The football season is approaching fast, and Texas fans are getting excited. Counting today, there are 30 days until the start of the football season. To help celebrate, we’re counting down five things every day until the start of the season.
So if you haven’t heard, the Big 12 is looking to expand, if the TV people let them. What you probably haven’t heard is just how well Texas has fared against teams that could join the Big 12. A few months ago, we made a list of 10 schools that could join the Big 12: Boise State, BYU, Central Florida, SMU, Memphis, Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida and Houston.
A few of those schools Texas has played a lot. Like a whole lot because they were in the same conference at one time. Half of them (Cincinnati, Boise State, South Florida, Memphis and Connecticut) they’ve never played before. But what are some of the games to remember from this group?
Here are five games to remember between five potentially new Big 12 teams:
5. Texas 45, Colorado State 0, Sept. 13, 1975
The season opener, Texas and Earl Campbell had a vintage day. Campbell rushed for 103 yards on just 13 carries and scored a touchdown. His longest run was 46 yards and Texas led 19-0 after the first quarter. Marty Akins added 80 yards on the ground, Robert Butler 65 yards on six carries and Texas combined for seven rushing touchdowns. For not scoring a point, Colorado State did manage 289 yards of offense, but four interceptions by Texas didn’t help. Texas went 10-2 in 1975, ending the season with another team from the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, in the Bluebonnet Bowl. The Rams went 6-5 that season, finishing third in the Western Athletic Conference. This is only time these schools have played.
4. Texas 35, UCF 32, Sept. 15, 2007
The Knights of Central Florida pushed the Longhorns for four quarters in September of 2007. UCF trailed just 10-7 after one quarter and 20-10 at halftime. Heading into the fourth quarter Texas led just 23-17 and UCF outscored Texas 15-12. UCF actually took the lead 24-23 on Texas in Orlando with 13:38 left in the game. But back-to-back field goals by Ryan Bailey gave Texas a lead and a 46-yard run by Jamaal Charles with 3:37 made it 35-24. Texas couldn’t convert an extra-point and UCF scored a touchdown with 35 seconds left to make it a three-point game. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy had 259 yards passing and 43 rushing, while Charles added 153 yards on the ground. Quan Cosby had 10 catches for 67 yards. Kevin Smith, a future NFL draft pick for UCF, rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Texas went 10-3 under coach Mack Brown and beat Arizona State 52-34 in the Holiday Bowl. UCF went 10-4 in 2007, winning Conference USA and nearly knocking off Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl, losing 10-3. Coach George O’Leary may have lied on his resume when Notre Dame tried to hire him, but his job over 12 years at UCF was impressive. He went 133-101. Texas has a 2-0 record against UCF, the second win coming in 2009, 35-3.
3. BYU 40, Texas 21, Sept. 7, 2013
It might not be the “beginning of the end” for coach Mack Brown at Texas, but boy did this feel like the final straw that broke the Longhorn’s back. Texas had some positive vibes entering the season. They won a bowl game the year before, 31-27, over Oregon State and went 9-4. The Longhorns started the season ranked No. 15 and thrashed New Mexico State 56-7 in the opener. Then this happened: Texas traveled to Provo, Utah. Gave up 550 yards to BYU, trailed 27-14 at halftime and lost 40-21. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was left on the side of the road somewhere between Salt Lake City and Provo and the chatter about Brown’s departure was so loud that it seemed more like a “when” rather than “if” he would get fired. Brown stepped down following the regular season. BYU went 8-5 (the same record Texas ended with) and lost the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl, 31-16, to Washington. Overall, BYU has a 4-1 record against Texas. Texas beat BYU 17-16 in 2011. Charlie Strong didn’t much better against the Cougars the following year, losing 41-7 at home.
2. Texas 17, SMU 12, Nov. 2, 1963
Fifty years before that BYU game, Texas won a national championship. SMU tried very hard to stop that national championship from happening. Texas led 17-6 at halftime, but were shutout of the endzone in the second half. SMU scored a touchdown with 5:57 left in the game to make it a five-point contest, but Texas didn’t let SMU get any closer. Playing in Dallas, Texas built a 14-0 lead with touchdowns by Tommy Ford and Phil Harris. The rest of the scoring was done by kicker Tony Crosby. The defense was led by future No. 1 NFL draft pick and Texas legend Tommy Nobis. SMU out gained Texas 291 to 265 and had 16 first downs to Texas’ 10. Four turnovers did the Mustangs in. Texas finished undefeated and was ranked No. 1 in during this game. Texas, naturally, was coached by College Football Hall of Famer Darrell Royal. SMU, naturally, was coached by College Football Hall of Famer Hayden Fry. SMU went 4-7 that season. Overall, Texas leads the all-time series with SMU 47-22-4.
1. Texas 20, Houston 20, Sept. 21, 1968
A few days ago, we wrote about this game. Texas and Houston would one day become Southwest Conference mates, but they were not in the same conference this year. One reader emailed this to me on the 20-20 tie: “That game was a huge reason the Coogs were admitted to the SWC.” Houston didn’t join the conference with Texas until 1976, but this game was obviously still on the minds of many fans. Why? Because was the Longhorns were ranked No. 4 in the country. They would lose the next game, then they would win 30 straight games, which another reader suggested should be one of our unbreakable records in Texas history. Had Texas beat Houston instead of ending in a tie, does Texas lose the following week against Texas Tech? Does Texas win three straight national titles? Who knows? Texas tied this game at 20-20 with 14:21 remaining when Ted Koy scored. But a missed extra point kept it tied. Houston did all it could to win. They had 22 first downs to Texas’ 12, out rushed the Longhorns by a yard, out passed the Longhorns by nearly a 100 yards (110 to 17). Both teams missed extra points in the game.
Now, of all the teams that could join the Big 12, few have a better history with Texas than Houston. During the late 1980s, Houston thumped the Longhorns (60-40, 66-15, 47-9) three straight seasons until 1990 when Texas beat the then No. 3-ranked Cougars 45-24. This was one of the most memorable games of the 1990s. The two schools have not played since 2002, and Texas has a 16-7-2 record against Houston.