The time is now for the Texas Longhorns to transform from the most profitable college football team to the most successful.
Despite having another subpar season, Texas retained its crown atop Forbes' illustrious list of richest programs. According to Chris Smith, the Longhorns are valued at $139 million, $20 million ahead of second-place Notre Dame. They made a profit of $82 million in 2013.
Smith explained the formula used to determine Texas' overall value:
To determine college football’s most valuable teams, we consider each team’s value to its athletic department, its university’s academic endeavors, its conference and its school’s local economy. Athletic value consists of football profit that is directed toward supporting non-revenue sports, like softball or gymnastics, while a team’s value to academics consists of money that supports football scholarships or other non-athletic programming, like faculty support, non-athletic scholarships or a library fund. Conference value consists of revenue generated for other conference teams by participating in a bowl game, and a team’s value to its local community consists of the direct spending injected by fans visiting the area on days of the team’s home games.
It's an ungodly amount of money for a college football team to make in one year, and it's also a strong indicator that Texas can make a quick return to the elite.
Some would argue that it's a meaningless number, as you can't go out and simply buy the best players each and every year. At least, you're not supposed to in the NCAA.
But in the arms race that is becoming big-time college football, you need to have more than the other guy. You must have better facilities, a lavishly paid coaching staff and a stronger booster base in order to be on top.
Fortunately for the Longhorns, they have all of those things, or at least can have all of those things with the money at their disposal. Everything is in place for a return to the national championship.
In addition, with Brown moving on, the slate has been wiped clean in Austin. As much as Brown is a legend at Texas, it was probably time for him to move on. He was attracting great recruiting classes, but it wasn't coming together on the field.
In college football, all it takes is the right man to come along at the right time to change the culture.
Alabama was a fading power when Nick Saban took over in 2007, and the Crimson Tide have since won three national titles. Jimbo Fisher has also brought Florida State back to prominence following the Seminoles' stagnation at the end of the Bobby Bowden era.
There are also coaches like Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State and Art Briles at Baylor who have taken their schools to the next level despite the inherent disadvantages the Cowboys and Bears have.
Texas can back an armored truck to just about any coach in the college or pro scene. This is one of the most attractive jobs in the country. Nobody is going to shy away from the Longhorns, even though they haven't won more than nine games in each of their past four seasons.
Briles and Gundy would be good options, as would somebody like Charlie Strong or James Franklin. Even Jon Gruden is throwing his hat in the ring. According to Orangebloods.com, Gruden may consider leaving Monday Night Football for Texas:
"It's Austin," the source said of Gruden's interest. "It's not like any other city in Texas, or anywhere, really. It's a destination, but with the state capitol, the university, the politics and the media, it's the eye of a hurricane.
"(James) Franklin, (Jim) Mora, they are great coaches - but stepping into this sort of situation for the first time? You're going to have limited success."
The infrastructure is in place to ensure long-term success. As long as Texas does its due diligence to find the right head coach, it will be back in the national championship in no time.