Thursday, June 20, 2013

Texas Longhorns in 2014

It was the best of times it was the worst of times would be a fitting way to describe the first 15-years of Mack Brown's tenure as the skipper of the Texas Longhorns football program.

First, his regular season record at Texas is 149-48 which is a mark that at least 99% of all football coaches would love to have. Second, he's won a national title (2005) and appeared in another national title game (2009). Third he took a program that had been a mediocre underachiever for a over decade and put it back into the national spotlight.

Unfortunately, for Brown expectations in the Lone Star State are consistently sky high to the point of being unrealistic. No one besides Nick Saban (apparently) can win the national title every year. He has also had the misfortune of having to coach against one of the top coaches in college football, Bob Stoops. Brown is 5-9 vs. his Norman counterpart and 6-9 overall against the Sooners.

After the disappointing 2009 BCS National title game UT fell off the map in 2010 going 5-7 as Brown missed his first bowl game since he arrived in Austin 12 years earlier. The program entered 2011 at a crossroads with Brown given the chance to bring the program back to prominence amid the flurry of changes in the Big-12 as well as throughout the college football landscape.

Texas' creation of the Longhorn Network caused a rift between them and other charter Big-12 members as Colorado moved to the Pac-12, Nebraska went to the Big-10 and the Longhorns main in-state rival Texas A&M going to the SEC. Since then former SWC rival TCU and West Virginia have filled the void in the conference.

The big question for Texas is where do they go from here? Are they a program on the rise just like they were when Brown came to Austin in 1998 or are they going towards mediocrity the way they were between 1984 until Brown's arrival?

Based on sheer numbers Texas is on a steady climb upward. In 2010 they slumped at 5-7, then improved by two wins in 2011 going 7-5 and then improved again in 2012 with an 8-4 record. In both 2011 and 2012 UT won bowl games (Holiday and Alamo). But after a spending most of the 2000's in the top 10 the fans are expecting an encore performance from Mack Brown and wont be content with 8-4 seasons and minor bowl wins.

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