No. 23 Texas loses Big 12 title at No. 9 Baylor

Texas coach Mack Brown jokingly referred all week to being the

only coach in America playing for a conference championship while

also shrugging off speculation that he could be replaced.

Well, the intense speculation about Brown’s future is certain to

increase now. The regular season is over for the No. 23 Longhorns

without a Big 12 title after losing two of their last three games,

the regular-season finale a 30-10 loss Saturday at No. 9 Baylor,

which won its first championship in the league and a Fiesta Bowl

berth.

”I’m not talking about any of that tonight,” Brown said. ”I’m

in the same position I was when I’ve been asked that the other 15

times. We’ll talk about the team tonight.”

In what became a de facto Big 12 championship game after No. 6

Oklahoma State’s loss to Oklahoma, Bryce Petty threw for 287 yards

with touchdown passes on the first two drives after halftime, when

the Bears and Longhorns were tied 3-3 in the final game at Floyd

Casey Stadium after 64 seasons.

Asked if he thought the season was a success for Texas (8-4, 7-2

Big 12), Brown responded, ”I think so.”

”You’ve got to figure out where you’re going in the bowl game

tomorrow then go ahead and finish and try to get your ninth win.

Disappointing tonight,” he said. ”The Oklahoma game fell like we

needed it to and we’re sitting there in a great position to win a

Big 12 championship and you’ve got 30 minutes to win it. It’s

disappointing, so we’re going to have a task to get their heads

back up for the bowl game.”

Though Brown is under contract through 2020, the Longhorns

started 1-2 this season. And there were revelations that as far

back as January, some top school officials and donors were courting

Alabama coach Nick Saban through a meeting with his agent.

”Just got to keep playing and keep winning. We had our chance

to get a Big 12 championship this year,” Brown said, sounding like

he plans to be around a while. ”Guys will go out recruiting

tomorrow, go back to work, try to win a bowl game, try to get your

ninth win and go back to spring practice. We got spring practice in

February, so it happens fast. `’

The Bears (11-1, 8-1), who never even had a winning record in

the Big 12 before Briles arrived six years ago, have the first

11-win season in school history. They have their first outright

title in any league since winning the Southwest Conference on 1980

when Mike Singletary called Floyd Casey Stadium home.

”It’s a defining moment for our program,” Briles said.

Antwan Goodley made a nifty one-handed grab on a slant pass for

an 11-yard TD, one play after Petty overthrew his wide-open tight

end at the goal line. After Texas went three-and-out, Petty had a

6-yard TD pass to Levi Norwood for a 17-3 lead.

Malcolm Brown ran 25 times for 131 yards for the Longhorns. Case

McCoy completed only 12 of 34 passes for 54 yards, two

interceptions and a touchdown. The score was a 2-yarder to Brown

while scrambling on fourth down after the Longhorns took a field

goal off the board after a Baylor penalty on the made kick.

”We had some slip-ups early on in the season and had another

slip-up against Oklahoma State. At the beginning of the season, all

odds were against us. Just to be here and to be playing for the Big

12 championship, that shows a lot,” Malcolm Brown said. ”Just

shows you can’t count anybody out. We just kept on fighting and we

were in the position. We just didn’t get it done today.”

About the same time the coin toss was happening at midfield in

Waco, No. 18 Oklahoma was wrapping up its 33-24 win over Oklahoma

State (10-2, 7-2), which with convincing victories over both Baylor

and Texas last month was in the position to win the Big 12’s

guaranteed BCS berth.

”We wanted this for this team,” McCoy said. ”This team has

fought hard, when everyone turned against us several weeks

ago.”