Stay up-to-date with the latest news, press releases,
event updates and more.

Lone Star Player of the Year

Press Release

TaxAct Texas Bowl Gives Record Annual Donation to DePelchin

TaxAct Texas Bowl Surpasses $2.5 Million in Total Giving

TaxAct Texas Bowl Gives Record Annual Donation to DePelchin Children’s Center

TaxAct Texas Bowl Surpasses $2.5 Million in Total Giving 

HOUSTON – Today, the TaxAct Texas Bowl, in partnership with the Houston Texans Foundation, announced another record donation of $225,000 to the DePelchin Children's Center, marking the second consecutive year the Bowl has donated $225,000 to the children’s center. Since selecting DePelchin as its charitable beneficiary in 2006, the Bowl has provided over $2.5 million in direct financial support and millions more in promotional support. This is the 12th-straight year the Bowl has provided a gift of $100,000 or more. 

The Bowl presented the check to Jenifer Jarriel, President and CEO of DePelchin Children’s Center at their Houston Main Campus. 

“On behalf of the board, staff, and families served at DePelchin Children's Center, we are so thankful for our long-standing partnership with the TaxAct Texas Bowl,” said Jarriel. “Over the last 18 years, our friends at the Bowl have not only provided more than $2.5 million dollars to support and sustain children in our community, but they have given families memories that will last a lifetime by hosting fun events and gameday experiences. We are excited to see what more is to come from our amazing partnership.”

“This year’s record donation exemplifies the strength of the long-term relationship between the TaxAct Texas Bowl and DePelchin Children’s Center,” said TaxAct Texas Bowl Board Chair and President of Doris Engineering, Jim Fairbairn.  “The various programs that DePelchin brings to our community in helping children and their families is a critical service that the TaxAct Texas Bowl strongly supports. We are fortunate to have the exceptional backing of our sponsors, partners, fans, and board members to facilitate this record donation. Seeing the many success stories of the local children and families who benefit from these programs is truly satisfying and encourages us to continue to build on this relationship for years to come.”

Beyond financial and promotional support, the TaxAct Texas Bowl provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to families within the DePelchin network including field days with participating teams, tickets to the game, and on-field recognition.

“Our ability to directly put a smile on the faces of children from across the Houston-area through so many different ways is one of the most rewarding pieces of our partnership,” said TaxAct Texas Bowl Executive Director David Fletcher. “We appreciate the efforts of past Chair Sarah Frazier, new Chair Jim Fairbairn, our entire Board and all those who have assisted in creating these opportunities through raising funds, creating memorable experiences and supporting such a meaningful cause in DePelchin.”  

Founded in 1892 by Kezia Payne DePelchin, DePelchin Children’s Center is an accredited foster care and adoption agency serving the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and working to break the cycles of abuse and neglect. DePelchin’s approach to caring for kids integrates at-risk prevention, foster care, adoption and post-adoption programs to improve the mental health and physical well-being of children who are at risk of entering or are in the State’s child welfare system.

The 2024 TaxAct Texas Bowl will mark the events 11th year of affiliation with the Big 12 and the SEC. In the 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl, Oklahoma State claimed a 31-23 victory over Texas A&M. Cowboys WR Rashod Owens earned MVP honors after hauling in 10 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns. The game welcomed 55,212 fans to NRG Stadium and had a total live audience of 3.2 million viewers.

About the TaxAct Texas Bowl

Entering its 18th year, the TaxAct Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since 2016, the TaxAct Texas Bowl has the fifth-highest attendance among all college football bowls, trailing only the Rose, Peach, Fiesta and Orange bowls. The TaxAct Texas Bowl and its sister event, the Texas Kickoff, have historically combined to create an economic impact of close to $80 million annually for the city of Houston while raising over $2.5 million in financial support and millions more in promotional support for DePelchin Children’s Center, Houston’s oldest children’s charity and the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.

CFB Insider

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State preview

The TaxAct Texas Bowl will kickoff on Wednesday, December 27th with a tremendous matchup between Oklahoma State and Texas A&M

The TaxAct Texas Bowl will kickoff on Wednesday, December 27th with a tremendous matchup between Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Here’s my preview of the game.


TaxAct Texas Bowl - NRG Stadium

(9-4) Oklahoma State v (7-5) Texas A&M 


Oklahoma State Players to Watch

RB #0 Ollie Gordon II - The Man. The Straw Stirring the Drink. The Cowboys offense IS Gordon II - Doak Walker Award Winner - 1,614 rushing yards, 20 TD, 326 yards receiving, one TD

WR #80 Brennan Presley - 24 catches combined in “GOTTA HAVE IT” games the last two games of the regular season - reliable veteran who gets open against anyone.

DE #30 Collin Oliver - The most dynamic pass rusher for this Cowboys defense, plenty of bend and twitch that could be problematic for the Texas A&M OTs/TEs - 13.5 TFL & 6.0 sacks

LB #4 Nickolas Martin - Leads the Cowboys in tackles (133), TFL (16.0) and is tied at the top for sacks (6.0), future NFL LB. Martin had an interception against Texas in the Big 12 Championship game.


Texas A&M Players to Watch

RB #8 LeVeon Moss, #4 Amari Daniels & #2 Rueben Owens - There hasn’t been a true #1 Aggie running back for this offense. One of these three backs must emerge to match Gordon on the ground for the Aggies.

WR #1 Evan Stewart - Internet rumors have Stewart playing in the game, bypassing to transfer, not playing but staying. I have absolutely no idea what to think, but he’s the most dynamic Aggie weapon in the arsenal, by FAR!

DE #45 Edgerrin Cooper - Cooper was magnificent this season and a 1st Team All-American. He’s already accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, so not sure he’s playing. I’m praying he does play to face Gordon - Cooper v. Gordoni is one of the best matchups in the bowl season if they both play.

DT #34 Isaiah Raikes - Fellow DT McKinnley Jackson declared for the NFL Draft early this month and that will leave a massive hole up front. That forces Raikes into the void to make plays against Gordon and the Cowboy run game.


Keys to the Game

1. It’s all about whether the Texas A&M defense slows down Doak Walker Award winner Ollie Gordon II on the ground consistently enough to force Oklahoma State QB Alan Bowman to throw 30+ times. If Gordon gets into a rhythm, he’s going to get the rock 30 times and put A&M on its heels. That will be 30 tough carries against a versatile and disruptive A&M front.


2. A&M QB Jaylen Henderson, the Fresno State transfer, was impressive in the final two games of the season, starting twice in those games. His escapability and slipperiness were issues for Mississippi State and LSU. He’ll have a different OC calling plays with former Aggies OC Bobby Petrino leaving for Arkansas, but Henderson can create out of structure, putting Oklahoma State’s defense in trouble, regardless of play call or execution.


3. A&M has lost some offensive linemen to the transfer portal, so it could be a long night against Oklahoma State DE Collin Oliver. The Cowboy edge rusher is the twitchiest edge guy for the Oklahoma State defense and a great answer to Henderson’s scramble and off-schedule creations.

CFB Insider

The college football season ended on Saturday night so let’s dive into our awards for the weekend and some season awards as well.

The college football season ended on Saturday night, minus one of the great rivalry games of all-time this Saturday (Army v. Navy). As expected, it ended with its typical, annual controversy. Let’s dive into our awards for the weekend and some season awards as well.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Alabama - The Crimson Tide needed a miracle 4th and 31 conversion to beat Auburn the week prior, but they didn’t need one ounce of a miracle in a convincing and emphatic win over previously #1 Georgia 27-24 in the SEC Championship. The upset win moved Alabama into the CFP and on to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl against Michigan to kick off the new year.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Year - Texas - In the final season of the Big 12, Texas had a target on its chest every single week. It beat Alabama by ten on the road early in the season and succumbed just one time in an incredible Texas-OU rivalry game. However, Texas closed the door on the Big 12 with dominant victories against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, out-scoring those teams a combined 106-28. As a result, the Longhorns earned the overall #3 seed in the CFP and will play Washington in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1st.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - Texas QB Quinn Ewers - Ewers left the game against Oklahoma State with an injury for a play, but he had already done all his damage in the first half against the Cowboys. This Texas team is on a roll and Ewers is the biggest reason why, if I’m being honest.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Year  - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - It’s going to be one heck of a Heisman Trophy discussion, but Daniels did his part, putting up just ridiculous numbers. He threw for over 3,800 yards and 40 TD. He, then, ran for 1,134 yards and ten TDs. He accounted for 50 total TDs, which has typically been the ticket to winning a Heisman. Either way, he’s the Player of the Year for sure.

National Team of the Week - SMU - The Mustangs were down to their backup QB Kevin Jennings from nearby South Oak Cliff HS in a road Championship game against a 11-1 Tulane team. All he did was lead the Mustangs to the 2023 AAC Title in a convincing 26-14 win over #22 Tulane in New Orleans. Rhett Lashlee’s ‘Stangs won their last nine in a row, many in dominating fashion, to finish 11-2 and AAC Champs!

National Team of the Year - Florida State - Even with Jordan Travis in the coach’s box watching games the last two weeks of the year, the Seminoles thumped Florida 24-15 in Gainesville and then completely destroyed Louisville in Charlotte for the ACC Championship. It was close between FSU and Washington, but FSU gets this award, something it didn’t get from the CFP committee.

National Player of the Week - Liberty QB Kaidon Salter - Liberty earned an invite to the New Year’s Day Six after Salter led the Flames to the 2023 C-USA Championship game. The Flames generated 49 points as Salter threw for 319 yards and two TD and ran for 165 yards and a TD in the 49-35 win over New Mexico State.

National Player of the Year - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - See above. Stud.


Quick Kudos

…to Washington QB Michael Penix Jr for an outstanding season, two wins over Oregon and the final Pac-12 Championship. What a pair of seasons for the lefty from Florida in the Pac Northwest.

…to the University of Houston for procuring the services of one of the finest men/coaches in the business to lead them into the future Willie Fritz.

…to Texas WR Adonai Mitchell for his six catch, 109 yard, one TD performance in the Longhorns last Big 12 game ever.

…to Alabama head coach Nick Saban for perhaps his greatest coaching performance with this year’s Alabama squad.

…to Florida State and head coach Mike Norvell. 13 wins and no losses in a season is no small feat and should’ve been rewarded in a much larger way. It wasn’t and that’s a darn shame.

…to Miami Redhawks for exacting some revenge over Toledo in a 23-14 MAC Championship win.

…to Boise State interim, turned permanent head coach Spencer Danielson. Boise State was 4-5 when Danielson took over as the interim coach. He led them to four straight wins, including a MWC Championship win over UNLV.


TaxAct Texas Bowl Matchup

(9-4) Oklahoma State v. (7-5) Texas A&M - I was on record thinking that this would be Kansas State v. Texas A&M, but the Pop Tarts bowl wanted Kansas State. That decision put the Texas Bowl in a great situation, in all honesty. I LOVE this matchup and it irritates me that the Cowboys and Aggies don’t play each other, at least every other year. So, I’ll take it as Oklahoma State star RB Ollie Gordon II takes on a talented Texas A&M defensive front. The Aggies have a  new leader in Mike Elko, but not 100% sure if he’ll coach the team through the bowl game. Either way, it’s a fantastic matchup coming our way on December 27th.

Press Release


Tickets on Sale for 10th Edition of the SEC and BIG 12 Showdown

HOUSTON – Texas A&M and #20 ranked Oklahoma State have accepted bids to play in the 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl, the bowl organizing committee announced today. The 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl will be played at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, at NRG Stadium in Houston. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN and simulcasted on ESPN+ with national radio on ESPN Radio and a local radio broadcast available on SportsRadio 610 (KILT-AM). Tickets and suites are now available for purchase


“We are thrilled to announce the 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Oklahoma State Cowboys, two prestigious institutions from the SEC and Big 12,” remarked TaxAct Texas Bowl Executive Director David Fletcher. “The Bowl has become one of the largest annual events in our community and we’re excited to welcome back Texas A&M and Oklahoma State to Houston. We can’t wait to host these teams and their fan bases for a full week of Texas-themed events that will culminate in a primetime showdown at NRG Stadium on December 27.”


Texas A&M will represent the Southeastern Conference, while Oklahoma State will represent the Big 12 Conference. The two programs have met 27 times before, with their most recent matchup coming in the 2019 TaxAct Texas Bowl when Texas A&M defeated Oklahoma State, 24-21, on December 27, 2019. The 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl will mark the Aggies fourth appearance in the bowl and their first since 2019. The Cowboys will make their second appearance in the TaxAct Texas Bowl after being selected in 2019.


“We’re excited for TaxAct to be the title sponsor of this game for a third year in a row. Watching this game and celebrating these two great teams is a perfect way to close the year,” said TaxAct Chief Product Officer, Bastien Martini. “And as we’re nearing the end of the college football season, tax season is just around the corner. Rest assured, our team is gearing up and ready to help Americans – from young professionals to small business owners tackle their taxes confidently and successfully, so they can check filing taxes off their list.”


Texas A&M comes to Houston on the heels of a 7-5 campaign after finishing 4-4 in the SEC. The Aggies started their season with a bang, routing New Mexico 52-10 and trumping Arkansas 34-22 in an SEC West showdown to go 4-1 through their first five games. Under interim coach Elijah Robinson, the Aggies defense ranked tenth in the nation in yards allowed per game (299.8) and LB Edgerrin Cooper’s 17 tackles for loss leads the SEC and is tied for 10th nationally. Offensively, the high-flying Aggies have tallied over 400 yards of total offense in eight of the team’s 12 games this season, and rank 22nd nationally and fourth in the SEC, averaging 33.8 points per game.


Oklahoma State enters the game 9-4 (7-3 in the Big 12), with wins in seven of their last nine games, including a key conference victory over No. 12 Oklahoma and a historic comeback win over BYU. The Cowboys saw standout performances on both sides of the ball throughout the season, led by the nation’s top rusher and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, running back Ollie Gordon II. Gordon, a unanimous Big 12 First Team All-Conference selection, was also nominated as one of three finalists for the Doak Walker Award after rushing for 1,580 yards (6.4 avg.) and 20 touchdowns in 12 games played. Sophomore linebacker Nickolas Martin also received first team honors, as he leads all Big 12 defenders


with 120 total tackles. The Cowboys are led by 19th-year head coach Mike Gundy, who was recently named the 2023 Chuck Neinas Big 12 Coach of the Year, the third time in his career garnering the honor. Gundy owns a career record of 165-78 (.679), the sixth-most wins among active FBS coaches, and an 11-6 (.647) record in bowl game appearances.


The 2023 edition of the TaxAct Texas Bowl will mark the event’s 10th year of affiliation with the Big 12 and the SEC. In the 2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl, Texas Tech defeated Ole Miss, 42-25. Red Raiders QB Tyler Shough won MVP honors, going 24-of-39 for 242 yards and one touchdown with two rushing scores. The game welcomed 52,251 fans to NRG Stadium and had a total live audience of over 2.5 million.


Entering its 18th year, the TaxAct Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since 2016, the TaxAct Texas Bowl has the fifth-highest attendance among all college football bowls, trailing only the Rose, Peach, Fiesta and Orange bowls. The TaxAct Texas Bowl and its sister event, the Texas Kickoff, have combined to create an economic impact of close to $80 million annually for the city of Houston while raising over $2.3 million in financial support and millions more in promotional support for DePelchin Children’s Center, Houston’s oldest children’s charity and the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.


For more information about the game and affiliated Bowl Week activities, fans can visit or follow along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


About TaxAct

TaxAct is a savvy, tax-filing solution that provides filers with affordable DIY tax software to successfully navigate the U.S. tax code. As a pioneer in the industry, TaxAct’s products enable all users – regardless of profession, tax bracket or complexity of their return – to quickly and accurately file their taxes all while discovering new ways to leverage their tax situation and improve their financial well-being. At TaxAct, taxes are our expertise, but we don’t see them as the end goal. Rather, we believe taxes are a stepping-stone to possibility. Possibilities that are unique as every filer. Possibilities that help each hardworking American not only claim the money they deserve but also enable them to make smart money decisions. We deliver the power of possibility through straightforward technology to help filers secure their best tax outcome and elevate their financial lives. To learn more about TaxAct, a business of Cinven, Inc., visit or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and X (Twitter).


About ESPN Events ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of collegiate sporting events nationwide. In 2023, the 33-event schedule includes four early-season college football kickoff games, 17 college bowl games, nine college basketball events, a college softball event and the inaugural Band of the Year National Championship, in addition to a new college gymnastics event coming in 2024. Collectively, these events account for over 400 hours of live programming on ESPN platforms, while reaching 60 million viewers and attracting more than 650,000 annual attendees. Each year, the portfolio of events features more than 20 Division I conferences and hosts over 4,000 participating student-athletes. With satellite offices in more than 10 cities across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.


For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, X/Twitter or YouTube pages.

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment is an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since its founding, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to producing annual college football events such as the TaxAct Texas Bowl and Texas Kickoff, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including the Copa de Lone Star, Copa America Centenario, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, the International Champions Cup, the 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, a venue-leading seven Concacaf Gold Cups including 2023, and the 2023 Soccer Champions Tour featuring Real Madrid vs. Manchester United.

CFB Insider

Let’s dive into what happened in week 13 and what’s coming up on Championship weekend this Friday and Saturday.

It’s almost here. The day we look forward to all year long - TaxAct Texas Bowl announcement day is coming up on Sunday December 3rd! Can’t wait! So, let’s dive into what happened in week 13 and what’s coming up on Championship weekend this Friday and Saturday.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Oklahoma State - The Cowboys fought back, in horrid weather in Stillwater, for one of their greatest regular season victories ever. BYU jumped out to a 24-3 lead, bringing all the tricks and gadgets to the Stillwater party, looking to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. But, the Cowboys, behind the sensational running of RB Ollie Gordon II (166 yards and FIVE touchdowns), staged a furious rally to take the lead late in the game. BYU K Will Ferrin tied it and sent it to overtime where Gordon II locked in Oklahoma State’s trip to Arlington and the Big 12 Championship game with two OT TDs.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - Alabama - Somehow, someway, the Crimson Tide found a way to pull out a win on the road in the Iron Bowl. QB Jalen Milroe’s Gravedigger toss laid Auburn to rest with less than a minute remaining in what’s typically been a house of horrors for the Tide over the past few decades. The win kept Alabama in the playoff picture for the time being, setting up a gargantuan matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta for the SEC title on Saturday. 

TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - Alabama QB Jalen Milroe - When Milroe was asked to take a back seat after the loss to Texas early in the season, I don’t think anyone could foresee how Milroe would eventually respond. He not only responded; he became a legend in Alabama football lore with one of the greatest throws for a game winning touchdown in the history of the Iron Bowl. 366 total yards. 16 of 24 for 259 yards and two touchdowns passing. 18 carries for 107 yards rushing. What a performance for Milroe against Auburn!

TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week  - Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II - Oklahoma State just kept giving Gordon II the ball and he responded with another gem of a performance. 34 carries for 166 yards and FIVE touchdowns, including both scores in overtime. The Cowboys have ridden Gordon all the way to Arlington and a spot in the Big 12 Championship game against Texas

National Team of the Week - Michigan - It was the biggest game of the weekend, with an interim coach at the helm, against its biggest rival that just happened to be the #2 team in the nation. When S Rod Moore intercepted a hurried Kyle McCord pass late in the fourth quarter, Michigan solidified a third straight win over rival Ohio State and a third straight undefeated regular season. Interim head coach Sherrone Moore did a wonderful job for the Wolverines this year, winning the final three games down the stretch in place of head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines will play Iowa on Saturday for the B1G Championship and a shot at a third straight trip to the college football playoff.

Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - Arizona - The Wildcats put up 52 in three quarters in a demolition of rival Arizona State. All Jedd Fisch’s Wildcats have done is win six in a row, having lost just three games by a total of 16 points (Mississippi State, USC and Washington). A bowl win will give Arizona ten wins for the first time since 2014 and just the second time since the magical season of 1998.

National Player of the Week - Boise State RB Ashton Jeanty - The Broncos star ball carrier went 100/100 in their biggest win of the year. He ran 14 times for 107 yards and a touchdown and had five receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in Boise State’s 27-19 win over Air Force. The win propels Jeanty and the Broncos into the MWC Championship game against one of the biggest surprise teams in the nation - UNLV.

Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Florida State LB Jared Verse - The Seminoles needed every last tackle, pressure and/or hurry from Verse against the Gators in Gainesville. He finished with six tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.0 TFLs in the 24-15 win over rival Florida in The Swamp. He was nearly unblockable in the fourth quarter and Florida couldn’t throw the ball late in the game as a result.

Quick Kudos

…to Oregon QB Bo Nix for locking in his trip to NYC in a revenge game against Oregon State - 33-40 for 367 and two touchdowns in a 31-7 win.

…to former Duke head coach Mike Elko for taking on the challenge at Texas A&M.

…to Texas and Oklahoma for putting 50-burgers up on opponents in their final regular season contests in the Big 12 (57 for Texas v. Texas Tech, 69 for Oklahoma v. TCU)

…to Eli Drinkwitz leading the Missouri Tigers to a top ten finish and ten wins.

…to Kentucky RB Ray Davis for finishing his college career the absolute right way with a 37-yard game winning TD AT Louisville, leading the Cats to a 38-31 upset win on the road.

…to LSU QB Jayden Daniels *standing and applauding for minutes at a time* BRAVO, young man, BRAVO. What a season!

…to Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and the Golden Bears getting to bowl eligibility in a massive road win over UCLA.

…to Rice head coach Mike Bloomgren and the Owls for hanging on to a 24-21 win over a game FAU squad to get Rice into a bowl for the second straight season.

…to San Jose State for winning its sixth game in a row over a really good UNLV squad. That was the GREAT news; the bad news? The Spartans lost the coin flip (basically) and will miss out on a trip to the MWC Championship game…to the team they just beat - UNLV.


Week 13’s Big games

#20 (9-3) Oklahoma State v. #7 (11-1) Texas - I’ll be brutally honest, at the outset of the season, I thought Oklahoma State was going to struggle to win five games in 2023, but Mike Gundy’s crew fought its way to nine wins and the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma State’s win sets up one final Big 12 contest with the longtime conference behemoth and heavy favorite - the Texas Longhorns. There will be blood.

#1 (12-0) Georgia v. #8 (11-1) Alabama - These two just seem to find themselves in the SEC Championship game more often than not. This will be the fourth matchup since 2012 when Alabama beat Georgia in a classic. Alabama is 3-0 in the first three matchups (2012, 2018 & 2021). Can Georgia finally win one in Atlanta over the Tide or will an Alabama win completely tip over the College Football Playoff apple cart?

(10-2) #25 SMU v #17 (11-1) Tulane - I LOVE this matchup between two RISING teams. SMU won eight in a row to finish the season, while Tulane won ten in a row after losing to Ole Miss in week two. A MAJOR question is the health of SMU QB Preston Stone. He went out with an apparent ankle injury in the win over Navy and his status is unclear. Tulane QB Michael Pratt led the Green Wave to an AAC title last year and is back to repeat.

#4 (12-0) Washington at #6 (11-1) Oregon - When these two met back in November, it was one to remember. Now that the calendar has turned to December, this one is WAY MORE important. It’s also one final act for two Heisman candidates - Oregon QB Bo Nix and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Potential teams

Big 12 candidates

(8-4) Kansas State - The Wildcats lost to Iowa State in their white jerseys in the snow in a 42-35 loss in Manhattan, the first home loss of the year.

(9-3) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys roared back, again, for an indescribable 40-34 2OT win over BYU in Stillwater. A win over the Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game would upset the entire bowl universe.

(8-4) Kansas - The Jayhawks’ big win over Oklahoma in November was massive for the Jayhawks respective bowl opportunities.


SEC candidates

(7-5) Texas A&M - The Aggies now have a new coach (Mike Elko, if you missed it) and an opportunity to finish the season in Houston against a team from the Sunflower State - that’s as bold as I’m getting…for now.

(6-6) Auburn - I still don’t see any other team than Texas A&M out of the SEC, but if there’s another squad that could make some sense, it’s Auburn.

CFB Insider

Rivalry Week is here with some of the greatest matchups of the entire 2023 season.

Rivalry Week is here with some of the greatest matchups of the entire 2023 season. We’re also honing in on our TaxAct Texas Bowl teams, which should provide for one heck of a matchup again on December 27th at NRG Stadium.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Kansas State - Trailing most of the game at Lawrence, KS against rival Kansas, the Wildcats came from behind to win the Sunshine Showdown 31-27. The Wildcats won their 15th straight over Kansas after QB Will Howard ran into the end zone with the game winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter. A win over Iowa State on Thanksgiving weekend will give the Wildcats nine wins in 2023, with three losses by a total of 14 points (Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas)

TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - Missouri - The Thicker Kicker, aka Harrison Mevis, knocked home a game winning field goal with little time left in a 33-31 win for the Tigers over Florida. The Gators took a 31-30 lead with 1:36 remaining on a Trey Smack 35-yard field goal. But, Missouri QB Brady Cook hit a key 4th and 17 pass for a first down to help get Mevis in position for his game winning kick. That’s the second one for Mevis this season (Kansas State the other). Head coach Eli Drinkwitz’s team can get to ten wins with a win over Arkansas in Fayetteville on Black Friday.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - Again? Yes sir!! Daniels’ tremendous performance put him right back into the winner’s circle after what he did against Georgia State. EIGHT total TDs. That’s right, Daniels accounted for eight total TD - rushing for two and throwing for six in a 56-14 win over Georgia State. Could a Heisman be next?


TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week  - Oklahoma S Billy Bowman Jr. - 100+ yard pick sixes completely change the tenor of any game and that’s exactly what Bowman Jr. did against BYU on Saturday afternoon. With the score tied at 17, BYU QB Jake Retzlaff had the Cougars within a few yards of taking the lead; however, Bowman Jr. picked off Retzlaff’s pass at the goal line and raced to the other end of the field for the backbreaking touchdown. OU beat BYU 31-24, the difference being Bowman’s huge interception for a TD. He also added nine tackles and a TFL in the win.

National Team of the Week - New Mexico State - All Jerry Kill’s squad did was walk into Jordan-Hare Stadium and beat 26-point favorite Auburn…and collect a massive check in the process. QB Diego Pavia threw three touchdowns in a 31-10 win over the Auburn Tigers in one of the most shocking wins of the entire season. NMSU did that to Hugh Freeze last year when he was the coach at Liberty, beating Freeze’s squad at Liberty in the same manner. Liberty. Auburn. It doesn’t matter to Kill as the Aggies are beating everyone on the schedule right now. As a result, the Aggies will play Jamey Chadwell’s Liberty squad for the CUSA title in two weeks.

Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - (Tie) Toledo - The Rockets are 10-1 and no one in the nation is talking about Jason Candle’s squad. Win number ten, though, didn’t come easy. The Rockets trailed rival Bowling Green 28-10 at half and it looked like the Falcons would get a memorable win at season’s end. However, Toledo RB Peny Boone (15 carries for 131 yards, one TD) and Toledo QB Dequan Finn (20-30, 279 yards and two TD) led the Rockets back from the dead. Finn threw a 59-yard TD to Jacquez Stuart for the game winner with just under two minutes remaining. The Rockets face Central Michigan and then Miami, OH in the MAC Championship game. Run the table, win their bowl game and the Rockets could be one of a handful of teams to win 13 games this season.

(tie) Louisville - In just his first year back home at Louisville, head coach Jeff Brohm led the Cardinals to the ACC Championship game after a scintillating defensive stop on the goal line at Miami for a 38-31 win. At 10-1, Louisville is hanging on to faint playoff hopes, but a win over Kentucky in the finale will put the Cardinals at 11-1, heading into the ACC Championship game against undefeated Florida State. ANYTHING could happen at that point but, holy cow, what a game that’ll be!! 

National Player of the Week - UTSA QB Frank Harris - The longtime starter at UTSA had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 411 yards and three touchdowns in UTSA’s 49-21 win over USF. He also ran for over 100 yards, racking up 112 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns. So, a 300-100 game with SIX total TD. Wow!

Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Oregon QB Bo Nix - The Ducks signal caller lit up Arizona State in a 49-13 win. Nix threw for 24 of 29 for 404 yards and SIX touchdowns and spent most of the second half watching the rest of the game. Revenge is on the schedule next as the Ducks prepare for Oregon State, a game that slipped through Nix’s grasp last season.

Quick Kudos

…to Washington’s defense for holding Oregon State to 20 points in a 22-20 win in the rain in Corvallis. The (LAST??) Apple Cup is next!!

…to Texas for grinding out its tenth win in a place that hasn’t always been kind to them in recent years - 26-16 win over Iowa State in Ames, IA.

…to Arizona and head coach Jedd Fisch. Perhaps the HOTTEST team in the country, Fisch’s Wildcats trounced Utah 42-18 on the strength of four TD passes by three different individuals.

…to Northwestern for getting bowl eligibility. Wow, what a coaching job David Braun’s done in Evanston in 2023.

…to Arkansas State and Butch Jones. In the first two games of the 2023 season, Arkansas State lost to Oklahoma and Memphis a combined 110-3. Ten weeks later, ASU beat bowl bound Texas State 77-31 on Saturday night. What a turnaround!

Week 13’s Big games

#1 (11-0) Ohio State at #3 (11-0) Michigan - It’s THE Game. What else needs to be said? The vitriol is 100% real and there are MASSIVE implications, FOOTBALL implications, on the line for this matchup, as it always seems.

(8-3) UTSA at #24 (10-1) Tulane - Simply put, the winner goes to the American Championship game. It’s an AAC unofficial semifinal. I can’t wait to see Frank Harris (UTSA) battle Michael Pratt (Tulane) in New Orleans with so much on the line.

#11 (8-3) Oregon State at #6 (10-1) Oregon - The Civil War will not be so civil given the Pac-12/Pac-2 situation, not to mention the revenge the Ducks seek after Oregon State beat them last year in Corvallis. There will be blood.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Potential teams

Big 12 candidates

(9-2) Oklahoma - A win over TCU would more than likely put OU in a New Years’ Day bowl game. A TCU win over Oklahoma could make things very interesting.

(8-3) Kansas State - At home, the Wildcats are undefeated in 2023 and guess where they play Iowa State on Saturday?

(8-3) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys roared back for a 43-30 come from behind win over Houston last week. The Cowboys are my odds on favorite to be in the bowl game this year.

(6-5) Texas Tech - If the Red Raiders finish out the year with a win over Texas, I’d absolutely be ALL FOR bringing the Red Raiders back to Houston.

SEC candidates

(7-4) Texas A&M - Beating LSU would give the Aggies momentum on into the bowl game. HUGE momentum.

(6-5) Auburn - A stunning 21-point loss to New Mexico State didn’t help the bowl prospects for Auburn, but beating Alabama on Thanksgiving weekend would make Auburn the belle of the ball.

CFB Insider

A look at what happened last week, TaxAct Texas Bowl projections and a look ahead to another tremendous weekend in CFB for week 12.

The CFB season is really just starting to hit its stride, so let’s take a look at what happened last week, project some TaxAct Texas Bowl teams and look ahead to another tremendous weekend in CFB for week 12.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Missouri - The Tigers got lambasted last year in Knoxville when the Tennessee Volunteers poured it on late in a 66-24 win. This year, though, was a different story. The Tigers, riding the wave of former DII transfer RB Cody Schrader trampled Tennessee 36-7, making a significant statement that the Tigers are a force in 2023. The Tigers have only lost to LSU by ten and to Georgia by nine last week. That’s it. So, they needed this one at home for a bit of revenge and a bit of redemption. A ten win season is certainly in range with games against Florida and Arkansas coming up.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - UCF - Gus Malzahn’s squad did not have a Big 12 win after grueling gut punch losses to Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia, in particular. But, in week ten, the Knights beat Cincinnati on the road. But, they still hadn’t beaten a legacy Big 12 team until Saturday. Not only did they beat a legacy team, they dismantled the HOT Oklahoma State Cowboys. Fresh off an upset over Oklahoma and five Big 12 wins in a row, Mike Gundy’s Cowboys got shellacked by Malzahn’s squad 45-3. That’s not a misprint. Oklahoma State was in some kind of driver’s seat after Kansas lost to Texas Tech, but the Cowboys couldn’t handle UCF at all. UCF RB R.J. Harvey looked more like Ollie Gordon than the real Ollie Gordon looked like Ollie Gordon. Harvey ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Player of the Week - LSU QB Jayden Daniels - I fell asleep well before the Florida-LSU game concluded, so I got on my phone first thing in the morning and I saw Daniels’ numbers. I got confused. I thought those have to be a misprint. Nope. Daniels did something that’s never been done in the history of college football. He’s the first QB to throw for 350+ yards and rush for 200+ yards. Check these #s out - 17 of 26 for 372 yards and three touchdowns through the air with 12 rushes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. 606 total yards, accounting for five touchdowns. He was the only player that could make Missouri RB Cody Schrader the honorable mention selection this week.

TaxAct Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week  - Missouri RB Cody Schrader - This was such a tough decision but when Daniels set records that no QB in FBS history had ever reached, Schrader moved down a notch from his high perch. But, that doesn't take away in the slightest from one of the greatest RB performances in SEC and Missouri history. He was the first player in SEC history to have 200 yards rushing (205) and 100 yards receiving (116) in the same game. There are only ten players that have done it in the history of college football. No player has generated as many all-purpose yards (321) in a game in FBS this season as Schrader.

National Team of the Week - Oregon State - The Beavers are one of the least talked about GREAT teams in the country. Stifling defense. Outstanding QB play. One of the nation’s best OL. The Beavers piled up 62 points on Stanford on Saturday, including 55 in the first three quarters. Circle the next two Saturdays - Oregon State gets Washington at home in Corvallis and then it’s Civil War time in Eugene against the Ducks. Those games will be AWESOME!

Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - UNLV - The Rebels finished 2022 with six losses in their last seven games. In 2021, they won just two games. In 2020, they lost all six games. After Friday night’s win over Wyoming in Vegas, the Rebels are now 8-2. That’s eight wins, one more than the Rebels had in the last three years COMBINED. Head coach Barry Odom’s squad jumped all over the Cowboys in the second half, shutting out the Cowboys and putting up 13 points over the last 30 minutes in a 34-14 win. 

National Player of the Week - Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. - Three touchdowns against Michigan State. Went over 1000 yards receiving for the second consecutive season. Heisman love. Seven catches for 149 yards, two TD. One carry for a nineteen yard touchdown. Yeah, he’s the absolute Truth.

Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Cal LB David Reese - You wouldn’t think that a defensive star emerged in a 42-39 game on the west coast, but Reese should get all kinds of honors for his performance. Three sacks. Six tackles. Two forced fumbles, one of which was returned for a 52 yard TD for the Golden Bears.


Quick Kudos

…to Sam Houston for its second win, and first ever against a CUSA as a FBS program, on the road at Louisiana Tech.

…to Georgia for a resounding win over a top ten team at home. TE Brock Bowers returned to the lineup and scored a TD in a 52-17 win over formerly #9 Ole Miss.

…to Washington for remaining undefeated in a hard fought win over Utah in Seattle 35-28

…to Oregon QB Bo Nix for throwing four TD passes against USC in a 36-27 win.

…to the Red Raiders of Texas Tech for wrecking Kansas’ magical season with a last second field goal in Lawrence, KS.

…to Jedd Fisch and the Arizona Wildcats for their seventh win of the season, this time over Colorado on the road in Boulder.

…to Iowa for a shutout over Rutgers.

…to James Madison for its tenth win in a row this season. All that stands between JMU and a perfect 12-0 season is a game with Appalachian State and a trip to Coastal Carolina.

 …to Hugh Freeze and Auburn for finding their offensive attack at the right time in the season. 48-10 over Arkansas in Fayetteville.


Week 12’s Big games

#2 (10-0) Georgia at #13 (7-3) Tennessee - the Volunteers are coming off of an embarrassing showing in Columbia, MO, so ruining the season of the #2 Bulldogs would be an amazing finish to the year.

 #5 (10-0) Washington at #12 (8-2) Oregon State - This is the BEST game of the weekend, in my estimation. Oregon State is actually a slight favorite at home, so it’s clear this could be Washington’s last biggest test.

 #24 (8-2) North Carolina at (6-4) Clemson - The Tigers are starting to play some good football finally, but facing, and shutting down, North Carolina QB Drake Maye might be a more difficult exercise on Saturday afternoon.


TaxAct Texas Bowl Potential teams

Big 12 candidates

(7-3) Oklahoma State - The Cowboys have overachieved a bit this year, but I didn’t expect them to get it handed to them this past weekend. Still in the Tax Act Texas Bowl hunt.

(7-3) Kansas - The Jayhawks lost to Texas Tech and have Kansas State this week…and potentially a banged up QB.

(5-5) Texas Tech - If the Red Raiders finish out the year with a win over UCF and an upset of Texas…I wouldn’t mind a HOT Tech team coming back to Houston.

SEC candidates

(7-3) LSU - If LSU finishes out with two more wins, the Tigers will get snapped up by a New Year’s Bowl

(6-4) Texas A&M - With the change at the head coaching position, A&M is an intriguing team to watch this offseason for many reasons.

(6-4) Auburn - The Tigers stayed hot with a MASSIVE blowout win on the road last weekend.


CFB Insider

The CFB season is really just starting to hit its stride, so let’s take a look at what happened last week, project some Tax Act Texas Bowl teams and look ahead to another tremendous weekend in CFB for

Tax Act Texas Bowl Team of the Week - Oklahoma State - Before the season started, I was convinced that this was the year, finally, that Oklahoma State was not going to be in this Big 12 race. But, head coach Mike Gundy has done a whale of a job keeping his Cowboys right in the mix. Oklahoma State knocked Oklahoma off its potential playoff perch with a scintillating 27-24 win in Stillwater…Bedlam will be decked in orange and black for the foreseeable future. RB Ollie Gordon II put on a show for the third straight week, rushing for 137 yards and two TD, while junior WR Rashod Owens took over the game with his receptions and runs after the catch. Oklahoma State moved to 7-2 on the season and 5-1 in the conference. What a win.

Tax Act Texas Bowl Honorable mention Team of the Week - Houston - QB Donovan Smith ran in a QB Draw on a two point conversion to beat Baylor in Waco 25-24 to move within two games of bowl eligibility. That would be a MAJOR feather in head coach Dana Holgorsen’s cap - first year in the Big 12 and the Cougars find a bowl?? Wow.

Tax Act Texas Bowl Player of the Week - Alabama QB Jalen Milroe - The Katy, TX product just kept scoring touchdowns against LSU. He threw for 219 yards, but he ran for 20 times for 155 yards and FOUR touchdowns in a come from behind win over rival LSU in Tuscaloosa

Tax Act Texas Bowl Honorable mention Player of the Week  - Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II - as noted above, Gordon was instrumental in the 27-24 win over Oklahoma. He’s now run for 136, 168, 282, 271 and 138 in his last six games. In fact, he only ran the ball 19 times in his first three games for 109 yards.

National Team of the Week - Washington - Head coach Kalen DeBoer’s undefeated Huskies went to Los Angeles and dropped a 50-burger on the USC Trojans in a 52-42 win three weeks after beating Oregon in Seattle.

Honorable Mention National Team of the Week - Army - The Black Knights were decided underdogs heading to Denver to take on the undefeated Air Force Falcons. They left Denver with a win for the ages 23-3, knocking Air Force from its undefeated perch. With a win over Navy in the finale, Army will take home the Commander in Chief trophy after the massive upset in Air Force’s backyard. Congrats to Jeff Monken and his Army squad.

National Player of the Week - Washington RB Dillon Johnson - All the Greenville, MS native did was run for a career high 256 yards and four touchdowns in that 52-42 win over USC. He tacked on 11 more receiving yards for a total of 267 all-purpose yards and those four tuddies.

Honorable mention National Player of the Week - Penn State QB Drew Allar - 25-34 for 240 yards and FOUR touchdowns against Maryland in a 51-15 win.

Quick Kudos

…to Sam Houston for its first win as an FBS program - 24-21 win over Kennesaw State on a Colby Sessums game ending FG.

…to UCF for its first Big 12 win against Cincinnati 28-26

…to James Madison for continuing its dominant 9-0 run through CFB this year…even though James Madison can’t go to a bowl. It can STILL finish 12-0 with wins over UConn, Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.

…to West Virginia for getting to bowl eligibility under head coach Neal Brown in a dominant 37-7 win over BYU.

…to Ole Miss for a hard fought win over Texas A&M in Oxford. Ole Miss hung on as Texas A&M kicker Randy Bond missed a game tying kick at the buzzer.

Week 11’s Big games

#3 (9-0) Michigan at #11(8-1) Penn State - Can Penn State finally win a BIG game against a top five team? Michigan is arguably the best team in the nation, so Penn State is in for a fight at home.

#18 (7-2) Utah at #5 (9-0) Washington - Utah can make a complete mess of the situation in the Pac-12 with an upset win in Seattle. Washington WR Rome Odunze is the absolute truth and Utah must stop him…and RB Dillon Johnson…and WR Ja’Lynn Polk…and QB Michael Penix Jr.

#17 (7-2) Tennessee at #12 (7-2) Missouri - The Tigers gave Georgia all it could handle in Athens, so returning home for Tennessee could make things tough on the Vols.

Tax Act Potential Bowl teams

Big 12 candidates

(6-3) Kansas State - the Wildcats have a great history with the bowl here in Houston

(6-3) West Virginia - without that late loss to Houston, Neal Brown’s Mountaineers would be 7-2

(4-5) Houston - the Cougars would be one heck of a story, but need two difficult wins to get to 6-6, at a minimum.

(5-4) BYU - The Cougars need a win to get to bowl eligibility, but if they do, they’ll bring fans in droves to H-Town.


SEC candidates

(6-3) LSU - If LSU finishes out with three wins, the Tigers will get snapped up by a New Year’s Bowl

(5-4) Texas A&M - the Aggies have had some gut punch losses this year, including last week’s 38-35 barnburner in Oxford.

(5-4) Auburn - In his first year at Auburn, Hugh Freeze has put Auburn in position to get into a bowl game, but must beat one of Arkansas, New Mexico State or Alabama to get to six wins.

Press Release


HOUSTON – The TaxAct Texas Bowl Committee has selected the 2023 class of Gridiron Legends inductees, the committee announced today. The honorees will be inducted into the Gridiron Legends at a special pregame ceremony during the TaxAct Texas Bowl game at NRG Stadium on Dec. 27.

The 2023 class features Pro Football Hall of Fame member Bruce Matthews, College Football Hall of Fame members Trevor Cobb and Murry Bowden, legendary Katy High School head coach and GHFCA nominee Gary Joseph, longtime FOX sports anchor Mark Berman and former Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes.

The Gridiron Legends have each made significant contributions to the game of football in the state of Texas at the high school, collegiate or professional level. The 2023 class joins 94 other Gridiron Legends who have been inducted since the Bowl’s inception in 2006, including Texas greats Earl Campbell, Joe Greene, Andre Ware, Bum Phillips, Jim Nantz, John David Crow, Andre Johnson and Dave Campbell among others.

Bruce Matthews

Bruce Matthews was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 following a 19-year career with the Houston Oilers and the Tennessee Titans. Considered one of the most durable and versatile players to play the game, Matthews started in 292 of 296 career games, which is the most career starts with one team in NFL history, the most by any offensive lineman, and the third-most by any player behind QB Tom Brady (333) and QB Brett Favre (298). Matthews started in 229 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak of its kind, while playing all five positions on the offensive line and never missing a game due to injury. He earned first team All-Pro honors nine times (1988-1993, 1998-2000) and was named to the Pro Bowl 14 times (1988-2001), tied for the second-most all-time. After his retirement from football, Matthews was named to the 1990’s NFL All-Decade Team as a guard, as well as the NFL 100 All-Time Team in 2020 as one of the top 100 players in the first 100 years of the NFL. Matthews, a Raleigh N.C. native is the son of Clay Matthews Sr., who played defensive line for the 49ers.

Trevor Cobb

Trevor Cobb, a Houston native, etched his name in the Rice football record books after four record setting seasons (1989-92). In 44 games played with the Owls, Cobb accumulated a school-record 4,948 career rushing yards, marking the second-most in Southwestern Conference history, and the 28th-most in the history of college football. He holds SWC career records in all-purpose yards (6,512), rushing attempts (1,091) and 200-yard games in a season (6). Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018, Cobb’s legacy was cemented during his junior year in 1991 when he was named a consensus All-American and won the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s top running back. He is the first Rice football player to win a major individual award. Following his storied college career, Cobb went on to the NFL, where he played for the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs, and later spent time with the Amsterdam Admirals of the NFL Europe League. Upon finishing his football career, he went on to pursue helping and giving back to underprivileged communities in the Houston area through his non-profit organization, Trevor Cobb Helping Hands, which focuses on helping individuals that have experienced medical setbacks along with financial hardship.

Murry Bowden

A native of Colorado City, Texas, Bowden is known as the “Reckless Rover” during his time at Dartmouth College, Murry Bowden’s all-around versatility and durability characterize his enduring impact on the field and his contributions to college football off the field. A team captain and first team All-American at linebacker for the Big Green, Bowden led Dartmouth to Ivy League championships as a junior and senior, including the 1970 season when the team finished 9-0 and was the last Ivy League school to earn a ranking as one of the top 20 teams in the country. He went on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. That same year, Bowden became a member of the National Football Foundation Board of Directors, where he played a significant role in helping oversee the construction of the new College Football Hall of Fame and its transition from South Bend, Ind., to Atlanta, Ga. Shortly after the new Hall of Fame was unveiled in 2014, Bowden was named Chairman of Atlanta Hall Management, where he continued his leadership and oversight of the Hall, and later assisted in naming Chick-fil-A as the official title sponsor in 2018. Bowden is also the Founder and Chairman of the Hanover Company.

Gary Joseph – GHFCA Nominee, Legendary Katy HS Coach, Texas Sports Hall of Fame

Since taking the reins at Katy as head coach in 2004, Coach Gary Joseph has led the Katy Tigers to nine state championships – winning five state championships (2007, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2020). After the Tigers' title win in 2012, the team was named National Champions by the National Sports News Service and Coach Joseph was named 2012 National High School Coach of the Year. An eleven-time District 18/19 6A Coach of the Year, Joseph was named Houston Touchdown Club Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2013 and Houston Texans 5A Coach of the Year in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2013. In 2007, Coach Joseph was honored by the Katy Chamber of Commerce as Katy's 2007 Citizen of the Year. Coach Joseph has served on the Board of Directors of the THSCA, the GHFCA, and on the coaching staff of five prestigious all-star games, including the 2009 THSCA game where he served as the head coach for the South All Stars. In 2015, Joseph was named the National Football Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) and in 2016, Joseph was inducted into the Texas High School Sports Hall of Fame, joining his father and longtime THSCA Vice President Eddie Joseph. Coach Joseph began his coaching career at Luling High School and advanced in jobs at Brazosport and Austin Westlake before moving to Katy High School, where he has served for 41 years as an assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and head coach. Coach Joseph and his wife Sheila have three children, Jon, Jeff and Julie, and three granddaughters. 

Mark Berman

Longtime sports anchor Mark Berman, who recently retired after 43 years in the business, became the weekend sports anchor/reporter at FOX 26 in 1986 before becoming the station’s sports director in 1988, a position he held until his retirement in June 2023. Throughout his career, Berman worked tirelessly to cover nearly every Houston sporting event and left his mark on many individuals who he came across. A Houston native, Berman grew up in Hempstead and graduated from the University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. Before his time at FOX 26, he previously worked as a weekend anchor/reporter at KOSA-TV in Odessa, Texas and then as a sports director for KIKK radio in Pasadena, Texas. Following his retirement, Berman's hometown of Hempstead presented him with the Trailblazer Award and the key to the city while the Houston Texans honored the long-time reporter with a spot on their Media Wall of Fame. Following in her father’s footsteps, Berman’s daughter Jessica is a television news producer who now works for FOX 26.

Jamey Rootes

Jamey Rootes served as the President of the Houston Texans for over 20 years. During his tenure with the Texans, Rootes managed the team’s efforts to secure stadium-naming rights, sponsorships, coordinated radio and TV broadcasting relationships, engineered the club’s ticket and suite sales campaigns and developed the team’s customer service strategy. Rootes also served as President of Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE), a sports management agency that has been a catalyst for some of Houston’s most significant sporting events, including premiere college football games and world-class soccer matches. A native of Stone Mountain, GA, Rootes graduated from Clemson University’s Calhoun Honors College. While attending Clemson, Rootes was a member of the Tigers’ soccer team that captured two NCAA titles and served as Student Body President. Before entering the sports industry, Rootes previously held positions at IBM and Procter & Gamble. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, and their children, Chris and Caroline.

For tickets and more information regarding the 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl featuring the Big 12 versus the SEC, visit


Press Release

2023 Lone Star Player of the Year Award Preseason Watch List Announced

HOUSTON (August 21, 2023) – The TaxAct Texas Bowl in association with the Gridiron Legends announced today the creation of the Lone Star Player of the Year Award. The award will be presented annually to the most outstanding college football player from an institution in the State of Texas as determined by media and the Gridiron Legends. The Lone Star Player of the Year Award is the first award to honor the top college football player in Texas.   

As part of the inaugural award, 50 student athletes representing each Football Bowl Subdivision program in Texas have been named to the preseason Watch List. Texas leads all schools with seven selections, followed by TCU with five, and Houston, Sam Houston, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UTEP, and UTSA each with four.  

Following Week Six, a midseason Watch List will be announced which may feature new additions to the list. Finalists will be announced following the conclusion of the regular season and a winner will be selected prior to the start of Bowl Season.  

2023 Lone Star Player of the Year Award Preseason Watch List: 

Ife Adeyi, WR, R-Jr., Sam Houston  

Praise Amaewhule, DE, R-Sr., UTEP  

Kelvin Banks, OL, So., Texas  

Clark Barrington, OL, S-Sr., Baylor  

Gabe Blair, OL, Jr., North Texas  

Jerand Bradley, WR, So., Texas Tech  

Tahj Brooks, RB, Sr., Texas Tech  

Roderick Brown, DL, Jr., North Texas  

Brandon Brown, DL, Jr., UTSA  

Ryan Bujcevski, P, Sr., SMU  

Jalen Catalon, DB, Sr., Texas  

Joshua Cephus, WR, Sr., UTSA  

Elijah Chatman, DL, Sr., SMU  

Lucas Dean, P, Sr., UTSA  

Quinn Ewers, QB, So., Texas  

Malik Fleming, DB, Sr., Houston  

Jaylan Ford, LB, Sr., Texas  

Kavian Gaither, LB, Jr., Sam Houston  

Matthew Golden, WR, So., Houston  

Ethan Hagler, OL, R-Jr., Sam Houston  

Gabe Hall, DL, Sr., Baylor  

Gavin Hardison, QB, R-Sr., UTEP  

Frank Harris, QB, R-Sr., UTSA  

Johnny Hodges, LB, Jr., TCU  

Jaylon Hutchings, DL, S-Sr., Texas Tech  

McKinnley Jackson, DL, Sr., Texas A&M  

Griffin Kell, K, Sr., TCU  

Elijah Klein, OL, R-Sr., UTEP  

Tyrice Knight, LB, R-Sr., UTEP  

Tony Mathis, RB, Jr., Houston  

Luke McCaffrey, WR, R-Jr., Rice  

Chandler Morris, QB, So., TCU  

Byron Murphy II, DL, Jr., Texas  

Josh Newton, DB, Sr., TCU  

Justin Osborne, OL, Sr., SMU  

Patrick Paul, OL, Jr., Houston  

Markel Perry, DL, Gr., Sam Houston  

Richard Reese, RB, So., Baylor  

Jordan Revels, DL, Sr., Texas State  

Mazin Richards, DL, Sr., North Texas  

Demani Richardson, DB, Sr., Texas A&M  

Ja'Tavion Sanders, WR, Jr., Texas  

Clay Servin, OL, R-Sr., Rice  

Tyler Shough, QB, Sr., Texas Tech  

Ainias Smith, WR, Gr., Texas A&M  

Tory Spears, DB, R-Sr., Texas State  

Evan Stewart, WR, So., Texas A&M  

Damonic Williams, DL, So., TCU  

Kobe Wilson, LB, Jr., SMU  

Xavier Worthy, WR, Jr., Texas 


Each week during the regular season, the Lone Star Player of the Year Award committee will nominate three Stars of the Week who are eligible to be named Player of the Week. The nominees will be announced each Monday and a fan vote will determine the Player of the Week, which will be announced each Wednesday. Fans can vote at