by Allen Kellogg
Matthew McConaughey is single handedly running the athletics of the University of Texas into the ground.
You’re probably thinking, “wow what a dumb thing to say, Matthew McConaughey is Texas’s favorite son,” but is he really?
Here is Texas football wins over the last 8 season plotted against Matthew McConaughey’s popularity;
Pretty damning. If that’s not enough here is McConauhey’s perceived acting ability mapped against recent UT football events;
We start our journey back in 2008 which is both the beginning of the so called McConaissance and the collapse of Texas football.
Tropic Thunder is released. McConaughey played the minor role of Rick Peck, the agent. His part was small, but McConaughey’s ability to imbue Peck with the faintest hint of sympathy as he struggled with betraying his best friend and owning a Gulf Stream V ultimately rewrote the ending of the picture, as Peck was originally killed off by the film’s villainous Laotian drug cartel. Instead, Stiller reshot an ending where Peck saves his friend and gets his Gulf Stream. It surely made moviegoers h-h-h-h-happy.
This year was not only a turning point for McConaughey, but also for the Longhorns. Texas started the season ranked 11th, but moved up to 5th before the Red River Shootout against then number 1 ranked Oklahoma. Texas went on to defeat the Sooners 45-35 and take the number 1 spot in the polls. Texas went on to win two more games against ranked teams, 11th ranked Missouri and 7th ranked Oklahoma State. Texas faced off against number 6 Texas Tech in Lubbock and was up 33-32 with 8 seconds left when this happened. Texas lost the game and has never seen a number one ranking since.
The next season was a great year for Texas football they went undefeated and won a miracle finish against Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game. McConaughey was not in any movies that year, but that year he decided to transform himself from the star of romantic comedies into a serious actor.
Let’s look at this quote from McConaughey him that he said 3 days before Texas faced Alabama in the National Championship game.
“I got to feeling like, for a few years, I was doing something that I liked to do with romantic and action comedies. But believe me, I noticed there were other things that were not coming in. And if they were coming in, it was in an independent form with a much smaller paycheck, and nobody really wanting to get behind them … But I knew I could say no to the things I’d been doing. In saying no to those things, I knew work was going to dry up for awhile … Year and a half, still nothing. At two years, all of a sudden, in my opinion, I became a new good idea for some good directors.”
Colt McCoy was knocked out of the game in the first quarter and Texas collapsed soon after. The Horns fell to Bama 37-21, giving Bama their first Natty of the Saban Era.
This was the beginning of the end for the Longhorns. The 2010 season was a disaster. Texas went 5-7, the first losing season in Austin since 1997. McConaughey spent that year filming three of the movies that would redefine him, Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, and Killer Joe. These three films shattered all conceived opinions about what McConaughey could do as an actor and established him as a serious and talented actor. Quite a dichotomy from the Longhorns who began the season ranked 5th, but would finish the season on a 5 game losing streak to Power 5 teams.
McConaughey won his first acting award since 2005 for his role in Bernie. He received widespread acclaim for his power and emotional performance. This year would see the Longhorns finish the season 8-5 with a win over Cal in the Holiday Bowl. The season was full of missed opportunities and poor play. However Texas went 4-5 in conference tying for 6th place with rival A&M. Texas ended the regular season unranked in both the Coaches and AP poll.
Texas went 9-4, but still finished the season with 2 straight conference losses and ended the year ranked 23rd in the BCS. 2012 is also the most recent bowl win for Texas, a 31-27 comeback win over Oregon State in the Alamo bowl. While Texas struggled, McConaughey won over thousands of movie goers with his supporting performance of Dallas in Magic Mike. The movie starred Channing Tatum, but McConaughy upstaged him. McConaughey had established himself as a serious actor and rumors began to buzz of a possible academy award in the future. A film critic wrote of his performance in Magic Mike.
“A sleeper hit in 2012 for obvious reasons, Magic Mike attempted to explore the underbelly of seedy male erotica that’s supposedly based on star Channing Tatum’s real-life experiences. However, the true toe-tapping treat for audiences was McConaughey’s club owner and former dancer. Equal parts mentor and nefarious shade of the Ghost of Christmas Future, McConaughey acted as Bette Davis to Tatum’s Anne Baxter. As campy as it is gritty, McConaughey playing the older, grosser side of his rom-com bronze statue from only 10 years prior earned a fervent following that even petitioned for Oscar recognition from its most incredulous of devotees.”
This was the year that brought the greatest change to both Texas football and McConaughey. Texas would fired long time coach Mack Brown after a lackluster 8-5 season which ended with blowout loss to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. While Texas sank McConaughy soared. McConaughey won the Oscar award for best actor, his first academy award. His powerhouse performance in Dallas Buyers Club brought audiences to tears. McConaughey only had a bit part in The Wolf of Wall Street 2013, but it also produced one of his most iconic scene. His rhythmic, thumping chant became famous across the world and is a fixture of Texas home games in Darrell K. Royal. Texas fans think of it as a tribute to their favorite son and a pump up chant for the Horns, but what McConaughey is actually doing is sucking up all the Texas players talent so he can use it to enhance his acting talent. Since McConaughey won that Oscar, Texas has not won more than 6 games in a season.
Texas fans were optimistic because of the hiring of Charlie Strong as Head Coach. He was to breathe new life into a stagnant program and bring Texas back into the national spotlight. This would not the case. Charlie Strong was fired this year after a 16-21 record, the worst winning percentage of a HC in Texas history. Some of the lowlights include
* Losing to Kansas for the first time since before WW2
* Back to Back losing seasons for the first time in 30 years
* Never beating TCU
* Only Texas Coach in history to never win a bowl game
At the same time Matthew McConaughey has reached the pinnacle of his popularity. Some of his highlights include
* He received an Emmy nomination for his role in True Detective.
* Becoming the face of Lincoln and revitalizing the brand.
* Leaving audiences across the world sobbing as the watched him star in Interstellar
He spoke to the Texas Longhorns in 2014 after a 41-7 asskicking by BYU. Rather than rallying the horns, he stole their energy and passion and redirected it into his career. While he was tearing at the heartstrings of millions, Texas football plummeting off a cliff.
His career tract between 2008-2014 has been dubbed the McConaissance by many. Now he is regarded as one of the most talented actors in Hollywood if not the world. Many ask where is innate acting ability had been through his early career.
It is clear that McConaughey has stolen the power of the Texas Longhorns for himself. He channeled the energy, talent, and passion of the Texas football team and stole their aura. Similar to how the Mon-Stars stole talent from NBA stars in Space Jam. The question on many people’s mind is where will it end. Now after the worst season for Texas college football teams in 50 years, it is clear he is after all power and energy of all the football teams in Texas.
Is there a solution? I think so, but it will not be an easy one. Texas, A&M, Tech, TCU, Houston, Rice, UTEP, UTSA, UNT, and Texas State must unite into a last alliance in order to resist his forces and keep our college football great.