Texas head coach Steve Sarkissian knows the college football world is focused on the Longhorns at Alabama No. 1 on Saturday, as two of the sport’s biggest brand names face off for only the tenth time in history.
But Sarkissian warns his team not to be too distracted.
The Longhorns are a 19-point underdog on Caesars Sportsbook and likely to close with the longest odds for a home win since the 1978 FBS/FCS split, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
However, it’s a great opportunity to see how Sarkissian’s lead stacks up against his old boss Nick Saban.
“It’s one game, you know?” Sarkissian said Monday. “It’s an opportunity for us to do what we love to do. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is [thinking] This will be the game that will define our program.
“Maybe, maybe not. I’m not worried about it. I’m more concerned about the way we play.”
Sarkissian said his goal is to play in the Big 12 tournament. While Crimson Tide will be a future opponent of the SEC, Saturday’s game is a game without conferences at the moment, and Sarkissian said he is focusing on what he can control.
“All the time, my goal is to be in Dallas on December 3,” he said. “This game has no bearing on that… I want to play really well. I want to make sure our guys play our style of football, our brand of football and we do it the way I know we can do it. He-she .”
Sarkissian, who spent three seasons as an assistant at Alabama, was asked how Saturday’s game against Saban compared to facing another former coach at Pete Carroll in 2009, when Sarkissian’s then-Washington team resented. 3 USC 16-13.
“A very similar scenario,” Sarkissian said. “I’ve worked with Pete Carroll for seven years and had a lot of respect for what he did and what we were able to do in our time there. I think it was a buy-in to the game plan idea, and where we needed that from a psychological point of view.”
Sarkissian knows the psychological state he needs against the dominant Alabama show, and he laughs remembering how hard it was to work with Saban, even though he remembered that Lane Kevin had the brunt of it.
Sarkissian laughed, “Lynn used to be good. I don’t mind saying that.” “Lynn has been such a good friend of mine. There are a couple that I remember clearly. I was kind of in the press box looking down and there was a lot of [wild gestures] is happening.
“I got it too. I guess that’s what we looked like. But part of it, so [Saban] Yelling at you, you probably didn’t reach an expectation or level of what he was expecting of you. And if you’re a guy like me, that’s what drives you in the end. “
Texas will face Alabama for the first time since the 2010 National Championship game after the 2009 season. This will be the first regular season game since 1922, and Texas is 7-1-1 ever against Tide, the best win percentage (.833) among the teams that have played with them At least five times.
Sarkissian said he wasn’t sure where he was during that 2010 championship game, but echoed a frequent refrain from Longhorn fans – something that will be analyzed in a bit this week: What would it have been if former Texans quarterback Colt McCoy had not been injured in the fifth blitzkrieg of Loss 37-21.
“I think we all wish, if Colt had been in the game, what would have happened?” He said.
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