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2006 Texas Longhorns

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 30, 2006


2006 Texas Longhorns Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews



Dec. 30
Alamo Bowl
Texas 26 ... Iowa 24

Texas overcame a rough start and held on by running off most of the final few minutes once the momentum had shifted. Iowa came out on fire going 77 yards in nine plays finishing with a one-yard Albert Young run and getting a 63-yard catch-and-run for a score from Andy Brodell for an early 14-0 lead. Texas slowed down the bleeding with a 27-yard Ryan Bailey field goal, but needed a big break as Iowa appeared to go up 21-3 on a pass to Scott Chandler that was called back on a questionable penalty. Iowa didn't score, and Texas took advantage going 80 yards in 13 plays finishing with a 20-yard scoring pass to Limas Sweed in the final minute of the first half. The Longhorns finally took the lead midway through the third quarter on a 72-yard touchdown catch from Jamaal Charles, but Iowa came back to retake the lead on a 23-yard Brodell catch. Texas answered on its next drive finishing a long drive with a two-yard Selvin Young touchdown run. Iowa pulled within two on a 38-yard field goal with 6:20 to play, but couldn't get back in scoring range.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 26 of 40 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 26-40, 308 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 4-26. Receiving: Jermichael Finley, 8-46
Iowa - Passing: Drew Tate, 15-25, 274 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Albert Young, 13-64, 1 TD  Receiving: Andy Brodell, 6-159, 2 TD
Notes & Thoughts ... Texas might have beaten Iowa, but the win shouldn't mask some major problems in the coaching and with how the team performed. Despite all its talent, the running game never got going finishing with a mere 70 yards, while the secondary full of top NFL prospects gave up too many big plays. Iowa might have been pumped up, but Texas should've won in a walk on speed and athleticism alone. ... As this game proved, Colt McCoy was the most valuable player in the Big 12. It's a completely different Longhorn team with him at close to 100%. ... Where did Andy Brodell come from? The Iowa receiver blew past the Texas secondary like it wasn't even there. It's a shame Drew Tate wasn't healthy all season long. He showed how good he could be when he's right. ... Even in a loss, this was a good showing for the Big Ten. Texas was a national title caliber team that almost got beat by an also-ran.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
11-1
2006 Record: 10-
3
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 North Texas W 56-7
9/9 Ohio State L 24-7
9/16 at Rice W 52-7
9/23 Iowa State W 37-14
9/30 Sam Houston St W 56-3
10/7 vs. Oklahoma W 28-10
10/14 Baylor W 63-31
10/21 at Nebraska W 22-20
10/28 at Texas Tech W 35-31
11/4 Oklahoma State W 36-10
11/11 at Kansas St W 45-42
11/24 Texas A&M L 12-7
12/30 Alamo Bowl
Iowa W 26-24

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
8-3
2005 Record: 13-0

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 UL Lafayette W 60-3
9/10 at Ohio State W 25-22
9/17 Rice W 51-10 
10/1 at Missouri W 51-20
10/8 Oklahoma W 45-12
10/15 Colorado W 42-17
10/22 Texas Tech W 52-17
10/29 at Oklahoma St W 47-28
11/5 at Baylor W 62-0
11/12 Kansas W 66-14
11/25 at Texas A&M W 40-29
12/3 Big 12 Championship
Colorado W 70-3
1/4 Rose Bowl
USC W 41-38

Nov. 24
Texas A&M 12 ... Texas 7
Texas A&M's Stephen McGee ran the option for an eight-yard touchdown to cap off a 16-play, 88-yard drive with 2:32 to play, and then the defense held on with two interceptions while knocking UT QB Colt McCoy from the game. McCoy, who was carted off on a stretcher, threw three picks, while Jevan Snead threw a pick to kill a final chance. A&M took the early lead on a 41-yard Mike Goodson run, but the extra point went wide right. Jamaal Charles ran for a six-yard score on the way to a 7-6 lead, but the defense couldn't hold on late. A&M outrushed Texas 244 yards to 70.
Player of the game ... Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee completed seven of 13 passes for 58 yards and ran 18 times for 95 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 17-28, 160 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Selvin Young, 10-44. Receiving: Quan Cosby, 7-67
Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 7-13, 58 yds
Rushing:
Stephen McGee, 18-95, 1 TD  Receiving: Earvin Taylor, 2-16
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Colt McCoy never seemed quite right against Texas A&M. He was underthrowing all day long and hardly appeared to be the sharp, confident passer he was before the Kansas State game. Even so, the running game should've been able to do more to control the game and the tempo, but instead, A&M was in charge, especially in the second half, and the Longhorns lost control of their destiny in the Big 12 race. No team with this offensive line should be held to 70 rushing yards.

Nov. 11
Kansas State 45 ... Texas 42
Kansas State jumped on Texas mistakes for a big third quarter run breaking a 21-21 tie with a 21-point run as RB Leon Patton threw a 18-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Wilson and Josh Freeman hit Yamon Figurs for a 30-yard score and ran for a one-yard touchdown. Texas mounted a huge comeback with an amazing four-play, 75-yard drive with an 18-yard Jamaal Charles touchdown run to spark a big run with Limas Sweed catching a 33-yard touchdown pass and Chris Ogbonnaya running for a score from one-yard out, but a line drive 51-yard Jeff Snodgrass field goal kept KSU ahead. The Wildcats pounced on the onside kick after the Ogbonnaya touchdown and were able to run out the clock. Longhorn QB Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game early with a neck injury after running for a one-yard score.
Player of the game ... Kansas State QB Josh Freeman completed 19 of 31 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns with an interception and ran for a score
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 19-31, 269 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: James Johnson, 10-29. Receiving: Yamon Figurs, 6-123, 2 TD
Texas - Passing: Jevan Snead, 13-30, 190 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Jamaal Charles, 16-87, 2 TD  Receiving: Billy Pittman, 6-102
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... It's easy to pin the loss to Kansas State on the loss of QB Colt McCoy early on, but that's not fair, and it's not right. The coaching staff should've immediately switched the offense into rushing mode and used all available weapons to run and run and run some more letting the great offensive line take control. If this was a national title team, the defense should've been able to step up in crunch time and turned the game around. Give credit to Jevan Snead for overcoming a lousy start to get the team back in the game late. Now the Horns had better be focused on Texas A&M with the Big 12 South title now on the line. If Oklahoma wins and Texas loses, the Sooners are in.

Nov. 4
Texas 36 ... Oklahoma State 10
Texas dominated Oklahoma State cranking out 510 yards of total offense with Colt McCoy pitching a nearly perfect game throwing two second quarter touchdowns and answering an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Grant Jones with a 27-yard scoring pass to Jermichael Finley. Jamaal Charles closed it out with a nine-yard scoring run following an Aaron Ross interception of Bobby Reid. OSU was held to 203 yards and turned it over three times.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 23 of 29 passes fro 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 23-29, 346 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 21-67, 1 TD. Receiving: Billy Pittman, 7-88, 1 TD
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 11-28, 123 yds, 2 INT
Rushing:
Keith Toston, 7-48  Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 5-66
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Why is Colt McCoy playing so well? Well, he's good, but he's also getting plenty of time to work and was able to pick apart Oklahoma State helped by big plays from his receivers. Now the question has to come up; why doesn't anyone seem to have any real interest in putting Texas in the national title discussion? The team is rolling on an eight-game winning streak with an offense that's humming as well as any in the nation, and if the Longhorns steamroll Kansas State, Texas A&M, and most likely, Nebraska, this has to be considered one of the top two teams in America.

Oct. 28
Texas 35 ... Texas Tech 31
Texas overcame 519 passing yards from Graham Harrell and a 21-0 deficit to rally with a 14-0 second half run close out with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Quan Cosby and a late stand on fourth and one. Colt McCoy threw four touchdown passes and was able to run out the clock with a key 33-yard run on third and five to keep the ball out of Harrell's hands for one final shot. On Tech's previous drive, started on the Texas 24 after an Antwan Cobb fumble, Tech got to the Texas 15 before Harrell slipped and just missed the first down on a dive. The Red Raiders got up early on two of Harrell's three touchdown passes and a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown from Fletcher Session, and overcame a Longhorn rally with a 30-yard scoring grab from Jarrett Hicks with :24 left in the first half. UT outgained Tech 227 rushing yards to -1.
Player of the game ... In a losing cause, Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell completed 42 of 62 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 21-31, 256 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 12-85. Receiving: Quan Cosby, 7-79, 1 TD
Texas Tech - Passing: Graham Harrell, 42-62, 519 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Shannon Woods, 8-11  Receiving: Jarrett Hicks, 9-156, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Is the Texas secondary really having problems, or were the big plays allowed to Baylor, Nebraska, and Texas Tech a little bit of a fluke? Things won't get much easier next week against Oklahoma State's suddenly nasty attack, so it'll be up to Colt McCoy and the offense to keep bombing away. It's time to give credit where credit is due: McCoy might be the Big 12 Player of the Year. He didn't have the game Texas Tech's Graham Harrell had, but he threw four touchdown passes and was cool, calm and collected in the clutch. Also give credit to Mack Brown and his staff for making the adjustments needed at halftime to get to Harrell and slow down the Red Raiders.

Oct. 21
Texas 22 ... Nebraska 20
On his first attempt of his career, Ryan Bailey hit a 22-yard field goal with 23 seconds to play and the defense broke up two Hail Mary passes in the end zone as Texas came back to beat Nebraska. The Huskers were up 20-19 late and were trying to run down the clock, but Texas CB Aaron Ross forced a fumble with 1:45 to play leading the way to the game-winning drive. The Huskers got three big plays with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Purify in the first quarter, a 49-yard score from Brandon Jackson off a shovel pass, and with just under five minutes to play, a 25-yard halfback pass from Marlon Lucky to Nate Swift. Texas moved the ball, but had problems with the kicking game as Greg Johnson got an extra point blocked and missed from 39 and 31 yards out. Colt McCoy threw two touchdown passes with a six-yard strike to Quan Cosby and a 55-yard throw to Limas Sweed.
Player of the game ... Texas CB Aaron Ross made four tackles and forced the fumble that led to the game-winning score
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 25-39, 220 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 9-63. Receiving: Limas Sweed, 8-119, 1 TD
Nebraska - Passing: Zac Taylor, 15-28, 277 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Brandon Jackson, 7-40 Receiving: Terrence Nunn, 5-84
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... It's always a good sign when you can win a nasty game in nastier weather on the road when you don't play your best. Texas had problems holding on to the ball against Nebraska, struggled in the kicking game, and gave up some huge plays on defense, but it came away with the win. Colt McCoy once again kept his cool under fire with a nice game and no mistakes. Why wasn't the running game used more? Jamaal Charles was effective, but he only got nine carries. Texas is at its best when it get the pounding ground game going, and it'll need to do that against Texas Tech next week.

Oct. 14
Texas 63 ... Baylor 31
In a strange game that saw big play after big play, Colt McCoy set a Texas record with six touchdown passes, Matt Melton returned a pick for a score, Robert Killebrew returned a fumble for a score, and McCoy connected on big play after big play. Baylor started out with a 67-yard touchdown from Trent Shelton on its first play from scrimmage got a 56-yard scoring dash from Paul Mosley, but couldn't keep up the pace. A 19-yard scoring grab from Limas Sweed broke the game wide open in the third quarter, and a 50-yard Sweed score and a 62-yard touchdown from Billy Pittman added to the blowout.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 31 of 32 passes for 275 yards and six touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 21-32, 275 yds, 6 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 14-64. Receiving: Limas Sweed, 6-98, 2 TD
Baylor - Passing: Shawn Bell, 25-47, 303 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Paul Mosley, 5-64, 1 TD  Receiving: Trent Shelton, 6-114, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Baylor got its licks in, but Texas was just too explosive in all phases and was way too strong with the pass rush and the swarming defense. Colt McCoy is getting ten days to throw, and he's making defenses pay putting the ball in places to let his receivers get moving. Nebraska is likely to generate some pressure into the backfield, so that means the running game will have to do a bit more next week. Even so, the line is playing at a high enough level to get through the rest of the schedule unscathed.

Oct. 7
Texas 28 ... Oklahoma 10
Texas got two beautifully thrown touchdown passes from Colt McCoy in the third quarter with a 33-yard play to Limas Sweed and a seven-yard strike to Jordan Shipley to the put the game away for good. The games biggest fireworks came from the Oklahoma sideline after questioning a call on a backwards pass off the hands of Adrian Peterson returned three yards for a score by Aaron Ross, who also came up with two fourth quarter interceptions. Peterson got OU's only touchdown on a 29-yard run. Selvin Young opened the scoring with a 15-yard dash in the first quarter.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 11 of 18 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 11-18, 108 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 12-65. Receiving: Limas Sweed, 2-38, 1 TD
Oklahoma - Passing: Paul Thompson, 15-27, 209 yds, 2 INT
Rushing:
Adrian Peterson, 25-109, 1 TD  Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 5-69
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... UT's lines dominated the Oklahoma lines getting good pressure into the backfield on defense and giving Colt McCoy time to throw. McCoy didn't have the best start, but he didn't panic, didn't press, and came up with a nice third quarter to put the game away. This strong, 18-point win puts Texas smack dab back in the national title hunt with only road trips to Nebraska and Texas Tech, along with a date with Texas A&M, to worry about before the Big 12 title game. If the team plays like it did against OU the rest of the way, there shouldn't be much of a problem finishing 12-1.

Sept. 30
Texas 56 ... Sam Houston State 3
Texas did whatever it wanted to starting off with a blocked punt for a touchdown and then rolling to a 42-0 halftime lead thanks so several short touchdown runs, including two from Henry Melton, and finishing it off with a 42-yard scoring strike to Limas Sweed. Jevan Snead rotated with Colt McCoy and was brutally efficient with an eight-yard touchdown run and a 56-yard scoring pass to Jordan Shipley. Sam Houston State finally got on the board midway through the third quarter with a 36-yard Taylor Watkins field goal. Quan Cosby closed things out for the Longhorns with a punt return for a score.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 13 of 15 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 13-15, 178 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Henry Melton, 19-63, 2 TD. Receiving: Quan Cosby, 4-37
Sam Houston State - Passing: Brett Hicks, 16-26, 105 yds, 2 INT
Rushing:
D.D Terry, 21-85  Receiving: Blake Martin, 3-39
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... There was never going to be any question about Sam Houston State providing any more than a scrimmage, but it was still impressive how all the parts were working perfectly the week before the Oklahoma showdown. Most importantly, the backups played just as well as the starters with Jevan Snead getting some great work in behind Colt McCoy. They got all day to throw, and they made the most of it. Now the task is to not just beat OU, but to do it impressively. Texas needs to generate a buzz again to get back in the national title discussion.

Sept. 23
Texas 37 ... Iowa State 14
Texas had few problems with everything but the weather getting out to a 16-0 lead and pulling away in the second quarter on a 15-yard Limas Sweed touchdown catch and a Henry Melton two-yard scoring run. Iowa State made things interesting in the first half on two Bret Meyer touchdown passes, but the defense couldn't handle the Texas offensive balance the rest of the way. Jermichael Finley closed out the scoring for the Longhorns with a ten-yard touchdown catch. The game was delayed for over an hour by bad weather, and neither team did much after.
Player of the game ... Texas WR Limas Sweed caught seven passes for 106 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 18-23, 212 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 17-78, 1 TD. Receiving: Limas Sweed, 7-106, 1 TD
Iowa State - Passing: Bret Meyer, 24-43, 274 yds, 2 TD,  INT
Rushing:
Stevie Hicks, 11-62. Receiving: Austin Flynn, 7-90
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... The win over Iowa State will be known for the bad weather and smooth, efficient performance by QB Colt McCoy, but the real story was the play of the defensive front seven The Cyclones average 0.8 yards per carry thanks to seven sacks of Bret Meyer. Rashad Bobino and Tim Crowder were unstoppable, while in the secondary, Aaron Ross was seemingly everywhere. The Sam Houston State game will be for the backups while everyone rests up for Oklahoma.

Sept. 16
Texas 52 ... Rice 7
Texas ran all over Rice 330 rushing yards to -12 with Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles combining for 210 yards and two touchdowns. The defense and special teams got in the act with a fumble recovery for a score from Tim Crowder and a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown by Aaron Ross to blow the game wide open. Colt McCoy was razor-sharp throwing two touchdown passes before giving way to Jevan Sneed for most of the second half. Rice's only points came with just over three minutes to play on a six-yard Jarett Dillard touchdown grab.
Player of the game ... Texas RBs Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young combined for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 7-8, 124 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 8-109, 1 TD. Receiving: Jermichael Finley, 2-39
Rice - Passing: Joel Armstrong, 18-29, 180 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Jarrett Dillard, 1-2. Receiving: Jarrett Dillard, 9-91, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Rice played tough in its first two games almost beating Houston and pushing UCLA, so don't automatically dismiss the near-perfect performance by Texas. The running game steamrolled over Rice and the quarterbacks were almost perfect combining to complete ten of 11 passes. However, penalties were a problem. A big problem. 19 penalties for 148 yards will give the coaching staff something to scream about before the Iowa State game.

Sept. 9
Ohio State 24 ... Texas 7
Ohio State got two touchdown passes from Troy Smith, a late two-yard scoring run from Antonio Pittman to put things away, and a wonderful defensive performance coming up with the big plays when it absolutely had to. The Longhorns had an early chance to score getting down to the OSU seven, but Buckeye LB Jim Laurinaitis forced a Billy Pittman fumble which was returned to midfield by Donald Washington. The OSU offense capitalized with a 14-yard scoring grab by Anthony Gonzales. Texas came back to tie it on a two-yard Colt McCoy pass to Pittman for its only points of the night. It was a relatively dead even game, but Texas couldn't come up with the big offensive plays Smith was able to produce.
Player of the game ... Ohio State LB Jim Laurinaitis made 13 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and forced two fumbles.
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 19-32, 154 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Selvin Young, 11-94. Receiving: Selvin Young, 6-41
Ohio State - Passing: Troy Smith, 17-26, 269 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Antonio Pittman, 16-74, 1 TD. Receiving: Anthony Gonzalez, 8-142, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Everyone will point to the loss of Vince Young and the absence of Tarell Brown for why Texas lost to Ohio State, but that's not quite fair. Colt McCoy, outside of one badly thrown interception, was more than fine even though he didn't get anything going down the field. Blame the coaching staff for not figuring out how to get the ball in the hands of the top playmakers, like Limas Sweed, on a regular basis. The secondary certainly missed Brown to help out on Ted Ginn, which would've allowed the safeties to help out on Anthony Gonzalez, that likely would've meant more from the Buckeye running game against a seemingly lifeless Texas defensive front seven. Texas is still in the national title hunt, but now it needs help. It needs to look impressive the rest of the way, with blowouts in the two monster games left against Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Sept. 2
Texas 56 ... North Texas 7
Texas scored 14 points in each quarter with QB Colt McCoy throwing three touchdown passes and running for another. Limas Sweed started off the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown grab and added a 29-yard scoring catch midway through the third quarter. Selvin Young ran for two shore scores in the second quarter with a five-yard run making it 28-0 just seconds before halftime. North Texas managed a 12-yard touchdown pass from Woody Wilson to Brandon Jackson.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 12 of 19 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran four times for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 12-19, 178 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 14-77, 1 TD. Receiving: Limas Sweed, 5-111, 2 TD
North Texas - Passing: Woody Wilson, 5-6, 65 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Jamario Thomas, 14-38. Receiving: Johnny Quinn, 3-16
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... While he wasn't Vince Young, Colt McCoy had as good a first game as the coaching staff could've hoped for. Yeah, he was given plenty of time to work against the nearly non-existent North Texas pass rush and he forced a couple of passes he shouldn't have, but for the most part, the quarterback controversy is settled for now and the confidence has to be as high as it could be going into the Ohio State showdown. The run defense was in midseason form holding Jamario Thomas and the Mean Green rushing game to eight net yards.

2006 Texas Preview

Texas Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

The defending national champion has more than enough talent to repeat. The defensive line should be dominant, the running backs are fantastic, the receiving corps has next level prospects, the secondary might be the Big 12's fastest, the offensive line is the best in the conference, and the linebacking corps will be solid.      

Yeah, there's one thing missing.

Had Vince Young decided to come back for his senior season, there'd be no reason to play the 2006 season. Texas would walk through the year on the way to a second-straight championship and a 34-game winning streak. Oh sure, many would point to USC last year and Miami of a few years ago to show that greatest-of-all-time teams are beatable ... nyuh-uh. This would've been 1995 Nebraska all over again.

But Young is off making millions as a Tennessee Titan and life does go on. The biggest question of the 2006 season is if freshmen quarterbacks Colt McCoy (a redshirt freshman) and Jevan Snead can do enough with the talent around them to keep the machine rolling. As good as Texas was last year, it wouldn't have beaten Ohio State without Young, and if it had somehow made it to Pasadena, it sure as shoot wouldn't have hung around with USC.

So does Texas go back to being, well, Texas? The inside joke was that Young was so good that he Mack Brown-proofed this team, but now the Longhorns might be doomed to once again being a perennial top five team that suffers one or two heartbreakers a year to keep from getting over the hump. If that sounds like it's a bad thing, it isn't.

USC only has one BCS title under Pete Carroll. Oklahoma only has one under Bob Stoops. National titles won by Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and Michigan seem like a lifetime ago. It's really, really hard to get to a championship game, much less win it, so the trick is to keep being in the mix until all the breaks fall the right way. Texas has the foundation in place to keep being among the elite of the elite for years to come.

Now we get to see just how much Brown and his staff can coach. If the quarterback situation is steady, there's no reason to think there can't be a return trip to the title game. But it's not going to be a walk in the park because of ...

The Schedule: Ohio State and Oklahoma are good enough to be considered among the three best teams in America, and road games at Nebraska and Texas Tech in back-to-back weeks would be too tough for almost anyone else. Fortunately, those two games come late enough in the year to allow Snead and McCoy time to get their feet wet. At Kansas State might not be a peach, but it has to be a must-win for a team hoping to play for the national title. The rest of the schedule should be a light breeze considering the toughest games are at home.

Best Offensive Player: Senior OT Justin Blalock. He would've likely been a top 15 pick had he come out this season, and now he'll be the anchor of one of the nation's best run blocking lines. He moves well in pass protection and is a steamroller for the ground game.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS Michael Griffin. Ends Tim Crowder and Brian Robison will get the bigger NFL paydays, but the sure-tackling Griffin will the be the leader of the D. He'll finally get the national respect he deserves now that he's out of Michael Huff's shadow.

Key player to a successful season: Besides Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead, it's sophomore OG Cedrick Dockery. If he isn't better than he was this spring, Blalock might have to move to right guard putting redshirt freshman Adam Ulatoski. For quarterbacks that need all the time they can possibly get to throw, Blalock is desperately needed on the outside.

The season will be a success if ... Texas plays for the national title. After last year, would anything less be acceptable? If there isn't a repeat trip to the championship game, that likely means a loss to either Ohio State, Oklahoma or Nebraska, and the heat will be back on Mack Brown.

Key game: Sept. 9 vs. Ohio State. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Oklahoma is good again and the Red River Rivalry means everything, but the showdown against the Buckeyes might be the equivalent of the national title game. The winner will likely be number one with the inside track to Arizona.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Second quarter scoring: Texas 218 - Opponents 48
- Rushing touchdowns: Texas 55 - Opponents 15
- Average yards per game: Texas 7.1 - Opponents 4.4

The Last Time Texas …
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Rose Bowl vs. USC)
…missed a bowl game…1997
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Baylor)
…was shutout…2004 (Oklahoma)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Colorado)
…went undefeated…2005
…won a conference title…2005 (Big 12)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2005 (Vince Young)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Vince Young)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Roy Williams)
…had a first-round draft choice…2006 (QB Vince Young, DB Michael Huff)