Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said earlier this month that his message to his team this year was “embrace the hate.”
He might not have expected it to come from the Big 12 commissioner, however.
When league boss Brett Yormark spoke at Texas Tech’s Red Raider Club kickoff luncheon Wednesday, he delivered a message to coach Joey McGuire about his expectations for Tech’s game against the Longhorns in their final regular-season game in the conference before leaving for the SEC.
“Coach [McGuire], I’m not going to put any pressure on you, but I’m gonna be in Austin for Thanksgiving, OK? And you’d better take care of business like you did right here in Lubbock last year,” Yormark said to cheers from the audience.
The comments will add a little extra spice to the game that was already circled after last year, when the Red Raiders beat the Longhorns 37-34 and the Texas Tech social media team tweeted a video of McGuire in the locker room saying, “I told you they were gonna break, and they did. The country’s gonna find out: Everything runs through Lubbock!”
McGuire smiled at Big 12 media day this year when asked about the video, saying his comments were intended for his locker room and not the public, but that he stands by them, adding, “There’s nothing that comes out of my mouth that I don’t truly 100 percent believe.”
Sarkisian said on Aug. 1 that the Longhorns know they’ll have a bull’s-eye on their back all season, saying they were “on a mission.”
“I think that they’ve kind of assumed this mentality of, ’embrace the hate,'” Sarkisian said. “We get it. We’re the University of Texas, we get it. This is our last year in the Big 12. We can sit there and be a punching bag, or we can go attack the people that we’re going to play. And I think that they’ve assumed that responsibility to say, hey, we’re gonna go after everybody else, too. I think that that’s the right mentality to have.”
Oklahoma and Texas’ Big 12 grant of rights ran through 2025, but both schools agreed in February to pay a total of $100 million to leave early and join the SEC next season.
Texas president Jay Hartzell said when the early exit was announced that the Longhorns were looking forward to completing a final season with “our friends and rivals.”
“Candidly, we were able to get Texas and Oklahoma out of here early,” Yormark said Wednesday. “That was a big deal for us and I think [for] all of you.”