Beyond the obvious - the absolute need to beat Oklahoma at everything, every time - this game is critical on another fundamental level. Take a look at our esteemed Blog Poll founder Brian's draft Top 25 for this week. Note the Texas tumble. Note the perception that Texas got beat "decisively" by Ohio State. Note the lack of respect for anyone Texas has defeated thus far.
Some of that is fair, I think. Ohio State won decisively by a fair definition of that word (not the extreme definition). Iowa State's not a world beater. And the rest of Texas' opponents were cupcakes.
And now think if Texas loses to Oklahoma. Painful as it is, imagine it.
Do you know what next Monday's going to be like? Do you know what the next twelve months are going to be like?
If you're having trouble imagining it, let me walk you through it. The national title with Vince Young? It'll be a footnote. A small little footnote that says Coach February only had a little Vince Young hiatus. The headlines will be all about Big Game Bob's return. They'll be discussing country clubs and their prominent location on the Texas athletics facilities.
We'll plummet in the polls and, really, when you get down to it... we'll be right back where we were two years ago. With more doubters than believers. There are too many non-Texans that want the Longhorns to fail. There are more Mack Brown haters than there are Mack Brown lovers - and we aren't a small crowd.
A Texas loss would be so frustrating to those of us who follow this program closely. The rational among us can understand that a loss this Saturday doesn't mean all the Big Things people would inevitably write. But we're a much smaller crowd.
So get your marbles out, Horns fans, and place 'em all in the outcome of the game in Dallas this Saturday. The rest of this season can be a lot of fun as we try to fight our way to another Big XII title and a BCS game. Or it can be the beginning of an agonizing stretch of listening to the rest of the world put us back in the same category they thought we'd permanently reside in under Mack Brown.
Win, Texas. Win. Beat the f*@%ing hell out of OU.
Me, on Saturday. I want a win badly.