Before I say regrettable things about the Lone Star State, there are things bigger than football. Please donate to the Red Cross to help those trying to deal with Hurricane Harvey. We want to beat Texas on the football field. We want them to raise healthy families. PLEASE DONATE.
I feel like George Washington in Hamilton singing “One Last Time” right now. There’s a new generation of loudmouth, arrogant and attractive people writing what needs to be written for Arrogant Nation. We discussed it. I did my job. I went out on top.
So this isn’t a return of the Bearfighter (not that I’ve left). This is one night only. I need to have a talk with Bevo’s soon-to-be-tri-tip ass. I need to serenade their band who dresses like the cast of Oklahoma (Boomer! Sooner!).
Can’t make that shit up.
Look, I need to talk to them about Saturday because. Well. Freight train coming.
There is just no way I wasn’t writing an AGP for Texas.
There is no way I’d stay content to play in the great woods of the Pacific Northwest with my new baby daughter — a future Senator, Trojan and USWNT midfielder who loves getting red cards as much as scoring goals. A girl who only will sleep to Creedence being blasted full volume (true story).
I can’t sit this one out because this is Texas.
When my mind goes blank before I fall asleep in my hyperbaric float pool filled with bourbon and a fiber optic ceiling that simulates the night sky, Texas pops in my mind.
Their burnt orange (which sounds more like a culinary fuck up than a color) cow helmets and their white uniforms that make them look like creamsicles. Vince Young and the confetti. The greatest college football game of all time we should have won, but didn’t.
Unlike the Longhorns, we weren’t named after steak. We were named after a famous army that lost but fought like hell. Our reaction to loss is in our DNA. We never want to do much of it. That’s why come hell or high water, we don’t stay down for long. There’s a lot of long stretches USC was on top. We’re there again.
But, credit to you Texas Fightin’ Ribeyes. You hurt us that night in Pasadena, in our home-away-from-home. We’ve been patient. We’ve had to live with this. It hurt big time and Trojans never forgot it.
Now, we’re gonna mess with Texas.
Oh my Lord’s name in vain, Texas. I have waited to play you since I walked through your caravan of RVs out of the Rose Bowl that horrible night. I wondered why Reggie tried to lateral and why the refs didn’t see it was a forward lateral. I wondered how no one saw Vince Young’s knee was down. I wondered how we blew a lead. I wondered why Lendale couldn’t pick up 2 yards (I love you, Lendale. Forever.)
Yeah. I remember that, Texas. I see it when I close my eyes. When I had cancer surgery I thought about it. When I go running and I’m dog tired and want to stop, I picture Vince Young in the confetti shitting on our three-peat and I run another mile and then another while blasting our fight song.
LOOK AT THE PICTURE, TROJANS.
That’s Achilles celebrating on our dead city. Credit to him. To them. But it’s time to found Rome now and I’m suggesting we do it on top of a Bevo burial ground.
Let’s reset the table.
Back to that Rose Bowl night. I took the lumps the Longhorns fans dished out as I walked back to my car through their caravan of RVs and in my mind, at that moment, Texas was a powerhouse. It NEVER OCCURRED TO ME THEY NEVER WERE OR WERE AGAIN A POWERHOUSE.
They aren’t USC. They aren’t Bama. They’re not Notre Dame. Or Ohio State or Michigan.
They’re closest approximation is maybe, Miami? Except Miami made a cultural impact. Miami changed the game in the 80s and 90s and put 5 titles we all saw on TV.
Vince Young was so, so, so good in 2004 and 2005 that Texas was always a powerhouse in my mind.
It never occurred to me in that time before iPhones existed that Texas basically has a .500 bowl record.
Texas had a dominant period. Just after we passed the Civil Rights Act. Yeah. It was a long time ago. The newspaper was like “Big win for people who hate racism and in other news Texas won a title.”
Like, the last time Texas was winning titles before Vince Young was when football teams were white dudes wearing the kind of helmets they serve ice cream out of at Dodger games.
Like, this is what a title team looked like in Texas’ golden era.
It never occurred to me that our loss was the best thing that ever happened to that program — and probably ever will. It never occurred to me the worst loss we’ve ever experienced came from the kid brother team in their rivalry. I always thought Texas was better that OU, but behavioral economics would call that confirmation bias.
I believed that because we kicked Oklahoma’s ass the year before and Texas beat us in a classic the following year. My mind constructed a story that Texas football was dominant. Oklahoma’s won more titles, had more Heismans. It’s like Texas is the UCLA in their rivalry with OU’s USC.
AND TEXAS’ WORST LOSS OF ALL TIME IS 66-3 TO UCLA IN 1997!
I honestly never did the math. I was a recent grad. MySpace still was a thing. Facebook didn’t have a feed. Research was limited. So, Texas, I gave you too much credit because you ripped my heart out.
I didn’t realize Texas will probably build a statue for everyone involved in that Rose Bowl. If we built statues for our Nat’l Title winners, we’d have to buy more land around the Coliseum. It’d look like the fucking terracotta army in China.
I shit you not, when you go to Austin Bergstrom airport on your way to drink Shiner and pretend you give a flying fuck about Franklin BBQ, the airport gift shop IS PLAYING THE GAME ON REPEAT – not in HD because the game happened when Keith Jackson still called games. Still only good Texas memory.
It is like having a picture of a hot ex girlfriend in your house and your whole family being OK with it because it’s the best achievement Dad managed. If I walked into LAX and saw them playing video from any of our championships, I’d smash the TV with an un-purchased Clippers pint glass or maybe a lonely UCLA replica football no one wants to be seen throwing.
You can only act like you’ve been there before if you have. And not your grandpappy in 1969. You.
I wanted a rematch in that game. I wanted one more shot at them.
I got excited when Nick Young and our largely faceless basketball team knocked the KEVIN DURANT-led Longhorns out of the NCAA tournament in the spring, but honestly, it wasn’t the same. Basketball is something we do when football ends. And there’s no good movies out.
I don’t believe for a second that game mattered just like honest Longhorn fans don’t think their program is on par with USC’s. That’s why their crowning jewel win over us and the fact we all are still upset is such a treasure for them.
And we never got another shot.
Sanctions. Kiffin. This blog. Abandoning of blog. Sark. Sark drunk. Sark drunk more. Kiffin and Sark at Bama. Bama kills us. Darnold and Juju (on that beat) and Adoree and Cam. Winning of Rose Bowl. PSU covers up child abuse. We clock Stanford.
And I’m sitting here on a Tuesday going “are we really about to get on a field with these guys who are probably in McMansions watching replays of that Rose Bowl the way Ted Cruz is watching porn on Twitter?
Fun fact. TEXAS ELECTED TED CRUZ.
My heart is torn. I wanted to play Mack Brown who whined his way into that Rose Bowl over the Aaron Rodgers’ led Cal team who had a better loss than they did. Mack Brown who is why American politics is the way it is right now. Mack Brown who caused global warning spitting so much hot air about a program that was garbage before and was garbage again.
The biggest compliment I can give Texas is that they are my only ghost. I don’t care that Bama smacked us last year. We’ll smack Bama back one day. Bama has famous losses to us too (Sam Bam Cunningham dismantling them was what it took for Bear Bryant to convince the racist ass Bama community to integrate their football team). Bama and USC will always be here.
Texas is playing a game from 2006 in gift shop at the airport on repeat because that was their high water mark.
And that same game is on our mind. Because even though we climbed the mountain again, I just want to cause that fan base some friendly pain. I want them to retreat to 6th Street or Red River or South Congress and drink their beers with shoulders slumped knowing that win was an anomaly. Something to be enjoyed. Something a Disney movie would be written about.
Not the norm.
For Trojans, they are the ghost of shitty hangovers on the 134 heading back to Toluca Lake for what became a night of Hunter S. Thompsonian binging in North Hollywood where I am pretty sure I ran out on the tab at Tokyo Delves and that was to START the binge. I may have killed a rat that night and threw it into a bowl of albondigas at Don Cuco. No one can be sure. I may have urinated on Bob’s Big Boy in front of a family.
Texas, you got my attention and every priority in my life has changed except waiting for the one day I could watch us kick your ass up and down the gridiron. My god. That is the highest praise I can give another team. So you have my respect. If we lose on Saturday, you don’t need to gloat.
I’LL BE MISERABLE. FOR REAL. I’LL MARCH INTO FOREST PARK AND START ATTACKING WOODLAND CREATURES.
I could talk about Texas’ Tom Herman or that I actually like Austin but I’m not going to.
I’m going to talk about how NONE OF YOU OLDER TROJANS GET TO SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT MILLENNIALS AFTER THEY SOLVE THIS PROBLEM FOR US AND SET HISTORY RIGHT.
If our millennial and Gen Z football team wins this one for us Xennials or Gen Y’s — you will wear millennial pink and take pictures against distressed brick walls in Brooklyn and praise them and give them raises. You will find the next 20-something eating avocado toast and buy it for them. You will go into Sun Life Organics and just be like “A ROUND OF WOLVERINES ON ME.”
If we win, find this girl who had to take a stock photo acting gig because Boomers fucked her economy and hire her, get her healthcare and give her career mentorship.
We need you guys. We love the selfies. We love the entitlement. We love you.
Only Millennials can rid us of the bad taste in our mouth from Texas.
So, my plea to this year’s team that’s already brought us so much joy:
Trojan football players. You may not know me. But Matt Barkley did. The sanctions teams did. We kept the torch lit. We suffered and tried to keep it fun. And you have brought us back to Rose Bowl winners. This is our hug it out moment. Thank you. You guys are great.
We couldn’t stop Texas. If you can hang 75 on them on Saturday, it would mean a lot to me. It would mean a lot to everyone. Give them their worst loss in history. When you lay the wood in that game, you have a generation of fans behind you. There’s no playing it cool here. We’re thirsty when it comes to Texas. A loss is inconceivable.
It was cute we vacated our loss as a troll. But the way to troll Texas is beat them so hard they fire Tom Herman on the tarmac. Beat them so hard Sark starts drinking again. Beat them so hard Kiffin tweets about it. Beat them so hard Pete Carroll sheds a tear. Beat them so hard Jake Olson gets three long snaps.
You probably haven’t experienced a crowd like this one will be. You were kids when the wound was opened. Let’s open one back.
I’ll have a big angus, ribeye ready to drop on the grill. So will Arrogant Nation. Saturday can be a national holiday for alumni. It may not be our toughest test. It may not be a conference game.
It’s bigger. This is a culture game. Impose some of our on them Saturday and don’t let up. This is our personal Rose Bowl. If you need me, I’ll be drinking at breakfast until you make this right.