Posted November 26th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Feature, Football

Obviously this year’s Texas vs. Texas A&M football game has more on the line than just bragging rights. The Longhorns enter the game at number two in the BCS, but hold such a slight lead in the standings that many worry that an [tag]Oklahoma[/tag] win over [tag]Oklahoma State[/tag] will propel the Sooners into the Big 12 Championship game and with that into the National Title game.

On top of all the BCS hoopla, Texas also wants to erase the memory of the Aggies ruining their last two seasons. The Aggies are awful, but they were for the last two years so the focus for [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] and his staff has been to keep their players focused on the task at hand. There are some aspects of this puzzle that the football team can control and some that they can’t. The Longhorns must focus all their energy on what they can control.

For this week’s preview we look at what the Longhorns must do to sway a few voters back their way.

  1. Beat the Hell out of A&M. The fans yell it, the team must do it. Even if the BCS wasn’t in the picture the recent history of this game should give these players enough motivation to put it on the Aggies. There is no doubt Texas has had the better team the last two years, but there is also little doubt who wanted the game more. A&M have been more physical than the Longhorns over that stretch and in football the team that hits the other in the mouth first usually has the upper hand. Keep in mind that while players like [tag]Colt McCoy[/tag] have beaten the Sooners twice in their career, they have not beaten A&M. Texas needs to do it big this week.
  2. Don’t let up. Mack Brown is a nice guy. Too nice at times. Coaches like Bob Stoops and Mike Leach make no bones about putting up big points even when the game is well out of reach. And while common sense would suggest that the voters would understand that a win is a win style points do count. There is no doubt that Oklahoma will put a as many points as they can if given the opportunity on Saturday night in Stillwater and Texas must do the same on Thanksgiving night. Texas needs to let their players play the whole game and put up over 60 points. All the voters know that Texas beat OU head to head, but many have given the nod to the Sooners in the polls because they feel Oklahoma has been more dominant in the last few games. Texas needs to put up a huge score on Thursday because the vote on Sunday will likely come down to who looks better this week.
  3. Run the ball. Oklahoma is being viewed as the better team because people feel they have more ways to beat you. Last week against Texas Tech the Sooners did something Texas couldn’t do. They controlled the line of scrimmage and moved the ball on the ground at will. Voters, especially the coaches, want to see balance. Texas has not had balance this year unless the running comes from McCoy. With [tag]Foswhitt Whittaker[/tag] back in the mix and the emergence of a health [tag]Vondrell McGee[/tag], the Longhorn running game has improved over the last few weeks. The Longhorns need to be able to run the ball when the other team, the announcers, and everybody watching knows they are about to run it. The Longhorns have struggled with that this year, but voting is a what have you done for me lately job and if Texas can come out and dominate it will erase a lot of the concerns people have had about the UT offense all season long.
  4. Shutout. It might be a little much to ask for a shutout, but this team needs something close to that to impress the voters. I think most people consider Texas’ and OU’s offense on par with each other. Oklahoma gets the advantage in most people’s mind because of a perceived opinion that the Sooner defense is better than Texas’. A score of 42-6 would help Texas more than say a score of 65-24. Texas needs to be dominant in every aspect of the game, but a complete whipping of the Aggies on defense would impress the voters tremendously. All eyes will be on Texas this weekend and [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag] needs to prove why he is being selected as the next head coach at Texas.
  5. Remind the voters 45 – 35. This is going to be on the fans. Mack Brown and his staff have rightfully put all the week’s energy on beating A&M. It will be up to the fans on Thursday night to get the word out that what happens on the field should matter the most. It can be done with chants of “45 – 35” and with the signs that the Longhorn nation is looking to print out and distribute to all the people in attendance. When the cameras go into the stands in between plays or coming back from commercials the viewers at home need to be bombarded with evidence of the victory at The Fair Grounds.

Even with all this done it might not be enough to stay in front of Oklahoma, but at least UT would have done everything they could to get there. If the Big 12 Championship is OU vs. [tag]Missouri[/tag] it will be a match up of two teams Texas beat by double digits on the year. The Longhorns have over achieved for much of the year and deserve to catch a break. Hopefully they will this weekend. No matter what happens just remember: Go Baylor Bears.

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