Longhorns-Cornhuskers Preview: Is Mack Brown Off the Hook This Week?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IOctober 12, 2010

Mack Brown protests for a holding call.
Mack Brown protests for a holding call.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Will the Texas Longhorns get head coach Mack Brown off the proverbial hook?

Brown is slipping, and he knows it. 

A humble man/coach, he is disappointed in this season already.

This Saturday (Oct. 16) in Lincoln, Neb., the Longhorns will perform in a very hostile stadium that will have them seeing red and lots of it.

The red-clad University of Nebraska football fans have long been reputed to be the best NCAA football fans in the nation. 

I have seen them travel to the Trans World Dome in Saint Louis, Missouri for the Big 12 Championship game against Texas in 1996.

And I have seen them arrive in droves to San Antonio for the 1999 Big 12 Championship game, again to face Texas. 

At home, the Cornhuskers’ crowd is almost blood-thirsty. 

The Longhorns’ fans are not known for travelling as well as the Cornhusker faithful, except to the Red River Rivalry that is played in Texas.

In 1999, burnt orange was the predominant color out of 65,000 seated in the Alamodome though.

Don’t expect many Texas jerseys in the stands at Memorial Stadium.  If there are, then security should be aware that a fight, or two, is a distinct possibility.

Nebraska (5-0, 1-0 Big 12) and Texas (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) fought to a split in their first two conference championship meetings.

An unranked Longhorns squad upset the third-ranked Cornhuskers 37-27 in 1996. 

Texas was a 21-point underdog, but former San Antonio high school stars Priest Holmes (Marshall) and Wayne McGarity (Clark) led Texas to the upset win.

Nebraska won 22-6 in the second meeting, thanks to Heisman Trophy QB Eric Crouch and a suffocating “black shirt” defense, led by DL Kyle Vanden Bosch.  Popular former Longhorns QB Major Applewhite was held in check.

Texas holds a 2-1 advantage over Nebraska in conference title game hook-ups after squeezing the 2009 Big 12 Championship in a 13-12 win.

In that game, superlative DL Ndamakung Suh was in hot pursuit of fellow Heisman Trophy candidate, QB Colt McCoy, who unadvisedly threw a pass out of bounds to avoid a sack.

The fourth quarter’s game clock ran out during the play ending the game. Or did it?  Nebraska thought they had a 12-10 victory.

But :01 was placed on the clock due to NCAA Football Rule 12-3-6.  The official decreed that the play was reviewable, and he reset the clock to the chagrin of the Red Wave.

The Cornhuskers’ faithful will be out for revenge against the team that defeated them in the last throes of last season’s Big 12 Championship game.

Brown is 7-1 against Nebraska since 1998, but Nebraska’s head coach Bo Pelini will be frothing at the opportunity to knock Texas off.

The Longhorns are coming off a loss to the Oklahoma Sooners in the annual Red River Rivalry at Dallas' Cotton Bowl Stadium.

That game provided the most dramatic enmity in NCAA football so far this season.  

Brown is 12-0 in games directly following the Red River Rivalry, and his team had a bye last week.

No. 4 in the Coaches’ Poll and at CBSSports.com, Nebraska will be the highest-ranked opponent that Brown has faced during that particular unbeaten streak.

A win throttles Nebraska’s Big 12 exit hopes of hooking Texas, and a loss for the Longhorns means Mack Brown is in danger of missing a major bowl game this season.

Texas is one season removed from the BCS National Championship game.

Is coach Brown’s job on the hook? This game will go a long way in answering that question.

Orange (non-burnt) is my favorite color.  Red is my favorite attention-getting color. The two look great together – if you like bling.

But this is not about bling.  Or is it?  It is about who can capture the BCS ring.

After being man-handled two weeks in succession, will the Longhorns man up against the suddenly dominant Nebraska Cornhuskers?

I don’t believe they are capable of the job, because their talent level and experience is down, and because the Cornhuskers are too talented across the board.

Record-setting redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez from Corona, California is averaging 34.9 yards on his NCAA-leading 12 rushing touchdowns this season. 

He’s already rushed for 241 yards in one game – a school record for QBs. 

No disrespect to “Touchdown” Tommy Frazier, Eric Crouch or Turner Gill, but Martinez is on his way to becoming Nebraska’s best quarterback ever.

Prediction: 34 – 24 Nebraska


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