ARLINGTON — Because Oprah is retired and we Texans can no longer hop on her couch, we should look to fellow Texan Dr. Phil to get real about the pathetic state that were in.The sad truth is Florida is kicking our butts.We may claim to be bigger and badder in everything, but the following truth tells a disgusting and wasteful, truth.Florida has a population of 19.3 million and features 11 Division I basketball and seven football teams. Since 1980, this state has a combined 10 football and two basketball titles.Texas has a population of 26 million with 21 Division I basketball and 11 football teams. Since 1980, this state has combined for one title in the two sports that pay the bills in college athletics.Texans, we should be embarrassed. Whats our excuse? It cant be money. Or maybe it is money; perhaps we dont aid our student athletes well enough.It must be that were not good enough and that we simply believe because we are bigger that we are better.The start of the NCAA South Regional at Cowboys Stadium is just another reminder that Florida is better. The state of Florida can squeeze three teams into this Sweet 16 and Texas cant get one into the field of 68? About the only thing were better at than Florida is that our governing child of George Bush can be president and theirs blew it.We talk big and spend more on our high school facilities than some countries do on health care, but what are the results?At this rate Texas should proceed with Gov. Rick Perrys plan to secede from the Union because we cant beat the biggest of the big.There must be a way, but its on the coaches and players to be better. Whether its Mack Brown, Rick Barnes, Gary Patterson, Art Briles, Tim Floyd, Larry Brown, Trent Johnson, Kevin Sumlin or the rest, just getting paid cant be enough.After they deposit their six- and seven-figure checks, there should be some motivation not to simply represent the school but also the state that cares so deeply about ball.Alas, it can happen.Florida does it. Does it all the time.I know were perceived as a football school or a football state, but I like to think that were pretty good in basketball, too, said Florida guard Kenny Boynton, who is from Pompano Beach, Fla.How did Florida do this?I embraced football, Gators coach Billy Donovan said.Basically, Donovan raised a white flag at the football offices. Rather than try to compete, he merely tried to support and ultimately complement the team.The other thing Donovan did was keep some of Floridas considerable talent in state.Boynton could have gone to Georgia Tech, Kansas, Duke or Texas. He chose a school that loves football more than basketball.Forward Patric Young, who is from Jacksonville, Fla., and is expected to be a first-round NBA draft pick, could have gone to any basketball school he wanted, yet he chose Florida.Meanwhile, the best high school player in Texas and the nations second-ranked recruit forward Julius Randle from Plano Prestonwood recently selected Kentucky over Kansas and Florida. Texas finished fifth. Three of the nations highest-ranked recruits are from Texas and all signed with Kentucky.Texas guard Sheldon McClellan, who led the Longhorns in scoring this season, announced this week that he plans to transfer.It all makes for a giant pile of bad.Someone, talk me off this ledge.It goes in cycles. Its like recruiting classes; they go in cycles, TCU coach Trent Johnson said. It takes a [high school recruit] to show great courage. Anywhere your program is in a BCS league, you can get it done. You can be good in all of it. Youre making money. The football thing, or the atmosphere thing, its just an excuse.Its good to see at least one coach own up to the excuse tag.The bottom line is Texas is in a down cycle. The other part of that bottom line is that the top of this cycle needs to start including some more national titles in the sports other than womens basketball because Florida is kicking our butt.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof