2006 Rose Bowl - Texas 41, USC 38

Even with the endless amounts of broadcast, print and internet coverage available, Longhorn fans who weren't able to see the 2006 Rose Bowl in person are still asking, "What did it feel like to actually be there on January 4, 2006 when the Texas Longhorns upset the Southern California Trojans for the National Championship?"

Perhaps the reasoning behind their inquiry is simply that after 35 years without a title, many Texas fans are still having trouble believing it actually happened. Most likely, if they were to ask this very question to each of the 93,000 plus fans in attendance that fateful day, they'd probably receive a slightly different response from each.

Regardless, for those of you not able to attend the game and for those of you who are still looking for an "insider" perspective on what many pundits are hailing as the "Granddaddy of all time," I'd be honored to try and give you a glimpse with a segment I like to call...


TX 0 - USC 0
"Ohhhh, say can you see...LeeAnn Rimes." Wow, did she lose weight or what? Wonder if the Post Office will come out with a special stamp honoring her, and will they have a skinny and a fat version like they did for Elvis...okay, Sandra, flip the coin already, let's play some football, damn it.

TX 0 - USC 7
Hmmm, a fumbled punt return leads to an easy score for USC in the biggest game of the year...where have we seen this before? "Oh, snap, it's Orange Bowl 2: OU Boogaloo!"

TX 3 - USC 7
Have you ever noticed how short the Texas kicker is? He's like the Mexican Rooster Andrews. From now on, he will be known as "Pino de Gallo."

(For those of you that don't hablo the Español, Gallo is Spanish for rooster and Pico de Gallo is a popular Mexican hors d'oeuvre. Is funny, no?)

TX 9 - USC 7
"Hey Reggie, anything you can do, Vince can do better, Vince can lateral the ball better than you."

Sidebar: Why do USC fans insist on pointing out the fact that replay failed to overturn UT's first TD because Vince's knee was on the ground when he lateralled the ball to Selvin? Do they really think that that one play determined the outcome of the game, or is it because they're pissed off that their own superstar laterals the ball like a bitch? Anyway, just asking.

TX 16 - USC 7
Oh yeah, can you feel that, Trojans? We don't care if people do say you can last longer because you're less sensitive, the Horns are still coming for you.

TX 16 - USC 10
Whew, just a field goal...wonder if Leinart thought he was back in ballroom dancing class when Texas defensive tackle Frank Okam was whirling him around. Of course, picking up your partner and slamming him to the ground probably wasn't on the syllabus when Matt signed up for the class.

Whoa, Coach Brown's got a Stage 5 Clinger...oh never mind, it's just ABC's Holly Rowe. But just to be safe, better get her away from Mack anyway. She looks hungry and I don't think it's for a big story... And what's the deal with sideline reporters anyway, they never ask any hard hitting questions like, "Coach Carroll, does using Grecian Formula to protect your gray hair pose a conflict of interest with the boys from Troy?"

TX 16 - USC 17
Well, Lendale White and the USC offense appear to have "settled down" during halftime. Wonder if Snoop Dog paid a vizzle to the hizzle to mellow out the Lendizzle Whizzle.

TX 23 - USC 17
"I wish I could quit you VY" - Uttered by many a male Longhorn fan after VY's latest super-human touchdown run. We didn't mean it though. It's just that in this harsh and unforgiving society, we feel uncomfortable with our forbidden man-crushes on Vince and look for ways to hide our obvious excitement over returning to Broke-Bernadino Mountain.

TX 23 - USC 24
Is Lendale White the one they call Thunder or Lightning? Who gives a sh*t, it's raining.

TX 23 - USC 31
What's the dealio with Reggie Bush leaving his feet every time he scores a touchdown? Has the "epileptic acrobat" become his signature Sports Center move or what.

TX 26 - USC 31
After this game, David Pino, aka., Pino de Gallo (is still funny, no?) is either going straight into the Witness Protection Program or he's going to make a small fortune with an autobiographical children's book entitled, "The Littlest Kicker That Could."

TX 26 - USC 38
Does Matt Leinart wear jersey #11 because he's dyslexic...not that it matters, he hasn't missed yet this half. Now we're down by 12 with six minutes to go. Who will save us now?

TX 33 - USC 38
(Cue repetative 80's techno beat) "We need a hero...We're holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night...He's gotta be strong...And he's gotta be fast...And don't look now, we're only down by five." Vinsanity has officially broken out. VY just went into Jordan-mode and now Texas is in-Vince-able. Wait, is that just the beer talking?

TX 41 - USC 38
4th and Five, he got it...Holy sh*t, we just won the National Championship, now what are we going to do?" F*ck Disney Land, we're going to get drunk.

Regardless of whether you were at the game, in a bar or just home alone on the couch trying to avoid a noise violation and a visit from the cops, if you're a Longhorns fan, you most likely just witnessed the...

Call it fate, luck, or what you will, but the fact still remains, the Texas Longhorns are the 2005 National Champions. For many Longhorns fans, especially those who have been dreaming of a title ever since they can remember, it's almost too much to comprehend. Even after the Longhorns went 12-0 and lived up to their lofty #2 pre-season ranking, the pundits still said Texas wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't win the championship. But they sure as hell did, so I'll say it again, "the Texas Longhorns are the 2005 NCAA College Football National Champions."

For reasons I can't exactly explain, this year's 2006 Rose Bowl seems to have transcended the realm of what can simply be referred to as the latest edition of a major annual sporting event. No doubt I am too closely involved with the subject to be objective and my views of what's going on in the world are completely distorted, but given the ratings and the number of people from all across the country who seem to have had an interest in the game (regardless of affiliation or level of sports appreciation), it's hard to deny that the 2006 Rose Bowl has taken on a "where were you when the Horns upset the Trojans" quality about it.

Perhaps as time goes by and I become further removed from the spectacle of it all, I'll realize that what I perceive to be one of the seminal moments of 2006 is, in reality, just another over-hyped event fueled by a misguided, sports-obsessed society that will be forgotten by the masses just as soon as the next major sporting event occurs if it hasn't been forgotten already.

For Longhorn-Nation though, the game and its heroes will become legendary and live on forever in books, DVDs, commentaries and word of mouth as Texas fans recount the greatest game of our lives to future generations of Longhorns fans. For the burnt orange faithful, 2005 will always be remembered as a truly special season and January 4, 2006 as the day Texas
Longhorns fans got to live the dream of a National Championship.

As for next season, who knows. But one thing is for certain, the 40 acres will never be the same again with the recent departure of undoubtedly the most heralded player ever to dress out for the orange and white, the...

(Think "American Pie" by Don McLean)

Not a long time ago...
We can still remember
How his rap music would make Mack smile.
And he knew if he had the chance
That he could make the Longhorns dance
And the fans would all be happy for a while.

But January 8 made us shiver
With every word the paper did deliver.
Sad news brought to our doorstep;
There'd be no more Texas two-step.

The Pros were next he would decide
We wished like hell that he had lied,
Cuz something hurt us deep inside
The day VY said goodbye.

So bye-bye to the amazing VY.
You took us to the next level,
And put the Longhorns on high.
And you'll always have a place amongst the orange and the white,
Sincerely thank you and good luck VY,
Thank you and good luck VY.

"Vince," as one reporter wrote from the LA Times quipped, "is so famous now you don't even have to say his last name anymore." To try and use words to sum up VY's college football career would be an exercise in superlatives. Is he the greatest college football player ever to play the game? I don't know and I think those who are making that claim are probably caught up in the moment and relying too heavily upon emotion. But there's no doubt in my mind that Vince Young is the best player I've ever seen, and I'm guessing his greatness will continue to be revealed as the years go by. Only then will we begin to truly understand what he means to fans of the University of Texas.

We will certainly miss Vince next year, but at the same time, I think most fans like what they see and are eagerly anticipating the future of Texas football. But if you’re having trouble letting VY go, you can always take a different approach as a friend of mine expanded upon the other day. He said, “the only difference between this season and next season is we’ll just have to drink a lot more beer before the games.” I’m not sure that’s possible, but when it comes to drinking, Texas will always be #1. Until next year...


Special Note: I would like to thank my wife Maura for understanding my obsession with Texas football and allowing me to truly "live the dream" by attending every game this season. And thank you to my friend Clay for helping me pull it off. All 13 games man, we did it.


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