Did Mack Brown Kill NU Football?

And Will His Retirement Begin a New Golden Era for NU?

The Alamo Bowl was one last opportunity to root against Texas head coach Mack Brown, who some of us at BRN came to regard as "El Diablo".  Yet there wasn't much joy in watching him lose.  If anything, a victory in his final outing would make it that much harder on his successor.  Besides, he'd already lost his job.  Still, there are few coaches in history who have caused Nebraska so much pain.  Now that he's gone, does that spell a brighter future for dear ol' Nebraska U?


The Grantland did a great longform piece on Brown.  But one line stands out for Husker fans in particular:

If you were a student at Texas between 1971 and 1997, none of those were givens. Texas was pretty lousy at football.

The 1971-1997 time period began with a New Year's day national championship for Nebraska (the first under Bob Devaney) and ended two days before a fifth one.  Is it more than a coincidence that the period of NU's great dominance and Texas' misery overlap so perfectly?

Brown's win in Lincoln in 1998 ended a seven-year streak of home victories for Nebraska.  The loss was also one of four that handed the Huskers their worst win-loss record in 30 years.  A year later, it was Brown's Longhorn team that kept Nebraska from playing for a national championship with a win in Austin.  In 2002, Texas made a bad season worse when they escaped with a victory in Memorial stadium which left Nebraska a .500 team by season's end.  A big win in Austin a year later was certainly one of the final nails in Frank Solich's coffin at Nebraska.  It's hard to imagine him being fired at 10-2, which his record would have been with a victory over the Longhorns.

The near miss by Bill Callahan in 2006 against Texas was probably the difference between a top 25 ranking and NU's unranked 9-5 finish.  A win in Austin in 2007 might not have been enough to save Callahan's job but then who's to say whether the Huskers would have been so flat against Kansas and Colorado without the loss.  In that sense, perhaps NU fans ought to be grateful for Brown.  The 2010 outing would have been a feel-good victory that might have put Bo Pelini on better footing with fans.  Instead it was a disappointing outing that foreshadowed future disappointments.  

Now the schools are unlikely to play outside of a bowl.  The teams didn't play at all between the 1974 and 1995 seasons, which was still a great run for NU and a relatively poor one for Texas.  Nebraska has always plucked a number of quality players out of the Lone Star state.  Perhaps a down Texas program simply makes it easier.  A player like defensive back recruit Jason Hall might reconsider NU without Brown as coach.  In the best of times, the names were people like Outland winner Aaron Taylor and All-American Aaron Graham.          

Whatever the reason, the transition from Brown probably doesn't spell brighter days for Texas.  Usually programs that walk away from a coach winning 8 or 9 games (even premiere programs) end up trading down.  That might not directly help Nebraska, but it probably won't hurt either. 

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Comments 13 comments so far

I watched this game last night and it seemed the announcers were talking more about Scott Frost than Mack!  Ha.
Maybe thats where we can find a little payback knowing that the former NU star was calling the shots—- although O defense were credited with two pic six’s. 
One thing to note, a very good team can look quite average when their star QB is injured.  As soon as Mariota was hobbled again in the 2nd half, Oregon was not nearly as effective.  Texas played the QB shuffle but never found the answer.  What if Texas had aquired Johnny Manziel, maybe Mack would be playing for the National Chanpionship again?  In the same way, where would Pelini and NU be this year if Martinez would have been healthy?

As I was watching I found myself wondering how good the Huskers could be with a QB like Mariota at the helm. That guy is a game changer. Big, fast and smart. Wow!

Bill ~ how dominant was NU with TMart at the helm earlier in the season?  Not very, it seems.  Thus, we all fantasize about what a difference a TMart led team would be.  Seems he had some really great games, followed by some poorly executed games.  His inconsistency was his biggest problem.  That may have been due to his injury situation through the years.  Some was due to his panic stricken last second judgment on the run as he scrambled.  He had lots of ability, but seemed to lack the complete package.

Check out the Darlington QB footage.  He’s the kid with the concussion problems NU has recruited.  His film is about as impressive as you can find in H.S.  He seems like the real deal upon first impressions.

One reason Alabama has been so successful these past years is because their QB is a steady-eddy.  He doesn’t seem to panic and he executes the basics very well.  Unlike TMart, the Bama QB is reliable game after game.  Let’s see if he rings OU’s bell.  Should be an interesting game.

Realist, I am not suggesting Tmart is the perfect QB, we all are familiar with his flaws.  I too look forward to see what else we might have waiting in the wings.  I am suggesting, that with a healthy Martinez at the helm, we would have had a few more wins.  Both Armstrong and Kellog had shining moments, but also their share of mistakes.  With a tru game changer at the helm, as u suggest, well yeah, thats money.

Nebraska killed Nebraska football, nobody else.  Can’t blame no dadgum Whorn for doin’ it.

Howsa ‘bout we win some games, like the ones that matter?


TMaj was just as good or better rusher than Mariotta, IMO—who else can take it to the house from 130 yds out and bedazzle everyone in said house like TM?

Big difference though, is that Mariotta is a sharper passer and MORE DECISIVE in general, like if the reads arent there, he’s gone right now, no pussy footin’ around.  Plus they still let him run whereas “Got Becked’ was trying to turn TM into a pocket passer mostly which was incredibly stupid, but hey, same thing happened to Tyrelle Pryor, Tyrod Taylor, Geno Smith and Devin Gardner and many other dual threat guys:  ruined by coaches.


Agreed on every point—I never ragged on T-Mart.

Gonna miss TM.

Well, the moral of the story is that if you have a dual threat guy, gotta use him, most of em are far better rushers than passers.

“Now that he’s gone, does that spell a brighter future for dear ol’ Nebraska U?”

Uh, how does Mack B leaving Tejas effect NU in any way shape or form?  I’m lost.

If PSU picks him up if and when Obi leaves, well, then I suppose he can beat us from the east coast instead of the south.

Exactly TDogg,  It makes no sense what so ever

Hopefully they’ll let TA do some evading in the Taxevader Bowl…  Must say, he’s WAY better than VA Tech’s b/u(Leal), exept that he’s our #1 till further notice.

Happy New Year to all Cornheads!

And may the odds be with you…

I understand this is about Brown, but against Texas, ‘96 stands out the most. Even with not for long Mackovic, Texas knew they could beat good ole Nebraska U. That was the first “buzzkill” and it probably kept Nebraska from a rematch with Florida. Then again, maybe Nebraska wouldn’t have been ready for that one.

Before I read the article, I thought it would be about Texas “horning” in on Nebraska’s influence on conference issues.
All the losses… I mean, why be a victim?
Two of the losses, ‘99 and ‘06, were caused by two forced fumbles.
Personally, I think ‘06 Texas and ‘05 TTech, were the most devastating to building back up players winning confidence.
‘10’s game, reminds me only of athletic department “sparky” types deflating legitimate emotions with an artificial “get loud” vid.
About the flattest effort, Nebraska could give.

Oh right, about Brown.
I’ve always put him in the classy category.

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