If what Mack Brown has been saying all along turns out to be true, Texas may still have a legitimate chance to win the Big 12.
The Longhorns are off this week before hosting Texas Tech on Thanksgiving and finishing the season Dec. 7 at No. 4 Baylor. If the Longhorns win those two games, they clinch at least a share of the conference championship.
“I said earlier in the season that I did think the champion would have a loss,” Brown said. “Baylor’s playing at a really high level right now. They’re the only team without a loss but all of us have some tough games left. So it’s going to be a fun three weeks.”
Texas lost 38-13 to Oklahoma State on Saturday, its worst home loss under Brown and first since falling to Ole Miss on Sept. 14.
“The atmosphere was dead,” sophomore defensive tackle Malcom Brown said. “We came back out about mid-third quarter and I saw spaces in the stands. I was like, ‘Y’all are giving up on us.’… That’s how you know who’s on the bandwagon or not.”
Despite the ugly defeat, Texas can do no worse than a three-way tie with Baylor and Oklahoma State atop the conference standings if the Longhorns win out.
“There’s definitely no margin for error,” senior guard Trey Hopkins said. “We really have to eliminate the mental mistakes from each position on the field. We’re seeing teams that have stepped up the competition and everything is so close. It really comes down to who is making the least mistakes on game day.”
If there’s a tie, Texas would have to finish ahead of Baylor and Oklahoma State in the BCS standings to earn the Big 12’s automatic BCS bowl berth, unless two teams are within one spot of each other in the standings. Then winner of the game between those teams would get the automatic BCS bowl berth.
And if the Bears remain unbeaten by taking down the Cowboys in Stillwater on Saturday, the Longhorns can win the Big 12 outright by winning out.
“Two more games and you can guarantee that Texas is going to come ready to play,” junior running back Joe Bergeron said. “Texas has that history of being legendary. Texas has that history of being the best. It’s just like being the little brother of the big brother who was great. It’s being in that shadow and having to step out of it.”
If the way the Longhorns responded after their loss to Ole Miss dropped them to 1-2 is any indication, they may have what it takes to make a run at the Big 12 title.
“We’ve still got a shot at winning the Big 12 championship,” junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley said. “This happened to us earlier in the season when we lost two in a row and we came back and won six straight. So I think everyone on this team believes we can come back and we can win these next two games.”