Each day, as a countdown to fall camp opening Aug. 5, we are going to provide you with a number that was important in 2011 and let you know why it will be important in 2012.
Consistency has been Mack Brown's undoing.
Year after year, season after season, Brown and his Texas teams were rolling up double-digit win totals. Fans became sated, alums happy and the coaching staff, by its own admission, complacent. That led to two seasons when the win totals dipped below double digits and really below par according to the standards that had been set. The unrest was heard from panhandle to the piney woods
Inside the number
Still even with the pratfalls of 2010 and 11, Brown has maintained a 10-win average over his 14 years tenure at the helm of the Horns. Slightly more actually. He has 141 wins over his tenure.
Now the question that lingers around the Texas program, and really the state, is if the Longhorns can at least achieve Brown's average in 2012? To say 10 wins, at the moment without having seen David Ash throw or even seen Brown throw his confidence behind Ash and name him the starter, could be a bit optimistic. Nine is a more manageable number and tangible goal.
Just as a point of reference, the Las Vegas Hotel, formerly the Hilton, installed the over/under on Texas as 8.5. No doubt the Hilton had to change to the LV Hotel after making such unwise bets and losing. Texas at 8.5 should be a steal. Texas at 10 gives one much more pause.
Where it counts in 2012
The case for more than 8.5 wins and possibly even more than 10 is not too hard to make. The defense should be one of the best in the Big 12. The offense should have the best run game as well as one of the best lines in the NFL. The Longhorns have breakaway players who can score from any point on the field. The coordinators have been together for a year. The depth chart goes two deep with experience at nearly every position.
Now the case for 8.5 or less wins is also not too tough to make. Texas has to go to Oklahoma State and Kansas State. West Virginia is a top 10 team with an explosive playmaker in Geno Smith. Oklahoma is loaded again. Baylor has beaten Texas two straight years. And TCU will be primed for an upset after being at the side of the road when the SWC broke apart. Oh yeah and no one knows what Ash might bring to the table.
Of course, there is always the possibility of nine wins. If Texas hits that number then Brown will have 150 wins in 15 years. Or 10 wins a year.