It’s been many years since Texas played a fellow BCS conference team in its opening game. This follows a national trend of elite teams using mid-major conference members or FCS schools to sharpen their teeth.
In fact, 1999 marks the last year the Longhorns matched up against a BCS conference team on Labor Day weekend. That game against North Carolina State is also notable for being the last time the Longhorns lost its opening game, the only opening loss in Mack Brown’s career at Texas.
In the Mack Brown era, the Longhorns have gone 14-1 and won by an average of 36.9 points per game to start the season. Since 1945, the Longhorns have gone 51-16-1 in its first game.
The most common Texas opponent to kick off the season in the Mack Brown era? New Mexico State. This will mark the fourth time in the Mack Brown era that Texas will play New Mexico State to begin the season. The previous three meetings, the Horns have won by margins of 59, 34 and 30.
What does all this prove? A pessimist would assert that the Longhorns have traditionally gotten off on the right foot, even in years that fans would rather forget. A worrywart would say this places added pressure on the Horns, since a loss would be especially embarrassing (hello Kansas State). And a realist would say that we have one hell of a football program.
All of the above are true. Nonetheless, let’s hope Texas begins the season in the traditional Mack Brown way, by winning.