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Don’t sell the Longhorns short in the Allstate Sugar Bowl

The narrative favors Georgia, but Texas is no pushover

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the Longhorn Network’s best efforts to make me re-watch the 2006 Rose Bowl for a mind-numbing five-millionth time, I escaped the trap of living in the past and focused my sights on the present.

That’s right, Texas is back... in a New Year’s Six Bowl, the type of bowl game that should be the basement for this program moving forward under Tom Herman.

So I prepared the only way a person with way too much time on his hands can: I re-watched the SEC and Big 12 Championship games while skimming through the pages of the Allstate Sugar Bowl media guide, and then I began to read some of the national narratives surrounding a game with many so different storylines and characteristics.

I probably would have been better off re-watching the 2006 National Championship game. The ending never disappoints and I can pretend that it isn’t 2018 and the last eight seasons haven’t been absolute trash.

But I digress.

If you’re standing, sit down. If you’re laying down, sit up. Trying to sort through and predict how the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl will play out is complicated, y’all, and thanks to Notre Dame and our step son to the north of the Red River, it has only worsened.

Georgia was a few plays away from winning the 2017 national title, and a few more plays away from returning to the CFP to defend said title. Give them all the credit and respect.

But consider this as well.

Texas lost three games in the regular season by a combined nine points, appeared in the Big 12 Championship game and fell short of a rare chance to beat Oklahoma twice in one season.

That’s four Texas losses by a total of 21 points. Three touchdowns, if you will. The Longhorns are just a few years removed from beatdowns by inferior conference opponents. Please, don’t just take this as “the good with the bad” speech. Celebrate this as a “hey, this program is close” sermon.

But despite all of that, here we are, less than 48 hours until the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl, Texas’ return to a New Year’s Six (BCS) bowl for the first time since the 2010 National Championship game.

And all anyone wants to talk about is Georgia.

Prior to Saturday, the most common take on Tuesday’s Allstate Sugar Bowl was simply based on the makeup of these two teams, both on tape and on paper. One truth that rose above all other commentary held true — The Bulldogs are just better. No, Georgia is way better. Very true.

But here’s another narrative I heard very little about: Georgia is so wrapped up in the College Football Playoff conversation, snubbed and kicked to the curb, that the Bulldogs are in the deep end of a pity party pool without any adult supervision and not a single flotation device to be found.

They’re pouting, guys. No, not just “hey, I bet they’re really bummed out.” Georgia Bulldogs players took to social media on Saturday night and openly aired their grievances with the CFP after the Irish and the Sooners had their lunch money stolen from them on national television.

Whether Georgia deserved to be in the College Football Playoff (SPOILER ALERT: It looks like they did) is a pointless debate at this juncture. The best two teams in college football all year long are going to settle it in Santa Clara, California on January 7. Case closed.

But it now opens up one of two doors, and we won’t know which of the two options Georgia decides to roll with until Tuesday night.

  1. Prove you belonged in the College Football Playoff and beat the living daylights out of Texas.
  2. Continue to swim in your pool of misery and come into a bowl game you don’t really want to play in and play so poorly that Alabama players take to social media to laugh at you the way you scoffed at the Irish and the Sooners.

If I had to guess, Georgia is going to come and try and prove a point at the expense of the Longhorns. Georgia, as you might recall from earlier in this article, is very good. The one upside I can pull from this Tuesday’s matchup is that Georgia, under Kirby Smart, is where Herman and the Longhorns seem to be headed. No, I’m not saying they’ll play for a national title next season. I’m saying that Herman, like Smart has, appears to be reviving one of college football’s pillar programs.

That doesn’t matter, and likely loses some of its validity if Texas gets rolled 50-10. But here’s the thing about Texas, something that a lot of talking heads have neglected to give the appropriate amount of credit to: the Longhorns aren’t slouches. Texas is good.

The build up to the Sugar Bowl brings me to one of my favorite moments from one of my favorite movies, “Friday Night Lights.”

“Of course, you know, Dallas Carter, that’s a tough team. Real tough team.”

“Yeah, well, we’re a pretty tough team, too, coach.”

Georgia is an incredibly tough team.

Texas is a pretty tough team, too.