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No fight seems to be left in Texas

Columnist Jenni Carlson had to double-check and make sure that perennial Big 12 power Texas really is 4-5 this season.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: November 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm •  Published: November 8, 2010

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."

Apparently not.

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.

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by Jenni Carlson
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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