This was bound to happen sooner or later. Maybe it's only surprising that it took as long as it did.
On Sunday, Chip Brown of HornsDigest.com tweeted that former Texas head coach Mack Brown would be joining ESPN as a college football studio analyst this fall.
Source tells http://t.co/TR56iu4jRp Mack Brown has reached agreement w/ ESPN on a college football studio analyst's role starting this fall.— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownHD) June 2, 2014
An official announcement is expected to come later this week, according to Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman.
When Brown "resigned" last December after 16 years with Texas, it didn't feel like he would be out of work for long. The final four years of the Brown era in Austin were disappointing, but they shouldn't overshadow all the success he had before then.
He will get calls to coach elsewhere. Maybe he's already received a few. In time, perhaps Brown, 62, will return to the sidelines for a few more years.
Will Mack Brown be a good analyst for ESPN?
For now, this is the perfect job for Brown. Working as a studio analyst keeps him visible on the national stage and caters to his strengths. Brown's personality and years of experience create a perfect combination for the job.
Some coaches just know how to turn on the charm when the cameras start rolling. Brown is one of those coaches. He's engaging, likable and smooth. College football, like all sports, is entertainment. The men and women who cover it may be called hosts, journalists or analysts, but they are also largely entertainers.
Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel of the Pac-12 Networks is entertaining because he sings. Lee Corso is entertaining on ESPN's College GameDay because of the headgear selection. Both have their quirks, and that's what they're remembered for.
Brown will be a good television personality, and if he can bring a unique voice to the set, he'll be entertaining, and the move will be reaffirmed as a natural fit. The real question is whether he'll be a good analyst, which is a distinct difference.
It's not that Brown doesn't know football; he clearly does. However, being a good analyst is about using that knowledge to break information down simply, but in a way others cannot. The best analysts are entertaining, yes, but they're also smart—and they treat their audience as such.
The jury is still out on Brown, the analyst.
There's legitimate reason for skepticism. Brown rarely, if ever, had a bad thing to say about anyone—ever. Listening to Brown in the week leading up to a game, you'd think every opponent, no matter how bad, was the 2005 USC Trojans.
I wonder how critical Mack will be as an analyst but he should be good on TV.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) June 2, 2014
To be a good analyst, he'll have to call things like he sees them, not sugarcoat everything. It would be a departure from the Brown that people have come to know.
But it could be a welcome departure.
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report.