Longhorns continue to climb up the polls

Alex Briseño

The Longhorns continue to demand national attention after stretching their win streak to six. If you ask them, they’ll say they don’t listen to the hype, but the voices are getting louder.

Texas’ 6–1 record has launched the Longhorns into serious playoff contention for the first time of the College Football Playoff era, which celebrated its inaugural season in 2014.

But as top-10 teams continue to fall week after week, head coach Tom Herman knows how dangerous listening to the hype surrounding their program can be.

“It is human nature and I’ll repeat this: Any animal with ears can hear. It is a very unique human
condition whether we choose to listen or not,” Herman said during his Monday press conference. “And so that’s a big teaching point each and every week. You have the choice whether you want to listen to this or not.”

Texas jumped up to No. 9 following Texas’ 48-45 win over then-No. 7 Oklahoma, and have continued to climb in the rankings ever since. Despite enjoying the luxury of a bye week, the Longhorns also benefited from three top-10 teams losing in the past two weeks, placing Texas at No. 6 — Texas’ highest rank since 2010.

Texas’ 6–1 start includes marquee victories over TCU and USC along with the win over Oklahoma, serving as the first signature victory of the Herman era and the program’s first top 10 win since defeating No. 8 Baylor in 2016.

But players continue to clarify that this team’s maturity is what has set it apart from the 2016 squad who ended the Charlie Strong era with a 5–7 season.

“We can go back to two years ago when we beat Notre Dame here and jumped from unranked to (No. 11), which was unbelievable,” tight end Andrew Beck said. “… Seeing how this team has handled what we have done and being able to build each week, it’s very reassuring to see that and how mature we are as a unit. There was a lot more ‘We made it,’ than there is now. We’ve done a good job of reminding ourselves that we need to work and things aren’t going to be handed to us.”

After a week of rest, Texas returns to action against Oklahoma State one week before its matchup against No. 13 West Virginia.

With Big 12 title and College Football Playoff hopes still alive and well, the talks surrounding the Longhorn program will just continue to grow. For now, though, Herman has made sure his players know the importance of his 1–0 mentality and it appears to be working.

“Coach Herman has done a phenomenal job of trying to change his whole team’s mindset of just being focused on the task at hand,” wide receiver Collin Johnson said. “The noise, as hard as it can sometimes, especially at a place like (Texas), we just have to tune it out and focus on what’s important and that’s each other and this Saturday.”