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A Stranger in a Strange Land...

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All the hype, glitz, media, and talk that led up to the National Championship game finally came to a head this past Wednesday night, and unless you've been living under a rock since then, you know how it came down.

What you might not know is what it felt like to be a dyed-in-the-wool Longhorns fan. Not just these past few days, but all season long. Whenever Texas would beat a team with a huge margin, USC fans would say "Yeah, but it was Colorado!" Or they'd say "Vince Young is good player but he's no..." insert either "Matt Leinart" or "Reggie Bush" right here.

All season long, people were hailing USC as "The greatest team to ever play the game," and "Gods walking among men" and "The Beatles Returned and Reunited." They were treated like celebrities, and in this town, that's actually saying something. The media took it, ran with it, gave it steroids, fed it prime rib, and after awhile, even USC began to believe all the hype.

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The trouble is, living as a Longhorn fan, not only outside of Texas, but deep in the heart of Southern California, got to be downright ridiculous these past few days. Whenever this LAister chose to wear anything with a UT logo on it, there would be horns honking, shouts of "USC! USC! USC!" out of car windows, and general razzing all about town. At the Post Office on Wilshire, one of the clerks came out and addressed yours truly right in the middle of a very crowded room to tell us that "We don't serve Longhorns here!" Haw haw haw. And then shortly thereafter, buying beers and snacks for the game (including Shiner Bock, thank you very much) the checkout clerk at Ralph's told us "We don't take Longhorn money!" Riotous! Although sadly, that didn't come to mean that the groceries were free. Consarnit.

And it didn't even start here in the Southland. When we boarded our flight from Dallas/Fort Worth, USC fans appeared out of the woodwork. We think they may have stowed away on the plane, Trojan Horse style (get it?!? Haw haw haw) to razz every UT fan in sight. Things got worse upon our connecting flight in Las Vegas, where a local celebrity sat behind us, saw our Longhorns cap, and loudly and theatrically proclaimed to his wife "Now honey, tell me again when it was that you graduated from USC?" Haw haw haw. Even the day of the game, a fellow in USC garb actually hissed at us on the street, if you can believe it. When was the last time someone hissed at someone else? When they didn't vote for Eisenhower?

At any rate, it's tough enough being from Texas in California..."Don't you guys kill everyone in your state, and hate minorities?" Or, which is sometimes worse, being a former Texan now living in California and having to go back home for the holidays and hearing things like, "I hear that everyone who lives in California is really that true?" These two states just really have strange views of each other. But the truth is, we're all pretty much the same. We put our pants on one leg at a time (except for those crazy California nudists), and we have a lot of pride in the things we love. Whether it be a National Championship, a Heisman trophy, or a "freakish athlete" (according to Matt Leinart), we call 'em ours and we'll defend them until the death.

Or at least until next season.