Texas 7, Texas A&M 12

My apologies for the tardiness of this post. To be honest, in the eight seasons of writing this commentary, I can't remember another time when it was this hard to write about Texas football. And it's not because the Horns lost. Hell, some of my best commentaries have come right after defeats--and monumental ones at that. But ever since the A&M debacle I’ve pretty much been numb to everything Longhorn football-related. And when you feel nothing, it’s nearly impossible to write. So bear with me as I fight through this last commentary of the season. Given everything bad that’s happened to the Horns the last 3 weeks or so, all I know to say is...

Less than a year removed from winning a National Championship, a game widely regarded by many UT fans as the greatest win of their lifetimes, the Longhorn Nation now finds itself back in the bread line wondering how a season that once held so much promise turned so quickly into the winter of our discontent.

Looking back, nobody knew quite what to expect from the Longhorns this year, and if you’d have told us that UT would go 9-3 with a win over OU, most Longhorn fans would have been happy with that. But after watching Colt McCoy, a red-shirt freshman from a tiny town in West Texas, lead a group of seasoned vets to comeback wins over OU, Nebraska, and Tech, it sure seemed like Mack Brown and and his team were just “doing what they could do” to make us believers all over again. So much so that even after the Horns weaknesses on defense were laid bare and their deficiencies in the red zone boiled to the surface on that frigid night in Manhattan, the majority of burnt orange loyalists remained unwavering in their belief that the loss to K-State was merely a passing storm. Much to our chagrin, it never stopped raining and what only seemed like a minor blip on the radar turned out to be just the beginning of a hellacious few weeks also known as...

BEVO’S INFERNO (Think Dante...if he were still alive, and a Longhorn)
Unfortunately for you the bemused reader, Virgil the hellacious tour guide and part time poet is on a smoke break. So you’ll just have to settle for me, 54b, to guide you through what I’m affectionately calling “The 9 Circles of Longhorn Hell.” Please remember to always stay with the group, use the buddy system except when using the restroom, and refrain from using any flash photography unless ye be flashed. Okay, we’re walking, we’re walking, and we’re stopping at the gates to the underworld. You fans of the classics will be quick to note that we replaced the river Styx with the Red River and the death-eating dog Cerberus with some mutt named Reveille...Welcome to Longhorn Hell!

Circle #1 (Bad Friday) - It was sunny, it was Senior Day, and it would have been lucky number seven straight wins over an A&M squad begging for any excuse to fire their head coach. But with a trip to KC and the Big XII title game on the line, somehow a Texas team that averaged 38 points a game and featured a defense that was merciless against the run, managed to lose 12-7 at home while giving up an 88-yard winning TD drive in which the Aggies picked up like eight first downs on the ground. Yeah, that happens. What could possibly explain such a mediocre effort in a must win situation? Oh I don’t know, could it be...SATAN!!!

Circle #2 (Tuscola Nights: The Ballad of Jolt McCoy) - As if watching our beloved Horns lose to GI Joke’s Paramilitary wasn’t bad enough, we had to watch our starting QB get knocked out and carted off the field on a stretcher. Just when Colt McCoy was about to unseat Luke Skywalker as the poster child for farm boys with good aim, his epic bildungsroman got shelved with yet another severely pinched nerve. I mean what the hell? Oh right, we’re already there.

Circle #3 (Don’t Let The Bedlam Bugs Bite) - Depending on others to lose in order for you to win is like trying to win at poker by folding nearly every hand while your buddies knock each other out. And since the Horns folded against A&M and finished 6-2 in conference play, Texas fans were forced to watch OU travel to Stillwater where we hoped OSU would beat the Sooners and keep our slim Big XII Title dreams alive. But even with a pair of pocket passing Cowboys, Mike Gundy lost on the flop and so did we.

Circle #4 (Chizik Gets Blown Away) - Less than a week after the A&M loss, Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik resigned and was named the new head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones. Texas fans wished Chizik and his family well and to show Iowa State that there are no hard feelings, we offered to throw Greg Davis in at no extra charge. I would imagine Mack and Gene’s last conversation went a little like this...

Mack: “So, Gene, what's happening? Aahh, now, are you going to go ahead and have those Hawkeye scouting reports for us this afternoon?”
Gene: “No.”
Mack: “Ah. Yeah. So I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk. Hmm?”
Gene: “Not right now, Brownie, I'm kinda busy. In fact, look, I'm gonna have to ask you to just go ahead and come back another time. I got a meeting with the Cyclones in a couple of minutes.”
Mack: “I wasn't aware of a meeting with them.”
Gene: “Yeah, they called me at home.”

Circle #5 (Ole Missing you already) - Not to be outdone by Gene "I'll stop the run and melt with you" Chizik, back-up QB Jevan “the White Shadow” Snead requested permission to transfer (to Ole Miss) from UT’s Athletic Department. Can’t say as I blame him for wanting to go elsewhere in search of more playing time, but you’ve got to love his timing knowing that Texas still has a bowl game in less than a month with a banged up QB whose motor skills rival that of my two-year-old son wielding a plastic spoon at a bowl of oatmeal. And if Colt can’t go, then we get McCoy-lite, back-up QB and walk-on Matt McCoy whose best play to date is taking a knee.

Circle #6 (Just wait one Cotton pickin’ minute) - Even before the Big XII Title game had been decided, The Cotton Bowl committee decided to end all suspense by informing UT that they were not an option for this year’s game despite a 9-3 record and sporting wins against both Nebraska and OU. Hey, they’re entitled to pick any Big XII team they want and Lord knows UT is no stranger to the Cotton Bowl, but given their crappy 10am New Years Day starting time and dilapidated stadium, what’s with the attitude? Isn’t that a little like the bitter girl with the glandular problem in high school telling you you’ve got no shot with her the week before prom. Not that you were going to ask Sasquatch to the dance, but her preemptive strike certainly didn’t help your self-esteem any. It’s one thing to think nobody likes you, it’s another thing entirely for them to alert the papers and prove it.

Circle #7 (OU sucks their way to 4th Big XII Title) - It’s kind of tough to blame UT’s late season collapse on Colt’s neck injury when you basically hand delivered the Big XII Title to a team who got positively jobbed by some Pac 10 refs who can’t count to 10, lost their All-America running back to a shoulder separation, and lost their starting QB to utter stupidity. Yet, Stoops and crew still found a way to win their last seven games in spite of it all. But I’m sure Mack and his Fortune 500 coaching staff have a good excuse...um, well, we’re waiting?

Circle #8 (Later Gator) - With the Cotton and Holiday bowl teams already decided and no shot at a BCS bowl, UT’s last chance at post season redemption was the good old Gator Bowl in sunny Jacksonville, Florida. But this wouldn’t be the 8th Circle of Longhorn Hell if they hadn’t chosen the Mountaineers now would it? Well, unlike those Cotton bowl bastards, at least the Gator Hater committee actually waited until the last possible day to decide. I can just imagine that Sunday afternoon meeting going something like this, “Okay boys, should we take the QB-less Longhorns and their extremely bitter fan base or toothless West Virginia and their couch-burning contingent? Ah f*ck it, let’s just flip a coin.”

Circle #9 (The Toilet Bowl) - No offense to the Alamo Bowl, but what a great way to kick off the start of Purgatory also known as the football off-season, by giving Texas an invite to the no-win bowl. If UT wins, so what. They beat a 6-6 Iowa Hawkeye team who finished 9th in the Big 10. Yeah, read that again: 9th in the Big 10. And if Iowa wins, well then the Alamo Bowl really would be the 9th Circle of Hell.

Not sure what Texas fans should expect out of this game. Best case scenario in my estimation would be for Colt to play the first half, get his confidence back by staking the Horns to a huge lead, and then sit on the bench and put it on Jamal/Selvin cruise control for the second half. But who knows? If Colt can’t go, all bets are off. Right now, I think most of us just want a “W” to fill the big, fat void of nothingness where our hearts used to be.

As for just who will win this battle of the beaten, who knows. To be honest, I know nothing about the Iowa Hawkeyes and plan on staying blissfully ignorant until kick-off on the 30th. So that means this really will be an...

Longhorns - 37
Pinkeyes - 5

I figure if I was fortunate enough (To survive childhood) to see the Horns win the last two Rose Bowls in person (Going back to Cali? No, I don’t think so), then it would be mighty hypocritical of me (54b lies when he cries) to let pride stand in the way of supporting UT at the Alamo Bowl (Rule#76: No Excuses. Play like a Champion.). So I called up Southwest Airlines (May I speak to Herb, please) and had them apply the credit from my canceled Dec. 2 flight to Kansas City (Had that handy did ya?) towards a round-tripper to San Antonio (Que pasa SA?). I haven’t missed a bowl in years (toilets not withstanding) and I’ve seen enough Longhorn streaks come to an end this year to last me quite a while (Get yo streak on). Plus, this is the last time any of us will see UT play for another 8 months (Last call for football).

Kick-off for the Texas/Iowa game (ITBS Test) has been set for Saturday, December 30 at 3:30pm (Afternoon Delight). As for tailgating (Let’s play smear the beer), there are a lot of parking lots (“Jefe, do ju know what a plethora is?”) to set up shop in around the Alamodome (Try and take this one Santa Ana). So if you’re in the neighborhood (This ain’t my first barrio), stop on by for a cool one (Now yur talkin’).

Overheard after the A&M game...”You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think the Longhorns only used 10 percent of their hearts.”



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