No. 7 Texas Longhorns will make Big 12 title game on their way out with win over Texas Tech
Wed, Nov 22, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas can avoid any potentially complicated tiebreaker scenarios or having to wait an extra day to clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game. The seventh-ranked Longhorns are in with a win Friday night over Texas Tech in their final regular-season game as a member of the conference.
"Our players didn't choose to leave the Big 12. ... They're just choosing to put on the burnt orange and white," Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian said. "So whether the commissioner's rooting against our players to win or not, or we're in the SEC or we're in the Big 12, at the end of the day, our guys just want to play good football, and they want to win. ... We need to be enamored with us, and that's something that we've done."
With a five-game winning streak since their Red River rivalry loss to 13th-ranked Oklahoma, who they are going with to the Southeastern Conference next season, the Longhorns (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) are the Big 12's only one-loss team and last hope to get into the four-team College Football Playoff. They have to beat Texas Tech (6-5, 5-3) and win their first conference title since 2009 to stay in that conversation.
That would be quite a farewell by the Longhorns to the Big 12.
A week before the season even began, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark was before a crowd of Texas Tech fans when he told Red Raiders coach Joey McGuire he would be in Austin for the day-after Thanksgiving game and they "better take care of business" like last year when beating Texas.
"They were excited about the season. ... And I was having fun with the fans at Texas Tech, and that's pretty much it," Yormark said about a week after his comments in Lubbock in late August.
Sarkisian this week said he's since had several conversations with Yormark, who will be in Austin after also seeing the Longhorns win at Iowa State last week.
"Hopefully we put on a heck of a show for him," Sarkisian said. "He's the commissioner of our conference, and I'm hopeful that when he watches us play, he's proud of the way that we play in representing the Big 12, because that's the conference we're in right now."
Texas Tech is bowl eligible after winning its last three games. The Red Raiders have six consecutive November games, their longest such streak since seven in a row from 1992-94.
The Red Raiders and Longhorns have played every year since 1960, first in the Southwest Conference and in the Big 12 since 1996. There are no more scheduled meetings.
"You're losing some really good instate rival games through all this movement," McGuire said. "I'm hopeful at some point that you could bring those games back."
McGuire also mentioned Texas A&M, which last played Tech in 2011 before leaving for the Big 12 for the SEC. Texas and Texas A&M also last played then, but will meet for the 119th time next year as SEC foes.
BROOKS RUNS INTO HORNS
Red Raiders senior running back Tahj Brooks had a career-best 182 yards rushing last week against UCF and is second in the Big 12 with 122.5 yards per game. He has four consecutive 100-yard games, and eight of nine (with 98 yards in the other game), and has seven games in a row with TD runs. The Longhorns last week held Iowa State to 9 yards on 21 carries, the fewest they have allowed since 2009, and fifth game in a row holding their opponent under 100 yards. They have the Big 12's top rushing defense, giving up 82.7 rushing yards per game, and only six total TDs on the ground.
10 WINS, TRIO OF TITLES
The Longhorns already have their first 10-win season since 2009, when they won their last Big 12 title before a loss to Alabama in the BCS national championship game. Texas' only Big 12 championship game since was a loss to Oklahoma in 2018. Texas has won three Big 12 titles and been to six conference championship games. Only Oklahoma has more, with 11 titles and 12 Big 12 championship game appearances.
Bert Auburn has made 14 consecutive field goals, one short of the Texas school record shared by Anthony Fera and Phil Dawson. Auburn's 23 made field goals are one behind the single-season school record set by Hunter Lawrence in 2009.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football"