It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Pretty much describes Texas athletics in 2011, other than the whole "best of times" part. With the exception of one Justin Tucker boot it was a pretty miserable year to be a Texas athletics fan, at least by the extraordinarily lofty standards set by Mack Brown, Rick Barnes, Augie Garrido and the rest of the Texas coaches. Let's review:
- Texas football went 8-5, which actually left fans feeling optimistic about the direction of Mack's program. At least we haven't hired Rich Rodriguez yet. And if Texas had gotten the 21 points of offense in every game that it got against Cal it would've been a 10-win team. 1998-2009 seems like a looooooong time ago.
- Texas basketball got a crappy seed then managed to find an NCAA official who was unable to count to five. Then the Horns had three players taken in the first round because nobody else wanted to go into the crappy draft.
- Texas baseball had a great regular season and a nice postseason before being bounced in two uninspiring games in Omaha. Then the Pirates paid $6.5 million to a second round pick that was going to be our offensive savior.
- Texas volleyball got the overall #1 seed before falling in four games to eventual national champion UCLA.
And so on.
But cheer up, Horn fans. Things are looking up. Last year's predictions may not have been perfect, but I correctly called TCU over Wisconsin, baseball going to Omaha, a freshman WR having nearly as many TD passes as our starting QB (well, maybe not this one), and the Horns beating the Aggroids.
On to 2012 after the jump.
- It's Ohio State over Florida in the Urban Meyer Bowl, Oregon over Wisconsin in the Vince Young Bowl, Oklahoma State over Stanford in the BCS Sucks Bowl and Michigan over Virginia Tech in the Who Cares Bowl.
- LSU demolishes Alabama 38-13 in the BCS Sort Of Title Game Bowl. Rueben Randale catches a pair of touchdown passes and Alabama manages under 200 yards of total offense.
- Green Bay defeats New Orleans in the NFC Championship and Baltimore defeats New England in the AFC Championship.
- Barnes' Bunch beats Iowa State to start Big 12 play off right then beats Oklahoma State and A&M at home. The Horns lose three straight to Mizzou, K-State and Kansas, beat Iowa State and fall at Baylor and home to Missouri to start conference play 4-5.
- Mack Brown signs a lifetime contract extension enabling him to coach until whenever he damn well pleases.
- Green Bay clinches consecutive Super Bowl titles behind 350 passing yards for Aaron Rogers, who earns his second straight Super Bowl MVP award.
- Texas basketball gets hot, beating Tech, Aggy, K-State, OU and Okie State before falling again to Baylor and finishing sweeps against Tech and OU. The Horns end the month ranked #20 with the young squad gelling at just the right time.
- Mario Edwards wears a Burnt Orange hat on signing day, clinching the #1 recruiting class in the country for Mack Brown. Dorial Green-Beckham signs with Arkansas, citing a desire to beat Texas A&M every year.
- Baseball sweeps Duke to start the year before taking two of three in Palo Alto. Sam Stafford throws a pair of gems in his first two starts of the year and Austin Dicharry appears to be making a comeback for the Horns.
- Texas drops the season finale to Kansas but grabs a 7-seed to the NCAA tournament.
- Kentucky earns the #1 overall seed. Texas defeats 10-seed Purdue before falling to North Carolina in the second round.
- Kentucky, Kansas, Baylor and Indiana make the Final Four.
- Baseball takes two of three in the Houston Classic as well as two of three in Norman and Manhattan before finishing the month taking three of four from Cal. The Horns rise to #3 in the country in the polls.
- Kentucky wins the national title. It'll be vacated by the time this column is written next year.
- Andrew Luck goes #1 overall to Indianapolis. It is indeed really awkward.
- RGIII falls to the Washington Redskins at #7 and Landry Jones sneaks into the first round at #31 Baltimore.
- Kenny Vacarro returns for his senior season. Emmanuel Acho is the first Longhorn drafted, going #61 to the New Orleans Saints.
- Baseball wins three series against Tech, Okie State and sweeps Kansas. The Horns sweep Aggy ending the rivalry the exact same way it's been the last 100+ years.
- Stephen Strasburg throws a one-hitter to open the MLB season. Go Nats!
- Both J'Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo return to Texas. Cameron Ridley finally signs on April 11th.
- Baseball loses its first series of the season, dropping two of three to Missouri before rebounding with a sweep of Baylor.
- Augie Garrido calls an impromptu press conference over a glass of scotch at Eddie V's to announce he'll retire whenever the hell he damn well pleases.
- The Horns earn the second overall seed in the NCAA tournament. Erich Weiss is named Big 12 offensive player of the year and Hoby Milner is your pitcher of the year, narrowly edging Texas A&M's Michael Wacha.
- Baseball gets one final shot at Texas A&M in the Super Regionals. Hoby Milner and Sam Stafford each pitch gems to earn the Horns a sweep of the Ags and another trip to Omaha.
- The Horns come within a game of the national championship series but fall to eventual national champion Florida. Hoby Milner is the first Horn in the MLB draft, going to the Miami Marlins in the 6th round. A healthy Sam Stafford goes to the Red Sox in the 8th round.
- Kevin Durant wins the NBA MVP award leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a championship over the Miami Heat.
- West Virginia is finally permitted to leave the Big East thanks to a settlement negotiated by former Longhorns offensive coordinator Greg Davis. The settlement isn't reached until after an ugly incident in which WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen is banned for life from a Providence, Rhode Island public library.
- It's hot.
- Tiger Woods wins the British Open, ending his major championship drought.
- Jonathan Gray dazzles in fall practice. David Ash wins the starting QB job leading Case McCoy to transfer to SMU. Connor Brewer takes a redshirt as Jaxon Shipley wins the backup job.
- Mack's season slogan of "10 wins in 2012!" seems uplifting only until one remembers Mack's success from 1998 to 2009.
- David Ash's incredible summer and fall practices is highlighted by every sportswriter in America who essentially do a find/replace on old summer columns about Colt McCoy and Garret Gilbert.
- LSU returns the Honey Badger and is rewarded with the preseason #1 slot. Texas comes in at #22. Oklahoma at #8 is the only Big 12 team in the top ten.
- Michigan upsets Alabama 24-20 to start the college football season off right.
- The Horns go 4-0 in September with blowouts over Wyoming and New Mexico in Austin, a 27-13 victory in Oxford, and opening conference play with a three score win over Iowa State. Both Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown have two 100 yard rushing games in the first four games.
- Vince Young signs with the New York Jets and beats out Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback spot.
- Following a 21-20 loss to McNeese State in the opening game, rumors out of Aggieland suggest the Aggies have put Kevin Sumlin on the hot seat.
- Texas upsets Oklahoma 28-20 behind two touchdown passes and one touchdown reception by backup QB Jaxon Shipley.
- The Horns fall to Oklahoma State in Stillwater but rebound with wins over KU and Baylor.
- Les Miles praises the SEC's addition of Texas A&M following a 34 point road win over the Ags.
- The Texas Rangers finally breakthrough with a World Series victory over the Miami Marlins. Josh Hamilton is named World Series MVP.
- The Aggies beat last-placed Ole Miss 31-30 leading to unnecessarily extending Kevin Sumlin's contract by 3 years including a $6.5 million buyout.
- Texas beats Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU but falls at Kansas State. Again. The Horns finish the year 10-2 but win the Big 12 tiebreaker with Oklahoma and earn a Fiesta Bowl rematch versus Ohio State. The Horns end the year with 1,000 yard rushers Malcolm Brown and Jonathan Gray.
- Texas basketball begins the year with a top 5 year thanks to the return of all its stars and the incoming class of talented freshmen.
- One-loss Alabama defeats No. 1 LSU 6-3 in Baton Rouge to somehow gain the inside track on the national title game over undefeated Michigan.
- Michigan falls at Ohio State 31-17 ending their run at the national title.
- Undefeated USC beats Oregon in the Pac-12 title game to earn a spot in Miami versus Alabama. Fans dub it the Detest-A-Coach Bowl.
- USC QB Matt Barkley wins the Heisman over runner-up Denard Robisnon.
- The Aggies finish 4-8 in their first year in the SEC and summarily fire Kevin Sumlin. Following his unsuccessful Presidential campaign, Rick Perry does what he's wanted to do all along and names himself head coach in Aggieland.
- Manny Diaz eschews coaching offers from several D-1 schools to return to Texas for another season.
- Texas volleyball beats Penn State in five games to breakthrough and win the national championship.
- On the final day of 2012, ESPN agrees with every major cable provider in the country to ensure every television in America has the Longhorn Network.
- On the same day, the SEC successfully renegotiates its contract with ESPN to televise SEC football games. The new deal with the SEC is lauded nearly universally for giving the conference a substantial raise over its previous deal, although A&M boosters decide to boycott the network over a provision requiring all Aggy games be shown on the LHN.
Happy new year, BONers!