The Texas Longhorns will not be playing for a national championship in the firsts season under the College Football Playoff model. You probably already assumed that, but new Texas head coach Charlie Strong wants to make sure we are all clear on this.
“We have everything available, and I don’t know why we can’t be successful,” Strong said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “There’s no reason for us not to be. Now, I can’t tell you how soon it’s going to be. Don’t hold me to that. Don’t say, ‘Ooh, coach said next year we’ll be in the national…’ We will not be in the national championship game.”
Charlie Strong just told Texas fans the Longhorns are not good enough to compete for a national title this season. There is no more sense of false or misplaced optimism in Austin.
The bar for success at Texas has now officially been lowered, but this will only be a temporary move. Strong is taking over a program that could be a sleeping giant but needs to get back to basics while embracing new trends in the game. The funding for the Longhorns will never come into question (they are on top of the revenue game with Notre Dame and Alabama in the conversation), and Strong knows it will not be long before Texas should be competing for bigger things. But this is a Texas program that is in need of a soft reset, and Strong is perfect for that.
It is refreshing to see a coach come in to a program with so much at its disposal and say “Whoa, slow down.” The urgency to make Texas a super power is alive and well in Austin, which explains why the decision to cut Mack Brown out of his office came in to play in the first place. Strong is going to be a man with a plan. It may not be quite the same plan he used at Louisville, but I believe it may follow a similar premise. Get tough on defense, build an offense around a quarterback and begin to win conference games with more frequency.
Texas will be back, but not quite up to the task in year one of the Strong era. Having a head coach who understands the reality of the situation puts Texas on the right track, whether their fans want to hear it or not.