First, a deer season wrap up. The deer hunting was pretty lame in Llano this year. I'm sure the drought and then the October rain had something to do with it, but I only saw one deer all year that was bigger than 4 points (a 9 pointer that I let walk), and basically never saw a big doe all season.
Nevertheless, I did get some meat for the freezer on my last hunting weekend of the year, killing a young spike. I also found some really cool scrapes this year, which is always fun.
Anyway, I hunted 4 weekends in Llano this year, along with a trip to Kansas with Dad to chase a bigger deer. Unfortunately we had no luck there either, but it was a ton of fun regardless.
Now for a few tear-filled football thoughts. Sadly, I was right in my thoughts about the A&M-t.u. game in the sense that sure enough, t.u.'s offense was wretched and horrible and the only way A&M could lose was to turn the ball over. Sure enough, A&M turned the ball over too much and lost a game they never should have lost to a far inferior team. Very, very disappointing for me personally, as that game ranked #2 all time for me in games I desperately wanted A&M to win. The '99 Bonfire game was #1 on that list, and as logic would dictate, since A&M won the game in '99, this game in 2011 was the single most disappointing sports event of my life, and I have watched and loved sports (far too passionately) for a long, long time. I've just never been so despondent and forlorn (The phrase "despondent and forlorn" is something I use quite often because it sounds funny and eloquent at the same time. I stole it from comedian Dennis Regan, who is Brian Regan's brother.). So yeah, seriously one of the worst nights of my 32 years on this earth, as far as the final outcome is concerned. It didn't help that Cyrus Gray didn't get to play. Based on the football season as a whole (including the injuries and the heartbreaking losses) and the early results from basketball as well, it seems that as a trade off for going to the SEC, A&M had to sacrifice their 2011-12 seasons to the gods of bitter teasips. I suppose it might end up being a good trade in the long run, but it's been painful this year.
I had a lot of other football thoughts over the last two months but now they are escaping me. Perhaps I'll find the time and energy to add them later.
For Christmas this year we spent Christmas Eve at Molly's mom's house, along with Paul. Then the next morning we went and opened presents at my parents' house before heading to San Antonio for lunch with Gran Gran. Rebecca, Adam, and Annika were all there, as well as Uncle Bill.
The hunting trip to Kansas was my big present so I didn't get many physical presents from Mom and Dad, but I did get a book or two, a movie, a gun case type thing, and from Molly I got some nice shoes, a nice shirt, a replica of Kyle Field, and a few other things.
For New Year's Eve, we went to Travis and Kim's, and had a lot of fun with our little group of 8. Bethany and Sarah went home early to feed babies, but the rest of us stayed and tried some various tasty (and not so tasty) alcoholic concoctions. Helpful tip: there's really no need to ever drink anything called "moonshine."
A lot of the time in between all of these things has been spent watching tons of football, and I do believe that this year, taking the whole of both college and pro football (heck, and Texas high school football, with Jonathan Gray and Trey Williams), has been an incredible year of football. We've gotten to see both incredible defense (Bama) and the continued evolution of spread offenses that has led to insanely high scoring games like the Alamo Bowl (and basically every other game played by Baylor), with lots of amazing close games in both college and pro football. I really think that, taking out my disappointment over A&M's 7-6 season, this has been probably the most enjoyable football season, from my perspective as a fan with pretty broad interest, of my entire life. Wisconsin/Oregon, Baylor/Washington, WVU/Clemson, Georgia/MichSt, OkSt/Stanford, Michigan/VT, and on and on and on were great theater, and those are just the bowl games. Here's hoping 2012 is just as exciting.
Here are some quick, random football thoughts that I've had recently, many of which could warrant several paragraphs but for now will just be quick hitters:
-RGIII was amazing and deserved the Heisman, but what really stands out to me when I look at Baylor's stats is running back Terrance Ganaway. He only ran for 295 yards last year, then out of nowhere, ran for over 1500 yards to easily lead the conference. Very impressive year.
-With the 12 games schedules, bowls, and conference championships, a decent team will play a minimum of 13 and sometimes 14 games in a season. 10 wins used to be a benchmark of a really good season. It appears that that is no longer the case. Proof: 23 of the 25 teams that finished ranked this year won at least 10 games. So basically, winning 10 games is akin to finishing ranked. It used to mean you only lost 1 or 2 games all year and finished in the top 10. Now you can have a 10 win season that included 4 losses. There's nothing special about that. I think the new benchmark for a really good season should be 11 or 12 wins.
-Jeff Fuller finally put it together for A&M in his final two games, against Texas and Northwestern. He fought injuries all season and somehow that also led to lots of drops, but he came back with two straight 100 yard games to end his career. I was one who was on his side all season. Lots of Aggie fans bailed on him. Glad to see him go out on a high note.
-Don't be shocked when Ryan Tannehill goes high- very high- in the NFL draft this year. I've said it before and it's coming true. One draft expert this week already said he's a likely top 10 pick. Do I think he's that great? No, I really don't. I like him and think he has some real potential, but personally I don't see him being worth a top 10 pick. The thing is, the NFL has gone full-on crazy with quarterbacks, and has proven over and over that they are just dying to give away their money and overpay. As soon as last year's first round concluded, I knew Ryan Tannehill would go very high in this year's draft, because teams proved that they will value quarterbacks over any other position, even if they aren't that great (Christian Ponder). Bill Simmons of ESPN has a thing where he always talks about how basketball teams need a G.M. of common sense. So many stupid moves get made, so much money gets thrown at average players or old players or unproven players, there's no common sense involved. Same thing applies in the NFL with quarterbacks. Nothing against Tannehill, but he'll likely be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
-A&M's new defensive coordinator will apparently be running a 4-3 defense. Like many Aggies who grew up on the days of the Wrecking Crew and the 3-4 defense, I'm a little sad to say goodbye to the 3-4 (actually a lot sad), but the good news is, much like offenses, defenses are quite multiple these days, and in all honesty, most of the time, the casual fan won't really notice a difference, and the obvious truth is that we just want the defense to be good.