The Texas Longhorns were a preseason favorite by many to win the Big 12 South and make yet another run at a BCS bowl in 2010. That was back in September.
Flash forward to now.
The Longhorns have lost four straight and six of their last seven, and are in need of wins in their final two games to avoid missing the bowl season all together for the first time since 1997.
Then yet another blow to the Longhorns came when Tre Newton announced that he was quitting due to effects sustained from several concussions throughout his career.
Newton was quoted as saying:
"As much as I love football, this is one of the hardest decisions of my life," Newton said. "[But] football isn't forever."
Heading into the 2010 season, much was expected from the sophomore tailback, who is the son of former Cowboy great Nate Newton. So much was expected that the Longhorns changed their entire offensive attack to favor a more run heavy attack to feature guys like Newton and Fozzy Whitaker.
The leading rusher, you ask?
Neither of the two, as Cody Johnson is the top dog with 361 yards. Texas ranks near the bottom of the rushing category nationally, averaging just over 140 per game, good enough for 80th in the country.
So what is going on in Austin?
Has Mack Brown completely lost control here?
Year in and year out, Brown is able to recruit top classes in the nation. Year in and year out, these guys win championships and head to the NFL.
Is there talent here?
Oh yes, but the question you have to ask is: is Mack Brown ready to hand the reins over to Will Muschamp now?
It is easy to point your finger at the coach, who turns 60 just before the 2011 opener. But by just looking at win totals of 10, 10, 12, 13 and now maybe five, it is easy to see that something is missing.
Even take a look at some of Brown's comments over the last several weeks. After the Iowa State debacle at home he was quoted as saying, "If I can't trust our coaches and I can't trust our players that we can be ready to play 12 times a year, that's the worst thing that can happen to a head football coach."
In an interview with ESPN before the latest of beatings, Brown told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that what he said was true, and why not say just that.
So are the players the problem in Texas? Is it the coaches? Is it what Brown himself called "a perfect storm" of problems?
The bottom line is nobody is going to respect a guy that throws others under the bus. Your assistants are YOUR assistants, and when you place the blame on them publicly, you lose respect. Once you lose their respect, it simply trickles down to the players, who with four losses in a row are reeling as it is.
It is time for Mack Brown to move on. If he doesn't, Texas may be risking its future in Will Muschamp, who was announced as Brown's successor in 2008.
Currently there are reports that he is on the short list to replace Mark Richt at Georgia if Richt does indeed take the Colorado job. Muschamp is a Georgia alum who played safety for his alma mater.
In all likelihood, it all comes down to turkey night for the Horns as they "should" take care of Howard Schnellenberger's pesky FAU squad. But look for the microscope to be magnified to epic proportions when the Horns face their rivals from College Station Thanksgiving night.
The game could be the difference for Mack Brown hanging it up, or giving thanks for a miracle bowl trip...
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