It was not a great week for the Texas basketball team. A not-close loss at Iowa State was followed by a shellacking in Lawrence where the 31-point difference was not nearly as bad as the game was. Texas shot out to an 8-3 lead and had tied at 10 before it completely came off the rails. KU proved, once again, they are the class of the Big 12 and deserving of yet another Big 12 Title.
But I don’t care about Kansas, I care about Texas. The Horns are solidly in the Tournament at 20-7, but the last week has definitely knocked some of the shine off Texas’ star. The idea of playing well down the stretch and locking up a No.4 seed is still possible, but the Horns would need to win out to do that. More likely Texas is a six or so, but there is still time: home Wednesday against a suddenly resurgent Baylor, at ou Saturday, home to TCU next week and the season finale at Tech in two weeks, who are not the patsies everyone expected them to be.
Still, this is awesome. I didn’t expect Texas to break 10 wins, much less get to 20, and the idea of them playing in the NCAA Tournament again makes me happy. Rick Barnes is coaching like his job is on the line, and this team is responding. Keep it up, boys.
On the Diamond Texas took two of three from Stanford and broke a 6-game losing streak to them, which is nice. Everyone seems to be back on track, don’t they? I hope so. AND NOW word comes down that beer might be available immediately at Texas baseball and basketball games (Texas plays Tuesday at 4:30). So that’s fun!
Let’s jump in to the second half of Mack Brown’s greatest games at Texas, shall we? Back next week with the best/worst of the Mack Brown era in the post-season and some news about the NFL Combine and the former Longhorns at it.
Mack Brown- The Top 10 Games, 6-10.
Last week we talked the big games, the statement games, in the first part of Mack Brown’s career at Texas. Let’s keep it going with the second set.
Big 12 Championship Game
No.2 Texas 70, Colorado 3
I am breaking my own criteria here because this is a game Texas was definitely supposed to win. The reasons I am breaking my rules are twofold: First, Texas had never won a Big 12 Title under Mack Brown. A smack down against Nebraska in 1999 was followed up with the ugliest loss/aftermath in Texas football history to Colorado in 2001. A losing streak to ou kept Texas away from any sort of Championship, but in 2005 it all came together.
I was at this game, as were many of you, and I can tell you that if Texas wanted it to be 270-3 it would have been. There were more cheerleaders on the field than Colorado fans in the stands and the rest of the house was packed with burnt orange. It was over before the kickoff and both sides, and fan bases, knew it.
It was easy to overlook the sheer brutal dominance of this game as Texas fans turned their attention to Pasadena and the National Title, but looking back it’s simply amazing how easy and quickly Texas destroyed the Buffalos, getting Mack Brown the first conference title of his career.
Take a moment and watch this.
No surprise, no one for Colorado had a job very long after that game.
No.5 Texas 45, No.1 oklahoma 35
The best Texas/ou game. EVER. Texas started out a respectable No.11 that season and moved up the charts as the early season progressed on the laser arm of Colt McCoy and sack-tastic defense that led the nation in that category. The oklahoma sooners took over the top spot in week five, moving up the ladder after the Matt Stafford/Knowshon Moreno-led Georgia Bulldogs were upset by Alabama and the Mark Sanchez/Clay Matthews USC Trojans lost at Oregon State the same weekend. It set up an epic day in Dallas as No.5 Texas faced off with No1 ou. The talking heads said Texas had no chance: The Horns’ wins over the Bob Stoops-led sooners came in his first year (1999), the year he had a freshman qb (2005) and the year that qb was kicked off the team in August (2006). This was ou and Bob Stoops and the media’s crush on him was at girl-tween-loves-One-Direction levels. Texas would be blown out because the sooners were tougher, meaner and better.
Wrong. You remember.
Texas won, “The Eyes” was awesome and the Longhorns were ranked No.1 the following day.
Big 12 Championship Game
No.2 Texas 13, No.20 Nebraska 12
Nebraska again. I have a feeling that most Nebraska fans are glad to see Mack Brown gone, even if they don’t play Texas anymore. Think about it: No.3 Nebraska lost a shot at the National Title with a loss at Texas in 1999, their only one of the season. Nathan Vasher picked off Jammal Lord in 2002 to seal the game in Lincoln and Alfio Randall-Veasey tried to plant the Texas flag in the Nebraska astroturf. They fumbled away a win in 2006 as Ryan Bailey, the backup kicker at the time, connected on a game-winning field goal in Lincoln. They let Jamaal Charles get loose in 2007 when he ran for about 2,000 yards in the fourth quarter in that comeback win for Texas and, of course, there was 1998 and 2003 which we talked about last week. And what about 2010? What the heck was that? Yes, I imagine they are not sad to see him go.
The Big 12 Title Game in 2009 was the polar opposite of the one in 2005. It was freezing outside and the opponent had not packed it in for the season. Nebraska fans were everywhere and they didn’t think they were going to win, they knew it. And after picking off Colt McCoy on the third play of the game, Texas fans started getting nervous that they might be right. Texas held Nebraska to a field goal and the teams traded interceptions on the following drives and Big Red took a 6-0 lead to the second quarter. Uneasiness grew. The Texas offense withered under the pressure from Ndamukong Suh, but took a 7-6 lead to the break.
Colt McCoy led Texas on a great drive from his own one. It was the sort of drive that wins you the Heisman, I thought. Texas was up 10-9 and had chewed nearly half of the 11:34 left in the game on that drive and McCoy was lights out: 7-8 for 65 yards, two carries for nine yards. Texas was going to seal this game up, on the back of McCoy, and head to Pasadena …. Except on 3rd & 6 at the Nebraska 34, he was picked off. Nebraska drove the field and kicked the go-ahead field goal 1:44 to play. Panic took over the Texas section.
Nebraska kicked the ball out of bounds, so Texas started that 40. A 19-yard completion to Jordan Shipley was made even better with a horse collar penalty, setting Texas up at the Husker 26. And then that pass happened. 3rd & 13, seconds to play, and Colt McCoy rolls out and for some reason JUST STANDS THERE. He finally throws it away. Nebraska sees the clock strike zero, they celebrate, upon review it hit the railing. The sweet, divine railing. Then Hunter Lawrence nails the game winner, Bo and Carl Pelini go insane …. You remember this.
Can you imagine the chaos of that loss? It would have rivaled the 2001 Colorado game. Colt McCoy never would have lived that down. But Texas won, and went on to play for their second national title in five years.
Texas 31, No.20 Texas Tech 22
A 4-0 start, highlighted by a 66-31 win at Ole Miss and a thrilling 41-36 win at Oklahoma State, soon turned bad after back-to-back losses against West Virginia and a second consecutive blowout loss to ou. Texas squeaked by Baylor, 56-50, and barely escaped at Kansas, 21-17, with a miracle 4th down completion to keep the game-winning drive alive. At 4-2 and unranked, Texas traveled to No.20 Tech and everyone assumed a behind-kicking was coming. Texas couldn’t cover anyone against Baylor, ou or West Virginia and they couldn’t stop the Kansas running game. The Kansas running game. The high-octane Red Raider offense was going to unleash on this terrible Texas defense and there a lot of people that assumed Texas would relieve Mack Brown of his duties that very night in Lubbock after Texas was blown out. This truly looked like the Mack Brown Farewell Tour the kids in Lubbock called for eight years earlier. Or not.
Texas came out ON FIRE, holding Tech to a punt and scoring on the opening drive. Jonathan Gray nearly took the first Texas offensive play of the game of a touchdown. David Ash hit Mike Davis for 54 to set up a score and then again for 75 on a td pass, giving Texas a 21-10 lead. Tech responded with some field goals, but Texas never trailed and leading 24-22 with 10 to play, Ash once again found Mike Davis, this time for a 25-yard touchdown and a 31-22 lead. Carrington Byndom’s field goal block iced the game and Texas beat a ranked team for the first time in two years.
I remember seeing Deloss Dodds and Sally Brown on the sideline and wondering what was going on. That’s not something you see often — the AD and the coach’s wife on the field on the road. The hug between Dodds and Brown after the game was telling. It seemed like a “we’re still here!” hug to me. It’s just a hunch, but I think a loss at Tech and the Mack Brown era was over right then and there and his wife wanted to be there in case that happened, as did the man who was going to have to pull the trigger. But it wasn’t a loss and none of that happened. Tech was crushed, seeing a great opportunity to hammer a down Texas squad slip away. It would be the last Texas/Tech game for Tommy Tubberville, who ran away to Cincinnati a short time later.
Texas 36, No.10 oklahoma 20
My favorite Case McCoy moment ever was in the immediate moments following the ou win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl when he trolled an entire state and fan base with a simple, succinct tweet: “LOL!” It was as if McCoy himself was saying what Texas fans everywhere were saying, “We beat ou with Case McCoy and you just lost to them. Hahahahaha!” The internet melt down following that Bama loss was one for the ages, and McCoy’s tweet only enraged them more. I really appreciate a guy that doesn’t take it all too seriously, and that’s how that tweet came off.
He did beat them. I was there and saw it, and I still don’t know exactly how that happened. The final big win of the Mack Brown era: a thrashing of his tormentor in surprising fashion that has to sting for them as badly as any loss to Texas will ever sting. LOL.
What did I miss? Let me know. We have some basketball to address in the next few weeks, but first we will talk about the post-season of the Mack Brown era.
Feel free to give me your thoughts on Twitter @TreyMcLean or email me: FromTheStands@gmail.com