Texas got a controversial win at Iowa State last Thursday, but the fact that it needed a late score to win in Ames—in addition to this year's other failings—only helped drive the stake into Mack Brown's tenure as head football coach in Austin.
Now, according to a Sports Illustrated report by Pete Thamel, a high-ranking official at the university suggested what the rest of us already thought: That 2013 will be Brown's final season at the helm.
Per Thamel's piece:
"If it's like the last couple years, the gig is up," said a high-ranking Texas official of the Oklahoma game.
"If [Brown] rallied and came back and won out, I still think there would be a possibility he'd still resign. I'm not sure he wants to work for another athletic director. My guess is this is his last season."
Longtime athletic director Deloss Dodds—the man who hired Brown—announced his plans to resign next year, leaving a power void at the top of Austin's food chain and seeming to number Brown's days as head coach.
A new athletic director will mean a new regime, and a new regime often means the installation of "their guy" on the sidelines.
It's not hard to see why Texas would want to move in a new direction. After going 128-27 in his first 12 seasons at the helm, Brown stumbled to a 22-16 record these past three years. That regression put him squarely on the hot seat, backing him into a corner where a good season was necessary in 2013.
That couldn't be further from what's happened. The Longhorns allowed 550 rushing yards in a humiliating loss to BYU, got spanked in the second half in a loss to Ole Miss and almost bungled that road game at lowly Iowa State.
Despite a winning record, the team has looked every bit as bad as it did back in 2010, when it followed up a 13-1 year by going 5-7 and starting the current spiral of descent.
Still, it's not like things can't be saved.
The Big 12 is a little...um...lacking for contenders right now, and Texas is technically 2-0 in conference play. No matter how bad they've looked, it's not unthinkable to say the Longhorns might fluke their way into a BCS bowl from a weak conference.
But after all the damage that's been done, would even that be enough to save Brown's job? After these reported comments from a high-ranking Texas official, it's hard to imagine the answer is yes.