"Football is to Texas what religion is to a priest," Tom Landry once said, putting words to what everyone already knew. But if you had to name the football schools from Texas would Texas State cross your mind? No, it wouldn’t, because no one has ever heard of Texas State unless they went there. Even the relatives of former Texas State players have never even heard of Texas State.
There are a couple of famous Texas State alumni, including President Lyndon B. Johnson and country singer George Strait. I don’t think either one of them ever really bragged about their alma mater, though.
Texas State University is located in San Marcos, right in the center of the state. It’s close to Austin, but not close enough to be cool like Austin. The Wikipedia page for the city of San Marcos is pretty sparse, but it does offer some great nuggets of information, like the fact that the city has a creek winding through it called “Purgatory Creek,” which gives you an idea how much the inhabitants like living there.
There’s not much of interest in the history of San Marcos, which is odd, because humans have lived there for something like 10,000 years. At one point there was an Air Force base in San Marcos, but it closed in the 60s, so maybe Rantoul can hope to be as interesting as San Marcos in 30 years. It seems like all the things of interest in San Marcos have to do with the river running through the town and some caverns nearby, because underwater and under the earth the Texas heat isn’t as oppresive.
Texas State uses a bobcat as its mascot, but it doesn’t particularly look like a bobcat. I think that can be blamed on the goatee this cat is sporting. It’s like their mascot is really big into Dave Matthews Band, to the point of following them around the country, smoking weed and playing hacky sack in the parking lot, showing everyone the tattoo of the DMB lyrics he got that “changed his life.” The TSU mascot sucks.
This season is the Bobcats second in the FBS subdivision. Last year they did okay going against the big boys, posting a 6-6 record. But calling the Sun Belt the “big boys” is misleading, because they aren’t. The Sun Belt includes Western Kentucky, and Illinois sleep-walked through its game against the Hilltoppers and still won. So, don’t expect much from Texas State.
So far this season TSU is 1-1. The Bobcats win came against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who clearly doesn’t care about football, as they went down 65-0; their loss came to Navy, even though those guys had other things on their mind, like potentially being shipped to the goddamn Middle East to fight ISIS. Given their opponents, its a little hard to say how badly TSU will fare versus Illinois, but it will be bad.
Even after looking things up about Texas State to write this article I still feel like I know nothing about Texas State. Maybe no one knows who Texas State is and that is exactly why they were brought in to play the Illini. The Bobcats are the football equivalent of the “If a tree falls…” question. But if Illinois beats Texas State on Saturday you better believe it counts in the standings.
For real-time, mildly amusing sarcasm about the Illini, follow me, @chris_d_davies, during the game. Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium and it will be televised on ESPNews for those of you who’d rather pay for cable than Illini tickets (no judgment).