In the face of many harsh realities about his football team this season, Mack Brown has revved the positivity and platitudes into overdrive. Who can blame him for accentuating what little has worked thus far?
The shock wave of each UT outcome is amplified by a shared perception among fans and media that the second-winningest head coach in program history is not long for this modern world.
Edging out meager Iowa State last Thursday by a single, solitary point (31-30) felt like the issuance of a few favors from the football gods, who seemed rather undisturbed by the cheap shot Texas receiver Mike Davis took to the knees of an unsuspecting Cyclones safety. The Longhorns' second straight victory required a Hail Mary prayer and a botched review of an evident Jonathan Gray fumble on the goal line that Iowa State recovered on Texas' game-winning drive. Case McCoy snuck in the deciding touchdown two plays later with 51 seconds left.
This underwhelming flutter of momentum prods Texas (3-2, 2-0 in conference play) into Saturday's Red River Rivalry against undefeated Oklahoma, who squeaked past unranked TCU 20-17 in Norman last week. In a down year nationwide, even the 10th-ranked Sooners will fail to make the power conference elite shudder – but Texas has legitimate cause for concern.
Case McCoy will once again start in relief of the injured David Ash, pitting the senior backup in a quarterback duel with Oklahoma's first-year starter, Blake Bell, who boasts a 69.2 completion percentage, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The 50th-ranked Sooner offense averages 31 points per game but has also stalled in 16 and 20 point showings at home against unranked West Virginia and TCU.
The Longhorns will need to find alternative ways to muster the 31 points they tallied against Iowa State. Now more than ever, defense and special teams need to come through with big plays – preferably scoring plays to alleviate the pressure on McCoy and an offense that needed a tremendous swing of fortune to outscore Iowa State.
This deeply flawed Texas team isn't anyone's favorite to buck convention by snapping OU's three-game streak of tyranny over them. Here's guessing Texas faithful's annual mantra that "It's [insert year] ... and OU still sucks" won't receive a booster-shot of credence this year, either.