A week after an overtime win at West Virginia thrust them into the Top 25 for the first time since early September, the Longhorns were bounced from the national rankings after being whupped at home by No. 10 Oklahoma State.
Texas (7-3, 6-1 in the Big 12) crumbled with conference supremacy at stake and ended up losing more than just a solitary football game to its first quality opponent faced since Oklahoma in October. OSU's 38-13 butchering gave Texas its first loss since September 14 – a humiliating one that represents Mack Brown's worst home defeat in 16 seasons as UT's head coach. The six-game winning streak that catapulted the Longhorns into a first-place tie with No. 3 Baylor atop the Big 12 is now kaput, as is their undefeated record in conference play and the inside track to their first conference championship and BCS bowl berth since 2009.
The only thing Texas didn't lose last week was another set of healthy players. Regardless of the way in which injuries have decimated this squad, only Saturday's reality check could revive the recently dormant debate about whether Brown should be treated as a sacred cow or a lame duck. Unfortunately for him, countering catcalls with "Scoreboard!" is no longer at the coach's disposal.
Greg Robinson's defense faltered for the second consecutive week, proving porous against OSU and its unstoppable quarterback draw – the same design that haunted Texas in its early losses. Meanwhile, Case McCoy has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this month (6-3); his first of three against Oklahoma State a fatal pick-six to end the second half. Joe Bergeron, injured tailback Johnathan Gray's replacement in the backfield, can't shake his bout of fumblitis. He put another ball on the ground last week.
Texas' season now stands in jeopardy of settling upon an inglorious ending unless it can roast Texas Tech at home on Thanksgiving and beat Baylor the week after. Here's thinking the former may prove more possible than the latter: Although ranking fourth in the nation in total offense, the Red Raiders have recently revealed themselves as pretenders in the wake of a 7-0 start, going 0-4 since, with shootout losses to Kansas State and conference titans Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor.
The Cowboys shone the black light on Texas and exposed a mess. Though still in contention for the conference championship, the Longhorns need help and suddenly look like they're running on empty. Waco awaits at the end of the line. Could it possibly be Mack's last stand?