-round major league baseball draftees.”

9. On the couch: Found the Netflix documentary on Manti Te’o called “Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist” just fascinating and a compelling subject in these times of social media gone over the edge. The Notre Dame linebacker, who got swept up in a catfishing scheme by a transgender woman over a span of four years, had his life completely scarred, but he comes off as totally vulnerable and a completely sympathetic figure if but very naive because you have to wonder why he didn’t insist upon seeing his girlfriend over a span of four years. Lots of interview time with Te’o, who is now an NFL free agent, and Naya “Ronaiah” Tuiasosopo, who perpetrated the hoax and didn’t seem nearly enough remorseful. The two-episode documentary is must-see TV. Gave it eight ducks.

Crazy prediction: The Dallas Cowboys will miss the playoffs.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Bohls: Heisman royalty returns as Texas football faces Alabama