Following the Hindenburg-like fiasco of Texas' 2010-11 football season, in which they went 5-7 and lost to such powerhouses as Baylor and Iowa State, the Longhorns found themselves unranked in the end-of-season AP Poll for the first time since 1997.
And while Texas' exclusion from this year's Preseason Top 25 feels like a slap in the face to Longhorn fans and provides rival teams' fans with material for biting insults and sardonic taunts, it actually serves a key role in Texas' return to on-field success.
What possible positive effect could it have on this year's squad? Well, it provides the team with a motive.
Part of the reason last year's team was so mediocre was that a sense of entitlement overtook players, particularly those that had played for a National Championship the season before and were now a part of a team that, for no reason other than name recognition, held a Top-10 AP Poll ranking going into the year.
Coming into this season unranked gives this Texas team a chip on their shoulder that will supplant the complacency that plagued last year's team.
Additionally, Texas' hiring of new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, whose aggressive ingenuity will serve as a welcome replacement to Greg Davis' stale conservatism, will amplify the renewed sense of dedication that this unit must experience if they are to prove that last year's effort is not indicative of the University of Texas' football program.
After such a pitiful season last year, let us seek comfort in Harvey Dent's quote from The Dark Knight: "The night is darkest before dawn." Hopefully 5-7 is as dark as the night's going to get.