Longhorns Best team ever?
11-24-2005 12:27 PM
Longhorns Best team ever?
these guys seem to think its possible
The 27-story UT Tower hasn't really been lit orange with the white number 1's displayed on all sides in 35 years.
At least not for football.
And for many long-suffering Texas fans not as enraptured with repeated success in baseball, track, women's basketball and swimming, it's been too long of a wait in the only sport that really matters within Austin's city limits.
Traditional powers like Ohio State, Michigan, Southern California, Miami, Oklahoma and LSU all have had their chance to claim at least a share of a national championship in the last 10 years. Longhorns fans have watched with envy as those old-school teams have survived struggles to return to the top.
Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
Mack Brown has Texas 10-0 for the first time since 1983.
But true to the Texas spirit of making everything bigger and better, the Longhorns have returned to national-title contention in a grandiose way this season.
Some are already calling coach Mack Brown's current 10-0 Texas squad perhaps the greatest team in the 113-season football history of the school. The Longhorns appear to be on a Rose Bowl collision course with No. 1 Southern California for, potentially, one of the most highly anticipated games in college football history.
"I've lined up on the other side against them 43 times now, and I've never seen another Texas team this good," Oklahoma director of football operations Merv Johnson said. "I think in today's football they are about as good as I've seen."
Texas is the only team in the nation averaging 50 points and 500 yards per game this season. It would be the first time in school history for such a feat and the first time an NCAA team has accomplished that since Nebraska in 1995 (52.4 points and 556.3 yards per game).
On defense, the Longhorns rank among the top 20 in every major statistical category, including third in pass-efficiency defense, fifth in scoring defense and sixth in total defense and pass defense. For good measure, UT ranks fifth in kickoff returns and sixth in punt returns heading into Friday's regular-season finale against Texas A&M.
"There are no weaknesses on this football team," Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said. "You go position-by-position with them, and they are strong across the board. It's very difficult to find any place where they fall off."
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, whose team's 45-12 loss to Texas last month was its worst conference defeat in his OU coaching tenure, came away impressed with the Longhorns.
"From all I've seen, they look to be a great team," Stoops said. "They are athletic and can run, and their quarterback play with Vince Young has improved and given them more production offensively. I think their defense is very structured and sound. And they always have good athletes."
Stoops' point is well-taken. And although some Texas teams under Brown might have been more talented athletically, this collection and Young's moxie have helped make for a special group.
The Longhorns are looking for their fourth national title after claiming Associated Press championships in 1963 and 1969 and the United Press International title in 1970. That most recent title came despite losing to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl because the final coaches' poll was then taken before bowl games.
Most Big 12 coaches think this Texas team has the ability to compete with Southern California and bring an elusive fifth title back to Austin.
"It's a great honor," defensive end Tim Crowder said about comparisons to previous Texas championship teams. "I wasn't even around at that time. My parents were barely born. We're just trying to keep that Texas tradition alive."
The team that this squad is being most favorably compared is the 1969 team coached by Darrell Royal.
That squad featured a wishbone offense unusual for its time. It was ranked No. 2 for the entire season behind defending national champion Ohio State, then considered one of the greatest teams of all time.
The 1969 team had to deal with the loss of All-American running back Chris Gilbert, who graduated the year before. And it used momentum from a convincing Cotton Bowl victory over Tennessee the previous season to spark its national-title run the following year.
From the beginning of the '05 season, the Longhorns have been No. 2 behind Southern California, another team that is judged to be among the greatest teams in college football.
This Texas team has had to deal with the loss of All-American running back Cedric Benson, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears. And this team used momentum from last season's Rose Bowl victory over Michigan to spark its start this season.
"You think about all the great teams that came before us, just to be mentioned with them is an honor," defensive tackle Frank Okam said. "But we can't lose sight of what we need to still be mentioned there."
Vince Young ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency (169.8).
The Longhorns' strength begins with Young, a Heisman contender who already is judged as the greatest quarterback in the school's history.
"They've got all that talent across the board, but when you put that quarterback in there, it's like putting the cherry on top of the sundae," OU's Johnson said. "And that Vince Young guy is pretty good."
But as important as Young's athletic ability has been, he's been even better as a leader. He set the tone for spring and summer practice, leading by example, and he has backed it up on the field.
Texas lacks a franchise running back, but features a quartet featuring freshmen standouts Jamaal Charles and Henry Melton, along with Selvin Young and Ramonce Taylor. All do different things well and combined may equal the talents of a truly great back because of their varied skills.
Tight end David Thomas (34 catches, 457 yards) is the team's leading receiver and is a devastating blocker. Wide receiver was supposed to be the team's weak link coming into the season, but sophomore Billy Pittman (23.7 yards per catch) has paired with Limas Sweed to provide unexpected punch at the position.
The strength of this Longhorns team can be found in the trenches. ***** coaches marvel at the veteran offensive line keyed by tackles Jonathan Scott and Kasey Studdard and guard Will Allen.
The defensive front of Brian Robison, Crowder, Rodrique Wright and Okam has been dominant. Linebacker Aaron Harris has provided big plays at a position that was supposed to be susceptible after Butkus Award-winner Derrick Johnson became a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. And defensive backs Cedric Griffin, Michael Huff and Michael Griffin have all played at all-conference levels this season.
"Texas is supposed to have good players, and they do," former Baylor coach Grant Teaff said. "They have ability, access and facilities that they can recruit with anybody in any given year. But this Texas team is all about chemistry and leadership, and you can tell it."
The Longhorns are off to their best start since going 10-0 in 1983. But it's the way this team has played that has caught the attention of others. Texas has scored 42 points against each conference foe so far this season.
From the second half of the Oklahoma State game through halftime of the Kansas game -- a three-game period -- the Longhorns posted eight straight scoreless quarters (overall, they held opponents scoreless for 126 minutes, 30 seconds). During that period, Texas outscored its opponents 152-0.
The Longhorns ripped Kansas for 618 yards in their most recent game, a 66-14 victory that included 336 rushing yards against a team whose rush defense was ranked No. 1 nationally before the game.
That performance convinced Kansas coach Mark Mangino that the current Texas team is better than the 2000 Oklahoma team, the Big 12's only undisputed national-championship team.
"I thought we had our share of hard-nosed kids that blended in and probably overachieved," said Mangino, Oklahoma's offensive coordinator in 2000. "But this Texas team, if you look at it from top to bottom, is probably a lot more talented. That blend at OU made for a national-championship team, but I think in raw talent that Texas is better."
After Texas' tight 25-22 victory over Ohio State in its second game this season, the Longhorns have turned their last eight games into a boat race, with the exception of a struggling first half at Oklahoma State. In that game, Texas rebounded from an early 28-9 deficit to scored 38 unanswered points in a 47-28 triumph.
"I think Texas is as good a football team as I've seen in a long time," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "There are some teams in this conference that have been really good in the last five or six seasons, but Texas doesn't have a weak link. You have a hard time finding anybody in the country that can do as many things as they can."
But even with the success, Brown and his team are taking nothing for granted. They still have a long way to go, and they realize it.
"I'm not sure you really enjoy the season until after it's over and you look back. You don't want to be 10-3, and right now, that's still a possibility for us," said Brown, who has never won a conference championship in 22 seasons as a head coach.
"If you stop to reflect on how cool this is, you'll lose and it won't be so cool anymore. So you better keep working and not look up."
11-24-2005 03:04 PM
im attending usc for a doctorate so i guess ill have to disagree with this thread. since my dawgs (UW) are horrible, go trojans!
11-24-2005 03:21 PM
There is no doubt they are good, Big 12 isn't what it has been thats for sure. We will see at the Rose Bowl how good they are.
11-24-2005 04:07 PM
If they win it all, they will have to be up there as one of the best teams ever. But the 95 Nebraska team is in my opinion the best team ever. They were dominent at every position. Texas is as well, and they should beat USC, but Pete Carroll will out coach Mac Brown.
11-24-2005 06:04 PM
longhorn D > usc D that is where texas will win the game both have high powered offenses but usc D is garbage.
that nebraska team with tommy frazier ? yeah they were freakin awesome
11-24-2005 09:04 PM
I think the article means the best TEXAS team ever. I don't know because I'm not a Texas guy. The only argument against them is the competition in the Big 12 being down. Still, they are good. Beat OSU in C-bus, won the Shootout, Texas Tech, Colorado, absolutely stomped a Kansas team that beat Nebraska the week before, and they still have 3 big games ahead of them with aTm, Big-12 Championship (Colorado, and it's hard to beat a good team twice), and the bowl game (Rose). If Texas takes care of buisness, and my not knowing much about their past, I'd buy that best Texas team argument.
11-25-2005 01:07 PM
I'm sure they had great teams in the Earl Campbell era but this is the Longhorns team I've ever seen even though last year's team was arguably more talented.
11-25-2005 01:44 PM
not that A & M is gonna hold this, but the L-horns aren't lookin' too hot right now!
11-25-2005 02:09 PM
11-25-2005 03:33 PM
Dam A & M is looking tough right now !
12-22-2005 09:48 PM
The 95 Nebraska Team was by far the best team I have ever seen play college football. Totally devastating on offense and defense, average margin of victory was 35 points per game and the put up 62 on Florida in the National Championship game that year and believe me it could have been 3 or 4 TD's more if the staters did not start coming out early in the 3rd quarter. That teams shouls have been playing on sundays.
12-22-2005 11:50 PM
Them 2001 Canes were the best ever.
15 future 1st round picks on the roster.
6 All Americans.
And Ed Reed - 'nuff said.
The '95 Nebraska team was damn good, but not even remotely balanced on offense.
And they ran the score up on FLA.
The Canes got up 37-3 on Nebraska in the '01 Rose, then called off the dogs. It would have been worse than that '96 Fiesta.
12-24-2005 01:20 AM
The 2001 Canes would have definitely beaten the 1995 Huskers, the Canes just had more talent and Nebraska's offense was one-dimensional. BTW, what ever happened to Tommie Frazier ?
12-27-2005 03:38 PM
He didn't get drafted or anything.... He's selling insurance in Lincoln...
Originally Posted by Iron Warrior
12-28-2005 12:14 PM
Regarding the '95 Nebraska team and any Miami team: think about this - in the '95 Orange Bowl (for the '94 title) Miami played Nebraska. That Miami defense had Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp - one of our best D's ever (not as good as '01 though). That Miami team had one of the worst offenses in a top 10 Miami team EVER.
We had Frank Costa at quarterback (yeah, exactly) and a bunch of no-names at WR.
Still, that Miami team only lost 24-17 and had a 4th Quarter 17-10 lead. (The D was on the field entirely too much because our O stunk that bad and they gave up 2 late Schlesinger TD runs on fake options.)
So, the Nebraska team from the year before only beat Miami by a TD - with one of the worst Miami offenses ever. Nebraska wasn't that different in '95 than '94.
Miami was world's different in '01 than '94.
Clinton Portis. McGahee playing fullback. Shockey. Andre Johnson. Bryant McKinnie. Dorsey. That's a hella stacked Offense.
The secondary that year was one of the best ever - Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, and Ed Reed. Jon Vilma, DJ Williams, William Joseph, Jamaal Green (with 12 sacks) and others that I've forgotten on the front 7.
It's just rediculous thinking about the freaking talent on that team.
Not to mention you had guys like Sean Taylor and Kellen Winslow on the punt and kick-off coverage teams.
People are clouded by the fact that Nebraska beat Florida so bad in the Fiesta. That FLA. team couldn't tackle or play D for ****.
12-28-2005 05:37 PM
I've said this before, but these are the '95 Nebraska results. Four of these teams were in the top ten when the Huskers faced them and they won by an average of 35 points.
12-29-2005 03:29 AM
Bro, you forgot Andrew Williams and Frank Gore, they are 49ers and ex-U ballers ! Andrew Williams needs to stay healthy so we can see what he's capable of !
Originally Posted by jmh80
01-02-2006 08:13 PM
the 01 canes and the 95 huskers would have been an epic battle between the 2 best teams ever but I see the huskers winning tha one. The canes were great but not quite as great as the hukers were, remember nobody got close to the huskers that year and the canes had a close one against Rutgers if I'm not mistaken. You can argue that the huskers were 1 dimensional but everyone they played knew they were going to run and could not even slow them down as their O line was just sick with the whole line being drafted.
01-02-2006 10:10 PM
Phil - the close game we had against Butgers was in '02.
We had a close game at BC - Dorsey had 4 picks and also were up like 20-3 in the 2nd half against VTech but allowed them to come back (27-25 final).
Osborne just didn't take his foot off the gas - Coker did. That makes the final scores radically different.
I'm pretty sure Miami could have beat VTech by 40 if they wanted to. They had just gotten fiinshed rolling up over 120 points against top 15 ranked Syracuse and Washington teams. (I think both teams scored a combined 7 points - 2 of the most dominating wins over ranked teams ever.)
01-02-2006 10:36 PM
Sorry about getting the year mixed up with the Rutgers game. As far as osborne runnining up I must disagree to an extent as the starters were pulled out in the 3rd quarter in most games. Lets be honest the 95 Huskers could have put up a hundred in 3 games that year (ASU, Iowa State and Florida) but osbourne called the dogs off. Also lets not forget their D was awesome that year giving up less then 14 points per game and they also had quite a few go pro on that side of the ball as well. Believe me I take nothing away from the 2001 Canes but they are rightfully the #2 team in my book.
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