LOST IN LUBBOCK
Some dreams die harder than others and winning a national championship is no exception. Maybe Texas fans are just victims of media hype, unrealistic expectations or our own arrogance, but every year we truly believe the Longhorns are good enough to win college football's ultimate prize. So when we reach the point in the season when all hope to achieve this lofty goal is lost, we take it personally and demand to know why we've come up short yet again in order to fill the emptiness we feel in our hearts.
Driving back from Lubbock after the game, I had a lot of time to think. A lot of time. At first I wasn't particularly that upset about the loss to Tech. The Horns played hard and I just chalked the loss up to one of those games where the other team was just destined to win and there's wasn't anything you or anybody else could have done about it. But then I started to realize just what had been lost in Lubbock and that's about the time the car began to swerve and the speed limit began to get compromised. Thankfully, I wasn't alone or "tier 2 bowl rage" probably would have gotten the best of me. How ironic that only after all hope is gone do you truly start to gain some perspective. Texas lost a whole lot more than just a football game last weekend in Lubbock. They lost any chance of winning the Big XII Chamipionship, or playing in a Tier 1 bowl or even showing just how good this Texas team really can be. And I think that's what hurts the most. Sure, the Horns can win their last game against a 6-5 Texas A&M team and possibly go to the Cotton Bowl where they can beat up on some SEC team with 4 losses, but that's nothing for them or their fans to hang their hat on. Not when the expectations were set so high. And why shouldn't they be? Texas supposedly has the best talent in the country, according to the recruiting gurus, and more money than god plus facilities most professional athletes don't even have access to. With all that in the fold, winning a national championship should be a no-brainer. What's worse, in the court of public perception, Chris Simms' carreer as a Longhorn will forever be deemed a failure. Here's a kid with all the raw talent in the world, but right or wrong, according to the media, he never won a "big game", never came through in the clutch and never fulfilled the one expectation he supposedly chose Austin over Knoxville to do, win a national championship. Sadly, the window of opportunity may have closed for a while. Next year, Texas returns few team leaders and will start a quarterback with little or no experience. For the past two years, Texas had the talent and the schedule to accomplish great things, but they just couldn't take advantage. Whether we're a victim of circumstance or media hype matters not, it all hurts just the same.
THE SHOOT OUT
Monday, Mack Brown began his weekly press conference with the statement, "We lost a lot of our goals Saturday." What he didn't say is why. Well, I'll tell you why-NO FREAKING RUNNING GAME!!! When you think about it, Texas has been flirting with disaster ever since the OU game. It was only a matter of time before the passing game and the defense wouldn't be strong enough to bail the offensive line out. Kingsberry and the Red Raiders controlled the clock and Simms and the Horns were powerless to do anything but try and beat Tech at their own game. The result was a five hour marathon where the average play took less than 10 seconds off the clock, leaving an already injury depleted Texas defense exhausted and on their heels. Imagine training every day to run a 5k only to show up the day of the race and find out you're running a 10k. That's not an excuse for the defense's poor performance, but it does shed some light on why these guys could barely stand by the 4th quarter. If Texas' running game had been more effective, the Horns could have controlled the clock and not only limited the number of times Tech got the ball, but given the defense a lot more time to rest. Somebody is going to have to explain to me why five 300+ pound lineman and an all conference running back can't move the ball. It's absolutely unforgivable. To top it all off, the offensive line gave up six sacks and was rarely able to handle an all-out blitz from the Tech linebackers. Tech's defense was ranked 87th in Division I going into this game, hardly the '86 Bears. Brown added Coach MacWhorter to help Tim Nunez out with coaching the offensive line, but there is still something missing. Texas has got to get a coach in here that can teach these big uglies how to move their feet and run block because right now, they're failing, causing an imbalance in the offence. There's a reason Mack never loses when the Longhorns are successful running the ball. Texas must restore the running game before they can ever talk about championships, or much less, win the....
Texas vs A&M is all about tradition, but this year-s game feels about as traditional as Thanksgiving dinner at a China Wok. If the Grinch stole Christmas, than "the Leach" stole Thanksgiving, because the Aggies, also losers to the Red Raiders, will limp into Austin with an uncharistic 6-5 record while the Horns enter the game having been all but eliminated from any serious bowl contention with their loss to Tech. The biggest question concerning this game isn't which players will show up, but rather, which team will show up, if at all. Playing football when it doesn't seem like there's anything to play for is extremely tough. Especially when you consider that the Aggies are basically playing for the right to take on Boise State on the frozen tundra of the Humanitarian Bowl. That's right, the Blue field bowl. So A&M would probably do themselves a favor by losing. Texas, on the other hand, has the Cotton or Alamo bowls to play for. The Cotton isn't a bad bowl, but when you spent the season dining on champagne and Tostito dreams, a trip back to the Carny-infested, Corndog Cotton Bowl doesn't exactly whet your appetite. Hopefully, Texas can bounce back and see that finishing the season in the Top 5 is a worthy initiative. As for analysis of the game itself, to be real honest, I don't really care all that much to go into detail, but I'll still venture a guess at just who will win with the....
A 54b Tradition -
"The Thanksgiving Song" (if Adam Sandler was a Longhorn)
Love to beat Aggies. Love to beat A-a-a-gies!!!
Love to beat Aggies cause it's good,
love to beat Aggies like a good Horn should,
'cause they're Aggies....they suck....big wood
Aggies lost five, just lost to Mizzou,
Their offense sucks, so does the Wrecking Crew
Love to beat those Aggies from College Station,
Freshmen report to Fish camp for indoctrination.
Aggies like to stand all game long,
Texas is favored, Vegas can't be wrong
Aggie-faggie foo and Aggie-faggie fat,
A&M once had an LB who's name was Dat.
Thanksgiving is a special night,
If you yell TEXAS, I'll yell FIGHT,
Aggies have a coach, his name's RC,
can't believe they dug up old Reveille,
Watching the game, drinking a Bud,
can't believe Old Sarge looks like Elmer Fudd.
Offense, Defense, we just can't lose,
Reggie McNeal isn't playing cuz he got a bruise
Aggies on the run from dawn to early morn',
It'll never be over till Gabriel blows his horn.
Beat those Aggies - put'em 6 feet deep,
Poor Aggies like to fornicate with their sheep,
A&M's uniforms are maroon and white,
I turned on my radio and heard Applewhite
Oh, Aggies in the corps are called the noble men of Kyle,
But they're about as close to real soldiers as Gomer Pyle
Gobble gobble goo and gobble gobble Gig'em,
I hate those Aggies and I hope we beat'em
Oh, Texas loves to beat Aggies on Thanksgiving (UT 38, ATM 6)
TAILGATE UPDATE w/NAD E. LITE
If you (orange-blooded Americans) can manage to put down the leftovers long enough (get off the Triptophane gravy train), stop on by the tailgate (el puerto esta ajar) at the corner of 18th and San Jacinto ("Down on the corner, right up the street..."). The game (Agronomy Final) starts at 11am, so we'll be kicking back (no digity) and cracking open the first frosty beverage about 8:30am (it's always 8:30 somewhere). Rumor has it that Marshal (has a plan) will be making his famous Gumbo (will you autograph my spoon?) and I'm sure they'll have the usual assortment of meats (a veritable CARNicopia) on the grill. As always, bringing your own beer is recommended (by 4 out of 5 dentists) and donations are welcome (hey, it's Thanksgiving, not Thanks-taking). See you next Friday (Day-day!).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND
On the way from Dallas to Lubbock...
"Man, it's just one cotton field after another out here."
"Yeah, I hope that's not an omen of things to come."