Things are not all 'Yellow Rosey' down in Texas these days.
The rumor mill surrounding the Texas Longhorn football program is filled daily with the next candidate to replace Mack Brown with names like Shannahan,Shaw and Bryles. Its not so much a matter of if but it leans heavily towards when. Timeline predictions suggest a loss to Kansas State this Saturday could prove to be the final nail in Browns coffin.
One thing is clear though- the days of coaching one of college footballs greatest programs are nearing an end for Mack Brown-one of college football greatest coaches.
Since coming to Austin in 1998, Mack Brown has won an average of 10 games per year. Perfect for the majority of college football programs and their fan bases and alums.
But this is Texas.
A brand that is surpassed by perhaps only Alabama,USC and Notre Dame. An annual football revenue many universities can only dream of at around $100,000,000 yearly.
The Longhorn Network- even if no person can identify how to access it or where its provided. A stadium filled each home game with 90,000 plus burnt orange tee shirts.
And of course the infamous half-asleep Bevo.
10 wins is great, but at Texas bigger things are expected not only of its team but coach.
Legends have walked the sidelines like Royal and Akers. And Brown will be added to the conversation.
But since its National Championship victory over USC, things have gone south.
And not south to Padre Island south.
South like in Cancun.
Its a problem that many have trouble explaining or pinpointing as a single issue that has plagued Brown in the last few years to the lower levels of college football. Is it coaching? Is it the disconnect between todays diva recruits and a white haired older man? Recruiting?
Penn State endured similiar times under Joe Pateno in his final days. Statues can't win games and most kids can't identify the history of college football greats nearly as fast as they can stream their Youtube videos.
They like chest bumps and Tweeting. Anyone see Brown gettin' jiggy with Johnathan Gray or Malcolm Brown lately?
Many would argue that Texas and recruiting have been a soild marriage over the years. Simply the logo alone commands attention nationwide. And within the state of Texas alone the brand carries more weight than the Aggies and Red Raiders combined.
A look at past recruiting classes reflect the success Texas has year in and year out. Since 2010 Texas has achieved no lower final ranking status than 3rd. In 2012 the Horns achieved the overall number 1 ranking and only in 2013 did Texas fall short at 23rd. Schools like Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt out recruited Texas that year if you go strictly by the over valued star system.
What is rarely pointed out-if ever in these years, is not so much the classes and their overall numbers but more importantly its the players missed just in the Lone Star state alone-the virtual backyard of footballs greatest mill of blue chip players, all ripe for Longhorn poaching.
Just within the last 3 years the top ranked player in Texas has signed his letter of intent with another school: Mario Edwards to Florida State and Ricky Seals Jr to Texas A&M.
More alarming is the missed oppurtunities at the quarterback position.
In 2010 Cam Newton pledged to Auburn. In 2011 Johnny Manziel signed with the Aggies.
The most glaring miss of Mack Browns career post Vince Young and Colt McCoy?
2008 and whiffs on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin.
Griffin went so far as to visit Stanford even with Luck leaning to the Cardinals. This should have left a window open for Brown to land the Copperas Cove product.
Its evident that even the biggest names within the state-for whatever reason- deem Austin as an alternate destination.
Is recruiting or lack of strictly the issue plaguing Brown and the Horns? No. But thats the genesis for all programs that win ball games. Get the kids, develope them and win.
Which leads to the next problem on the list of things 'not' to do for Brown.
Lose to OU.
The Red River Rivalry has been all but a rivalry in the last 13 years. The last 2 years have yeilded wins for the Sooners with scores of 55-17 in 2011 and 63-21 last year. Overall Bob Stoops and the Sooners hold a 9-4 advantage the last 13 years and most of the wins came as early as half time. The irony in all this is that Mack was part of Barry Switzers staff in 1984, and now a team he one time coached and molded players for could seal his fate.
And on the horizon is TCU October 26, Oklahoma State November 16 and Baylor December 7.
This season will not determine the fate of Mack Brown with its overall record, but it will be defined by the losses individually.
The car has already crashed this year in terms of the Longhorns and their path to success. A 40-21 loss to BYU doomed the tenure for defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
And in the same time frame rumors spawned of athletic director Deloss Dodds fate.
It stands to reason Brown is next on the chopping block, unless he does the admirable thing unheard of today in the power brockerage aspect of college football and large coaching contracts:
Firing Mack is a greater task when you consider what exactly is behind that move.
This could be the only thing bigger than the Longhorns and that is the deep donor pockets that have placed the program at levels unmatched in college football.
One of these boosters has recently pledged his support for the wavering coach.
Deep pocket booster and billionaire Joe Jamail was quoted as much with his undying support for Brown:
"Mack's still enthusiastic and thinks we've still got a good chance to win this conference," Jamail told the American-Statesman on Friday morning. "I watched about five minutes of the Tech-TCU game last night, and they couldn't beat my (bleeping) grade school" Austin American Statesman
Thats big and perhaps could be something hard to swallow for the base of fans and perhaps alum that figure its only a matter of time before ESPN scrolls on its screen what many feel is a move long overdue.
What should happen may be a pipe dream for Brown backers and thats a sideways pledge from Brown to become an advisor of some sort or even athletic director. The latter is way down the list but imagine a legend like Brown, even with his futile results the last few years, pushing the Longhorn program to its loyal fans and alum.
All things for Mack Brown as far as his career in Austin sadly begin this weekend against another veteran coach long over due to step away from the headset in Bill Snyder. Imagine the comparisons during this game. Should the Horns lose, the ball could start rolling before he reaches the locker room simply because 1-3 is a record worthy of major "Don't Mess With Texas" fines- like firing a head coach.
And it stands to reason the OU game in Fort Worth will be the pinnacle point if he makes it that far.
Mack is a legend. Not just in Texas but in college football. But his time is nearing its end.
Get the bronze ready in Austin. Pick an intersection out. Clear a portion of the facade inside the stadium.
He has stamped his name in the history books of college football and has earned his place on memory lane.