As we celebrate the week of Halloween and feast upon the finest of all the chocolates and sugars the local retailer has to offer, there are plenty of Texas football fans that would say the 2012 season has been more of a trick than treat. To be certain, a defense that ranks 100th in the nation in points allowed gives us shivers rivaled only by the likes of Michael Myers. But when we look at the season as a whole, the Longhorns are still a respectable 6-2 and the upcoming schedule presents plenty of opportunities to fill our collective stomach with victories. The fact that an eight or nine-win season may not be enough to at least satisfy the hunger of Texas fans, for better or worse, says a lot about where we are as a whole in football fandom.
Rooting for the Texas Longhorns in the Mack Brown era, when one thinks about it, is a lot like the transition of celebrating Halloween from child to adult. When you get your first taste of the holiday, you're just happy to be given a handful of sugar and the chance to dress up. Texas fans were more than happy to change their threads from the undersized onesies John Mackovic had us dressing up in at the end of his tenure.
A few years into the Halloween routine, we started finding our groove and developed a more refined sensibility in both costumes and confections. The same happened with Texas, who were done with the fun size Snickers and had now moved on to the richer parts of town, where Vince Young's and Colt McCoy's were handed out. Delighted with our overflowing bags, we ripped open wrappers as we handed down the leftover candy to our siblings, occasionally passing on treats like Robert Griffin III.
Unfortunately attitudes change, both in society and individually, as one matures and the law of diminishing returns sometimes kicks in, even for Halloween. We all outgrow trick-or-treating at some point and have to put away our masks The childlike sense of enchantment is gone. For whatever reason may be, it just becomes uncool to dress up at some point and that's where we are with the Texas football program today. We've made a habit of spooking our little brothers and having the best costume for years but now it appears to be time to grow up. Instead of being handed candy just for showing up at the doors of others, the Longhorns are now the ones spending time passing out treats to others. The Longhorn Network has been rapping at our chamber door for the past year and a half. It's no longer enough to just show up to the party. We're now expected to be the life of the party and give favors to everyone who comes through the door. And frankly, it's become a chore and not too much fun.
But what if we took a moment to savor what we have with Texas football, a consistently solid program that is, at the very least, entertaining. Yes, there are times that performances get stuck in our teeth. I'm still flossing after the Kansas game last week. But there have been far more treats than tricks over the past decade and you can't say that about many programs in college football, especially when you consider off the field issues. Every program faces the things that go bump in the night occasionally. Ohio State, Michigan, and Florida have all taken their share of hits, so it only makes sense that we should. That doesn't mean we aren't still indulging our sweet tooth. Even the 2012 season, which has seen more holes in our defense than you'll see in the plot for Paranormal Activity, still has given us moments of promise to build on. The development of Johnathan Gray has to make mouths water, for one, and the fact remains that the Longhorns could still go 10-2 this season. If they somehow pull that off, it would include a signature win over current No. 2 Kansas State and a likely dethroning of Heisman favorite Collin Klein. How sweet would that be?
So, as you sift through the spoils of another devilish Halloween, remember why we celebrate the tradition, both in holiday and football institution, to begin with. It might awaken some of the old school spirits that we have forgotten.