I wanted to win. Yeah, I know. I understand the bigger picture. But I'm genetically incapable of doing otherwise.
From my son's Longhorn pajamas, to my fist pumps every time Tray Hopkins drove a Baylor DL five yards down the field and Malcolm Brown cut off of his ass seeking contact, to appreciating Duke Thomas competing his best again Antwan Goodley's awesome talent.
But once we fell behind, I knew how it would play out. I'm guessing you did too.
Now that we've lost, I'm disappointed, but frankly relieved. And I feel bad to admit that. The Emperor sits without clothes again. Two conference titles in sixteen years coaching at the best job in the Big 12, if not all of college football. 18-17 in the Big 12 over the last four years (six of those wins coming against ISU and KU). Everything else is noise. Sixteen years is a sufficient sample size and we've experienced just as much good luck as bad. The question is whether the people that make decisions will notice.
It's time for change. At this point, I can only shrug at the banality of this truth. It's as self-evident as gravity.
Ian, Jason and I will be along soon enough to kick the corpse around with X & O's and a more dispassionate second viewing of the game, but I did want to offer a quick post-game thoughts, because there was some good in this bad:
- Props to the defense for playing a solid game against a high level offense with zero support from the offensive passing game. Yeah, Baylor had 508 yards but they needed 92 plays to get there. And their 30 points was greatly enabled by field position and turnovers. From an advanced metrics perspective or judging from my eyeballs - this D has nothing to hang its head about. Robinson played a classic bend-but-don't-break D and our players were eventually taken down by sheer exhaustion. If not late game frustration. The DL and CBs made a lot of plays against a good opponent.
- Props to the offensive line and Geoff Swaim. This OL finished the season well. Probably the best unit in the league. The holes were massive at times, despite easy defensive keys enabled by a comically ineffectual passing game and a lot of stacked boxes. And they protected McCoy quite well - though that time actually seemed to panic him even more. I'm sorry that - just as against OSU - their effort isn't reflected in the box score.
- Props to Malcolm Brown (25-131), who ran like a grown-ass man. He made some nice cuts, finished his runs, and competed from whistle to whistle. Very proud of him. He and Eddie Lackey will both sleep well tonight. If they can get over the ringing in their ears.
The bottom line is that Texas and Baylor were fairly comparable teams - Baylor had a better back 7, we had better line play, our receivers and backs, though different athletes in different systems, are in the same neighborhood. The main difference was at one position.
Baylor had Bryce Petty. We didn't. Sometimes, it really is that simple.
And the story of how that came to be is strangely fitting in understanding where we are now and how yet another conference championship eluded Brown in the last game of the season.