Redskins

Texas vs. Texas A&M history; TCU on tap for Horns

Texas vs. Texas A&M history; TCU on tap for Horns

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Since 1895, the Texas Longhorns have played 75 games on Thanksgiving. Of those, 64 were against Texas A&M in a game that turned into a holiday tradition.

In case anyone forgot, tradition got blown to bits last year when the Aggies left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference and the Longhorns said ``so long'' to their oldest rivals. No. 18 Texas (8-2, 5-2) wanted to keep playing on Thanksgiving and the Big 12 this year served up TCU (6-4, 3-4), an old rival that has become a new one again.

Texas and TCU used to face each other every year in the now-defunct Southwest Conference, and having the Horned Frogs back on the schedule rekindles memories of the salty old days of name calling and sarcasm between programs.

``They are like a bunch of cockroaches,'' former Texas coach Darrell Royal said in 1961 after unranked TCU spoiled the Longhorns' national title hopes with a 6-0 victory. ``It isn't what he eats or totes off, but what he falls into and messes up.''

There's no national title game on the line Thursday night, but the Horned Frogs could still mess things up for a Texas team that still has a shot at a Big 12 title and BCS bowl if it can win its last two games.

While there are several tie-breaker scenarios that would still have to fall Texas' way, it's a surprising position for the Longhorns, who were written off at midseason after consecutive losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma. Texas has won four in a row and its much-maligned defense appears to be getting better every week

``We've worked hard to get back here and build something we could be proud of,'' Texas guard Mason Walters said.

Coach Mack Brown said he talked to his team about all the different scenarios and bowl projections.

``Let's just try to beat TCU,'' Brown told them. ``And the more you win, the better it gets.''

TCU's season has just been flat-out hard. The Horned Frogs started 4-0 before starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, got suspended and then left school for treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. After playing in BCS games after the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the Horned Frogs had to overcome that adversity as well as the tougher scheduled in the Big 12.

``With everything's that happened to us, for this team to have fought back ...to be bowl eligible is truly an accomplishment,'' coach Gary Patterson said.

Patterson acknowledged being excited about his team getting the marquee matchup on Thanksgiving night against Texas in their first year in the Big 12.

``For us to get a chance to do that, I think is a big deal,'' Patterson said. ``We as a program, as a university, are really excited about the fact you're getting an opportunity to play back in that kind of venue, to be part of the tradition of Thanksgiving day. We hope to be a great substitute at this point in time.''

That's all the Horned Frogs are for now. The 2013 Big 12 schedule released Tuesday has Texas Tech in Austin against the Longhorns on Thanksgiving next year.

Brown beat Texas A&M 10 times in 14 years. He called Texas-Texas A&M the ``ultimate instate rivalry,'' but said Texas has to move on under the new conference landscape. Texas' regular season schedule is booked until 2018, and athletic director DeLoss Dodds has said there are no plans to schedule the Aggies in the future.

``We're really excited about TCU,'' Brown said. ``I know our players are excited about it because it once again showcases high school football in the state of Texas with two great programs. And at the same time our players know a lot of their players. So it really will not be that much different from the A&M game for us.''

Several of Texas' older players said they will miss the playing the Aggies but accepted the change.

``It was fun while it lasted,'' said senior tailback Jeremy Hills ``We won the first, the last and the most (against Texas A&M), so that's done. That chapter is done.''

Senior defensive end Alex Okafor shrugged off the Aggies.

``Honestly, I feel sorry for A&M,'' Okafor said. ``We still have a big-time (Thanksgiving) game, and they're missing out.''

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

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