Longhorn Fans: What If Texas Beats OU?

Texas-Oklahoma. The Red River Shootout. No. 2 versus No. 5. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.

When you stop and think about the game and the huge impact it has on each team’s season and the overall college football landscape, you can’t help but get a few butterflies. The heart rate picks up. And with the recent history of the game, you get a pit in your stomach.

This is the game you’ve waited for since the start of the season. Hell, this is the one you’ve obsessed on since it ended a year ago in embarrassment, the second time in four years.

You hear all the talk and what others think about it. When the national media refers to this game they utter that nasty four-letter word about Texas — soft — and rightly so. Think about it. In recent years, Texas has gone into that game with equal or more talent and as much or more to lose, and quite frankly hasn’t shown up. Instead of taking the fight to the Sooners, the Sooners have not only taken the fight to the Longhorns; they’ve taken them behind the woodshed to do it. Okay, there were a few "close" ones to cherish in between the complete disembowelments, but no matter how you look at it; the Burnt Orange still came out on the short end of the deal.

Your family, your friends, your neighbors, and even the Aggies have thrown in their two cents. The Aggies don’t have a leg to stand on, unless of course they remind you of how they beat a top-ranked OU team just a couple years ago. It’s almost like a right. If you follow college football, then you have an opinion on the Horns and Sooners.

Everyone follows it because it’s now a game that each season has huge ramifications riding on it. The winner positions itself for an excellent shot at the Big 12 South title, a berth in the Big 12 Conference Championship game, and ultimately a crack at the national championship. The loser, well, you know.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.

Just think about it. For the last couple years, admit it, you’ve known going into Texas-OU weekend that Texas had a shot to win, but you weren’t as confident. After the 63-14 ass-whoopin’ in 2000, followed by the 14-3 loss in 2001, you began to question if Texas would ever beat that damn Bob Stoops and his Sooners. When Texas kept it close in 2002 only to lose 35-24, you thought, maybe we’re close. Two years and two somewhat respectable losses were a whole lot better than the 2000 debacle and the embarrassment that came with it. Then came last year.

Oh, last year. The pain. The agony. The final score. It was a debilitating flashback to 2000, only worse. Being on the receiving end of one can of whoop-ass against your hated rival on football’s biggest stage is bad enough. But twice in four years? Expletive!

That’s the past. This year is a new season. Hope springs eternal.

Okay. Before you laugh off all the clichés, like the Sooners and their fans have laughed off the Texas game in recent years, think about it. What if Texas does win? What if the Horns do beat the rednecks from the north? What will happen? What will everyone say? What will you do?

First things first. The media can strip off that label of "soft" as the Horns will have beaten what everyone with a microphone seems to think is a frontrunner. For the team, Texas will be the one in the driver’s seat (you, the fan, will be riding shotgun) and looking at the Sooners in the rearview mirror. It will finally be Oklahoma playing catch up and crossing their fingers, throwing up pixie dust, praying, or doing whatever they do with the hopes that the Longhorns stumble and lose a couple conference games that allow them to slip in the back door. (See Texas 2001.)

Those friends, family, and even the baseless Aggies will probably give the Horns their props, or at least they should. Of course, it will be with some smart aleck caveat like, "it’s about time" or "you still won’t win it all."

And what about you? How will you react?

Sure, immediately thereafter there will be high fives and hugs for your fellow Longhorns. There will be consumption of adult beverages, and lots of ‘em. That’s four years worth of pain that needs to be cleansed from the body. There may be a few phone calls to all those friends and family members who have innocently asked you about the game in the past or who have just flat out given you a hard time. There may even be a phone call to your favorite Sooner friend, if there is such a thing.

What about next week? The rest of the season? Have you thought that far ahead? I know. With the recent OU games, it’s a stretch. But try.

The following Monday, Texas should theoretically switch with the No. 2 Sooners in the rankings. That is of course if the media truly does respect the win. But we know how the media operates. They may be like an Aggie and think it was a fluke. Regardless, Texas will move up and Oklahoma will be behind them.

Knowing that Texas will leapfrog OU in the polls with the victory, you walk in to work on Monday morning with tremendous satisfaction and a smile you can’t wipe off your face. All those people you’ve talked so much trash to or with in year’s past, not necessarily recently, can see your disposition all the way down the hall. You radiate with Burnt Orange pride.

Then, someone just has to ask, "Do you think Texas can win out?" They couldn’t let you enjoy it even just a little while. In response to the question numerous thoughts run through your head. What kind of stupid question is that? Of course they can. They just beat OU, the biggest obstacle to the Big 12 and national title.

Despite your rationale, you soon realize the question was a valid one. It’s back down to earth.

After just a few more flashbacks to the colossal win over the Sooners, you give your questioner and his question some serious thought. You realize after years of acknowledging the season was all but over following yet another OU loss, the season still has meaning, still has a special purpose. Steve Martin (who was actually born in Texas) would be proud!

Missouri comes to town next weekend. There’s the whole rest of the season. You think ahead to those "gotcha" games like Tech in Lubbock, the Buffs in Colorado, or A&M in Austin. Those games in recent years where you worried whether or not a loss like that would drop the Horns from a shot at a BCS bowl to one of the two Texas bowls — Holiday or Cotton — now mean the team would more than likely drop out of contention for a legitimate shot at the national title. That’s some scary, um, stuff. Another team could actually spoil the season. How dare them!

Your stomach starts to get butterflies. The heart rate picks up. You’re just waiting for that pit in your stomach. It never comes.

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