December 12, 2013

Good-bye, Mack Brown; cue the new #Saban rumors? (updated)

Mack Brown is stepping down at Texas Longhorns football coach, or so it seems. From the Chron's blog, it seems no pushing was applied by new AD Steve Patterson, and I'm assuming the decision to move on was amiable and mutual.

Besides the ongoing bouts of rumors about Nick Saban leaving Alabama, who else? Ed Orgeron is available, isn't he? Gary Patterson kind of tarnished his image at TCU this year. Art Briles ain't leaving Baylor. Even if he wanted to, his buyout is probably a lot more pricey than Mack's, reportedly only $2.75 million.

That said, the interestingly self-styled Jesus Shuttleworth already had bare bones of the news on Sunday. And is claiming the buyout is more than the minimum required.

Meanwhile, despite J. Esus on the one hand, and the Chron on the other, in the paper of Austin, Texas record, Mack's still denying everything.Given that AD Patterson's gone incommunicado, Mack's denial probably just mean that there's something in the details of the buyout, or details of Mack's post-coaching "ambassador" job that need to be cleared up.

And,  did the rumors that Mack had talked to USC about its opening, speaking of Orgeron, have a hand in Steve Pattterson's thinking? And, given that relatively small buyout, even though all is smiles for public consumption, maybe Steve Patterson did do a bit of pushing.

Let's throw out some other fun coaching candidates for Longhorn faithful, while we're at it:

1. Mike Leach. Guns blazing, he'd last about 3 years in Austin.

2. Bob Stoops. Some folks in Norman have a bit of disquiet about him, and it would sure spice up the rivalry.

3. Mike Gundy. A more buttoned-down Leach. Not leaving Stillwater.

4. Gary Pinkel. Now that could be serious, even though he denies any intent to leave Mizzou.

5. Kevin Sumlin? Highly doubtful. If he leaves Aggieland in the near term, it's only for the NFL.

6. Will Muschamp? The one-time Mack Jr. will only get into Darrell Royal Stadium if he's coaching an opponent.

And, as far as candidates, how much due diligence has Steve Patterson done for a replacement so far? Had he been wanting to pull the trigger for some time? If so, he earns a record for stealthiness in the face of possible rumor-mongering, even if the Saban rumors have continued to swirl since he started in DeLoss Dodds' seat.

That said?

Per Shuttleworth, and bits of other rumors and gossip, Saban's the guy.

Why, you may ask?

Why? How many coaches have won national titles with three different teams? Saban may not coach until he's 80 or 85, and pass Bobby Bowden, but if he wins a national title in Austin, he's got the biggest college coaching cojones ever.

At the same time, what if Patterson can't land Saban? If he doesn't have a very good Plan B, he won't be sticking too many years himself.

And the plot thickens.

Saban's got a contract extension on his desk; it's been there — and not back in his AD's hands — since Friday.


And, per a Texas Monthly story, with UT President Bill Powers' future still a bit dicey, and, as Burnt Orange Report notes, he faces a special meeting tomorrow himself. His unsettled situation, as well as a Longhorns banquet on Friday, are likely holdups.

And, Powers still has his job, at least for now. And Mack says nothing's changed. And, Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron says Saban's staying put. (Hey, A.J., whether you're graduating this year or not, when has a college coach EVER told a player he's jumping ship.)

Saban now seems to have given an oral commitment to that new contract, it seems.
 "I'm not really at the stage of my career where I'm looking for some other big sort of challenge," Saban said in late October, though his attempt to quash the rumors of his departure ultimately proved unsuccessful. "We've got enough challenges right here to try to work with the players we recruited and try to continue to have a successful program for their personal, academic and athletic success."
However, this is college football; how often do coaches tell the truth in situations like this?

Bottom line is, the Horns handled the leak badly. True, Patterson's the new AD, but he's been on the job a month. Dodds could have given him some backup.

Bottom line No. 2 is that, until Saban signs that new contract, the rumors about him will continue.

Bottom line No. 3 is that the official denouement is supposed to happen sometime after Friday night.

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