until Texas vs Kansas

Thursday, January 27

 

About this blog

This is a Longhorns sports blog, focusing primarily on the major sports: football, basketball, and baseball. While the blog focuses primarily on UT related sports, we'll get plenty of general sports commentary in as well.

This is a participatory blog and readers are encouraged to join the discussion by adding comments (found at the bottom of each posting) or, if they have a take they'd like posted on the main page, to email their commentary to the authors.

You can support this site by clicking on the various ads that appear in the left hand column of the blog. No need to go berserk and click a billion of them a day, but a click now and again would be greatly appreciated.

In September of 2005 Travis Richmond joined the ATL family and is now a regular co-author with Peter and Andrew.

We hope you enjoy this blog and visit frequently. Hook 'Em

Peter, Andrew, and Travis

Comments:
There is a reason that the Texas/OU game has run in cycles. It involves the perception of coaches new to their positions at the respective schools.

Bud Wilkinson realized that to elevate OU to a national level it would be necessary to recruit Texas talent. To do so meant to defeat the University of Texas; thus, his focus on that game.

When Coach Royal took over at the 40 acres, he realized that to be successful, he would have to recapture the state from Oklahoma. His focus early in his tenure was quite clearly on beating OU. The problem, as always, is that focus and intensity aren't infinite resources, and while Texas' focus was turned on OU, TCU managed 3 wins in four years against Texas, the win in '61 quite probably costing Texas a National Title.

Flash forward to the 1970's and Barry Switzer. Once again a new and able coach focussed all his attention on defeating Texas and succeeded in doing so. He had several recruitng advantages and used his talent superiority over Texas to maximum effect.

Fred Akers was the only coach who turned the series around (at lest in the time frame discussed) and then had it turn back on him.

Flash forward to Mack Brown. Mack's problem was different than that faced by Coach Royal. Coach Brown's challenge was to recapture the state not from OU, but from Texas A&M. Texas A&M, not OU was fairly clearly Coach Brown's primary target on taking the Texas job. After all, it was largely the inability of his immediate prececessors to defeat A&M which had gotten them fired.

Problem was, OU was in the process of hiring a coach of uncommon ability who realized that in order to return OU to its former greatness required the team to focus on and peak for its game with Texas. This came at the expense of late season loses to the likes of Okie State and Texas A&M, much as Coach Royal's focus on OU may well have come at the expense of losses to TCU. The momentum he gained in the 2000 game has carried OU to this day.

Coach Brown faces the difficult challenge of turning the series in his favor after having had the series turn against him.

Given OU's current problems, a win by the Longhorns this weekend could very well pave the way for a return to dominance in the series.
 
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Part of the reason the series runs in cycles, and probably the main reason, is that that the location is neutral. If it were played in Austin and Norman, the home team would have an advantage that would help them overcome a disadvantage or two.
 
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