October 30, 2007

Texas-sized problems?

Oklahoma State got off to a bad start early in 2007, but they've managed to pull out of what could have turned into a season-long nosedive.

At Texas, they haven't exactly been in a potential nosedive situation, but it's been more like a character on the video game "Street Fighter." The Longhorns are punching some, having some success, but mostly seem flat and are staggering around waiting for someone to finish them.

Can the Cowboys be that team to kick the Horns to the floor? We'll see this weekend.

But in the meantime, let's examine UT's season up to this point. The Horns are No. 14 in the nation with a 7-2 record overall, but are 3-2 in the Big 12. A 7-2 overall mark is typically a solid record for a team, but not at Texas. And not with how they've gotten there. A program only two years removed from a national championship, the Longhorns have enjoyed one of their most successful stretches in team history. After suffering through some lean seasons in the 1980s and '90s, Mack Brown has done a masterful job of resurrecting the Texas program, lifting it back up to the heights Darryl Royal got the program to in the '60s. But this season has been an odd one for the Horns. They're not at the dominant level they've been at most of Brown's tenure and they've had troubles in nearly every game they've played this season.

The Horns got off to poor start to the season against Arkansas State, only winning 21-13 against the Indians in Austin. The very next week at home, UT struggled against Texas Christian, as the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead. The Horns eventually tied the game in the third quarter before pulling away late, winning 34-14. Then in their first road game of the season, the Horns were lucky to escape Orlando with a win, narrowly beating Central Florida, 35-32. Two weeks later, the Horns lost at Darryl K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to Kansas State, 41-21. The week after, the Horns arguably played their best game of the season against Oklahoma, before blowing chances late to take control at Fair Park, losing 28-21. After a mail-order win over Iowa State, the Horns went to Waco, where they were only up 17-7 after three quarters before defeating Baylor, 31-10.

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