In the immediate rubble of a four-quarter heavyweight fight that ended with his team being knocked out in the 12th and final round, Texas head coach Tom Herman looked like a man sorting through his grief in real time in front of anyone and everyone. Wearing a fuller beard than these eyes have ever seen from him, Herman looked like a man that had been thinking about getting his hands on a trophy so much in the last few weeks that he just hadn't had time to shave. Or think about shaving. His face looked exhausted and his body language couldn't fake the feelings flowing through his body. Herman gave it his best during the post-game press conference to flash a little personality in an effort to lighten the mood, but there are times when you can't fake not wanting to talk to people and this was one of those moments. And then something happened that changed his entire mood. His sophomore quarterback started talking. Asked about what he had learned about the Longhorns this season, Ehlinger replied confidently, "I think we learned that we can hang with anybody when we play well. So, that's going to give us a lot of confidence heading into the bowl game and heading into next year. Like coach said, we really bought into what the coaches preached and we loved each other, and we learned that the only thing that can stop us is us. The games that we've lost, we've hurt ourselves. I think that ... while that's very frustrating, I think it's enlightening to know that we are going in the right direction. We can fix those things." A little more than halfway through those remarks, Herman's entire mood changed. Eventually, he turned to face Ehlinger (who was seated to his left) and he smiled with a glow that reminded me of a woman wearing a fresh engagement ring. It was as if Ehlinger was channeling the message and attitude that Herman had been trying to install from the moment he first arrived in Austin, and I was convinced that Herman might lean over and kiss him right in the middle of his answer. Instead, Herman let Ehlinger finish his statement and when another reporter started to ask the next question, the Texas coach reached under the table and gave his quarterback a double-pat on the leg. Yes, Texas lost on Saturday inside of Jerry World. Yes, it was outplayed. Yes, it made fewer plays in the fourth quarter. Yes, it was screwed by another set of incompetent Big 12 officials. All of those things happened, but what can't be lost in the moment is that the Longhorns were 15 minutes of great football away from winning a conference championship in Herman's second season in Austin. If you'd ask any of the decision-makers that hired Herman about their expectations for him, playing in a Big 12 Championship game in year two would have likely been chief among them, which is to say that this program is on schedule two years into Herman's tenure. While the pain of Saturday was too fresh for anyone in burnt orange to think too much about the future, the reality is that the table would appear to be set for this program to return to Arlington in 12 months to right what went wrong in its first go-round for the title on Saturday. Of course, Ehlinger will be leading the charge. In fact, he vowed to never be in this situation again, pledging to the Texas fan base that it would essentially be over his dead body before he'd sit up on the same stage feeling the sting of a loss on the title-deciding day of the season. "We had an opportunity, our defense did a great job of getting the ball back to us, and then offensively we didn't take care of our part of the bargain," Ehlinger said when asked about the safety that changed the tone of the entire fourth quarter. "That's on us. That's on me. I will make it my mission to never let this team or this school feel this disappointment again." For a player that is often compared to former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, it was very much a Tebow-esque thing to say. In fact, it reminded me of the comments that Tebow made as a young player following an ass-kicking at the hands of Mississippi. The truth about this Texas football team is that it wasn't quite ready for prime-time on Saturday. What comes next for Ehlinger and Co. is a quest to build championship steel inside of themselves, which will allow them to grab a hold of what alluded them for much of 2018 - the ability to finish the fourth quarter. The inability to do so is why Texas is sitting here in December with four losses on the ledger and without a championship to claim. In previous seasons, the focus has been on the search for a quarterback to lead them to the promised land, but Herman has the player he needs in Ehlinger. That part is 100-percent settled and if a picture is worth 1,000 words, the sight of Herman beaming towards Ehlinger suggests there isn't another player on the planet he'd rather have by his side leading the charge. More than Saturday representing the end of the 2018 regular season, I'd contend Saturday represents the beginning of whatever comes next, which Ehlinger will contend is finishing the job the team didn't quite do the first time around. It's not game over. It's game on. No. 2 - Big challenge in the Big Easy ... Let's keep it real. If you're the Texas Longhorns, you take a chance to play in a game like the Sugar Bowl 10 times out of 10 under normal, non-playoff missing (see UGA) circumstances. For a Texas team that will have seriously high expectations heading into the 2019 season, it will have a chance to send a statement going into the off-season. If you beat Georgia you can bet your bottom dollar that the Longhorns will be quite the national darling. There's more upside to playing this game than in any other game that could possibly remain. Of course, there's more downside as well. This same Georgia team was leading Alabama going into the fourth quarter of Saturday’s SEC Championship. It might be the second-best team in the country. If the Dawgs come to New Orleans focused on the game with a point to prove, there's literally no scarier opponent on paper that the Longhorns could play. Yet, unlike the Dawgs, Texas has actually beaten a team playing in the playoffs. There's no reason to be scared. Texas just better bring its A-game. If it does that, there's no reason to think this won't be a one-score game in the fourth quarter. No. 3 - Big 12 Conspiracy Against Texas? I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. Don't get me wrong, there's no disputing that the best thing that could happen to the Big 12 over the weekend was Oklahoma making the playoff and Texas heading to New Orleans. I'm not pretending that a motive to corrupt the Big 12 Championship Game doesn't exist in a true conspiracy world. What I don't buy is that the Big 12 offices and the officials that work for it are skilled enough to pull off a conspiracy of game collusion. This is literally a conference that can't successfully manage discussion about what is and isn't a penalty with regards to the inverted Hook'em in the days before the game and I'm supposed to believe that it could create what amounts to successful criminal fraud? Nope. Not when the co-conspirators would include a group of men that fail to prove on a weekly basis that it can handle the ability of being asked to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Seriously, we've complained about the incompetence of Big 12 officials for so long that you'll forgive me if I view what happened on Saturday simply as a continuation of terrible results from a crew that perfected being terrible. Good grief, these officials reviewed Caden Sterns' interception on Saturday, despite the fact that a penalty occurred, which made the result of the play a moot point. Everyone seemed to know this basic rule of the game except ... wait for it ... the damn officials. I mean... No. 4 - Story time with Uncle Ketch ... Considering, I'm expecting a man-hunt for the man named Ron Weaver to take place in the coming month with Texas scheduled to play in the Sugar Bowl for the first time in 23 years, I thought I would tell everyone about my one encounter with the man named Ron McKelvey (for those that don't recognize the name, read this.) The meeting actually occurred on his official visit, while I was a freshman at Texas working in the Sports Information Office. While running an errand on the second floor of Bellmont Hall, I ran into McKelvey and his Texas Angels host, who also worked inside the SID office. Upon being introduced to McKelvey, it was hard not to notice how happy he was to be on the visit. It's not a mischaracterization to say that he was downright bubbly about it. As soon as I walked away from meeting him, two thoughts crossed my mind. a. He was definitely committing to Texas. b. Man, he looked old. You have to remember that I was a baby-faced freshman at the time and as soon as I shook the dude's hand, I was thinking to myself, "These JUCO dudes look like grown men." Fast-forward nearly a year later, I was making the trip to New Orleans with a group of three friends, when we turned off Master P and turned on some local New Orleans sports talk radio. It turns out that the McKelvey story broke while I was making the trip. This was before Twitter and texting. When we arrived at the hotel in New Orleans, there was so much confusion among Texas fans. Who in the hell was this guy, folks were asking? Would Texas have to forfeit games that he had played in? As for myself, my first thought was, "I knew that guy was ****ing old when I met him" No. 5 - Compare and contrast ... Today we finish our trip through the class of 2015 with a look at the tight end position, otherwise known as an endangered species in the Lone Star State. Previous position breakdowns: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers, OffensiveLinemen, Defensive tackles, Defensive ends, Linebackers and Defensive Backs In-State prospects 1. Jordan Davis (Signed with Texas A&M) - Played one season with the Aggies before transferring to Louisville, where he played as a part-time contributor in each of his two seasons. Only caught two passes for 23 yards in 10 games this season. Believe it or not (it's fairly easy to believe), Davis was the only prep player from the state of Texas that ranked among the top 30 tight ends in the nation. As far as I can tell, none of the 13 tight ends from the Lone Star State that received scholarship offers from the 2015 class ever amounted to much as college players. My Reaction? No. 6 – BUY or SELL … BUY or SELL: LJH and CJ both return next year? (Buy) I think both guys probably will think about it, but I would think there's upside in returning for multiple reasons for both. BUY or SELL: This is the season Herman needed to pitch progress to recruits? (Buy) Yes, he was able to both show that the program is headed where he says it is and also that they still need another class or two to get there. Perfect. BUY or SELL: Getting blown out vs Georgia would do more harm to recruiting than the positives that would come from beating them. (Sell) There's no recruiting downside to this game. BUY or SELL: OU going to the playoff with a chance at a natty is bad for UT and it would be better for UT if OU missed the playoff, even though it means UT goes to the Alamo Bowl? (Sell) F the Alamo Bowl. BUY or SELL: Sam will be the best big 12 qb next year? (Buy) I'm not completely sure that there's a clear No.2. BUY or SELL: Texas final score is within 10 of Georgia at the final buzzer? (Buy) Tom Herman with a month to prepare as an underdog is still the smart betting play in my mind. BUY or SELL: Tom Herman needs to find an offensive coordinator to take the play calling pressure off him and to make the offense a bit more creative? (Sell) If you can find someone that is a better play-caller than Tom Herman, then perhaps he should be the head coach. I want Herman directing and pulling the strings. BUY or SELL: The Big 12 will do absolutely nothing about football refs during the off season? (Buy) Duh. BUY or SELL: Texas will have at least one delay of game penalty in the Sugar Bowl and it will kill a drive? (Buy) Duh. BUY or SELL: Riley is going to own Herman just as much as Stoops owned Mack? (Sell) I think Lincoln Riley coached his last Texas/OU game on Saturday, which is one of the reasons he was so emotional after the game and one of the reasons why he felt so free in the team picture to go the downward Hook'em. No. 7 - "Hey Farva what's the name of that restaurant you like with all the goofy shit on the walls and the mozzarella sticks?"... A week ago in this very same column, I stressed that it was important for Shaka Smart and Co. to use their experience from the successful trip to Las Vegas and never look back in their quest to become the kind of team and program that they desire to become. A few days later, with a freshly minted top-25 ranking next to their name, the Longhorns lost at home to Radford. F'ing Radford. For Texas fans, it might as well have been a loss to Team Ramrod from the movie Super Troopers because there's an 85-percent chance that most Texas fans will know more about that movie than they will about a school that is in ... *checks online for the answer* ... Virginia. Two steps forward, 3,000 steps back. I'm known around these parts as a "Shaka guy," but at some point the men’s basketball program has to stop being a waste of all of our time, which is exactly what it’s been for all of Smart's three-plus seasons thus far and for much of the last decade, if we're being completely honest. The best part about Friday's loss is that I'm sure very few of us watched any of it, which might as well be the running theme of this season before it's all said and done if things don't turn around, and turn around quickly. (For your NSFW viewing pleasure) No. 8 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... If I had a vote that mattered … 1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Notre Dame 4. Georgia 5. Oklahoma 6. Ohio State 7. Central Florida 8. Michigan 9. Washington 10. Texas ... Heisman Top 3: (1st) Kyler Murray, (2nd) Tua Tagovailoa and (3rd) Dwayne Haskins ... While I think Georgia is better than Oklahoma, I think Oklahoma is more deserving of a spot in the playoffs. ... Although it wasn't a carbon copy of the play, I thought the blitz that resulted in the safety that ultimately changed the game forever very much reminded me of Roy Williams' hit on Chris Simms in the 2001 Texas/OU game. ... Jalen Hurts coming off the bench to save Alabama's season against Georgia after losing his job in this same match-up 11 months ago is one of the best Disney moments I've seen in college football history. It was damn poetic. ... What in the hell was Kirby Smart thinking? That fake punt call has to be one of the biggest coaching blunders in the history of college football. I understand it less 24 hours later than I did when it happened. ... Anyone know if the Pac-12 played its championship game this weekend? ... I think Texas is better than Florida, LSU, Penn State or Washington State. I'd call Texas the best three-loss team in the country, even though it has four losses. ... The Green Bay Packers have absolutely wasted Aaron Rodgers' prime years. There has to be some bitterness inside of him over what's happened. ... Is this the best Houston Texans team ever? ... Travis Kelce is the best tight end in football and yet I'm not sure that amount of praise does him justice. ... Apparently, Gary Patterson learned his investigative skills with regards to his players from the NFL. Be better, guys... ... I wanted to watch the Deontay Wilder/Tyson Fury fight this weekend, but I fell asleep. Sounds like there will be another one, anyways. .'.. Get well, Adonis Stevenson. That was hard to watch. ... All you need to know about the NBA from this weekend is that this happened. hold up did i just witness Mario Hezonja STEP OVER GIANNIS ANTETOKOUMPO⁉️ pic.twitter.com/a8koDgWWPd— D’Wobgelo Russell (@WorldWideWob) December 1, 2018 ... Tip if the cap to Arsenal. As for Tottenham... ummm.... ... I'm not going to lie, I lost my freaking mind when this went down today. YNWA! Unbelievable. After the ball bounces off the crossbar, Origi scores and makes it 1-0 for Liverpool, and Jurgen Klopp runs onto the pitch to celebrate. Incredible (📹:@NBCSportsSoccer) pic.twitter.com/sGQ5HgZh5O— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) December 2, 2018 No. 9 - The List: Top 10 Movies That Are Often Confused With Being Holiday Movies But Really Aren't ... In order for a movie to be a true holiday movie it must have a Holiday/Christmas theme. A Miracle on 34th Street? Christmas themes all over the place. It's a Wonderful Life? Same Love Actually? There's like 10 of them. Bad Santa? You betcha It's not asking for much, but it's a rule. A movie can't just have Christmas in the backdrop to count as a Christmas movie. If you're going to argue that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then you're also arguing that Cobra is a Christmas movie and Cobra scared the hell out of me when it came out. Yippee Ki Yay? With that declaration out of the way, here's my updated list. 10. The Long Kiss Goodnight 9. Go 8. Gremlins 7. Eyes Wide Shut 6. You've Got Mail 5. Cobra 4. The Apartment 3. Lethal Weapon 2. Trading Places 1. Die Hard No. 10 – And Finally ... Speaking of the holidays, I wanted to remind everyone of the special offers we're making at The Yakk right now. * We're giving a free six-month subscription to any and all members of the military, first responders and teachers. * We're giving away a free three-month subscription to every Orangebloods subscriber that asks for one. * We're giving away as many as three free gift cards for three-month subscriptions to anyone that wants to give them to friends or family as gifts for the holidays. All you have to do is send me a PM or an email or post in the comments below that you want a subscription. I'll take care of the rest.