Tom Herman wasn’t lying on Monday.
The sky is not falling.
Saturday’s 34-29 loss to Maryland wasn’t pretty; that much is obvious.
But for the Texas Longhorns, this feeling, sadly, isn’t a new one, which suggests the sky fell several years ago and never came back.
Maybe the sky fell when Colt McCoy jogged to the sideline with his limp right right arm, all but sealing the Longhorns’ fate in the national title game. Maybe it was when Garrett Gilbert, among others, never met expectations, or just couldn’t stay healthy to reach their full potential.
Or, as pointed out on Twitter by HookEm.com’s Brian Davis, perhaps it’s the fact the Longhorns are a lousy four games above .500 this decade.
I could go on listing miserable moments in recent history, but I think most Texas fans have suffered enough.
I get it. Truly. The last eight seasons have been an abysmal era for Texas football.
Doom and gloom? No. Not yet. Not after Week 1. This Texas team wasn’t going to win the Big 12 this season, or make it to the College Football Playoff and steamroll Alabama on the way to a national championship. Not this season. Not yet, at least.
Sure, I predicted Texas to beat Maryland. I also picked Texas to finish 10-2.
OK. Texas didn’t beat Maryland. But the fact of the matter is there are 11 games remaining and 10-2, or any respectable record such as 9-3 or even 8-4 is still attainable.
Never believe what the first weekend of college football wants you to believe. In 2014, Ohio State lost at home to Virginia Tech. Those Buckeyes went on to win the national championship with a third string quarterback. In 2016 Texas knocked off then No. 10 Notre Dame, and for a brief moment, Texas was back, folks. That Texas skyrocketed to a No. 11 ranking only to finish 5-7 with a loss to Kansas, which has been arguably one of the worst programs of this decade.
If the sky had not fallen for you by then, that overtime loss to Kansas should have sent the sky crashing into earth.
College football fans should know better than to hitch their wagon to Week 1 results. So, why should the loss to Maryland be the exception to that rule?
The Longhorns have two weeks to go before real judgement can be passed, and even then, even if Texas is 0-3, here’s the beauty of the situation: the Longhorns will have their entire conference schedule still remaining.
No, 0-3 would not be encouraging, especially if a loss to a Tulsa team that went 2-10 last season in sandwiched in between losses to Maryland and USC. But what does anyone gain by breathing into a brown paper bag right now over a five point loss on the road? Even with Maryland’s program in shambles, a loss to the Terrapins shouldn’t send Texas fans into the sunken place of emotional and mental turmoil.
Whether this is false optimism doesn’t matter. Longhorns fans are either going to experience a similar result as the past four seasons, or this program is going to improve by one or two wins. At this point, Texas fans would do themselves a huge favor by acknowledging if you’re going to lose a game, lose said game as soon as possible, learn from it and make it a part of the season’s success.
So here’s the facts straight up. Let’s keep it all the way real about the 2018 football season.
The Longhorns get Tulsa at home on Saturday, meaning they should be 1-1 come Sunday with USC on deck.
When you consider the reality of this entire situation, in less than two weeks, Texas can go from 0-1, on the cusp sending Longhorn Nation into an unspeakable meltdown, to 2-1 entering conference play. It’s important not to overlook Tulsa, but it’s even more important to realize a win this weekend sets Texas up for the opportunity to regain control of its season.
The USC game will either be a springboard for Texas football launching the Longhorns back into the mix with a quality win just before conference play, or it will be quicksand, and fans will watch another year of struggles with the same old tired excuses and reasoning by those in charge of leading the program.
For a team that hasn’t had big time Big 12 expectations in almost nine years, let alone a national presence, it’s beyond silly to buy into the first week of the season as if it’s going to provide any real indication what this team will be three weeks from now, let alone in November.