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The Power Shift In Texas Continues At BreakNeck Speed

Desert SkullOn Saturday, the eyes of the college football world will turn to Kyle Field and College Station.  ESPN’s “College GameDay” crew will be on hand for pre- and postgame coverage of #1 Alabama’s visit to #6 Texas A&M.  It’ll be America’s best coach (Nick Saban) against college football’s best and most controversial player (Johnny Manziel).  A Dynasty versus a Heisman-winner.

Meanwhile, Texas will be breaking in just-promoted defensive coordinator Greg Robinson as the Longhorns attempt to lick their wounds following a 40-21 loss to BYU in which they gave up 550 yards rushing to the unranked Cougars.  Giving up 679 yards overall cost Manny Diaz his job as he was reassigned on Sunday.

Could Texas A&M’s move to the Southeastern Conference have gone any more smoothly?

When the Aggies and the SEC ambled up to the altar together, we wrote — heck, we wrote it long before — that the school and the conference would be a perfect match for one another; each providing what the other desires.  The SEC would help A&M to climb out of Texas’ long shadow in the Lone Star State.  The school’s new league would also provide a massive chunk of cash to help get the Ags out of the red and into the stadium-upgrade club.  Meanwhile, A&M would provide the SEC a recruiting foothold in Texas as well as several million cable households, enough to launch its own ambitious plan for a profitable-at-start-up television channel.

But who would’ve thought the power shift Deep-In-The-Hearta would’ve been so sudden and so obvious?

While many A&M fans defend him and many fans from across the country loathe him, Manziel has been the accelerant no one saw coming.  His dynamic play — coupled with the flashy offense of second-year coach Kevin Sumlin — catapulted the Aggies to an 11-win season and into the national top 10 last season.  Now he’s got the 12th Man geared up for a showcase battle on Saturday.

If everything’s great in College Station, it’s worst of everything in Austin.  Longhorn coach Mack Brown’s precipitous decline has seen him go from hero to hot seat in less than a decade.

In 2005, Texas won the national championship with a perfect 13-0 record and a superstar quarterback of its own in Vince Young.  As recently as 2009, the Horns played in the BCS national title game (eventually falling to Alabama of the SEC).  Since then, it’s been a downhill slide.  A seven-loss season in 2010.  Nine losses in 2011 and 2012 combined (which isn’t good enough for a program that had been so close to the mountain top just a few years prior).

Now Texas sits at 1-1.  After a horrific performance from his troops last season, D-coordinator Diaz (hired from Mississippi State of the SEC) has been 86′d.  Now his replacement will be charged with making enough improvements over the squad’s BYU performance to stave off an attack from 25th-ranked Ole Miss and its up-tempo offense.

Seeing as how most of Texas’ recent woes can be traced back to the SEC in some form or fashion, Longhorn players had better take Hugh Freeze’s Rebels seriously.

What a stunning flip-flop.

Less than two years into Texas A&M’s membership in the SEC, the Aggies are lining up for a top 10 showdown which will draw the nation’s attention (expect the SEC and A&M to allow every blogger or tweeter into the press box in order to say, “More media than a Super Bowl!).  Win or lose, the 12th Man, Reveille, and the Corps of Cadets will be the ones in America’s spotlight on Saturday.  And if Manziel and crew can pull the upset, the Aggies will be viewed as a very serious contender for this season’s national crown.

Oh, but in across the state, the once proud Longhorn logo is looking more and more like one of those cattle skulls you see out in the desert.  Only this desert isn’t made of sand.  It consists of faltering recruiting, a television network no one can get, failed assistants, and an ego big enough to think that the Longhorns could undercut the Aggies simply by taking their ball and refusing to play them anymore.

Hell, at the current pace, it won’t be long before Texas is the school that comes crawling to Texas A&M to beg for a renewal of their rivalry.  How else can the Longhorns hope to remain relevant?

 


12 comments
Quidam65
Quidam65

If A&M ever does decide to renew the rivalry it should be on their terms only.  Which should include:

1.  No Big XII officiating crews--neutral conference ones only

2.  No games EVER to be shown on Longhorn Network.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

I almost did not read the article, but it was a slow day. But, glad I did, it got me curious, especially since my team blew it this weekend, to see how Texas fans were handling all this. It was hilarious to go through some of the Longhorn websites. Most teams look forward to the prospect of a 9-3 season, but these guys are in meltdown mode because they lost one game, and that's just not up to their standards. Of course, they do have to look forward to Baylor (which is salivating to make up for past insults at the hands of Texas), and OU, and ........

It dawned on me however, that most of them are really just not looking forward to suffering through the kind of in your face pounding from other fan bases that they have had so much fun dishing out. I thought that was a shame, cause most fan bases have developed a sense of humor about having a string of so-so years,and have learned to deal with it with humor.

 If you want to see a fan base that knows how to dish it out, and take it, no matter what their record is, I give you the fans of Ole Miss. Since they are playing Texas this week, and are not at all guaranteed success, I looked at their fan sites. The difference is remarkable. Hotty Totty, those (whatever the former Rebels nickname is today) guys can talk some smack, and they just came off the kind of season the Longhorns are dredding. 

Got me thinking, maybe a few good ole fashioned trips to the woodshed will help Texas fans get a grip. And I had a terrible week football wise, Georgia won (groan) and the Gators lost (groan). No Gator website I went to this weekend said we should boycott the team, give up on this season or any other such foolishness. Next week, the team will suit up again and we'll do the Gator Chomp. 

Oh, and Ole Miss, here is to hoping you turn Austin upside down.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

I know my Longhorn friends are in a panic. This weekend could be the perfect storm in the state of Texas. The BYU loss in itself is not panicking the Longhorn faithful. It is the quality of the defense that scares them. Last year was the worst defense in UT (both UT's) history. The Longhorn defense just gave up the most rushing yards in a game in school history. Considering all of the great wishbone offenses Texas faced through the years, that is an alarming fact. Now you have the national spotlight on your in state rival, TAMU. In the meantime you are playing at home against a SEC west "bottom half team". A team that is very capable of doing more offensive damage to that defense than BYU. If TAMU beats Bama, and Ole Miss destroys Texas, it will be like a nuke was dropped on the State of Texas football heirarchy. There has been concern in Austin for a couple of seasons, but this past weekend set off the fire alarm. Next weekend could turn into a 4-alarm fire in Austin.

the_voice
the_voice

Texas post Vince Young is a cautionary tale for programs that rely on mercurial quarterbacks for their on field success. It is hard to maintain excellence with a one man wrecking crew type of offense.

sojourner
sojourner

couldn't happen to a better bunch!

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

Go Ole Miss Rebels Deloss deserves to lose.


the_voice
the_voice

@HoustonVol Isn't it great when one of the highly arrogant fanbases has to spend some time living like all of the little people?

pbrstreetgang
pbrstreetgang

That '05 Texas team had a very good defense too - three first round draft choices in the secondary alone.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@BeowulfShaeffer 

Ya know, the older I get, the more goofy slips I have like that when writing in the AM.  I'm waiting for the day I use "witch" for "which."

Good catch.  Corrected.

Thanks for reading,

John

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