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If you are accustomed to success, the negative effect of losing outweighs the positive effect of winning "100 percent," said Texas coach Mack Brown. After capturing his first and only national title in an epic upset of USC in January 2006, Brown said the feeling didn't match his expectations.
"I thought, 'I've been trying for 54 years to win this game, and in some ways it feels like another game,'" he recalled.
But after losing the national title to Alabama this past January, in a game in which the Longhorns were significant underdogs even before star quarterback Colt McCoy was injured in the first quarter, the effect was debilitating.
"I had trouble with it for about a month," Brown said. "I had to go back to recruiting to get it off my mind."
"Losing stays with you longer," Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said firmly. "It probably shouldn't, but the preparation you put into it -- the hours and late nights, all the work in the offseason -- when you come up short, it's hard to forget. It keeps affecting you. You can't get that out of your gut."
Tuberville went 13-0 at Auburn in 2004. But he can also remember vividly the agony of losing 20-17 at LSU the next season, when his team missed five field goals.