Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Texas Complains About Being Entitled, Hilarity Ensues.

Plaque Brown, up to his old antics.

Remember, not so many years ago, when the much hyped and/or maligned Longhorn Network was going to make Texas, already the most powerful athletic program in the country, pretty much untouchable?  Remember, not so many years ago, when ESPN's $300 million investment in the Longhorn brand was going to all but guarantee that UT would haul in the best recruiting classes in America year after year and hand deliver the Longhorns National Title after National Title?  (Interesting aside:  Check the headlines from the and postings of the same story.  ESPN's reads:  Mack Brown discusses network.  SI's reads:  Texas Coach Brown complains about Longhorn Network.  Do I smell spin control?) Remember, not so long ago, when the Longhorn Network was deemed to be SUCH an advantage that it, at least momentarily, had the Big 12 teetering on the brink of extinction?  

Uh... not so much, anymore.

It's pretty amazing how the most entitled program in College Sports can attempt to generate sympathy from a decision that they made on their own to make themselves even more entitled, but that's how these folks act.  Mack Brown, the most well-paid coach in America, is complaining that a TV deal that gives his program the most visibility in the country and that has been touted as revolutionary, actually leaves his boys a little TOO exposed.  Believe it or not, this isn't the same tune Mack was singing in 2011 when the Network went live.  To wit (via THIS):

“We’re going to sign 20 to 25 players a year, more 20 than 25, and those players will probably be committed to us before June in their junior year. So I don’t think that part will have any effect on recruiting at all. I think the part that will affect recruiting is you’ve got a lot more opportunities for young people to be seen. So there’s no question that the opportunity to show who you are on national TV at every practice, at every ballgame, on a network, is — I mean, it’s a positive.
I'm no psychoanalytical type, but to me that reads that, at the time, Mack could not have been more pleased with the advent of the network and viewed it as, if not an outright advantage for UT, at least something that could be construed in a positive light.  So it's interesting to read yesterday that, after Texas' big show of implementing the network and teasing breaking up the Conference in order to investigate the Pac-12, Mack has changed his tune:
"I didn't ask for it," Brown said Monday..."It's in Waco. Baylor sees every practice," Brown said. "We're a little overexposed."..."I'm a soldier," Brown said. "They tell me to go work with the Longhorn Network, I'll go do it."
How much of that do you believe?  The UT brass is probably as arrogant as any in the country, but do you honestly think they didn't involve their $5 million annual investment in the process of starting a network that's 99% being created to highlight their flagship sport?  I'm going to go out on a tiny limb here and suggest bullshit.  So what do you think happened to make Mack change his tune?  Can't be Texas' struggles the past two seasons or the fact that fans are openly calling for his head, can it? Naaaah.  
Truthfully, Mack has a point - having that much attention on your program can be as much of a disadvantage as an advantage, especially with practices being televised.  But I think the REAL problem is that Mack and UT have always enabled an environment where the football team never has to grow up.  The majority of UT players were among the best at their respective positions coming out of high school, but rather than instill discipline and teach them that they have a long way to go before they are elite, Mack seems to let his players  coast and never take things to the next level.  Coordinators Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz were well respected football minds before they came to Austin, yet have never been able to replicate their previous success.  Unless Austin is some sort of vortex of football brain fail - POSSIBLE - it probably has more to do with the top down attitude than their own shortcomings.  If the players are told they are gods and treated as such by the boss, chances are they're going to to continue to act that way, and giving them their own TV Network PROBABLY wasn't a great idea.  We just had a pretty fine example of what happens when a mega-talent isn't properly motivated to better himself.  Now imagine that's your entire team, and that's UT.  Thank God for GP. 

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FrogHorn07 said...

Here in Houston they seem to think UT is going to replace Mack with GP. Not only do I not see GP leaving TCU, but GP would be a disaster in Austin. GP is very anti-media, he closes practices, does not give accurate injury reports, does not give access to players and skipped the Spring Game this year. UT is a media darling, and GP does not fit the media friendly model in Austin.

Is UT a better job, maybe. Is it easier to recruit at UT , no doubt. Do they pay better, you bet. Do I see GP leaving, no.

Skeptical Frog said...

At this point, I just don't GMFP leaving Fort Worth for anybody, especially not for another Big12 team. He's got pretty much everything he could want here and a National Championship is within reach. That said, I CAN think of three scenarios for which he MIGHT leave at some point in the not immediate future:
1) He wins 1 (or more) NCs here and decides he really needs a new challenge.
2) Gets fed up with our crappy fanbase and moves to a different school that has similar qualities but a more hands-on fanbase.

Neither of those scenarios would likely include UT. Hell, I'm not sure what program would actually be an upgrade that would be a good fit. Virtually nobody in the SEC. Maybe a PAC team, although I'm not sure who that would be.

I just believe that if he was going to leave TCU, he would have done so already. He's moved past the "up and coming genius" stage (see: Urban Meyer) and more into the "we're not sure we could even force him to leave" stage.