Photo: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Texas fans, close your eyes and imagine Texas defeats Alabama Saturday...
That would be the biggest win in Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in quite some time, if not ever. The Longhorns are a 20-point underdog and will undoubtedly have their hands full with the Crimson Tide. If you listen to all the prognosticators, there is a likely outcome. Then there is a what-if? Let's discuss what a win on Saturday would do for Texas as a program should they knock off #1 Alabama.
Although the Longhorns have had some big upsets in their decade plus of mediocrity, they have been unable to turn that momentum into anything of significance. Since Colt McCoy's departure the Longhorns have had just one 10-win season and have lost at least four games in every season.
Winning a game like this would give Steve Sarkisian and Texas much-needed confidence and momentum that could carry them through the rest of the season. Last year following the blown lead to Oklahoma in Dallas, the Longhorns managed to consistently blow leads in similar fashion in subsequent games. A victory over Alabama could turn the tide, no pun intended, and allow Texas to achieve success that they haven't seen in many, many years.
The roster yields an extremely young team, with 57 freshmen or sophomores on the team. Having that kind of youth causes shaky confidence as far as depth is concerned, a problem the Crimson Tide doesn't have to worry about. Nobody is picking Texas to win this game and if they pull off the upset, the underclassmen are going to have unshakable confidence moving forward. Talent has never been the issue at Texas, and now the Longhorns have at minimum, some good coaching on the staff. Being able to fight through adversity and not fold so easily like they have in the last decade would be a great addition.
Furthermore, a victory would send a statement nationally that Texas is relevant once again. Not that Texas is "back," but they are back to being a tough, credible opponent. Texas will be back when they are hoisting up a Big 12 Championship trophy, not winning a non-conference game regardless of who it is against.
As far as conference play is concerned, there is no reason Sarkisian and his team should not be battling for the Big 12 crown this year. If they manage to beat Alabama, it would signal that Texas is a legitimate Big 12 contender. It would also show that the 'Horns can indeed compete with the best in the SEC, which Texas is scheduled to join in the next couple of years. Following last year’s beatdown in Fayetteville, there has been some serious doubt of Texas' ability to compete in the SEC.
Finally, a victory over the Tide would grab the attention of recruits. Several national recruits are looking for a reason to commit to Texas since Arch Manning committed in June. This would provide a great reason to jump on board. It is easy for Sarkisian and the rest of the staff to sell a vison. This would be manifesting that vison to recruits, and would make negative recruiting to the Longhorns difficult.
Texas fans, sit back and enjoy the game and the atmosphere. These types of games do not come along every week, win or lose.