Saturday morning, multiple reports cited varying levels of pressure from Texas boosters on school administrators to fire Charlie Strong. They wanted him replaced with Houston coach Tom Herman in the wake of Houston's blowout victory of Louisville on Thursday.
"Extreme" pressure. "Ludicrous" pressure.
After Texas stumbled and coughed up an 11-point fourth-quarter lead in Saturday's 24-21 overtime loss to Kansas, perhaps "untenable" best describes the pressure Texas' leadership now faces. This, after all, was a Kansas team that went 0-12 last year and had only one win so far this season -- against Rhode Island, a 2-9 FCS team.
TURN ALL THE WAY UP, LAWRENCE.https://t.co/lOCnQW2tTU- ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 20, 2016
Athletic director Mike Perrin declined to comment in the minutes after the loss, but comment isn't necessary. The loss -- with 51 carries for 250 yards and two lost fumbles from running back D'Onta Foreman -- said all that was needed.
Strong suffered through two losing seasons after taking over for Mack Brown, who went 25-14 in his final three years at Texas. A season-opening win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame was a signal of hope, but the win over the Fighting Irish proved to be fool's gold: Texas is now 5-6, and Notre Dame is 4-7. Through three seasons, Strong is16-20 with one game remaining against TCU to try to push the Longhorns back to a bowl game after last year's absence at 5-7. Even if it happens, Strong might not get a chance to coach it.
Wins over Baylor and Texas Tech got the Longhorns back over .500 in October, but two consecutive losses since then, in a down year for the Big 12, assures that Strong won't finish the regular season better than .500 in a season that likely required at least 7-8 wins for continued employment.
Saturday, the Longhorns led 21-10 and had the ball near midfield with 11 minutes to play. Foreman was stuffed on a third down, and Kansas answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive and two-point conversion to cut Texas' lead to three.
Foreman gave the Jayhawks the ball on the ensuing possession with his third fumble, but KU turned the ball over on downs. Texas did the same after four handoffs to Foreman, and Kansas scrambled to kick a game-tying, 36-yard field goal with six seconds left, aided by a roughing the passer targeting penalty that put the Jayhawks in the red zone.
Strong's reaction to true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele's interception in the first overtime said it all.
Charlie Strong says what every Texas fan was thinking https://t.co/yOHqO5cMv9- CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 20, 2016
The turnover set the stage for Matthew Wyman to kick Kansas' game-winning 25-yard field goal. For the first time since 1938, Texas lost to Kansas. Strong's postgame press conference lasted just four minutes.
The most painful part of the Strong post game presser.- Casey Keirnan (@CaseyKeirnan) November 20, 2016
"Do you know what this means for your future?" pic.twitter.com/MRNuTko8au
It was a fitting finale that should firmly thrust Texas onto the coaching carousel, hopeful it can wrangle Herman away from Houston.