AUSTIN - University of Texas head football coach Charlie Strong had a chance Saturday to get his team to a bowl game for the first time in three years and perhaps solidify his chances for another season as the head coach for the Longhorns.
A 24-21 overtime loss to the woeful Kansas Jayhawks may have put bowl eligibility out of reach of the Longhorns and may have sealed Strong’s exit from the UT program at the end of the season.
Saturday started with an ESPN.com report that stated boosters were putting “extreme pressure” on the administration to get rid of Strong. The coach could have quieted the calls for his job with a win in Kansas and a bowl trip, but the loss most likely didn't help his cause.
Strong came to Texas after an extremely successful stint at Louisville taking the Cardinals to a Sugar Bowl win over Florida. He brought an SEC pedigree and a defensive background to Texas and helped the team to a bowl game in his first season.
However, he has yet to post a winning season at Texas and is unlikely to do so in 2016 after the loss to the Jayhawks.
While defense was Strong’s signature during his stints in the SEC and with Louisville, his Texas teams got worse each year under Strong on defense. In 2014, the Longhorns allowed 23.8 points per game; in 2015, Texas gave up 30.3 points per game; and this year, the team is giving up 32.3 points per game.
In terms of total defense, Texas also got worse in the three years under Strong. In his first season, Texas gave up just 348.5 yards per game. By 2016, Texas was giving up 456 yards per game, eighth worst in the conference and 106th in the nation.
Texas has one more game this season, a home game against the TCU Horned Frogs. A victory would send Texas to a bowl game again and that could push the Longhorns’ record to 7-6 with a victory in both games.
The only question is will Strong still be on the sidelines for both games.