Tuesday, August 5, 2014
The Season: Who's No. 1 at Texas?
By Max Olson
Determining the greatest individual performances for ESPN.com's new series The Season was, in all honestly, not too difficult for many FBS schools.
Picking Oklahoma State's best, for example, could not have been easier. Same with Baylor and Texas Tech. But Texas presented a bit of a challenge.
After much research and debate, Vince Young's 2005 campaign was ultimately selected to represent the Longhorns. In fact, Young's national championship year earned the No. 6 spot in the 16-man bracket to determine the very best of The Season.
But there were a handful of other Texas players legitimately worthy of consideration. Was VY the right choice? Be sure to vote in this poll, especially if you disagree.
A rundown of the résumés for a few more Longhorns we debated for The Season:
RB Earl Campbell, 1977: Won the Heisman Trophy after rushing for 1,744 yards (breaking UT and Southwest Conference records) and 18 touchdowns. Campbell led the Longhorns to a perfect 11-0 regular season and was All-America in every sense, leading the NCAA in rushing, scoring and all-purpose yards. He eclipsed 100 rushing yards in 10 games and put up 222 yards and three scores in the regular-season finale against Texas A&M. The Tyler Rose had the superior career, but was this season by itself better than Young's best?
RB Ricky Williams, 1998: Won the Heisman Trophy and set 21 NCAA records by dashing for 2,124 yards and 27 TDs. Williams led the nation in rushing for a second straight season, broke Tony Dorsett's 22-year-old NCAA all-time rushing record with 6,279 career yards and became the first two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award -- all in Mack Brown's first season at Texas. He snapped Nebraska's 47-game home win streak with a 150-yard performance and became the first to surpass 300 rushing yards twice in one season.
QB Colt McCoy, 2008: He guided Texas to the BCS title game in 2009, but McCoy's 2008 campaign was more impressive, especially statistically. The Heisman Trophy runner-up threw for 3,859 yards and 34 TDs with just eight INTs and completed an NCAA-record 76.7 percent of his passes. He also led the Longhorns in rushing (561 yards, 11 TDs) and broke Young's single-season record for total yardage along with school records for passing yards, TDs and passer rating. Texas went 12-1 and capped McCoy's junior year with a win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
QB James Street, 1969: The numbers would not wow today's audience, but Street was a big-time playmaker who led Texas to a perfect season and a national championship. He finished with 699 passing yards and three TDs plus 412 yards and five rushing TDs, but he won't be remembered for those stats. He'll go down in Longhorn lore for his fourth-down pass completion to seal No. 1 Texas' comeback victory over No. 2 Arkansas in the Game of the Century. He went on to beat No. 9 Notre Dame for the title and went 20-0 as Texas' starting quarterback.