The Texas Longhorns are the brand of football in the state of Texas. If you play high school football in Texas, you most likely aspire to be a Longhorn.
That's just how things are.
But the past few years have not seen many high moments for the program, and the agony may not end in 2012.
The Longhorns are facing the threat of falling well below expectations for the third consecutive season.
As much as 'Horns hate to admit it, the blame has to fall on Mack Brown. The man sits on a recruiting gold mine in Texas and routinely beats out the competition when it comes to hauling in the prized 5-star recruits.
But as Brown has proved, big-time recruits does not necessarily translate to big-time success.
After appearing in their second BCS Championship Game in 2009, Texas missed the postseason altogether the following year.
Last year, the Longhorns finished with a Holiday Bowl win over California.
The Holiday Bowl for goodness sake! Nevertheless, a bowl that the Longhorns have appeared in five times (3-2) under Brown.
Now before this turns into a rant, let's slow things down and look at some stats.
Brown has managed to get the 'Horns to the National Championship Game twice, winning it all in 2005 and falling to Alabama in 2009.
He also has an impressive overall record of 149-39 and was the 2005 Coach of the Year.
But was it the coaching that carried the 'Horns the distance?
It was Vince Young that carried the Longhorns to their first BCS National Championship, culminating in his game-winning nine-yard touchdown scramble.
In Texas' 2005 National Championship season, Young became the first player to throw for over 3,000 yards while rushing for over 1,000 yards. In fact, Young accounted for 61.4 percent of the 'Horns' total offense that year.
Under Colt McCoy and Vince Young, the Longhorns appeared in four BCS bowl games. In the six years that Mack Brown did not have Young or McCoy at the helm, the Longhorns did not appear in a single BCS bowl.
To top that off, Texas has only won the Big XII twice under Mack Brown, both coming during the Young and McCoy eras.
That's two conference titles in 14 years for the highest paid head coach in college football.
If history has proven anything at the University of Texas, it's that a quality quarterback is needed to offset Brown's average coaching for the program to reach its peak.
Even when Heisman trophy winner Ricky Williams was on the roster, Brown only guided the 'Horns to a third-place finish in the Big XII with a 9-3 record.
If the quarterback play is the equation to success, as history has shown, Texas is in trouble heading into 2012. Quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy will likely both see playing time, but neither has shown the ability to play at the next level.
This is not meant to bash Mack Brown or even demand a resignation.
This is a warning to Longhorn fans.
Texas football is perhaps the furthest from obtaining success that it has been in Brown's 14-year tenure in Austin, and without a star quarterback in the fold, big-time success won't be found anytime soon.
In the end, some Texas fans need to come back down to earth and ask themselves:
Is this just a rough patch, or a dose of reality?
After taking a look at Brown's tenure with the Longhorns, that dose of reality may be a little hard to swallow.
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