In last week’s NCAA Mythical Picks, I said that if Texas lost to Kansas, I would not be surprised if Charlie Strong was fired on the spot and had to rent a car to make his way home to Texas. Well, Texas indeed lost to Kansas in one of the more embarrassing performances of the 2016 season – – but Charlie Strong was not banned from the team transportation home. However, if you believe the reports showing up via many of the very reputable sports media, Charlie Strong is not long for the job in Texas.
ESPN.com says that prominent boosters (note the use of the plural noun there) are putting “extreme pressure” on the administrators in charge of UT-Austin to fire Charlie Strong. Make no mistake, Texas was one of the college football bluebloods from bygone days. However it could only hold onto the fantasy that it is still one of the elite college football programs in the US if it avoided losing to a team like Kansas who brought the following recent résumé to last Saturday’s game:
When Kansas beat Division 1-AA Rhode Island early this year at home, the student body stormed the field. Rest assured, no college football program that pretends to be “upper echelon” would have students who thought that was a good idea.
It had been two full years since Kansas had beaten a Division 1-A opponent. For most of the years of its existence, the Texas football program feasted on opponents like that.
Texas did not avoid that odious loss…
Also, according to the ESPN report, those same “prominent boosters” want Texas to hire Houston coach, Tom Herman and have him move about 150 miles to the northwest to put Texas back in the football spotlight that boosters remember from happier times in the past. Look, there is no doubt that Tom Herman has done a wonderful job at Houston turning an ordinary team in the American Athletic Conference into a team that has earned national attention. I am perfectly willing to stipulate that Tom Herman is a superb college football coach. I also wish to put on the record that Charlie Strong did an outstanding job at Louisville before the Texas boosters who want him fired now pressured the school to go out and hire Charlie Strong.
The problem with the pressure that the boosters are putatively applying to the Texas administration is that the pressure is born of unrealistic expectations. Many of the boosters recall the times when Darrell Royal ran the wishbone offense better than anyone could stop the wishbone offense and dominated college football year after year. Those days are gone and many of the boosters who view those days as some sort of a birthright need to stop bleeding orange and recognize that Texas is no longer the dominant football force that it once was. Big time boosters of collegiate athletic programs are not very good at looking at the world through “reality spectacles” and much prefer to don the “rose colored glasses”
Imagine if I were to make these two assumptions:
On top of those two assumptions fraught with optimism for a rapid resurrection of the Texas football fortunes, the fact remains that at Texas the head coach has to compete with the likes of Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. and TCU and Baylor and Kansas St. every year and those programs are better programs than what coaches in the American Athletic Conference face annually:
Texas can become bowl-eligible if they win this week against TCU. If Texas is hell-bent to fire him and hire Tom Herman who will be a hot property in the coaching carousel this winter, it would not surprise me to see someone else coach the Longhorns in whatever bowl game they might participate. I fully anticipate that the separation of Charlie Strong from the Texas football program will be a public and messy affair…
In the NFL, the Cowboys lost in Week 1 and the Niners won in Week Since those balmy days of September, these two teams have headed in opposite directions. This morning the Cowboys are 9-1 riding a 9-game win streak. This morning the Niners are 1-9 bearing up under the strain of a 9-game losing streak. However, the Niners’ plight is even worse than that:
- The Niners’ loss to the Pats this weekend was the 7th time this year that they lost by double digits. They are not losing “squeakers”; they are on the short end of significant losses.
- In 8 of their 9 straight losses, the Niners’ defense has allowed an opposing running back to go north of 100 yards in the game. Just to be clear, that is not good…
- Fan support is rapidly eroding. I only saw the game on replay but by the middle of the third quarter, if you added the number of people wearing Pats’ gear to the number of empty seats, I think you would have had at least 60% of the stadium capacity – and maybe 70%.
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald reacting to LeBron James’ signing of a 3-year contract extension with the Cavaliers worth $100M:
“That will take him through the next six Cavaliers head coaches.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………