UT Longhorns #1

Texas wins, and Austin levitates. UT Numero Uno

Following the University of Texas Longhornsí vanquishing of Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl in what was in my mind the most exciting college football game Iíve ever watched, the citizenry of Austin, Texas has been walking on air. The proof was evident on the Saturday afternoon and evening four days after the game was played. Fans were everywhere as I cruised the perimeter of the 40 Acresóthe largest single-campus university in the nation--along The Drag (Guadalupe Street), MLK Street and the I 35 Frontage Road. A long line of patient albeit still euphoric folks stretched outside the entrance of the UT Coop and around the block. Across the street, clusters of people decked out in burnt-orange took pictures of the queue. On the north side of the Bullock State History Museum fronting MLK, at least twenty photographers had set up tripods in the fading light, with an equal amount gathered around the Littlefield Fountain and even more setting up equipment on islands bordering the frontage road. They were all waiting for sunset followed by the lighting of the UT Tower, the tallest building in campus, which is bathed in orange light whenever UT wins a football game, a championship in other sports, or is recognized for academic accomplishments. Only this time, windows in the building were also lit to spell out he number 1. The scene was repeated at sunset for 11 evenings after the Rose Bowl victory, with television stations and the newspaper displaying some of the better pictures taken.

They say Football is the Number One religion in Texas. But no religion Iíve seen brings people together like UT football has in Texas, and in Austin, in particular. Even the womenís basketball team at Texas A&M, UTís storied rival, rescheduled a BB game so they could watch the Rose Bowl. Even the most rabid UT hater had to agree The Game actually lived up to the blizzard of hype that preceded it.

Austin has been frequently cited as the largest in the United States without a major sports franchise. But who needs the pros when you have the best football team in the country, the eighth-ranked basketball team, the defending national champion baseball team, the number six menís swimming team and the number ten ladies swimmers?

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