By Chris Flanagan


What's in a number? Does it determine success? Failure? Or nothing at all?

For the Texas Longhorns, it means nothing at all.

252 days have passed since the Texas Bowl. 252 days to change something, anything. Fans are looking to see that in 252 days, something has changed. There are new faces on this Texas team, new names, and in this early season, the same outcome.

The Longhorns weren't expected to win the season opener on the road against a ranked Fighting Irish football team, but fans deserved to see improvement from a mediocre 2014 campaign.

They didn't.

The defense was less than impressive, giving up 523 total yards. The young Texas secondary was constantly fooled by play action and the offensive line was dominated by Notre Dame's defensive line.

The Texas offense under Tyrone Swoopes was stale and had no glimmer of hope of regaining its freshness. A young offensive line which included two true freshmen is partly to blame, but the offensive woes in South Bend can't be blamed exclusively on them. Swoopes lacked instinct again.

While Texas fans desperately desired otherwise, Jerrod Heard wasn't much better. He played a handful of downs and showed potential but also showed his inexperience by making rookie mistakes. The coaching efforts just weren't there either. There was no plan C or D after plans A & B didn't work.

Texas fans knew getting the program back on top would take rebuilding under Strong to get there, but to progress 252 days and have nothing to show for it is frustrating - to say the least. Charlie Strong needs to move forward with his vision, focusing on the rest of the 2015 schedule. While the outcome of the Notre Dame game was not ideal, it's not the end of the world for the Longhorns. There's still a long season ahead and plenty of time to show progress that was expected to be seen against Notre Dame.

Texas Longhorns Notes:

- Malik Jefferson is the real deal. He looks like a junior out on the field. Just an amazing player.

- Another freshman that performed was John Burt. Burt is a guy that can break the history books at Texas if he plays his cards right.

- Duke Thomas blew an assignment that went for a long touchdown. He could barely wrap up on his tackles and running backs plowed through him several times for yards after contact. He has good coverage skills but against Notre Dame, Thomas had trouble.

- An APB is out for Hassan Ridgeway as I am not sure he made a tackle at all tonight.

Other College Football Notes:

- While it's not a massive upset, Stanford losing to Northwestern is a big deal in college football. However, Stanford was set up to fail in this game and it was all due to big TV money. Stanford warmed up at 7am pacific time for a 9am game and didn't arrive in Chicago until Friday. It's difficult to make that transition in such a short time frame. What's worse is losing the game without scoring a touchdown. Texas knows how that feels.

- Taysom Hill. He's got the Longhorns' number, but on the other hand, three major injuries in three seasons have derailed what was a great college football career.

- Speaking of BYU, oh man. What a way to win a ball game - Hail Mary beats Nebraska as time expires.

- Nebraska. I don't know what to say to their fanbase. 14 years ago they were in the national championship game against Miami. Now, they are seeing their impressive records fall by the wayside. Their 29 game season opening win streak is over. They have no momentum, no more records and little hope. Watching a program with so much history and tradition die a slow death is not fun.

- Louisville put up a decent fight late against Auburn. The late touchdown helped Louisville bettors cover the spread and make Auburn gamblers very unhappy.

- The Pac-12 will likely be Oregon, USC, then everybody else. Embarrassing day, especially for Arizona State. I understand losing to A&M,but losing by 21 points when you are the ranked team? Come on.

Flanagan's College Football Playoff projections:

1. Alabama v. 4. Oregon

2. Ohio State v. 3. TCU.