Once again, I am a devout fan of the University of Texas.
Longhorn football especially, means a great deal to me. And like other fanatics of other sports teams, I have supported the Horns through great seasons ( such as the BCS Championship one of 2005, courtesy of a pigskin clutching Harry Potteresque wizard in burnt orange named Vince Young) and not so great seasons which would include the bulk of the late 80’s and early 90’s.
Needless to say, I am ecstatic about the Longhorns’ s upcoming appearance in the Rose Bowl for all the collegiate pigskin marbles. They’ll meet Alabama in Pasadena on January 7th.
Many are questioning the second ranked Horns’ right to be matched up against the top rated Crimson Tide. It’s true, my team didn’t have the best of games against I’mDominate Suh and their place kicker. The rest of the Nebraska team didn’t need to even to bother showing up; those two players were the lump sum of the Cornhusker offense and defense. Admittedly, Texas played its worst game ever, but still managed to win with a last second field goal to win by one point with nary a second left on the clock. The Longhorn record remained unblemished at 13-0.
But the “what have you done for me lately” attitude permeates and the talking heads in sports broadcasting are treating the Longhorns like ugly stepdaughters and dirty Dickensian street urchins trying to sell matches on a street corner in the dead of a London winter. Go ahead, tune into ESPN; all you hear about is how Colt McCoy’s last game cost him the Heisman. You’ll hear repeatedly how Suh manhandled him during the Big 12 Championship (which he did but come on, the Horns still won the damn game!!!).
OK, so Colt played the worst game of his career at the absolute worst time..maybe he was well aware that the Heisman was his to win…and to lose and perhaps, he played uncharacteristically unsettled. But it wasn’t as if Colt allowed Suh to penetrate a Texas offensive line that was as porous as O.J.’s alibi. His WR’s were very well covered and they dropped several catchable, potentially game-changing passes.
Tune into ESPN and you’ll hear about the Tide’s unstoppable defense and its pristine offense lead by QB McElroy and Heisman winner and Sophomore phenom, Mark Ingram. You hear that come January 7th, Texas will be facing a “good ol’ countryfied ass whoopin'”.
Throughout the Heisman Award presentation and other award shows on ESPN, jokes were made at Colt McCoy’s expense. It was as if Suh, who was also up for the Heisman and scads of other awards, chased Colt down like Simon Wiesenthal on a Nazi shake down in South America. McCoy took it all in stride.
But I’ll tell you this much…
There seems to be a national anti-Texas mindset both across the board and in college football. Lest we forget Texas’ flagrant ommission from the BCS championship game last season, all at the hands of some ridiculous BCS conceived tie-breaker. We beat OU soundly, then we lost to Texas Tech in the very last second of the game. OU went on to clinch the Big 12 Championship and played Florida in The Big Game, but lost as soundly to the Gators as they did to the Horns.
It’s as though we still suffer from this huge George Bush backlash, like he had/has anything to do with college football. Think what you want, but NO ONE can say UT’s prowess as one of the country’s perennial power elite college football teams has anything to do with Iraqi oil or as a so-called “revenge factor” for the failings of Bush the Elder. Abject silliness, if that could even be the case. Still, it seems as if there’s a definitive Texas prejudice, but in reality, I don’t really mind it.
That’s why I strongly encourage ESPN to keep talking. Keep lauding Alabama as if God himself was calling the plays. Keep reminding Texas of its poor showing against Nebraska and forget that Alabama struggled on three occasions to win games this season. That’s right; go ahead…keep trash talking. Keep reminding Texas that its an inferior team.
Reiterate to McCoy over and over again that he didn’t win the Heisman and that Bama’s Mark Ingram did. ESPN’s Chris Fowler and that Albino Herbstreit are the biggest offenders.
But again, keep it up. By doing so, you’re only setting a familiar stage.
You see, I watched the expression on Colt’s face when Ingram’s name was called. Of course, he was disappointed, but as the reality sunk in, I saw disappointment morph into steely resolve and determination. His lower jaw clinched; his eyes narrowed slightly, but never left the podium where Ingram giving his acceptance speech. He’s planning on repeating history.
Yes…he had that expression.
I’d only seen it once before and it was on the face of another deserving Longhorn quarterback who also went home empty-handed on a cold New York evening in December 2005.
Some may say that Colt McCoy is no Vince Young.
Some would argue that Nebraska and Suh proved Texas’ weaknesses, just as near miss games with Arkansas, LSU and Auburn showed Alabama’s vulnerabilities.
Many would say the Texas team of 2005 ISN’T the Texas team of 2009 and they’d be right….it isn’t.
Many say Alabama is a better team than Texas, but the same was said about Texas when it faced back-to-back national champs, USC in the 2006 BCS showdown and well, we all know how that game ended.
As it’s been said many times before, football (especially college football) is an extremely arbitrary game. Any team can beat any other team on any given Saturday.
Or on any given Thursday night in January, 2010.
All I’ll say is that the next month’s showdown in Pasadena won’t be the “countryfied ass whoopin'” that so many are predicting.
How do I know?
Oh, call it a gut feeling and something I saw in Colt McCoy’s eyes.