Meet the Texas Longhorns: The Biggest Coward Program in College Football
All hat, no cattle.
The Longhorns had offers to move on to compete with top echelon talent in the SEC and the Pac-10. Instead, like recalcitrant female cattle, they balked, choosing to remain in a weakened Big 12 that is minus two of the traditional powers in the league.
How bad is Texas' schedule now even with a round-robin nine-game slate to come in 2012? It's likely the Longhorns will have one top 25 conference game a season, the annual Texas-Oklahoma tussle in October. Meaning Texas will try and back door its way into the BCS title game each season by avoiding challenges rather than competing with the best in college football.
If Sam Houston had known the cowardice of the Longhorns in 2010, he would have forgotten the Alamo.
What's more, while Texas is a coward in the larger universe of college football, the Longhorns are a bully in their own conference, the equivalent of a mob boss extracting loyalty payments from the five weakest members. Why did Texas (along with Oklahoma and Texas A&M) take a larger share of contractual payouts owed by Colorado and Nebraska for leaving the conference?
Because it could.
But that's how bullies always behave, right?
They beat up on the weak and then get their asses kicked or turn tail when someone steps to them. Ask Colt McCoy and Texas about that. The Longhorns quarterback threw for 4 billion yards in his career against the sisters of the poor defenses in the Big 12. He lasted for less than a full quarter against an SEC defense. Yep, the SEC and the Pac-10 would have been the barbed wire to Texas' BCS title dreams.
And that's what the Longhorns feared more than anything. Once it joined the SEC or the Pac-10, Texas is just another program, packing a six-shooter with no bullets. Waving that gun around in the air and yelling ain't scaring away Marcell Dareus on the blitz. He's calling your bluff and slapping you with your own empty gun. People might start to realize that for all the swagger, the Longhorns have just one national title in the past 39 years, nearly two generations of failing to capture the ultimate prize. They might also realize that most years, Texas can't even get past Oklahoma, the overrated team you've last seen being stomped by whatever opponent the Sooners draw in the BCS games, title or otherwise.
That's because when it comes to Texas football, the perception of success is much greater than the reality of success. Hell, give Texas credit though, at least it's the best of a bad lot. What can you say for Oklahoma or Texas A&M? Two ostensible rival schools that had the opportunity to prove they could stand on their own in the new world order of college athletics and instead hid behind Texas' skirt. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote during his famous balcony scene, "It is the East and Juliet is the sun!" If the bard dove into the mess that is the Big 12, he could adopt the same phraseology, "It is the Big 12 and Texas is the sun!"
Because never in the history of college athletics has one program so dominated the puny conference sisters it surrounds itself with. Texas is not just the sun, but the moon and the stars, while the rest of the teams in the conference are its piddling orbiting satellites. It's only a matter of time, one would think, before the Longhorns demand the gate for games they play on the other school's campus.
That's what mob bosses do, they take and take and take until someone kills them.
You think anyone in the Big 12 has the stones to step to Texas?
And if you've cast your conference lot with a program that doubles as the sun, moon and stars, it might be worth asking how you ever compete with that school. Do you think Texas is ever losing a recruit to a program that voluntarily turned over its millions so you could continue to be extorted in the future? Does the mob boss have a smaller house than the poor schmuck he takes down for more money? Those are rhetorical questions. And there's your answer right there, every other school in the conference has no desire to be number one. They're just comfortable basking in the penumbra of Texas' exaggerated greatness.
Of course, the ultimate irony of this entire mess is that the joke is on all college football fans. All of us, the poor sots who tramp to our respective campuses each week in an effort to determine the best team in the nation. Because we've actually created a BCS system that encourages bullying cowardice like Texas'. Instead of forcing the best to compete and crowning a champion on the field by rewarding the two best teams, we've created a system where avoiding challenges and beating up on weaker programs gives you an automatic invite to the BCS title game.
How else to explain Texas and Oklahoma appearing in six BCS title games between them and racking up a bully-like 2-4 record with an average margin of defeat of more than 18 points in those games? Texas isn't just a coward, it is gaming the system, rigging the results to allow it a position it can't earn on the field.
In the end we're left with only one conclusion: Deep in the heart of Texas lives a football program of cowards.
Time for a new burnt orange slogan:
Hook 'em ... unless you can run and hide from 'em.