College football: Why Oklahoma needs Texas, USC and Nebraska to be Texas, USC and Nebraska

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Football in our fair state takes the weekend off, but OU and OSU fans should keep a careful eye on the goings on at Texas, USC and Nebraska.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: September 21, 2013 at 9:00 am •  Published: September 20, 2013

College football goes on hiatus in Oklahoma this weekend.

No Cowboys. No Sooners.

Heck, even Tulsa is off.

But college football fans in our fair state have at least three reasons to tune in Saturday — Texas, USC and Nebraska. For many decades, football success in Oklahoma has been measured at least in part against those programs.

Now, all are in free fall.

It's sad.

But more than that, it's bad — yes, bad — for OSU and OU.

Oh, I suppose there are Sooner and Cowboy fans out there who are gleefully watching what's happening in Longhorn Land. Texas has had three consecutive subpar seasons, and after losing two of its first three games this season, the wheels seem like they're about to come off.

Mack Brown fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after a disaster of a game at BYU.

The answer for what ailed the Texas defense?

A guy who was fired from his last two jobs and hasn't had a good defense since 2004.

Greg Robinson's first game as defensive coordinator went about as you'd expect. Ole Miss rushed for 272 yards, averaged nearly 6 yards per carry and whipped Texas 44-23.

At one point early in that game, Longhorn fans booed Mack when he appeared on the stadium's jumbotron. He was doing a prerecorded public service announcement about a charity for at-risk students.

Mack's still talking a good game — he said after the Ole Miss loss that the Horns could win the Big 12, which seems about as likely in Austin right now as aliens landing on Sixth Street — but he looks worn down. More drained. More defeated.

What has happened to his Horns?

Lane Kiffin must be thinking the same thing about his Trojans. Only a year ago, USC was picked in the preseason as the No. 1 team in the nation, but that season ended with only seven wins and a humiliating loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Already this season, USC has lost to Washington State, drawn “Fire Kiffin!” chants and played such uninspired football that the Coliseum wasn't even half full for the Trojans' last home game.

Our man Berry Tramel believes things are so bad at USC that Kiffin isn't even on the hot seat anymore. He believes the coach's pink slip has already been signed and sealed; it's only a matter of time before it's delivered.

Bo Pelini might be heading down Mack Expressway and Kiffin Boulevard, too.

The Nebraska coach first got himself in hot water earlier this week. Husker legend Tommie Frazier was critical of the coaching staff after the team blew an 18-point lead and lost by 20 points to UCLA. Pelini fired back by saying, “We don't need him,” which might've been fine if Frazier hadn't won back-to-back national titles and become beloved by Husker fans everywhere.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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