They say that Year 3 in the tenure of a college football head coach is the season in which you can truly tell the trajectory of the program on his watch, so in Austin, it begs the question, "How close are the Texas Longhorns to winning a championship?" Because this introductory video the school put out after the hire of Tom Herman in November 2016 contains footage of Herman promising championships:
It's right there at the 1:04 mark — "We will win championships." Considering some of the ridiculous losses over his three seasons (what up, Maryland.... twice), the fits and starts (how many times have they been "back" now under Herman?), and some of the general Herman tomfoolery, I don't even know if this team has a December bowl win in them. Forget about championships.
The latest episode came this weekend before a 24-10 loss to Baylor, where the Bears emasculated the Longhorns for 60 minutes. In the pregame warmups, this happened....
Tom Herman is AMPED. pic.twitter.com/S7EVkIwy57— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) November 23, 2019
What in the blue hell is that? My colleague at SportsRadio 610, Landry Locker, noted Longhorn backer, put it best when he categorized Herman's act in this video as junior high level stuff. It's embarrassing, especially when you take into account the eventual outcome of the game, which we all should have seen coming based on the reaction of 90 percent of the players in this video, which I would categorize somewhere between indifference and an inability to comprehend what a clown they have coaching them.
Of course, clown show gimmicks are nothing new for Herman. Whether it's kissing his players....
... calling them out in front of the team if their urine isn't the appropriate shade of yellow (yes, he would DO this)...
Went to take a leak in Moncrief and this was hanging above the toilet. Tom Herman's attention to detail is real ???? pic.twitter.com/FoAMbkf56K— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) April 11, 2017
....or flat out lying (my personal favorite, right behind getting into fights with a couple of my coworkers on SportsRadio 610) ....
Herman is one or two more gimmicks away from wearing big floppy shoes and a red nose. The problem for the Longhorns is that Herman was thought to be The Savior, The Chosen One. He is one of those hires that should have their fan base wondering "Man, if we can't win with THIS guy, with his background, then where do we go next?" (For the record, Herman, Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M, Scott Frost at Nebraska, and Jim Harbaugh at Michigan comprise the Mount Rushmore of "We are ALL-IN on this guy" head coaches.)
It has to hurt even more for Longhorn fans when you consider the success of these other new hires before the 2017 season, Herman's first at Texas:
ED ORGERON, LSU
If you believe the reports, Orgeron was the fallback plan after Herman basically used LSU's interest in him to get Texas to come to the table and offer him the Longhorn post. AS it turns out, LSU got the much better head coach, as the Tigers beat the Longhorns in Week 2, and sit atop the polls in college football, as we speak.
MATT RHULE, Baylor
Rhule's win over Herman on Saturday was poetic and appropriate. Herman inherited a talented roster as a school with more resources than every other school in the country. Rhule inherited a roster that was decimated by defections in the wake of the school's sexual assault scandal. Rhule has built a team that was 1-11 just two seasons ago into a fringe playoff contender.
P.J. FLECK, Minnesota
Fleck has basically been for Minnesota what Texans thought they signed up for with Herman — a young, energetic fast riser, who took his previous Group of Five employer to a New Year's Six bowl. Fleck has Minnesota, not a traditional power at all, in the playoff hunt heading into Thanksgiving week.
LINCOLN RILEY, Oklahoma
Riley was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach in Norman prior to the 2017 season. He's managed two trips to the College Football Playoff and seen his first two quarterbacks win Heisman Trophies and go No. 1 overall in their respective draft classes.
LUKE FICKELL, Cincinnati
Fickell was actually the defensive coordinator at Ohio State when Herman was the offensive coordinator. They were coworkers. If someone had asked fans in 2017 to guess which one would be 10-1 heading into the final week of the season in 2019, Herman would've won in a landslide.
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And then there's Herman, needing a win over Texas Tech at 11 a.m. on a Friday morning to avoid a .500 season, in Year Three, when great coaches should be competing for championships. In Austin, they don't talk about championships with Herman anymore. They just wait to see if the next game is the one where he sacrifices a live chicken in the pregame to teach his players some inane lesson on sacrifice.
Cue the clown music....