UT's Day After Tomorrow Is Here

Maybe Dennis Quaid was right about UT athletics

Garrett Gilbert
Garrett Gilbert

We should have seen it coming. The writing was on the wall, but we all chose to ignore it. It’s the beginning of the end, so we better prepare for the worst.

Pop Quiz: Did I just refer to: A) The plot to The Day After Tomorrow or B) University of Texas’ fall athletics progams?

Answer: Both.

“I think we’re on the verge of a major climate shift!” – Jack Hall

I’m probably going to sound like a crazy climatologist as I start talking about the disastrous seasons that both the UT football and volleyball programs are in for in the coming weeks.

After all, the football program is undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 while the volleyball program is still ranked in the Top 12. So why am I comparing these programs to a movie about the end of the world?

Well, Jack Hall didn’t become the Nostradamus of worldwide catastrophes by making predictions after the world started crumbling, did he? Exactly.

Many times I have suffered from the experience of having high hopes at the beginning of the season only to have those hopes destroyed with disastrous consequences. Heck, I’m from Nebraska and lived through four years of Bill Callahan … I’ve seen a sports apocalypse at its worst.

So consider this a favor from me to you, Texas fans. I want you prepared before tornadoes destroy L.A., New Dehli freezes over, and the Statue of Liberty drowns. Or worst of all, a four-loss season for the football program! Gasp!

”The important thing is that he will grow up.” – Terry Rapson

Who is this talking?: This is a different team, but we have a lot of the same people …

… I know that when I came here, he was still here and we talked a lot. I'm not going to take anything away from [name omitted]. He is an unbelievable quarterback and maybe someday I can win a lot of games like he did ….

You probably think that’s Garrett Gilbert, right? Actually, that was redshirt freshman Colt McCoy in a 2006 interview discussing taking over for a somewhat successful quarterback in Vince Young.

McCoy ended up being the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, but when he first started, all he could do was get compared to the other Texas greats and just say how happy he was to be there. Same goes for Gilbert.

But the big difference is we’re not calling Gilbert a sensational quarterback just yet. God knows we did with McCoy (who ended his first season as a finalist for the top QB honor, the O’Brien Award).

It’s not that Gilbert’s stats are terrible. In fact, his completion percentage is at 60% and he’s thrown for more yards in his first three game than McCoy did in his first three.

So why am I worried about Gilbert’s performance this year, especially since he’s going through the same stuff that McCoy went through? It really doesn’t have anything to do with him. It has to do with his competition.

In McCoy’s first season he faced only two Top 45 defenses: Ohio State and Oklahoma, who combined to hold McCoy to just 262 yards passing and two touchdowns. McCoy managed to get a win against Oklahoma, but that was more because that was the Rhett Bomar year.

This early in the season, it’s hard to say how many of the defenses that Gilbert’s going to play are going to finish in the top 45, but it’s safe to say that Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M are at least going to be in there, and Gilbert has yet to face any of those teams yet. And there’s still UCLA coming up. Never underestimate Rick Neuheisel and his passion bucket.

Let’s just say I’m nervous about a few of his games this year. But as Terry Rapson said, he will grow up. This just might be a tough year to watch him grow.

”I think we’ve hit a critical desalinization point.” – Jack Hall

This could be said for not only the football program, but for the volleyball program as well. Desalinization, as you all obviously remember from your ninth grade chemistry class (or as I remembered by Wikipedia’ing it), is the process of removing excess salt and other minerals from water.

Now, I don’t know what that means in the real world, but for sports, it’s a very bad thing to remove anything of excess. Talent, scholarships, boosters who fund your players payroll. You want all of that. With Texas’ recruiting base, there is pretty much always an excess amount of talent. (Probably boosters, too. Source needed.)

Except when an all-time volleyball great graduates like UT’s Destinee Hooker did last year, it’s hard to ever get back to that excess amount the following year.

Starting the season ranked as high as No. 2 in some polls, the volleyball program has taken a few hits to start the season. Losing to No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Florida, and No. 9 Illinois isn’t exactly embarrassing. But losing to rival A&M (7-5) in straight sets? That’s a little embarrassing.

Not to mention that this team has gone to the national semifinals each of the last two years, and last year they didn’t lose their first (and only) regular-season match until November against a solid Iowa State team. Now they’re already losing to teams like A&M.

It’s always hard to rebound from losing a player like Hooker, but the hope was that Juliann Faucette would take over as team leader, and with four losses so early in the season it’s clear she’s having trouble replacing the void that Hooker left.

”At this point, their best chance is to stay inside. Try to ride it out. Pray.” – Jack Hall

I have a feeling I didn’t do a great job at preparing y'all for what’s to come. To be honest, I tempered my warning in fear that I’d get tons of flack for bashing UT sports while they’re still doing relatively well. Hell hath no fury like a Longhorn fan’s passion.

But if anything, if I could at least place that nugget of preparation in your minds so that you won’t be completely blindsided when the football program loses four or more games this year, or when the volleyball program fails to make it past the Sweet 16, then I’ll feel like I’ve done my job.

I guess all you can do is pray that I’m wrong. But I’m telling ya, I’m not. My advice is to ride out the season, watch Gilbert grow, wait for the volleyball program to undesalinize,* and get ready to pretend like this season never happened.

*I have no idea if that’s a word.

I lived through four years of the Bill Callahan program, it’s very easy to pretend stuff like that never happened.

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