From a section of Ten Thoughts From the Weekend on February 4, 2013 Allow me to introduce to you my Boogie Nights Theory in relation to Longhorn athletics. For those that know nothing about the movie, let me set the stage for you by dishing a little info on one of the most underrated movies of the 1990s, a true gem of a film from Paul Thomas Anderson, who has emerged as one of the world's best directors in the time since then. The movie is about the early porn industry and the list of stars in the movie includes Mark Wahlberg (in his best performance), Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman, among others. Racy subject matter aside, it really is a terrific movie. If you haven't seen the movie, just go ahead and skip down to the next section. I don't want to ruin the first watch of the movie for you by making the side-by-side comparison that I'm about to make. If you have seen the movie I'm about to change it for you forever. Let me set the stage for you. This is your last chance to turn away. The cast Mack Brown… as Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) He's the star of the show and the guy that helps keep the money pouring in for all the big wigs that like to associate themselves with the Johnsons' … er … the Joneses. Our star has boyish good looks and his heart is always in the right place, but he has a bit of a complex and worries a little too much about what people think about him. At his very best and with the right cast surrounding him, he was one of the best in the business. Greg Davis… as Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly) Dirk's right hand man. They go everywhere and do everything together. DeLoss Dodds … as Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) He's the man in charge. In a cesspool of a world, he seems to be the coolest dude in the entire room, no matter the room. Forever in charge of seemingly everything, the one thing he can't control is the times that are changing around him or the fate that awaits those around him. Bill Little … as Little Bill (William H. Macy) Basically, he's everyone's gopher. If you need something, he'll make sure you have it. There's nobody that has seen more than him, but his impact is limited. Chris Jessie … as Scotty J (Philip Seymour Hoffman) Nobody really even knows how he got to the party, but he's always around … watching everyone (and somehow getting paid to do it). Rick Barnes … as Rollergirl (Heather Graham) She's one of the co-stars of Jack's films, but she never receives anywhere near the attention of Dirk, who everyone gushes over all the time. Cleve Bryant … as Buck Swope (Don Cheadle) A very complex character, who is more of an out of place cowboy from the 1800s than anything you'll find in present day America. Has enough flamboyance about him that he'll wear just about anything, so that everyone in the room always knows he's there. Augie Garrido … as Maurice TT Rodriguez (Luis Guzman) He's always saying things that are incredibly insightful, even if you don't completely understand what it is that he's trying to say. The one guy in the movie that you know is going to be living a good life when the movie ends because guys like him are the ultimate survivors. Plus, anyone that can make a great drink can always get a job as a bartender. Will Muschamp … as Todd Parker (Thomas Jane) He arrives later in the film and ends up being besties with Dirk and Reed. Of all the guys in the movie, he's the guy most likely to end up with blood all over his face for no explainable reason. He literally scares the crap out of everyone all the time, but yet there's something about him that everyone digs. Any Billionaire Big Money Alum … as The Colonel (Robert Ridgely) Nothing happens without his money. Ever. Push comes to shove, he's the guy that everyone needs to make happy. ***** Now that all the pieces are in place, let's get down to business. Throughout the first half of the movie, everything is pretty peachy keen for everyone. After Jack hires Dirk, magic is made and the entire business is rocking in almost all aspects, despite the fact that there are signs that trouble looms. On one fateful night (January 1, 1980) the world around everyone changes and the narrative for everyone takes a serious change for the worse. This is the aspect of the movie that grabs me the most when I think about the symbolism with the Longhorn athletic program. Like the movie, the Longhorn universe seemed to change on a dime after one single impactful moment, and while it might not have been New Year's when that moment occurred, it's not far off. January 7, 2010. That really is the night that everything changed for the Longhorns and it's a surreal feeling to stand back and think about everything that has happened on the 40 Acres since Colt McCoy was injured in fairly freakish fashion in the national championship game against Alabama. Three-plus years later, the fear that overcame the entire Longhorn universe when it watched McCoy walk off the field for the final time in a Longhorn uniform remains ominous. Just as it was in the movie, the ushering in of a new decade has proven to be an unkind awakening. An athletic program that was on top of the world in seemingly every major men's sport (basketball team was No. 1 in the country just weeks earlier and the baseball team played for the national title in 2009 as well) has never been the same. The early part of the 1980s in Boogie Nights is without question soaked in symbolism for the start of this current decade for the Longhorns. The good news is that redemption is a huge part of the storyline in the movie. While the collateral damage that occurs is significant, there is redemption to be found for almost everyone by the end of the movie. Dirk hits one hell of a rock bottom, but fights his way to the other side. Same for Frank. Same for Rollergirl. Same for Buck. As low as the low moments have been, both in the movie and in the world of Longhorn football, we find ourselves staring at a story of redemption. The past cannot be changed and who knows what is in store for the future … we just went through one hell of a weekend … but this IS a story about redemption. In my mind, Mack will be standing in front of a mirror in a few months before the season-opener, saying to himself… "I'm a star. I'm a star, I'm a big bright shining star." ***** No. 2 – The elephant in the room ... Good grief, we're still waiting on the redemptive tale. It turns out that the stretch of time in the athletics department that I thought represented rock bottom, which occurred right about the time the school sent out a release regarding Major Applewhite’s inappropriate relationship with a school trainer, wasn't rock bottom at all. It's as if instead of cleaning himself up, the UT version of Dick Diggler went out on a bender with Todd Parker for the next FIVE years? The stretch of time has doubled and it still feels like UT athletics is trying to climb out of what has turned into a decade-long funk since the night of the 2010 Rose Bowl. Please, Tom Herman, for the sanity of Orangebloods everywhere, please begin the long-overdue story of redemption. Please. No. 3 - A weird part of all this ... How is that the offense in all three major men's sports has been the bugaboo for the Texas Longhorns for much of the last decade? It's as if the sports gods have decided that there just can't be any fun around these parts and that truth gets paid repeatedly in the form of the kind of offense that gets the cheerleaders from the movie "Wildcats" up and dancing. As I took in another clumsy looking offensive affair in Saturday's win over Oklahoma State, I just wanted to pull my eyes out. It's one thing to watch losing teams, but it's another to be tortured to death over the lack of pleasing beauty available to the eyes. Yes, Shaka Smart's team have been ugly at times, but so were Rick Barnes' teams. Meanwhile, the football program has gone to extreme lengths to fix what ails it on the offensive side of the ball and nothing has yet worked. Should I even bring up the lack of support Texas pitching has received over the last near-decade? It's amazing how "offense" in all three programs has emerged as a never-ending theme. No. 4 – Changing topics ... The staff talked about this in the TicketCity Podcast this week, but it's a point worth rehashing. Don't be surprised if the Spring Game weekend becomes one of the most important weekends of the entire year as it relates to recruiting. With official visits beginning in April and going into May and June, it makes sense that the coaches will circle the weekend of the spring game as their big visit weekend for the 2019 class, especially with out of state prospects. In the coming weeks, I'm expecting that we're going to start hearing about visits being set up for that weekend and Herman's ability to turn the event into the kind of exhibit that sells recruits on the program will largely depend on the atmosphere that can be created. Translation: Fill the stadium up as much as possible. No. 5 – Things that make you go, "Whew!" I'm not even going to lie, I did feel a crazy amount of relief as Snoop Roach's layup found the bottom of the net on Saturday to give Texas a desperately needed win over Oklahoma State at an anxiety-filled Erwin Center. Make no mistake about it, that would have been a death blow to the chances of earning an NCAA Tournament bid. As it stands it will probably require a win at home against match-up nightmare West Virginia to get over the hump, but a loss to the Cowboys? Absolute curtains. With a line-up that is suddenly missing Andrew Jones, Eric Davis and (as of Saturday afternoon) Mo Bamba, it's absolutely within the realm of possibilities that Texas has won its last game of the season. Bless their hearts, but what is left just isn't enough to beat motivated tournament-level teams. I'm not even sure how they finished off the Cowboys, but give them credit for pulling it off. It was hella-gutsy. However, guts can only get you so far at this time of the year. Three more things ... a. It's ironic that Texas scored on a scrambled play coming out of a time out to win the game because one area that Shaka Smart and his coaches did a good job of all day was drawing up plays coming out of time outs that resulted in buckets. One of those times was less than two minutes earlier when they went surprisingly to Jericho Sims in the paint for a much-needed hoop. More than any game this season, I thought coaching made a difference between winning and losing. b. Matt Coleman has a natural instinct to take responsibility at the end of ball games. That could serve this program very well in the coming seasons. c. Monday night in Lawrence is going to be ugly. Rest Bamba up for the weekend and don't even take him on the trip. Just let him rehab. No. 6 - Not sure what to make of Texas Baseball ... Even with a resolve-testing 11-1 win on Sunday to salvage something out of a three-game set in Baton Rouge, it's hard to ignore that the Longhorns were beaten like they stole something from mom's purse on Friday and Saturday. A 23-9 beatdown over two days will leave a mark. It's still very early and the sample-size is small, but the thing about this team that really stands out through the first two weeks of the season is that nothing really stands out. The team just looks ok. Not poor, but certainly not really outstanding, either. Weirdly, the offense seems ahead of the pitching. Well, at least this weekend, anyway. We'll know a little more in two weeks when Stanford comes to town. No. 7 – Buy or Sell … BUY OR SELL: Not that either one is on the hot seat yet, but Tom Herman is under more pressure than Jim Harbaugh to win more games in 2018 than they did in 2017? (Sell) Both are under pressure to win at programs like Texas and Michigan, but Harbaugh is going into year four, recruiting has dropped off some and there's a feeling out there that it's time to deliver some goods. BUY OR SELL: Herman's success for 2019 recruiting lives and dies on winning DFW recruits? (Sell) While the Metroplex is important, if things go to hell in a hand-basket in the region, there's enough talent in Houston, East Texas, San Antonio/Austin and out of state to deliver a top-10 class. BUY OR SELL: You would rather have Tom Herman as the head coach for Texas than Jimbo? (Buy) That's a great question. On paper, I think I'd take the guy who has won a national title and has simply proven more as a coach, but I think college football is becoming a young man's game, which means I'll lean to the guy that to the naked eye looks like the guy with the most hunger. BUY OR SELL: This is a make or break season for CTH? (Sell) I think 2019 is the season that will really reveal a lot. BUY OR SELL: McComas would prefer you not comment on basketball? (Sell) I can think of quite a few others he'd probably put muzzles on before he'd put one on me. BUY OR SELL: 2019 recruiting results are going to be highly dependent on results on the field for both Texas and Aggie? Texas has to go no worse than 8-4, maybe even 9-3, and make a decent bowl game if it hopes to have another top-10 class? (Sell) The 2019 recruiting cakes will potentially be in the over before the season takes place, which is historically the case, but especially in this new era of the early signing period. Those programs are selling the future and not this season. BUY OR SELL: Rolling past April 1 with only one or two 2019 football commits, and none off the LSR top 10, is indeed a reason for Texas fans to worry? (Sell) Worry? No. Concern? Sure. No. 8 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... Women's hockey aside, I can't say the Winter Oympics did much for me. Glad the whole thing is over. ... The Rams getting their hands on Marcus Peters is a big deal. ... Bye, Dez. You'll forgive me if I don't remember your era with the Cowboys very fondly. ... The Warriors reminded us this weekend what the Death Star can look like when it's operational and focused. ... Props to Romelu Lukaku. For a guy who struggles in big games, he came to play against Chelsea. ... Oh, I know Jose Mourinho is going to sleep well tonight ... with a smile on his face. ... The final 10 weeks of the EPL season is going to be a blast. Champion's League spots, the Golden Boot and relegation will be the stories to watch each week. No. 9 – One weeks until the big night that all of you love so dearly … Those of you that hate-read this section each week will be heart-broken to know this will be the last column of the year featuring my thoughts on the lead-up to the Academy Awards, although I will probably do some quick hitters on next week's ceremony. This week? This week you get predictions! Best Supporting Actor Who will win: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) Who should win: Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) Who should have been nominated: Jason Mitchell (Mudbound) Best Supporting Actress Who will win: Allison Janney (I,Tonya) Who should win: Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) Who should have been nominated: Holly Hunter (The Big Sick) Best Actor Who will win: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) Who should win: Oldman Who should have been nominated: James Franco (The Disaster Artist) Best Actress Who will win: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri) Who should win: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) Who should have been nominated: Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) Best Director Who will win: The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro) Who should win: Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) Who should have been nominated: Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) Best Picture What will win: The Shape of Water What should win: Phantom Thread What should have been nominated: I, Tonya No. 10 – And Finally … My brain is melted.