The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.
The 1946 season would be the last for coach Dana X. Bible, but his grip on Texas athletics didn’t lessen after he left the sidelines.
Bible’s final season, led by the great Bobby Layne, and also the addition of a World War II veteran, turned defensive back named Tom Landry, Texas went 8-2 overall. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma and Texas A&M for the seventh straight year and Arkansas for the eighth year in a row. Texas started the season with a 42-0 win over Missouri and a 76-0 win over Colorado. They beat Oklahoma A&M 54-6 to wrap an incredible three game stretch.
That string of dominance landed Texas its second-ever No. 1 ranking. They beat Oklahoma as the No. 1-ranked team, 20-13, and some how dropped in the polls to No. 3.
Texas stayed in the top 10 every week until losing to unranked TCU 14-0 in Fort Worth. Texas dropped from No. 6 to No. 20. It was the third time in program history that Texas appeared in every AP poll for a season. Texas beat the Aggies 24-7 to end the season, but its 4-2 record in Southwest Conference play landed them third in the conference and not good enough for a bowl bid.
Texas’ final ranking was No. 15.
Looking back, the loss to TCU in Fort Worth could rival as one of the worst in Texas history. The Horned Frogs were not good in 1946. They finished the season 2-7-1 and 2-4 in SWC play. Had Texas, an overwhelming favorite to win the game, beaten TCU, they would have won a share of the league title. Rice, with a 5-1 record, beat Texas 18-13, but lost to Arkansas 7-0. Texas beat Arkansas 20-0.
Who knows what the tie-breakers would have been, but it’s safe to say the 14-0 loss to TCU in 1946 would have drawn a lot of heat in today’s media landscape.
Layne did his part in 1946. He had this third All-SWC season, leading the league in total offense (1,420 yards), total passing (1,115 yards) and even punting average (42 yards). He finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Glenn Davis of Army would win the award.
Bible retired from coaching after this season. He is the fourth-winningest coach in Texas football history with a record of 63-31-3, surpassed by the man he would go on to hire in the 1950s, Darrell Royal, the coach who replaced Royal, Fred Akers, and the man who coached the Longhorns in a stadium named after Royal, Mack Brown.
When Bible retired from coaching he was third winningest coach in the history of college football, going 198-72-3 in 33 years. Only Amos Alonzo Stagg (who coached 57 freaking years) and Pop Warner (who coached 44 years) had more wins at the time. Bible never lost a bowl game, going 2-0-1 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1960.
Bible remained the athletic director at Texas until 1956, wrapping up a nearly 20-year reign at Texas that would help elevate the program to the national power it is today.
He made three football head coaching hires after retiring, and he hit a home run on the third try before retiring.
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