Click on any story, listen to any podcast or watch any television discussion regarding Texas and Oklahoma’s pending move to the SEC, and you will inevitably hear about the blueblood status of the Longhorns and Sooners. College football royalty. Superpowers headed to the strongest conference in the nation. Two of the biggest brands in the game.
Half of that is true.
Oklahoma is firmly in college football’s uppercrust. Six straight Big 12 titles. Four college football playoff appearances. Fifteen top 10 finishes since 2000. Seven Heismans, including four this century.
Texas? Not so much.
Sure, Texas has money, slick uniforms, an awesome logo and is located in a cool city. But the on-field performance does not match the reverence with which the “brand” of Texas is breathlessly discussed.
You know how many Top 10 finishes Texas has in the past 11 years? One. It finished No. 9 in 2018 with a 10-4 record after upsetting Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Texas snapped a 10-year streak of losing at least four regular-season games last season, when it went 6-3.
You know what other schools have one top 10 finish in the past 11 years? Cincinnati. Iowa State, Minnesota. Washington State. Houston. Iowa. Baylor. Mississippi State. Arizona. Missouri. This is who Texas keeps company with nowadays.
You know who has MORE than one top 10 finish over the past 11 years? TCU (4). Stanford (4). Michigan State (3). UCF (2). You know how many SEC teams have more than one? Seven. And that doesn’t include Oklahoma.
Texas was unranked in the final AP poll five straight seasons from 2013 to 2017. Does that sound like royalty?
Yes, Mack Brown had an amazing nine-year run of excellence from 2001 to 2009. Six top 10 finishes. An unforgettable national championship with Vince Young. Wins in the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl.
But there was another long era of mediocrity before that. If you look at the 1984-2000 stretch, Texas was again just another program. Zero top 10 finishes. Ten seasons unranked. Five losing seasons.
The Longhorns have one national championship in the past 50 years. That matches the totals of BYU, Washington, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. No one in the Twittersphere is throwing the word “blueblood” around when talking about those programs.
Folks can say what they want about the SEC getting the Texas prestige or brand or tradition or money or footprint. What it is also getting, outside of that Mack Brown stretch, is a football team that usually isn’t all that great.