Mack Brown retells the aftermath of Texas’ 41-38 victory in opposition to USC on the 2006 Rose Bowl with unfailing accuracy.
He remembers telling Edith Royal, “Get down.” The spouse of legendary coach Darrell Okay. Royal was on a ladder changing numbers on the tools truck to indicate the Longhorns’ 2005 season. Brown laughs about that now as he recollects strolling into the “dressing room” full of celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Lance Armstrong, Roger Clemens and Rex Linn. He remembers USC Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush coming to the locker room door to supply congratulations.
What he cannot bear in mind precisely is how he felt on the time.
“It is only a fiasco in there, so it is exhausting to place the whole lot in your thoughts at that second of what occurred,” Brown informed Sporting Information. “I requested Coach Royal, ‘What does this imply?’ He says, ‘Oh, Coach, you test off a field that only a few ever to get to test off.'”
All of us received to test one thing off that evening, and Brown’s recollection of that epic showdown is becoming. It is a type of video games the place everybody remembers the place they have been: It had a heavyweight-title battle environment that solely No. 1-vs.-No. 2 can present. It was the crown jewel of the BCS period, a sport that will likely be revived as soon as once more when No. 22 USC meets Texas at eight p.m. on Saturday within the crew’s second assembly since that unforgettable evening in Pasadena. The Trojans received 27-24 in double-overtime in opposition to the Longhorns in 2017.
We’ll see these 2006 highlights on a loop once more: Bush’s ill-fated lateral; LenDale White on fourth down; Vince Younger’s sprint to the pylon for the game-winning landing; Leinart tossing desperation warm-up throws earlier than the ultimate possession. It has been 12 years and counting, but it surely nonetheless feels recent.
What separates this sport from the remaining? We noticed it coming the entire time, and also you marvel if we’ll ever see one thing prefer it once more. USC and Texas went wire-to-wire at No. 1 vs. No. 2 within the common season. The Trojans had a 34-game win streak. The Longhorns’ was at 19 video games. The buildup matched the sport.
That hasn’t been the case to this point within the Faculty Soccer Playoff age. 5 totally different groups in 2014 — Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, Auburn and Mississippi State — held both the No. 1 or No. 2 spot within the common season earlier than Ohio State ultimately received the championship. Six totally different groups in 2015 — Ohio State, TCU, Alabama, Michigan State, Baylor and Clemson — held the highest two spots. Alabama went wire to wire because the regular-season No. 1 in 2016, however Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan all frolicked in that No. 2 spot.
Final yr, eight totally different groups rotated within the high two spots of the ballot. Brown, nonetheless, thinks historical past will repeat itself — in some unspecified time in the future.
“I believe we’ll as a result of I believe there will likely be two groups in some unspecified time in the future that will likely be that good once more,” Brown stated. “That is what made that sport just a little extra particular was leaving their nationwide championship and our Rose Bowl win in opposition to Michigan the yr earlier than 1-2, and it was by no means at any time questioned. All people stated that was the 2 greatest groups within the nation. It is one of many few instances I can ever bear in mind in my 42 years of teaching that it was clear-cut and there wasn’t a lot dialogue.”
That discuss began when Younger proclaimed, “We’ll be again!” from the rostrum after the Rose Bowl victory in opposition to Michigan, however the inner discussions have been even higher. Brown recollects Younger’s message earlier than a summer time exercise that stated, “Anyone who needs to beat Ohio State, you want to meet me on the observe discipline at 7 a.m.” Your entire crew confirmed up. Your entire season was constructed towards USC, but it surely took a game-winning landing go from Younger to Limas Sweed for a 25-22 victory at No. four Ohio State in that second sport to get there.
Scheduling that sport was a threat, but it surely was price taking. Brown sees the identical theme within the Faculty Soccer Playoff period.
“I believe if Ohio State would have overwhelmed us that evening, they might have performed USC,” Brown stated. “That is what occurs with these early video games now with Alabama-Florida State, Michigan-Florida, you must win almost certainly. They are saying, ‘You will get again in,’ however the one which wins these video games has the higher probability to remain round.”
As soon as Texas beat Oklahoma 45-12 that season, the crew’s whole focus geared towards USC. Brown recollects all that, too. After a victory in opposition to Colorado, Texas gamers cheered USC’s victory in opposition to Notre Dame on the legendary “Bush Push” sport. Brown knew the sport was coming by then, and he delivered an unorthodox message to the gamers.
It is one that did not get made public.
“Hold your mouth shut, however play every week such as you’re taking part in USC,” Brown stated. “We truly performed the final a part of the season in opposition to USC.”
That is precisely what the Longhorns did, beating their subsequent six opponents by a mean of 41 factors, together with a 70-Three romp over the Buffaloes within the Large 12 championship sport. That led to the best sport potential.
There hasn’t been something prefer it since. We have had Heisman showdowns, like Florida’s Tim Tebow and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford in 2008-09. We have had undefeated groups, comparable to Alabama vs. Texas in 2009-10 and Auburn vs. Oregon in 2010-11. We have even had thrilling last-minute touchdowns from Florida State’s Jameis Winston in 2013, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson in 2016 and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in 2017. Even Watson’s effort within the 2015 Faculty Soccer Playoff championship sport — a 45-40 loss to Alabama — had Brown’s consideration.
“We will begin seeing extra video games like that, I even thought it regarded like Clemson was going to return again within the Fiesta Bowl two years in the past, and that might have been very, very comparable,” Brown stated of Watson. “They wished me to be able to be touch upon the sport if Deshaun introduced them again like Vince introduced us again, and naturally it occurred final yr.”
However whereas all these video games had some facets of USC vs. Texas, that 2006 Rose Bowl had the whole lot rolled into one. And it appears we could have to attend a short time longer for one more sport prefer it.
Alabama is No. 1 by two weeks, however there are a number of groups that would make a case for the nationwide championship proper now. Plus, we cannot know for certain till we see two undefeated groups play one another within the championship sport. There have been two Heisman winners in Leinart and Bush, and the man who may’ve received it in Younger, who solidified his place in faculty soccer historical past with that game-winning landing run.
There was the right backdrop on the Rose Bowl.
There was Brown afterward, unprepared to present a victory speech as a result of the Longhorns have been down 12 factors with 6:42 remaining. He stated the magnitude of the second did not hit him till a visit the White Home on Valentine’s Day, however he’ll all the time bear in mind what USC coach Pete Carroll stated once they discovered one another at midfield.
“He says, ‘You by no means wish to lose, particularly a nationwide championship sport, however we misplaced to a real champion tonight,” Brown stated.
One champion to a different. It is exhausting to high that. We’ll consider it once we see it once more.