Allow me to concede from the very beginning of this week's column that I'm about to engage in one of the more trivial conversations with which I could probably open. It's terribly subjective and completely meaningless, which honestly makes it a perfect subject for a weekly column. On schedule vs. ahead of schedule ... debate for the ages. With Tom Herman taking the Longhorns in year two on the job to the Big 12 Championship game and a spot in a New Year's Bowl game after what everyone would universally agree was a disappointing year one, it's probably fair to update the Facebook status of the program. On multiple occasions in the final week of the season, Herman has chimed in with his own verdict, claiming that his Longhorns are ahead of schedule. When asked by our very own Anwar Richardson about the ahead of schedule claim, Herman pointed to the lack of sure-fire all-BIg 12 players that his staff was working with, despite the fact that the team was playing for a Big 12 title. If playing in Arlington in December without a team full of all-America candidates is the bar, perhaps Herman is correct. However, I would contend defining the forward progress of the program in a different set of terms if probably a more accurate view of where we stand today, in part because I want to make sure the goal posts don't move. On the day that Herman was hired, I remember asking a high-level Texas administrator for a guideline of sorts for how we should judge Herman as a head coach following Charlie Strong's journey with the program through the Temple of Doom. "I just want to see us make strides of improvement in year one. We should be better than we've been," the administrator said. "I would like to think at the end of year two that we would be in competition for a Big 12 title. By year three, I think we'll be disappointed if haven't won a Big 12 title. I would hope that by the time we're going into year four, each season is defined by whether we've won the Big 12 championship and earned a spot in the playoff. That's where we want to be. That's who we want to be." I found those comments to be pretty fair when they were made back in November of 2016 and I still find them to be fair today. Even Herman mentioned numerous times before the season started that one of the few team goals that he was comfortable with declaring for all to hear was that the team needed to be in Big 12 Championship contention by the time November rolled around on the calendar. With all due respect to the personnel issues that Herman has endured in two years, I'd contend that the Longhorns are where everyone hoped they'd be the end of year two, which is playing for a Big 12 championship in December. If I had said 24 months ago that the Longhorns wouldn't play in a Big 12 title game in each of the first two seasons under Herman, few would have said failing to meet such a small measure of high standards would be acceptable. Bottom line - Texas under Herman is on schedule. Perhaps more interesting of note is the reality that the standards for the program take a bit of a jump in year three, which means that this is the last season when anyone will ever look at the Longhorns again under Herman and deem anything less than winning the Big 12 title as success. At a place like Texas, the expectations of greatness will forever be the expectations of greatness, and they'll swallow up an inferior head coach like Charlie Strong in the blink of an eye. Perhaps the best thing you can say about Herman is that as a young coach, he's at the very least riding high enough to not get swallowed up by the seriously high expectations. We can and probably will debate the rhetoric describing the state of the program for the next nine months, but I would suggest that when you're at a school like Texas, being on schedule and ahead of schedule are in similar zip codes because of the incredibly high standards in place. No. 2 - Will Herman repeat his most successful team-building process in 2019? ... A year ago, Herman performed an internal audit on the program after his first season and came away feeling like the audit revealed his offensive line was the weakest performing piece of the program and that improvement needed to be made by any means needed. My guess is that Herman didn't want to single out Derek Warehime as the team's weakest coaching link, but this isn't show-friends, it's show business. So, Herman went out and hired Herb Hand because that's the kind of strive towards improvement that great coaches make. If you ask yourself what Nick Saban might have done in the same situation, it almost certainly would have been a move similar in nature. So, the question I keep wondering about as we head into the bowl game is whether Herman will take the same type of cut-throat, bottom line approach to the program in the aftermath of a season that ends with a Sugar Bowl trip instead of the Texas Bowl. If he does, what's the move? We've talked so long about the needed increased recruiting presence in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex that perhaps the move is as simple as that - find a way to get David Beatty on staff and turn him loose in the area that made him a recruiting dynamo as the recruiting coordinator Texas A&M. Yet, what if an internal audit finds that beefing up the Metroplex isn't the most pressing need in the program? Consider me intrigued by the process that led to the hire of Hand as Herman enters it for a second year in a row. History has showed us that Herman isn't a guy that keeps a pat hand because the pat hand is within the realms of possibilities that he's allowed to choose from as the ultimate decision-maker. My guess is that Herman makes some kind of move following the season because he doesn't yet have a program that's in such a fantastic state that it can afford not to make improvements, especially when you've got a bankroll behind you that makes tremendous improvements possible. What move will be made? The smart money has to be on a move centered on recruiting in the Metroplex. No. 3 - Giving credit where credit is due ... At the beginning of the year, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray suggested that he belonged on the same tier of classification as many of the other all-time great quarterbacks from the state of Texas, which includes the likes of Drew Brees, Vince Young, Andrew Luck and Baker Mayfield. When the comments were made, Murray hadn't really proven anything as a college player, despite having one of the most iconic high school careers of any player that had come from the Lone Star State. Still, a lot of eyeballs rolled when he made the suggestion that he warranted mention among those players ... period. Not just within a certain kind of context. Place him among all the greats. Then he went out did the damn thing on the field, putting together the greatest statistical season in the history of the sport, winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday in the process. He's not my favorite guy of all-time, but you have to give the kid a tip of the cap for putting his money where his mouth said he was. In the process, it seems as if he's suddenly in a position to continue playing football for potentially more money than he can make in baseball. Personally, I hope he goes to play in the NFL. Perhaps my reasons are different than others, but I'd love to see it. No. 4 - When being unlucky isn't really about luck ... It'll go down as one of the biggest misleading headlines in the history of Texas football recruiting, but a little less than three years ago, the Longhorns pulled in a defensive tackle class that was supposed to help save the Texas program up front on the defensive side of the ball for the rest of the decade. Five defensive tackles were signed back in 2016, which included two Rivals four-stars, including Rivals100 member D'Andre Christmas. The excitement on Orangebloods was so sky high that it was next to impossible to convince some people going into the 2016 season that the group wouldn’t hit the ground running with multiple instant contributors. Nearly three years later, what remains is a lesson in the metrics of college football recruiting. Without losing you with a bunch of numbers, the most important thing to remember about recruiting is that there are about 75 prospects across the country that stand to have between a 40-70 percent chance in any given year of being drafted by NFL teams when they finish up their college careers. Once you get below that tier of prospects, it never gets better than about 20-percent for any other lower-ranked prospect in any given year. One of the reasons why I'm driven by the metrics of more than a decade's worth of data points is that it eliminates any and all confirmation bias when it comes to discussing recruits. Gone are the emotions, replaced by realities. The reality of the Class of Defensive Beef in 2016 is that volume didn't automatically equate to elite quality. In very generic terms, a guy like D'Andre Christmas had about a 20-percent chance of future NFL draftable success. Now that usually doubles the chances of success vs. that of a player with a three-star label, but it still means that there's an 80-percent(ish) chance that he would never develop into the kind of player that gets drafted by an NFL team. Chris Daniels was another four-star prospect with an 80-percent chance of disappointment. Marcell Southall faced long odds that were in the 85-87 percent range, while Gerald Wilbon was staring a number in the 90s. The reason why five-star and the highest level of four stars are so valuable is that they pan out at such higher rates than any tier of recruits that comes after them. Christmas and Wilbon are all that remains from this group and neither has emerged as a starting-level player in his first three seasons in Austin. While neither has been an impact player to say the least, both have a chance as seniors to make a massive step because of the holes in the depth chart created by graduation. My passion for breaking these metrics down is because it allows for me to discuss in real bottom-line terms what a commitment means when a verbal pledge is made or when pen eventually gets put to paper. The reality is that Texas needed one or two of those players to develop beyond the expectation levels of their recruiting grade and it hasn't yet happened. What it should mean to you is that none of these results should be viewed as surprising. If all of this is surprising, I clearly need to do some more draft breakdowns. No. 5 – BUY or SELL … BUY or SELL: Sam Ehlinger will be a serious contender for next year's Heisman? (Buy) Health pending, Ehlinger looks like one of the top returning quarterbacks in the country next season. Tua Tagovailoa will clearly enter the season as the heavy favorite, but expect Ehlinger's name to be mentioned at the start of the season and if he has a big performance against LSU, his candidacy will take off. BUY or SELL: Derek Warehime is released to make room for David Beatty? (Sell) I don't think Warehime is going to be released, but I could see him being re-assigned, perhaps moving into an administrative position. I'm fully convinced that Beatty will be on the staff next season. BUY or SELL: Texas will have better pass coverage next year than it did this season? (Buy) In the continued development of Brandon Jones, Caden Sterns, BJ Foster and Anthony Cook, I trust. BUY or SELL: Tom Herman is still growing as a head coach, as evidenced by the Big 12 Championship performance among other issues such as inexplicable fourth-quarter collapses? (Buy) Of course, he's only been a head coach for four seasons. He'll continue to be a work in progress. BUY or SELL: Shaka has got to go? (Buy) It's not personal at all, but it's just not working out for either side and it hasn't been working for either side. BUY or SELL: If after the Colorado game in 2001, I told you that Texas would not lose another Big 12 title game for another 17 years, you would have thought that meant Texas would have gone on a run of conference titles similar to what OU has done? (Buy) Absolutely. BUY or SELL: This season looks strikingly similar to 2007 (tough loss to rival late, sophomore QB of future, 10-3 record, a top-10 finish, identical score of OSU game, a young beast at safety, strong WRs) and therefore you can (almost) see an 11-1 season coming, with the 1 being an absolute heart breaker? (Sell) With all due respect to the parallels you believe exist, I don't see a lot in common between the two teams. For instance, the season that Colt McCoy had in 2007 isn't anything like the season that Ehlinger had and you can call them sophomores all you want in an effort to make it the same thing, but it's not. Just like the loss at A&M in 2007 isn't the same as losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. I remember the 2007 seasons for a lot of reasons, very few of them are very good. It was a season when Texas couldn't figure out who it wanted to be, until almost by accident it seemed to realize that it had a generational talent at running back to work with. The good news is that I view this team in a higher light than the 2007 team, which was one of the most dysfunctional teams of the Mack Brown Era in his first decade as coach. BUY or SELL: Without Urban Meyer at Ohio State, the Buckeyes will no longer be able to cherry pick recruits in the state of Texas? (Buy) Yeah, I'd say he's kind of important. BUY or SELL: If Texas can get two sacks against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, it will mean Texas wins? (Sell) I'm not sure what getting two sacks against the Dawgs is supposed to represent, but I'm probably more interested in yards per carry, total rushing attempts and yards per passing attempt between the two teams. No. 6 - Shaka's team stops the bleeding... While there's no reason for anyone to go overboard, the Texas men's basketball team finished the week with a solid home win over a power five squad with a legit star in its back-court on Sunday evening. On a night when Carsen Edwards had 40 points inside of him, the Longhorns found a way to get the job done late, which hasn't always been a strength of the Longhorns under Smart. What was different? Well, for one of the first times this season, Matt Coleman played like the Matt Coleman that most of us expected to see Matt Coleman play like be this season. Sometimes the sport can be as simple as the best player on your team knocked down important shots, important free throws If this season is going to be any kind of success, Coleman needs to bottle up his performance from Sunday night and drink from it before every game for the rest of the season. With conference play right around the corner, this version of Coleman better arrive on more nights than it doesn't or this season won't ever fully get off the ground. No. 7 - Story-time! With the Boilermakers back in Austin this weekend, it brought back memories of me working for the NCAA back in 1995 when the NCAA Tournament came to Austin. I can't remember exactly what I was doing on the particular day, but it put me a few feet from the Purdue bench during its game against Wisconsin-Green Bay. About two minutes into the game, Purdue coach Gene Keady got upset for the first time about something and what I soon learned is that when Keady yells at anyone, his mouth shoots out saliva at uncontrollable levels. The first time that spit came flying out of his mouth, it shot right towards me and landed on my shirt. Keady, whom I had interviewed the day before, had spit on me and I didn't know what to do. I was shocked. I was horrified. I was wet. For the rest of the game, I made a point to keep an eye on Keady at all times because I'm not kidding when I tell you that he probably spit on a half-dozen people without having any idea that it was happening. It's probably the grossest thing I've ever seen at a basketball game. No. 8 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... There are things about the current state of the Dallas Cowboys that I'm not sure I'm completely comfortable with in the long-term, but in the immediate short-term I'm going to enjoy the hell out of a an overtime win that essentially ends the season for the dirty Philadelphia Eagles. ... Amari Cooper might bankrupt Jerry Jones before it's all said and done. ... I'm kind of at a loss for words over the ending of the Dolphins/Patriots game. I couldn't believe it when I watched it live and I still can't believe it hours later. ... I'm also at a loss for words over this throw by Patrick Mahomes. Patrick Mahomes- what the hell kinda voodoo is this?! pic.twitter.com/HWiivUeNar— RosterWatch (@RosterWatch) December 9, 2018 ... Just leave any Steelers fan you might know alone for a few days. Trust me. ... I'm going to the give the Texans a free pass for a poor performance on Sunday. The truth of the matter is that almost all of the top teams in the AFC looked very vulnerable this week. ... It's hard not to sense that the teams that passed on Luka Doncic in this year's NBA Draft are going to regret doing so for a very long time. That kid is the truth. ... Will Bryce Harper just sign with the Phillies, already? Let's get this thing done. ... UFC231 was this weekend and it barely registered for me. It's amazing how much I've lost my love for the UFC product because I used to buy all of the pay-per-views and now it very rarely happens. ... The Mo Salah of late-2018 is starting to look like the Mo Salah of early-2018. This makes me smile. ... It won't be long before some English team breaks the bank for young Englishman Jadon Sancho. What do we think, a $150 million transfer free? ... Am I a bandwagon fan for admitting that I like Atlanta United in the MLS and that I rooted for them in the MLS Cup this weekend? I still wouldn't say I have a favorite MLS team, but it's hard not to like this team, especially with such a passionate fan base. No. 9 - The List: Top 10 Movies From the 80s that I have seen way too many times ... I'm not sure how it happened, but I woke up on Sunday morning and found myself locked into watching Back to School for what must have been the 200th time or so. From the Kurt Vonnegut guest appearance to Oingo Boingo's performance of Dead Man's Party to Sam Kinison going full Sam Kinison about America pulling its troops out of Vietnam in 1975. It got me to thinking about which guilty pleasure 80s movies that I have seen an obscene amount of times, so many times in fact that I can't come close to putting a number on it. This is a ball-park guess of those movies ranked in the order of the most times I have likely seen the movie. Do not judge me. 10. The Lost Boys 9. Just One of the Guys 8. Six-Pack 7. The Goonies 6. Urban Cowboy 5. Footloose 4. Teen Wolf 3. Rocky IV 2. Dirty Dancing 1. The Last Dragon No. 10 – And Finally ... I have all sorts of thoughts about this, but I'm just going to drop this here for you guys. Tweet!