The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest public universities in the United States and consistently ranks among the finest institutions of higher education on the planet. It has one of the nation's largest library systems, world class art museums, and a Gutenberg Bible. It is the largest employer in Austin and one of the largest in the state, generating $6 billion in business activity annually, all of which is well and good. But as much or more than anything, UT is about one thing: Longhorn football.
In a state where football-Pop Warner to pro-ranks somewhere among God, country, and pecan pie, UT football is a religion all its own. For Bobby Hawthorne and millions of other fans, services mean Longhorn football games, where a steer named Bevo presides over a congregation of diehard orange-bloods, where the world's largest bass drum keeps time for a hymn called "The Eyes of Texas," where some of the game's greatest players and coaches have delivered the third most wins in Division I NCAA history.
Longhorn Football traces the team's history from its origins in 1893 through the 2006 Rose Bowl, in which Texas won its fourth national championship. The heroes of the last 113 seasons include Dana X. Bible, Bobby Layne, Tommy Nobis, Roosevelt Leaks, Heisman trophy winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams, Vince Young, and, of course, Darrell K Royal. In a voice that is equally reverential and iconoclastic, Hawthorne also details the off-the-field traditions-Bevo, Big Bertha, "The Eyes of Texas," and the "Hook 'em Horns" sign, among others-that make Longhorn football more than just a game. He delves into what makes the rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M so intense and nominates a group of all-time Longhorn greats at every position. In short, Longhorn Football chronicles the team that has become a religion "worthy of the great state of Texas."