When Mack Brown arrived at The University of Texas back in 1998, he brought very high hopes to a school that had suffered a bit in the recent NCAA Football polls. After enjoying success at The University of North Carolina, Brown left for greener – or browner – pastures in Austin. Known as a master recruiter, the Longhorns expected that Brown could turn their program into a national powerhouse. Culminating with a national championship in the 2005 season – the first at Texas in 35 years, things were about as rosy as possible for Brown and the Longhorns.
But, lately? Not so much.
Texas went 10-3 the following two seasons after winning the national championship, which was acceptable. They won three more consecutive bowl games en route to a return trip to the national championship game in 2009, only this time, the Longhorns came up short. Still, things were more than alright in Austin.
Since then, however, it has been a steady decline for Brown and Texas.
In 2010, Brown suffered his first losing season with the Longhorns, finishing with a 5-7 campaign as well as missing out on playing in a bowl game. The next two seasons, Texas returned to the postseason and won each of its next couple of bowl games, although they finished with a combined record of just 17-9, including an even 9-9 record in Big 12 conference play. The rumblings for change grew louder and louder, although nowhere near as loud as they have become through the first three games of the 2013 season.
Texas is 1-2. They opened the season by blowing out New Mexico State, 56-7, and began the year as the No. 15 team in the country. The next week, Texas was blown out by the BYU Cougars, 40-21. They did not look good at all. This past weekend, after firing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and replacing him with Greg Robinson, the Longhorns were once again destroyed, this time by a score of 44-23 at the hands of the Ole Miss Rebels. While things look fairly bleak, Brown is trying to remain upbeat.
“I told ’em,” he said, referring to his postgame comments to the players, “we’ve got a new start next week. We’ve got Kansas State. We could get all this righted by winning the Big 12 championship, and that’s what they’ve got to do.”
A few moments later, Brown added, “We win the Big 12 championship, we’ll be excited, and that’s all we’ve got left.”
One has to wonder just how much Brown has left, at least in regards to his time in Austin. Looking at the rest of the Longhorns’ schedule, one can only assume that Texas will drop at least three or four more games. If they finish around the .500 mark, it is unlikely that Brown will return to Texas in 2014. If it looks as if the Longhorns could fail to even do that well and appear well on their way to a losing season, Texas could fire Brown before the end of this season.