Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s football scene around the state.
Herman puts chips into the middle of table
What was thought to be the case regarding Texas head coach Tom Herman became official on Sunday: Herman is coaching for his job in 2020.
Head coaches after disappointing seasons often get one chance to make major changes to their staff before they themselves become the scapegoat, and Herman played that card with sweeping reform to his staff.
Herman let go of defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and pass game coordinator/outside wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer, and reassigned offensive coordinator Tim Beck and inside wide receivers coach Corby Meekings to different roles.
Beck will now be the quarterbacks coach, while Meekings will serve in an administrative role.
The moves are made after the Longhorns regressed alarmingly this season, going 7-5 in Herman’s third year after winning the Sugar Bowl last year and being ranked in the top-10 to start the year.
It’s rare that a major program like Texas seeks an offensive and defensive coordinator in the same offseason when the head coach is still in place.
But obviously Herman felt these were desperate enough times to call for these desperate measures, and if 2020 doesn’t go any better, he’ll be the one to take the fall at this time next year.
Texans get biggest win of the season, but a new pursuer emerges
It couldn’t have gotten any better on Sunday for the Texans, who knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion and AFC-leading Patriots at home, the first time Texans head coach Bill O’Brien defeated his mentor and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
But while the win kept the Texans in sole possession of first place in the AFC South, another result dramatically shaped the division race over the final four games.
Tennessee went into Indianapolis and knocked off the Colts, and the red-hot Titans have emerged as a serious threat to the Texans in the AFC South.
The Titans (7-5) have won five of their last six games to climb into second place, one game behind the Texans (8-4).
The Titans and Texans will also play twice in the final three games of the season, including in the regular-season finale at NRG Stadium.
Just when it looked like the Texans had steered clear of their biggest division pursuer when they beat the Colts on Nov. 21, it’s now time for them to remember the Titans.
Can Baylor win its rematch with Oklahoma?
Opportunity isn’t just knocking on Baylor’s door this week. It’s pounding on that door repeatedly with two fists.
The Bears have a lot at stake when they face off against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game in Arlington, notably a chance to earn payback after suffering a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to Oklahoma in Waco on Nov. 16.
The Bears are still lamenting blowing a 28-3 lead in what was their only loss of the season.
More importantly, Baylor with a win would not only capture its first conference title since 2014, but would put itself in the conversation for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
If LSU beats Georgia in the SEC title game and Oregon beats Utah in the Pac-12 title game, the Baylor-Oklahoma winner has a great shot at a playoff spot.
Cowboys still leading the NFC East
Does anyone want to win the NFC East?
After the Cowboys looked terrible in a Thanksgiving loss at home to the Bills, the Eagles one-upped Dallas by losing to an awful Miami team on Sunday.
Despite all the rightful criticism after the Buffalo loss and a 6-6 record, Dallas is still in great position to win the division.
The Cowboys are one game ahead of the Eagles with four games to play, one of which is a game in Philadelphia on Dec. 22.
Aggies Burrow-ed in their regular-season finale
After nearly causing some chaos to the College Football Playoff race with a close loss at Georgia, Texas A&M didn’t come close to disrupting the playoff picture with a 50-7 loss at LSU.
The Aggies witnessed for themselves why LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, as Burrow completed 23-of-32 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
Texas A&M finished 7-5 in Jimbo Fisher’s second year and will find out its bowl destination Sunday.