AUSTIN The University of Texas has accepted an invitation to participate in the Holiday Bowl, bypassing an opportunity to play the University of Southern California in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. The Longhorns (12-0) earned the Rose Bowl berth by virtue of defeating Colorado High School, 70-3 in the Big XII championship game.
Texas coach Mack Brown stunned the media, alumni, and fans when he opted for the lower-tier bowl. Brown said it made perfect sense for his team and, in the long run, would make a more prudent decision.
“We have had such a great season, beating Oklahoma and finally winning the Big XII championship,” Brown said. “To end it with a humiliating defeat to USC would just put a damper on the whole thing. I have the psyche of my kids to think about. Look what happened to Oklahoma after they got snot-kicked by the Trojans last year. I want to avoid that.”
The players, led by Vince Young, were at first shocked by the coach’s decision, but eventually came to understand Brown’s rational. Young said that after watching USC dismantle two teams ranked in the Top 25 in consecutive games, it gave him some perspective on the type of team that USC is.
And more impotantly, what type of team Texas is not.
“Look at the teams we have played,” Young said. “We have played the equivalent of an NAIA schedule. Who have we beaten? Ohio State? They are miserable, too. We have no big wins on our schedule so it makes sense that we would take the easy way out in the Holiday Bowl. And hey, if somebody can beat USC in the Rose Bowl, we could slide into that top spot.”
As for the Heisman trophy, Young has conceded that, too.
“Reggie Bush should be one, two, and three on everybody’s ballot,” Young said. “Even if they had a Heisman for quarterbacks only like coach Brown suggested, I would still finish third behind (Matt) Leinart and Brady (Quinn).
“If they invite me to New York, I will turn down the invitation. It would be embarrassing to even be there.”