Mike Gundy is the landlord in Austin, Texas.
At least that’s what College Game Day said this morning. I’m not so sure they’re wrong, to be honest.
We’ll get to that in just a minute. But first, let’s time travel.
Nine years ago I had tickets to Oklahoma State at Texas. It was supposed to be a fun trip down to Austin. I was supposed to get down to Texas to see the Longhorns get the ‘W’ against Okie Lite.
A month or so before the game, I went down to Bloomington, Indiana, my old stomping grounds, to hang out with some friends who still lived down there at Indiana University. The evening turned into night time and night time, as it usually does down in B-Town, transitioned into the early morning hours. Sitting inside my buddy’s apartment I heard commotion. When I walked outside I saw a friend in a verbal confrontation with a few guys.
Naturally, being the smart person I am, I walked down to intervene, offering a calming and peaceful presence.
What happened next is beyond me. All I remember is sitting up on the pavement, red and blue lights bouncing off the apartment building, my right foot feeling like it wasn’t connected to my leg.
As I would later learn, one of the guys in the group of people harassing my buddy ran from between two trucks and hit me in the face with an empty liquor bottle.
The hit dropped me backwards, falling onto my leg horse-collar-tackle style. I was knocked out cold and had a broken leg and ankle.
I didn’t make it down to Austin for that Oklahoma State game, what with the surgery I underwent and the cast up to my knee for four weeks.
The two stories aren’t really connected in any significant way.
But the trend on social media this week seemed to center around where everyone was and what they were doing the last time Texas beat Oklahoma State in Austin.
Like a dark day in this country’s history where you’ll never forget where you were, Texas fans have glued themselves to this matchup in similar ways.
I was 22 when that happened to me. I am now 31.
Texas beat Oklahoma State in Austin when I was 20 years old. The Longhorns haven’t beat the Pokes at home since, each loss almost as painful as my leg that night in Bloomington, Indiana.
As Charlie Strong would say, when you look at it, Texas fans have every right to want to put 1,000 holes in the nearest sheet of drywall.
Between 1998 and 2009, Texas was undefeated against the Pokes.
2010 to present day hasn’t been so kind.
In each of Texas’ last two home losses to Oklahoma State, the Longhorns have lost by just three points, each time with every opportunity to win the game.
I never put a loss on the officials. But 2015 was another story. Big 12 referees took that game from Texas that day and I’m pretty sure any Oklahoma State fan would agree with that. Atrocious penalties late in the game allowed the Cowboys the opportunity to take the game. A botched snap and horrible punt sealed the deal for Oklahoma State.
We all love Sam Ehlinger. But, my goodness, that 2017 contest against Oklahoma State.
To this day I have no idea what Ehlinger thought he was doing when he casually lofted the football into the end zone. Maybe he thought Jerrod Heard was going to break out of his route and flash up the sideline towards the back corner of the endzone?
Look, the fact of the matter is the losing streak at home against Oklahoma State is absolutely ridiculous. But it’s not the losing streak at home that needs to end.
Texas is a lousy 2-7 in the post-Colt McCoy era.
Two wins. Seven losses. Oklahoma State.
But it’s not just this post-Colt McCoy era where Oklahoma State has been a thorn in the Longhorns side. Two of Texas’ all-time teams almost choked the entire season away against the Cowboys. In 2004 and 2005 the Longhorns had to scratch, claw, punch, and kick their way back into the ballgame just to beat the lesser little brother Oklahoma State.
Let us not forget that fact. If there’s anything Texas fans and Oklahoma fans can agree on, it’s that Oklahoma State is indeed “little brother.”
Historically, yes. Recently, no.
Texas will enter tonight’s game as a touchdown favorite over Oklahoma State. On paper, the Longhorns look like the better team, too.
But in the minds of many, Texas fans included, there is little to be optimistic about with this matchup tonight.
If there is one thing about the culture at Texas that still hasn’t fully rehabilitated to the days of glory when Mack Brown was running a well-oiled machine throughout the 2000s, it’s the attitude and confidence that Texas is going to take care of business against opponents it should beat.
The Longhorns should beat the Cowboys tonight. The difference, though, in recent years as evident by the final score, is that Oklahoma State has been the team going into the game with the assertive confidence that business will be taken care of and nothing will be left to chance. I don’t need statistics to prove that point.
There are a lot of Oklahoma State skeletons in Texas’ closet, ghosts of Would-have-should-have-could-have past.
It’s time for the Longhorns to exorcise the demons.