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3-point stance: A&M's reasons for leaving

8/31/2011

1. Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, in his Wednesday blog, explained why the Aggies would leave the Big 12. The list didn’t vary from what we suspected -- the departures of Nebraska and Colorado and the Longhorn Network. But here’s what struck me: Byrne reminded everyone that he had been part of the group that assembled the Big 12 in the mid-1990s. Byrne did so as athletic director of Nebraska, which never liked the league’s tilt toward Texas. Viewed from that perspective, it’s fair to believe that Byrne was predisposed to bolt.

2. The bad news for Miami is that Stephen Morris, who will start at quarterback Monday in place of the suspended Jacory Harris, had the highest interception percentage (5.9) among quarterbacks in AQ conferences with at least 100 attempts last season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The equally bad news for the Hurricanes is that Morris won’t be much of a dropoff. Harris finished second (5.6 percent) to Morris last season. If offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, can fix the quarterbacks, Miami’s turnaround will quicken.

3. Morris had the excuse last season of being a true freshman. Yet he was talented enough -- and the Hurricanes depleted enough after Harris got hurt -- that he started the final four games. That provides perspective of the stiff task awaiting the three true freshmen who will start openers this week: Brett Smith of Wyoming against Weber State, Nick Isham of Louisiana Tech against Southern Mississippi, and -- God bless him, Rakeem Cato of Marshall, who debuts Sunday at in-state rival West Virginia.