Baylor v Texas

Report: Mack Brown stepping down as Texas coach


Those two days just flew by, didn’t they?

Shortly after a report surfaced that a decision on Mack Brown‘s future at Texas would come in the next 48 hours, it appears the decision has already been made.  Citing two high-level sources,‘s Chip Brown is reporting that Brown has decided to step down as the Longhorns’ head coach after 16 seasons.  An official announcement from Brown and the school is expected before the end of the week.

One source intimated to the website that it was Brown’s love of the football program he was largely responsible for rebuilding that led to his decision.

“Mack Brown loves Texas and wants what’s in the best interest of Texas and what’s in the best interest of Mack Brown,” the source told the site. “I don’t think it’s been an easy decision. But he doesn’t want negativity around the program he helped unify.”

If the report is accurate — and Chip Brown is one of the best in the business when it comes to UT football — it will bring to an a decade-and-a-half run for Brown in Austin… and will also cause a ripple effect to roll through the college football landscape as top-tier coaches trip over themselves to fill the coaching void with the Longhorns.

There’s little doubt UT would make yet another run at Alabama’s Nick Saban.  Outside of Saban — and/or his wife — making a surprise move out of Tuscaloosa, anyone from Jimbo Fisher to Art Briles to Kevin Sumlin to David Shaw to Jon Gruden (sorry, federal law dictates Chucky’s name be mentioned) will likely be connected to the opening in some shape or fashion.

Given the obscene financial wherewithal the UT athletic department possesses and the prestige the job holds, there should be no shortage of candidates champing at the bit to take over the reins from Brown.

UPDATED 3:03 p.m. ET: The university has denied the report that Mack Brown has decided to take his leave as the Longhorns’ head coach.

To put this denial into perspective, however, Chip Brown reported back in mid-September that DeLoss Dodds would be stepping down as UT’s athletic director; the school and Dodds vehemently denied the report.  Two weeks later, Dodds announced he would be stepping down as UT’s athletic director.

USC’s Max Tuerk already questionable for Notre Dame game

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 11:  Center Max Tuerk #75 of the USC Trojans prepares to snap the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Trojans defeatred the Wildcats 28-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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As if the questions about the head coach’s future aren’t enough, now USC could have a rather significant issue in the middle of its offensive line to deal with as well.

Early in the first quarter of what would turn out to be an embarrassing loss to Washington Thursday night, Max Tuerk sustained a sprained knee. Upon further examination, it was determined that the veteran center would be unable to return to the game.

Not only that, Tuerk, who was wearing a brace on his right knee following the loss, is already labeled as questionable for what it in every sense of the phrase a must-win game for Steve Sarkisian against Notre Dame eight days from now.

With Tuerk sidelined for the remainder of the game, he was replaced by Toa Lobendahn. It’s unclear which direction the Trojans would go if Tuerk is a no-go this weekend, although Khaliel Rodgers, who had been dealing with a personal issue, has been Tuerk’s backup.

Tuerk has started 38 games in his Trojan career — 18 at center, 14 at left guard, five at left tackle, one at right tackle. Lobendahn started all 13 games as a true freshman last season, the first eight at left guard and then five at right tackle.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.