There’s a pretty good chance you aren’t a Texas Longhorns fan, and that’s totally fine. College football is all about allegiances that you really don’t ever betray because they’re either passed down to you from your parents and maybe your grandparents, or they’re earned through years of hard work at the school you choose to root for every weekend once summer ends.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that you know your beloved Southern Illinois Salukis or Idaho State Bengals aren’t going to be playing a big bowl game this or just about any other January, but you really want to root for one team this year because you love football so much.
That’s where the Longhorns come in.
If you’re in the market for a team to spend your Saturdays with, 2016 is the year you should consider rooting for UT if you’re looking for the college football equivalent of a one-night stand: a team to like for one year, then maybe move on from by the time you start making 2017 Labor Day plans. You aren’t looking for a long-term thing, but after taking two overtimes to beat the number ten ranked Notre Dame over the weekend in what could be the most exciting game you’ll see all year, and getting into the Coaches (number 20) and AP (number 11) polls for the first time in two years, the Longhorns are officially good again.
Why should you care? Fair question. And mind you, if you bleed Alabama Crimson or you make it out to Ann Arbor at least once a season to watch your Wolverines, you probably shouldn’t bother reading beyond this point, but for the time being, the Longhorns are the most exciting thing in college football. This could change by next week, and the way the off-season can totally change everything with players graduating or going to the NFL and recruiting, it will definitely be a different story next year when the Longhorns are either not as fun, or, more likely, even better.
But for the time being, Texas has a team led by the quarterback tandem of massive senior Tyrone Swoopes and true freshman Shane Buechele. If you caught any of the game then you saw Charlie Strong swapping the two out for various plays, especially when it called for Swoopes to plow through a defensive line filled with guys smaller and slower than him. Will he keep using the duo throughout the game? Possibly. But that’s part of the reason you need to watch.
Then there’s Buechele. The teenager from Arlington, a “miracle baby” who was born even after his father had a vasectomy. That’s probably too much information to know about what goes on in the Buechele household, but the fact remains that all the mystique and history attached to Texas football, from Friday Night Lights high school stuff to the Dallas Cowboys, means that every now and then, when there’s a good story and an exciting team coming out of Austin, it’s worth following them to see where they go. The smart money is that they’re going to get better, and the thing with college football is that, unless they’re your team, you look for the favorites to fall. The possibility of an upset, the kind the Longhorns pulled off against Notre Dame, is one of the sweetest victories in sports.
So if you’re looking for a team to cheer for, especially a team with games coming up against rivals (most importantly, the Red River Rivalry game against the reeling Oklahoma Sooners – ask a UT fan what they think about that team), now might be the best time to jump on the Texas Longhorns bandwagon for the rest of the year.