(Story originally posted on SB Nation’s ISU site: Wide Right & Natty Lite.)
WRNL is proud to present nine weekly articles from Kagavi leading up to the official release of The Adventures of Robot Cy, a fictional 8-bit video game trailer that never was.
In a faraway futuristic time, college football has been taken over by robot mascots. Join Robot Cy as he travels through many thrilling levels to find out who is behind this nefarious plot!
Every week during the conference season, Kagavi will preview the ISU football game using this project as inspiration by asking what power ups could Robot Cy gain by defeating the other Big 12 robot mascots?
In just a few days, the Texas Longhorns will bring their burnt pumpkin uniforms back to Ames for a game full of goblins and intrigue on All Hallows’ Eve. The past week has been a sedate one for Iowa State after they lost to Baylor in a swim meet 45 – 27, despite being short a few key pieces, such as the whole defense. Robot Cy’s visit to Waco was more successful as he returned with the fancy Disco Balls power up. Two years ago, the Cyclones beat Texas on a last-minute fumble recovery by Jeremiah George, but the lovely Big 12 referees reversed the victory. Last year was another wild affair with Texas ultimately winning 48 – 45 on a game-winning field goal after two long passes in the final seconds. This is the most interesting ISU game in some time due to the ascension of Joel Lanning and the deaccession of Baby Mangino.
But what if Robot Cy was facing off against Robot Hook ‘Em?
If Robot Hook ‘Em used the best parts of Texas football history to inspire a power up, what would it be? Let’s explore some Texas history.
The University of Texas opened their doors in 1883 with one building, over 200 students, and some rudimentary attempts at a new sport called football. It took another decade for the sport to officially catch on and they were soon dominating with undefeated teams in 1900, 1914, 1918, 1920, and 1923. Texas was also undefeated in 1893 and 1895, but those barely count given the quality of opponents. During this era, the Daily Texan student newspaper editor Alex Weisberg started pushing the Longhorns nickname in 1903 and it eventually stuck. Previously they had simply been known as the Varsity.
Like many other former SWC teams, Texas and ISU barely knew of each other before the Big 12 was formed. The lone time they played, it was a 17 – 9 Longhorns victory in 1979. The historical series sits at 11 wins to 1 loss in favor of (surprise!) Texas. Despite the lopsided rivalry, ISU always seems to play the Longhorns tough, but it’s hard to appreciate the vast chasm between the two schools. A note that should make ISU fans puke: it took Texas 40 years of football before their first losing season in 1933 and Texas has just over a dozen TOTAL seasons with a losing record, while ISU reached that milestone about, oh, 75 years ago.
How can we talk about Texas football without talking about Bevo? Before digging into his history, it’s important to note Bevo was actually preceded by a pig. Not an actual hog, but rather Pig, a feisty bowlegged dog. (Take the time to read this fun history about him here.) After Pig’s brief reign, live longhorn mascots became a fixture for nearly 100 years and counting. Earlier Bevo iterations were determined to make their presence known: rival cheerleaders, band members, and even cars were at risk of being attacked. Bevo III even eluded captivity around campus for a couple of days. Popular lore has the Bevo name arising from a Texas A&M prank in 1917, but the name had already been in use the year before.
A student organization named the Silver Spurs takes care of Bevo throughout the year, so we thought about making Robot Hook ‘Em’s power up silver spurs, or even the spinning, spiky things on the ends called rowels. The current Bevo XIV sadly passed away earlier this season, but not before giving an inspiring “Win one for the Beever” speech before the Red River Showdown game this year.
The very first Texas football team wore gold and white uniforms, but the school couldn’t decide on official colors and the process dragged on for years. Fans at early games were confused on how best to show their support, so the stands had various shades of blue, purple, white, orange, and yellow. In the 1920s, Texas coach Clyde Littlefield worked with the O’Shea Knitting Mills (the same mill that created the Jack Trice gold jerseys) to establish an unique orange color that wouldn’t fade over time, which led rival team to call Texas players “yellow-bellies.” (Recent scholarship suggests it was the previous coach E. J. Stewart that started the push towards a darker orange.)
Texas has had so many great players and coaches, including Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, Bobby Layne, Tom Landry, and Darrell Royal, that it almost seems futile to list them. Texas is easily one of the top ten football programs of all time: 56 consensus All-Americans, 4 national championships, 880+ total wins, and 31 conference titles. (By comparison, ISU boasts three consensus All-Americans and two conference titles.)
All of this success has led to incredible support: the Texas athletic department has long been one of the richest in America. Their budget of over $160 million is nearly $100 million more than ISU. The football stadium was built using solid gold bars. The Godzillatron video board set the standard for the mega boards to come. Sometimes it’s so hard for Texas to find things to spend on that they regularly contribute surplus profit back to the university to use on such inane things as academics and fancy book learnin’.
Very recently, Texas and Nike agreed to a record-breaking apparel deal that is speculated to be about $200 million over 15 years, by far the richest in college sports. The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) also consistently names Texas to the top spot in their annual rankings of top-selling schools. With apologies to Uncle Scrooge, Texas football is worth somewhere between “one multiplujillion, nine obsquatumatillion, six hundred twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents” and “five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents.”
Thus, after this brief look at Texas history, it only seems appropriate that the power up for Robot Hook ‘Em should be a homage to the excessive largesse of the Longhorns faithful that makes every other athletic department in the country bat envious eyes towards Bellmont.
The Money Bags power up gives Robot Cy the sorely needed ability to buy their way to the top. One of the last schools to use this power up was Oregon and look at where they are now. This power up also comes with the ability to control Equus burchellii, so perhaps Robot Cy should revisit a certain game in Auburn Hills. If Robot Cy had access to this power up, what historical football (or basketball) seasons could have turned out much differently?
Are there any other possible power ups that would fit Robot Hook ‘Em? Share them in the comments!