Every edition of the weekly media notes from the Bill Little Fantasy Factory is crammed with metrics to support the notion that William Mack Brown is one of the elite coaches in college football over the last two decades. Bellmont's case, however, boils down to this: Brown has the second-most career victories among active coaches, and the most wins altogether since 1990. Also prominently featured are the nine consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins from 2001-2009.
With his usual aplomb, srr50 broke down Brown's record against ranked opponents. It's not pretty. But to me, Brown's legacy at Texas comes down to one number, and it's the reason he's unable to escape the long shadow of missed opportunity. And that number is two, which is how many Big XII championships Brown has won in his 14 full seasons at Texas.
The program's general goal each season should be to win the Big XII. Win your conference, and good things come your way. It's that simple. You don't have to back into anything-and that's precisely the position in which Brown has found himself in 12 of his 14 previous seasons here.
Much has been written this week about the circumstances surrounding those two Big XII titles Brown did win in 2005 and 2009. More specifically, about how they were arguably propelled by two generational players (one who happened to come on the heels of the other) that were able to transcend the limitations of Brown's system. I won't rehash all that here, except to say that Texas shouldn't need a generational player to compete for a conference title. This isn't Baylor.
Since Bellmont is eager to compare Brown's record against his peers, let's see how Mack fares against some of his contemporaries in the upper echelon of the coaching fraternity since 2000 in the one category that really matters: conference titles. We'll start with the one that hurts the most.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
7 Big XII titles in 13 full seasons. Yes. Seven.
Pete Carroll, USC *
7 outright or shared Pac 10 titles in 9 years at USC.
Nick Saban, LSU & Alabama
2 SEC titles in 5 years at LSU, followed by 2 more in 5 years at Alabama.
Urban Meyer, Florida & Ohio State
2 SEC titles in 6 seasons at Florida, on his way to a phantom title this year at Ohio State.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
8 years in the ACC, 4 titles.
Jim Tressel, Ohio State *
7 outright or shared Big 10 titles in 10 years (the last of which was vacated).
Les Miles, LSU
7 seasons in Baton Rouge, 2 SEC championships.
Mack Brown, Texas
2 Big XII titles in 14 years. And FWIW, zero ACC titles in 10 years at North Carolina.
One might argue that this kind of subjective and selective comparison is inherently compromised. Perhaps. I'll also grant you that including Carroll and Tressel is a bit unfair since both of them eventually fell prey to the regulators.
But what's not unfair is comparing Brown's performance against his peers that have been regarded as being near the top of the profession in recent years. Bellmont posits that Brown's raw win totals place him at or near the pinnacle, but this is a sand castle argument. Hardware is the ultimate determining factor.