What is Steve Sarkisian’s first must-win game?

Tasked with raising the success and image of the Texas football program, new head coach Steve Sarkisian has a lengthy to-do list in his first season in Austin ... including one that will accelerate UT's ascent toward the nation's elite (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

In a perfect world, a college football coach will meet all goals every season: win every game, claim a conference title, make it to the College Football Playoff, roll to the national championship and plan the parade. For good measure, dominate the all-conference teams, get a few players on the All-America teams and a slew of NFL Draft picks.

Mission(s) accomplished. Time to ask for a contract extension.

In perhaps the most blatant understatement ever written here: that’s easier said than done.

If Steve Sarkisian accomplishes that entire in his first season as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, his encore might be running for governor of the state, or at least mayor of Austin.

This is not to suggest Sarkisian is not an exceptional coach with a brilliantly creative football mind — that might end up being his legacy at UT … and who knows? Maybe that list represents a legitimate glance into his future. 

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But before he starts talking about a national championship, he has boxes on his to-do list. He needs to decide on a quarterback of the future, reload part of the offensive line and fill in some holes on defense. He must digest some bite-sized tasks before trying to consume the entire meal.

Beyond acquisition and development of talent, Sarkisian must show identifiable progress; the simplest to quantify are victories and losses. Again, everyone wants to win every time they take the field. But among the games on the Longhorns’ 2021 schedule, is any an absolute must-win?


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