Texas Football: Doubt can fuel Longhorns against declining TCU

(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Where can the Texas football program go from here after nearly falling short against the lowly Kansas Jayhawks last weekend?

This stretch of the 2019 regular season in the Big 12 for the usual stronger programs of this decade is weird lately. Two teams that usually stick out at or near the top of the Big 12 standings, the TCU Horned Frogs and Oklahoma State Cowboys, are sitting just above the Kansas Jayhawks at the bottom of the conference standings. And the Jayhawks came oh so close to pulling off a massive upset at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium against the Texas football program last weekend.

It took a perfect night and a game-winning field goal from the reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, sophomore kicker Cameron Dicker, to notch the nail biting 50-48 victory over Kansas in Austin. That’s way too close for comfort for head Texas football coach Tom Herman and his team.

Hopefully that will be about the closest call that Texas will have to face for the rest of the season. They still have pretty difficult Big 12 opposition on tap including the Iowa State Cyclones and Baylor Bears. If Texas isn’t careful, it could be either Baylor or Iowa State facing the rival Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship Game at the end of the regular season.

However, the chance for Herman and his team to get back on track comes this weekend against a slipping TCU squad. Long-time TCU head coach Gary Patterson is finding himself in a similar hole right now as Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. TCU and Oklahoma State both should be wins for Texas and could be fighting just for bowl eligibility this season.

At one point earlier this week, the Texas Longhorns football program was considered to be an actual underdog on the road at Amon G. Carter Stadium against TCU for this coming weekend. But the Longhorns are favorites over TCU now by well under one touchdown.

Since dominating head coach Les Miles and the Jayhawks a few weeks back, TCU fell well short of both Iowa State and the Kansas State Wildcats. Even before TCU beat Kansas by a score of 51-14, they fell one drive short of knocking off the SMU Mustangs in the Battle for the Iron Skillet.

If Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns get the best of TCU this weekend, it would be the second time that the team in purple would fall short against a well-known quarterback recruited to play in burnt orange. SMU was powered by former Texas quarterback and redshirt junior Shane Buechele in the 41-38 nailbiting victory over the Horned Frogs earlier this season.

Ehlinger also has a huge opportunity to keep his Heisman campaign alive, even though it was hurt in the loss to Oklahoma two weeks ago. His production is up there still with some of the nation’s best signal callers with more than 2,000 passing yards and 26 total touchdowns compared to just three picks.

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Herman finally knocked off Patterson and the Horned Frogs for the first time in a while last season. Granted that was when the downfall of TCU, to the point we know now, began. This is yet another big opportunity for the Longhorns to get ahead of falling programs like TCU and Oklahoma State in the Big 12.