The Longhorns’ Success Following a Bye Week

Texas TEAM SHOP

Case McCoy (6)The bye week can be a welcomed break or a pre-determined excuse for lousy play. If a team wins the game after a bye week, it’s because they were well rested. If a team loses, it’s because they were rusty. Well, if precedent has any say in the matter, the Longhorns should be well rested tonight.

In the Mack Brown-era, the Longhorns have gone 13-1 in games following a bye week. That’s a .929 win percentage in such games, a big hike from Brown’s still-stellar .771 win percentage at Texas.

Furthermore, the Longhorns have outscored their opponents by a whopping 21.8 points per game directly following a bye week.

Though the bye week is, more times than not, early in the season, eight of the 14 games following a bye week came against conference foes; the Longhorns’ record is an unscathed 8-0 in these games. In fact, each of the last four years (years the Longhorns struggled compared to Brown’s previous seasons) the Longhorns played exclusively conference games after a bye week and outscored their opponents by an average of 20.4 ppg.

The last time the Longhorns lost after a week of rest came against Arkansas in 2003. Chance Mock, who was relegated to two-minute drill specialist later that year, started over Vince Young in the post-Chris Simms quarterback duel, and Texas lost 38-28.

A bye week is a common, nearly-annual occurrence for all college football teams (I say “nearly-annual” because in 2006 and 2007 the Longhorns did not have a bye week as teams began scheduling 12 games per year instead of 11, and the NCAA schedule had not yet evolved in concurrence with this practice). Though a bye week is precedent, playing on a Thursday that isn’t Thanksgiving is not (that is unless you are Boise State).  Tonight marks the first time in the Mack Brown-era that Texas plays on a Thursday night that does not fall on Thanksgiving.

The only time Texas played a non-Saturday, non-rivalry game was the first game of the 2003 season, where the Longhorns beat common non-conference foe New Mexico State 66-7. However, if you add rivalry games (Texas A&M and TCU) to the mix, the Longhorns are 10-5 in games that fall on a Thursday in the Mack Brown-era, with a 10-4 record against A&M.

Brian Kendall

Part-time journalist turned full-time blogger, Brian is an online staff writer at Horns Illustrated and serves as senior staff writer for digital marketing agency Speak Social. Brian currently resides in Austin and you can read his blog at the following address: briankendall.wordpress.com