According To Ohio State’s Marching Band, The Wicked Witch Of The West Attended Michigan

by Rick Chandler

I knew the minute I saw that The Ohio State Marching Band was going to do a tribute to The Wizard Of Oz that we’d see the Wicked Witch of the West with a Michigan banner on her torso. It was just a given. And having her melt was also expected … an ode to the Wolverines’ many problems of late.

In fact, I have little doubt that OSU chose the Wizard of Oz theme precisely for the image of the witch melting, just to kick Michigan while it’s down. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m not much for halftime marching band productions — they’re more boring and hackneyed than a 1980s Bob Hope Special. Stanford is an exception, and so is Ohio State — the self-proclaimed Best Damned Band In All The Land. OSU’s halftime shows have become legendary, with choreography and planning second to none. Gotta love this one, because when a marching band attempts to recreate the dancing of Ray Bolger, and succeeds, then that’s something special.

Fun fact: Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film, was actually born in Cleveland and grew up in Ohio.

This JJ Watt pick six was ridiculous (Video)

J.J. Watt made a complete game-changing play for the Houston Texans against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

The Bills were up 10-7 and about to add to their lead. They had a 3rd-and-3 at the Houston 12 at the start of the third quarter thanks to a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception. E.J. Manuel threw a pass — or at least tried to — and Watt jumped up to make the catch and returned it 79 yards the other way for a huge touchdown to put the Texans up 14-10.

Instead of the Bills going up by six or possibly 10 points, the Texans got the lead. Fitzpatrick had a pair of interceptions, so you can definitely thank Watt and kicker Randy Bullock for this one. Who else can make plays like this so regularly?

Instant analysis: Texas A&M 35, Arkansas 28 (OT)

ARLINGTON, Texas — In a thrilling finish, No. 6 Texas A&M rallied to claim a 35-28 overtime win over Arkansas on Saturday at AT&T Stadium, a win that came after the Aggies were down by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter. Let’s take a look at how it went down:

How the game was won: The Aggies stopped Arkansas running back Alex Collins on a fourth-and-1 in the first overtime, getting a stop when they had to have it. Texas A&M had to scratch and claw after being harassed by Arkansas’ defense all day, but it was able to escape by the skin of their teeth thanks to some huge fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Kenny Hill (an 86-yarder to Edward Pope and a 59-yarder toJoshua Reynolds) that turned a 14-point deficit to a tie ballgame and eventually set up overtime. Hill threw a 25-yard strike to Malcome Kennedy to start overtime, and the defense did the rest to secure the win in OT, piggybacking a strong fourth-quarter effort the Aggies gave to keep the Razorbacks from extending the lead.

Gameball goes to: Kenny Hill. He had his struggles, from errant throws, including an interception and had to weather the storm as the Aggies looked out-of-sorts offensively for much of the day. But he made the big throws when the Aggies had to have them late in the game and led the come-from-behind victory. He finished with 386 passing yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-41 passing.

What it means: Texas A&M’s playoff hopes and high ranking are safe for now, but it has a lot of work to do. Arkansas exploited many of the Aggies’ flaws today. The Razorbacks (3-2, 0-2 SEC), meanwhile, are as improved as advertised. Bret Bielema’s bunch has to feel sick after this one, leading by two scores (and having a chance to go up three when a penalty nullified the score). They had control of the game but let it slip away. The SEC West is on alert though, as Arkansas is a pushover no longer.

Playoff implication: The Aggies’ hopes remain alive as they move to 5-0 (2-0 in the SEC).

What’s next: Another huge test for Texas A&M at No. 14 Mississippi State in Starkville a week from today.Dak Prescott and Co. are coming off an open date following their landmark win at LSU last week.

VIDEO: Mike Trout makes insane no-look leaping catch

We have seen Angels superstar Mike Trout rob a few would-be home runs in the past, but this catch from last night belongs in a category by itself.

In the bottom of the eighth inning last night, the Mariners’ Kendrys Morales hit a laser to center field which Trout managed to overrun. That gave him no choice but to leap, put his glove behind his head, and hope for the best. As you’ll see below, the ball ended up in his glove:

Insane. Trout also hit a solo homer in the game and now owns a .290/.379/.556 batting line to go along with 36 home runs, 111 RBI, and 16 steals over 155 games. He’s the clear favorite to walk away with his first American League MVP Award.

A&M cadets to march in downtown Fort Worth on Saturday

he Aggie Band marches in front of what was then known as Cowboys Stadium before the Texas A&M-Arkansas game in 2010. The two teams will play at 2:30 p.m. today.


Downtown will be thick with Aggies on Saturday morning.

Up to 2,400 members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets — including the Aggie Band — will march through the streets of downtown Fort Worth as a prelude to the football game between the sixth-ranked Aggies and Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The parade is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. at Ninth and Commerce streets.

Col. Glenn Starnes, assistant commandant for operations and training, said he remembers taking such trips as a cadet himself more than 30 years ago and called it a time when local cadets could take their friends home to their families to “eat them out of house and home.”

“It’s a bonding experience for the cadets,” he said.

Moreover, it’s a chance for Corps members to showcase what they do for others.

“It’s a great experience for [those watching]. They get to see young men and women who are doing a little extra, going to A&M and keeping up the traditions,” he said. “It’s a great recruiting tool because high school students come out and see them.”

Aggies welcoming back Manziel

Johnny Manziel is expected to receive his Aggie Ring at Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Saturday, sources said.

ARLINGTON, Texas — As if Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones weren’t tortured enough about not drafting Johnny Manziel, the Cleveland Browns‘ rookie quarterback will be in Jones’ building Saturday — and rooting against Jones’ alma mater.

Manziel, the former Texas A&M star, is expected to be in attendance when the No. 6 Aggies playArkansas in a neutral-site game.

Manziel’s Browns are off this week. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is expected to receive his Aggie Ring — a cherished piece of the school’s tradition — sometime during the game. He also might address his former team prior to kickoff.

In addition to Manziel being on hand, sources close to the team said the Aggies are expected to have freshman receiver Speedy Noil against the 3-1 Razorbacks.

Noil injured his left knee during the Sept. 13 win over Rice. Those close to the team said Noil required minor surgery but has made a “miraculous” recovery. He returned to practice this week and was “making cuts” a little more than a week after surgery, one source said.

Asked earlier in the week about Noil’s availability, Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said simply, “We’ll see.”

Noil, ESPN RecruitingNation’s No. 7 overall prospect in the 2014 class, has 12 catches for 197 yards and a score in two-plus games.

Powered by Manziel’s successor, Kenny Hill, Texas A&M leads the SEC in passing offense (405 yards per game), but Saturday is the 4-0 Aggies’ first conference game since their Aug. 28 season-opening win at then-No. 9 South Carolina.

Arkansas and Texas A&M a clash of offensive philosophies

Six schools from the SEC West are entering this weekend ranked in the top 25. You could probably make a case Arkansas is deserving of making it a clean sweep for the SEC West. The Razorbacks are the only team in the division not to be ranked, yet they are 3-1 and running the football about as well as anyone around the country. This weekend Arkansas takes on Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas. It should be the ultimate contrast of offensive styles

Arkansas is ranked eighth in the nation in rushing offense. The Razorbacks average 324.5 yards per game and 7.13 yards per rushing attempt. It is the style of offenseBret Bielema was expected to bring to Arkansas, and it is paying off. Alex Collinsand Jonathan Williams have combined for 12 rushing touchdowns, which is more rushing touchdowns than 110 FBS teams entering the weekend. The only game Arkansas has lost this season came in the season opener on the road against defending SEC champion Auburn.

We all know Texas A&M goes a different way with its offense. Any team coached byKevin Sumlin is going to throw the football. It was like that at Houston with Case Keenum and it remains that way at Texas A&M with Johnny Manziel and nowKenny Hill. The Aggies are ranked fourth in the nation in passing offense, averaging 405 yards per game through the air. Hill thrust into the early Heisman conversation by eclipsing 500 passing yards in week one against South Carolina.

There will be plenty of offense in this one. If Arkansas can keep the ground game going, thus using clock and putting up points, then Arkansas should be able to hang around long enough to have a chance to win. And if Arkansas wins, we could see all seven teams in the SEC West appearing in the top 25 on Sunday.

Longhorns step up drug testing in ’14

AUSTIN, Texas — Drug testing of Texas players under first-year coach Charlie Strong is on pace to double last year’s testing efforts, according to a report by the Austin American-Statesman.

Data obtained by the Statesman indicates that a total of 188 drug tests have been administered in the first eight months of Strong’s tenure. From 2010 to 2013, Texas administered an average of 104 drug tests per year under former coach Mack Brown.

Strong has dismissed nine players from his program since taking over in January and currently has two more players suspended from the team for undisclosed rules violations.

According to data the newspaper acquired through an open records request, Texas drug tested every player after spring break in March. Players who were considered at-risk were then subject to more frequent testing.

A total of 18 Longhorns players were tested again April 11, and 15 were tested July 19 during summer conditioning. Five days after that round of testing, three Texas players — running backs Joe Bergeron and Jalen Overstreet and defensive back Chevoski Collins — were dismissed from the program for violating team rules. Three more players were suspended indefinitely. Texas continued to drug test during fall practice — two tests Aug. 11, seven Aug. 22 — and seven tests were administered the day before the Longhorns’ season-opening win over North Texas.

Shortly after the final preseason drug test, Strong suspended starting linemen Desmond Harrison andKennedy Estelle indefinitely and kicked backup linebacker Deoundrei Davis off the team. Estelle was dismissed from the program Tuesday after another rules violation.

“You have 95 percent that’s doing it right, and then you just have that small faction of guys that feel like this is the way they’re going to do it whether I like it or not,” Strong said Tuesday. “I just tell them that there’s always other teams out there, but this isn’t the school for them. You can think about it: The University of Texas, great academics, great athletics, what more could you ask for?”

The data obtained by the Statesman does not indicate how many players tested positive for drugs. Texas’ student-athlete handbook for 2014-15 says that players are subject to a suspension for 10 percent of their season and counseling upon a second positive test. A third positive test would require a half-season suspension along with counseling, and the punishment for a fourth positive test is dismissal.

Texas has now spent $8,755 on drug testing this year, according to the report, after spending approximately $5,100 to $6,600 annually on the practice in the past four years.

When asked Tuesday if he expected to have to mete out this much discipline when he took the Texas job, Strong said, “I would say this: I followed an unbelievable head coach and there’s nothing here that’s nowhere else.”