On Thursday’s Big 12 football media day, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian found himself in the unenviable position of having to defend his football program.
A pre-season Top 25 team, the Longhorns stumbled to a 5-7 record in Sarkisian’s first season. But Sarkisian expects Texas to improve a lot in their second season now that their players are more locked into their system.
“There may be more rocky waters, which we clearly endured last season,” Sarkisian said. “But when you come out on the other side, man, now you have a team that’s really bought into what you want to do and the staff has really bought into what you want to do, and a roster that’s built the way you want it built to achieve the success you want to achieve. I think that’s where we are in year two.
If the Longhorns are more successful in football, they will understand the joy that most other sports at the University of Texas enjoy.
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The Longhorns won the Tribune-Herald Big 12 All-Sports Championship in 2021-22 for the 18th time in 21 years, and it wasn’t even close.
Texas beat second-place Oklahoma by 51.5 points, dominating the standings even more than last year when the Longhorns beat second-place Oklahoma State by 31.5 points.
The Longhorns are on a hot streak as they won their second straight Learfield Director’s Cup as the nation’s top sports program after winning it for the first time in 2020-21.
Texas’ very successful year was capped off with four national championships. With a sizzling 4×400 meter relay, the Longhorns won their first men’s indoor track championship in Birmingham, Ala.
The women’s tennis team won its second straight national title with a 4-1 win over Oklahoma in Urbana, Illinois. Top seed Peyton Stearns led the Longhorns with a dominating victory in their singles match, beating Layne Sleeth, 6-0, 6-2.
The Longhorns won their fourth NCAA men’s golf team championship by defeating Arizona State, 3-2, in Scottsdale, Ariz., for their first national title since 2012.
“They played some of the best and most outstanding golf I’ve seen,” Texas coach John Fields told the Austin American-Statesman. “And I think that’s just because the pressure was really on.”
It was also a great year for the Texas women’s rowing team as the Longhorns won their second consecutive national title by defeating Stanford in a tiebreaker in Sarasota, Florida.
“It was an absolutely brilliant performance by everyone, and I’m so proud of everyone on this team,” Texas coach Dave O’Neill said. “We have a great team that goes beyond the three boats that have raced here. We had to leave out some very fast ladies from this travel team, but it was great to see them in such large numbers here today. It made a difference.”
While those four sports won it all for the Longhorns, six other Texas teams earned second place nationally.
The Texas women’s indoor track team finished second behind Florida, while the Longhorns women’s outdoor track team also placed second as Julien Alfred clocked a winning time of 11, 02 seconds in 100 meters.
The Texas men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams placed second, while the men’s outdoor track and field team also took second place.
The softball team is perhaps the most surprising of Texas’ second national teams. Finishing third in the Big 12, the Longhorns lost in the Championship Series to a historically dominant Sooners team.
The Texas women’s volleyball and basketball teams made it to the Elite Eight, while the baseball team made it into the College World Series eight-team group. The men’s tennis team finished ninth.
While Texas had the most dominant all-around sports program, the Big 12 teams performed well all over the national stage.
Oklahoma’s 59-3 softball team might have been the best in school history, which is saying a lot as the Sooners have won six national titles since 2000 under Patty Gasso, both of which last.
The Kansas men’s basketball team won their second national title under Bill Self, and their first since 2008. The Jayhawks rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to claim a 72-69 victory against North Carolina.
It was the Big 12’s second consecutive championship after Baylor won the crown in 2021.
“It’s better than I thought,” Self said. “I think the way we won made it even more special. It was a special comeback.”
Oklahoma won its fifth NCAA gymnastics title in the past eight years. Competing in the NCATA, Baylor won its seventh consecutive national stunt and tumbling title, and Oklahoma State won its first NCEA equestrian title.
Baylor finished fourth in the Trib’s Big 12 All-Sports standings behind Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The Baylor football team had its best season in school history winning the Big 12, beating Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl and finishing fifth in the latest Associated Press poll with a 12-2 record.
Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball teams won the Big 12 titles, with the men sharing the title with Kansas.
As for the Longhorns, they will be heading to the SEC at least for the 2025-26 season and possibly sooner. Armed with an extensive athletic program, they look set to succeed in any conference they play in.