Is Texas 'back?' WVU provides a measure

In 2010, Texas lost three games by two touchdowns or more, including a game against Kansas State that had the Horns working with a 39-0 deficit to the Wildcats.

In 2011, the Longhorns were embarrassed by Oklahoma with a 38-point loss in the Red River Rivalry, and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III beat the Longhorns for the second consecutive year, clinching the trophy with a 24-point win.

Saturday night, Texas reached 4-0 for the second consecutive season. Mack Brown spared the media any dramatic proclamations that Texas was back, but the evidence on the field in the Cowboys 41-36 win over the defending Big 12 champions led Brown to say something to the effect of, "Texas is back."

"Two years ago we stunk. Last year we were in some fights, and then we weren't, and we were OK and we made some progress," Brown said after Saturday's win. "Tonight, I told the guys, was a big step. though, that we're at least back in the mix and we've got a chance now each week. I think this game does that."

Can the Longhorns be more? Texas will be competitive in every game this season, but can they win the big one?

Brown won't have to wait long. West Virginia brings Geno Smith, a Heisman frontrunner, to Austin on Saturday.

Texas will have to win a whole lot more than one game to win its first Big 12 title since 2009 and third under Brown. Saturday, though, will be the first of a few chances this year to prove that Texas can do a whole lot more than contend for a Big 12 title.

In the mix?

If Texas beats West Virginia on Saturday, you can slide the Longhorns right back to the top of the Big 12 heap.

Brown measured his words last week. Without declaring it, he made it clear that he knows his team is improved. Just how improved? West Virginia will provide a true test of how far the Longhorns have come.

Oklahoma State is a "nice" win.

West Virginia, complete with the Heisman frontrunner? That's a win that changes the perception of a program or team.

If the Longhorns win, Brown won't have to worry about declaring Texas is back after the game.

His team will have done it for him.