On Saturday, the Texas Longhorns followed up eight years in the wilderness by signaling that they’re not even close to getting out of the woods.
Saturday’s disappointment kept with a Texas trend going back to 2016. When the Horns play as a ranked team, they lose.
Texas was unranked when it beat AP Poll No. 10 Notre Dame in Week 1 of ‘16. The Longhorns immediately jumped from unranked to No. 11 themselves. That Notre Dame upset has since gone down as the most overreacted-to Week 1 game (probably any game) of the century. ESPN play-by-play man Joe Tessitore’s call when Tyrone Swoopes scored in overtime to beat the Irish — “Texas is back, folks!” — will be memed forever.
Since Notre Dame, the Horns have played five games while ranked. One was an easy win against UTEP at home, right after Notre Dame. But these are the results of the last four:
- A 50-43 loss at Cal in Week 3, 2016, when UT was ranked 11th. That game was somewhat similar to Saturday’s: the Horns weren’t that bad, and some weirdness at the end of the game worked against them, but they were still playing a far inferior team.
- A 49-31 loss at Oklahoma State in Week 5, 2016, when UT was ranked 22nd. This was a boat-racing, as Texas’ defense got out-classed by Mason Rudolph’s Cowboy offense. The Horns were at least close at halftime before getting run out of the building late.
- A 51-41 loss to Maryland in Week 1, 2017, when UT was ranked 23rd from the preseason poll.
- No. 23 again to start 2018. Texas scheduled a home-and-home with Maryland and got swept.
The Horns never should’ve let Maryland play them close.
UT has one of the most talented rosters in the country, with more blue-chip recruits than non-. The Terps have a handful themselves, but their roster doesn’t compare on paper. Texas was a 13-point favorite in sportsbooks and a 9-point favorite by S&P+ projections.
In addition to Texas’ obvious talent advantage, it was facing a team whose players were in grief and whose leadership was in disarray. Maryland has reeled since the death of lineman Jordan McNair in June. With DJ Durkin on administrative leave and maybe never to return, Maryland came into this game with an interim coach, Matt Canada.
Texas still has the things it needs to be elite — in theory.
The program is an elite recruiter under Herman. Texas can be expected to pull in top-10 classes, as it did when Herman’s first full class finished No. 3 in February. Ex-four-star Sam Ehlinger is an interesting quarterback, and so is his backup, Shane Buechele.
Last year, Texas stabilized a bit after losing to Maryland and looked like a top-25 team at points, especially when it almost beat Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout.
But Texas has had all those ingredients for all the time it’s been mediocre, since it finished 2009 by losing to Alabama in the BCS Championship.
This is from UT blog Burnt Orange Nation after Saturday:
Texas might improve over the course of the year. It might beat USC and it might put up a fight against Oklahoma before falling short late — possibly on a game-ending turnover.
At the end of the day, Texas could even win eight games.
You will be told this is a success — a Liberty Bowl victory against Kentucky is the crowning achievement on a year marked with so much adversity that resulted in more wins than the previous year (8 > 7). Herman and staff will hammer this home relentlessly.
Be not a fool. Nothing has changed.
The opponents — Maryland, BYU, California — they are all different.
Texas? Texas is the exact same.
Better days should be coming. But they should have been coming for a long time.
Texas-Maryland was arguably the week’s oddest game. But plenty more fun and weird stuff happened elsewhere, too. Let’s run through it.
LSU was just toying with Miami
First, the Tigers made fun of the Hurricanes’ turnover chain on Sunday night in JerryWorld after a pick-6 to make it a 27-3 game:
Then, Leonard Fournette tweeted a bunch of money in the shape of a U, mocking Miami:
It wasn’t a friendly Sunday for Mark Richt’s team.
Labor Day night, the Hokies took over Doak with some savage mockery.
Virginia Tech fans and players with the tomahawk chop in Tallahassee. ☠ pic.twitter.com/K1dPNHsTjh— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) September 4, 2018
I’LL HAVE WHAT HE’S HAVING
That seems like some super strong Gatorade, y’all.
App State almost did it again 11 years later, this time to Penn State.
Talk about a tease.
No, really. It would have been perfect.
THIS LOOKS FAMILIAR pic.twitter.com/HGjVYi5vP4— College Football by SB Nation (@SBNationCFB) September 1, 2018
The Mountaineers entered the fourth quarter down 24-10, and put up 28 points in the fourth quarter. App State was forced to try a 56-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Because it’s college football, they missed. Penn State eventually escaped in overtime with the 45-38 win.
If you are a Big Ten school, you probably shouldn’t schedule Appalachian State in the first week of the season.
AUBURN WON THE FOOTBALL GAME!
Auburn, who aren’t strangers to playing in Atlanta, won the day’s marquee game between ranked teams. They beat Washington 21-16 in a defensive struggle in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.
Here is a photo of Gus Malzahn afterward:
[sprints back] WAIT
EVERYTHING SAL CANNELLA
Auburn has a man named Sal Cannella on their football team, and the guy can ball. Peep the work:
Sal Cannella will take that touchdown, thank you very much. pic.twitter.com/cCuohzgbS2— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 1, 2018
Look at the hair:
Early front-runner for Heisman hair Auburn’s Sal Cannella w/glorious head of lettuce pic.twitter.com/csujfkK16P— Dave Briggs (@davebriggstv) September 1, 2018
Washington’s also got hands
First, Ty Jones made an incredible sideline catch. Then, the Huskies finished off the drive with this early candidate for catch of the year by Quinten Pounds.
What a catch! Washington right back in this one. pic.twitter.com/4QLflxkkWh— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 1, 2018
Is it possible to give Ole Miss’ nWo belt to a receiver from another team? Because that was a damn good catch.
The world of college football is better for these phenomenal sideline items.
[Kanye voice] DO YOU SEE THIS COAT!?
IT’S GOT FEATHERS AND ZEBRA PRINT!
If you’re at the Memphis game tonight or any game this season you may see their new turnover celebration item. I was asked several months ago to create this Ric Flair style robe for the football team! Such a fun project! #GoTigersGo #createdbycarrie @TigersAthletics @MemphisFB pic.twitter.com/3aweJPfCiz— Carrie Rudy (@cre8dbycarrie) September 2, 2018
WATCH THE [TURNOVER] THRONE
Boise State has a nice new toy on its sidelines this year, the Turnover Throne:
Here it is after a successful turnover by Tyler Horton:
Tyler Horton get a seat in the turn over Throne... pic.twitter.com/QV0uEaDcAQ— Jeff Caves (@JeffCaves) September 2, 2018
Tulane’s perfect turnover chain
Miami’s turnover chain is very popular, and for good reason. But Tulane’s turnover chain just might be better, because they’re Mardi Gras beads.
I mean, come on. That’s great stuff. The New Orleans-based school is sticking to its roots since the beads are an integral part of Mardi Gras.
Sometimes, less is more. This is one of those times.
Marshall squeaked out a 35-28 win over Miami (OH), and were able to escape this nearly tragic mistake:
CHAOS!!!!!!! Marshall has the ball on its own 2-yard line after this. pic.twitter.com/xgBH1Kzpdn— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) September 2, 2018
That’s a weird play, and a football that needs to be kneeled in the end zone. But things worked out.
Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush chucked the ball into the South Bend air, and let Chris Finke do the rest:
That’s up there as one of the best Mossings of the day.
Nobody uses Snapchat anymore (well, not a lot) but here’s a UCF filter to remind us who the 2017 national champions were.
Terrin Waack of the Tuscaloosa News shared the filter that showed up for Alabama fans in Orlando:
Where... where did the ball go?
Never has somebody’s job been easier than this special teams play.
This was Saturday’s best playcard, and it wasn’t close.
Spongebob memes, I would personally argue, are some of the best on the internet. A year ago, Instagram user hhhhytian created a spread that was the Golden State Warriors as Spongebob characters.
And West Virginia has Patrick Klay Thompson on their playcards.
College football + memes = perfection. Thank you, West Virginia offense.
Washington State is doing things, both bad and different.
They tried this formation down 6
This is a formation. I’m not sure what kind, but it’s a formation. I ... kind of worked? It certainly could have gone worse.
By the way — here’s that bananas formation WSU ran for a couple of plays. Mike Leach is at it again ... pic.twitter.com/qz4C48epEY— CougCenter (@CougCenter) September 1, 2018
And this is a wonderfully bad snap
Washington State had their first great blunder of the season with a terrible snap on 4th and 6 while trying to punt. It just got away, and the Olympics they went through to try and save it was hilarious.
OH NO! That snap just sailed away. pic.twitter.com/tHJd5tAVoB— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 1, 2018
That made it a 10-2 game — just a great, great score. Mike Leach should have a fun thing or two to say about that one postgame.
The Jeremy Pruitt era got off to a great start.
The Volunteers aren’t off to the best start in Morgantown, lining up with just 10 players on defense. In fact, the entire game wasn’t good.
Western Kentucky’s Twitter account is in these internet streets.
Everything that’s going on right here. Everything.
omg the nc state fan on the right pic.twitter.com/yXNcTQ5y0T— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 1, 2018
Villanova won the Battle of (metro) Philadelphia
Villanova and Temple are opening up the season in the Battle For Philadelphia, and the Wildcats took a 19-17 lead on the Owls with this rollout and perfect strike.
Colonial football is the best football. Not really. But this was nice, as was Nova’s win.
DEEBO SAMUELS SNAG
South Carolina’s Deebo Samuels is a great football name. He’s also capable of making great catches, like this one:
The score made it a 42-6 game over Coastal Carolina. No surprises there.
THIS REFEREE IS NOT JUST POLICING THE GAME, HE IS SERVING BLOWS
We have our first great referee hit of the season. Oklahoma’s A.D. Miller was on the wrong end of this hit, which is better than most plays you’re going to see today.
Ref making more plays than FAU’s defense today pic.twitter.com/estcMvrgg1— Dan (@AtIantaDan) September 1, 2018
Luckily for Miller, he was able to get in the end zone. So as far as he’s concerned, he got his revenge.
Howard had a great start to the season, until it didn’t
This was a great throw and catch by the Bison. Unfortunately for them, an incredible punch by Ohio’s Kylan Nelson popped the ball out, and flipped the script.
First play of the season, folks pic.twitter.com/p8ch5LMbWN— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 1, 2018
That’s quite the swing of emotions in such a short amount of time. Howard went from red zone aspirations to starting a defensive possession at the Bobcats’ 5-yard line.
There’s the Rutgers football we all know and love!
Unbelievable. Rutgers just gave Texas State a first down on a 4th and 24 punt with a roughing the long snapper penalty.— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) September 1, 2018
You couldn’t expect anything less.
Kyler Murray is a video game
Listen, we can’t determine how many yards Kyler Murray ran here. But if you want to throw out a wild guess, it seems like he covered at least 40-50 yards just by scrambling around Oklahoma’s logo at midfield.
He also somehow got the first down.
Kyler Murray is GOOD at this football thing pic.twitter.com/0ZYJTuRxrP— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) September 1, 2018
If the NCAA Football video game was still around, you probably wouldn’t even be able to get that done.
Texas Tech’s T.J. Vasher also Moss’d a guy.
Texas Tech and Ole Miss are opening their seasons at NRG Stadium in Houston. On a big stage like that, you might expect big plays. And well...
T.J. Vasher* with the incredible catch for Texas Tech pic.twitter.com/Wy9ulaICXx— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) September 1, 2018
The extension on that bad boy is a work of art:
Oh, and Notre Dame beat Michigan.
I guess that’s important.
Things from Thursday and Friday
Purdue did some Purdue stuff, with this personal foul securing a loss
This was a great way to start your season if you’re Northwestern. A conference game on the road, and you pull out a 31-27 victory.
But the way Purdue lost it is incredibly silly — no — dumb.
And now you know why we call them Purdon't. pic.twitter.com/uXIK6kvQAL— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 31, 2018
Northwestern’s Jeremy Larkin clearly had his forward progress stopped, and Purdue’s Lorenzo Neal didn’t care, and threw Larkin to the ground. Not great!
As a graduate of Atlanta’s only university, I’m glad the season’s first FCS upset victim wasn’t Georgia State. But we came close to doing it for a second-consecutive year.
Western Michigan’s field goal net isn’t ideal for television viewing
Or Sitting Behind The Uprights either, for that matter. TAke a look, y’all:
Either Western Michigan needs to rethink this banner on the FG net or the network needs to rethink the camera position pic.twitter.com/iH5p1mNLCi— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) August 31, 2018
There’s also the fact that you can’t read that banner for “ARBOR” from the back, either. It’s just all bad.
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