It’s hard not to overreact. It really is.
Texas runs for 880 yards in two games and then — BAM! — it looks like the Longhorns could sneak into a BCS bowl.
A week later, the team is undone by numerous injuries and fails to score a touchdown and then — SPLAT! — it seems possible they might not win another game this season.
What to do, what to do.
Maybe it’s best not to say or predict anything at all.
Once it looks like you know where the Longhorns (6-3) are headed, they reverse field. Last week in this space, I laid out just what had to happen for Texas to reach a BCS Bowl, all of it being contingent that it won out, which seemed very likely.
Now, some ask, will their win tally be stopped on six wins?
Or, was Saturday at Missouri simply a mirage?
If you’re going to use the injury excuse as the reason why Texas didn’t win Saturday, then stick it in your back pocket and save it for the rest of the season. Fozzy Whittaker isn’t coming back, Malcolm Brown hasn’t played in two weeks, Joe Bergeron hurt his hamstring in garbage time and Jaxon Shipley has a knee injury that just won’t get better.
Brown and Bergeron were listed as co-starters on the depth chart Monday, but it’ll take a week’s worth of practice and evaluations to see if they’re actually ready to play against Kansas State.
“[Against Missouri] neither one of the guys were ready to play during the ballgame, and again, that’s a decision that had to be made in pregame or watching them run on the sideline,” said head coach Mack Brown.
If they can’t, Texas will have to play lights-out on defense against KSU quarterback Collin Klein, the Tim Tebow of the Midwest. On the year, Klein has more than 2,500 total yards, along with 34 touchdowns, and had an impressive display of skins on the wall: last week, the Wildcats have beaten Texas A&M, Miami and Baylor this season, and almost beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
Ranked No. 16, the Wildcats are somehow 9.5-point underdogs against the Longhorns — easy money, people — despite the fact that they won last year, 39-14.
“We’ve got us a mess we’ve got to figure out in a week,” Brown said. There’s no figuring out this team in a week, or two weeks or three.
To illustrate the bipolarity of the Longhorns and provide a glimpse of waffling at its finest, here’s what I’ve said in recent weeks about the team:
“Heck, 8-4 looks like it could be the ceiling at this point.” (Oct. 24)
“We’ll begin to find out if Texas can actually run the table.” (Oct. 31)
“Texas, after a 5-7 record in 2010, looks like it has a chance to run the table against a schedule that features one ranked team and maybe even earn a BCS at-large bid.” (Nov. 7)
So, what to say on Nov. 15?
“I have absolutely no clue.”
Printed on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as: Horns no longer a BCS contender after subpar showing Saturday