Texas football and head coach Steve Sarkisian have already accomplished many of their goals they set out during the preseason. Texas won the Big 12 Championship for the first time in over a decade and reached the College Football Playoff for the first time ever.
That's not to mention the fact that the Longhorns won double-digit games during the regular season for the first time in over a decade and became the first team to beat head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide by double digits.
Steve Sarkisian has progressed as a coach as Texas football has ascended on the field in the last few years
While Sarkisian is happy with what the team has accomplished thus far, he's done a good job of keeping the locker room focused on what lies ahead this season.
"I think it’s very gratifying. We came here when I accepted this job, and I’ve told you guys this before, but I think it’s important. I didn’t accept this job just to be a head coach again. I felt like at that point in my career, I knew I would be one again. But I took this job because I felt like we could be champions here and we could win championships year after year and whatever that would look like, but at least put ourselves in position to do that."
Texas still has a lot in front of them this postseason. This squad is two wins away from winning its first National Championship since the 2005-06 season.
Sark and the Longhorns face the No. 2 Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA, on Jan. 1.
For now, though, Sark has plenty to be proud of as Texas has even surpassed their preseason expectations by winning the Big 12 title and making it to the College Football Playoff. Here are three narratives and preconceived notions that Sark shed this season with the Longhorns.
Losing games while up by double-digits in the second half
The most consistent issue Sark's teams faced in the first year and a half he was at Texas as the head coach was blowing double-digit leads in the second halves of games. In his first season at Texas, Sark lost three games while up by double digits in the second half. Those three losses all came in a row in a critical stretch of Big 12 play that eventually saw this team spiral into a six-game losing streak at the end of the regular season.
Texas had a couple more blown double-digit leads in the second halves of games in the first half of the Big 12 last year. Sark and the Longhorns blew double-digit leads on the road in eventual losses to the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Oklahoma State Cowboys last season.
That brought the tally up to five blown second-half leads in Sark's first two seasons just in Big 12 play.
But Sark and the Longhorns completely turned a corner with their ability to win those close games in Big 12 play this season. While Texas still had some bad spurts in the second halves of Big 12 games this season, nearly losing games with late double-digit leads against the likes of the Houston Cougars, TCU Horned Frogs, and Kansas State Wildcats, the Longhorns still won those contests.
Even without redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers in two close Big 12 games this fall (Houston and Kansas State), Texas was still able to go 4-1 in one-score games.
Texas completely changed the narrative surrounding its ability to finish games and secure some much-needed victories to reach the Big 12 Championship Game in 2023.