Face it, Longhorns: It’s all about Johnny Manziel

Even being a tad late with it, here’s a nice butt pat this morning for Mack from Austin. Coach Brown deserves it. I don’t care what they say.


Oh, you’ve heard the one about Mack’s biggest cheering section wasn’t on the burnt-orange side of the Cotton Bowl last weekend.

It was every other Big 12 football coach, outside of Bob Stoops, jubilant over the Longhorns’ unexpected crushing of Zero U.

It’s a catty way of saying none of the competition wants Mack fired or retired.

Actually, the No. 1 postgame question from Saturday still lingers:

Did Mack save his job?

Pride, yes. Pride was salvaged. But job, no.

If nothing else, the Longhorns’ performance was so good, so dominant, it’s exactly why the UT honchos can fire the man.

All that talent (at least based on how the recruiting services rate players) finally merged into one powerful force, and what resulted was the best UT game in three years.

But once in three seasons? What took so long? Where has all that “talent” been?

Because there is no answer to “where has that been?” there’s nothing to suggest Brown could save his job even if he ran out the remainder of the Big 12 schedule with Ws.

It is a weak conference, weakest in years, but even in better times for the league, Mack’s team should never be Big 12 patsies. A 14-15 conference record over the last three-plus seasons says it all.

But then there’s also another X-factor involved for Mack.

It’s called Texas A&M, which was supposed to be in the Longhorns’ rearview mirror going on two years ago. Gone and forgotten those Aggies, who departed the state for, as predicted (yes, from here, also) a football burial in the SEC.

But ...

A friend, Brad Townsend, wrote a story for the other paper last weekend, detailing how UT honchos had gathered in Dallas with more worries than what was thought to be yet another bad beat-down about to be delivered by Oklahoma.

The Aggies have generated steam, not only in record financial contributions to the school, but in enrollment, and certainly in that tipping point (at least in this state) known as football.

It was an interesting read, particularly with the colorful quotes from a longtime colorful character, former San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs.

Red also donates large bills to UT, and is a man known to speak his mind. McCombs’ friend, John Sharp, is the new chancellor at A&M, and Red said, “I think John Sharp will take A&M from a really good school to a great school.”

And why?

Johnny Bleeping Football, for one reason.

Red said he told Sharp that Johnny Manziel has given A&M “the chance of a lifetime.”

More Red from the Townsend story: “... you know how Aggies are. I told John: Ask them for anything. They’ll give up their grandmother’s dowry if you ask them for it because they’ve got the sensation [Manziel] now.”

Sure enough, a good nine hours after UT was wrapping up a blowout win over Okie, shocking the college football nation, there was Johnny Football in a late-night TV entertainment performance that stole Saturday thunder from what the Longhorns had done.

The Aggies were playing Ole Miss on the road, and Johnny appeared to have lost his mojo, committing two huge second-half turnovers that allowed the Rebels to take a 38-31 lead with 6 minutes to play.

Back came Manziel, however.

He was running it, he was throwing it, he was suddenly Johnny Paycheck again, leading the Aggies on a 75-yard drive to tie it, scoring the TD himself on one of those Only Johnny scrambles from the 6-yard line.

When the A&M defense held, Johnny had the ball again, this time 71 yards away with 3 minutes left. Johnny needed field-goal yardage. He got plenty of field-goal yardage with his legs, with his arm, while also milking the entire clock. The Aggies won on a chip shot at the buzzer 41-38.

The legend of Johnny Football steamed on.

Yes, the Longhorns had beaten a better team that day, at least I think Okie is better than Ole Miss, but I’m not sure I’d bet it that way.

Yet, playing on the SEC road, Johnny went Johnny on an Ole Miss club that had gone into Austin in September and buried the Longhorns.

Even on Mack’s best football day in three years, Texas A&M was 500 miles to the east, captivating a national TV audience with a classic win.

Call it even in style points on Saturday between Texas and Texas A&M, but the Aggies’ trend continued. The shadow of Johnny Football is something the Longhorns still didn’t escape.

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