It’s being called "The Greatest Opening Weekend of College Football Ever."
The college football orgy starts with Kansas State at Stanford on Friday Sept. 2nd, then moves onto an amazing slate of games on Saturday. LSU & Wisconsin at historic Lambeau Field. North Carolina at Georgia. Clemson at Auburn.
That doesn’t even count the slate of games here in Texas. OU at Houston at 11:00 AM on Saturday on ABC. Next up, UCLA at Texas A&M on CBS at 2:30 PM, and then Alabama vs. USC from Jerry World at 7:00 PM also on ABC.
The next day Texas and Notre Dame will have Sunday night all to themselves.
No other college games.
Just a meeting between two of the winningest and most recognizable programs in college football. The game will take place before over 100,000 fans and a prime-time national TV audience. Kick off is at 6:30PM on ABC is billing it as "the network's first-ever live, Sunday, prime-time, regular season college football game."
It’s not like the Longhorns are strangers to making TV sports history. In fact, the now famous (or infamous if you prefer) "Texas Brand" owes its foundation to an era where college football on television was experiencing growing pains and to a coach who appreciated the underestimated value of the medium.
The road to prominence for Texas really took hold from 1961-70 when three major factors helped to catapult the Longhorns into the national consciousness.
Just Win Baby
Winning of course drives everything, and from 1961-70 two programs, or rather two coaches, dominated the collegiate landscape.
Texas and Alabama. Darrell and Bear.
Both programs would win 3 National Championships during the decade, including one disputed title for each. At the end of the 1970 season, Texas would hold an 89-17-2 record for the decade. Alabama was 88-17-3.
The two coaches were almost as alike as their records. Defensive-minded, detail oriented, taskmasters who demanded respect from their players (friendship would come after you played for them). One writer remarked that the only difference between the two was that "Darrell smiles a little more than Bear."
For Royal that attention to detail went beyond the football field. His vision of marketing and the oncoming growth of college football on television would mark the Longhorns expansion on the national scene.
I picked to start the decade in 1961 for a reason. Royal had four complete recruiting cycles. Texas had five outstanding collegiate running backs, led by All-American James Saxton, who averaged an obscene 7.9 yards a carry for the season. The defense gave up more than 7 points in a game just once (14 to Texas Tech) and the joke was that the second-teamers lettered before most of the starters thanks to early playing time. Royal considered it athletically superior to his 1963 National Championship team.
It was also the first year of the Longhorn logo.
The previous summer Royal approached Rooster Andrews, a sporting goods executive in Austin, about creating a Longhorn sticker. The pint-size Andrews, a Longhorn legend from his days on campus as trainer, occasional drop-kicker for the football team and BFF of Bobby Layne, gave Royal a crayon drawing of a longhorn head. Royal wanted it put on the helmet.
Royal loved several aspects of the drawing. First and foremost is was minimalist. No comic details such as flaring nostrils or blazing eyes. A simple orange longhorn silhouette on a white helmet. At that time most collegiate helmets had stripes down the middle and numbers on the sides. One of the few distinctive helmets was the Michigan winged-striped helmet that has been used since 1938. Royal wanted to create a look all its own and he tinkered with it over the next few years. The middle stripe was lost the next season. Originally the number was above the longhorn, but in 1967 it was permanently moved to the back.
Clean. Uncluttered. Instantly Recognizable.
1962 also saw the return of the Burnt Orange jersey. Texas had adopted the color early in the 1900’s. However, first during the depression and then during WWII they had gone to a lighter shade of orange, as the burnt orange dye was in short supply and expensive.
Some believed that Royal went to the burnt orange jersey because it helped to hide the football when running the option. Royal wryly remarked, "We seem to have no problem winning in white on the road."
None of this was by happenstance. Royal wanted a distinctive look in order for his team to stand out from others – especially on television. One team of Longhorns. One team in Burnt Orange. He understood that the medium was about to become an important factor in college football and having a unique look, down to a shade of orange that no one else was using, was important to him.
"There are 29 peaks in Colorado taller than Pikes Peak," said Royal. "Name one."
College Football on TV: Less is More
Nov. 10, 2001. Freshman Cedric Benson rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns as Texas boat-raced Kansas 59-0 in Austin. It is the last time the Longhorns played a football game that was not telecast on some platform. That was 193 games ago.
1961-1970 saw Texas play 109 times – with only 31 games (29%), being telecast.
College football began to appear on the networks in 1952, with tight restrictions from the NCAA. There was a fear of TV games driving down attendance. A 1948 study conducted by the Crossley Corporation at the NCAA’s request found that fans thought watching televised games was equal or superior to watching from the stands.
So the NCAA allowed one national game a week for 8 weeks during the season and then regional broadcasts the other weeks. They also ruled that a team could not be seen more than three times in a season. Variations of this system were in place until the Supreme Court ruled in 1984 in the NCAA vs. the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Georgia that the NCAA plan violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.
As the decade reached the mid-60’s, color TV experienced explosive growth. The 1965-66 TV season was the first where almost all the prime time programming on the networks were now being broadcast in color. Now more than 30% of TV households had color televisions. The distinctive look of the Texas Longhorns was built for the new medium.
At this time, limiting the appearances actually helped those who did get the maximum exposure of 3 games a year. There was no ESPN, no multi-cable outlets.
It was Economics 101-the Law of Supply and Demand. There were only 3 networks, and a severely restricted amount of games being televised. If you were a college football fan, you might get one or two games in your market a week. Viewing audiences for regular season games would dwarf the numbers of regular season games today. Building a national reputation was simpler then. You win 88% of your games then it stands to reason you are going to play on TV and look good when you do. From 1961-70 Texas was 24-7 on televised contests, including bowl games. The Horns went 16-5 on national telecasts.
It’s not just about winning. It’s about winning at the right time, in front of the largest viewing audiences. Four games stand out as helping to establish the Longhorn brand among college football fans.
1964 Cotton Bowl -- Changing of the Guard
In today’s college football playoff generation it is easy to forget that for a very long time post-season bowl games were seen as exhibition contests, a reward for a season well played. After the 1963 regular season there were only 8 bowl games, all played within 12 days. They traditionally carried little or no weight when it came to naming a National Champion. That notion would be discarded within the next decade, and had the visiting team won the 1964 Cotton Bowl it would have happened much sooner.
Texas was already crowned National Champion by every major service, the first unanimous choice since Michigan in 1948. But some on the east coast had their doubts.
Navy’s Heisman winning QB, Roger Staubach, was the darling of the national press. He graced the cover of Time Magazine. The same mag that called Darrell Royal "The Barry Goldwater of College Football," and said he was so conservative that "he looked both ways before crossing a one-way street," to which Royal replied that it only seemed to be common sense.
The worst offender of the ridiculing of Texas was Myron Cope, who would later gain fame as the father of the Pittsburgh Steeler "Terrible Towel." Cope wrote, "Tune in your TV to the Cotton Bowl and you'll laugh yourself silly. Texas is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the football public...Texas plays the kind of football that was fashionable when players wore perforated cowhide helmets...Duke Carlisle executes a handoff like a construction foreman passing a plank to a carpenter."
Myron wasn’t done.
"Take a close look at the Texas linemen. They do not look like linemen," he wrote. "They have skinny legs like centipedes or girls with high rear ends."
Actually this game was the public death knell for big time collegiate football on the east coast. Army had lost its prominence from the Doc Blanchard-Glenn Davis days of the 1940’s, and Navy was about to join them. Other eastern powers from the 1950’s and early ‘60’s such as Princeton, Maryland, Yale and Syracuse, were exiting stage right.
Texas had lost to #1 Syracuse in the 1960 Cotton Bowl. Then there was the TCU fiasco in 1961. So despite going unbeaten in 1963, some of the national media looked on the Longhorns as a "regional" power not yet ready for the bright lights of Broadway.
Navy played it normal 5-4-2 base defense, relying on its corners to play the power sweep or recognize a pass and drop back. On their first possession, Texas flared HB Phil Harris out of the backfield, Navy corner Pat Donnally lost a step, and Duke Carlisle hit Harris for a 58-yard touchdown strike less than three minutes into the game.
Early in the 2nd quarter, the duo teamed up again, this time for a 63-yard score to make it 14-0. Carlisle ended the day with 7 pass completions for 213 yards, and added 54 yards rushing for a Cotton Bowl record 267 yards of total offense.
As for Staubach and the Navy offense, they were shut down until the game was decided. Staubach had thrown for almost 1,500 yards and rushed for over 400 yards (unheard of for a drop back passer then) during the regular season. But Texas kept him bottled up until the Horns had a 28-0 lead.
Staubach did complete 21-31 for 228 yards, but Scott Appleton, George Brucks and Tommy Nobis led a fierce rush that punished Staubach to the tune of -47 yards on 12 carries.
The Longhorns were tough enough on the Midshipmen without any help from Navy, but they got some. The two teams exchanged film and during the breakdown, Texas coaches noticed that after every play the Navy cameraman took a shot of the down marker, and almost every time, the defensive signals were being sent in by an assistant standing next to it. Texas quickly figured out the signals, and Carlisle was ready to switch to plays that attacked the called defense.
The 28-6 thumping was telecast on CBS. Kick off was 12:00 noon central. The Sugar Bowl (Alabama vs. Mississippi) also kicked off at noon on NBC, while the Orange Bowl (Auburn vs. Nebraska) started a half hour earlier on ABC.
Having that cluttered a schedule of bowl games was about to change.
1965 Orange Bowl – College Football Hits Prime Time
October 17th, 1964. I was in Memorial Stadium, witnessing, with my parents, a soul crushing loss to Arkansas, second only to the 1961 TCU game.
With only 1:27 to go, Ernie Koy scored to bring #1 Texas to within one (14-13) of the #8 Razorbacks. The Horns went for two. The pass from Marv Kristynik quacked harmlessly at the feet of Hix Green, killing the dream of back-to-back National Championships.
There was no system for slotting in the New Year’s Bowls (aside from the Rose Bowl) back then, so the other three played a game of Russian Roulette, taking chances by inviting teams in November, and hoping they didn’t stumble into December. That system would give Darrell Royal and the Horns the best consolation prize possible for their slip up against Arkansas.
Both teams finished the rest of the season unbeaten, sending the Hogs to play Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl. As the once-beaten defending national champs, Texas was the hottest "free agent" team available, thank in part the "exhibition" nature of bowl games.
Notre Dame, under first-year coach Ara Parseghian, was unbeaten and #1 into late November, and were keeping to their long-standing tradition of not attending bowls. The Fighting Irish played in the 1925 Rose Bowl – and hadn’t gone to one in 40 years. Since 1925 Notre Dame had won six national championships while staying home during bowl season. The semester class schedule at Notre Dame caused some conflict with December games, and why go to a bowl, perhaps lose and tarnish what you had done during the regular season?
Texas was invited after defeating TCU on November 14th, with A&M still on the Schedule. The Orange Bowl turned its attention to #2 Alabama. On Nov. 26th the Crimson Tide edged Auburn 21-14 and accepted a bid to play Texas in Miami. Two days later, the Orange Bowl hit the jackpot. USC upset Notre Dame 20-17, giving Alabama the National Championship from AP and UPI.
As the decade reached the mid-60’s, color TV experienced explosive growth. NBC, owned by RCA, was the first network to go all in on presenting a full schedule of color programming. Hoping to sell more color TV sets, NBC went about creating synergy before synergy was cool.
The Peacock Network decided that owning January 1st, with colorful New Year’s Day parades and college football bowl games would generate more TV sales, so they had persuaded the Orange Bowl to jump from ABC to NBC, and more importantly, to play the game in prime time.
Suddenly the Orange Bowl (and NBC) had a match up that rivaled any in recent memory.
- The first primetime College Bowl Game.
- The 1964 National Champion vs. the 1963 National Champion
- Two of the most recognizable coaches in the game.
- The best offensive (Joe Namath) and defensive (Tommy Nobis) players going head-to-head
NBC paid the Orange Bowl $600,000 to make the move ($4.5 million in 2016 dollars). They had gambled on collecting three of the four New Year’s Day bowl games and the payoff helped to change how we watch college and pro football.
For the first time one network would produce 10 straight hours of college football for couch potatoes to enjoy on New Years Day.
Jan. 1st 1965 on NBC looked like this. 1:00 PM central, the Sugar Bowl (LSU-Syracuse) kicked off. The Rose Bowl followed at 4:00 PM (Michigan-Oregon State) with the Orange Bowl as the nightcap at 7:00 PM. The Cotton Bowl kicked off on CBS at 12:00 noon central.
Before this game, only the sport of boxing had proven to be a substantial hit on prime time. NBC pulled out all the stops for the game assigning their #1 pro football announcing team - play-by-play legend Curt Gowdy, along with commentator Paul Christman. The network also used the night game for heavy cross promotion of its upcoming programming schedule, which needed a boost after falling well behind CBS in the Nielsen ratings.
The City of Miami threw one helluva party that week. Fireworks before and at halftime, which was extended to include not just the two teams bands, but local bands as well. Taking no chances, the bowl committee scotch-taped real oranges onto the fake trees in the east end zone, where bathing beauties were lounging on coral rocks. Jackie Gleason, the adopted "Mayor" of Miami was in attendance, as was former Vice President Richard Nixon.
Adding to the buildup was that the NFL draft had already been held and Alabama QB Joe Namath was the #1 choice of both the NFL (St. Louis) and the AFL (N.Y. Jets). Texas linebacker Tommy Nobis would be the top choice a year later, choosing between the NFL Atlanta Falcons and the AFL Houston Oilers.
The game was everything anyone could have hoped for. Namath didn’t start, he had injured his knee during practice the week before the game. Steve Sloan started in his place, and since ‘Bama hadn’t given up more than 14 points in any one game, the Crimson Tide fans were confident they could win without Joe Willie.
During the regular season, Texas longest touchdown run from scrimmage was 21 yards. But late in the first quarter, when Alabama had a stunt on, Texas had a power sweep called with Koy. The 'Bama end crashed inside, Texas sealed the corner, and Koy romped 79 yards for an Orange Bowl record touchdown.
Early in the 2nd quarter Texas took advantage of an Alabama mistake -- as the Tide was trying to take advantage of the new substitution rule. In 1964 there still wasn't unlimited substitution, but teams could substitute as many players as they wanted when the clock was stopped for any reason. During a timeout right before a Texas punt Alabama put in its entire offense. One of the offensive linemen lined up offside, and given new life, the Horns struck quickly.
On the very next play, Royal had Jim Hudson in at QB for Marvin Kristynik. Hudson was the early season starter, but had been injured. He had the much stronger arm and on the first play, George Sauer ran a fly pattern, split the corner and safety and caught a 69-yard touchdown pass to give Texas a 14-0 lead.
That was enough for Bryant. Joe Namath went into the game.
Royal and the coaches had admired Namath from afar – and on film. This up close and personal look was scarier than they had imagined. Texas liked to play a base front and "rush and contain" and if the pass was completed, then punish the receiver.
Namath made that obsolete. Royal admitted afterward that Namath had the quickest release he had ever seen. That meant putting pressure on a QB with a gimpy knee and hope like hell you could man up with the receivers.
Late in the game, trailing 21-17, Alabama had a 1st and goal at the 6. Fullback Steve Bowman hit the middle for a quick 4 yards.
Two more Bowman tries got the ball inside the 1-yard line. On 4th down, Namath thought he saw a crease off right guard. Tackle Fred Bedrick penetrated low from the side and Nobis came in high to wrap him up. Nobis said they heard the whistle blow the play dead, let up and that's when Namath fell into the end zone.
To this day Namath insists he crossed the goal line with the ball. "I can’t tell from the films," he said, referring to one blurry version in which his right shoulder dips forward before contact. But at the time, Namath said, he looked down and saw the ball past the goal line.
Here is a new (slightly Alabama leaning) video on the game.
Namath completed 18-of-37 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns and was named the game's Most Outstanding Player. His other reward was a contract with the Jets for the then unheard of amount of $400,000.
Just a few years later Namath would return to Miami Stadium and stun the NFL with a win in Super Bowl III. Four members of that 1964 Texas squad would be his teammates. Tight End Pete Lammons, Wide Receiver George Sauer, defensive back Jim Hudson, and defensive lineman John Elliot.
While teammates with the Jets, Namath said Lammons told him that the Texas players did their best not to hurt Namath, playing with that bad knee.
"Maybe Pete didn’t," Namath said. "But I don’t know if old Tommy Nobis and Diron Talbert and Tom Currie got that message."
Earlier in the day, #2 Arkansas edged #6 Nebraska 10-7 in the Cotton Bowl to earn the Football Writers Association of America and the Helm’s foundation National Championship trophy. It wouldn’t be until 1974 that everyone decided to wait until after all the bowl games before declaring a National Champion.
Arkansas came away with a piece of the National Championship. Texas became a major player in the single most important college football game of the 1964 season.
The year before, the 1964 Orange Bowl (Auburn vs. Nebraska) drew 8.5 million viewers, having to go against the Cotton Bowl (Texas vs. Navy) early and then the Rose Bowl (Illinois vs. Washington) in the 2nd half.
This game drew almost 5 times the audience (40 million viewers), making it the most watched college football game up to that time. The two best programs of the ‘60’s putting on a show in prime time, helping to kick-start a surge of popularity in the college game.
That game took place over 51 years ago, and both teams are instantly recognizable in the game film. When you are among the elite, there is no reason to "candy up" the uniforms.
You are What Your Record Says You Are.
1969 Texas-Arkansas: "Smarter Than a Tree Full of Owls"
The lead-up to the 1969 college football season wasn’t about who might win the National Championship – it was about debating if 1969 Ohio State Buckeyes might be the GOAT. Ohio State returned just about "errbody" off their 1968 National Championship squad. The Buckeyes had six All-Americans led by QB Rex Kern, running back Jim Otis, as well as middle guard Jim Stillwagon and defensive back Jack Tatum.
Their pathway to the 1969 championship was simple. Go unbeaten in the regular season, sit at home for holidays and watch some bowl games. The Buckeyes had a 9-game regular season schedule, (Ohio State didn’t start to play 10 games until the mid-70’s) and the Big 10 still had the quirky (and stupid) rules that said no team could go to the Rose Bowl in back-to-back years, and that was the only bowl game any Big 10 team was allowed to play in.
ABC had recently paid the NCAA $10 million for the TV rights to college football. Network Publicist Beano Cook went to ABC Sports President Roone Arledge with an idea to "time-shift" one of the few marquee games on their schedule.. Ohio State was the prohibitive favorite to win the national championship, the Arkansas-Texas game in mid October was one of the most attractive match ups of the year. However, it was scheduled to go against the World Series (yes they actually played day games back then). Arkansas’ stadium had no lights, so why not persuade the NCAA and the two teams to move the game to December, and give the network a quality game after Ohio State finished their season?
Both Royal and Frank Broyles made it clear that they would agree to the shift only if the game did not count against their limited number of TV appearances for the season. The NCAA signed off and the game was moved.
As expected Ohio State ripped through their first 8 opponents by an average score of 42-8. Last up was a Nov. 22nd date at Michigan. The Wolverines would go to the Rose Bowl with a win over the Buckeyes, while Ohio State could wrap up their second consecutive National Championship with a victory.
Trust me when I tell you that Ohio State-Michigan is every bit as malicious and intense as Texas-OU. I am speaking from family experience on this one.
Woody Hayes had a lot to do with this. Michigan thinks of him as a Barry Switzer—without the guns and drugs. Ohio State wrapped up the 1968 regular season with a 50-14 thrashing of Michigan in Columbus. When the Buckeyes scored in the final moments of the game, Ohio State went for two -- and made it. When asked by the press why he went for two, Hayes replied simply, "Because I couldn't go for three."
After the 1968 season, Michigan hired Bo Schembechler, and his first team got off to a rocky start, but by the time Ohio State week rolled around, the Wolverines, led by tailback Glenn Doughty, offensive lineman Dan Dierdorf and tight end Jim Mandich, they were 7-2.
Schembechler knew Hayes and his hatred for everything Maize and Blue as well as anyone. He had played for Hayes at Miami of Ohio, and was an assistant at Ohio State. In 1969, during practice the week leading up to the Ohio State game, Schembechler had every Wolverine scout team player wear a practice jersey with the #50 on it.
Ohio State jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the first quarter, but Michigan drove the length of the field to take a 14-12 advantage. A 68-yard punt return quickly set up the 3rd Wolverine score. Michigan led 24-12 at the half and that was the final score.
Saturday November 22nd was an off day for Texas. Darrell Royal didn't feel like sitting home, so he called Baylor and asked if he could come up and sit in the press box for the Bears game against SMU. As Royal watched SMU defeat Baylor 12-6, members of the press kept him up to date with what was happening in Ann Arbor.
That was the final piece to setting up "The Game of the Century,"
And if I have to explain all of the twists and turns of that game – where have you been the last 40 years?
This was an historic contest for television as well. 52% of all households watching TV that afternoon were tuned into the game – almost 55 million viewers. That translates into more than 80 million in 2016 ratings. It was the first time a game had been "time-shifted" for television and it opened the floodgates for such deals. Television was ready to move college football out of the "regional" category to a viable national attraction.
1970 Cotton Bowl – Emotional, Historic
As the 1969 season unfolded, the usually wild bowl selection process seemed almost tame. an independent Penn State seemed to be in the driver’s seat, and if they stayed unbeaten they could have their pick of the Sugar, Orange or Cotton Bowls.
Except there was about to be a seismic shift in college football, and it was starting in South Bend. Since 1966, Ara Parseghian had been working to get Notre Dame to accept bowl bids. Michigan State and Notre Dame met in that years "Game of the Century," and it ended in a 10-10 tie – with the #1 Irish running out the clock instead of trying to score. Dan Jenkins started his game story in SI by writing that Ara had decided to "Tie one for the Gipper."
Notre Dame won the national championship but caught holy hell from just about everyone (especially Alabama) for sitting on the ball.
This time there were several other factors working for Notre Dame to consider breaking their no-bowl tradition. The class schedule was changed in 1969 so the fall semester ended in early December and didn’t start up until January 5th. The paycheck of $300,000 looked good. Most importantly, the wire services decided to wait until after the 1969 bowl games to crown a national champion.
Notre Dame kept this change to themselves. They wanted to see how the landscape shook out as the season went along, so almost no one knew what they were thinking.
"Hoss" Brock knew.
Jim "Hoss" Brock was the chief recruiter for the Cotton Bowl, and Hoss never met an AD, Coach or adult beverage that he didn’t absolutely love. A former SID at TCU, Brock understood that the Cotton Bowl was fighting with a short stick when competing with New Orleans or Miami for elite teams. Dallas can be as cold and unforgiving as New York City on New Years, but Brock treated bowl selection as a year round sport and he loved every minute of it.
Jim was "Hoss" because every male he knew was called that, just as every female was "Darlin’ or "Sweet Pea." He may not remember your name, but that didn’t keep him from treating you like you were his best friend. Brock heard rumors of Notre Dame’s change of heart early in the season, and while he worked on Penn State, he always kept Notre Dame in play.
As for the Irish, they were looking to get the best match up possible. Brock convinced them that either Texas or Arkansas would be unbeaten, and at worst, #2 to Ohio State by the end of the season. So on Nov. 17th, Notre Dame stunned the college football world by agreeing to come to the Cotton Bowl.
After December 6th, the Cotton Bowl had the most attractive match up in any bowl for decades.
With all the ballyhoo about the game, Texas had to deal with a horrific situation. Two days after the Arkansas contest Freddie Steinmark finally told the doctors about his injured leg. X-rays revealed a bone tumor just above his left knee. A biopsy confirmed the tumor was malignant; it was an osteogenic sarcoma, and he was treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. On December 12, his leg was amputated at the hip. Freddie was determined to join his teammates on the Cotton Bowl sideline and 20 days later he made it. Freddie lost his battle with cancer on June 6th, 1971.
The contest was another classic, mixing outstanding football, raw emotion, and a storybook ending.
Texas would win 10 more games in 1970 to stretch the winning streak to 30 before Notre Dame exacted its revenge in a Cotton Bowl rematch. The Horns finished in the Top 5 seven out of the last 10 years.
The decade (1961-70) began with a heartbreaking loss to TCU and a missed opportunity to a national championship. It ended with yet another bitter defeat costing the Horns a title. Still, that time established Texas as a nationally elite program, one that could attract the casual college football fan along with the rabid Horn fans.
The Longhorns were fortunate enough to be a part of several historical moments for college football in the 1960’s. Getting Navy in the 1964 Cotton Bowl allowed Texas to establish their national credentials while signaling a major shift in the power base of the sport.
Losing to Arkansas in 1964 cost Texas a national championship, but the Horns rebounded, playing in, and winning the most important game of the first half of the decade.
One of the biggest upsets of the 1960’s put Texas in position to participate in an historic season-ending contest, winning a national championship in front of the President and the largest viewing audience of the decade for a college football game.
That set up one of the best and most emotional bowl games ever played, In case you need any more proof that Texas was now firmly among the elite of college football there is this: Notre Dame was ranked #9 going into the game with Texas. After the loss, the Fighting Irish finished #5 in the final poll.
Texas indeed fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time during much of the 1960’s.
But then again, as a wise man once said, "Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity."