Texas vs Cal: Is It BCS or Bust for Mack Brown in 2012?

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 12:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns watches from the sidelines during the game against the Missouri Tigers on November 12, 2011 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Perennial powerhouse Texas has fallen on rough times following the departure of the school’s most winning quarterback, Colt McCoy.

Over the past two years, the Longhorns have gone a combined 12-12, including a 5-11 in-conference record. That simply won’t cut it for this program and Mack Brown knows it.

Many people have already started calling for the coach’s head, but the administration appears to be keeping him on for at least another year.

But does he need to get to a BCS bowl next year in order to continue being the head coach?

He is sure cutting it close.

Expectations are ridiculously high for the University of Texas. The state lives and breathes high school and college football and UT is its star program. If the team isn’t in the running for a national championship, fans are quick to criticize and long to forget, especially when the coach of the team is getting $5.2 million per year.

It has been made brutally apparent that in order for Brown to be successful as a coach, he needs to have an elite quarterback. Major Applewhite, Chris Simms, Vince Young and Colt McCoy each had great seasons under Brown and three of them were drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.

Garrett Gilbert was an absolute train wreck and David Ash and Case McCoy are still learning the position.

With a full offseason to prepare, the Longhorns needs to both settle on a quarterback and have that guy step up. They’ve produced some great running backs over the years and Johnathan Gray should be fantastic next year, but the key for the team is at quarterback.

The Big 12 should be a relatively easy conference to do well in next year with so many teams losing big playmakers like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and, likely, Baylor. Still, reaching a BCS bowl will be tough with TCU and Kansas State doing so well. Things could become even tougher if West Virginia joins the league for next season.

With the expectations of the league so low, Brown will need to win at least nine games to keep his job next season. Chances are that won’t get him to the Fiesta Bowl, but a trip to the Cotton Bowl should be good enough.