It is, said the man who knows, a simple formula.
And when it comes to football, Darrell Royal knows.
Walking across the State Fairgrounds on the way to the Cotton Bowl Saturday, the man who won more games than anybody in the history of the series, and whose 12-1 span from 1958 through 1970 still ranks as the best streak in the series, Royal got respectful greetings from folks clad in both orange and red.
But as Royal and his friend and protégé David McWilliams drove home to Austin after the game, he heard Carl Reese talking on the post-game show about being "taken to the woodshed." Royal and McWilliams remembered a similar day, 30 years before.
The season of 1973 began with immensely high hopes for Texas. The Longhorns were a pre-season No. 1 pick by Sports Illustrated, and they opened the season with a stunning 20-15 loss at Miami in a game where Texas fumbled nine times and lost a game where they never punted the football.
By the Oklahoma game, the Horns had righted their ship and were No. 13 in the country, challenging a Sooner team which had risen to No. 6 in the country. It was the first year of a window of NCAA probation for Oklahoma, and the talent-laden Sooners were set to use the Texas game to make a statement, and they did.
The Sooners were a 7-point favorite, but they hit Texas with three first-half bombs and went on to crush the Longhorns, 52-13 before a stunned Cotton Bowl crowd and a national television audience.
As he reflected on last Saturday's 65-13 loss to No. 1 Oklahoma, Royal saw a bunch of similarities.
"We were exactly where this team is," Royal said. "If you stay in coaching long enough, you are going to face games like this. Very few escape it, and most of those just didn't stay around long enough for it to happen to them."
Royal's post-game comments were really close to those of Mack Brown and his coaches after this year's game.
"About all you can say after a defeat like that is that you lost to a vastly superior football team. We played a decently good first half except for three defensive plays when we were caught totally asleep. I was disappointed in the second half. We came totally unglued. We weren't even in the contest," Royal said in 1973.
It was, at the time, the worst defeat to the Sooners since a 50-0 game in 1908.
"I'm not trying to coach this year's team," Royal said. "but I am sure Mack is bringing them this same message, and the fans need to hear this, too.
"You can sit around and lick your wounds, or you can get ready to play. That's a question that has to be answered by everybody - the staff, the players, the substitutes, the band, the cheerleaders, the fans - everybody. You have to put that game behind you and make something of the rest of the season. It is a simple formula."
Royal's 1973 team faced some adversity in their goal to do that. Their next game was in Arkansas, against the team that had become their biggest challenger for supremacy in the Southwest Conference.
And the Longhorns answered. Roosevelt Leaks piled up 209 yards on 24 carries and freshman Raymond Clayborn added 127 on just five carries. The defense smothered Arkansas as it hadn't been able to do to Oklahoma, and Texas won, 34-6.
The Longhorns would go on to win the rest of their regular season games, sweeping to a league championship and finishing No. 8 in the country. Leaks, who earned All-American honors, recalled the teams transformation after the Oklahoma game.
"A lot of us had not been playing up to our capabilities," Leaks said. "I know I hadn't, and at that team meeting it all came out. A lot of people were ashamed to admit it, but somebody had to let it out."
When Leaks finished, 15 or 20 of his teammates joined in. In his own space, Royal, too, regrouped.
"I've been sucking my thumb for three days," he said. "I now see some bright spots in spite of the kicking we took. That has to take an optimist to do that."
It has been 30 years since that day in Dallas, but Royal still remembers both the pain and the recovery.
Three weeks later, Leaks - the man who was willing to step up in the team meeting - set an NCAA record as he rushed for 342 yards in a 42-14 victory over SMU in the same Cotton Bowl stadium where the Oklahoma defeat had occurred.
The 1973 Oklahoma game has long since faded from a priority for Royal, who doesn't even recall the actual score.
"It was too much to too little," he said. "It was a lot like this year. You don't like it, and it is hard to swallow, especially when you go in thinking you are going to win. It is like having a big ole lollipop in your mouth and the first thing you know, all you have is the stick."
And then he repeated, "When that happens, all you can do is put it behind you and make something of what you have left."
It is after all, he said, a simple formula.