As you’ve probably heard, Texas barely beat Kansas last Saturday, escaping with a narrow 50-48 win; in the comfort of their own home, no less.
While the barely in that statement is true, it’s largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, so we’ll remove it from that remark.
Texas beat Kansas.
That, too, is true, and ultimately, that’s all that matters. Social media and message boards throughout the past several days would lead you to believe that the sky is falling in Austin, and in some extreme cases, this season is suddenly a lost cause.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
On Monday, head coach Tom Herman agreed that the Texas fan base was rightfully frustrated after all that separated his Longhorns from yet another nationally embarrassing loss to Kansas was the leg of kicker Cameron Dicker, who connected from 33 yards out as time expired to avoid disaster.
But Dicker did connect. Texas did win. And aside from fans being embarrassed by the overall effort against a conference bottom-feeder, all else essentially remains the same.
Texas is still ranked No. 15 nationally. Despite the score being far too close for comfort, Texas improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 within the conference. Most notably, considering that any outside expectations of a College Football Playoff appearance were probably a bit far-fetched and premature, Texas’ No. 1 goal entering the season — to win the Big 12 Championship — remains alive and well within reach.
Texas has five regular season games remaining against TCU, Kansas State, No. 23 Iowa State, No. 14 Baylor, and Texas Tech. If the Longhorns win them all, they’re back on their way to Arlington, and that could perhaps still prove true even if Texas does stumble once more along the way.
That was the case before Texas beat Kansas, and it remains true even after Texas barely beat Kansas.
Of course, for those championship aspirations to come to fruition, Texas simply must be better than it was against Kansas, and even Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. But the Longhorns didn’t lose any style points against the Jayhawks. This isn’t the BCS era and Texas is essentially eliminated from the playoff picture, so style points don’t matter.
All that matters is that Texas beat Kansas, and in doing so, inched nearer to its ultimate goal of a conference title, which, in turn, would mean celebrating a tremendously successful season.
If that proves to be the case, in all likelihood, few will care that Texas barely beat Kansas.
As Longhorns defensive end Malcolm Roach noted this week, Texas barely beat Tulsa last season, prompting some similar panic from the burnt orange fanatics, and that season turned out all right.
“Y’all still remember we beat Tulsa by a touchdown last year? You don’t, but I do,” said Roach. “We still went on to win the Sugar Bowl.”