Yes, I just really asked that question, and I am asking that from months and months of speculation and rumors that now are starting to show to be true in some cases. The Texas Longhorns as an athletic department have always felt like they are one of the best and most profitable programs in the country. But when it comes to football, there is no team better than the Texas Longhorns in their opinion, you can talk to some fans and they will tell you that even in a loss, Texas was the best team on the field. While is some aspects this sense of entitlement and feeling that your the best no matter what can be a great thing for a program, but in other cases it causes problems and ends up tearing down a great program. Case in point, is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame did somthing historic when they went independent and signed a major television contract with NBC Sports. While it had short term dividends, but over time the positive started to fade and now Notre Dame has fallen so far down that they are the butt of many jokes, but ask anyone associated with the school and they are still the great and proud Notre Dame and they still have all of the bravado that they had back when they first went independent. While Notre Dame plays one of the toughest schedules, they tend fall off during the season and haven’t been a national championship team for some time.
Now the Texas Longhorns have started their own network and have started to see the end of the Big XII. There is speculation that the school will follow in the footsteps of BYU and go independent. But is this what will be the best for the Texas football program? The Longhorns have been one of the best programs over the last few seasons(last year not withstanding). Texas has been in constant contention for a national championship, and has played in two championship games. While Texas has been one of the top dogs in the Big XII since the inception of the conference, there will be a whole different set of problems the program will face if they want to go independent.
Hopefully the Texas administration will realize that the way to be competitive in major college football is to have a conference affiliation. While there is speculation of a shift in conference power to “super conferences” the only thing Texas needs to do is hold on to an affiliation and try to be the best team it can be within the conference. If Texas can’t shake it’s “Notre Dame Syndrome” then the Longhorns may end up suffering the same fate as the fighting irish have. They will wind up a butt of jokes and be stranded in a haze of mediocrity.
The days of being a national power standing alone have gone by the wayside. the BCS and bowl affiliations are all tied to conferences now, and the only way to compete year in and year out is to be the best team you can be in your conference. Texas needs to wake up and realize this before it is too late.