Throughout Texas’ 63-21 loss to OU Saturday, Mack Brown looked angry, like an old man whose lawn had been trampled by 22 college kids wearing crimson jerseys.
His 61-year-old face was beet red. His brow was furrowed.
Of course, Mack wasn’t the only one upset Saturday. Orangebloods were furious. At halftime, UT fans streamed out of the Cotton Bowl to drown their sorrows in Fletcher corny dogs. Fans not at the game turned to social media to vent.
The OU fan in me was enjoying it.
But as an OU fan who is also a resident of Texas, I have mixed feelings.
I have a lot of school-teacher friends in Texas who are scrambling for jobs. And now we have Mack — who’s paid an annual base salary of $5.2 million, which makes him the state’s highest-paid employee — getting kicked around on national TV by his biggest rival and nemesis. In addition to his monster base salary, Mack has a four-year contract extension that elevates his salary another $100K per year until 2020. Granted, all that Mack money isn’t all coming from state coffers, but a chunk of it probably is.
Is the state of Texas getting its money’s worth from Mack? Well, if on-field performance counts, not so much.
Does it help OU for Mack to be in charge? You bet your foam OU Schooner hat.
Mack is coming off an 8-5 season that followed a 5-7 season. To put it into context that OU fans would understand, those are Howard Schnellenberger- and John Blake-like numbers.
Mack is valuable to the UT program whereas Scehnellenberger and Blake were liabilities at OU. Rather than fire Mack, UT fans are hoping he takes the modest $3.5 million buyout and still be the icon with the Texas twang occupying a corner office and playing golf with the donors, perhaps earning an additional retirement package from the boosters that he claims support him.
Mack’s value is measured in recruiting success — he’s always signing the best athletes in the universe. But getting beat to a pulp in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by one of Texas’ biggest recruiting rivals … well, that won’t be tolerated by the Orangebloods.
So, yes, it’s fun to score big on Mack. But OU might have seen the last of Mack on the Longhorns’ sideline, although Mack vows to right his ship.
The speculation on who would replace him already has begun.
The school likes its homespun heroes. If UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds has anything to do with it, I predict that Major Applewhite has a sporting chance, given his youth and legacy status in Austin (kinda like the way Josh Heupel is being groomed at OU). Maybe Baylor’s Art Briles, but I’m betting UT is too proud to concede that it needs help from within the Big 12.
Nationally, a good choice would be Boise State’s Chris Petersen, who coached the pants off Bob Stoops in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and has won 92 percent of his games. I have this theory that Mack was brought in because he once worked at OU (offensive coordinator under Barry Switzer) and understood the OU culture, much like Darrell Royal.
One thing is certain: Expect changes in Austin before the next OU-Texas shootout.
ABOUT THE GAME: Face it. This game can sometimes turn into an all-star game between former Texas high school standouts. Yes, OU has its share of Texans (51 on the latest roster). But in this game, OU’s difference-makers had no ties — zero, none, nada — to Texas. Junior RB Damien Williams, who had a 95-yard touchdown run, is a Californian; junior FB Trey Millard, who had 119 receiving yards, is from Missouri; senior QB Landry Jones, who passed for 321 yards, is from New Mexico; sophomore QB Blake Bell, who ran for four TDs, is from Kansas. Other contributing standouts: DB Tony Jefferson (California), RB Brennan Clay (California), DB Aaron Colvin (Owasso, Okla.), WR Justin Brown (Delaware) — none from the Lone Star State and all juniors. … How dominant were the Sooners? UT safety Kenny Vaccaro told ESPN.com that the OU receivers began telling him what plays were coming. “They were like, ‘We’re running it here,’ ” Vaccaro said.
NO ONE BIT ON FACEBOOK: Leading up to the game, I had a suspicion that UT fans were not confident. I have several Longhorns fans on Facebook and they were laying low. They weren’t posting images of a mobile home on wheels with the words “Mobile-homa” on it. You’d post something to draw them offside and you’d get no takers. The best you’d get was their clever little “OU sucks” line. There was no swagger. Even after the game, one of them stayed off Facebook because he didn’t like to see OU fans gloat.
- Just one last shot at Penn State before we move on (read the post that angered 9,300 Penn State faithful and generated 68 go-to-hell comments.)
- Preview: El Paso meant a visit to Juarez for horsesh#t cigarettes
- Wrapup: In El Paso, Sooners struggle but do better than Marty Robbins
- Preview: Read how I fell in love with the Sooners in a nursing home parking lot
- Wrapup: Cheer on your Sooners, but keep your enemies closer
- Preview: Memories of heading to OU games on Highway 9
- Wrapup: Are night games beating down the Sooners? They are me
- Preview: Sooners losing to coaches who’ve passed retirement age
- Wrapup: At 23 years old, Landry Jones is the old man on the field now