UT Who? The Tale of the Invisible Bobcats.
By Joe O'Connell,
3:06PM, Mon. Oct. 13, 2008
Don't look here for my take on the Texas Longhorns' victory over No. 1 Oklahoma or the Horns' subsequent ascension to the polls' top spot. Look for it instead in the print edition on Thursday. Frustrated? Think how fans of the Texas State University Bobcats feel. This past weekend they upset the No. 3 McNeese State Cowboys in a nail-biter, but most of the Austin media ignored it.
Yep, the Bobcats of the school formerly known (and forever known to some alumni like yours truly) as Southwest Texas State won 45-42 in a game that wasn't actually that close. So why no mention on Austin television? Why did the local daily only post it on its Web site (uh, guilty as charged here, too)? They ran the scores of other Texas university matchups, including such titans as Mary Hardin-Baylor and Texas Lutheran. I'm baffled.
Here are the game facts as gleaned from the TSU football Web site: "Bradley George completed 29 of his 45 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns and Karrington Bush ran for 127 yards and one TD on 13 carries, giving him his third-straight 100-yard game and his ninth 100-yard performance in his collegiate career." Sounds like a barn-burner to me. But no media respect for a school just 35 miles down the road from Austin and solidly in the Austin media market.
Obviously the Horns are a big part of it. They've got more alumni who demand plenty of coverage. And the Bobcats are one slot down from Division I football, a situation that may change soon if the school's President Denise Trauth is to be taken at her word. But Texas State ain't some tiny college like Baylor (enrollment about 14,000) or SMU (enrollment just more than 11,000). Texas State has more than 29,000 students, making it the fifth largest university in Texas behind only UT, Texas A&M, the University of Houston and the University of North Texas. That puts TSU ahead of Texas Tech in enrollment.
I'm guessing the largest reason the Bobcats have gotten the cold shoulder is--save the 2005 season when they advanced to the final eight in the national playoffs--they have posted nothing but losing seasons in the last couple of decades. You can only live off of those back-to-back national championships in the early Eighties for so long.
But I like what I'm seeing from San Marcos. This coming weekend they'll face Arkansas State, a team that topped Texas A&M 18-14 to open the season. The Red Wolves also played their hearts out against a team from Austin last year. Someone please alert the media.