Perspective is powerful.
After the Texas Longhorns’ 38-35 blunder in Stillwater on Saturday night, perspective was hit or miss with a lot of Longhorns fans.
But I get it.
I suffer from Conflicted Perspective Overreaction Disorder, or CPOD, and I’m not ashamed.
In fact, it’s estimated that 100 percent of college football fans struggle with CPOD, and as many as 100 percent of those affected by this condition don’t know it.
CPOD affects the brain in two ways. First, it attacks the portion of the brain responsible for logic and rationale while at the same time weakening our ability to process the outcome of a game without emotion involved. This is more commonly known as emotional short sighted tunnel-vision, and it’s the first tell-tale sign that you suffer from CPOD.
Allow me to show you the difference between someone (most college football fans) who suffers from CPOD, and other people (normal human beings) who don’t struggle with this disorder.
Immediately following the loss to Oklahoma State, you may have found yourself saying or tweeting things like “there goes our shot at the College Football Playoff,” “I guess Texas isn’t really back,” “How do you lose to this Oklahoma State team when you had almost two weeks to prepare?” “Tom lost this game for Texas when he punished some of his best players by benching them for the start of this game,” and “Looks like Texas is headed back to the Texas Bowl.”
The second phase of this disorder is known as relaxed realization of reality. More often than not, this phase doesn’t begin until Sunday evening or Monday morning. In this stage, you’ll find yourself saying things that actually make sense and reflects a thought process with a common sense approach.
“Texas was never going to make it to the College Football Playoff. The Big 12 and Pac 12 likely won’t be represented, and even then it’s not like anyone is going to beat Alabama.”
“Texas still controls its own destiny and will remain in the Big 12 Championship driver’s seat with a win against West Virginia next weekend.”
“The growth of this football program is evident at 6-2 with four games remaining,” and “Texas’ two losses are by a combined eight points. Even in the two losses, this Longhorns team was fighting.”
On Saturday night, even Tom Herman appeared to suffer from a variation of CPOD. As the game came to an end, a confrontation on the field led to Mike Gundy running out to separate his players from a brief scuffle. That’s when Herman dashed onto the field like Stone Cold Steve Austin sprinting towards the wrestling ring, his face red with anger while his eyes looked like Jack Nicholson’s in “The Shining.”
But less than two hours later, Herman was demonstrating phase two, relaxed realization of reality.
”The future is very bright. There are only a couple of other teams with one loss in the Big 12,” Herman said. “I love the fact that one loss hurt that bad. We have guys in tears. That means we’re headed in the right direction in terms of the attitude of football and the belief in how we do things.”
It’s incredible how much sense we all make when we have removed emotion from the equation.
Obviously, there is no such thing as Conflicted Perspective Overreaction Disorder. But there is such a thing as coming absolutely unraveled and being insufferable when it comes to your outlook on one game, or each loss that Texas has suffered this season.
What I saw after Saturday night’s loss was a fanbase torn between sanity and insanity. On one hand, Texas fans were picking apart the Longhorns’ season, pointing out how Texas was probably not that good all along, highlighting the loss to Maryland, a close win against Tulsa and Kansas State, blowing a 21-point lead against Oklahoma and barely winning, and criticizing wins against TCU and USC as if they mean nothing now that both of the aforementioned programs have stumbled through the first eight games of their seasons. But on the other hand, I saw tweets and had conversations with Texas fans that revealed a fanbase that no longer operates like the success-deprived lunatics of the last seven seasons.
You can make of this what you want, and to be honest, it’s not like those who want to unpack the Texas season and comb through it with criticism are entirely wrong. The Longhorns have indeed played down to some opponents, fought back from early deficits to defeat inaccurately ranked teams, and lost two games that they just simply had no business losing.
But perspective is powerful.
So, join me for a stroll down the path less chosen by Texas fans.
The Longhorns bounced back from a miserable loss at Maryland and put it behind them, dedicated to the 1-0 mantra that Herman has instilled. Texas didn’t listen to the narrative surrounding the team after struggling with Tulsa. With no way of knowing that USC and TCU would later stumble this season, the Longhorns came ready to play when the Trojans and Horned Frogs arrived in Austin ranked in the Top 25 and won. When Texas had to travel to Kansas State, a place with more ghosts and skeletons than your favorite haunted house, the Longhorns got gritty and left with a win for the first time in 16 years. And when the Longhorns arrived in Dallas to take on Oklahoma, Texas absolutely rag-dolled the Sooners for 50 of the game’s 60 minutes, and handled business in a clutch moment.
On Saturday night, Oklahoma State punched Texas in the mouth with a pair of rusty brass knuckles. But the Longhorns, once again, showed more fight and refusal to lay down and mail it in than they have the previous seven seasons.
I truly don’t know what anyone could be so upset about. And to that effect, what good does it do you to sit here and kick rocks with a pouty frown on your face? Texas has four more games against No. 12 West Virginia, Iowa State, Texas Tech, and Kansas. That’s four opportunities to further kill the narrative about this program and what it is and isn’t capable of accomplishing.
It’s hard to win in Stillwater on a Saturday night.
Let it go. The Longhorns are 6-2.
Think about that. You’re complaining about a 6-2 football team when you should be visiting every bar on 6th Street to demand that “Country Roads” be banned from the establishment for the next seven days.
Reel it in, Texas fans. And hide your furniture. The Couch Crusaders are on their way to Austin.