Unlike in past couple of years, Texas has an undeniably strong presence in this year’s NCAA Basketball tournament with a record-tying 7 teams in the 68 team field vying for the Final Four in San Antonio. In no particular order, Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, Houston, Texas A&M, Texas Southern, TCU and UT have made the field. Red thinks Tech and TCU have the best shot at a Final Four appearance, but he is almost always wrong about such things.
In fact, a Texas school has not been in the Final Four since 2003 when the University of Texas came on strong for its third Final Four shot. But, UTEP is the only other Texas team to have made a Final Four and won the only NCAA Championship for a Texas team with its upset of Kentucky in 1966. Maybe this is the year.
From the Annals of Intercollegiate Athletics – In 1914, the Southwest Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was formed at a meeting at the Rice Hotel in Houston. The name was changed to the Southwest Conference in 1925 and it existed as a major college conference until its dissolution in 1996. The inaugural members were Arkansas, Rice, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma A&M, Southwestern, Texas A&M and Texas. Southwestern was a member for only one year and the Oklahoma schools were gone in less than a decade. Major additions were SMU in 1918, TCU in 1923, Texas Tech in 1956 and Houston in 1972. With the inception of the Cotton Bowl Classic at Fair Park in Dallas, the SWC Champion was the host team and the CBC featured several games that determined the then “Mythical” National Champion.
The death came quickly with Arkansas leaving in 1991 and Texas, A&M, Tech and Baylor breaking off to join the schools of the Big 8 in forming the Big 12 (now featuring 10 schools).
Red has always blamed the break up of the SWC on the scandalous Pony Express program at SMU largely orchestrated by former Poor Idiot Governor Bill Clements – a notorious scuzzbag of a businessman. After getting a death penalty sanction from the NCAA in 1987, SMU hung around the neck of the SWC like a dead chicken. Red believes that if the conference had had the juevos to kick out the Mustangs and attempt to get a good replacement (like LSU or Oklahoma) the conference would be alive and well today. Red suspects the specter of Clements kept that from happening. Thanks for nothing Bill!
Red always thought that the SWC logo made it look like Texas had wings.