State of the Union: Texas Football

By JD Harper – December 4, 2013

The Good

  • After starting the season 1-2, The Longhorns rebounded in dramatic fashion and nearly won the Big 12 conference title.
  • The Red River Rivalry game versus Oklahoma was a game we can hang our hats on.
  • Playing the Oregon Ducks in the Alamo Bowl is a huge win, considering all things. One of the marquee bowl matchups will be a big draw, and more exciting than the Fiesta Bowl matchup that Baylor received: Central Florida.

The Bad

  • This was the season Mack Brown had pointed to—for three years—as the one when Texas makes it all the way back to National Title level play. An 8-4 finish misses the mark by quite a bit.
  • Key injuries to so many starters plagued the season.

The Ugly

  • The BYU game. It cost Manny Diaz his job the day after and still has the entire fan base upset. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

The Breakdown

University of Texas football is so interesting to me because it is one of the ultimate ying and yang environments in the country. The DNA of Texas football is a mix of two other universities:

  • An Alabama-style fan base, media coverage, and expectations
  • A Cal–Berkeley style laid-back culture of the city, paired with a university of high academic standards

UT really is where the south meets the west, culturally.

At Alabama, what you see is what you get. The Crimson Tide loses a game and their entire universe wants heads to roll (tide). Nothing laid back about Alabama football. The fan base is in love with their team, shows up to games early, stands the entire game, and cheers their hearts out.

At Cal–Berkeley, again, what you see is what you get. Strawberry Canyon is gorgeous. Some of the brightest minds and liberal-minded forward thinkers in the world are walking all over that campus. On game days, the fan base shows up casually late and sits down the entire game. It’s not very loud, and, one could argue, not a great home field advantage at all, minus a couple games when Aaron Rodgers was leading the Golden Bears.

The head football coach position at the University of Texas is THE premiere coaching job in football.  Pro or College.

Given that last statement, it does make quite a bit of sense that Mack Brown’s future is uncertain. At the end of the day, to those whom much is given, much is expected.

I will tell you this: I do think it is unfair how the fans and media have treated Mack Brown this season. I love Mack Brown. I believe he is the classiest coach in all of college football. Texas has been blessed to have him lead the team since 1998.

When Mack rode into town, he brought a level of class we hadn’t seen in a long time. He welcomed all the former players and coaches of Longhorn fame back into the program, instead of giving them the stiff arm, like previous coaches. He recruited the best talent in the state. Lest we not forget: In 2005, he brought home a national championship to Austin. To this day, that game has been dubbed the greatest college football game ever played!

Today, Mack is the victim of his own success. 8-4 feels like 4-8.

Lost amid the four losses and disappointment is the simple viewpoint that college football is a game played by kids and not professionals. I hope fans keep perspective on that. One of the greatest aspects of college football is its total unpredictability. The players play because they love the game. Riding Mack Brown out of town, in my mind, is not the right thing to do. He deserves much more respect than he is getting. He will also be very hard to replace.

 

 
 

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