Texas football: Can Tom Herman save his job with Longhorns?

Tom Herman, Texas Longhorns. (Mandatory Credit: Jay Janner-USA TODAY NETWORK)
Tom Herman, Texas Longhorns. (Mandatory Credit: Jay Janner-USA TODAY NETWORK) /

Tom Herman’s seat as the Texas football head coach is getting a little toasty these days.

Tom Herman was hired to bring Texas football back and thus far, he has not done that.

Were the expectations a tad unreasonable for Herman once he arrived in Austin back in 2017? A bit, but this is what you sign up for when you take on a blue-blood job as prestigious as Texas. After losing at home to the Iowa State Cyclones, the Texas Longhorns will miss out on yet another Big 12 Championship game under Herman’s watch. Is he about to lose his job as the main man?

A Kansas state sweep will go a long way towards keeping Tom Herman around

At 5-3 on the season, the only games that are left on Texas’ regular-season schedule are at the Kansas schools to round out the campaign. Texas will be in Manhattan to face the Kansas State Wildcats this Saturday. Then, next Saturday, the Longhorns will travel to Lawrence to take on the flightless Kansas Jayhawks. It is beyond imperative that Herman wins both of those games.

So far, the Longhorns have lost to the TCU Horned Frogs, the Oklahoma Sooners and Iowa State. While the win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys was cool, it does not make up for the early-season loss to TCU. Last Friday’s loss at home to Iowa State put the nail in the coffin of Texas’ slim New Year’s Six chances as a shocking Big 12 champion. They were not going to win it anyway.

With his mentor Urban Meyer readily available out of the coaching game and on the FOX studio set, this is a move the University of Texas could make to upgrade its football team. It would be highly controversial, as Meyer has already retired twice for medical reasons. Plus, Herman previously served as Meyer’s offensive coordinator on the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Ultimately, Meyer may not want to leave FOX for another crack at coaching. Then again, this is Texas, and you better believe Meyer’s representation will at least take the phone call should the University of Texas reach out to him. The other thing to keep in mind is how expensive it would be to fire Herman and his staff, as well as hire a new one. His buyout might make him safe for 2021.

So does Herman have a chance to keep his job beyond this season? Absolutely, and here is why. If the Longhorns finish their regular season at 7-3, Herman will have done enough to get a fifth year in Austin, barring an unmitigated disaster in their non-marquee bowl game. Factor in the whole global pandemic thing and other Power 5 coaches massively underperforming and he will stay.

The gargantuan buyout and a Big 12 record of 6-3 may be good enough to give Herman one more year. What this really comes down to is who Texas could get to replace Herman beyond Meyer. Is Iowa State’s Matt Campbell the best Texas could do? Would they look at Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines or James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions? It has to be the right guy.

The only ways Herman is gone at the end of the year are if Texas loses to Kansas State and absolutely if they lose to Kansas, as well as if there is a big booster willing to cough up some serious cash to buy Herman and his staff out. This only happens if Texas is dripping with confidence it can pry Meyer out of retirement or if it thinks Campbell is the second coming of Darrell K Royal.

There are ways Herman gets the ax, but it is more likely he stays in Austin.

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