Although a lot is still riding on the outcome of the matchup against Baylor, one thing has become perfectly clear for the Texas football program: Saturday will mark the last time Mack Brown runs out of the tunnel as the Longhorns head coach.
The only question that remains now is how exactly Brown will make his exit.
Through 11 games, Texas (8-3; 7-1) has undergone quite the up-and-down campaign. One that has seen more lows than highs.
On the positive side, the Longhorns topped rival Oklahoma 36-20 for an improbable Red River Rivalry win on Oct. 12. It helped snap a three-game losing streak in the series and propelled the team to a 7-0 start in the Big 12.
On the other hand, the bad has been downright ugly.
Texas dropped two of its first three games, surrendering 84 points and 822 rushing yards in the process. That includes being gashed for a school-record 550 yards by BYU back in Week 2.
Then there’s the fact that the team was a play or two away from suffering defeats to both Iowa State and West Virginia—teams with a combined record of 7-17. The Longhorns needed a last-second touchdown and overtime respectively to escape unscathed.
To make matters worse, the team rewrote even more history in a loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 16, 38-13.
Not only was the 25-point margin of defeat the worst home loss in 16 years for Brown, but it also ensured that Texas went a fifth consecutive season without defeating a ranked opponent at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Furthermore, with a loss to the Bears on Saturday, the Longhorns would record at least four losses for the fourth straight season.
In comparison, over Brown’s first 12 years in Austin, the team only suffered that many losses just once.
It just goes to show you how much has changed in the matter of four years.
|Mack Brown Over the Years|
|First 12 Seasons||Last 4 Seasons|
|Big 12 W-L||80-16||18-16|
|vs. Top 25||30-18||4-13|
Sure, a victory over a Top 10 Baylor squad would go a long way in salvaging a rather disappointing 2013 season for Brown and Texas. It could even give the team the outright Big 12 title if the Sooners could somehow upset Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Game.
But would a conference title be good enough to overlook the writing on the wall?
Does slapping a Ferrari logo on the hood of a 1995 Honda Civic make it perform any better?
If anything, a victory on Saturday would give Brown the courtesy of leaving on his own terms. But that’s it.
Regardless of the game’s outcome, the Longhorns should be prepared to welcome in a new head coach for the 2014 season. It would benefit the school for that decision to come sooner rather than later.
While there’s no doubt that what Brown has accomplished in Austin over the past decade should never be forgotten, there comes a time when every great must eventually call it quits.
That time is now for Brown.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.