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Beyond the Fort: The Birthday Boy, ‘Of Mice & Men’ and more

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There’s a birthday party in Norman, while the Longhorns are anything but “back” after another Week 1 loss to Maryland.

Texas v Maryland Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Week 1 of the 2018 college football season is a wrap, and the Big 12....well....had its ups and downs.

TCU, of course, ended up on the happier end of Labor Day Weekend with a 55-7 demolition of FCS-opponent Southern at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday. That can’t be said for teams among the likes of Texas and Kansas (woof).

As Week 2 now looms, its business as usual for some while others enter complete reset mode after dastardly starts to the year. Here are the latest happenings from around the conference.

Happy Birthday Lincoln Riley

It’s a day of celebration for Oklahoma football, as Lincoln Riley turns 35 on Wednesday.

The youngest head coach in the Big 12 was in store for an early birthday present on Saturday as the Sooners steamrolled Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls in 63-14 victory in Norman, Okla. If outbursts like those are the norm for Oklahoma in 2018, one of the best offensive geniuses in college football will have a whole lot more to celebrate before the season comes to an end.

Lennie and the Longhorns

If you were curious about Tom Herman’s off-the-field interests, literature is apparently one of them.

The Texas football head coach, fresh off a second season-opening loss to Maryland in as many years, equated his team’s first quarter performance at FedEx Field on Saturday to that of the John Steinbeck classic ‘Of Mice and Men’ during his weekly press conference on Monday.

In this case, it was the Longhorns who took the role of Lennie — attempting so hard to succeed that they ultimately imploded.

“Lennie wanted so badly to touch the rabbit and play with the rabbit -- he squeezed it so hard, he killed the rabbit,” Herman told reporters. “I know that seems maybe out there a little bit. I think that’s what the first quarter was. We wanted it so badly, we got in our own way quite a bit.”

Texas trailed 14-7 after one quarter before ultimately sinking into a 24-7 first-half hole. The Longhorns did climb back to take a 29-24 lead in the third quarter, but surrendered 10 points in the fourth quarter to drop the contest by a score of 34-29.

So was it truly a case of forcing the issue for Herman & Co? Regardless, expect a more conservative approach for Texas going forward.

What’s the next step for Kansas?

No, you weren’t dreaming. Kansas football really did lose to Nicholls State at home in overtime on Saturday. If that wasn’t enough of a gut-punch for the Jayhawks, this is a team which they paid $450,000 to embarrass them on their own field. Yikes.

So the big question: What’s next in Lawrence?

Is new athletic director Jeff Long going to take action in an attempt to save the program? Will head coach David Beaty even make it to the end of the season with a 2-2 record against FCS opponents now under his belt? Things are so bleak that one law professor legitimately suggested the university discontinue the football program after the loss.

For now, the answers to all of those questions remain unclear. Long did, however, issue a statement regarding Saturday’s outcome in which he called the evaluation of Kansas football “ongoing without a predetermined timeline,” per the Kansas City Star.

But for those yelling “Rock Chalk,” buckle up. If Week 1 was any indicator, the Jayhawks may be going 0-12 for the second time in four seasons. The good news? Texas does pay a visit to Memorial Stadium in November.