|Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press|
|With a search for a new athletic director at Texas, Mack Brown's future is growing more uncertain.|
The Texas athletic department has enough palace intrigue to fill a couple episodes of "Scandal," with its three marquee sports in decline, enough money to match the GDP of a small country, and a search for a new athletic director to oversee men's sports that will serve as the latest battleground between the university president and the state's governor with the Board of Trustees serving as his proxy.
But the biggest takeaway from a comprehensive SI.com report is the underwhelming state of the Longhorn football program and that head coach Mack Brown seems highly unlikely to lead it beyond this season.
"I'm not sure he wants to work for another athletic director. My guess is this is his last season," a source said.
Brown has been excoriated over the last four seasons as UT has failed to compete for the Big 12 or BCS titles, lost three consecutive games to rival Oklahoma, seen in-state rival Texas A&M take the SEC by storm, missed badly in its recruitment of quarterbacks, and failed to maximize the talent on the roster.
"In the state of Texas, it's a crime that they don't do better in terms of talent," an NFL scout said. "They don't look very talented this year. Where's the Derrick Johnson? They have a guy here and one there. They used to have the whole secondary and linebackers full of guys. They don't have any linebackers or offensive linemen."
That assessment was proven correct in the 31-30 win at Iowa State, as UT allowed 201 rushing yards in its first game without starting linebacker Jordan Hicks (torn Achilles). In an attempt to shore up that unit ahead of Saturday's Red River Rivarly game against the Sooners in Dallas, sophomore Dalton Santos will start at middle linebacker with Steve Edmond moving outside.
Insinuations that Brown will be out at season's end are certainly not new, but SI.com lays out the on-going clash between University president Bill Powers and Gov. Rick Perry, a former Texas A&M Yell Leader. Factor in the turmoil between Powers and the four trustees all appointed by Perry, as documented by Orangebloods.com, and it could have a major effect on the hiring of a new athletic director, who will in turn be responsible for identifying Brown's successor.
That toxic dynamic, along with the significant media obligations required of UT's head coach, could make the UT job less appealing to top candidates. However, its vast resources -- financially, its facilities and on the recruiting trail, specifically -- should trump those concerns.
And if the Longhorn Network ever needs programming, there's a soap opera already on campus just waiting to be filmed.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.