Mac Engel

Charlie Strong and his Texas cockroaches look to mess things up

Texas coach Charlie Strong, center, has had a lot to be unhappy about during his tenure as Texas’ head coach.
Texas coach Charlie Strong, center, has had a lot to be unhappy about during his tenure as Texas’ head coach. AP

Next to the actual completion of Interstate 35, the following was once never thought to be possible in this or any other lifetime: The TCU “cockroaches” are 18.5-point favorites against the University of Texas in a football game.

“I didn’t know it was that bad,” Strong said Monday during his news conference. “Wow.”

Yep, it’s that bad.

(BTW: Run to the window and take the points; TCU should win but UT is improving.)

It was the late, great UT coach Darrell K Royal who in 1962 compared TCU to a cockroach, and not in a flattering way. His point, coming the year after his No. 1 team was stunned by TCU, was that the Frogs messed things up.

It is 2015, and there’s a new cockroach in town. The visiting burnt orange-and-white cockroach can really mess things up for the Horned Frogs on Saturday or next week at the Cotton Bowl against Mount Stoops and the No. 15 Sooners.

If the new cockroach doesn’t win one of these next two games, Charlie Strong is not going to make it to 2016, even though he should.

TCU is No. 4 in the nation. UT is unranked and was recently named the winner of college football’s “Amazing Way To Lose a Game” award for the second consecutive week.

The University of Texas Cockroaches will be coming to Fort Worth for the official “Kids’ Table Game.” An 11 a.m. start for UT at TCU is a slap-in-the-face to both programs, especially the Frogs.

Equally as insulting is that TCU asked UT to be its date for Homecoming this weekend.

TCU has defeated UT in two of the past three meetings, but a notch missing from TCU’s Big 12 headboard is a home win against Texas. If TCU coach Gary Patterson’s team can accidentally drop 70 on Charlie Strong’s crew, it should do it.

Now knee-deep into his second season, #TexasStrong has become #TexasEmbarrassment.

The world and the Big 12 has been turned on its head with the rise of TCU and Baylor, but GP and every other Frog need to smush the new cockroaches while they can — this will not last forever.

The new cockroach in Texas will eventually shed its skin to become a steer again. The question is when, and will the rich guys who run things in Austin allow Strong to stay long enough to see it through?

The only football reason to fire Strong after his second season is if UT does not win another game in 2015, which will not happen. Kansas will make sure of that.

There are signs that he is beginning to clean up the considerable mess that Mack Brown left after he “resigned” two years ago. (As a side note, I 100 percent agree with Mack Brown on his assessment that the state of his former team is not on him; to say this is Mack’s fault is a coward’s way out.)

Strong’s team is loaded with babies who are getting close. The Longhorns barely lost to Cal and Oklahoma State. Close is normally a sign of improvement. He finally gave up on quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, a kid who should never have been offered an FBS scholarship by Brown.

Denton Guyer redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard gives them a little something they desperately need. He looks like he has a clue.

If it were any other school, Strong may have a little bit more time to improve his 7-10 record. But UT is the only school with its own cable TV network funded by ESPN, and one of the few athletic departments in the nation that has an unofficial “Head Coach Buyout Fund.”

The athletic director who hired Strong, Steve Patterson, was recently fired less than two years into the job because people hated his guts. Remember, not everybody — especially powerful alum Red McCombs — liked Strong’s hiring when it was announced in 2014.

Steve Patterson and Strong may not have been BFFs, but Patterson was more likely to stick with #TexasStrong because he was his guy. Now the interim replacement will do as instructed, which decreases Strong’s play clock by about a year.

If the fat-cat boosters are tired of it, the five-year, $25 million deal Strong signed will be a matter of one phone call.

The next two weeks will go a long way in determining if #TexasStrong will last until 2016 and, more specifically, if the new cockroach is actually shedding its skin to become a steer.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof

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