Three-consecutive years without a trip to a BCS bowl would have a lot of coaches concerned, especially at a school with lofty expectations like Texas.
Texas head coach Mack Brown doesn’t see it that way.
“The proud thing about Texas is we’re at a point where there’s such a high standard that really unless you win all the games there’s concern,” Brown said during the press conference for UT’s Dec. 29 Valero Alamo Bowl game against Oregon State. “The process started three years ago in 2010. It was a very poor year. I thought we coached poorly and we played poorly most of it. There were some changes made at that time and last year we really stepped up defensively and did well. This year we much better of offense and inept on defense and the last five weeks we’ve played better defense. I really think we’re headed the right way.”
Texas (8-4) had a chance to get back to a BCS bowl a couple of weeks ago. But a loss to TCU on Thanksgiving and then a 42-24 loss to Kansas State last Saturday shifted the Longhorns from a big BCS payday to their second trip to San Antonio in the last six years.
Now Texas has its work cut out for it if it hopes to avoid its third-consecutive season with at least five losses. Oregon State, which ranked 13th in the last BCS rankings, is 9-3 and spent part of the season ranked in the top 10 after starting the season 7-0.
When Brown was in New York for the college football Hall of Fame ceremonies earlier this week, he said other Pac-12 coaches told him he got a bad draw with having to face the Beavers.
He knows the Longhorns will have to be at their best against Oregon State.
“You need to have great motivation for a bowl game,” Brown said. “You go back and look at the three (Oregon St.) losses, one of them is three points to Washington and one of them is three points to Stanford. Both of those teams have had really good years. Our team will be excited about this challenge. Both of us have young teams and the futures are very important and the futures look very good. Playing the 13th-ranked team in the country right now is another challenge for us.”
What Texas team shows up in San Antonio in three weeks remains to be seen. The quarterback situation is still in flux. Case McCoy started the game against Kansas State and played well at times but also threw two interceptions that led to two touchdowns. The Longhorns could also turn to David Ash, who started the first 11 games for Texas before being benched in favor of McCoy.
Brown said his coaching staff hasn’t had a chance to look at Oregon State film or talk about the quarterback situation, but that process would begin Friday.
While the layoff will give the Longhorns time to make a QB decision and get some players healthy for the bowl game, they will also be without a key starter. Left guard Trey Hopkins suffered a stress fracture in his right leg against Kansas State and will have surgery.