Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Texas has history on its side

By Richard Anderson

The history and buildup for Texas football is staggering.

As a program, the Longhorns have won four national titles (1963, 1969, 1970 and 2005). They have won 27 conference titles (25 in the Southwest Conference, two in the Big 12).

Currently ranked second in the two main polls, Texas has been ranked in the Top 25 nationally for 143 straight weeks in the Associated Press poll and 171 straight weeks in the USA Today Coaches poll.

In total wins, Texas is ranked second all time in NCAA history with 833 victories.

To say the least, a bit of college football history will run onto the field Saturday when the Longhorns take on the Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium (1:30 p.m.).

That certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed for Wyoming, which has a proud program as well, but has fallen on hard times as of late. First-year head coach Dave Christensen said one can only admire what Texas has done and be honored to have the opportunity to face a team like that, especially on your own back yard.

“What a great opportunity for our program to get some national exposure,” Christensen said. “Our kids are really excited about playing in front of a sold out crowd this week.”

The Longhorns have posted at least 10 wins in each of the last eight seasons, becoming just the third team in college football history to accomplish that feat. Florida State holds the top mark at 14, with Miami and Texas tied for second with eight. Overall, Texas’ 116 victories over the last 12 years are the most in the nation.

Just another game? Yes and no.

“I think our kids understand it, they are excited to play at this stage,” Christensen said. “This is going to be a national game around the country. Anytime a top five team in the country is playing, a lot of people will pay attention. Our kids understand that, they recognize it as a great challenge.”

At the same time, Christensen said they are trying to convince the Cowboys that Texas is just the second team on their schedule. With the Mountain West Conference 2-0 against the Big 12 this season (BYU beat Oklahoma 14-13 and Colorado State stopped Colorado – Wyoming’s opponent next week – 23-17), do those wins put any extra pressure on the Cowboys?

“I don’t think it has any bearing on us,” Christensen said. “We have a game this week against Texas, and it doesn’t matter what conference they are from. It’s the next game on our schedule, that’s where our focus is at. We’re going to prepare and do everything we can to win a game against Texas.”

The Longhorns have played in a bowl game for 11 straight seasons, which is a school record. Previously, Texas played in nine straight bowl games from 1977-85.

In 12 seasons, head coach Mack Brown has won 116 games, which is second all-time at Texas. Frank Royal is the all-time winningest coach at Texas with 167 victories and Fred Akers, who coached at Wyoming for two seasons (1975, 1976) before moving to Texas, is third with 86 wins.

“It is exciting. You play college football to play in a game like this,” Christensen said.

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