The Aggies have not only improved but they are the third best football team in the Big 12.
This game could well be a Reggie McNeal vs. Derrick Johnson "chase down" masterpiece. McNeal is as much a threat running and passing as Arkansas' Matt Jones, and you remember what a problem the Longhorn defense had in Fayetteville with Jones. And it will be D.J.'s last game in Royal-Memorial Stadium and I have a feeling he will go out with some supersonic tackles and final home field interception while wearing Treadwell and Nobis' No. 60.
Here is the key to the football game for the Longhorns -- their names are Scott, Studdard, Glynn, Allen and Blalock. That is the tackle to tackle offensive line at Texas with Lyle Sendlein as a swing substitute. In their hands -- excuse me, hooves -- is the power to take control of a young Aggie defensive front and win the football game.
If that group of Longhorn players give their best effort of the year, Cedric Benson will have as memorable a performance as Ricky Williams did in his senior game against Texas A&M and Vince Young won't have to wait until it looks impossible to win before executing a comeback.
I believe if the Longhorns win this game they will be the host team in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day. Believe me, Texas would have their hands full with any top SEC team. Auburn is at least Oklahoma's equal and could go past the Sooners in the BCS rankings, so that settles it in my mind. If Texas loses, which could easily happen, coach Mack Brown should make a commitment to the Alamo Bowl on the spot.
But what's important for this program is to defeat the Aggies and win a bowl game instead of taking the players to some nice location (like San Diego) and turning to mush.
My prediction is for a Cotton Bowl-bound UT win after a terrific battle. Texas 24, Texas A&M 20.
Pat Culpepper played for The University from 1960-62 and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree with honors in history. He coached college football for 12 years as an assistant at Texas, Colorado, Tulane, Baylor and Memphis State and was head coach at Northern Illinois from 1976-79. He also spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas at Midland, Lufkin, Galveston Ball, Westfield and his hometown of Cleburne. He was selected to the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1991. His commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.