After a decade of bad football and proxy rivalry contests with Texas A&M over recruiting and relative success rates, it’s already easy to forget how ridiculous of an event the 2011 showdown was at the time. The 2011 Longhorns weren’t terribly good and only 6-4 with consecutive losses to Missouri and Kansas State in which the offense scored a combined 18 points heading into this matchup. It weighed heavily on Longhorn fandom that this decisive, final battle with the little bro Aggies was going to fall to this particular Texas team.
The 2008 Red River Shootout was the second of three consecutive I attended. It was easily the most exciting and rewarding live game I’ve attended in any sport. Because of the scarring that had resulted from five consecutive defeats to Bob Stoops’ Sooners, there wasn’t a ton of confidence going into any of these games even though Texas ended up finishing 3-1 against OU during the Colt McCoy era.
Before the 2005 Rose Bowl, Texas had never played either Michigan or Ohio State. Despite the Longhorns’ claim as one of the premier programs in college football history, they’d never played either of those equally storied programs because of the game’s regional eccentricities. That changed in the 2005 Rose Bowl.
Nebraska hates Texas because the Longhorns ended its dynasty.
If you go to the big moments in Nebraska history over the last two decades you regularly find the Huskers building towering achievements only to see the Longhorns ending or spoiling them.
One of my favorite things to do in the offseason is to find full games of Texas’ QB recruits from when they’re still in high school. The difference between watching highlights and a full game is a major one for any player, but at QB it’s a particularly big deal. It’s highly instructive to see how the team goes about moving the ball and the role the QB plays in making it happen, as well as what they do when things get tough. The best games to watch are the ones in which the QB’s team was seriously tested and perhaps even defeated, I found exactly that for Roschon Johnson.
I’ve been researching HS games to do a big scouting report on Roschon Johnson but today we’re going to take a moment to look around at the rest of the league.
I’ve got extensive notes on the rest of the Big 12 so here’s your chance to ask questions about the specific teams that Texas needs to beat in order to finally win this conference. You can ask about personnel, schemes, or whatever else seems interesting and I’ll empty the vault.
The goal for 2018 is a Big 12 title. It won’t be the end of the world if Texas can’t pull it off but they should at least be a realistic contender for that elusive crown in a year when the usual suspects are turning over multi-year starting QBs.
Vegas recently released over/unders for the Big 12 that had Texas at seven for the 2018 season. That put them square with West Virginia and Kansas State, a win ahead of potential darkhorse Iowa State, a win behind TCU, 1.5 behind Oklahoma State, and 3.5 wins behind Oklahoma.
There are two effective responses to roster turnover that you tend to see from strong programs. The first is what would best be described as “the reload” in which a star player at a featured position is replaced by another player that’s been developing and biding his time for the opportunity. The RB position is definitely one where you want to see a “reload” effect while for Texas the “rover” position, “H-back,” and really the QB also fall under that category. The other type of response to turnover is to elevate the roles of returning starters who were serving more as support for their star teammates and now get their chance to lead the way.
Last year around this time one of the big questions for the spring game was how Texas’ LBs would show against the run. The 2016 season had been one of the ugliest for LB play in a decade of exceptionally ugly play at that position but with Malik Jefferson and Anthony Wheeler coming under Todd Orlando’s supervision there was some hope that it might get turned around. Then the offense spent the spring game throwing the ball around on the perimeter and it remained to be seen whether Texas knew how to fit the run or not.