If history truly does repeat itself, then Mack Brown may be without a job very soon.
The longtime Texas football coach is struggling these days to explain away the Longhorns’ two straight losses they’ll carry into Saturday’s game against Kansas State in Austin.
It has to be an uncomfortable position if you’re Brown. The two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year has a national title and two conference championships as Texas’ coach and yet finds himself on the hottest seat in college football, again.
Another loss to K-State this weekend could spell the end of the Brown era at Texas, or at least drive another nail into the coffin. That’s what happens when you lose to those Wildcats, which in this case, would be for the sixth straight time.
Just ask Frank Solich about that. I bet the former Nebraska head coach has an opinion on that.
After all, Solich was 8-2 at the time when he lost to K-State at home in 2003. The Cornhuskers were having a great season by most standards, ranked in the Top 20 of both polls and tied atop the Big 12 North standings.
But none of those good things mattered after losing to K-State for second straight year and third time in four seasons — not even his 58-19 overall record at Nebraska or the 34-15 mark in the Big 12. It didn’t matter that Solich had won at least nine games four times in his first five years there, including a 12-win, 10-win and 11-win season three straight years.
All those rosy accomplishments mean nothing once K-State beats you 38-9 — at home — in what was at the time the worst home loss in 45 years and a first for the Wildcats since 1968. It was so bad that Huskers fans got an early start home, leaving Memorial Stadium in a purple haze and the chants of K-S-U rattling every corn stalk in the state during the fourth quarter. It was a special night for the Wildcats and one Solich may never forget, for so many other reasons.
The former Tom Osborne assistant lasted just one more game, a 31-22 victory at Colorado the next week, before he was fired, leaving Solich’s staff to coach the bowl game.
It wasn’t as if the loss to K-State in 2003 was the only thing to do in Solich. Though he had a nice record, he also had embarrassing losses to Missouri and Texas that year, making that unthinkable beatdown by the Wildcats the final straw, because after all, K-State just didn’t do that to the Huskers in Lincoln.
The punishment for Solich, other than losing a job he was handpicked for, was his banishment to Ohio, where he’s coached the Mid-American Conference’s Bobcats the past nine seasons.
Brown has to hope he’s not destined for the same fate if his Longhorns don’t beat the Wildcats on Saturday night. He’s already feeling the pressure after getting thumped 40-21 at BYU and then again this past week at home to Ole Miss 44-23. Fans are now booing their fearless leader and seem to be one step away from the level of hatred Southern California fans have for Lane Kiffin.
Can you imagine the outcry if the Wildcats — who lost at home to an FCS team to open the season — march out of Austin with their sixth straight win over the Longhorns? For what it’s worth, the last time Texas beat the Wildcats was in 2003 — the same season Solich met his doom.
Bill Snyder owns the last three victories in the series, with Ron Prince able to claim the other two. Think about that. Prince never beat Missouri and Kansas, and yet was 2-0 against the mighty Longhorns, even giving us the unforgettable Prince Stomp during the 2007 season in Austin.
And like Solich at Nebraska, Brown’s fate at Texas won’t solely be measured by the outcome of this week’s game. But let’s just say that losing to K-State, again, wouldn’t help his cause. The bottom line is that Brown hasn’t had the Longhorns beating much of anyone lately. Texas is 23-18 since the start of the 2010 season. Compare that to Texas’ biggest rival, Oklahoma, which is 35-8 over the same span, and Longhorns fans have to be seeing red. The Wildcats even have 29 wins since 2010.
Brown won at least 10 games nine straight seasons, but even that hasn’t happened since 2009 when the Longhorns played in the BCS National Championship game. Since then, it’s been nothing but disappointment for Texas, winning five games in 2010, eight in 2011 and then nine a year ago. During that same stretch, the Horns are 11-15 in the Big 12.
Even Frank Solich was better than that and look what happened to him? Coaches like Solich and Brown are given a long leash — until they lose to the Wildcats — because teams like Nebraska and Texas aren’t supposed lose to teams like K-State.
The problem for Brown is that it’s happened five straight times. A sixth? Well, that might be enough to get Brown a job at Akron where he could say he once coached at Texas — until he lost to the Wildcats.