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TCU News & Notes: Big 12’s ‘Horns Down’ ruling deserves a penalty

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The conference continues to protect Texas

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian
Max Duggan chose to put his Frogs Up instead of flashing Horns Down when he beat Texas in 2019. That saved his team a penalty, apparently.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Around the Big 12:

For a state that prides itself on toughness, Texas — well at least it’s flagship university — sure is sensitive.

College football, more than any other sport, is about rivalry and tradition.

Night games at Death Valley.

Jump Around at Camp Randall.

Sunsets over the Rose Bowl.

And, over the last few seasons, flashing Horns Down as a team sends Texas to yet another disappointing defeat.

Now, let me be fair — most of the reasonable Texas fans I know think that the penalty for Horns Down is really stupid. But, the one that matters — commissioner Bob Bowlsby — is willing to die on the sword that THE FEELINGS OF TEXAS PLAYERS MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS. And that means that Coordinator of Officiating Greg Burks agrees as well, as he told the media at last week’s Big 12 Media Days:

“Lemme put it this way,” Burks said. “If you do a Horns Down to a Texas player as an opponent, that’s probably going to be a foul.”

Burks said if a player turned to the crowd to throw the sign, it “probably” would not be a penalty.

“Please all of you note, I said ‘probably,’” Burks added. “We have to consider intent and consider the situation. We’ll leave it to officials.”

Reactions, as you can imagine, have been measured and mature.

I don’t know about y’all, but I would be more than happy to pitch in to make yellow Horns Down rally towels for that October 2nd matchup.

And a note to Sark, who wants to “retire at Texas” — if you can turn one of the wealthiest athletic programs in the country, one with unlimited resources, back into a winner, the Horns Down will go away on their own.

Another Media Days note: Mike the Mullet is no more. Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy made it to Arlington mullet free, debuting some type of bouffant style at AT&T Stadium last week. “Let’s try to cut my hair to where I don’t have to cut my hair until the season is over,” is what Gundy said he told his usual hairdresser.

Somehow, I think it’s worse.

TCU Football:

We go from a little friendly ribbing of the Horns to an article from HookEm.com about Ochaun Mathis. Texas has a healthy respect for the Manor product, who has introduced himself to the Longhorn backfield several times over the years.

Apparently Mathis, who was as nervous as any player I have seen during his first press conference, took charge of the affair in Arlington, showing the growth he has achieved both on and off the field. Described by Gary Patterson as a “considerate kid” off the field, Mathis has become a monster on it, and isn’t done yet. “Like a lot of things, I’ve learned just to basically be comfortable being uncomfortable in situations,” Mathis said. “Being able to go out there and execute with whatever you’re building” is a goal.

In other football news, Gary Patterson raved about QB Coach Kenny Hill during Media Days, talking about his acumen on the field and his ability to develop authentic relationships with players and recruits off of it.

“He brings that energy and he kind of brings that juice to the quarterback room that we’re all looking for,” Duggan said about Hill. “He’s been there when the bullets are flying at quarterback, so he helps you feel a little bit more comfortable.”

TCU Basketball:

TCU was represented at The Basketball Tournament for the first time last week, as the Fort Worth Funk, made up mostly of TCU Alumni, fell in the opening round of the Wichita Region to the more experienced Team Arkansas.

The Funk put on a good show, fighting back from a ten point halftime deficit to nearly pull off the upset during the tournament’s famous Elam Ending. Hopefully, this is the first of many purple-clad teams to rep the Frogs in July.