Hook 'em, Heisman.
Ah, the middle of July, all is quiet on the football front. The lack of real news emanating from Austin means we internet fanboys can finally venture out from our holes, expose our skin to natural light, spend some time with family and friends, and maybe even exercise our bodies a bit. Ha, just kidding. In the real world, the middle of July is the time of year when you finally step away from your Bowden-esque coaching tenure at the digital University of Texas to take the reins at the same school with an updated roster and slightly tweaked artificial intelligence. Yes, gentlemen, it’s time to go buy the new installment of EA Sports NCAA Football franchise.
Every year since the beginning of time (around 1998 to be exact), EA has introduced a new feature to the game to entice us into lining up at Best Buy to get our grubby fingers on the newest version. First, it was Herbstreit and Corso in the booth, then sideline reporters, then celebrations with the mascot, OH MY! In a normal Julian calendar, I don’t think much of these updates; they’re simply white noise. Stringing together 28 consecutive national titles takes focus, and dancing with mascots and other exotic tomfoolery is the first step in a series of events that ends with you in the back of a police car as an officer of the law searches through your Rose Bowl backpack that contains a large brick of illicit substances. I won’t have that in my program, son! But this year is different. EA raised the bar. This year, the new feature allows you to pick from any of the past Heisman winners and insert them onto the roster of the Texas Longhorns. They opened up a big can of worms, and they are delicious gummy worms that I will happily consume.
There are several obvious choices that readers of this site will scream about in the comments. The most obvious is RGIII due to his epic performance this past year that was just more salt in the wounds inflicted during the Gilbert era on the lowly Texas fan. Well, for the purpose of this article, I thought it would be more fun to discuss which Heisman winner would have had the most positive impact on the direction of the program if he had played for the Longhorns during the time he was actually in college. Inserting Cam Newton or Bo Jackson onto the 2012 Texas Roster is tempting, easy and will be done several times by yours truly. On the other hand, if RGIII had played QB for the Texas Longhorns the past 2 years, Greg Davis would most likely still be on campus today. This is not worth discussing as it results in sweating, dry mouth, and night terrors.
When I sat down to write this article, I thought of some of my favorite players who didn’t play their ball on the 40 acres. Barry Sanders, Hershel Walker, Gino Torretta, the list of talents who could have elevated our program is long and illustrious. Eddie George was a favorite of mine as a kid, but I kept thinking of how Eddie’s talents would have been wasted in Mackovic’s defense-less symphony. Also, we didn’t really need him as we got a better, younger version at the tail end of Eddie’s career (and his heroics were wasted during his junior season). However, this did make me focus on what Heisman winner would truly have had the biggest impact on the program long-term, someone who perhaps would have kept Texas from reaching the depths it did during the 90s, and the choice became very, very obvious.
The Ol’ Ball Coach!
Spurrier the player is unimportant to the argument. Most likely, he probably wouldn’t have played all that much in DKR’s wishbone offense. However, assuming he developed the same attachment for Austin that he did for Gainesville (not too outlandish of a thought), perhaps the old guard would have had McWilliams on a shorter leash during the 1989 season and been more apt to step outside the box and hire a young coaching talent who had just been named ACC Coach of the Year for the second time. All of the sudden, Texas fans don’t spend the 90s loathing a smug, wine-sipping, coifed-hair Midwesterner. Instead, we would have spent the 90s idolizing a smug golf prick with sweet flow.
The notion of Spurrier as the head coach of the 90s is attractive beyond the assumed delta in win percentage during the decade. Mainly, press conferences the week prior to any of Texas’ rivalry games would become instant must-see-TV. Tech would be lambasted for its vast library of coloring books. Dollar figures above and beyond those pertaining to a college degree would be openly attached to OU scholarships. However, the real fun would come the week before Thanksgiving. Aggies worldwide would have wept and gnashed their teeth in rage at the needling insults woven together by the Ball Coach. Traditions would not be respected, the graves of mongrels would be trodden upon, and all would be right with the world. In fact, it can be argued that Spurrier has actually been trolling Aggies without any real motive beyond personal gratification for years. Why not give him a pulpit for these histrionics?
I’m sure this post will drag the Spurrier haters out of the woodwork, but, if there is a legitimate argument that Texas would not have been exponentially better off as program during the 90s with him as our head coach, I have yet to hear it. The knock-on effect on the program for the following decade is cause for a much larger debate, but that’s ok in my book as I simply want to revise history so it doesn’t include me crying in Hruska’s after Rout 66. Now, excuse me while I add Bo Jackson to our backfield.
Also of note:
And some delicious video: