The Texas Longhorns have undoubtedly enjoyed a massive turnaround to the 2013 season after frustrating early-season losses to the Ole Miss Rebels at home and to the BYU Cougars on the road. While the Longhorns are still far from what many envisioned them to be in 2013, there is little doubt they are an improved football team that is playing at a level high enough to earn them a chance at winning a Big 12 Championship.
The endless chatter and speculation surrounding the security of Mack Brown’s job has coincided with analysis of the Longhorns from the initial kick against New Mexico State up to today, with the Oklahoma State Cowboys arriving in Austin to take on Texas on Saturday afternoon.
This much is clear:
The only certainty about Mack Brown’s situation in Austin is uncertainty.
With the hire of new Athletic Director Steve Patterson, and the overriding assumption that he will quickly make his imprint on the university’s athletic programs — even though his plans in doing so are deflected when requested, for now — Brown’s situation is still very tender.
What Mack Brown can do to ensure his future is win the remaining games on Texas’ schedule. Pure and simple. If the Longhorns win out, they win a Big 12 Championship, position themselves for an invitation to a first-tier bowl game which will ensure a nice payout and money in the athletic department’s coffers, and save some face for a 2013 season that once seemed destined for disaster.
Brown has become increasingly confrontational in recent weeks when asked to postulate on his future at Texas, and rightfully so, to a degree. The media culture surrounding the Texas program lives in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately bubble in which the most recent result almost always frames the tone of the discussion, the tone of the narrative leading to the next week and further down the road.
Steve Patterson will make a decision about Mack Brown sometime at the turn of 2014. This much is clear. What that decision will be can be influenced by Texas winning out, finishing the regular season 10-2 and as Big 12 Champions.
This sequence of events creates a modicum of goodwill for Mack Brown in the eyes of the powerful Texas alumni and fan base that will be hard for Patterson to ignore. Firing him, or “allowing him to move on” will have definable negative consequences at that point. Anything less will make Steve Patterson’s job a little less prickly, but increase the urgency and importance of his next decision.
Mack Brown always talks about controlling destiny one game at a time. He has that opportunity now and it’s more important than ever.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.