Texas  Trivia

Texas opened the 2009 season ranked 2bd in the preseason poll. The last time the Longhorns opened as high came in 2005, when Texas went on to win the national championship. The top ten ranking was the ninth in ten seasons opening in the top ten (with the lone exception coming in 2008, when the Longhorns started the season ranked 11th).

Texas has won four national championships – 1963, 1969, 1970, and 2004.  The head coach for the first three titles was Hall of Fame member Darrell Royal.  Royal went 89-17-2 between 1961-70, and the Longhorns won 76% of his games (167-47-5) during his tenure from 1957-76.  What Texas fans try and forget: Darrell Royal was a Sooner!  Royal was an All-American quarterback for rival Oklahoma (1946-‘49).

 Famous Darrell Royal quotes:

“Only three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad”;

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”; and

“When you get to the endzone, act like you’ve been there before”.

In 1969, during the 100th anniversary season for college football, Texas played Arkansas in what was (at least until Oklahoma/Nebraska two years later), the “Game of the Century”.  Ranked #1 and #2, Texas erased a 14-0 deficit to win, 15-14. Though bowl games were yet to be played, President Richard Nixon, who attended the game, proclaimed Texas to be the national champions.  Fortunately for Nixon and the Longhorns, Texas went on to defeat Notre Dame, 21-17, in the Cotton Bowl to cap a perfect 12-0 season.

Deciphering the origin of the Texas nickname does not take much effort.  The fun part of the Longhorn story is how “Bevo” got its name. In 1916, for Texas team manager came up with the idea for a live mascot (the “Longhorn” name had been used since 1903).  Some Texas A&M students stole the new mascot, and branded the score of the 1915 Texas/Texas A&M game on the animal – a 13-0 A&M victory.  Not to be outdone, the Texas students modified the “13” into a “B”, adding an “E” and a “V” before the 0.  (Bevo was also the name of a non-alcoholic beer at the time).  “Bevo” has been the Longhorn nickname ever since – we are now up to Bevo XIV, who joined the team in 2004.

The 2004 season was capped with the Longhorns’ fourth national championship.  Heisman trophy runner up Vince Young topped the previous two Heisman winners, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, and their USC Trojans, 41-38, in a thrilling Rose Bowl.  USC held a 38-26 lead with 6:42 left, but two touchdown drives led by Young gave the Longhorns the title.  Even though Texas was undefeated going into the game, and was riding a 19-game winning streak overall, few gave Texas much of a chance playing USC in Pasadena, where the Trojans were being looked upon as being one of the greatest football teams of all time.

In addition to four national titles, Texas has won 27 conference titles (25 SWC; 2 Big 12).  The Longhorns boast pages of All-Americans, has had two Heisman trophy winners (Earl Campbell, 1974; Ricky Williams, 1998), and has played in 47 bowl games, winning 24 (and tying two).

 Famous alumni (football): Heisman trophy winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams; quarterback Vince Young; linebacker Tommy Nobis; quarterbacks Major Applewhite and Chris Simms; wide receivers Roy Williams, Johnny “Lam” Jones, Tom Landry, and Johnny Walker.

Famous alumni (other): Walter Cronkite (news anchor); Tom Landry (NFL head coach); Matthew McConaughey (actor); Roger Clemens (baseball)

2 Replies to “Texas Trivia”

  1. Tom Landry should be included among the “alumni (football)” category. He was a starting FB and DB for Texas, and went on to play in the NFL for the Giants, an all-pro selection in 1954. He finished his career with 32 interceptions in only 80 games. Though he is deservedly best known for his coaching career, his playing career deserves mention as well.

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