Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Stefan Stevenson sound off on the issues of the day in college football in College Confidential at star-telegram.com.
Texas has hired Arizona State’s Steve Patterson, a longtime executive in professional sports, as its new athletic director. What does this mean for the long-term future of Mack Brown as the school’s football coach?
Jimmy: It does not enhance Brown’s staying power. Patterson clearly is coming in as an agent-of-change hire with the potential to tweak the status quo in multiple sports. He has no past relationship with Brown, so Brown’s record at the end of the year must speak for itself. If Texas wins the Big 12 title, a change is unlikely unless Brown chooses to depart. If Texas does not, expect more Nick Saban-to-Austin speculation.
Stefan: If the Longhorns remain unbeaten and take the Big 12 title, they can’t force Mack Brown out. It looks bad if they do. I remember seeing Steve Patterson when he was a young GM of the Houston Rockets in the 1980s. Always seemed like a smart and likeable guy. Great hire by Texas.
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TCU coach Gary Patterson is talking about possible postseason tweaks to his sideline demeanor and/or his staff to get the program back on track. Where should Patterson look first after this season ends?
Jimmy: I think Patterson’s sideline approach is fine. It’s who he is and it’s been successful. My first stop would be a hard look at team chemistry. There seems to a disconnect this season, starting with anticipated starters voluntarily leaving the program in August to multiple in-season disciplinary actions involving high-profile players in recent weeks.
Stefan: He’s probably going to look real hard at his co-offensive coordinators Jarrett Anderson and Rusty Burns. He could change their duties but let them keep their titles or go find someone to come in and take over the offense. Other assistants could move positions as well. TCU’s struggles are more to do with the offense battling injuries and talent deficiencies than anything Patterson is doing on the sidelines.
Lots of football players from Texas colleges will be mentioned for All-America honors and postseason awards during November. Who are the most deserving candidates for those individual awards at this juncture?
Jimmy: Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans tops my list. He is college football’s version of “Megatron” and should win the 2013 Biletnikoff Award. Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk will be in the Doak Walker Award mix. And two of the best offensive linemen in the country are Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews and Baylor guard Cyril Richardson, a North Crowley graduate. Although we’ve got two quarterbacks getting lots of attention, it’s hard to see Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Baylor’s Bryce Petty slipping past Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston for QB-related honors.
Stefan: I think if Baylor remains unbeaten Bryce Petty deserves to be in the running for the Heisman. And Texas Tech tight end/receiver Jace Amaro should qualify for receiving awards no matter what position he’s classified as. He’s been amazing.
North Texas is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004, with a chance to win the Conference USA championship. How likely is a conference title or bowl berth for the Mean Green this season?
Jimmy: North Texas (6-3, 4-1 in C-USA) definitely deserves a bowl berth and has a user-friendly schedule down the stretch that should boost efforts to reach the C-USA title game as the West Division champ. UNT is No. 74 in this week’s Sagarin computer rankings, which puts the Mean Green ahead of ACC members Syracuse (77), Wake Forest (78), North Carolina State (90) and Virginia (94), among notable FBS schools.
Stefan: Great job by Dan McCarney to get the Mean Green back to a bowl after an eight-year drought. That’s not an easy job, but they have a nice stadium and are able to find under the radar athletes and it has paid off for that program.