NORMAN — The absurdity is what’s happening at Texas could be happening at Oklahoma instead because Mack Brown might have become the Sooner coach in time for the 1996 season, succeeding Howard Schnellenberger.
He’d taken over a downtrodden North Carolina program and gone 2-20 overall and 1-13 in the ACC his first two seasons. Then he went 6-4-1, 7-4, 9-3, 10-3, 8-4 and 7-5 before the Sooner job came open. Brown had OU ties, too, having spent a season, 1984, as Barry Switzer’s offensive coordinator.
The Sooners hired John Blake instead and while Blake went 7-16 the next two years in crimson and cream, Brown went 20-3 in Carolina blue and parlayed it into the Texas job, the best job in college football, ask anybody.
Had he moved to Norman instead, the Sooners would have gotten better immediately and might be falling apart now. Also, probably a lot like Longhorn Nation these days, the Sooner Nation would be of many minds, tortured to choose a right path.
The irony is Brown’s burnt orange success has served to pave the way for an all-too public and never-ending meltdown.
Brown seemed to be the first to have his name on the school’s website, meaning, even now, if you want to trace the debacle that’s become Longhorn football going back to 2010, you can do it at MackBrown-TexasFootball.com.
Also, it was Brown’s success, and the money and resources and interest it generated, that served to prime Texas’ arrogance, get the Longhorns sideways with the rest of the Big 12, chase Nebraska and Texas A&M out of the conference, spur whole seasons of conference realignment sound and fury and make the Longhorn Network possible.
From 2004 to 2009, Texas went 69-9, better than even Bob Stoops’ best six-year run, from 2000 to 2005, when the Sooners went 68-11.
Though the Longhorn Network remains a moneymaker, if only because ESPN promised Texas the dough before it ever went on the air, all it’s been good for since Saturday is first broadcasting the Longhorns’ 44-23 loss to Ole Miss live and then replaying it about 50 times since.