It is the ultimate irony that No. 7 Texas takes its football fortunes into Columbia, Mo., for a Big 12 game this Saturday. Because Missouri is known as the "Show Me" state and that is exactly what the Longhorns have to do for the rest of the season if they want to have a chance to achieve their dream of playing for a National Championship.
Despite losing to Oklahoma in the showdown between the No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the country three weeks ago, Texas is poised to make a most unusual run for the right to play in the National Championship game. In order to do it, the Longhorns must count on the message in the Serenity prayer, which says "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference." In other words, win every week - something they control - and see where that takes them.
When the first Bowl Championship Series standings were released on Monday, the Longhorns were ranked sixth. Of the five teams ahead of them, Oklahoma and Nebraska play each other, as do Virginia Tech and Miami and UCLA is entering a treacherous run that includes Stanford, Washington State, Oregon and its arch-rival Southern Cal.
Do the math. If Texas can run the table, its dream of playing for a National Championship is very much alive. In fact, as strange as it may sound, the Longhorns actually could get to the National Championship game without even playing in the Big 12 Championship game. Stranger things have happened. If it wins out, UT will be in a very high profile BCS game, which is the kind of improvement head coach Mack Brown is looking for as he tries to get Texas back to a perennial national power.
Don't count Colorado or Iowa State out in the North Division and Kansas State still has the weapons to be a spoiler up there. Oklahoma's tremendous winning streak continues, but each week, the pressure builds to put back-to-back undefeated seasons together.
So here's Texas, with all the computers whirring and the coaches and the writers voting. The Longhorns have done exactly what they needed to do after Oklahoma. - rebound and get better. Those who continue, even in the face of a tremendous victory against No. 14 Colorado on Saturday, to go back and "what if" the Dallas game are tap dancing in a mud hole.
The point is, the team and the coaching staff grew from that game and have improved, just as they did last year. The 34-point victory against the Buffaloes proved that this is a very good football team. It is a credit to them that they took the Oklahoma game for what it was - a really good defensive game between two outstanding teams - and made adjustments and took a new direction that has made a significant difference.
Now comes the most important part. The Longhorns must continue to get better, not stop growing and believe in the dream, one game at a time.
At the beginning of the season, the team adopted the theme "Live Your Dream" and each player was given a dream catcher, a Native American symbol with a web and feathers that supposedly catches the bad dreams and lets in only the good. The point is simple. Let that web catch the Oklahoma game as a bad dream and bring on the good dreams. College football isn't about machines, it is about people who dream, and right now, this Texas team can only be responsible for one thing. That is winning each week. If that happens, then let the dream catcher decide.