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Texas HC Steve Sarkisian Says Alabama Game Won't 'Define Our Program'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 5, 2022

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian isn't putting too much pressure on Saturday's showdown with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

"It's one game, you know?" Sarkisian told reporters. "It's a chance for us to do what we love to do. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is [thinking] this is going to be the game that's going to define our program.

"It might, it might not. I'm not that concerned about it. I'm more concerned about just the way we play the game."

Texas and Alabama are two of the sport's biggest historical powerhouses, and this is their first matchup since the national championship game to finish the 2009 season.

The Crimson Tide won that one, but the Longhorns hold a 7-1-1 lead in the all-time series.

Unfortunately for Texas, the two programs have gone in drastically different directions since that title game.

Alabama has five national titles in that span, with three of them coming in the College Football Playoff. The last time the Crimson Tide didn't win double-digit games was the 2007 season, and they have reached three more championship games during the CFP era.

Texas, by contrast, has won double-digit games just once since that loss to Alabama. Even that season (2018) featured four losses, and the program has become something of a punchline for college football fans joking about whether "Texas is back" or not.

Perhaps Sarkisian is the one who can turn things around for the Longhorns even though he went 5-7 in his first season at the helm in 2021. He understands what it takes to be a successful program from his three seasons as an assistant coach for Alabama, and the team cruised to a 52-10 victory over UL Monroe in the season opener.

The level of competition dramatically increases with the Crimson Tide coming to town, but quarterback Quinn Ewers, who transferred from Ohio State, bounced back from an early interception to finish 16-of-24 for 225 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.

Saturday's showdown with Alabama is a chance for Ewers to become a household name and propel Texas into the title discussion for the first time in more than a decade. But his coach understands that there is still an entire Big 12 season ahead if the Longhorns do fall short.

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