Texas Football: 3 narratives Steve Sarkisian squashed in 2023

Steve Sarkisian, Texas football
Steve Sarkisian, Texas football / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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Steve Sarkisian, Texas football
Steve Sarkisian, Texas football / Jay Janner/American-Statesman / USA

Sarkisian can't win the big game

For the first four years of his time as a college football head coach (at Washington from 2009 to 2013), Sark didn't finish a single season in Seattle with his team ranked or with over seven wins. Washington technically did finish the 2013 season ranked after winning a ninth game in Fight Hunger Bowl over the BYU Cougars. But Sark had already left Washington to take the head coaching vacancy heading into the 2014 offseason with the USC Trojans.

After winning eight games at Washington in 2013 and nine at USC in 2014, he had finally shed the "seven-win Sark" narrative.

Yet, even after shedding the "seven-win Sark" nickname, he still didn't have a true marquee win as a head coach at Washington or USC while being ranked. He also hadn't won double-digit games in a single season. Sark was 2-5 at Washington against FBS foes when ranked. He also had losing records when ranked against FBS foes at USC and in his first two years at Texas.

After winning the Big 12 Championship Game, beating a top-three-ranked Alabama squad on the road, and defeating two ranked Kansas schools during the regular season in conference play, Texas has ascended among the nation's elite programs in the College Football Playoff.

The Longhorns rode their talent and depth to show resilience during the "revenge tour" in Big 12 play this season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy went 2-0 in two starts for Texas while Ewers was out with a shoulder injury (one win coming over a top-25-ranked Kansas State squad).

"My connection with the people around me has definitely changed. I have appreciation for the hard work that everybody puts in, appreciation for the moments as they come and for slowing down to enjoy the moments as they come."

Sark has completely changed the culture in this locker room in the last few years. He has evolved as a head coach, putting the right people around him and getting the culture in the locker room right to get this team to new heights on the field this season.

"So, to see those guys be able to have that emotion yesterday on the field after the [Big 12 title] game, and then have that emotion, knowing that they're competing for a national championship, that's why they came to the University of Texas."