Bumped from the diaries, this one's deserving of main page discussion.
Because injury is always better when mixed with insult, PB and I were trying to figure out where the latest loss to A&M fits in the pantheon of losses in the Mack Brown era. So I unfaithfully submit to you...
THE TOP 10 LOSSES IN THE MACK BROWN ERA
A couple things to note first:
- Texas has only lost 22 times in Mack's nine seasons on the 40 Acres, so calling out his Top 10 losses is a little like trying to decide who the worst Beatle was: John, Paul, George or Ringo (undervote for Yoko)
- For obvious reasons, losses to OU really deserve their own list as they really ought to be 1a, 1b, 1c and so on, but for the sake of argument, I've mixed them in.
- NC State 23, Texas 20 (1999) - No other way to describe this loss than to say it was the proverbial kick to the crotch. All the momentum and good feelings built up in Mack's successful first season just got flushed right down the toilet. Almost all of NC State's points came off of blocked punts that were returned for TD's. If Texas had simply practiced the punting game a few more times during two-a-days, the game never even would have been close. (Odd note: I started writing 54b's Commentary because of this game. See http://54bblog.blogspot.com/1999_09_04_54bblog_archive.html)
- Tech 42, Texas 38 (2002) - Though UT's defense had suffered several injuries, this loss could be chalked up to one simple reason, Texas couldn't run the ball even though they featured Ced Benson. Instead UT was forced to try and beat Tech at their own game. Simms threw for a ton of yards and the game lasted like 6 hours, but in the end, a late pic as the receiver ran the wrong route ended UT's hopes at a BCS bid. Even worse, OU lost to OSU again that year and that would have put UT in the Big XII Championship game.
- Texas 24, OU 35 (2002) - Simms' Senior Year, all the pieces were in place to make a run at the title and according to Mack, who wouldn't let Simms talk to the media after the game, the reason Texas gave the lead up in the 4th quarter was because "it was too windy" to throw the ball effectively. Roy Williams will alienate an entire fan base with his post game comment, "The OU game is just another game for us."
- Texas 6, Arkansas 27 (2000 Cotton Bowl) - It's bad enough just to lose to the Hogs alone, but it's even worse when you consider this loss was self-inflicted. Two of UT's best players, Kwame Cavil and Aaron Humphrey were suspended the day before the game for failing a drug test (Good old Marijuana). Also significant was Applewhite tearing his knee up in the 4th quarter. Simms would go on to take all the snaps during the following spring and be named the starter the next season which fueled a QB controversy that would go on for two years.
- A&M 20, Texas 16 (1999) - The infamous Bonfire Tragedy game. On top of A&M playing for the memories of the 12 students lost in the collapse of the Bonfire Build, Texas showed up to the game with no sleep (crank calls all night from drunk Aggies), no breakfast (hotel just "forgot"), and no QB (Applewhite had food poisoning). And like the game last Friday, the refs just seemed to really want A&M to win this game.
- A&M 12, Texas 7 (2006) - This one is still too fresh to truly put into perspective, but obviously the loss prevented UT from defending their Big XII Championship. No matter what excuse you can muster: Colt's neck, defensive injuries, team emotionally spent, Chizik leaving, whatever, there will never be a valid reason for UT losing to their in-state rival, at home, on Senior Day. Big picture-wise, Texas' loss is all the more pathetic when you consider UT beat the two teams going to the Big XII title game and the team who took their place, OU, experienced a whole heck of lot more adversity this season and still found a way to get it done.
- Texas 14, OU 63 (2000) - Not only was it a cold, rainy miserable day, but Mack actually told the press after the game that he and his players had underestimated the Sooners. Ya think? The Sooners went on to win the title and UT went back to the drawing board.
- Texas 13, OU 65 (2003) - The Sooners were a freaking juggernaut behind Heisman Trophy winning QB Jason White. This is also the season they beat A&M 77-0. This game was just as painful as the 2000 version, but somehow the fans didn't seem quite as surprised. I don't think my soul will ever truly be able to rest until UT beats OU this badly or even worse.
- Colorado 39, Texas 37 (2001 Big XII Championship) - Even after Texas won the MNC last season, this game is still too hard for most Texas fans to even think about. This is our version of the "Bill Buckner Between the Legs Game." UT's invite to the game only happened after OU choked at home to OSU similarly to UT against A&M last Friday (Sort of uncanny when you think about it). UT had beaten Colorado by more than 30 points earlier that season and because of some other key losses earlier in the day, all UT had to do was win and they'd meet Miami in the Rose Bowl for the National Title. This was fate, this was destiny, we all knew it was meant to be. Of course the dream scenario disintegrated as a decidedly burnt orange clad Texas Stadium watched in horror as Simms turned the ball over (3 pics, 1 fumble) on four consecutive possessions that resulted in 28 CU points. Not only did Texas miss out on a title shot, but they were relegated to the 3rd Place Holiday Bowl. For me, this was UT's worst loss ever, but for older Longhorn fans, there probably won't ever be a worse loss than the Cotton Bowl against Georgia that cost UT a national title, perhaps the 1971 Cotton Bowl agianst Notre Dame too.
1) The Next Loss - Could be the upcoming bowl game, could be some game next season, who knows, but for a fan base who truly believes Texas can and should win every game, the next loss will always be the worst loss. For better or worse, it's a reality. And fortunately for Mack Brown, it's a reality he fully understands and embraces. If he didn't, he probably would have quit after his first loss.
Debate away BON-heads.
Update [2006-11-28 16:0:31 by HornsFan]: What the hell, here's 11 - 22...
11) OU 14, Texas 3 (2001) - Let's see, OU was having all sorts of QB problems and couldn't move the ball. That's okay, Bob Stoops' brain was too much for Mack and thanks to our DB fair catching a fake field goal/pooch kick on the 2 yard line, we made OU's Roy Williams a legend and SI Cover boy in what could be the worst, single play from the Mack Brown era. Just a nightmare. I can still see Roy flying over the pile to this day.
12) OU 12, Texas 0 (2004) - More innovative play calling by Greg Davis (I think he called 3 different plays the whole game) leads to UT's first goose egg in like a bazillion games.
13) Nebraska 22, Texas 6 (1999 Big XII Championship) - Like the guy below said, just a total ass whipping. Texas didn't even belong on the same field that day. And to think it was the same Nebraska team UT beat just weeks before in Austin.
14) Arkansas 38, Texas 28 (2003) - In addition to the triple digit temperatures, Greg Davis fell in love with the lateral pass, and Houston Nutt put the Horns Down gesture in vogue for the television viewing audience to see.
15) K-State 45, Texas 42 (2006) - Colt gets hurt, DB's go blind, followed by the worst 3 minutes of football in UT History.
16) Tech 42, Texas 35 (1998) - Another high scoring affair in Lubbock. This one sucked because it eliminated UT from Big XII title contention even though they beat eventual Champion A&M a week later. On a personal note, this is one of the very few games in the past 20 years that I didn't see in person or live on TV. I had to find out the score while watching an ESPN ticker across the bottom of the screen during SportsCenter. Talk about a heart sinking, just lost my wallet moment of panic and loss. That sucked.
17) Stanford 27, Texas 24 (2000) - Another example of Mack putting the special back in Special Teams. Plus, we saw for the first time why nobody wins when you play QB roullette. Pretty sure Tiger Woods paid off the refs too.
18) Oregon 35, Texas 30 (2000 Holiday Bowl) - Actually a decent effort by Simms, if only Roy, BJ and Sloan had brought their hands to San Diego.
19) Wash St. 28, Texas 20 (2003 Holiday Bowl) - Apparently, Mack didn't know you were allowed to blitz in bowl games. Plus, he benched VY because he needed to keep Chance Mock happy so he wouldn't transfer.
20) OSU 24, Texas 7 (2006) - Most fans felt like we simply got beat by the better team, plus Colt was only making his second start. Worse than the last two because it was #1 vs. #2 and the world was watching.
21) K-State 48, Texas 7 (1998) - Other than worrying about Ricky's Heisman hopes, we sort of expected this.
22) UCLA 49, Texas 31 (1998) - Again, no expectations, got to see Major for the first time. Plus, the game got so out of hand, my friends and I left for Vegas in the middle of the 3rd quarter. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, but I did end up meeting Jenny McCarthy at the Hard Rock and taking home like $300 playing roullette with the old bet on red everytime and double down when you lose method. 22% of time, it works every time.