Saturday’s performance has left many Texas Longhorns fans frustrated with the product this program is putting on the field.
On Saturday I spent a beautiful West Texas evening trick or treating with my family. I did not watch a single play of the Longhorns’ 24-0 loss to Iowa State. I did, however, check in on the score periodically. At one point early in the evening, I saw that ISU had taken a 7-0 lead. To no one in particular I said, “well, so much for that”. Then I went on my way.
I was not surprised to see that Texas lost. I wasn’t even surprised to see that they were embarrassed. The worst part about it was: I didn’t care. The fact that they lost didn’t mean a thing to me. I’ve gotten used to it.
In fact, I haven’t bothered wearing orange on gamedays since the TCU debacle. I probably wouldn’t wear it at all except that roughly 80% of the T shirts and hats I own are Texas. I’m not jumping off a bandwagon here. I am and will always be a Longhorns fan. I just don’t see any reason to care anymore.
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I am not alone. Longhorn tickets are easy to come by these days. Texas even struggled to sell their ticket allotment for the Oklahoma game. There is not a clearer picture to paint of the state of affairs in Austin than that.
After the disaster in Ames, it will only get worse. Kansas has already returned most of their tickets for Saturday night’s game and you can bet that Texas fans won’t be knocking down the doors to the ticket office to get their hands on them. If you bother to watch the game on TV I’m sure that a mention will be made of the sparse crowd.
The real black eye will come on Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Texas Tech actually has more fans in attendance at the game then Texas does. I fully expect Red Raider fans to gobble up tickets in anticipation of their first win in Austin since 1997 while Texas fans have stayed away in droves since A&M fell off the schedule. Can you think of a reason for them to go?
This will of course start up all of the talk about how fickle Longhorn fans are. While that reputation may be deserved in some respects, these Longhorns haven’t done anything to inspire confidence or loyalty in their fanbase. I’m sure that, in anticipation of a horrible crowd on Saturday, Vance Bedford will have some snarky comment to make. Vance needs to spend more time worrying about stopping crappy offenses from converting third downs at will and less time preaching to the fans.
I’m not turning this post into a discussion about whether Charlie Strong should be fired or not. He will be back next year. I’m not even concerned with if that’s the right decision or not because it is a moot point. Yet, when the Longhorns take the field Saturday against Kansas and people start pointing out the poor attendance, keep in mind that the lagging numbers are in direct relation to the poor product that keeps getting put out on the field.
I’m tired of hearing how we’re bad fans. We’re not bad fans but we need a reason to be excited. For most of us, free time is fleeting and precious. If we’re going to devout three hours of our Saturday to you, you had best reward us for that. If you don’t, then we will find better ways to spend our time. Why should I care about Texas football when Texas football didn’t care enough to show up to their last game?
I know all about sticking with your team. I was the only kid in my school brave enough to wear blue and silver when the Cowboys were going 4-28 in 1988-89. I watched every down of the infamous Rout 66 game, tuned in for every game in the horrible 2010 season and stayed in my seat to the very bitter end of Red River Massacre III in 2011. I’m a Rangers fan for goodness sake. I understand rooting for a losing team.
What I can’t do is rationalize supporting a team that just flat doesn’t bother to show up for a quarter of their games and can’t get out of their own way when they do. I can’t rationalize wasting my time on a team with no clear upside and no plan. I’m tired of reading all of the pundits trying to explain to me that I didn’t really see what I know I just saw.
I know that there are those fans out there with ridiculous expectations for this team. The ones that think Texas should win the National Championship every year. I don’t think that the rank-and-file Longhorn fan is like that. We want our team to win and expect that they should be good every year and competitive in every game. We know that there will be losses and every once in a while, everything that can go wrong will and blowouts will happen.
With this team, the blowouts are becoming the rule and there is no guarantee that Texas will be competitive, even against the bad teams on their schedule. They simply gave away a game they had to have and we’re supposed to support them?
There are four games remaining in this season. At least two of them are likely to be blowouts. Contrast that with last season. Other than the two horrible performances at the end of the year, Texas at least fought. They were only behind 6-0 at the half versus BYU. They were only down 14 heading into the fourth quarter against Baylor and hung around against Kansas State. All three of those teams were demonstrably better than Texas was, and in each case they eventually established their dominance. In three blowout losses this year, Texas never put up much of a fight. This team is regressing. Badly.
So call me and all of the other fans out there bad fans if you want to. Maybe you can go to the games and cheer and forget that the caliber of football you’re watching wouldn’t cut mustard in Conference USA. Maybe you can sit in front of the TV and cheer and not worry about that you might be missing out of something better. If so, good for you.
As for me, I can’t do it any longer. I could have spent Saturday night watching my favorite team crap the bed against an inferior opponent. Instead I spend a fun night out with my family. I got the better end of that deal.
Until this team starts to show me something more than they’ve shown me this year, I will continue to make that choice. There’s just no reason to have any faith in this program right now.