Horns pay millions and millions for mediocrity
A 2012 Texas Longhorns team that had its sights on a BCS bowl at the start of the season, and hopes for a berth in the Holiday Bowl at the midpoint, is going to the lowly Alamo Bowl Dec. 29 to play Oregon State. This reminds me of the old Norm Macdonald joke about a dog owned by a homeless man. At this point, the Horns players have gotta be thinking, "Alamo Bowl? We could've done that on our own."
After losing the last two games – to TCU on Thanksgiving and to Kansas State on Saturday, Texas finished at 8-4, which is a pretty good record if you're a starting pitcher for the Houston Astros. When did Texas become Tennessee? And could Phil Fulmer scooch over and make room in the booth for another former national champion coach?
Millions and millions for mediocrity: That's the story of the Longhorns the past three seasons, with a combined 21-16 record and a failure to recruit last year's Heisman winner Robert Griffin III of Copperas Cove and this year's freshman sensation Johnny Manziel of Kerrville. Instead, $5-million-a-year coach Mack Brown put all his QB eggs in the Garrett Gilbert basket in 2008 and has been serving turd omelettes ever since. Do you think Nick Satan would still be at Alabama if he averaged seven wins a year? That's more than $700,000 per victory.
Two seasons after 2010's 5-7 disgrace, Texas still hasn't found its answer at quarterback, except that he's playing for A&M. But Manziel probably wouldn't have had the same success at UT, whose overpaid coaches would've overthought, overschemed, and watered down his role, as they initially did with Vince Young. "Johnny Football" wanted to play for Texas his whole life, but Brown pegged him as a DB prospect and "Johnny Coverage" just didn't do it for him.
With the exception of the Oklahoma game, where the Sooners led 36-2 at halftime and racked up 400 yards of offense to the Horns' lone first down (Mrs. John Wayne Gacy had a better half), Texas played hard all season. Against No. 7 Kansas State, the Horns were in position to win on the road, leading 17-14 midway through the third quarter, thanks to the play of QB Case McCoy and speed around the edges. But a missed field goal early in the fourth quarter, followed by a fumbled punt by Quandre Diggs after the UT defense forced a three-and-out, caused a Texas cave-in and a 42-24 loss.
The late collapse may have also handed the Heisman Trophy to KSU QB Collin Klein, who padded his numbers in the fourth quarter against a worn-out defense. Manziel had a better year, leading A&M to a win over projected national champion Alabama, but no freshman has ever hoisted the Heis. I think it's between Klein, a Tim Tebow without all that scary charisma, and Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o, who gets story points after losing his longtime girlfriend to leukemia during the season.
McCoy started shakily against KSU, tossing a Pick 5.99 to Nigel Malone on his second pass of the game, which had a hang time of 2.7 seconds. Malone, who probably wears a costume on Oct. 30, dropped the leather oval before crossing the goal line, but since the ball didn't go out of the end zone, KSU got it on the one-foot line and Klein fell down for the TD on the next play. But it was K State's only score of the half, as UT's much-maligned linebackers, especially freshman Peter Jinkens, put the klamp on Klein. Baby Colt settled down with 26-34 for 315 yards and two TDs to match two INTs. Other high points for Texas were long runs by speedsters Daje Johnson and D.J. Monroe, which made the K State defense look like Eric Stonestreet (the chubby KSU alum who plays gay for pay on Modern Family) had outside contain.
The Horns played their hearts out against a K State team with so much to prove after their downfall at Waco-loo. But our group of blue-chippers proved once again that it doesn't matter how highly your recruiting class is rated; it's where you are in December, not February. Victories against sometime-ranked conference foes Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, plus a 56-50 win against a surging Baylor and an Ole Miss burning on the road couldn't save another disappointing season. Poor tackling and inconsistent QB play are what stand out for a 2012 team that put the "duh" in fundamentals.
It really comes down to this: If you're looking to join the military and you're a total badass, you join the Marines, not the Air Force. And if you're a football player who's more rabid animal than show breed, you commit to 'Bama or A&M. Not Pamper State in Austin, where raw meat is called tartare.
It's time to change the football culture at Texas. Coach Brown is such a great recruiter that he goes fishing without a pole: The fish just jump in the boat. Then what? Who's going to carve those flopping flounders into fillets? Someone needs to go Full Metal Jacket at the House That Joe Jamail Refurbished. Or Texas will continue to be a prep club for future NFLers.