In short, Texas has become a good team. Its 4-2 record is not imposing, and, crazily, Texas A&M, which lost its first four games, is leading the conference with a 3-1 record. Now A&M vs. Texas, on Thanksgiving Day, may be the game that decides the championship and the host team in the Cotton Bowl. Royal's team may also be slowly struggling to an 8-2 record, which would place it back in the national rankings somewhere.
"This is a team that's getting better all the time," says Royal. "We're very young. We decided we wanted to play football in the second half against Oklahoma. Against Arkansas we turned ball-carriers around for a change; we finally punished somebody. Against Rice we seemed confident. Now we have to see if we're consistent."
There is a theory that there has never been anything wrong with the Long-horns these last two years that they couldn't solve by avoiding Southern California in their opening game. Both times Royal's young team started off with a defeat and a lack of confidence. Ah, those good old days of opening against Tulane.
But then, if that situation still existed, Darrell Royal would not have been forced to discover the forward pass.