You're going to hear the same phrase each of the next three weeks.
"This is a must win for the Longhorns' Bowl chances."
It's bold. It's brazen. It's feisty. It's strong.
And it's true.
The Longhorns' loss to Missouri last week knocked out any dreams of continuing to climb in the BCS rankings and sneaking into the Fiesta Bowl. Don't laugh. It could've happened with all of the upsets we've seen and we'll continue to see the next couple of weeks.
But not now.
Now, the Horns have their eyes on the old prize. The Cotton Bowl. Used to be THE big bowl for Texas to go to. Now, it's a top consolation prize.
And if Texas can beat Kansas State, Texas A&M, and Baylor, the Longhorns will spend the first week of 2012 in the Dallas area, playing in Arlington, in the Cotton Bowl in Cowboys Stadium.
But... if they lose. They'll start dropping.
A loss to Kansas State... and goodbye Cotton. Hello Alamo.
You know our neighbors in San Antonio would love to have the Horns back. They haven't been there since Colt McCoy led the comeback against Iowa his freshman year. It's almost a sure thing for Texas to go there if they lose to Kansas State.
Unless... they lose to A&M.
The Big 12 could put pressure on the Alamo Bowl to take a seven win A&M team instead of a Texas win with six or seven wins who has faded down the stretch.
That drops Texas to another Holiday Bowl visit. Unless... they lose to Baylor. The Bears would be new and fresh to San Diego and not stale and losing like Texas would be. (Can you imagine losing your last four games and still going to a bowl game in Southern California? At least the 1984 Horns won one of their last four... and still got embarrassed by Iowa in the Freedom Bowl.)
That pushes Texas down to either the Insight Bowl or the Meineke Car Care Bowl. That's Phoenix or Houston to you and me. They get to pick between a seven win Missouri team and a six win Texas team. Don't you think Missouri tries to stay away from the state of Texas after a) leaving the Big 12 and b) beating the Horns?
Hello Reliant Stadium.
Of course, that's assuming Missouri beats Texas Tech. A Red Raiders win would make them Bowl eligible.
That would put the Pinstripe Bowl in the mix,as well.
Christmas in New York, anybody?