The Longhorns entered this season with a cushy No. 15 ranking and an inside track to a Big 12 championship and subsequent invitation to a BCS bowl. But that Top 25 ranking got put out to pasture following a loss to Brigham Young in which Manny Diaz's defense relinquished 679 yards to the Cougar offense. Texas' stock fell so steadily in weeks two and three that their current four-game winning streak only has them on the precipice of national notice. The Big 12, however, is an entirely different story.
With a 4-0 record, Mack Brown has his Longhorns rolling and tied with No. 5 Baylor atop the conference standings. October 3's hairline comeback win over Iowa State notwithstanding, Texas' undefeated run through the Big 12 has been a collaborative achievement with consistency and playmaking exhibited in every phase. Tailbacks Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown barreled for a combined 243 yards two weeks ago against Oklahoma; versatile burner Daje Johnson's 85-yard punt return gave Texas a 29-13 lead that same day; replacement starter Case McCoy has uncorked three long touchdown passes in the last two games, both against top-tier Big 12 defenses.
Speaking of defense, the Longhorns complimented their stingy 263-yard effort against Oklahoma with an even better performance last Saturday at TCU. Texas' front seven was ferocious in chasing Horned Frog quarterback Casey Pachall, who was hurried, battered, and taken down on the regular. Many Longhorn fans derided Mack Brown's September promotion of defensive adviser Greg Robinson to coordinator, citing his recent troubles as head coach at Syracuse and D.C. at Michigan, but whatever the 62-year-old has done to raze what Diaz built has worked. Texas now owns the nation's 74th ranked defense, up from 114th under Diaz.
The Kansas Jayhawks visit DKR this Saturday. Head coach Charlie Weis famously called last year's 1-11 team "a pile of crap." This year KU is 2-5, winless in the Big 12, 118th nationwide in total offense, and 101st in total defense. A wretched performance last year by quarterback David Ash necessitated an 11th-hour rescue from Case McCoy in Lawrence. Texas scraped by, winning 21-17 and avoiding Coach Brown's first UT-led loss to Kansas in the process.
Suffice to say, nobody in their right mind need worry about another similarly close shave.