Texas lost to Oklahoma State. News came in steraming off the no longer extant presses. Charlie Strong was not getting fired. Then he was “very close” to being fired. Then we were on to second-guessing actions Texas could take.
Everyone stay calm. Breathe. News is not moving rapidly. Media reaction has.
Strong was on the hot seat entering the 2016 season. This was warranted. He was 11-14 after his first two seasons, every big win balanced with a 24-0 loss to Iowa State. He was hired by the previous athletic director.
Colleagues were so confident in Strong’s staying power last December Texas had to put on a full court press in person and shell out a massive guaranteed offer to convince an offensive coordinator to leave his job, at Tulsa.
Then, talking season happened. Strong closed with gusto on Signing Day. Texas A&M and Baylor looked like the school with issues this offseason. The season started. Texas won an overtime shootout with Notre Dame, inspiring media and coaches to rocket them into the Top 15.
Texas dropped a couple games afterward. Notre Dame turned out to be terrible. Suddenly, Texas is back, in perception, where they always were in reality.
The Oklahoma State game was bound to be important for Texas. Though, it’s not clear why that was the game that breaks the axle on Strong’s bandwagon. Doubtless some big wigs were annoyed. Losing to the Cowboys should not have been surprising.
The Longhorns were underdogs. They had lost the last four games at home to OSU, three by double-digits. Giving up 49 points should not have been surprising. They play in the Big 12. It’s the 11th time Texas has given up 38 points or more under Strong.
Strong still has time to save himself. Beating Oklahoma again would help. That’s not an unrealistic prospect. Texas has won two of three, and outplayed Oklahoma in the third.
The Big 12 does not look very good this year. There are a lot of winnable games left on Texas’ schedule. Here’s a number for you: 2. That’s the number of 2016 multiple-score wins over a Power 5 opponent Texas’ eight remaining opponents have that were not over Iowa State or Kansas.
This season may end badly for Strong. He’s had two sub-.500 seasons. The team looks no better. He’s failed thus far at putting together the right staff, getting results on the filed, and ensuring money-spending fans are excited about Longhorns football. Or, in short being Texas’ head coach. But, we’re still at the stage where that’s a hypothetical.
Strong is on the hot seat. Tom Herman, potentially, being available after the season ramps up the pressure on him. It’s true now. It was true last December.