At last: chaos.
Rutgers' dramatic come from behind victory over Louisville bulldozed the one obstacle Texas assuredly could not overcome just by winning the remainder of its games. With the loss, the Big East is rendered irrelevant (fairly or not) in the national title picture.
We have now officially entered One Loss BCS Hell (or heaven, depending on your perspective), though for Texas, the surrounding scenery is hardly fire and brimstone.
Texas is by no means in the proverbial Driver's Seat to the national title game, but the path to Nirvana has taken a sharp turn from inordinate, which is where it was prior to Louisville's loss. While Burnt Orange Nation celebrates the newfound possibilities that exist because of Louisiville's loss, it's important that we not think too much about what must happen around us and focus very carefully on that which remains within our control.
Texas' path to the title game is dramatically different than that of every other team still in The Conversation. While most every other team must focus on navigating the muddy waters of their remaining schedule, Texas must focus on that, plus something else: style points. No team is as dependent on the quality of its victories as Texas is because no team is as dependent on the human voters as Texas is.
Style points: not just for fashionistas anymore.
Just about every team remaining in the national title conversation - except Texas - has a marquee game remaining on its schedule. USC will face Notre Dame and California; the Irish and Bears face USC. Florida must win out and defeat the winner of the SEC West. Ohio State and Michigan will square off. Only Auburn sits in a similar position to Texas, needing to impress human voters with indubitable victories over remaining opponents.
Texas can't help itself with its remaining schedule. Either Texas A&M or Nebraska will lose on Saturday afternoon (they play one another). Texas either faces a B+ Aggie squad on the day after Thanskgiving, or it faces a B+ Nebraska squad on the day of the Big 12 championship. Either way, Texas' opportunity lies not with defeating A&M and Nebraska, but in dominating each and every game that it plays between now and the last chance that any human voter has a say in BCS voting.
Texas is playing for style points.
With Louisville's loss, the race for the second spot in the BCS game will be an amalgam of computer calculations and human voting. Texas can't and won't improve its stead to the top two in the former; its best shot at securing a spot in the national title game lies in sufficiently impressing the human voters that can factor what they see Texas do with their own eyes.
To make a long story short: It's Showtime. The road to the BCS Title Game lies in Texas finishing at #2 in the Coaches' and Harris' voters polls after the Michigan and Ohio State game. And to meet that goal, and do it with enough buffer to fend off the impending computer weakness, Texas must not only win, but look great doing so.
So when you tune in on Saturday and Thanksgiving weekend and on December 2nd to watch the Big 12 championship game, don't just root for Texas to win... Root for Texas to be in peak form, steamrolling their opponents in a way that tells voters, "Yes, this is the 2nd best team in the nation. They are the one loss team I vote to play for it all."
Anything less will be insufficient.