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TEXAS IS BACK: Why the internet’s favorite Longhorns joke is a thing

The modern history of the joke starts with an ESPN tweet from 2016’s opener.

Texas is one of the richest and most prestigious programs in college football. That’s why it’s been so unusual to see the Longhorns mired in mediocrity since the turn of the decade. Texas last won more than nine games in a season in 2009. The Longhorns should be better than they are, and eventually, they probably will.

So when Texas hasn’t been better but has shown hints of it, it’s prompted lots of people to make bold, sometimes joking statements: TEXAS IS BACK. It really became a thing last year, after a season-opening win over Notre Dame:

The Longhorns were not, in fact, back. And during moments good and bad for the Longhorns since, this has become a Thing. See after the Longhorns lost on a crushing interception in overtime against Oklahoma State in Week 8:

Were they Horns after they got a pick-six touchdown on the first series of the year against Maryland in September? Oh, yeah, per all our Twitter jokes:

The tide turned toward Maryland later, though. And when it did:

Right after Texas actually did something good, blocking a Maryland field goal and running it back for a touchdown:

Is Texas actually back? Still no, but probably soon.

Just not this year. Definitely not this year, as the Horns are now 3-4.