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Mack Brown Resigns

December 19, 2013

Mack Brown. Remember him? Remember when he rebuilt the North Carolina University football program two decades ago? Remember how he left UNC for the University of Texas head job?  

Well, he left Chapel Hill 16 years ago and his stint at in Austin, Texas, is over as he resigned last weekend. He will coach in the upcoming Alamo Bowl before moving out of his office. 

Brown’s departure from the Longhorn program was quite clumsy. After 10+ years of contending for national titles annually it seemed, the Texas program has been struggling of late. Struggling in Austin is eight wins a year over the 10+ win seasons they are accustomed to. The slow demise of the program led to a great deal of talk about Brown stepping down and turning the program over to a younger coach. As the season progressed and the team starting playing better, it became clear that Brown did not want to leave. So one has to think he was forced to resign. Hence the clumsiness.  

Brown deserves his name on some UT ring of honor. He deserves to be in the College Football Hall of Fame. All those things will come in time. Especially if the Longhorns struggle with a new coach.  

UT coach Mack Brown is leaving

Personally, I liken this situation to what happened at the University of Tennessee with Phil Fulmar. Since Fulmar, who like Brown won a national title, was asked to leave, the Volunteers have disappeared from the national scene of college football. It could happen with Texas. Longhorn fans may wish Brown was still around in a few years.  

I know North Carolina fans wished he stayed. Brown came to Texas after back-to-back 10-win seasons at North Carolina. That had happened once before in the program’s history. It hasn’t happened again.  

So, who will end up replacing Brown? Contrary to media reports in recent months, Nick Saban is not interested. I like David Shaw out of Stanford. But word has it is that he will follow Jim Harbaugh’s footsteps and only leave Stanford for a NFL job. Speaking of Harbaugh, he has already said no about returning to the college game. Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is getting some play but he has not coached at college level in over 10 years. 

Names I expect to be in consideration for the Texas vacancy include Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, UCLA’s Jim Mora Jr., Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn.  

Week 15 In The NFL 

The playoff run within the NFL is on and Week 15 gave us quite a few amazing moments. How about those Dallas Cowboys? If there is anything we have learned about this team in recent years, it is that they rarely win games when the month of December arrives. The trend continued in a big way last week as they managed to turn a 23-point halftime lead over Green Bay to yet another December loss. How does that happen, you ask? Well, the Dallas defense allowed Green Bay to score a touchdown on every second half possession and quarterback Tony Romo threw two interceptions during the game’s final four minutes.  It’s a loss that leaves Cowboys fans reeling, not only by how it happened, but by the fact that the Eagles had lost earlier in the day; a Cowboys win could have put Dallas in the driver’s seat to win the NFC East. Now, the Cowboys will need to win out or spend January at home for the fifth time in six seasons. Back to the December trend. Did you know that Romo and the Cowboys, ever since Romo became a starter, have a 24-5 record in November but are just 13-20 in December?

What has to frustrate Dallas fans even more is that Matt Flynn, cut by the Raiders and Bills already this year, was the guy who led this comeback. Not Aaron Rodgers. Matt “I can’t believe I am still in the league” Flynn. 

Actually, Flynn might have saved the Packers’ season. This was his second consecutive win with a fourth-quarter comeback, and the Packers needed both those wins to keep their head above water in the NFC playoff hunt. Now, at 7-6-1, the Packers can likely bring the almost healed Aaron Rodgers back with something meaningful to play for. 

Matt Flynn, in heaven

The playoff picture is starting to clear itself up. In the AFC, the Patriots’ stay as the top seed in the conference lasted two days. Their loss to Miami knocked New England out of the top spot, and they will need the Broncos to slip up again to have another shot at claiming home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With Denver playing Houston and Oakland over the next two weeks, that seems unlikely. 

In the NFC, Seattle has all but clinched the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. There are three 10-4 teams with theoretical chances of catching 12-2 Seattle, and the Seahawks hold ironclad tiebreaker victories over two of them (New Orleans and Carolina). The 49ers would need Seattle to lose to the Cardinals and Rams at home while they beat Atlanta and Arizona, which would give them a tiebreaker win by virtue of their superior record in the division. I do not see that happening. 

The Eagles could clinch the NFC East next week with a Philly win and a Dallas loss, but that would be way too simple. As long as that doesn’t happen, these two teams will decide the NFC East in Dallas in Week 17. And of course, we have the big one here in Charlotte when the Saints come calling against the Panthers. The winner will likely win the NFC South. The loser will have to win the following week to secure a wildcard berth. 

Let me close with Jamaal Charles. The Kansas City Chief runningback has a remarkable week as he scored five touchdowns. Fantasy football owners of Charles had to like that. Four of the scores came on touchdown passes. In all, Charles caught eight passes for 195 yards.   

Murphy To Leave Duke  

Not all is rosy in Durham. At least for forward Alex Murphy who has declared his intention to transfer from the Duke Basketball program.  

Murphy, a four star recruit from the class of 2011, was basically caught up in a number and talent game.

He has averaged just over six minutes a game in the five games he has played in this season.  

Alex Murphy of Duke

Murphy’s issue is that Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker each average over 30 minutes per game at the same position he plays.  

I would fully expect Murphy to be a highly coveted transfer.

 

 


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