Before I get into this, a quick disclaimer. Some of you on this site may have seen the Horns when Coach Royal was still on the sidelines, or at least remember the good Akers years. I do not. The first time I saw UT in a bowl game, they lost the Bluebonnet Bowl to Air Force. It was Fred Akers' last bowl game. For most of my formative years, I was more of a Tech fan than a UT fan, not because I liked them better, but A: they were local and B: they were better. I got to see Tech post a pair of 9 wins seasons and dominating bowl wins from 89-95 while the best year Texas had ended in a OU-style beat down at the hands of Convict U.
The reason I tell you this, is because I'm sick of reading the whining on these boards. This sucks, we only made the Alamo Bowl. No, that does not suck. 2010 sucked. Not being able to care about bowl season at all because my team wasn't in it sucked. Apparently a lot of you out there have forgotten those dark days, pre-Mack. You've forgotten the 5-6 seasons, the shocking lack of talent, the not seeing the games on TV not because they were on LHN but because we were too bad for broadcast television. I have not.
I'm glad to see us going back to the Alamo Bowl. Oregon State is an underestimated team that will give us a game, especially if we're not prepared. It'll be a chance to wipe the last two losses away before the seemingly endless off-season begins and we're stuck with nothing but basketball for months. It'll be a chance to watch the Longhorns, MY Longhorns, one more time. I'm thankful for that.
I've read many fans on here over the last three years blasting UT's "sense of entitlement". What about the sense of entitlement raging through our fan base? Coach Royal passed away earlier this year and we couldn't even fill up DKR to pay tribute? That's pathetic. I've heard many other team's fans make fun of our fair-weather fans, and it's completely deserved.
What kind of a fan am I? I'm the guy that watched EVERY game in 2010. I cussed and ranted and swore I wouldn't watch the next week, but by Wednesday I was itching to get my burnt orange fix. I held out hope, even when I knew we would lose, because I'm a FAN, I would watch my Horns in the Eatshitanddie Bowl against North Texas if it meant three more hours of UT.
Now, a lot of you may live a lot closer to Austin than I do. You probably have better jobs and a less demanding family life, so you can attend games whenever you what. I don't have that luxury. I've been to one, ONE, UT game in person and we got drilled. It's still one of the best days of my life, because I was THERE. My wife had to move heaven and earth and borrow money from family members to make it happen. I may never get to go to another one. So I hold that memory close and I always will.
So maybe of all you "fans" out there need to take a little sabbatical. Why don't you take three or four years and follow UNT, or SMU. I bet Vandy could use some fans. Take some time and root for some teams who enter each season just praying that they will make a bowl game, any bowl game. Teams whose biggest rivals are directional schools. Root for your local DII squad, like I have to. Then tell me how bad 8-4 and the Alamo Bowl are.
To be honest, I believe, like many of you do, that Mack has reached the end and should step down, but I would rather keep Mack for another decade of "mediocrity" over going back to the Akers-McWilliams-Mackovic days. I'd rather get "stuck with" Alamo Bowls and Holiday Bowls than no bowls at all. So yes, I will watch the game on Dec 29, family matters allowing. If I could, I would go to the game, and I'd have a damn good time while I was at it. If that makes some of you mad because it doesn't "send a message" to the powers that be, then oh well. You want to send a message? As fans, we COULD BE that program that sells out every game for 45 years in a row (or whatever it was/is that Nebraska has done). We could be that program treats every game like the Super Bowl. We could be one of those programs, like Florida or LSU, where people talk with fear about going into their house. We could be, but we're not. We're the Come Late, Leave Early, Sit On Your Hands and Bitch When The Game Is Over fan base. Even Notre Dame eventually "lowered their standards" and took a Hawaii Bowl trip. I guess we're too good for that, though.
Maybe that's the real reason why we're not in the SEC instead of A&M. It's not because of academics or any of that drivel. It's because it would be embarrassing to be ranked below Kentucky and Mississippi State as far as homefield advantages go. (Side note: I'm not saying that I want to be in the SEC. They can kiss my a$$.) It's sad that Aggy has a much better fan base than we do, and any non-biased football fan will back that statement up. They go to the stadium at midnight for yell practice. We can't be bothered to attend 11:00 am kickoffs. They stand for four hours and make their stadium move. We sit on our hands and boo our own players and coaches.
At the end of the day, I'm no different than the rest of you. I'm frustrated that we haven't done more the last two years. I'm mad that we are constantly looking up at OU and I do miss BCS games and National Title runs. The difference is, I'm not going to let the disappointments ruin everything. I'm not going to treat 8-4 like it was 5-7. It's actually been kind of fun going into each week not knowing if we were going to win or not as opposed to guessing which quarter Mack would take our starters out. Maybe if more of you looked at it that way, we wouldn't be viewed as some of the most spoiled fans in FBS. But hey, when it comes to being a fan, I guess that great philosopher summed it up best when he said: "it is what it is". And so it is.