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Texas: Still thriving in non-football sports

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Though the Texas football season continues its downward spiral, many Longhorns sports continue their dominance.

The Today Show Gallery of Olympians Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

I implore die-hard Texas football fans to not allow the rest of the season to strongly dictate a surge or dip in your mood. Of course, root tirelessly for the burnt orange, but don’t expect your cheers to result in a turnaround. It’s just too unhealthy. Even at home this weekend against Baylor, FPI only gives the Longhorns a 37% chance of defeating the Bears — and even that seems quite high.

College sports are an opportunity to display school pride, and Texas football’s struggles have made many of us fans insecure about our school’s recruiting capabilities, our leadership, and even our athletic prestige. But this post serves as a reminder that Texas still dominants in most sports that do not require a pig skin.

Here’s a few sports that can help your school pride.

Volleyball

The last Texas home football game against Iowa State was such a snooze of a first half that hundreds of fans headed for the exit at half-time, despite the fact that the Longhorns were only down three points. Texas women’s volleyball is a much different story. The atmosphere at the historic Gregory Gymnasium is so electric that one can hear fans screaming “Texas Fight” from the workout room two floors below.

If you’ve never watch Texas volleyball before, you are missing out, as it is truly an underrated sport full of non-stop spikes and digs showcasing the athleticism on the 40 Acres. And the Longhorns are pretty damn good. Last year, Texas fell in the NCAA Championship to Nebraska, but the ‘Horns are back again in top form this season. Though they are still second in the nation behind the Cornhuskers, Texas has notched a stellar 16-2 record thus far.

The team should continue to be dominant for years to come, as freshmen such as Micaya White have already emerged as top players. White just won her fifth Big 12 Freshman of the Week Award. She is one of only six players to ever win freshman of the week honors five times, and there is still over a month of season left.

Texas’ next game is Wednesday night at 7 pm at home against Oklahoma. Finally, a Red River Rivalry where the Longhorns should be heavy favorites.

Swimming

Texas’ defending national champion men’s swimming and diving program kicked off its season last weekend at a meet against Florida and Indiana in Bloomington. The Longhorns defeated the Gators but surprisingly fell to the Hoosiers at their home pool. While this is troubling considering Texas went undefeated last year, the Longhorns should still return to dominance with the stacked amount of talent they have.

Sophomore Townley Haas became a national hero last summer when he lead the U.S. men’s 200 meter freestyle relay to gold. Haas posted a 1:44.14 time, besting anyone else in the race by .71 seconds. Fellow U.S. Olympians Jack Conger and Clark Smith will also be difference makers for the Longhorns in the pool this season. And who could forget about Joseph Schooling, who defeated Michael Phelps in the 100 meter butterfly to claim the first gold medal ever for Singapore?

Soccer

Texas men’s soccer is literally non-existent, and the women’s team has had a rough year — thus far tallying a 8-8-1 record, and only a 1-5-1 mark in conference play. However, thanks to star goalie Paige Brown, the Longhorns have only lost one game by more than a goal (a 2-0 defeat against Iowa State). In fact, in Texas’ last game, they stayed competitive against No. 1 ranked West Virginia, only falling 1-0. If the Longhorns can find some offense and defeat a struggling TCU this Friday at 7 pm, the team will clinch a Big 12 conference tournament berth, where anything can happen.

Okay, Okay. So maybe Texas soccer is not exactly “killing it” — at least, the human athletes aren’t. But robot soccer is a different story. Yes, UT Austin took first place in the world Robocup championship held in Beijing. Texas defeated New South Wales in a stunning 7-3 victory. A highlight of the final is below in case you want to beam with burnt orange pride over seeing a competent Texas defense.

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...And these are just sports going on right now. In the next few weeks, a top 10 women’s basketball team and a top 25 men’s squad will step on the court for the first time. Shaka’s team in particular is exciting due to the tame schedule and athleticism that will be on display after signing two McDonald’s All-Americans this summer. Unlike the football team, both men’s and women’s basketball should rake in far more W’s than L’s this year.

In the spring, a phenomenal Texas softball team will look to improve upon a 2016 campaign where the team went to the NCAA Regionals before falling to Texas A&M in an exciting weekend. Meanwhile, Texas baseball begins a refreshing new era as David Pierce takes the reigns in place of Augie Garrido. Texas will return nearly all of its roster and adds a solid recruiting class. While they may not be contenders for Omaha yet, the ‘Horns should definitely be improved.

Did I mention that Texas is ridiculously good at track and field? What about a top 10 women’s rowing team? And how do you feel about a powerhouse men’s golf team that came in second in the nation last season, despite having to compete without their star player?

The ESPN announcer was incorrect when he exclaimed, “Texas is back!” after the Longhorns’ thrilling overtime win against Notre Dame in football. But appreciate that exhilarating victory for what is was, continue to support the football team, and understand that in most other sports, the Texas Longhorns have never left.