I wrote a piece defending Mack Brown about three summers ago for the since-folded PigskinPost.com. It was one of my better pieces and it got a tremendous amount of fan reaction, almost all of which was positive from Texas fans. That said, it's hard to root for Mack Brown when he does his best to personify a [insert slang term for female genitalia here]:
"At places like ours, we're going to fill up our stadium regardless of who we're playing, so we'd actually make more money playing another game at home, getting our guys ready for our conference schedule. So I don't see this continuing [beyond next year's game in Austin."
First of all, that doesn't exactly sound like a guy who relishing the opportunity to play a game in one of the famous venues in college football, mainly because he knows what the headlines are going to be if he loses: "MACK BLOWS THE BIG ONE AGAIN!!!" Those headlines will be unfair because the task of winning a road game against a Top Five team is a monumental one in college football. (And don't get carried away, Notre Dame fans. I mean a legitimate top five team, not a team that's in the top five solely because of inertia like your opponent tomorrow.) Second, his reasoning is ludicrous. He plays one perennial top 15 team every year: Oklahoma. It's possible that Franchione will turn Texas A&M into a second, but that hasn't happened yet. The rest of the Big XII South lack recruiting bases necessary to be perennial Top 15 teams. If Florida can play three perennials (Tennessee, Georgia, and LSU) and still have the balls to play a fourth (Florida State) and a fifth in years with the 12-game schedule (Miami), then you can have the balls to play a second outside of the conference. Do you really need three games against patsies to get your young players ready? Wouldn't it be better preparation for the Red River Shootout for your players to play a game against a quality opponent so you know who can play on the highest levels and who can't? What do you really learn about your team by beating Louisiana-Lafayette 60-3?
And then there's this comment:
"[When the series was scheduled], the national championship game was not what it is today. At places like Texas and Ohio State, everyone wants you to win the last one, and obviously after Saturday, one of us is going to take a step back."
How is the national title more important now than it was in the mid to late 90s? Maybe it's different for you because you're at a school where it's a legitmate aspiration, but it's always been important. And Mack is in no place to talk about how important it is when he's never won a conference champtionship, let alone a national title. I can't imagine that Texas fans wouldn't be happy with him if his team lost in Columbus, but then beat Oklahoma and won the Big XII. Coaches don't get fired for losing non-conference games in September; they get fired for failing to meet expectations. (I guess that Mack's counter would be that a national title would make him untouchable and there's some merit to that point.) Additionally, fans are so prey to recency that they'll overlook and possibly forget a loss in September if October and November are good.