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The Autopsy of a Burnt Orange Debacle

This was mentioned earlier in the fanshots, but nevertheless I wanted to call special attention to this piece by the Austin American Statesman, which takes an in-depth look into Texas' implosion last season. A few of the juicy tidbits:

A severe depression hangover from the loss to Alabama in the national championship game on Jan. 7, 2010. It was an exhausting disappointment to Brown, who had worked so hard to get his team to the championship and who told confidantes he was certain his Longhorns would beat the Crimson Tide.

As the year progressed, fractures within the coaching ranks widened to the point where defensive coordinator Will Muschamp got into a heated argument with offensive coordinator Greg Davis after the loss to Iowa State.

Muschamp was unavailable for comment for this story, but those who know him say he had become disillusioned with the direction of Brown's program and the lack of accountability in playing time, and grew weary of waiting for Brown's retirement as Texas' head coach-in-waiting.

"He was furious the entire season," one source said. "He got detached."

Another source, however, said Muschamp never spoke negatively about his colleagues, but that he fumed that the coaching staff had done a poor job of evaluating recruiting prospects at offensive line, receiver and running back.

Muschamp's disenchantment spoke to some of the internal dissension on Mack's staff and the schism that grew between the older and younger coaches. That said, Brown regularly lauded running backs coach Major Applewhite in staff meetings, to the point of embarrassment.

By all means go and read the entire thing because a lot of interesting insight is included -- such as the fact that Will Muschamp agreed to be the next head coach at Florida roughly one week before Urban Meyer stepped down -- and I think it's particularly revealing in the sense that it sheds light upon staff in-fighting, botched player evaluations, poor conditioning, and the like. I think it's easy to assume to gloss over things like that and assume that they can't happen, particularly with big-time programs like Texas, but they are very real and they can frankly strike at any time with any program.

And as a closing note, I do find it very interesting just how big the impact apparently was from the Longhorns losing in Pasadena. I wrote prior to the BCS Championship Game a year ago that the record of BCS championship game losers moving forward was not very good, and that for many programs their championship game loss was a defining moment in their ultimate decline. Say what you will about the complacency that hounded us all year -- and that clearly had a legitimate detrimental effect on our development and ultimately our performance -- but I'd take the ill effects of complacency any day of the week over the hangover that is part and parcel of coming so close to the top to only fall just short of the prize. Moral of the story? If you're going to go that far, you sure as hell better finish the deal.