Always amorous of alliteration, I am a big fan of the Red River Rivalry, perhaps better known as the annual football contest between the Longhorns of Texas and the Sooners of Oklahoma. This should not surprise anyone as I am two-time graduate of the University of Texas.
The game is tomorrow at 11am and I am feeling much more optimistic about it today than I was earlier in the week. After watching UT play all season, and then watch them stink last week against a terrible Colorado team, I was certain UT would lose tomorrow. It still may happen, but I do not think it will.
This game has all the makings for an upset. Oklahoma comes in with 2 losses and nothing to lose; OU’s Heisman trophy quarterback is back and I am sure eager to erase last year’s loss and make up for time lost this season; Oklahoma can still win the Big XII and get to a BCS game so there is still a lot for them to play for; Texas has underperformed all season, with a special shout-out in that regard to Colt McCoy; and Texas tends to play “not to lose” as opposed to “playing to win” in games like this, which ironically almost always ends in a loss.
That said, I think Texas will finally put it all together and get the win. The team is too good and has too much riding on this game’s outcome to lose focus and not at least play at or close to their best. Plus, the sting of getting hosed out of winning the Big XII and playing for the BCS Championship last year should provide a little extra motivation.
I was hesitant to post anything about the game, or make a prediction, so as to not jink the Horns, but it is out of my hands anyway. Many veteran sports fans are aware of jinxes, curses, etc., that seemingly prevail in sports or affect their favorite teams. For example: I am sure every veteran sports fan has cringed during the broadcast of a favorite team’s game in which their team was winning and a broadcaster declared them the winner, before the game was over, only to see the other team stage some miraculous comeback to win the game. Or in baseball, when a stat flashes across the screen saying Pitcher X has not given up a home run in so many innings and then on the next pitch, WHACK, he serves one up.
When it comes to these “jinxes”, I am no different than many a sports fan who is aware of them. As for curses, well, it is a bit more complicated. My favorite baseball team, The Chicago Cubs, have long been said to be the victims of a curse that has prevented them from going to the World Series in over sixty years, let alone win one, which they have not done in over 100 years. I do not really believe that, but I kind of do, too. Just one of those things.
So these kinds of jinxes happen a lot, or at least, they seem to. There is even a phenomena known as the “reverse jinx”, by which a fan picks the opposing team to win, from the one being rooted for, in an attempt to sway the sports gods to come down in favor of said fan’s favorite team. I consider myself a reasonable sports fan, and there are many of us, but despite our propensity for reason and logic outside the sports world, we remain very aware of jinxes and curses. On another personal note, I have always been hesitant to anoint my team as the best, or the sure winner of a particular game, or talk a lot of trash before a big game whose outcome I considered uncertain. I do this mostly for two reasons: The first reason is I do not want to jinx my team and the second one being that if my team loses, I want to minimize the trash talk I get from the fans of the winning side. Objectively irrational and silly: probably. Yes. But reasonable and understood in sports: absolutely.
If the Longhorns lose tomorrow, you can be sure I will be posting an apology on this blog to UT fans everywhere for jinxing the team with this post, regardless of how unnecessary it is.