Biggest Priority of Texas' New Coach: It's College Football Playoff or Bust

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterDecember 16, 2013

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 02:  Justin McKay #19 of the Kansas Jayhawks pursues Daje Johnson #4 of the Texas Longhorns during a game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Texas won the game 35-13.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Now that Mack Brown has stepped down as Texas' head coach after 16 years, the real coaching silly season can begin. 

It's not clear which direction Texas will go in its coaching search, though everyone has an opinion on who should be considered. However, the expectations for whomever Texas does hire are clear. The Longhorns are thinking championships, not Alamo Bowls (with all due respect to the River Walk). 

"I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again," Brown said in a statement over the weekend. 

AUSTIN, TX - DECEMBER 15: University of Texas head football coach Mack Brown speaks at a press conference December 15, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Brown announced that he will step down as coach after the Valero Alamo Bowl game against Oregon on December 30. (
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Beginning next season, the championship pool will double to four teams in the college football playoff. For Texas, getting a spot among those four teams will be of the utmost importance. 

There are plenty of coaches out there who would win at Texas. Some will be easier to lure than others. Although the likes of Art Briles, Jim Harbaugh and Jimbo Fisher would be home-run hires if they came to Austin, it's far from a guarantee that any of them would.

In fact, getting an active NFL coach to come to Texas borders on impossible. Even the best college jobs are no match for the NFL. 

But the coaching search shouldn't necessarily be considered a failure if Texas ends up with a name that's more off-the-radar. As Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes, Texas is the "kind of job that almost can't be screwed up."

You can slip about 25 different guys in there, and if they are supported, work hard and don't self-destruct under the pressure, the victories will come. Maybe that results in more national titles, maybe it doesn't. Winning it all is always a bit of crapshoot – Texas has won just a single title since 1970. If Colt McCoy doesn't get injured on the fifth offensive play of the 2009 title game against Alabama, however, the Longhorns might have two.

Texas' new coach will be expected to put his team in a position to win it all. That means being one of the last four teams playing at the end of the year. Beyond that, who knows what could happen? Players could get hurt or matchups could favor the opponent. 

All anyone would really be asking for in a four-team playoff, including Texas, is a chance. It's the same attitude programs should have toward the BCS, but with one extra game tacked on the end. 

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 12:  Case McCoy #6 of the Texas Longhorns and head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns celebrate after the Longhorns beat the Oklahoma Sooners 36-20 at the Cotton Bowl on October 12, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Penningto
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Getting to the college football playoff could be interesting for Texasor anyone in the Big 12, for that matter. The question would be whether the Big 12 has a built-in disadvantage going forward because it lacks a conference championship game.

However, the Longhorns have several attractive non-conference games on their future schedules, including Notre Dame and USC. Have success out of conference and go through the Big 12's round-robin schedule, and the 'Horns could be in good position with 11, possibly 10 wins, depending on the field. 

Just get to the playoffs and things will fall into place from there. If Texas' new coach can do that consistently, he'll be employed there for a long time.