C-BOG: The Future’s So Bright

Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)
Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)


Last Saturday didn’t go very well, did it?

The launch of the U.S.S. Herman and a perfectly beautiful late summer day were marred by a collision with a commercial crabber. You wouldn’t think such a small, lightly-regarded fishing boat could do so much damage to our mighty, vaunted, fear-inducing destroyer, but there we were, halfway through the first quarter, taking on water, dog-paddling to shore, wet, scared, frustrated, exhausted, wondering WTF just happened.

It was like having your wisdom teeth extracted. Through your anus.

I’m not stewing about the loss nearly as much as I am the hype leading up to it. Evidently, no one on the University of Texas football coaching staff saw this beatdown coming. It never occurred to anybody that our defense was overly complicated, making our safeties hesitant in run support, our linebackers couldn’t fill basic assignment football gaps, offensive line would poop their pants the first time they saw an alignment they hadn’t previously seen, quarterback would endanger his health by refusing to stay in the pocket, tight end was not a team strength, or place kicker was worthless outside 40 yards.

How much of that previous paragraph could I have simply cut and pasted from one of last year’s Inside Texas articles?

See, the thing about really smart people is we expect them to be able to see things coming. Highly intelligent individuals pick up on signs, details, and trends that the rest of us don’t notice: Steve Jobs, Philip K. Dick, Ray Kurtzweil, the gypsy woman with the big, hoop earrings, scarf, poofy sleeves, and comically-oversized crystal ball. It’s why really talentedhedge fund managers are so well compensated; they are a type of economic Nostradamus, having the skill to predict what’s next, and buy and sell business opportunities accordingly.

What I saw at DKR was Nostra-Dumbass.

What scares and frustrates me is that I don’t think Mensa Tom had any idea what was going to happen last Saturday. I believe he was caught just as flat-footed as the rest of us, watching in jaw-dropping fashion as the less-talented Maryland Terrapins, a basketball school who’s football team lost by 60 to Ohio State last year, ran through us faster than the President chasing a wind-blown $20 dollar bill he found on the sidewalk.

Had nary a clue.

What good is all those smarts if you can’t see an ass-whipping from a mid-level Big 10 team from a mile away? It’s like an African wildlife guide being run down from behind by a two-ton rhino – with all your professional skills, you really should have seen that one coming.

What happens next? The algebra teacher in me wants to point out it’s not possible to graph a trend line with only one data point, but the kid in me is tempted to start an “Overrated” clap-clap-clap-clap-clap cheer.

There were lots of reasons Tom Herman was hired to coach the Texas Longhorns, and few of those reasons evaporated with last week’s head-scratching loss. Herman didn’t forget how to coach. Easy E had a terrific article about how the team is not lacking talent. We have the school resources, will, and desire to fix this thing.

But will we?

In the late 80’s a band that spent time in Austin, Timbuk3, became one-hit wonders with “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades,” a quirky, new wave-ish tune with a too-long title that was popular in movie soundtracks and at high school graduations.

Problem is, people didn’t get the joke. Timbuk3 intended the song was an ironic take on the latter years of the Reagan Presidency and the threat of nuclear proliferation. The song’s protagonist studies “nuclear science,” loves his classes, and already has a job lined up in the nuclear industry after graduation, noting “fifty thou a year buys a lot of beer.” The brightness that required sunglasses was not a metaphorical promising future but rather the blinding light from an exploding nuclear warhead.

Well, I’m heavenly blessed and worldly wise

I’m a peeping Tom techie with x-ray eyes

Things are going great, they’re only getting better

I’m doing all right, getting good grades

The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades

So let me say I’m excited and positive about the future of Longhorn football, the peeping Tom techie who coached Houston to wins over two Top-3 teams (OU, Louisville) in one season is now our guy, we have a talent-laden team most schools would envy, a Top 5 recruiting class, and some of the best football facilities in the country.

Am I being a homer or a smartass? Hopeful or cynical? Serious or sarcastic?

Either way, I’m wearing my sunglasses to the San Jose State game.

Hook ‘em.

A 1986 graduate of the University of Texas, Jeff Conner has held many jobs in his life: husband, brother, uncle, son, oil field roustabout, short-order cook, sandblaster, irrigation pipe mover, musician, retail assistant manager, attorney-at-law, public school teacher, preacher, cartoonist, and writer. While he does have a hot, young wife, Conner is neither as clever nor as good-looking as he believes himself to be. Jeff is currently teaching 7th grade Pre-A.P. math, 8th grade math, and Pre-A.P. algebra in Elgin, Texas, #OTOTOF. Conner’s regularly submitted commentary appears in and Inside Texas Magazine. The opinions presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside Texas editorial staff.