Longhorns: Keep the Faith, and Work Those Core…Values!

Hello, football freaks! We’re staring down another football weekend and here I am just sliding in to discuss this week’s game against Kansas. I know my three fans have been waiting for days! DAYS!

A few things happened since we last saw each other. Texas lost a heartbreaker to UCLA. Let’s not cry too many burnt orange tears over that game, OK? Right, so the game captain was asking, “How do you coin toss?” And the team was still operating with a pretty thin roster. Suspensions and dismissals continue; more on that in a minute. But was that the same Texas team that got thoroughly owned by BYU? Nope. UCLA was ranked #13 at the time, and Texas really gave them a run for their money. The ‘Horns showed exponential improvement on both sides of the ball. It all came down to three minutes of the game—Texas offense couldn’t capitalize on a turnover and control the clock, and Texas defense ran out of gas, allowing UCLA to score the winning TD. Erase either one of those, and you have a pretty stunning upset.

Next up was a bye week. I took advantage of that interval to get completely overwhelmed at work and forget football existed for a very short minute. Please forgive.

Meanwhile, David Ash hung up his cleats and made a graceful exit from football altogether. He’s a great kid who played with a lot of drive and determination. He became a real leader on the field, and his humble dedication to hard work will serve him well for whatever comes next. As predicted, Coach Strong let Ash exit on his own terms and in his own time. Well done all around. It’s the Swoopes era, folks. Let’s welcome our new football overlord, who is predicting a Texas appearance in the football playoffs this year. (Pssst, Swoopes. There are only four teams selected. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)

And, the player ranks keep dwindling. Kennedy Estelle was formally dismissed from the team for rules violations. Looks like he was having some struggles with substance use, and couldn’t seem to get it under control. Coach Strong has five core rules, and you will follow them, because he’s not having it:

    • Honesty
    • Treat Women with Respect
    • No Drugs
    • No Stealing
    • No Guns

Not everyone is happy about Coach Strong preferring that his players behave like student athletes and decent human beings. Local oil billionaire, big money donor, and used car salesman Red McCombs has shown up in the media several times lately, dispensing his super-sage wisdom about what Coach Strong (an actual football coach, not just one in his head) should do. McCombs woke up long enough to opine that Coach Strong is not well-suited to coaching at Texas and is on his way out.

RED MCCOMBS, PLEASE TAKE SEVERAL SEATS. Just like Coach Strong, we real fans are not having it.

Moving along! In a few short hours, Texas will take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Manhattan. No, not the fancy Manhattan. The one in Kansas. They are playing in Memorial Stadium, just not the correct Memorial Stadium. Regardless, this is a must-win game for Texas, kicking off conference play in the Big XII. Kansas comes in with a 2-1 record, defeating powerhouses like Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan. Their lone loss (so far) is to Duke, who piled up 331 yards in a 41-3 trouncing.

Kansas is the perennial Big XII basement dweller. However, this is not a year for Texas fans to take anything for granted. Even with Texas burning down the old program and starting all over, like Groot growing back in his little pot in “Guardians of the Galaxy” (yes, I like to think of the team grooving slowly to “I Want You Back”), the ‘Horns should be victorious on Saturday. This game will be a good yardstick to see if they are, indeed, making improvements by leaps and bounds, as it appears they are. The coaches are serious. The remaining players are serious. There could be a nice payoff for us fans right around the corner.

It would be great to have a decisive, strong victory to sweep the ‘Horns into the next two games, which will be a real test: Baylor and Oklahoma. Gird your loins, and get ready to vote the fair-weather fans off the island.

Texas is favored by 14 points. Kansas has the home field advantage, so a solid game and a win–even a skinny one–will do just fine. Game time is 4:00 Eastern Time, on Fox Sports 1. Glue yourselves to the couch for another fun-filled Saturday of football! Hook ‘em Horns!

Follow me on Twitter @TXgridirongirl

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