Conference title could be at stake Saturday
The Sports Xchange
NCAAF Team Report - Texas - INSIDE SLANT
Big 12 doesn't have a championship game for football, because with 10 teams, it lacks the minimum required to hold one. But as Mack Brown pointed out this week, the league still decides its champion on Saturday along with everyone else.
"People that have talked about whether we should have a championship game or not," Brown said. "We actually have two in the Big 12. You have one with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at 11:00 (local time), then ours at 2:30. So the Big 12 will be highlighted this weekend and will come out with a champion just like everybody else."
The Longhorns will know how big the stakes are by kickoff. If Oklahoma upsets Oklahoma State, the Texas-Baylor winner plays for the Big 12 title and BCS berth that goes with it. If Oklahoma State wins, Texas won't make the BCS, but can still earn a share of the regular-season crown.
That makes the stakes particularly high for the senior class, which committed to a program coming off a title-game appearance and has yet to win or share so much as a conference title in their four seasons in Austin.
"As a player, as a team, this is where we set our goal, at the end of the season to be going to Waco, playing for a Big 12 championship," quarterback Case McCoy said. "It's here. This is where legends are made. This is where playmakers make plays. As a leader of this team, as the quarterback of this team, I'm expected to do this. I expect myself to do that. I expect myself to go out and play good and give our team a chance to win."
After a 1-2 start to the season, where nearly everyone left the Longhorns for dead, the senior class says this final game is something they hope to be able to remember fondly long after the final whistle.
"It will be something fun to reflect on. Especially this group of seniors that have been here, we went 5-7 (in 2010)," guard Mason Walters said. "The people that stuck around and kept with it, they're resilient. I just think it speaks volumes to this whole team as somebody that is going to bounce back no matter what comes up. We fought adversity through and through this season. I think that's why at times we get to be so confident is because we have been through the wringer and we're still alive and still fighting for one of the main goals we had at the beginning of the year. ... When I'm out of here, I hope I still see that resiliency at the University of Texas no matter what happens."
NCAAF Team Report - Texas - NOTES, QUOTES
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
--WR Jaxon Shipley didn't catch a pass last week, ending his 33-game streak with a reception. If the Longhorns are going to have a chance against Baylor, however, he's going to have to return to being a significant part of the passing game along with Mike Davis.
--DL Jackson Jeffcoat is leaving Longhorn fans something to remember him by. The senior is playing some of the best football of his college career and is coming off a three-sack game against Texas Tech.
--RB Malcolm Brown ran for 128 yards on 27 carries last week, the kind of effort that he's shown to be capable of when he can stay healthy. The Longhorns will be even more reliant on the running game this week to keep the high-powered Baylor attack off the field.
--LB Timothy Cole becomes the latest Longhorn to start at weak-side linebacker now that Steve Edmond has joined Jordan Hicks on the sidelines. He can expect to be tested by Baylor early and often.
SERIES HISTORY: Texas has dominated the series with Baylor historically, going 74-24-4. The Longhorns won a wild 56-50 game in Austin a year ago, but the Bears emerged victorious in the prior two meetings.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "What we told the guys is if you win the game on Saturday, you will be champs. The game before us is something that's out of our control. Let's worry about how we play." -- Coach Mack Brown, on how he'll prepare his team this week