Chang­ing race date might not be pos­si­ble

Race

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Con­tin­ued from C Con­tact Kirk Bohls at 4453772. Twit­ter: @kbohls

U.S. Grand Prix at Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas drew more than 117,000 fans on race day. Longhorns foot­ball games typ­i­cally draw 100,000-plus fans to Royal-Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

“Cir­cuit of the Amer­i­cas has ex­pressed our strong pref­er­ence for an al­ter­nate race date in 2013,” chair­man Bobby Ep­stein said Wed­nes­day in an email to the Amer­i­can-States­man. “We un­der­stand that set­ting a global cal­en­dar can be very chal­leng­ing, in­volves many fac­tors and is out of our con­trol. We feel con­fi­dent that For­mula One has taken our con­cerns se­ri­ously and is work­ing earnestly to­wards a col­lec­tive so­lu­tion.

“Ul­ti­mately, our 2013 race date may re­main as it cur­rently stands.”

In an email, Nick Craw, the Fed­er­a­tion In­ter­na­tionale de l’au­to­mo­bile’s high­est-rank­ing U.S. of­fi­cial, said of­fi­cials are still try­ing to move the race date, but he gave no other de­tails.

Hav­ing both events on the same week­end would put a big strain on restau­rants, ren­tal cars, shut­tle buses and bars. The big­gest con­flict, though, prob­a­bly would be over ho­tel rooms — Texas foot- ball fans might not get many of them, and there are thou­sands of Longhorns fans who head to Austin for home games.

Bob Burda, the Big 12’s as­so­ciate com­mis­sioner for com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said league of­fi­cials con­sider many fac­tors in cre­at­ing a foot­ball sched­ule that’s balanced for all 10 schools in the league.

“At the re­quest of our tele­vi­sion part­ners, the 2013 sched­ule is sub­ject to ad­just­ments,” Burda said. “How­ever at this junc­ture it does not ap­pear mov­ing the Ok­la­homa State at Texas game off its sched­uled date is an op­tion as the two pro­grams do not share a com­mon open date.”

Butch Wor­ley, UT deputy ath­letic di­rec­tor, told the Amer­i­canS­tates­man last month that Texas would work to sched­ule the game for 2:30 p.m. so fans could get in and out with­out stay­ing in a ho­tel.

“We’d do all we could to make that hap­pen. The Big 12 un­der­stands the is­sue,” Wor­ley said at the time.

The World Mo­tor Sport Coun­cil did make one change to the 2013 F1 cal­en­dar: mov­ing the Ger­man Grand Prix to July 7 to make way for an­other For­mula One event, sub­ject to ap­proval. How­ever, the lo­ca­tion of that event was not an­nounced.

The move means the 2013 F1 cal­en­dar will be made up of 20 races, equiv­a­lent to the 2012 sched­ule.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have 10 teams re­main­ing in the fi­nal 16. That in­cludes top-seeded Penn State — a Texas neme­sis who de­feated the Longhorns in the 2009 fi­nals and 2010 na­tional semi­fi­nals — and sixth­seeded USC, which trav­els to Austin and faces un­seeded sur­prise Wi­chita State, a third­place fin­isher in the Mis­souri Val­ley Con­fer­ence, on Fri­day.

Texas isn’t look­ing past any­one, es­pe­cially phys­i­cal Florida and its sen­sa­tional SEC fresh­man of the year Ziva Re­cek, even though the Longhorns swept the Ga­tors in Au­gust.

El­liott no­tices a sense of ur­gency in his play­ers, but also tries to keep a lid on the pres­sure and min­i­mize out­side dis­trac­tions. To­ward that end, the coach­ing staff makes his play­ers check in their cell phones on game days and han­dles ticket re­quests and tu­tor­ing sched­ules to limit stress and keep the play­ers’ fo­cus on the up­com­ing match.

“We’re really a dy­namic, young and en­er­getic team,” Web­ster said. “We’ve ac­cepted the pres­sure and the chal­lenge with open arms. I’m busy this week but I’ll have am­ple time to get ready. All I can see is the Florida Ga­tors.”

It’s on.

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