The Texas Longhorns and the USC Trojans have been two of college football's major powerhouses, but the foundation of both programs began to crumble early in the 2013 season. After the Longhorns and the Trojans suffered embarrassing losses in Week 2, the national media speculated about the future of USC's head coach Lane Kiffin and Texas' head coach Mack Brown:
- "Mack Brown and Lane Kiffin are both in extreme danger of losing their jobs."—Clay Travis, Fox Sports
- "Texas' Mack Brown and USC's Lane Kiffin have been under fire for their team's poor performances last week."—Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
- "The sunny preseason outlooks for two of college football's mega-programs are already in serious doubt."—Dan Wolken, USA Today
The questions about Kiffin's future were answered early Sunday morning when USC's athletic director Pat Haden fired him. USC announced the news on its website five hours after the Trojans' 62-41 loss at Arizona State. Kiffin was reportedly pulled off of a team bus and fired in the parking lot of Los Angeles International Airport, according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Although Brown's future at Texas is undetermined, Kiffin's termination proves that one of the biggest differences between the two coaches is the support of their bosses. In layman's terms, Texas' athletic director, DeLoss Dodds, respects and believes in his head coach; Pat Haden didn't.
Dodds has supported Mack Brown since the day he hired him on Dec. 4, 1997. He backed Brown's efforts to rebuild Texas football following the Longhorns 5-7 season in 2010 and most recently voiced his support after the Longhorns' loss to BYU.
Following the Trojans' 38-28 loss to UCLA last season, Haden showed signs of support for Kiffin when he said, "Lane [Kiffin] is my head coach, 150%, now and hopefully for a long time," per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.
A long time apparently equals 10 months in Haden's book.
Whether Texas fans want to hear this or not, Mack Brown deserves a longer leash than Lane Kiffin had because of the impact that Brown has had at Texas throughout his 16-year career.
|Texas football under Mack Brown||USC football under Lane Kiffin|
|Brown has two conference titles and a BCS national championship as a head coach||Kiffin has no skins on the wall as a head coach|
|DeLoss Dodds hired Brown||Kiffin was hired before Pat Haden|
|Brown built his own legacy||The only Kiffin with a legacy is Lane's dad, Monte Kiffin|
|Brown has nine 10-win seasons at Texas||Kiffin has one 10-win season in his career|
|Brown's season win/loss average: 10-3||Kiffin's season win/loss average: 7-4|
Both Brown and Kiffin led their teams to two losses this season, but the reason why Brown is still coaching is not based on what has happened thus far in 2013.
Brown has skins on the wall in a way that Kiffin may never have. One could argue Kiffin would have never been a head football coach if it wasn't for his father, Monte Kiffin. Brown has landed some of the best recruiting classes in his time at Texas. 4-star running back Demario Richard summed up his thoughts on Lane Kiffin in a single tweet:
Four-star running back --> RT @TheFaceOfCali: If Kiffin Leaves USC might have a shot at gettin me— Blair Angulo (@bangulo) September 11, 2013
Comparing Mack Brown to Lane Kiffin is like comparing the NFL to NASCAR: One has produced various legends, while the other is followed by a lot of people only so they can watch the wrecks.
Considering his record and off-the-field antics—banning a reporter from practice for reporting an injury, a student manager deflating game balls against Oregon, etc.—Kiffin may not have deserved much more than a parking lot termination, but Brown does.
Mack Brown rebuilt Texas football when he arrived in Austin in 1997 and has helped turn the Longhorns brand into a gold mine, collecting the most royalties of any university represented by the Collegiate Licensing Company for eight straight years, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN. In addition to the revenue spike, Brown's overall career at Texas has helped build up a lot of good will from both DeLoss Dodds and UT president Bill Powers.
This is why Brown's leash is miles longer than Kiffin's, and Texas would never disrespect Brown in the manner that USC disrespected Kiffin.
Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar