It's now or never for the Texas Longhorns and the 2012 season.
If Mack Brown's Longhorns are to reach their 10-win goal, they must go 3-1 down the stretch.
Or, as my dad likes to say, it's time to put up or shut up.
Texas is 6-2 as we head into November. It's the exact same record the Horns enjoyed after the first game of the same month a year ago. That team finished the regular season with just one more win and added three losses. What was a promising 6-2 campaign ended as a mediocre 7-5.
In each of the last two years, Texas has finished 1-3 over the last four games of the regular season.
It is one of the most troubling trends of the past two seasons, the Horns being exposed as just an average (2011) or poor (2010) football team during the season's final month.
The Longhorns have a chance, starting this weekend, to buck the November trend and achieve what Mack Brown set out for them earlier this year, a 10-win season.
A surprise win in Lubbock against Texas Tech would be every bit as big as the team's win over Oklahoma State earlier this year.
It would be Texas' first win against a ranked opponent since 2010 and break Mack Brown's streak of nine consecutive losses to ranked teams. Make no mistake, a win in Lubbock would be big for the Horns.
But shouldn't Texas fans be expecting a win?
After all, the Horns beat Tech into submission a year ago 52-20 running the ball. Yet the Horns aren't favored this season because Tech, according to folks in Vegas, have apparently improved more than the Longhorns since last year's drubbing.
Improvement, that's the key term. It's something Mack Brown mentioned over and over again in the off-season.
The sportsbooks in Vegas favor the Longhorns in just two of their remaining contests - Iowa State and TCU.
If Texas finishes 2-2 over the next four games and ends the regular season 8-4, is that really the improvement Brown had hoped for?
The reality is, Texas needs to go 3-1 over the final four games to truly reverse the troubling trend. While fans and pundits like myself can say whatever we want, the Texas football players and coaching staff are the only ones who can make a final statement - one way or another - for themselves in Lubbock Saturday afternoon.
It's time to put up or shut up.
The final stretch - the final four regular season games
Nov. 3 @ Texas Tech (6-2)
Nov. 10 Iowa State (5-3)
Nov. 22 TCU (5-3)
Dec. 1 @ Kansas State (8-0)
2011 Regular season (1-3)
Texas lost at Missouri, 17-5
Texas lost to Kansas State, 17-13
Texas beat Texas A&M in College Station, 27-25
Texas lost at Baylor, 48-24
2010 Regular season (1-3)
Texas lost at Kansas State, 39-14
Texas lost to Oklahoma State, 33-16
Texas beat Florida Atlantic, 51-17
Texas lost to Texas A&M, 24-17