Little known fact: Out of the 125 college football teams that currently compete at the FBS level, only 38 have ever won a national championship. That’s it.
That means Mack Brown has personally hoisted more title trophies than nearly every other school in the country. However, that fact did not help save Gene Chizik’s job at Auburn following an abysmal, 3-9, 2012 season.
Should it help save Brown’s as the 2013 season, one that opened with so much promise, continues to spiral quickly out of control?
After winning the national title in 2005 with Vince Young under center, Brown and his program continued to enjoy sustained success with Colt McCoy leading the way. The Horns finished 10-3 in both 2006 and 2007. A 12-1 finish in 2008 led to a perfect, 13-0 regular season in 2009.
Then the wheels just seemed to fall off the wagon.
McCoy got hurt in the 2010 national championship game, and Texas went on to lose, 37-21, to Alabama. It was the first title for Nick Saban with his new team after winning one at LSU and then trying his hand at the NFL. At the time, no one could have known that the game served as a veritable passing of the torch.
Both Alabama and Texas have continued to draw more than 100,000 fans to their home games. Both have continued to bring in millions upon millions of dollars in merchandise sales and booster donations.
However, the Tide has gone on to win two more national championships, whereas the Horns have limped to the finish. The program’s 5-7 finish in 2010 with a struggling Garret Gilbert under center was something so bad that fans literally had no idea how to even feel about it.
It was a singularly disappointing effort on every front. There were injuries, there were shocking losses – there was no bowl game to speak of.
What it was supposed to be was an aberration. Then the losing continued, however.
The 2011 season finished a little better at 8-5, and last year the team continued to show improvement, finishing 9-4. The Horns took down a very good Oregon State team to win the Alamo Bowl.
This fall was supposed to be the year. With a national-high 19 starters returning from a season ago, including the ever-improving David Ash under center, 2013 was supposed to be the year Brown’s Longhorns fought their way back to the top of the Big 12 dogpile and back into the BCS.
However, through a mere three games (yes, we acknowledge the relatively minimal sample size), all Horns fans have seen is more of the same: Awful defense led by players seen as soft, an assistant in defensive coordinator Manny Diaz thrown under the bus, and losses.
In three games, we have seen two losses – and they haven’t even been close. Brown’s team gave up a school-record 550 rushing yards to BYU in Week 2 and then got beat badly at home, 44-23, by Ole Miss. Texas’ only win has come against a New Mexico State team that recorded a mere one win a year ago.
We hate to have to bring this up, but such is the nature of being a college football head coach in this day and age. Especially for Brown, who is the highest-paid coach in the entire nation. His national championship has given him room to work with, and his double-digit win seasons immediately thereafter were more than acceptable.
However, he has stated repeatedly that it took time to get back to a talent level that could sustain that type of success again. The team was supposed to be talented enough and experienced enough to be successful this year.
Of course, this could be a totally premature post. Brown and Co. could right the ship and run roughshod through the Big 12.
It really just doesn’t feel like that’s going to happen, however, now does it?