About Travis Normand

Attorney, Husband, and Father. - Interests: College Football, Cigars, Freemasonry, History, Research, Writing, LOAC / IHL, Law, and much more.

The most important game on Texas A&M’s 2019 schedule

Arkansas Razorbacksby Travis Normand

Last spring I wrote that Arkansas was the most important game on Texas A&M’s 2018 schedule. Fortunately for the Aggies, they were able to defeat Arkansas 24-17, in what ended up being a crucial bounce-back game for A&M, one week after they lost to Alabama (and put A&M’s 2018 overall record at 3-2 instead of 2-3).

While Texas A&M’s 2019 schedule features some huge match-ups against Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and LSU; it also features Arkansas again (as it does every year, as the two schools are both SEC West Division foes).

For a lot of the same reasons as last year, Arkansas is an important game again in 2019 for the Aggies. A better way to describe it might be to call it a crucial “swing game.” After all, Arkansas is rebuilding and had a “down” season in 2018. Further, with all the big match-ups A&M has scheduled in 2019, the Aggies don’t have any room to drop a game against a program that they should have long-since surpassed.

Further, like last year, Arkansas’ coach is an Aggie and their defensive coordinator is John Chavis. While I think A&M upgraded at the defensive coordinator position by hiring Mike Elko, Chavis is a good coordinator and you don’t want the guy you tossed out beating your “upgrade.”

Finally, before the 2018 season began, I felt like all of this was important and Arkansas was a game that A&M must win. After the game was played and A&M had won, I felt like these issues had been put to bed and were something that didn’t need to be discussed again. However, as you are probably aware, A&M’s back-up quarterback, Nick Starkel, decided to transfer to Arkansas a few months back and he should be their starter when A&M faces them in 2019. In other words, Starkel has brought the Arkansas game back to the forefront in 2019. Not only does A&M need to win all the games it can (especially with Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia on the schedule), but we are going to find out if Chad Morris and Nick Starkel can keep pace with Jimbo Fisher and Kellen Mond.

So, while I am sure that Aggies everywhere will be circling games against Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and LSU on their 2019 schedules; I would urge them to at least underline the Arkansas game.

College Football Playoff History (and Precedent)

CFP Playoff TrophyTravis Normand
Originally Posted on November 7, 2017;
Updated on November 14, 2017 (Post rankings);
Updated on November 26, 2017;
Updated on December 3, 2017 (Post final rankings);

Updated on November 29, 2018;
Updated on December 12, 2018 (Post final rankings).

This post has not yet been completely edited or finalized due to the nature of the constantly-changing information it contains. I am posting it as a rough-draft in order to make sure the information is relevant and timely. I will try and update this post as necessary; please bare with me as the in-season information is constantly changing.

INTRODUCTION

This post reviews what has happened in prior CFP decisions, tries to digest those decisions into some kind of logical explanation, and then considers possible scenarios for the upcoming CFP. While I don’t believe the CFP committee wants there to be a “precedent” which would dictate how a particular CFP decision should go, it is fascinating to watch the decision making process as it plays out. Also, whether they like it or not, if the committee takes a particular course of action over and over, or makes the same type of decision based on the same criteria, they are effectively setting some kind of precedent. It may not be precedent that they are required to follow, but reversing course and making decisions that are completely contrary to their own prior decisions (with no logical explanation) will have potential negative effects on the CFP.

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House of L Podcast – Univ. of Chicago Football History

Travis Normand
July 18, 2018

A friend of mine who is a University of Chicago fan sent me the following podcast link. I have written about Chicago’s football history before and this particular podcast goes well with what I have previously written. The podcast interview is with Dave Revsine (Dave on Twitter) who wrote The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation. If you enjoy college football history, you really should pick up a copy of his book.

Anyway, enjoy the interview / podcast …

“House of L Podcast”

The House of L podcast is an intimate look at media in all forms and how it works. Let Laurence Holmes take you behind the curtain with your favorite media personalities.

Episode 5: U of C Sports History

(Episode Synopsis): The University of Chicago is known for its academic reputation, but it has one of the most fascinating Athletic histories. I had an incredible conversation with Dave Revsine about Amos Alonzo Stagg’s rule of the university when it began, but a friend at U of C, told me another crazy sports story from Hyde Park, so I wanted to share it with you.

Links to podcast episode:

 

 

College Football 150th Anniversary Debuts Website through partnership with Sidearm Sports

College Football 150th Anniversary DEBUTS WEBSITE through partnership with SIDEARM SPORTS

Irving, Texas (June 6, 2018) – The College Football 150th Anniversary has debuted another component of its celebration with the launch of its website at CFB150.org. The site will be designed in conjunction with SIDEARM Sports, a Learfield Company.

“SIDEARM Sports is a leader in college athletics and we know they will help us host a first-rate website experience for all college football fans,” touted Kevin Weiberg, Executive Director of the College Football 150th Anniversary.  “We look forward to expanding our digital footprint even further in preparation for and continuing through the Anniversary season.”

The site houses videos, news and other information pertaining to the anniversary, which will take place in 2019. Access to articles, historical information, a schedule of events and links to social media components will all be available. A portion of the site will also allow former players and coaches as well as fans and alumni to submit their stories about how college football has impacted their lives, through the CFB150 pillars of education, community and leadership.

“To partner with the College Football 150th Anniversary is such an honor. College football has produced so many great student athletes during its 150 years. We hope all college football fans enjoy the digital experience celebrating this historic milestone,” said Jeff Rubin, President and CEO of SIDEARM Sports.” [Sic]

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Paterno (2018)

by Travis Normand
May 24, 2018

For those who may be unaware, the film titled “Paterno” has officially been released and can be seen on HBO and/or HBO.com, as well as Amazon.com Prime Video. I have posted the official trailer below, as well as a link to both the film’s IMDB.com page and its Wikipedia page.

I have not yet seen the film but caught about 20 minutes of it earlier this month when staying at a hotel. I would have watched the entire film right then and there, but unfortunately I had to run out to a conference. The small portion that I was able to see has me very intrigued and dying to watch the film in its entirety. I don’t have HBO, but if I can watch it on Amazon.com, I will do so in the near future and post my thoughts here afterwards.

 

The following synopsis is from the film’s page on HBO.com:

Paterno centers on Penn State’s Joe Paterno in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. After becoming the winningest coach in college football history, Paterno’s legacy is challenged and he is forced to face questions of institutional failure in regard to the victims.

Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Al Pacino (HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack; Scent of a Woman) stars in the film’s title role. Paterno is Pacino’s third HBO collaboration with award-winning director Barry Levinson, having starred in You Don’t Know Jack, which earned Pacino a Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Emmy for acting and Levinson an Emmy for directing. Pacino also starred in the title role in HBO’s Phil Spector, which Levinson executive produced. Levinson directs Paterno from a script by Debora Cahn and John C. Richards.

To read the rest of this, visit HBO.com by clicking here.

 

 

Where does the name “Ole Miss” come from?

by Travis Normand
May 21, 2018

I stumbled upon this blog posted back in 2014 and thought it was pretty interesting. I wanted to re-post it / share it here for those who enjoy college football history.

 

 

 

Evidence Reveals Ole Miss Named for Train, Not Antebellum Reference
Oct. 6, 2014

This is the second segment in a two-part series on the evolution of the term “Ole Miss.” The piece is written by Dr. Albert Earl Elmore, a noted scholar who holds degrees from Millsaps College and Ole Miss Law School with a Ph.D in English Literature from Vanderbilt.

The History of the Name “Ole Miss”

The controversy about “Ole Miss” as a name for the University of Mississippi was conceived in innocent ignorance and perpetuated by the misinformation of the Internet.

Let us begin with the Internet misinformation that appears in the endlessly consulted Wikipedia entry for the name Ole Miss: “The student yearbook was published for the first time in 1897. A contest was held to solicit suggestions for a yearbook title from the student body. Elma Meek, a student, submitted the winning entry of ‘Ole Miss.’ Meek’s source for the term in unknown. Some historians theorize she made a diminutive of ‘ole Mississippi’ or derived the term from ‘ol missus,’ an African-American term for a plantation ‘old mistress.’”

To continue reading: HottyToddy.com

To read the rest, click here and visit HottyToddy.com.

1912, 1913, & 1915 Mississippi State – Texas A&M, schedule dispute

Travis Normand
May 21, 2018

On October 28, 2017, Mississippi State (and hereinafter sometimes “MSU” and/or “Mississippi A&M” and/or “Mississippi A. and M.”) defeated Texas A&M 35-14 at Kyle Field. At the conclusion of the broadcast the television commentators stated that, according to MSU, it was the first time MSU had won in College Station since 1913. They then mentioned that the location of the 1913 game was a point of disagreement between the schools (and that according to A&M, MSU’s last win in College Station was in 1915). I was unaware of this disagreement so I began investigating and the following is what I found.

Apparently MSU and Texas A&M have played a total of 11 times throughout their history, with the first four games being played in 1912, 1913, 1915, and 1937. After 1937, the two schools didn’t play again until they met in the Independence Bowl on December 31, 2000 (a historic game due to the snow, and the fact that MSU was coached by Jackie Sherrill and A&M by R.C. Slocum*). The last six games have been played since A&M joined the Southeastern Conference (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017).

* Mississippi State and Texas A&M share at least two head coaches in common: (1) Emory Bellard, and (2) Jackie Sherrill.

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