The State of Texas: Texas Teams Dominate College Football’s First Week
Plus: Ken Paxton sits down to dinner with the family of a transgender boy, Johnny Manziel goes back to school, and a new poll has Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump in Texas.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Notre Dame can still get a win by stopping by Whataburger on the way out of Texas.”
—Whataburger’s Twitter account. Texas’s favorite fast food chain couldn’t resist taking a dig at Notre Dame after the football team fell to the University of Texas on Sunday. (More on that game later.)
Kicking Things Off
If you’re a fan of any of Texas’s major college football programs, then you probably had a particularly satisfying Labor Day weekend. One could certainly argue that Texas, as a state, “won” the first week of college football. Consider: three wins over teams in the top 25 (all on national television, all significant upsets), two heart-stopping overtime games, and a couple of major blowouts just for good measure. By the time the Associated Press releases its updated top 25 poll later on Tuesday, it’s pretty likely that we are going to see a grand total of five Texas teams on that list. The University of Houston knocked off number three Oklahoma in a major statement win that should vault number fifteen Houston into the playoff picture and safely to the front of the Big 12 expansion candidate conversation. Texas A&M took down number sixteen UCLA in a thrilling overtime game that showed the Aggies belong in the top 25. The University of Texas turned heads in beating number ten Notre Dame 50-47 in double overtime on Sunday, a win that seems to have established true freshman Shane Buechele as the Longhorn’s starting quarterback going forward and could officially signal the return of UT football to national prominence. According to the Austin American-Statesman, UT’s win was the most-watched college football season opener ever on ABC/ESPN. Each win was considered a major statement for the victorious Texas team, and each win came on Texas turf. Meanwhile, number 23 Baylor, number 13 TCU, and unranked Texas Tech all took care of business in their season openers at home against less formidable opponents, winning by an average of nearly 40 points. The lesson after week one? Don’t mess with Texas.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
Attorney General Ken Paxton sat down for dinner last week with a Denton family and their transgender son. Adam and Amber Briggle have both been outspoken critics of Paxton’s anti-LGBT campaign, and after Paxton filed a lawsuit leading several other states against the federal government’s guidelines requiring schools to make restrooms transgender friendly, Briggle publicly invited Paxton to eat dinner with their family, including their eight-year-old son, a third grader who the Briggles say has struggled with non-inclusive bathrooms. Paxton unexpectedly took the Briggles up on their invitation last week. Writes the Denton Record-Chronicle: “A lot of the usual insecurities went through Amber Briggle’s mind—worrying about the food she prepared, whether she would spill her drink, what they would all talk about over dinner.” But apparently things went pretty smoothly. “Honestly, it was a very pleasant evening,” Briggle told the Record-Chronicle. They ate shish kabobs, cornbread, watermelon, and, for dessert, blueberry pie, ice cream, and butter bars, the latter apparently a Paxton specialty. Paxton also did a magic trick, making a penny disappear before pulling it from behind the eight-year-old’s ear. According to the Record-Chronicle, they didn’t discuss anything LGBT-specific, but the family just told Paxton to think of them when making policy decisions in the future.
Back To School
Johnny Manziel re-enrolled in classes at Texas A&M on Tuesday, according to the Dallas Morning-News. This is by far the smartest move Johnny Football has made since… since… uh, well, let’s just say Manziel has been mired in a very long run of making bad decisions, and we’ll just leave it at that. Seriously, can anyone remember the last time Manziel was in the news for something that didn’t just further contribute to his reputation circling the drain? Anyway, yeah, Manziel is back in school. He’s listed as a senior. Apparently he was a recreation, parks and tourism sciences major before he left school for the NFL draft. Although he was recently on campus—per posts from Manziel’s Snapchat account obtained by the Morning News—he’ll reportedly be taking classes online while living in Los Angeles. Maybe Manziel can get back on track by returning (digitally) to the place that propelled him to fame. Manziel hasn’t had much success since he left College Station, losing his NFL job and engaging in a laundry list of embarrassing public incidents. Whatever Manziel hopes to do at A&M, he’ll still have to deal with his ongoing legal problems stemming from serious allegations of domestic abuse made against him by his former girlfriend, for which he has been charged.
Recent polls have shown Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s lead in Texas sliding considerably, but the Washington Post‘s new poll of all of the states shows something we never expected to see this election cycle: a 50-50 split here in Texas. “Texas splits about evenly between Clinton and Trump in the new poll,” the Post writes in the data-heavy article. The Post actually has Clinton one point ahead of Trump. If the poll results hold, it would be the first time the Lone Star State went blue since Texans chose Jimmy Carter in 1976, and it would be the narrowest election Texas has seen since at least 1972 (that’s as far back as the Post goes to compare election results with it’s new poll). The Post‘s poll was completed between August 9 and September 1, and it used SurveyMonkey’s online questionnaire platform to poll 74,886 registered voters across 50 states, including 5,147 Texans. According to the Post, “the results are weighted to match demographic characteristics of registered voters in each state.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Congress is back in session! What’s on tap for Texas? Texas Tribune
The state is probably going to close some prisons to help balance the budget Austin American-Statesman
The city of Waco is using a hawk named Tiberius to take out grackles downtown Waco Tribune
A woman crashed her car into the Corpus Christi Bay because she thought she felt a rat brush up against her leg KIII-TV
Someone drove around Amarillo on Labor Day giving out free hot dogs and water to anyone who was hungry Amarillo Globe-News