If my Longhorns beat her Bearcats, she has agreed to wear Texas gear for a day. I’m not sure this qualifies as punishment.
I’m guessing Alyson Footer is like a lot of the rest of the world. In her heart, she loves The University of Texas at Austin. She appreciates its enduring greatness, its grace and beauty and its commitment to building a better world. I suspect she’ll use this whole thing as an excuse to stock up on Texas gear. We’re No. 1 in merchandise sales, too.
She has lived in Texas long enough to know that my alma mater is the gold standard for greatness, not just in sports, but in medicine, law, chemistry, etc. We’ve had three Nobel Laureates, 28 Rhodes Scholars, 20 Pulitzer Prizes, nine astronauts and two Heisman Trophy winners.
Texas also has won national championships in almost every sport, including football where Mack Brown took over an also-ran program 14 years ago and transformed it into one of the nation’s best. Mack doesn’t just win games. He represents the school with class. If you’re a Texas grad, you’re not just glad he’s your coach. You’re glad he’s the guy out there representing The University of Texas to the rest of the world. I can’t think of anyone better.
Mack has taken Texas football to a place some of us thought it would never go again. It’s not just those 95,000 season tickets and beautiful facilities. It’s not even just winning. It’s doing things the right way.
I’m not sure the last time we won one in basketball. If it has been longer than a couple of times, it’s not because coach Rick Barnes is anything less than a great coach. No, sir, it has to be that Texas keeps running into referees who have jealous streaks in them. It really can’t be anything else, and isn’t that sad? If they’d applied themselves to their studies, they could have grown up to be Longhorns, too.
There are two kinds of Texans. There are those who, like me, graduated from Texas. And there are those who wish they could have gotten in. Texas graduates have learned to deal with the bitterness that builds up over years after those rejection letters.
It’s a compliment that beating Texas is the game that matters most to Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, etc. Wyoming opens its 2012 football season at Austin. Do you think beating Texas would be a big deal to Wyoming? It would be talked about forever.
Let’s face it, no one chooses to go to Texas Tech. That’s where you go when you can’t get in at Texas. When you’re completely out of options, you apply at Texas A&M, and that’s when you become really angry.
Anyway, Texas and Cincinnati are playing this week in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and Alyson and I have a wager on it. I’ll wear Cincinnati gear for a day if the Bearcats win. Alyson will wear Texas gear for a day if the Longhorns win.
About the only difference is that she’ll keep wearing Texas gear and also get to sing Texas Fight on Houston radio station 1560. That won’t be anything new for me. I sing Texas Fight frequently, on the radio, in the shower, etc. I sing it instead of screaming “Tranquility now!” If she gets lucky, Alyson will end up with piles of UT stuff in her closet. I’m sure she’s like a lot of people in thinking Texas is a football school. Oh sure, 105,000 at every home game and the finest coach and facilities in America will leave that impression.
Texas also plays basketball, really good basketball. For instance:
• Texas is making its 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Only three schools have longer streaks. Barnes is 14 for 14 in NCAA Tournament appearances.
• The Longhorns have gotten to the Elite Eight twice in the last six seasons and three times in the last nine.
• Texas has gotten to the Sweet 16 five times in the last 10 years.
• Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Texas is 16-5 in the opening round.