Despite ending on a high note, Texas football didn't live up to its standards in 2012-13—the Longhorns beat the Oregon State Beavers 31-27 in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
A 9-4 season is nothing to be embarrassed about, but for a team that was preseason ranked at No. 15 (AP) and ended up No. 19, one could say the Longhorns didn't live up to mild expectations. And that's probably why head coach Mack Brown is a little under the gun this coming season.
Brown couldn't even achieve mild expectations for the Texas Longhorns?
The disappointing 2012-13 season—as well as the previous two 8-5 and 5-7 seasons—could well come into play starting this season. Brown makes a little over $5 million per year and that's a lot of cash to be throwing at a man who holds a mediocre three-season combined record of 22-16.
But is 2013-14 a make-or-break season for Brown? It would have to be a complete disaster of a season for anyone to even consider his dismissal. And "disaster" means a losing record, which shouldn't happen for a variety of reasons.
First, some of the Big 12's more successful teams will be without their veteran quarterbacks returning this coming season. Collin Klein, Seth Doege, Nick Florence, Geno Smith and Landry Jones will all have graduated an/or entered the NFL. While the Big 12 has always had a highly-competitive quarterback atmosphere, there will be a lot of new faces in 2013-14.
Second, Brown is intent on fixing the defense—he told said would. If the fundamentals of tackle football are addressed during spring camp—and there will be a lot of people looking for improvement—then Texas will vastly improve this season. Wrapping up, maintaining gap discipline and improving communication while making adjustments at the line are all things that are simple to fix.
Third, the recruiting classes that Brown has reeled in are littered with the best athletes in Texas. Brown's last five recruiting classes have been ranked No.1, No. 3, No. 3, No. 7 and No. 16 by scout.com. There is a ridiculous amount of talent on this team and it would almost be impossible to have a losing season with so many superb athletes suited up.
Finally, Brown has a 2005-06 BCS National Championship under his belt, plus another appearance in 2009 where his Longhorns lost 37-21 to Alabama. Brown is a proven winner and a great recruiter—numbers and scoreboards don't lie.
But even if the Longhorns were to end up with a losing 2013-14 season, would that be the end of the Brown era at Texas?
Not unless Texas wants to pay a hefty buy-out. One year ago Mack Brown signed a contract extension to keep him at Texas through the 2020 football season. That's seven years from now. That's also seven years of at least 5.2 million per year, with an increase of $100,000 per year up until 2020.
Texas' coffers may be full of coin, but the Longhorns won't be shelling out close to 36 million to get rid of a coach that has won a BCS National Championship in the last 10 years.
So settle down, folks. Nothing to see here. Mosey on along.