Longhorns face an easy road to Pasadena

BY foxsports • November 6, 2009

Colt McCoy has made the right career choice. He's not imaginative enough to be a sportswriter, it seems.

After helping his team rout Oklahoma State 41-14, the Texas quarterback was asked this week if it's difficult for the No. 2 Longhorns to not look ahead, not just to the Big 12 Championship but also beyond.

"I think it's hard for y'all not to think about it," he said. "For us, we understand that there is a lot of football left to play. We are through the first two parts of our season. I don't know if Coach (Mack) Brown told you about the first four and second four, and we have four more now, and it's the most important part right now.

"We've got to finish, and it's just one more step to that."

"The other thing that we have challenged our guys with is if you are going to be a great team that goes undefeated, you have to be excited to play every week."
Texas coach Mack Brown

Oh, Colt. Live a little, OK?

We've seen whom the Longhorns have beaten, and we've seen what's left on the schedule. So, we're issuing this public service announcement to all of those who somehow find the beauty in burnt orange:

Go ahead and book a flight to Pasadena, the site of the BCS Championship.

Sure, they're not going to say it, but we will.

This week, the overmatched foe is Central Florida, which is 5-3 overall and wedged in a four-way tie for second place at 3-2 in the Conference USA's rugged East. There is history between the two teams — in 2007, Texas was the first team to meet UCF in Bright House Networks Stadium, and the Knights extended the visitors before falling, 35-32.

So, if you're worried about the Longhorns taking UCF lightly, well, don't be. Not after comments like this from Texas defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle:

"Regardless of who we play or their stats or rankings, we've got to play those guys like they're Oklahoma, like this is our Big 12 Championship game. We can't slip. We've got to practice just as hard as we did for Oklahoma, Missouri, Oklahoma State — all of those guys."

Next week, it's a 100-mile trek or so to Waco for a clash with the hibernating Baylor Bears (3-5), who simply haven't been the same (read: good) after super sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

The following week, it's Senior Day at UT, and the unlucky opponent is Kansas (5-3), which is reeling at the moment, losers of three straight. And by then, the slide might be even worse for the Jayhawks, who face rival Kansas State and the coaches' preseason North favorite Nebraska in successive weeks.

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And to close out the regular season, it's the Lone Star Showdown at Kyle Field against Texas A&M, which is probably the only legitimate and realistic scare remaining for the Longhorns, and that's including whichever team emerges from the quagmire that is the Big 12 North to represent the division in the conference championship.

The Aggies (5-3 overall, 2-2 Big 12) won their first three, lost their next three by a combined score of 145-64, but then somehow, improbably regrouped to thrash Texas Tech (52-30) and Iowa State (35-10) the past two weeks. A&M is just schizophrenic enough, its schedule is manageable enough (at Colorado, at Oklahoma and home against Baylor), and the significance of upstaging the in-state rival — heck, maybe even ruining its season in the process — can't be overstated.

But it won't happen.

As for the conference title game, does Missouri scare anyone? Does anyone in the North? Brown probably doesn't want to see K-State, which has won the last two meetings between the schools. In an odd twist, those victories were claimed by Ron Prince-led teams, and the Wildcats are now guided by Bill Snyder, which also helps explain why they're also back atop the North — at least for the time being.

Seriously, Brown and his staff should just start watching as much film as possible of Florida and Alabama.

Go ahead, get a head start. A sneak peak here and there can't hurt.

Understand, that's sacrilege to any self-respecting coach, especially Brown. But the venerable coach is imploring his players to embrace greatness, a fate that seems all but certain after another glance at what remains on the schedule.

"Our theme now is to play to the standard of the best team in the country," Brown said. ". . . The other thing that we have challenged our guys with is if you are going to be a great team that goes undefeated, you have to be excited to play every week — and that's hard to do. A lot of people can't do that, but that's part of the magic of being a great team. You have to be able to get rid of Oklahoma State today, and you have to be able to get ready for Central Florida.

"If you can't do that, then you are not one of the best teams in the country."

It's just a matter of time before it becomes official.

Jeffrey Martin is a frequent contributor to foxsports.com. He also writes for the Houston Chronicle. He can be reached at reyheath@gmail.com.

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