Tag Archives: Texas A&M

Watch out for App State!

I am going to offer a bit of unsolicited advice to individuals who likely wouldn’t give a flying fudge what I think … but here goes anyway.

Next time big-school athletic directors schedule Appalachian State to play a football game against your nationally ranked college team, don’t consider these guys to be a “cupcake opponent.” They well could beat your guys.

Appalachian State did it again today, knocking off the No. 6-ranked Texas A&M University Aggies in College Station … in front of the 12th Man, aka the 100,000-plus Aggie fans who jam Kyle Field when the Aggies play football.

Does it sound familiar? It should. Appalachian State embarrassed the Michigan Wolverines in 2007, who were No. 5 when the underdogs ventured to The Big House in Ann Arbor. They came out victors.

Oh, and just this past week, Appalachian State scored 40 points in the fourth quarter and came within a whisker of beating North Carolina in the Tarheels’ crib.

Appalachian State is located in Boone, N.C. About 20,000 students are enrolled there, so it isn’t exactly a tiny school. It just isn’t known as a college football power.

Until now!


UT, OU move to SEC? Well, it has its rewards

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am not well-versed on the business of intercollegiate athletics to offer much reasoned commentary on the pending move of the universities of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference.

I’ll leave the economics of it for others to parse and to examine. However, I want to proclaim that I see one big tangible benefit to seeing this move occur: One major football rivalry is going to revive itself and another one will remain intact.

Texas vs. Texas A&M? Remember those days? The Longhorns and the Aggies would play on Thanksgiving Day. The whole state stopped to watch that game. The Longhorn-Aggie rivalry was among the biggest and most cherished in all of college football.

Then it ended when A&M moved to the SEC a few years back. I lamented then the end of the rivalry, wishing it could return. Guess what. It’s gonna come back. Will they play the game as they did in the old days, on Turkey Day? I hope so.

Oh, and then we have the UT-OU rivalry, the Red River Showdown, the game that occurs every year during Texas State Fair time at the Cotton Bowl. That rivalry ain’t going anywhere, it appears to me, as both the “Horns and the Sooners are making the move to the SEC.

I just don’t want ’em messing with the location. It needs to stay in Dallas, which is just about smack in the middle between Norman and Austin.

I know not everyone is happy about this big change in the intercollegiate athletic landscape. It’s especially critical as it involves the football programs at schools such as Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor. I’ll leave it to them to figure out their next steps.

As for rivalries returning and retained … bring it!

Missing this holiday tradition

If only Texas A&M University hadn’t decided to play football in the Southeastern Conference. If only the Aggies had stayed put in the Big 12. If only . . .

I’d be watching a Texas tradition today while consuming some turkey and all the other stuff.

Thanksgiving Day meant some good ol’ college tackle football between the University of Texas and them Aggies of A&M.

I wasn’t born in Texas. I didn’t attend either school. I’ve lived in Texas long enough — 34 years now — to appreciate the thrill, the pageantry and the excitement associated with this holiday tradition.

If only the Aggies hadn’t bolted to the SEC.

I have made the acquaintances of many Texas Exes and dedicated Aggies over the years. I have no particular loyalty to either school. Neither of my UT or A&M friends are “better” friends than the others. I do like to watch tackle football played at the college level.

My wife and I have attended one A&M football game. It was years ago in Lubbock, when the Aggies played Texas Tech’s Red Raiders in a windswept event at Jones Stadium. The Red Raiders won that game in a thriller.

Do you know what thrilled the daylights out of me, though? It was the sight — and the sound! — of the Aggie marching band walking onto the field. Talk about spit-and-polish precision!

Well, we won’t see any of that today. Nor will we get to see Bevo the steer roaming the sideline in front of the Longhorn faithful while his UT gridders play some block-and-tackle with their Aggie rivals.

Dang it, anyhow!

Texas Tech vet school? Call it a ‘done deal’

You now may say that Texas Tech University’s plans to build a school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo is a done deal.

The Amarillo City Council’s decision Tuesday to sign off on a $69 million pledge to Tech puts the city’s seal of approval on a plan that the university says will generate tens of millions of dollars annually to the Panhandle economy.

It also will educate hundreds of veterinarians who will care for animals vital to the region’s lifeblood.

Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, along with a charitable trust, stepped up to donate land and to guarantee as much as $69 million for the $90 million project.

This, I submit, is a big day for Amarillo’s future growth and prosperity.

Do you remember the push back that Tech got from a competitor, Texas A&M University, which at this moment operates the only veterinary medical school in Texas? It appears that A&M, led by Chancellor John Sharp, has relented. Sharp had expressed opposition to Tech’s desire to build a vet school.

To my reckoning, Sharp and the A&M hierarchy never made the case that Texas couldn’t possibly play host to two schools of veterinary medicine. This is a big state, full of aspiring students who want to work for their communities. Texas Tech has now given a segment of them a chance to do exactly that.

Tech had plenty of help, from AEDC and from the family of Amarillo philanthropist Mary Emeny, which donated the land where Tech will build the school.

As the Amarillo Globe-News has reported: “This investment by the EDC ensures the vet school will happen and also challenges industry and community partners to join in the success of making this vet school happen,” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said. “The timing of Amarillo’s investment before the legislative appropriations request will increase the momentum of private fundraising and hopefully assist the legislative funding request. Funding for the project will come from annual tax revenues, which is sales tax, recognized by the EDC. The estimated annual economic impact for the veterinary school of medicine will be $76 million annually to Amarillo.”

I am willing to bet real American money that “industry and community partners” will welcome Tech’s expanded presence in the Texas Panhandle.

Stick to energy issues, Secretary Perry

Count me as one of those who is astonished at comments from Energy Secretary Rick “Oops” Perry.

What got the new energy boss’s dander up? Get a load of this.

He’s angry that Texas A&M University’s Student Government Association has elected its first openly gay president.

Wow! Um, Secretary Perry, you have a full plate of national security and energy issues that deserve your attention. I get that you’re a dedicated Aggie grad, a former yell leader at A&M and former Texas governor.

But holy crap, dude!

Perry said Bobby Brooks’ election was “stolen” from another candidate who was disqualified on technical grounds.

Gig ’em, Rick?

“The desire of the electorate is overturned, and thousands of student votes are disqualified, because of free glow sticks that appeared for eleven seconds of a months-long campaign,” Perry wrote to the Houston Chronicle. “Apparently glow sticks merit the same punishment as voter intimidation.”

I am not going to get into the details of a student body government election. I have no dog in that fight. Nor do I have any particular interest in it.

It astounds me, though, that Secretary Perry would even decide to weigh in on this matter. Of all the things that should occupy the secretary’s attention now that he has a new job in the Trump administration, one would think that a Texas A&M University SGA election would barely appear on his radar screen.

According to the Houston Chronicle: “Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor who has watched Perry political career rise and fall for years, said he, too, was surprised by Perry’s intervention into the A&M election.

“‘This must be his inner Aggie speaking, because this is certainly not something you expect a cabinet secretary to weigh in on – actually, probably not even a governor,’ Jones said. ‘It’s strange. Of all the things he could have an opinion on, this is probably not the smartest move for a cabinet secretary. He must really be upset about it.'”

Yep. He’s mad and he’s going to throw the weight of his office behind some real or feigned outrage over Bobby Brooks’ election as student body president.

C’mon, Mr. Secretary. Let the new SGA boss do his job … whatever the heck it is. Brooks’ first priority, after all, ought to focus on his studies.

I think it’s reasonable to ask: Would the energy secretary be as hopped up over this if Bobby Brooks weren’t gay?

University hears white supremacist … and students protest


Texas A&M University isn’t generally known as a bastion of progressive causes the way, say, the University of Texas-Austin is known.

They don’t call it the “People’s Republic of Austin” for nothing,  you know.

Still, it’s heartening to see the reaction to a speech delivered by white supremacist Richard Spencer at the College Station campus. The students protested the rantings of this guy who leads something called the National Policy Institute, but he was allowed to speak his mind and offer views that come from whatever it is that passes for his heart.

“America belongs to white men,” Spencer said. Yes, he really said that and I guess he means it.

It’s utterly preposterous and reprehensible on its face, but this clown had a right to deliver his idiotic message.


The university didn’t sanction Spencer’s appearance at its flagship campus. The A&M System office made it clear that Spencer was invited by a private group that had requested use of a student hall to allow him to speak. There had been talk of trying to persuade the university to disallow his speech. That, in my view, would have been counterproductive.

It’s been said that it is better to keep the bad guys out in the open where you can see them and track their every move.

Richard Spencer was on full public display at Texas A&M. Now he’s gone on to spread his disgraceful message in other venues.

Don’t hurry back, young man.

Manziel vows sobriety … just do it, young man


“Johnny Football” Manziel has told TMZ he’s going to be “completely sober” by July 1.

That’s tomorrow.

I want to offer the young man a bit of unsolicited advice.

“Tomorrow” never comes when you place a deadline such as that on yourself.

The one-time Texas A&M University football great and former Heisman Trophy winner has been on a horrendous spiral that has ruined his professional football career.

Worse, it is ruining his life.

I am pulling hard for Manziel to pull his head out of whichever body cavity he has inserted it. I want him to succeed in life. Whether he’s able to regain his athletic form would be an added plus.

However, allow me this one final bit of advice.

I once smoked cigarettes like a freight train. Two-plus packs a day, man. How did I quit the weeds? I wadded them up and tossed them into the garbage.

I quit cold turkey … on the spot. That was more than 36 years ago.

I didn’t wait for “tomorrow.”

One does not put such artificial deadlines on ending bad behavior.

If the young athlete intends to sober up, he’d better just act immediately on his intentions and not wait for the sun to rise the next day.

Too many celebrities have learned in the worst way possible that the sun might not shine.

May the right university system win


My pal Jon Mark Beilue — a columnist for the Amarillo Globe-News — as usual, has laid out a fascinating critique of a growing dispute between two highly regarded Texas university systems.

One of them, Texas Tech, just announced plans to build and develop a college of veterinary medicine in Amarillo.

The other one, Texas A&M, has fired a shot across Tech’s bow, implying it will resist the effort to build an animal doctor school in the Texas Panhandle.

Beilue, himself a Tech alumnus, has taken up for his alma mater. But he’s right on the merits of his argument to argue that A&M is better than to exhibit a petulant streak in seeking to block Tech’s entry into the world of veterinary medicine academia. A&M’s credentials as a premier veterinary medicine institution are impeccable.

But let’s boil this possible tempest down to a more personal level.

Two men are leading their schools’ efforts. They both have at least one political thing in common: They both served in the Texas Senate.

Bob Duncan is chancellor of the Tech System. He’s a Republican who left the Senate this past year to take over the Tech job after Kent Hance retired to become something called “chancellor emeritus.”

Duncan’s Senate reputation is sparkling. He was named routinely by Texas Monthly magazine every two years as one of the top legislators in the state. His job now as chancellor is to raise money for the Tech System and he gets to lobby his friends in the Senate for help in that regard.

John Sharp served in the Senate quite a while ago, from 1982 to 1987; prior to that he served in the Texas House of Representatives. He’s a Democrat, who left the Senate to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission and then as Comptroller of Public Accounts. He, too, developed a reputation as a solid legislator, although he has fewer individuals with whom he served in the Legislature than his rival chancellor, Duncan.

This face-off will be fun to watch, particularly if it develops into something more than it appears at the moment.

I hope it doesn’t grow into anything more serious. Texas Tech is entitled to develop school of veterinary medicine anywhere it so chooses. That the system brass decided to bring it to Amarillo is a huge plus for the Texas Panhandle.

My hope would be that if Sharp stiffens his resistance that Duncan could call on his fellow Republican buddies in the Panhandle legislative delegation to use their own considerable muscle to make the veterinary school a reality.

As Beilue pointed out in his essay, the value of a veterinary school to any region of this state should rise far above petty politics.




Perry to Aggies: I'm thinking about running

Here’s a news flash: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said some other things to college graduates besides declining an offer to have a building named after him at Texas A&M University.

Such as — he’s thinking about running for president of the United States of America.

That’s kind of a big deal, yes?

Perry spoke at the Texas A&M convocation. He told graduates the school from which he graduated shouldn’t name the Academic Building after him. Then he went on to say that he’s pondering another run for the White House.


He ticked off his credentials as someone who governed a state with the world’s 13th-largest economy and oversaw a group of individuals who “bicker a lot,” referring to the Legislature.

He told the A&M grads he’ll be looking for a job in about 30 days, just as they will.

Is this a precursor to a presidential run? Yes, it sounds like it to me.

I hope he jumps in. I’ve already spoken out in favor of Mitt Romney getting back into the game. I’m inclined also to welcome Jeb Bush into the Republican presidential field.

Why not — to coin the late Molly Ivins’s term — Gov. Goodhair?

He’s got the look, the charisma, some governing experience and he’s developing a pretty good gift of gab.

Perry’s ideas about the role of government, though, don’t quite set well with some of us out here. He’s inclined to be anti-federal government, which is sort of an dubious stance for someone who wants to oversee it.

But what the heck. He gave us a few laughs the last time he ran for the White House in 2012. Maybe he’s got a few more gag lines up his sleeve the next time around.

Bring it, governor!


Texas: reddest of the Red States

Texas is Ground Zero — pardon the reference — of the conservative movement.

That’s the assessment of Dan Balz, a veteran Washington Post political reporter, who uses land commissioner candidate George P. Bush as his example of the state’s rightward shift.


Bush is the grandson and nephew of two former presidents and the son of a former Florida governor. All three of his ancestors, Balz said, used to personify the “kinder, gentler” wing of the Republican Party. Bush thinks GOP firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz is the future of his party and he said so at a gathering of pols and pundits at a Texas Tribune talk-fest held in Austin.

Indeed, the view that Texas is leading the conservative charge probably isn’t that much of a surprise. Even when it leaned heavily Democratic, its officeholders weren’t usually considered — at that time, at least — to be squishy liberals. The most successful Democrats in the state were folks like John Connally, Lloyd Bentsen, Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson. Yes, you had your occasional lefty in there, such as Ralph Yarborough and then Ann Richards.

The last Democrat elected to statewide office in 1994 was John Sharp, hardly a lefty, who’s now chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

So, Texas has leaned right for longer than the GOP has been in control of everything.

As for the model of today’s modern conservatism in Texas, look at Dan Patrick, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. He’s just recently declared his intention to rid the state of the DREAM Act, which allows Texans brought here illegally by their parents to enroll in state public colleges and universities as “in-state” students, paying in-state tuition rates.

Gov. Rick Perry, a fiery conservative if there ever was one, endorses the DREAM Act. Not Patrick. If he’s elected, he’ll get rid of it.

Yep, the state is No. 1 all right.