I'm sure most of you all are aware that the 2011 AP poll is now out, and texas is unranked in their preseason poll for the first time since 1998, which was Mack's first season in Austin. That year, you went from unranked to #23 after clobbering New Mexico State, 66-36, only to fall out of the standings after losing back-to-back games against UCLA (49-31) and Kansas State (48-7) . You remained unranked until after you beat #7 Nebraska in Lincoln, and moved to #20 in the poll. You then dropped out of the poll again two weeks later after a loss in Lubbock, only to move back in after you upset A&M on T-Day +1. A win in the Cotton Bowl over Mississippi State ensured you finished the 1998 season ranked in the top 25 at #15.
Although it has been 13 years since then, the parallels between that season and this season are interesting, in that you are coming in with a completely revamped coaching staff, and coming off a disappointing season the previous year in which a preseason top 10 ranked team fell apart and had a losing season.
During the 1998 season, texas fans were able to embrace the new coaching regime and that team, recognize the season for what it was, and embrace the rebuilding effort the coaches were embarking on. Of course, the fact that you had a star RB who won the Heisman Trophy helped, too, I'm sure. I am curious if your fanbase will be able to embrace this season with the same attitude, looking at each games as a learning experience for your players, and let them grow into the team they can become. Looking at your schedule, I see a minimum of four losses, at best, and I wonder if some of your "anything less than a championship season is a failure!!!" fans will be able to handle that.
Are you ready for a rebuilding year, with new schemes on offense and defense? Is seeing consistent improvement game by game going to be enough for you? Or is it all about wins and losses, and anything less than 10-2 is a failed season?