To understand how bad things have gotten for Texas, you only need to know about the blocked extra point against Kansas State.
Blocking an extra point isn't normally a bad thing.
Then again, this isn't a normal season for Texas.
A Longhorn lineman got a hand on the football and batted it back, but it bounced right to Wildcat kicker Josh Cherry. He scooped it up, scurried to the left and beat a pair of pursuers to the pylon.
One point became two.
A good play went bad.
Ditto for this season.
Heading into Saturday's game against Oklahoma State, Texas has lost five of its last six games. It has lost in successive weeks to Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State. It has fallen to last place in the South Division.
OK, who are you guys in the burnt orange and what have you done with the Longhorns?
Their current record: 4-5.
I had to double-check and make sure that was correct. It just doesn't seem possible that Texas must win its last three games simply to finish above .500.
Didn't Texas play Alabama for the national title earlier this year?
It was actually 10 months ago this past Sunday that the Longhorns played in the BCS national championship game. Everyone suspected there could be a downturn this season — that's what happens when you lose players like Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley — but a slip would mean losing a game or two, not five.
A powerhouse sliding on the heels of great success is nothing new. Two years after Ohio State won the 2002 national title, the Buckeyes went 8-4 in the regular season. A year after playing for a national title and with a slew of returning All-Americans, Oklahoma struggled to a 8-5 record a year ago.
Yet, neither of those teams was ever in the disarray that is evident at Texas.
Heck, Texas coach Mack Brown didn't think a slide like this was even possible for his program.
"I thought we were beyond that," he told reporters in Austin last week. "I thought we had enough depth, enough confidence."
So, what is wrong with the Longhorns?
It starts with the offense. This is a group void of superstars. It has no edge-of-your-seat running backs, no hold-your-breath wide receivers. It has game-changers, no difference-makers.
How is that possible?
Texas is as fertile a football recruiting ground as you'll find anywhere, and for the University of Texas to be without an offensive superstar is either a failing of talent evaluation or player development. In either case, coaches are to blame.
Those haven't been the coaches' only shortcomings. The offense has no identity. Is it a passing offense? A running offense? A power offense? A finesse offense?
Nine games into the season, no one knows.
Last week against K-State and the nation's worst rushing defense, Texas threw the ball 59 times but ran it only 26 times. At one point in the first half, the Longhorns attempted 22 consecutive passes. Granted, part of that was because the Wildcats built a big lead and the Longhorns were playing catch-up, but throwing the ball twice as much as you run it against K-State isn't good strategy.
Of course, the coaches don't shoulder all of the offensive blame.
Garrett Gilbert has been an interception machine, and the times when the sophomore quarterback has been decent, he hasn't gotten much help. He was solid against Baylor, but Texas dropped five passes, one of which resulted in an interception.
Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis seems to have no answers.
Then again, neither does defensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp. He's the golden boy in Austin, the favored son in Longhorn Land. And yet his defense couldn't slow down an Iowa State offense that OU shutout only a week earlier, couldn't hold a fourth-quarter lead against a Baylor bunch that would be held scoreless in the first half by OSU the following week, then couldn't find an answer for K-State backup quarterback Collin Klein.
Did we mention that Klein was a surprise starter for the Wildcats? That he entered the game with all of 95 yards rushing this season? That he torched the Longhorns for 127 yards on the ground?
The Longhorn defense has better talent than the Wildcats, the Cyclones and the Bears, but they sure didn't play that way against those teams last three opponents. They didn't tackle well. They didn't adjust. They didn't fight.
Truth be told, the scrap has gone out of this entire team.
Maybe the Longhorns were playing above their heads when they won their first three games, then went to Nebraska and won. Maybe they are just as bad as these past few weeks would indicate. Whatever the case, this team is playing like it doesn't believe it can win.