Posted November 6th, 2009 by Jeff
Filed under: Feature, Football

Times are great to be a Longhorn fan! Yeah, tell me something I don’t know, right?

At times in the last few years I have seen evidence that some, if not most, of us Horn fans don’t realize the heady times in which we live.

For a little perspective, let me introduce myself. I was born in May of 1968 and attended my first game at Memorial Stadium in September of 1968. My dad attended UT in the early 50’s around a stint in the Air Force during the Korean War and had been traveling from Houston to Austin to attend games while he was in high school. He became a lifelong season ticket holder and actually named the Longhorn Band the “Showband of the Southwest” while the publicity director for the band as a student. I grew up traveling to all UT football games, home and away. Some people fish or hunt or go camping, my dad and my brother and I went to UT games every weekend. They are the memories of my childhood and youth.

I went to UT and am now 41 and married with 2 young daughters, but still have season tickets. My brother and I have 9 tickets together. My dad passed away last year.

I include all of this to show that I have seen good times, great times, and horrible times to be a UT fan. Let me tell you, right now is as good as it gets!

We have not been ranked outside the top 25 since October of 2000. We have never had a longer tenure in the rankings.

Season Wins Losses Wins Losses Win % Decade/Coach
2009 8 0        
2008 12 1        
2007 10 3        
2006 10 3        
2005 13 0        
2004 11 1        
2003 10 3        
2002 11 2        
2001 11 2        
2000 9 3 105 18 0.853659 2000’s
1999 9 5        
1998 9 3 123 26 0.825503 Mack Brown
1997 4 7        
1996 8 5        
1995 10 2        
1994 8 4        
1993 5 5        
1992 6 5 41 28 0.594203 John Mackovic
1991 5 6        
1990 10 2 94 49 0.657343 1990’s
1989 5 6        
1988 4 7        
1987 7 5 31 26 0.54386 David McWilliams
1986 5 6        
1985 8 4        
1984 7 4        
1983 11 1        
1982 9 3        
1981 10 1        
1980 7 5 88 50 0.637681 1980’s
1979 9 3        
1978 9 3        
1977 11 1 86 31 0.735043 Fred Akers
1976 5 5        
1975 10 2        
1974 8 4        
1973 8 3        
1972 10 1        
1971 8 3        
1970 10 1 105 32 0.766423 1970’s
1969 11 0        
1968 9 1        
1967 6 4        
1966 7 4        
1965 6 4        
1964 10 1        
1963 11 0        
1962 9 1        
1961 10 1        
1960 7 3        
1959 9 2 86 19 0.819048 1960’s
1958 7 3        
1957 6 4 167 47 0.780374 Darrell Royal

As you can see by winning percentage, Mack Brown’s tenure and our current decade is the best we have ever produced. We have won 21 of our last 22 games, 31 of our last 35 since the 2006 Alamo Bowl.

There are some other parameters where Coach Royal’s run in the 60’s bests our current times. These are of course conference championships, which is well documented and a constant drumbeat of Brown’s critics, but more importantly to me is our record against our main rivals, Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

In the 52 seasons since [tag]Darrell Royal[/tag] took over in Austin in 1957, we have only beaten both OU and A&M in the same season 18 times. Of those 18, 11 of those seasons belong to DKR, Royal achieved it 11 out of 20 years, Akers was 3 for 10, McWilliams was 1 for 5, Mackovic was 0 for 6, and Brown is 3 for 11. I am expecting that to go to 4 for 12 this year. But, you can see by the rarity or it occurring that beating both our main rivals in the same year is tough. Royal did it better than any. In fact he did it 11 of his first 14 seasons at the helm. He didn’t beat them both in the same season again after 1970. [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] though, if we win in College Station in a few weeks will have beaten OU and A&M both in the same year 3 of the last 5 years. We haven’t had that kind of dominance since the 60’s. We have only beaten OU and A&M in the same year 3 times since 1957 when both of them had winning records, 1977, 1981, and 1990. Historical comparisons only go so far. I believe it was easier to win the SWC many of the years we won it than it is to win the Big 12 now, but by no means do I mention that to minimize the previous accomplishments. But I would argue that never has UT been more nationally important, competitive and relevant than right now.

We have never had tougher competition. There is now more parity in college football than ever before. To dominate is harder than ever. It is not our birthright to be good. It takes a lot of hard work by a lot of people to make it happen. If it was so easy to win at Texas, why have there been down times? If it was so easy to win at OU, why have they had such lean times in their past? Winning is not an accident, it is a direct result of actions. From 1977 to 1997, the years between Royal and Brown, UT had a mediocre winning percentage of 65%. Those years also included 6 years with a losing record. Brown and Royal have never had a losing record. UT had some GREAT times in those intervening years, winning many big games and I enjoy every minute of it. But obviously never was the level of success sustained.

When I hear people gripe about Mack, or Greg Davis, or not being able to run the ball, etc. etc. etc., I want to shake those people! I was there when we lost to Nebraska 19-3 in the 74 Cotton Bowl. I was there when we lost to Houston 30-0 in Austin. I was there in 1980 when North Carolina beat us 16-7 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. I was there on January 1, 1984 when we really couldn’t score and lost a chance at the National Championship 10-9 to Georgia. I was there when we lost to Air Force 24-16 at the Bluebonnet Bowl. I was there when we beat Pitt in the Bluebonnet Bowl in 1987 and we acted like we had won the National Championship. We were so desperate for a glean of hope. I was at Ownby Stadium when we only lead an SMU team just coming off the death penalty 14-7 at half after being shut out until under 5 minutes left in the 1st half. I was also in Austin when we lost 50-7 to Baylor. I was in Starkville when we lost 13-6 to Sherrill and Mississippi State after such an incredible 1990 season. I was there when we lost to Rice 19-17. I was at 66-3. I have seen BAD offense and MISERABLE defense.

Thinking about those memories now make today seem so much sweeter. Those scores are inconceivable today, something out of another place and time.

So if something happens and we don’t play in the BCS National Championship game this year, or we do make it and lose, don’t lose perspective. Times are great!

It will still kill me a little inside when we next lose. I will still lose sleep over it and lament it, and get angry when it comes to mind (like the 2001 Big 12 Championship game), but I will try like hell to keep it in perspective.

I will think of how I felt as the Eyes played in the Rose Bowl and as I called my dad from the stands to hear his tears of joy. I will think of how I hugged my brother and cried a little myself as we left the stadium. The only other time I can remember crying and hugging my brother was in the stands when we beat A&M 28-27 in 1990. I will think of the sheer joy I felt when we beat OU last year after losing my dad a few months before.

In other words, ENJOY IT HORNS! I promise it won’t last forever.

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