While I realize that there are conflicting reports floating around regarding Mack Brown's status as head coach at Texas, he's more likely to be standing next to Bevo on the Longhorns' sidelines in 2014 than wearing a headset. With that in mind, allow me to offer up a few thoughts on the broader implications of today's developments.
*As Scipio Tex of Barking Carnival has explained, Mack's way of running Texas' program has created a certain amount of mythology around the job he's about to vacate.
Placating boosters and kissing babies falls under the job description for any coach. The difference is that Mack has amplified that aspect of the position on the 40 Acres. He wouldn't have survived as long as he has during this prolonged slide without all that goodwill.
In other words, if the Texas brass allows the P.R. side to figure into the next hire, it would be foolish.
*On the other hand, there is something of a "Warren Harding factor" at play with this hire, in the sense that Texas and ESPN have a TV network to sell. That probably hurts less charismatic candidates, like, say, Gus Malzahn or Mark Dantonio.
That also raises an interesting question: How much influence does ESPN have on this hire?
*I realize that the Saban angle will dominate the speculation for now. I suspect there's more substance behind that chatter than people would think, but I still remain pretty skeptical that it happens.
*Honestly, I have a hard time seeing Texas hiring anyone from the Big 12 or SEC. UT sees itself as being above the SEC "culture" – if you get my drift. Likewise, poaching another coach from one of UT's inferiors within the Big 12 would mean swallowing a lot of pride.
Ultimately, I'd expect the shot callers to zero in on coaches from schools that they consider to be "like" Texas. I'd keep my eye on large state schools with solid academic reputations. Think Gary Andersen or Bill O'Brien.
*While I don't doubt that Sooner fans have enjoyed kicking their Red River rivals around during Mack's tenure, they should welcome this change.
The slides of Texas and Oklahoma in recent years aren't coincidental. There's a misguided belief that runs rampant in college football circles that dominance is something of a never-ending positive feedback loop for programs. In fact, competition breeds success. (Look at college football in the state of Alabama right no.)
OU and Texas bring out the best in each other, whether they want to admit it or not. Assuming UT doesn't blow this hire, I view this as nothing but a positive for the Sooners.