Every year, Texas and Texas A&M give college football experts reason to believe in the recruiting rankings. The Lonestar State sustains so many programs outside of its two bell cows that the assumption is the schools with first dibs should be perennial national title contenders. Then you watch them play, and it makes you wonder how a state so obsessed with football is this bad at it.
The Longhorns were lucky to survive a ferocious rally from Kansas State after Wildcat coach Chris Kleiman opted to go for the win on fourth and goal from the four-yard line in OT and failed. Will Howard’s final attempt came in a moment of desperation, and UT escaped, 33-30.
The Aggies weren’t so fortunate, missing a game-tying field goal at the whistle that would’ve sent the contest to overtime. Instead, No. 10 Ole Miss hung onto the win, 38-35, and its top 10 ranking heading into Georgia week. Now, Jimbo Fisher’s team is 5-4, and boosters in College Station will have to shell out $125 million in total buyouts if they want out of their deal with Fisher and his very expensive staff.
We’ll get to that in a second, but I just want to ask UT fans something real quick: Do you think Steve Sarkisian is the guy? The Longhorns nearly gagged up a 20-point lead at home against a team with a glaring talent gap. This only a couple weeks removed from letting Houston overcome a 21-point deficit, and needing another red zone stop to avoid overtime.
After the debut of the College Football Playoff rankings this week, Sark kept touting his team’s win over Alabama as the best win in the country, and I just wanted someone to ask him about Houston. Or even the Oklahoma game, that they had no business losing. If not for Kansas State botching an extra point and a game-tying field goal (from extra-point range) in the fourth quarter, their playoff hopes would be kaput.
It doesn’t matter that the Longhorns’ should roll through the rest of conference play. I don’t know if it’s profound arrogance, but I’m starting to assume that’s the case, because there’s no other explanation.
As far as A&M is concerned, Fisher’s team is laughably talented, even by SEC standards, yet fails to execute basic principles every fourth play. Yes, Max Johnson is the son of a game manager in every way possible, but there have been several second halves this season that Mark Sanchez’s unborn child could’ve guided the Aggies to wins.
That’s not to make excuses for Fisher, because he inspires confidence in talking heads only. All I’m pointing out is Texas A&M somehow “tested” Alabama, Tennessee, Miami, and now Ole Miss without really making them sweat. (Lane Kiffin definitely was sweating Saturday, but that’s because he’s not current on confession, and talks so much trash to Fisher that he would’ve needed a leave of absence had they lost.)
I cannot stress how much I’m going to enjoy the Texas-Texas A&M reunion next season. These two deserve it. They’re mirror disappointments whose weekly flirtation with greatness and disaster is only matched by each other.