Texas football never has been a fond topic for FOX analyst Joel Klatt, partly because of what happened to him more than a decade ago.
Klatt’s playing career at Colorado was snuffed out after he suffered his 10th concussion. It happened during the 2005 Big 12 title game in the Longhorns’ 70-3 victory.
Klatt never played football again. But he exacted a smidgen of revenge Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago when he blamed the Longhorns for breaking up the conference.
Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri all left the Big 12 in the last decade. Klatt said the Longhorns’ arrogance helps to explain why they moved.
“What people fail to remember about the Big 12 is that the Big 12 saved Texas and the Texas schools,” Klatt told Land of 10’s Erin Sorensen. “Texas brought along Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Baylor, and [the Big 12] saved a fledgling Southwest Conference.
“The balance of power was in the north. Colorado and Nebraska were the preeminent brands at the time the Big 12 formed. Nebraska gave a lot of concessions. They allowed Oklahoma, a traditional rival for them, to be in another division. They didn’t put their foot down. As Texas became so difficult to deal with and demanded more and more and getting more money, I understand why it blew up.
“Texas wanted more than they should have, and based on the inception of the conference, that wasn’t right. Texas knows it. They ruined two conferences, so that’s on them. And now we don’t have Colorado-Nebraska anymore.”
Even worse than Texas’ stomping of the Buffaloes in that 2005 title game — the most one-sided rout in Big 12 Championship Game in history — was Klatt’s departure. In the third quarter, with the game out of hand, Klatt was pulverized on a blitz by Texas linebacker Drew Kelson.
The helmet-to-helmet hit sent Klatt to the hospital, where he stayed overnight. The injury was so serious that Klatt couldn’t play in the Buffaloes’ bowl game later that month.
Kelson was penalized on the play, but it was a pyrrhic victory for Klatt, who told Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News the following year that he had trouble overcoming the injury for several months.
Klatt, who had made Big 12 all-academic teams, couldn’t do any better than a ‘C’ on any of his tests for several months.
“I got the worst grades of my life,” he told the newspaper. “I couldn’t read. Words would jell together.”
Even worse was the lack of contact from the Longhorns program after his injury. Other players and coaches from around the Big 12 called to check on him, but he didn’t hear from anyone at Texas.
“It’s not of any importance to me,” Klatt told the Express-News. “To be shown some courtesy would have been nice, more so for my wife than me. But they were going to the national championship game and had more to worry about than me.”
Klatt has developed into one of the best football analysts in the business at FOX.
And he finally exacted some payback on Texas, nearly 12 years after his career-ending injury.