A lot has changed for UT athletics since Halloween a year ago. The already disappointing two-loss football team was readying itself for a run at the Big 12 Championship to save head coach Mack Brown from almost certain dismissal as an apprehensive fan base cheered them on.
On the other side of the spectrum, the men’s basketball team was about a week away from what was shaping up to be another disappointing season, likely the last for coach Rick Barnes.
OK, maybe not so much has changed for the Longhorns in the past year. The football team is still showing signs of life one week and disappearing and disappointing the next, Mack Brown’s job is still in jeopardy and Rick Barnes’ basketball team offers no optimism to the fan base.
But while the story line remains the same, there are several new characters in the scene. As Halloween rolls around again, here are a few costume suggestions for Texas’ biggest stars.
Mack Brown: Nick Saban
Even as Brown has led Texas to four straight wins, including the first over Oklahoma in four years, rumors continue to swirl that he will be canned at the end of the season. Longhorn fans’ most desired replacement: current Alabama coach — and owner of three of the past four crystal footballs — Nick Saban.
Brown should just get ahead of the curve now and dress up as Saban for Halloween. Donning his classic straw hat and ’Bama pullover, you never know — maybe coach Brown will get lucky. Maybe nobody will notice if he stays disguised as Saban deep into next season.
Case McCoy: Indiana Jones
McCoy, like Indy, isn’t the likeliest hero. Cast aside as an afterthought before the season, nobody saw his rise to the starting job coming. Washed-up archaeology professor Indiana Jones’ ascension to world-conquering explorer extraordinaire was equally unlikely. Like Jones, McCoy’s performance isn’t always pretty, but so far he’s found a way to get the job done.
McCoy still has a ways to go to emulate Jones’ deity-like status among fans. Leading his team to a Big 12 Championship is the perfect way to start.
Tyrone Swoopes: Jesus
Swoopes is the wonder boy, the savior of Texas football, so it’s only right for him to dress up as Jesus. Fans are convinced he will be the one to take the Longhorns to the promised land.
But not everyone is a believer. There is a large segment of the college football world that doesn’t think Swoopes is ready for the NCAA limelight and several believe he never will be. When Brown burned Swoopes’ redshirt late in the TCU game, it opened up even more questions: Is Swoopes ready for the big time now? Is he going to be the new starter? Did Brown just waste a year of Swoopes’ eligibility?
While no one knows these answers yet, one thing is for certain: With Mack Brown’s recent decision, a whole new level of intrigue has formed around Swoopes. All that’s left for him to do to better fit his costume is learn to walk on water.
Rick Barnes: "Walking Dead" Zombie
As Texas basketball enters yet another season with a fan base devoid of any strains of hope, Rick Barnes’ seat isn’t just hot; it’s already a pile of ashes.
Since Kevin Durant came to campus in 2006, the Longhorns have only advanced past the second round of the NCAA tournament once. Last year, Texas not only missed the NCAA tournament, but did not even get invited to the National Invitation Tournament. Instead, the team settled for a first-round exit in the College Basketball Invitational.
Amazingly, Barnes wasn’t fired after last season, so his current costume suits him seamlessly. Everyone knows that barring some incredible turnaround, Barnes will be gone by the season’s end. For now he’s just the walking dead, going through the motions until he’s put out of his misery.
Mike Davis: Miley Cyrus
The Davis-Cyrus connection is perfectly fitting for both parties. Everybody agrees that they are both amazing talents, and they garner a ton of attention. The problem is it’s usually for the wrong reasons.
Cyrus and Davis are known for not realizing when to shut their mouths when they need to, and it often comes back to bite them. Cyrus’ controversial Video Music Awards performance, where she scandalously twerked and grinded all over the stage, earned her the outrage of several of her peers, while Davis’ recent illegal, dangerous block against an Iowa State defender gathered him the ire of fans and analysts all over the country. Even worse is Davis’ unwillingness to apologize for his actions, going as far as to say he would do the same thing in a future situation.
Davis and Cyrus may be controversial, but they do know how to get attention and they always seem to have the spotlight on them, so this costume fits perfectly.
David Ash: Jennifer Aniston
Our next cross-dressing costume is graciously presented to former starting quarterback David Ash, although I’m not sure how happy he would be to receive it. Ash came into the year with high hopes and big dreams, but that all came crashing down when he suffered a concussion against BYU.
Just as Ash has been pushed aside for the new hero, McCoy, Aniston was once rudely shoved aside by ex-husband Brad Pitt in favor of Angelina Jolie. But things might turn out OK for Ash after all. Aniston has rebounded nicely and is currently engaged to actor Justin Theroux — she is even rumored to be pregnant. So keep your chin up, Ash — things can only get better from here.
Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron: Cerberus
Texas’ dream trio of running backs will dress as Cerberus, the three-headed beast of Greek mythology. Without this monster pounding the ball down the throats of opposing teams, the football team would be a complete disaster.
Led by Gray’s 656 rushing yards on the season, these three are responsible for the Longhorns’ ground-and-pound style that has sparked the winning streak. These studs sharing one three-headed costume are not a group you would want to pick a fight with on Halloween night.