Mack Brown has said it many times, in fact, he brought it with him as a concrete premise when he came. "They will remember November."
And it is November that has been the most important characteristic of the Longhorns under Brown.
In this 21st Century, Texas has lost one football game in November. In the last four years, the Longhorns are 11-1 in the month of November, with the only loss coming in 2002 on the road at Texas Tech.
In fact, in Brown's career at Texas, the only November losses have been at Texas Tech in 1998 and 2002, and Texas A&M in 1999 after the Bonfire tragedy.
The Longhorns closed out October with a smothering defeat of Colorado, with a defensive effort that put up some numbers that were mind-boggling. This growing-as-you-watch unit allowed the Buffaloes only 16 plays and one first down in the entire first half, and only three rushing yards for the whole game in the dominating 31-7 victory.
The offense was effective and efficient, driving 91 and 68 yards to overcome a lead it had given up on a turnover for a touchdown, and then cashing in on short drives after turnovers and a 64 yard drive to put the game out of reach.
For the Texas fans who packed the Longhorn section in the north end zone of Folsom Field in Boulder, the efficiency was appreciated. Texas scored 14 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third, tallying every point in front of its fans.
Cedric Benson reached the 5,000-yard milestone with 141 yards against the Buffaloes, becoming only the 10th player in NCAA history to reach that plateau.
And Derrick Johnson led the defense and proved once again why he's the best defensive player in the country, wrecking any semblance of an offense Colorado tried to muster, while picking up a UT record eighth forced fumble in a single season.
And now, it is on to the season of the month of November. Three games, against Oklahoma State and Texas A&M at home and Kansas on the road, will determine the final regular season fate of this team, which is an impressive 7-1 and ranked in the nation's top six.
The consistency of Brown's teams in November is matched only by their remarkable regular season record against Big 12 competition. In the last four-plus seasons, while the Longhorns have lost their five match-ups with rival Oklahoma, Texas has gone 31-1 against the rest of the Big 12. The 'Horns only league loss in the last four seasons and part of this one came at Texas Tech, 42-38, in 2002.
In his career at Texas, Brown's teams are 17-3 in November. That includes a 4-1 record against top 25 teams. Prior to his coming, Texas was 14-8 in November in the previous six seasons, and 22-17 in the 10 year period before 1998. From 1988 through 1997, Texas was 2-6 against top 25 teams.
All of that is why Texas is the only team in the country to be ranked in every BCS poll at the end of the regular season in the last five seasons. The Longhorns were 15th in 1999, 12th in 2000, seventh in 2001, 10th in 2002 and sixth last year.
The football season of 2004 has already proved to be the most equitable in recent history. On the same weekend that Texas went on the road and dominated a Colorado team which was still holding out hopes of winning the North Division in the Big 12, upsets riddled the college football landscape.
The secret to success in the latter part of the season, as far as Brown's teams have been concerned, has been the ability to stay hooked up to the task. The Longhorns' great supporter, Matthew McConaughey, started his career with a line from the movie "Dazed and Confused," that said something like "you gotta just keep livin', man."
His production company became J. K. Livin. As far as Mack Brown's teams, the motto could be tweaked to read, "You just gotta keep playin'."
Since the loss to Oklahoma, Texas has approached each game as if it were a season unto itself. Fact is, that's the way it is. Lose, and you are out of any mix. Keep playing, keep winning, and you put yourself in position for some good things.
It is in this window that you play for pride, for the chance to be the best that you can be. You have no control over what happens around you, as Texas found out last year when Kansas State upset Oklahoma and knocked the Longhorns out of a sure BCS bowl bid.
In Brown's career at Texas, Texas is 36-3 at home, having won 27 of its last 28 home games. The only league loss at home came to Kansas State in 1999, and Texas has since won 18 straight Big 12 games in Austin.
But this season presents perhaps the biggest challenge yet. Oklahoma State comes into Austin Saturday on the heels of a tremendous effort against their arch rival Oklahoma. The Cowboys lost, 38-35, and barely missed a tying field goal in the closing seconds that would have sent the game into overtime.
Brown has already challenged the Texas fans to rally behind this team.
"If ever we have needed the support of the fans," Brown said, "it is now. This is the time of year when teams get tired. We saw that happen all over the country last week. This will be our seventh straight weekend with a game. Our fans have been great at home, but in the games against Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, we will really need them."
Both Oklahoma State and Texas A&M have been ranked in the Top 25, and the Cowboys have been consistently in the top 15 for much of the last two seasons.
The two home games are on either side of a trip to Kansas, and the results of Saturday again prove teams can take nothing for granted.
"Road games are really dangerous today," said Brown, pointing to Florida State's loss at 3-4 Maryland as a perfect example. "You have to play hard every week."
That is why Texas has focused its practice week the way it has this season. The Longhorns meet Sunday to go over the video and review the game they played Saturday. They go through a practice in the afternoon, have a team dinner that night, and then put that game away.
The coaches, who studied each opponent in the off season, resume their work on the week's opponent with intensive video work and meetings Sunday night and Monday.
As it always does, the trip to Boulder provided some wonderful imagery on that brilliant, sun-splashed Saturday. From the windows of the classy Westin Westminster, where the Longhorns stayed, a westward view focused first on the foothills and the trademark Flat Iron Mountains just past Boulder.
But what we know about the mountains is that they are a series of peaks, each one higher and greater than the first one. Beyond the Flat Irons, are the majestic snow capped peaks of the Rockies.
So it is with a football season. Reach one peak, and there is a higher one just beyond. And so it is with November. Getting there is important, and the Longhorns are 7-1.
But what will be remembered will not be trip that brought you there. It will be what you did when you got there. If that were not true, the pioneers would have stayed in Kansas, instead of climbing the mountains to see where the trail would lead them.
November is the trail to the pinnacle, to the best that you can be…whatever that is. And what we know about climbing, whether it is stairs or a mountain, is that you can't look back, you need to go forward and upward, but the most important part is to watch your step.
Because at this level, you can't afford to stumble.