Payback for Mack? Brown's Longhorns Heavily Favored
Byline: Barker Davis, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
DALLAS - Mack Brown's nightmares usually come in shades of crimson and cream. When No. 2 Texas takes the field against flagging Oklahoma today in the 100th edition of the Red River Rivalry, one question from college football's collective conscious will hang in the air above the Cotton Bowl: Will Mack and his men melt against Bob Stoops' Sooners once again?
The query isn't simply mean spirited. It's required given the preponderance of recent evidence.
In each of the past five seasons, Brown and his Longhorns have rolled into Dallas for their annual meeting with Oklahoma undefeated and ranked in the top 10. And each time a virtual push on paper has turned into an on-field steamroll for the Sooner Schooner.
Five games. Five double-digit losses for the Longhorns. Five otherwise-exemplary seasons spoiled by 60 minutes of anomalous football against the Sooners. And through it all, the common denominators have been as obvious as the 27-point average margin has been glaring: Stoops and Brown, dynamo and dullard.
"As a team, we hate that because coach Brown makes the real big decisions, but the assistant coaches and the players have a big part to do with it," said junior Texas quarterback Vince Young when asked about the Mack factor. "A lot of the guys on the team like me, Rod Wright, Cedric Benson and the guys that were here, we'll go up to Coach and tell him that it's not all his fault. It's not him, it's us. We played a big factor."
But the fact is, the actors in burnt orange have come and gone - from Chris Simms and Major Applewhite to Roy Williams and Benson to Derrick Thomas and Young. But the director, the head 'Horn, has remained the same. From the 63-14 humbling in 2000 to the offensive anemia of last year's 12-0 shutout, Brown has been the grimacing constant, the face of Texas' futility against Oklahoma.
"I do understand in modern-day sports, regardless of whether it's fair or not, you don't get credit for the wins but you do get criticized for the losses," Brown said earlier this week. "I am not happy that we haven't done better in the series. I feel like I've let our team down and the school down in this game."
What makes Brown's hapless streak against the Sooners so amazing is that his teams have been so otherwise outstanding. During the last five seasons, Texas is 0-5 vs. Oklahoma and 52-6 against the rest of the college football world. Brown's futility against Oklahoma stands as such a singular, anomalous blight on his resume that it has come to define him. Like college football Ahabs John Cooper (see Michigan) and Phil Fulmer (see Steve Spurrier) before him, Brown has become the man who can't beat Oklahoma. …