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Texas seeking upset of TCU, but don't call them spoilers

The focus for the Longhorns isn't on ruining the dream season for the Horned Frogs.

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The TCU Horned Frogs may still sit outside of the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings, but a loss to the Texas Longhorns on Thanksgiving would sink any hopes of making it into the playoffs.

So the Longhorns, now coming off of three wins for the first time under head coach Charlie Strong, have a chance to play the spoiler role at home on Thursday.

Only thing is, senior cornerback Quandre Diggs doesn't think about it that way.

"We're not playing spoiler to anyone," Diggs said this week. "We're just going to go out and compete. I'm sick of the spoiler thing. We just want to play football, no spoiler. Go play football, go out and compete, and not even worry about the rankings."

Strong doesn't think about it in terms of Texas playing a spoiler role either.

"We don't even talk about them," Strong said on Monday. "It's all about us just making sure we need to go get another win for [ourselves]."

This is hardly an unfamiliar message from the Texas head coach -- he's been saying it all season and it was one of the things that helped impress upon the Longhorns that they have absolute agency in their failures and in their successes.

And the stakes are as high for this game as they have been all season, even though the Oklahoma State game was a key contest in the battle for bowl eligibility.

"You look at it and they're the No. 5 team in the country, and we're going to go compete, and it would be good for the program, get us to number seven," Strong said. "Set aside for the seniors, but it would send them out the right way also. You're talking about the No. 5 team in the country. One day that role is going to reverse, and we're going to be the No. 5 team or the No. 4 team and we're sitting in this position. Come Thursday, we're not."

In other words, the newcomer to the conference, the school that was kicked to the side when schools like Baylor and Texas and Texas Tech and Texas A&M moved from the Southwest Conference is now the heavily-favored team coming into Austin.

When the Big 12 formed, it wasn't supposed to happen like this. Based on Texas tradition, it wasn't supposed to happen like this.

But TCU is currently sitting in the spot Texas wants to reach.

Winning this game won't put the Longhorns in that position, but it would serve further notice that the program is headed back in the right direction.

"It's a big game," said Diggs. "It's a big opportunity for us. Those guys are good. Appreciate the opportunity to go out and match up with a high powered offense and a great team. Like I said, we just want to go out and compete."