UT head coach Mack Brown
It's no secret that University of Texas head coach Mack Brown is feeling the pressure in 2013.
After a successful run from 2003-2009 in which he had the luxury of putting guys like Vince Young and Colt McCoy atop the depth chart at quarterback, Brown's teams have struggled mightily over the past four seasons going a combined 24-18, which includes a 2-2 record currently this year.
It just doesn't really say Texas football does it?
The Longhorns won a title in 2006 and made a return trip in January of 2010, but patience is wearing thin.
Even legends of the game have a specific leash length, and with the variety of tools at Brown's disposal, there should never be stretches of even mediocre football.
Texas has one of, if not the best, brands in college athletics. The University has its own sports network, the enrollment numbers crept over 52,000 strong in 2012, which equates to an enormous alumni base, and the recruiting grounds of the state are as fertile and lush as you'll find in the country.
But this isn't supposed to convince you that he's on the hot seat—that's pretty much a given at this point.
The question here is, can a win over Oklahoma make things right again?
The Red River Rivalry is only a couple weeks away, but will a win on October 12 turn this thing around?
A win over Kansas State was crucial to the start of that process, and a victory over Iowa State next Thursday is practically a must-win as well.
Still, with games against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor at the end of the schedule, it's possible that the Longhorns can tread water now and sink fast in November.
A win over the Sooners in 2013 would do a lot of great things for the program.
On the surface, it would be a victory over a quality opponent in a season where, at this point, the Longhorns aren't really expected to keep up with the top-tier teams in the Big 12.
But the rivalry factor makes this potential win mean so much more. It would give Longhorns' fans bragging rights, which are always more special in an upset.
"This is one of our worst teams in the last decade, and we still beat you," fans would shout in delight.
A win would also mean that the team is actually getting better. Unless Oklahoma fails to show up, which is unlikely in an emotional rivalry game, it's going to take a great effort to come out on top. A victory would be concrete evidence that the team is improving.
It would also give a boost to recruiting, as Brown could make a pitch that the program is clearly on the rise, and that players should want to come play for a team that is going to beat Oklahoma no matter what.
Oklahoma began the 2000s by utterly dominating the series. When Vince Young entered the picture, things slowly began to change, and the Longhorns took four out of five from 2005-2009. Since then, it's been all Sooners, with the last two wins coming by a combined score of 118-38.
A win here would be a monumental moment in the rivalry's illustrious history. Just when Texas appears to be hitting a low point, it comes through with a victory over the Crimson and Cream, and the Burnt Orange Nation rises to the top once again.
In that moment, yes, Mack Brown would be a hero and the hot seat would be chopped up and used for firewood inside his home.
However, several questions still linger.
Will coaches suddenly have a better eye for talent in recruiting? Will the defense turn the entire thing around? Can the team find a quarterback who isn't just an okay option but who competes for All-Conference honors every year?
Those are the things that make Texas football one of the premier brands in the country, and a victory over Oklahoma may just stave off the head coach's fate for another week.
The real answer here is that a victory in the Red River Rivalry would buy the head coach some time, but other things must happen for his job to be saved.
Would a win over Oklahoma get Mack Brown off the hot seat?
Texas also has to win the "easy" games on its schedule against West Virginia, Kansas and Iowa State. It must stay competitive and maybe even knock off either the Cowboys, Red Raiders or Bears at the end of the season.
Lastly, fans need to see better all-around football without any of the embarrassing performances (BYU, for example) that provide opposing fans with a myriad of trash-talk material.
A win over Oklahoma certainly gives Coach Brown some additional leeway, and folks will forget about the hot seat for awhile. But unless it is followed up with a string of solid performances and a strong finish to the season, it won't mean anything.