When Ole Miss blasted Texas 44-23 on Sept. 14, dropping the Longhorns to 1-2, Mack Brown said some goofy things. Which is not entirely out of the ordinary.
Mack is a Southern charmer, a particular type of American noted not for the content of his message, but how it's delivered. I like Mack Brown. Most who know him do, though he's worn out his welcome in Austin.
And just because he's given to being goofy doesn't mean he's always wrong.
After the Mississippi debacle, a game that seemed to determine his fate as face of The Longhorn Network, Brown said, “We can get all this righted by winning a Big 12 championship. That's what they've got to do.”
Well, yes. And if these ‘Horns started tackling like the '69 ‘Horns, and David Ash started running like Vince Young, things would be even peachier.
But Oklahoma-Texas week arrives, and darned if Mack wasn't on to something. He's a mere upset away from not only retaining the Big 12 lead, but assuming the favorite's role in the conference.
Beat the Sooners, and this Texas season has an entire new look. The orange may be burnt, but the bread would not be. Texas would not be toast, and neither would Mack's career.
Of course, I don't think Texas will beat the Sooners. I don't think Texas will keep it close. Let's see; it's been 55-17 and 63-21 the last two years. This OU team looks better, and this Texas team worse, than the squads that jousted in the last two Cotton Bowl feuds. I'm thinking 62-10. Something like that sounds about right.
The Sooners, freed from the shackles of back-to-back games against the viper defenses of Notre Dame and TCU, should run as free as a scatback on the sandlot. Meanwhile, poor Case McCoy draws the quarterback start for Texas with Ash injured. Seems like a doomsday plan for UT, but half of Mack's six wins over OU (out of 15 games) came with a McCoy quarterbacking. What does Texas have to lose?
But still. You have to give Mack credit. His ‘Horns are 2-0 in the Big 12, having gutted out victories with the help of Kansas State's mediocrity and officiating snafus at Iowa State. Not exactly beating South Carolina and LSU, or even Notre Dame and TCU, but it's better than poked in the eye with a sharp Bevo horn.
“It is a fresh start for us,” Brown said going into Big 12 play. “Our goal last January was to win the Big 12 Conference championship, and that hasn't changed.”
Is an upset possible? Sure. This is not a series of upsets. The best team usually wins. But not always. The Sooners won in 1966, 1982 and 1996, years when no one saw it coming.
OU dang near won in 2009, when Texas was way better, and Texas made it close in 2010, when the Sooners were far superior.
But the Sooners likely will roll Saturday, and Mack's title hopes will extinguish, and he'll step precariously close to the edge of the plank. And be charming in defeat.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.